Tag Archives: Chris Izbicki

Keith Price’s Beginning

The Washington Husky football team and fans have turned their attention from their impressive victory against BoiseKeithPrice to the trip to Chicago this weekend.  Before we post our predictions for that game (which will be out tomorrow night), it seemed fitting to look at one more storyline from that perfect night 12 days ago.

In the second half against Boise, Keith Price took a snap and rolled to his left to avoid pressure.  While running left, Price threw across his body into the end-zone and completed a touchdown pass to Josh Perkins.

It was a perfect pass by Price to a seldom used tight end that gave Keith the school record for touchdown passes in a career.  If I was to guess who would catch Price’s record-setting catch before the season, Perkins would have been down the list around number 10 or so.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised though.  Our smiling quarterback wasn’t always known as a prolific passer.  In 2010, when Price was a skinny backup who might not ever see the field, Jake Locker went down in a close game against USC. Keith Price sauntered into the game and every Husky fan thought, “Hand the ball to Chris Polk.”

Keith took the snap, rolled to his left and back pedaled.  He lofted a ball into the end zone and it was caught by seldom used Chris Izbicki.  It was Price’s first of many touchdown passes. (Check the 3 minute mark of the video)

Izbicki finished his career with 5 catches at UW.

I don’t know how Price’s career will end. He could become the most prolific passer in Husky history.  He could return to his 2012 version and get his job taken away.  Whatever happens, he’ll have this school record and it all started so innocently and small.

We’ll always have Price to Izbicki.

– Andrew

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A Few More Thoughts After Rewatching the Husky Game

Well, it took me 2 days but I finally made it through all of the USC game.  I can only wonder how many times I would watch it if it wasn’t a busy week.   Anyway, I came away with a few more thoughts that I’ll share before putting this game to rest and moving on to this week’s opponent,  Arizona State.

  • Let’s start with the worst part of the game, the rushing defense.  There’s no denying that they were terrible.  After watching it again, it was very clear that the problems weren’t because of a lack of schemes.  They tried just about everything.  They put at least 8 guys in the box every time.  I counted 10 guys in the box for several plays.  10 guys!  They also tried a 3-4 several times to be a little more athletic.  The problem was with what was happening on the field.  The defensive line was terrible.  Ta’amu played a decent game, but the rest of the defensive line was awful.  There were guys getting pushed back 5-10 yards every play.  Then, the linebackers seemed a bit timid.  They didn’t attack the runner for most of the game, they let the runner come to them.  By the time the runner got there, those linebackers were blocked.  I understand that they can’t completely sell out against the run because they have to watch for play-action, but their reaction time does need to be quicker.  Last but not least, the tackling was terrible.  It was just as bad as it was against Nebraska, if not worse.  I was on a mission to count the missed tackles but I lost track.  I lost track at the end of the first quarter.
  • One more negative thought on the defense before we move to brighter spots.   I think several players had the worst game of their career on Saturday.  Nate Fellner had one great pass break-up, but the rest of the game he struggled.  He was sucked into the wrong position and missed quite a few tackles.  Quinton Richardson missed an easy sack on Barkley because he forgot he had arms on the play.  He was taken out after that, I’ll be interested to see if he plays as much the rest of this season.  Where is Adam Long?  Cort Dennison looked a little rusty and slow after missing the Nebraska game.  Those players, along with the defensive line, were beaten up pretty well on Saturday.  Thank goodness we have Mason Foster.
  • With all that, give credit to the defense for not allowing a touchdown in the 4th quarter.  They buckled down and made some stops.  There’s no doubt they need to get better, but they made some plays that kept the Huskies in the game.

More thoughts after the jump. Continue reading

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UW Huskies Offensive Preview

In 2009, the Husky offense was largely inconsistent, often showing excellent playmaking ability up until the time they needed to score on the goal line or keep a drive going late in the game.  The hope is this year they will find that consistency and become the high-powered threat that their talent suggests.

Quarterback

Starter: Jake Locker  Maybe you’ve heard of this guy.  Senior starter who passed up millions to try to lead his team to a bowl game and make a run at the Heisman trophy.  He could be the best quarterback in the country, but he does need to make improvements, chiefly with his accuracy.  Sarkisian has him aiming for a 70% completion rate and 3/1 touchdown to interception ratio, which would be a season for the ages.  He likely won’t quite make that, but there’s no bigger threat at the position in the country.

Depth: Keith Price & Nick Montana  The two backups are still fighting for the job, although it appears Price has pulled ahead for now.  Price is more of an athlete who has struggled with his accuracy at times.  Montana, son of Joe, has the smarts but maybe not quite the arm strength or physical maturity yet.  Price will likely backup on a game to game basis, but if Locker went down for an extended period, either might take over.

Analysis: If Locker stays healthy, it doesn’t get much better.  If he goes down, it’s hard to say what would happen with Price or Montana under center. Continue reading

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Countdown to Camp: Press Conference Notes

4 days!  Sark had his season opening press conference today which didn’t give off a whole lot of news.  Here were a few things that stuck out to me.

  • Sark said that starting tight end, Chris Izbicki, had the best off-season of anyone.  This is great news if true.  It’s impossible to know what Izbicki did his first two years here because he was in Willingham’s doghouse.  Maybe he worked hard, maybe he didn’t.  But, now we have proof that he’s making big strides and wants to help the team win ball games.  Chris will play a big role on this team and if he meets his initial potential (a 4-star recruit coming out of high school) he will be another weapon in this high-powered offense.
  • Brent Williams and John Timu will gray-shirt this year.  Timu is not a surprise but Williams is.  I thought Williams would come in and redshirt but he also had the possibility of playing because of the lack of depth.  Maybe this move shows that Sark has faith that the previously injured defensive ends (Aldrich and Thompson) are fine.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it. 
  • Sark stated that he thinks Jake should be above a 65% completion percentage and have a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio.  If both of those things happen, I think the Huskies will win 9 games or more.  Those are some lofty goals but if anyone could get to them, Montlake Jake would be the guy to do it.
  • He gave the team a clean bill of health.  Justin Glenn will be monitored very closely with an ankle issue but the rest of the team is very healthy heading into camp.
  • The Huskies announced they have 2 walk-on quarterbacks that were added to their roster.  I won’t pretend like I know a thing  about either of them but they both put up some good high school numbers.  They are much needed extra bodies at that position.
  • Speaking of extra bodies, the Huskies reportedly have 81 scholarship players on the active roster (I thought it would be 78 or 79 and I’m not sure where I’m off) and have 23 walk-ons.  That’s 104 players if you don’t feel like doing the addition.  The NCAA limit is 105.
  • Josh Shirley will start out at defensive end.  Although this is where he’ll start, I think he’ll get a good look at the open linebacker position also. 
  • Perhaps the biggest news of the day were the listed weights of players.  Ivan Lewis is one crazy dude and our players seem to be getting in the shape that the coaches want them to be in.  Here are a few of the biggest increases/decreases (straight from Condotta’s blog):
    RB Demetrius Bronson was 206, now 221
    DE Talia Critchon was 229, now 246
    DT Alameda Ta’amu was 348, now 330
    DT Semisi Tokolahi was 340, now 298
    The theme of this was the big defensive lineman losing some weight while the younger guys at other positions put on some weight.  Bronson is obviously embracing the ‘big back’ role that he’ll have with the team.  It’s great to see Critchon up some so he won’t get man-handled this year.  Ta’amu looks like a different person, according to Sark.  Tokolahi lost 42 lbs.  That’s crazy.  I think he’ll be in a little bit better playing shape now.

I realize that now it’s only 3 days until camp now but I just got back to Yakima after a terrible Mariner game.  Poor Felix, he deserves better.  I’ll be back with more later today!

Andrew

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Huskies Position Overviews – Tight End

Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these.  Frankly, I can’t get my mind off of the UW basketball team so these have taken a backseat.  To try to avoid my growing nervousness (26 hours until game time!) I’ll cover tight ends today. 

Tight end is an interesting spot for the Huskies.  There is no doubting that the Dawgs’ have talent at this position.  Here’s how I see the depth chart at this position:

Kavario Middleton, 6-5, 253, JR. – When Sark came over from USC, people expected big things from Middleton.  A tall, athletic tight end fits the pro-style offense that we run perfectly.  Unfortunately, last year wasn’t a coming out party for Kavario.  He had a solid year but struggled with the same inconsistencies that he had since arriving on Montlake.  Middleton came in as a 5-star prospect with big expectations.  He has the ability to make plays that will conjure up memories of Jerramy Stevens (although Middleton isn’t crazy), but they don’t happen often enough.  If he ever puts it all together Middleton could be a first round NFL draft pick and a star for the Huskies.  For now, he’s just a solid player with a ton of upside.

What Middleton needs to improve on this spring:  Blocking, blocking, and more blocking.  The main gripe about Middleton is that he’s a liability when the Huskies are running the ball.  He has the size to be a good blocker but many reports say that he doesn’t put in the effort and would rather be catching passes.  There is no questioning Middleton’s pass catching ability, he might have the best hands on the team, but if he wants to be an NFL caliber tight end his blocking must improve.

Chris Izbicki, 6-3, 232, RS JR. – Izbicki, like Middleton, came to UW as a highly recruited rank.  A  few off the field issues landed Chris in Tyrone Willingham’s doghouse.  Thankfully, he got a fresh start last year and did some nice things.  He may not have the star potential that Middleton has but he is very capable of being a good pac-10 tight end.  Izbicki is a decent blocker and can turn into a good receiver.

What Izbicki needs to improve on this spring:  It seems like you know what you’re getting with Izbicki.  He will probably never fulfill the high expectations he had out of high school but he will be a solid contributor.  Through this spring Izbicki needs to continue to develop better hands so he won’t be considered a liability during passing downs.

Dorson Boyce, 6-2, 231, SR. – Boyce came into the program last year from junior college and contributed on special teams.  He is probably the best blocker out of this tight end group but his receiving skills are suspect.  Boyce was brought in to add depth to the position, he may struggle to see playing time at this position.

What Boyce needs to improve on this spring:  Boyce doesn’t have the skill set of the other guys but he works hard and is a solid blocker.  If he was to improve on his receiving dramatically then he may be in the conversation.  I don’t really think he has the ability to catch up to the guys in front of him regardless of what kind of spring he has.  But the great thing about this coaching staff is they love competition so if Boyce pushes the guys in front of him to be better than expect to hear Dorson’s name come up.

Marlion Barnett, 6-2, 220, RS FR. –  We’ve yet to see Barnett on the field because he red-shirted last year.  The coaches seem to like him judging from practice reports and I expect him to become a solid contributor in the years to come.  He is supposedly a very capable receiving tight end.

What Barnett needs to improve on this spring:  Barnett lacks size for a tight end and blocking pac-10 defensive ends may be a struggle for him.  Therefore, putting on weight and working on blocking this spring are essential.  If he does this I think he will see some time on the field next year, although it will probably in a limited role.

Overall position:  This is a position where the Huskies have a lot of talent but it is under achieving.  Unfair expectations may have been put on Izbicki but Middleton definitely has untapped potential.  At USC, Sark used his tight ends very effectively and I think Middleton has the capability to become a Fred Davis type player in this offense.  Obviously, this would be huge for an offense that already figures to put up quite a few points.

A few random thoughts and links after the jump.  Continue reading

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