Tag Archives: Justin Glenn

One Last Review Of UW-Stanford

I promised a more thorough review of last Thursdays game and here it is!  Five days, a trip to Yakima and about 8 hours of homework later.  I did finally finish watching the game last night and I had a few thoughts about the game.  I’ll go by position and add in some thoughts about coaching here and there.  Before I begin, I think this was probably the best coached Husky game since Rick Neuheisal was coach.  Seriously.  I’ll get into more detail as the post goes, but as a whole this was an incredibly coached game for the Dawgs, scheme-wise, personnel wise and on the motivational side.  Anyway, here we go, by position.

Quarterback – Keith Price has been a somewhat forgotten man through 4 games this year.  He doesn’t have the numbers that he had last year and won’t end up with as impressive stats but he has progressed.  Last Thursday, Keith played the toughest football game he’s ever played.  It wasn’t his best but it was very good.  He was tackled in the pocket over 10 times, while only three of those turned out to be sacks.  This is a testament to him standing in the pocket and not rushing things.  At one point it looked like he couldn’t feel his right arm.  I’m not sure why Stanford was never called for a roughing the passer penalty because they went high and hard many times.  Anyway, Price was accurate and threw well even with the amount of duress he was under.  He had 3 passes dropped that would have given him about 40 more passing yards and 3 more first downs.  He generally had less than 2 seconds to throw.  Three plays before the Huskies game-winning touchdown Price lined up under center and killed the running play that was called.  This audible essentially sent the receivers deep.  The ball was snapped, Price dropped back and was pressured from the outside so he stepped up into the pocket.  His outside receiver (I couldn’t catch the number) made a double move and was about to break free but a Stanford linebacker got a hand on the ball.  It was a brilliant call by Price and a beautiful play, it was just a .1 of a second too late.  The game winning touchdown could have come 3 plays earlier than when it did and it would have looked a lot more conventional.  Price was a great decision maker and game-manager.  I hope his body feels okay.

Running Back – It sure looks like Bishop Sankey has found his niche.  He’ll never be Chris Polk.  He’s not a bruiser and isn’t as patient.  But, he’s hitting the hole harder and faster every week.  Hugh Millen pointed out on KJR today that the Huskies use more of a zone-blocking scheme this year instead of a weak-side pulling guard, man-blocking scheme.  This allows Sankey to hit the hole faster than we saw the last few years because you don’t have to wait for that guard to come across.  So, maybe Bishop didn’t find his niche, maybe Sark found his niche for him?  It takes a humble and good coach to adjust his scheme to fit his players and Sark has continually done this.  That’s overlooked an awful lot.  Moving Kendyl Taylor provided an unexpected boost to the Husky offense and he did some good things on Thursday.  I’m guessing he’ll see more and more time as we go.  The fun thing to think about is that these running backs are only going to get better.  No one playing right  now is older than sophomore status.  Sure, they’ll cause a few headaches but the more I think about it, the more I think this year is setting up for a special 2013.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends – Quite a bit has been made of ASJ not getting only 2 receptions against Stanford.  There was no other tight end who caught a pass either.  What isn’t being said is that ASJ had a block on Chase Thomas that helped spring Bishop’s 61 yard run.  No one is talking about how Evan Hudson lined up at fullback a few times and got into the second level to give Sankey some other big runs.  The tight ends will be used in different ways as this season goes on but don’t think they played an insignificant role on Thursday.  Every receiver was fairly inconsistent aside from Kasen Williams.  Kasen turned 2 yard gains into 7 at least 3 times.  The plan was to get him the ball in space and he showed why that was a great game plan that Sark never went aways from even when it was getting frustrating.  Anytime another receiver wants to step up though, feel fee!

Offensive Line – Yes, the pass blocking was pretty horrendous.  It’s a big problem that needs to be solved right away.  But, they were playing a very good front seven.  To their credit, the line did run block well.  It doesn’t matter how you get yards and points as long as you get them.  No one expected the Huskies to be able to rush for 150 yards but they did and that was because the line opened few holes.  I do think they wore Stanford down a little bit.  Where the Oregon defense is used to being on the field a lot because their offense scores in a hurry, Stanford is exactly the opposite.  I imagine that the Cardinal generally win the time of possession battle and they didn’t on Thursday night.  The Huskies, especially in the first half generally were on the field for at least three minutes on offense every time they had the ball.  It doesn’t seem like much but that adds up, especially when your defense is getting three and outs.  I might be the only one, but I think the Stanford defense was tired and they looked it on the Huskies last drive.  Shane Brostek got his first career start at right guard and looked pretty good in run blocking.  Him and James Atoe next to each other is probably my favorite configuration of the line.  When they’re on the right side, holes seem to open up a bit more.  The Huskies most successful running plays were runs off-tackle or which would follow Atoe, Hatchie, and, on the final drive, Criste.  The right side of the line seemed to open more holes, as I mentioned earlier, but the left side of the line did pretty well too when I re-watched the game.

Defensive Line – Stopping the run starts up front, so here you go.  I don’t know much about defensive lines so I won’t try to explain anything and there wasn’t a ton that stood out.  Pio Vatuvei got extensive action.  Josh Banks saw his first action of the season and made a very good tackle on Stanford’s last drive.  Not a lot shows up in the box score from these guys but they freed up space for the linemen to make plays.  It took Josh Shirley about a half to get his pass rush going but he was definitely felt in the second half.  This group continues to get better.

Linebackers – The Dawgs haven’t had linebackers tackle like they did in this game since who knows how long.  If you think back to the game, think about how many times Stepfan Taylor broke free from a tackle for extra yards.  It didn’t happen.  Even re-watching the game, I can’t think of a time.  Tutogi, Timu, Fuimaono (although he didn’t play as much), Feeney, and Shaq were all in position and made the tackles.  I’m still amazed.  Their pursuit was incredible, their tackling was the best I’ve seen from a Husky defense, and their effort was off the charts.  I don’t expect them to be able to keep this up but if they do then what was thought to be one of the Huskies biggest weaknesses has all of a sudden become one of the best positions on the team.  As one of my favorite wrinkles that Wilcox threw in, Talia Crichton played a hybrid linebacker.  He rushed the passer some but he was used to stop the run a good amount.  It was just another big body who wouldn’t be pushed around.

Secondary – Desmond Trufant was the only corner on the field about 30% of the time for the Huskies.  What a responsibility that was and he handled it extremely well.  Right now he’s an all-conference player and is deserving of All-American recognition.  Two pass breakups, one interception and shutting down one side of the field.  The other corner spot is a bit concerning still but they did okay this game.  Marcus Peters saw quite a bit of time on the field.  Especially in the second half.  Sean Parker played a great game, blowing up screens and flying around.  The defense looks fast and he is one of the players that looks the fastest.  Travis Feeney lined up as free safety sometimes to stop the run which was another wrinkle.  Justin Glenn also played a good game with a couple of pass-breakups.  There were a few blown assignments but that’s to be expected especially when there was such an emphasis on stopping the run.

Special Teams – Travis Coons was the first half MVP.  He made a career long field goal, had a pretty good yards per punt average and punted one left-footed which saved the Huskies field position.  That was a great play that I’m not even going to try to explain.  Marvin Hall is fast and will break a return soon.  He’s been very close in the last two games.  He’s a game changer and I’m glad Sark pulled the red-shirt off of him.  Not literally.  They don’t actually wear red-shirts.

After watching the game again, this game was something that all Husky fans should feel proud of.  But, it’s time to turn our attention to our bitter rival down south.  It’s been fun to bask in this game.  I doubt we’ll have this feeling next week but it seems like these Dawgs like to surprise.

Andrew

 

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Getting To Know Your Dawgs – Wide Receiver

Camp is almost half over and the first game is 2 weeks away.  It seems as if training camp has brought a new injury with it everyday.  When you list everything out (which I will do after I run through the wide receivers) it doesn’t look as bad as what the perception is.

I’ve written about quarterbacks, running backs, and fullbacks so far in this series and I move on to receiver today.  The position is going through what seems to be a little bit of a face lift this year, with Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar graduating.  Those two had very good careers at U-Dub, although they both came with their fair share of frustrations.  Most fans agree that, while the 2012 group is young, they have a good amount of talent and shouldn’t see a huge drop off in production.  On to the names!  I’ll include most players (I will probably leave off some walk-ons who I don’t see as contributors this year).  The order I list them is in the order I perceive as the current depth chart.

Kasen Williams (SO.)

I was just reading Ted Miller’s blog (which is fantastic) and he was asked to compare Kasen Williams and Marquess Wilson.  He said that it wasn’t a fair comparison in comparing someone who is an All-American and someone who is mostly based on potential at this point.  This is exactly right.  Kasen Williams has as much potential as any receiver in the Pac-12 and maybe the country.  No, really he does.  He flashed it at times last year but he has hardly proven himself.  He’s not in the Pac-12 elite but I would be surprised if he wasn’t in that group by the end of the season.  Every Husky fan (and a few WSU fans) have the picture of Kasen leaping over a defensive back in the Apple Cup cemented into their memory bank and these are the type of plays that we hope to see all year.  Last year, Kasen caught 36 passes for 427 yards.  I expect him to double those yards.  By all accounts, Williams should be a star at some point, the question is if that will happen this year.  I sure hope so.

James Johnson (SR.) 

James Johnson has had an interesting career as a Husky.  He scored the first touchdown of the Sark era, as a true freshman.  Johnson then went on to have a great freshman year (39 catches for 422 yards), particularly in the first half.  He was then injured before his sophomore year and somehow got lost in the mix at the position.  He never really saw the field, aside from a few plays here and there.  Last year brought something of a comeback for Johnson (28 receptions for 366 yards).  He would have a few great games (Nebraska comes to mind) and then disappear for a game it seemed.  He did miss a few games due to injury.  This year is off to an ominous start, as he’s suffered a dislocated wrist and a few torn ligaments.  Sarkisian said that he’ll be out 4-6 weeks.  This is a blow to the Dawgs for the first few games as most people had James penciled in as the number 2 receiver.

Cody Bruns (RS SR.)

Speaking of interesting careers, I’m not sure any player could top Bruns in that category.  Cody Bruns played in his first game half way through his freshman year because Ty wanted to run some trick plays.  Cody would get on the field for about 3 plays a game and it wasn’t usually to catch passes.  Bruns was a bit lost in the depth his sophomore year and then played a little more his junior year.  He’s been labeled as a player who could do everything from holding on field goals, to passing the ball, to punt coverage, to actually receiving.  Last year, he was dealt an emotional blow as his father passed away.  The coaches and Bruns decided that a redshirt year would be best for all involved.  Now Bruns enters his last year and figures to be an integral part in the receiving corps.  He may be used in a more conventional way than usual but don’t be surprised to see him be on the field in many different capacities.  He has surprising speed and is said to be a sharp route runner.

Kevin Smith (JR.)

It’s easy to forget that Kevin Smith didn’t play all 4 years of high school football.  He started later but his athletic ability made up for however raw he was.  Now he’s an upper class-man who could be a pretty big contributor (208 yards receiving last year).  Smith is still recovering from an ACL injury and could be limited for the first month of the season.  If he does come back to 100% healthy, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of the Huskies 4 best receivers.  You may also see him back returning kicks and showing off his speed.

Jaydon Mickens (FR.)

Mickens was rated as a four-star recruit coming out of California and has been turning heads in the first 2 weeks of camp.  He has even been running with the starters in the last couple of days due to injuries ahead of him and his good play.  Mickens is the smallest of the receivers (5-10, 170) but has a ton of speed.  He’s almost assured to play this year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start in 2 weeks.

Kendyl Taylor (FR.)

Much of what I said about Mickens rings true for Taylor.  He was a highly rated recruit coming out of Arizona who has been making plenty of plays thus far in camp.  He’s also 5-10 but a little bulkier than Mickens.  His high school mascot was a Husky so that’s cool, I guess.  Taylor will see plenty of playing time, especially as Johnson and Smith work their way back as the season progresses.  Sure, these 2 freshmen probably have their best days a few years down the road but we don’t have the luxury to wait for that since the Dawgs need them now.  I’m guessing they’ll come through with only a few hiccups along the way.

A few more guys and notes after the jump. Continue reading

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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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Dawg Days – Day One 2011

The Huskies took the field today for the first time since spring practice.  Sometimes I think these days are bigger for fans than they are for players because the players have been working out all Summer.  In fact, the individual Huskies have probably taken the field many times since spring.  But, today they took the field all together, coaches included, which tells us fans that the games will begin sooner rather than later.

These days seem bigger for fans than for the players but then I think back to my sports playing days.  I think of the training I put in during the off-season (granted, it wasn’t as much as these players).  I remember walking from the snow into a 50 degree hop-factory-turned-batting-cage to hit a little bit and throw a bullpen.  Those days were done out of necessity.  I needed to stay in shape and I needed my skills sharpened.  But, the first day of practice was always significant.  The coaches were actually there and the team was finally working all together to communal goal.  That goal was to win.  Thinking back on those days make me realize that the players are probably a little more jazzed for their first practice than I am.  As much as fans love settling into a stadium with 70,000 other people for a game, the players still love it more.  If they don’t, there’s a problem.

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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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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 – Safety

This is the last installment in our long series of position overviews.  Spring practice starts tomorrow. I plan on attending most of them and then posting practice reports. 

Today we’ll take a look at safeties; a position with a few questions but with even more promise.  Here’s my depth chart:

Starters:

  • Strong Safety: Nate Willliams, 6-0, 220, SR.
  • Free Safety: Justin Glenn, 5-11, 200, RS SO. or Nate Fellner, 6-1, 200, SO.

Nate Williams has been a mainstay in the Huskies secondary for the last 3 years.  He’s a solid player that the coaches like a lot.  He is sure to add experience to this group and be a leader on this defense along with Mason Foster.  He can play either position but the coaches prefer to have him at free safety.  The only downside on Williams is that he tends to wear down over the course of a full season.  This is a problem because the Huskies need to be able to count on Williams for all 13 games this year (yes, I’m counting a bowl game).  The biggest thing this spring for Williams is to stay healthy and to get stronger so that he’s able to be there all of next season.

Most people have Nate Fellner as the starter at free safety but I’m not so sure.  Because of a couple injuries last year, Fellner became the starter.  He showed potential but struggled at times, which is to be expected from a true freshman.  Nate was overlooked in the recruiting process and came to the Huskies unnoticed.  This looks like it was a good sleeper pickup for the coaching staff.  Fellner is a hard hitter and will be a solid player over his career.

The reason that Fellner doesn’t have the starting job on lock down is because of Justin Glenn.  Glenn became the starter against USC last year and we all know what happened that game.  He was a very good player and made many tackles before breaking his leg last year.  Without Glenn I don’t think we would’ve won that game against USC.  If he plays at the level he did last year I think he is the best free safety we have.  I don’t know if he will be able to do that though, returning from a broken leg is not an easy thing to do. 

Backups:

  • Strong/Free Safety:  Victor Aiyewa,  Greg Walker, Marquis Persley, Will Shaumburger

Aiyewa is senior who has had injury problems all of his career.  He is a big kid who will backup William at strong safety.  The coaching staff may take a look at him playing outside linebacker too.  Victor can hit people very hard.  I’ll never forget an interview I heard with Victor Aiyewa when the reporter asked him what he brought to the team, Aiyewa responded with the brilliant answer, “I like to hit people.”  Football players should say that more often.  Because of this I will always be a Victor Aiyewa fan.  If he can stay healthy, I think we’ll see Victor do some big hitting this Fall.

Greg Walker began last year as the starter.  He blew a couple coverage assignments and then was passed by Glenn and Fellner on the depth chart.  Walker can obviously do some good things or else the coaches wouldn’t have started him in the first game last year.  But, from what I’ve seen, Walker needs to get better in pass coverage and tackling.  He is only a sophomore and will only get better with time, assuming a Vonzell McDowell situation doesn’t occur.

The other two guys are not very well known commodities.  Persley, a junior, has spent the last couple years as a backup cornerback and now makes the transition to safety.  We’ll see what he can do come this spring.  Shaumburger red-shirted last year.  He was an impressive recruit and we hope that translates to the field.  Both of these guys need to have good springs in order to see the field come next fall.

Overall Position:  This team has plenty of talent at safety.  Over the course of last season, many of these guys gained experience also.  I think this group could be pretty good.  Matched with a good set of cornerbacks, the Dawgs might have a better secondary than they have in 7 or 8 years (which, to be honest, isn’t saying much).  The one gripe here is that it doesn’t look like the Dawgs have much star power at either safety position.  They have very solid players but I don’t think any of them have all pac-10 potential (although Nate Williams may get some consideration because he’s been consistent over the last 3 years).  It’s nice to have a solid group here and it’s nice to not have to worry too much about the Dawgs secondary for the first time in while.

Just a few quick notes after the jump  Continue reading

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