Tag Archives: Cort Dennison

Huskies at the Quarter Pole

It’s hard to believe, but the Husky season is already at the quarter point.  Our Dawgs’ have the record we all expected them to have after 3 games, 2-1, even if they’ve taken a strange route to get there.

September started with a game against Eastern Washington where the Huskies were outplayed in almost every area of the game.  They got the win, but panic ensued around Husky nation and people were upset.  Next, Hawaii came in and the Dawgs came out on fire.  They jumped to a 21-0 lead and seemed like a team who could compete with the best of the best.  Then they let Hawaii back into it and held on for a victory.  The Huskies were 2-0 for the first time since 2007 but neither victory provided a ton of confidence in the team.

Yesterday, they went into one of the toughest places to play in the country.  They stood toe-to-toe with Nebraska in the first half, and by all accounts would have had the lead going into halftime if it weren’t for a terrible call.  Then, the third quarter started.  A three-and-out, a terrible call on a punt, a touchdown, a fumbled kick-off, a touchdown, a turnover on downs, and a touchdown later the Huskies were down by 24.

It was a terrible stretch to watch and, judging from post-game interviews, was even worse to play in.  Now that I’ve cooled off and watched the rest of the game, I’ve realized that those stretches are one of the many reasons why I love college football.  On any Saturday, a team can be totally swept up in the momentum of the game and anything can happen.  These players are taking calculus and history classes during the week and all of a sudden they’re dealing with poor officiating and bad bounces of the ball and they completely lose their composure.  That happened to us on Saturday and I’m not saying it’s acceptable, it’s not, but that’s college football and it’s part of the reason why it’s so exciting.

Anyway, the Huskies regained their composure and went on to battle back, fighting valiantly to the finish.  It wasn’t the outcome we had hoped for, but it was probably the best game the Huskies have played all season.

I’ll break down each position after the jump.  Continue reading

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Hello Dawg Fans

To anyone still reading this nearly dormant blog, welcome to the 2011 season of college football and the first season for the new Pac-12 Conference.  This is a favorite time of year for the Good Guys, so you should start to see a lot more posts here.  Personally, I am finally done with the graduate school that’s kept me from posting for the past 8 months or so, and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing.

The Pac-12 season kicks off for everyone this week, with Arizona State and Utah both kicking off tomorrow and everyone else starting the season on Saturday.  The only real attention grabbers for the weekend are UCLA at Houston and the battle of off-season troublemakers between Oregon and LSU.  Everyone else plays an FCS or comparable team.  Not to say that all of the teams have a definite win, but even the Cougars should have a pretty easy go of it this week.

Reading through the multitude of Pac-12 previews over the last few weeks, the conference seems unsure, at least after Oregon and Stanford at the top.  Oregon, despite the offseason drama, is still as fast as anyone and a threat to return to the BCS championship.  Stanford has a few more questions after losing Jim Harbaugh and several receivers, but they still have Andrew Luck and as much or more talent as anyone else in the conference.  Expect these two to stay at the top of the league, perhaps meeting as undefeated teams later in the season. Unfortunately, both play in the new North division with the Huskies, meaning that only one of them can play in the new Pac-12 Championship.  Of course, if the Huskies want to play in it instead, they’ll probably have to beat at least one of these teams and win just about everything else.  More on them in a bit.

After those two, the pecking order is anything but clear.  In the south, there is talent with question marks.  ASU looked like the top dog, but they’ve suffered some major injury losses, and the Sun Devils haven’t met expectations since Jake the Snake was there, as far as I can remember.  USC still has excellent talent, but they’re banned from the postseason.  Utah is always good, but how they’ll transition to the Pac-12 is a big question.  Arizona could put up crazy passing numbers if they’re o-line holds up.  Even UCLA and Colorado seem like they could surprise, although each have big questions or weaknesses.  I could truly see just about any order of finish in the south, but none of these teams seem truly dominant.

There is similar uncertainty after Stanford and Oregon in the north.  California might have the conference’s top defense to go with some weapons on offense.  If new quarterback Zach Maynard can consistently get the ball to Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones and Isi Sofele provides a reasonable facsimile of Shane Vereen, they could easily surprise and make a bowl.  It’s hard to imagine Oregon State struggling for a full year, but the offseason has not been kind to them.  They lost Jacquizz Rodgers somewhat surprisingly to the NFL and will start the year with at least four starters out due to injury.  James Rodgers is among those who might return later in the year, so it’s quite possible this will be another season where the Beavers play good football by November.  They have questions on both lines even before the injuries, however, so I have my doubts.  Cougar fans have been talking for months about this being their season to break out.  Their schedule starts easy, and if they can beat San Diego State to go 3-0, they might have something this year.  WSU is definitely better than they have been, but I’m betting talk of a bowl game will prove to be wishful thinking.

That leaves us with the University of Washington.  They’re being picked anywhere from 3rd to 5th in the north, with projections of 6-8 wins.  That seems likely, with a couple of significant injuries the only real plausible path to fewer than 5 wins.  It’s become difficult to expect much out of the Huskies, but this might be the year that starts to change.  I remember a comment on a chat board somewhere saying that the Dawgs won’t really return to dominance until they have Pac-12 starter level players who are unable to get onto the field.  The Huskies are still too young for that to really be the case this year, but they’re getting closer.  Their talent level and depth is significantly better than it has been in years.  They have difference-makers at every position.  The question now is whether all of these players are actually ready to make a difference.  The offensive line needs to translate their talent into consistent performance.  The young linebackers on either side of Cort Dennison will have to grow up and make plays in a hurry.   Everyone else just needs to show consistency.  There is plenty of talent, but in past years it hasn’t always produced results.

After that, it comes down largely to one player: Keith Price.  If the rest of the team plays up to its talent-level, he only needs to be okay.  Manage the game, make most of his open passes, not do anything crazy and the team should be fine.  I think he can do that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he does more.  Jake Locker was one of my favorite Huskies of all time, but realistically, he wasn’t that great last year.  Price should be able to produce similar, if not better, passing numbers.  However, like many great quarterbacks, Jake had the ability to get better and make plays when he needed to.  There’s no way to know if Price can consistently do that yet.  Probably, he can’t, but luckily there are plenty of others on the team who might be able to fill that void.

I don’t know what the actual over/under line is on regular season Husky wins.  If I had to guess, I would set it at 6 1/2.  I’ve talked myself into expecting 7-5 or 8-4 before a bowl game, and if everything broke right I could see even better than that.  It’s been 11 years since everything broke right for the Huskies.  I’d say they’re due.

-Matthew

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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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Huskies Post Game: Syracuse

The Huskies got their first win of the year last night at Husky Stadium against Syracuse, 41-20. The Dawgs’ struggled early on; there wasn’t any offensive rhythm and special team’s mistakes led to an early 10-0 lead for the Orange.  But, then the Huskies found it.  They played like the team we had planned on seeing this year.  They outscored Syracuse 41-10 through the rest of the game and it wasn’t much of a contest after the first couple plays in the second half.

Jermaine Kearse had a monster day (9 receptions for 179 yards), as the offense used big plays to dominate.  The defense was solid too.  They gave up two or three big plays but the two touchdowns Syracuse scored were because of a special teams penalty and a turnover.

I’ll review this one by taking a look at each position.  I haven’t been able to find a replay anywhere yet, FSN decided to show a replay of Wyoming and Texas instead, so I won’t be as thorough as I’d like to be but these were my first impressions from being there.  Continue reading

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Huskies Post-Game

Well, I guess it’s time one of us do this.  We’ve had over 24 hours to digest a disappointing loss and now I am a little more rational than I was a night ago.

Let me start off by saying that this wasn’t the team we planned on seeing.  This wasn’t the team that had taken a step above last year’s.  Sure, there were some aspects of the team that improved (more on that later) but as a whole this wasn’t the team we expected to see.  This was the Husky team that lost to Arizona State and UCLA on the road last year.  That team wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t good either.  We saw moments where the Huskies looked like a team that was about to take it to the next level but those moments didn’t last.  Will the Huskies become that team?  There is no reason to give up hope on that after the first game.

The game started off the way it was supposed to.  The Dawgs were clearly the better team.  They were faster.  They had more weapons.  They looked like they wanted it more.  Then everything bounced BYU’s way.  A couple of stupid penalties led to a field position switch and the good bounces for BYU became evident with every punt.  Seriously, think about the game (assuming you watched it) and try to remember a bounce that went the Huskies way.  It was unbelievable.

With that being said, you have to put yourself in position to get good bounces and credit BYU for doing that.  The Cougars were better than any of the good guys thought and will go on to win 9 or 10 games this season.  They were a very physical football team and extremely well coached.

Also, the Huskies did put themselves in a position to win the game.  The defense made stops to get the offense the ball.  The offense drove far enough to give us hope.  Who knows?  If the last pass of the game wasn’t tipped we could be talking about a comeback win that will start a season of magic.  Instead, we’re stuck thinking, “Here we go again.”

It’s not all doom and gloom though.  We’ll take a look at that after the jump.

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UW Huskies Defensive Preview

In 2009, the Husky defense was frustratingly inconsistent.  Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Donald Butler, possibly its two best players, both graduated, but there is a lot of hope the defense will be greatly improved in 2010.  This is due partly to a dominating end to last season, holding WSU and Cal to 10 points in the final two games, but it’s also based on the potential maturation of a young group.

Defensive End

Starters:

Everette Thompson:  Thompson sounds like he’s recovered from an offseason achilles injury just in time, and stands to be one of the most important pieces of the defense.  A highly touted recruit, he’s spent time at tackle as well.  He’s bigger than most Husky D ends in recent memory, which will hopefully aid in the run defense.  It’s even more vital that he contribute in replacing some of Te’o-Nesheim’s record-number sacks.

Talia Crichton:  A true sophomore, Crichton played more than anyone likely anticipated last year, with decent results.  Hard to say what to expect from him, but coaches have been impressed with his improvement this fall.  He seems to be more of a pass rusher, which this defense desperately needs.

Depth: Kalani Aldrich, De’shon Matthews, Hau’oli Jamora, Josh Shirley.  Aldrich is trying to recover from knee surgery, but has decent potential if he can get back all the way.  He’d have contended for a starting spot if not for the injury.  Matthews is a former big time recruit who’s never really made an impact.  He has one last shot and is in position for a lot of minutes as the number one back-up.  Jamora and Shirley are true freshman.  Jamora is in the two-deeps and will play.  Shirley is more heralded, but joined the team late and seems to be having a tough transition to end from high school linebacker.  He’s likely to redshirt, but if he progresses and they’re needing a speed rusher, who knows.

Analysis:  This is one of the toughest positions on the team to call.  There’s potential, to be sure, but the only one who inspires real confidence is Thompson, and he’s coming off major surgery.  This group has to get pressure on the quarterback this year.  Hopefully they’ll be aided in that by an improved interior of the line.

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Spring Game Preview: What and Who to Watch

Bring out your rain jackets and head on down to Husky Stadium tonight!  The Huskies will be holding their annual spring game tonight at 6:30 and, despite the cool temperatures, it is sure to be a hoppin’ time!  3/4 of the Good Guys will be at the game and bringing you a recap afterwards.  After watching almost all of the spring practices I have a few recommendations on who to watch tonight.  Bob Condotta also filed a “Who To Watch” list that you can find here.  As usual, he does a fantastic job.  Here’s a few players (and a few other things) that I’ll be watching tonight (The obvious guys won’t be on this list very much.  Of course we’ll all be watching Jake Locker, Devin Aguilar, and Mason Foster.  They are awesome and there’s no disputing this.):

  • Deontae Cooper.  Cooper is one of the two freshman running backs who came in for spring practices.  Sadly, Jesse Callier won’t be participating; he had been very impressive too.  Deontae Cooper was my favorite part of the spring.  He has been absolutely fantastic. I can only remember one practice in which he didn’t break off a long touchdown run.  If he’s on top of his game today Husky fans will be in for a treat and you all will stop wondering why I keep writing about this guy.
  • Cort Dennison.  Before this spring the linebacker position was one to worry about.  I’ll write more on this later but, this is the spot where the most questions were answered for me.  As we saw last year, Cort is a pretty good player.  If he was a baseball player I would have rated him as a league-average player.  After watching him this spring I would say he’s above average.  He’s moved to the middle linebacker spot for this season and will be a steady stream of energy and toughness there.  Cort is a fun Husky to watch; I would say that you should do at least a little bit of that tonight.
  • The free safety position.  Nick Holt said in an interview yesterday that with the emergence of Will Shamburger and Nate Fellner, Sean Parker should be able to stay at his natural position of strong safety.  This means that the coaches have been very impressed by these two players.  They both show a few different things: Shamburger is good in coverage and Fellner brings the lumber.  Right now Shamburger is the starter but Fellner is right in the mix too.  Both of these guys will play a role next year.
  • The offense in short yardage situations.  The Huskies had trouble with this last year and Sark put an emphasis on getting more physical heading into spring.  Of course they will be going up against a depleted defensive line tonight but it will still be interesting to watch.
  • Alvin Logan.  Logan has had a good spring and is in the hunt for the 3rd linebacker position.  He’s very quick rushing off the edge and definitely looks the part.  I’m predicting at least one sack for him tonight.
  • Anthony Boyles.  A.B. started this spring with a bang but has since fallen off a little bit.  I think he’ll be ready to get out and play in a game format.  At times he looks like UW’s best corner, other times he seems to be lost.  He should get tested often tonight, I’m excited to see how he responds.
  • William Chandler.  I don’t know who William Chandler is, I don’t know where he came from and I don’t know if he’ll play much next year but this guy continues to make catch after catch in practice.  I imagine he’ll pull down a few tonight and people will ask who it was.

The teams will be the starting offense with the second team defense vs. the second team offense and the starting defense.  Basically, the one vs. the ones and the twos vs. the twos. 

The starting offense will be close to this: 

QB:  Jake Locker.  Keith Price will come in once Montlake Jake is done for the day.

RB:  Johri Fogerson/Deontae Cooper

FB:  Austin Sylvester/Dorson Boyce

TE:  Chris Izbicki/Kavario Middleton

WR:  Devin Aguilar/James Johnson/Cody Bruns

LT:  Senio Kelemente

LG:  Ryan Tolar

C:  Drew Schaefer

RG:  Mykenna Ikehara

RT:  Daniel Kanczugowski

The defense should look something like this:

DE’s:  Cameron Elisara and Talia Critchon.  De’Shon Matthews might be with the starters, I’m not sure.

DT’s:  Alameda Ta’amu/Chris Robinson/Tyrone Duncan

LB’s:  Alvin Logan/Cort Dennison/Mason Foster.  Expect Matt Houston to rotate in here too.

CB’s:  Vonzell McDowell/Quinton Richardson.  Adam Long may rotate in with the starters but I expect him to be with the 2nd team.

FS:  Will Shamburger

SS:  Nate Williams

Those might be a little off but they’re pretty close.  Enjoy and I’ll hopefully see you tonight!

Andrew

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Huskies Practice Report – 4/15/2010

We passed the halfway point of spring practice today.  It was the Dawgs’ eighth practice of the year and they have fifteen total (including the spring game).  Today the team was in shorts, shoulder pads, and helmets; apparently taking it easy before the usual Saturday scrimmage.  It was an absolutely beautiful day in Seattle today and I might have come away with a sunburn, which is just fine by me.  Before heading down to the stadium I bought some iced tea and two Choco Tacos (Choco Tacos are the most under-rated snack/dessert of all time.  Seriously, I could eat 5 without any problem.  They are perfect for a warm day like this was.  Choco Tacos are one of those small things that you have to cherish.  Like the movie Zombieland has taught us, it’s the little things in life that make it grand and Choco Tacos are the grandest of the little things.  Go buy one.).  It felt like Summer and it was glorious.

There were no new injuries today.  Jordan Polk is still struggling with a hamstring injury and he played sparingly.  Cody Bruns and D’Andre Goodwin are also out so the depth at receiver isn’t very strong right now.

During drills today I tried to watch the offensive and defensive line more so that I’d have something different to report.  I don’t know a ton about the lines but I came away with a few observations.

  • Senio Kelemente is going to be really good.  He could become a pretty good NFL prospect by this time next year.  It’s clear he’s the best on the line for a number of reasons but when he does get beat by a defensive lineman (this hardly happens) the defensive players celebrate a little bit more.  Talia beat him once in a one-on-one drill today and then they went up against each other the very next play.  Talia got knocked down twice and never did get to the target.  Don’t mess with Senio!
  • Skyler Fancher still appears a step slow and rusty.  He is coming off an injury so I imagine that he’s still getting going but if he looks like this in the Fall I’m not sure how much he’ll play with the return of Cody Habben and incoming freshman.
  • Mykena Ikehara is pretty impressive.  He still looks a little small but he also looks like UW’s second best offensive lineman.  He can play either guard or center, right now they have him at center.
  • De’Shon Matthews was impressive today.  He beat Fancher around the edge 3 different times.  I’ve said this before but I don’t know why he was playing defensive tackle before.  I know there wasn’t much depth when Ty moved him but if he had stuck at DE I get the feeling that he really could have been something special.
  • Talia Critchon is still a little small but his speed is impressive.  If he puts a little more weight on I think he could be pretty successful next year.
  • After watching closer today, I’m a little more worried about Cameron Elisara’s speed at DE.  I don’t know if he can beat people around the edge but time will tell.

As for the rest of the team, it was the usual suspects who put up good performances.  Both of the freshman running backs put up some really solid, long runs.  It is worth coming out to a practice just to watch these two.  They will make you excited about the future of Husky football. 

The defense had it’s way most of the day.  I don’t recall a touchdown today in the team session.  The linebackers and secondary continue to impress.  If anyones trying to lock up their starting job by fall camp it’s Nate Fellner.  He continues to make good plays and more importantly doesn’t make any bad ones.  Will Shamburger also made some really good hits from the safety position today.  All of a sudden depth at safety looks to be a really strong point for this Husky team. 

Just a few more thoughts after the jump. Continue reading

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