No UW Football Sucks…
For the first time in months, I have a Saturday off to watch a full day of college football. Go figure the Huskies are on bye that very week. So in honor of THE Washington Huskies, these are the things they should be practicing if they want to stand a chance the rest of the season.
Their 29.4 points per game given up is a decent number considering the number of games that have 50+ points scored for one team, but will not do against the elite teams in the conference.
The Huskies pass defense has been sub-par this year. That is probably why they’re being snubbed for top 25 consideration, as they have given up an average of 323 pass yards per game. This counts Eastern Washington University and University of Hawaii, which Washington should have soundly won both instead of eking out each of those victories.
The middle of the field has been left wide open a lot of the times due to blown coverages, mainly by cornerback Quinton Richardson. Fellow CB Desmond Trufant has given up some big plays, along with a couple costly pass interference calls, but his sound ball-hawking skills have redeemed those slip-ups through interceptions and clutch broken up pass plays.
Linebacker Cort Dennison has made several big plays, with some huge pass plays broken up at the end of games to stop drives. Between now-injured LB John Timu and his fill-in Jamaal Kearse, they have been mostly solid, making big stops on 3rd down.
Stanford QB Andrew Luck and USC QB Matt Barkley will both torch any team who gives them an opening and the Huskies need to be wary of that fact.
And with Stanford and USC still on the schedule, pass defense needs to be there or it will be a lost cause in both cases.
The Husky rush defense is not doing bad at all, giving up an average of 104 yards per game. You would think that’s a lot, but it’s good for 25th in the nation and with players routinely rushing for 150 and 200+ yards, that is a blessing in disguise.
The true test will be Oregon, who will no doubt try and stuff the ball down the Huskies throats. If they can contain the run and force Oregon to pass, it could equalize the game and give the Huskies a shot against the Ducks.
Third Down Defense
The last 2 games the 3rd down defense has been stout. In fact, that is the reason the Huskies beat Cal 2 games ago. Their 3rd down stops forced Cal into 2 field goals and 2 turnovers to help the Huskies seal the deal.
With the teams already mentioned in this article, the Huskies will have to do better than they have done on 3rd down this season. Facing 2 prominent passers and a prominent rush game, the Dawgs will really need to mix up their coverages and adjust accordingly.
If they can pull that together, it will give them a shot in those particular games.
Do you notice the trend here? Defense. The Huskies score enough points to win games, but they need to hold their opponents to less than they score themselves. I realize that’s the key to every game for every team, but the Huskies are hanging an average of 34 points a game on teams. That is good for 26th in the nation currently. If they can just bring the higher scoring teams to that level, things can easily work in the Huskies favor.
With QB Keith Price and RB Chris Polk both finding their rhythm, it is going to take a lot to overcome the Husky offense. Especially with weapons like wide receivers Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar and Kasen Williams as well as TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
I realize I sound like I am overlooking the games against every other team besides USC, Oregon and Stanford on their schedule (Colorado, Arizona, Oregon State, Washington State), but the Huskies have more than enough going for them to beat those teams. They should not overlook any game on this schedule because a conference game brings out the crazy in some opponents.
Besides that, UW can play to those teams’ levels as they did to start the season off. I am just confident that the Huskies have their stuff together enough to hold back those particular teams. The biggest challenge on the schedule is obviously those 3 teams, but they should prepare just as hard for everyone else on their schedule as they will for the big 3.