“Bend not break” won’t work here!
The bowl games have been announced for this holiday season and the Huskies got quite a task put in front of them. They will head into San Antonio, TX to face the dangerous Baylor Bears in the Alamo Bowl.
Baylor is lead by their Heisman Trophy Candidate Robert Griffin III (also known as RGIII) who currently leads the nation in passing efficiency.
We all know the Huskies defense was suspect this season, but if you thought playing games against USC, Stanford and Oregon were tough, you will be blown away come Decemeber 29.
Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt has been under fire a lot of the season for this suspect defense and will have to really step up his game in order for the Huskies to stand a chance in this one.
With that being said, I bring to you 5 things Nick Holt has to do to stop RGIII and the daunting Baylor offense.
5. Teach the Husky secondary how to hit and cover
As we saw this season, the Husky defense was beat so many times due to blown coverages. It resulted in some pretty big touchdowns for opponents and nearly cost the game several times. The biggest offender in this list would be Quinton Richardson, who seems to be called mostly for this infraction.
They also made a lot of poor attempts at tackling which lead opposing running backs and wide receivers to shed these tackles or give a tiny stiff-arm and continue on their way down the field. If you watched games this season, particularly in the end, you know what I’m talking about.
This trend needs to end now or it will burn them early on in the Alamo Bowl.
4. Keep the pressure on RGIII
Holt will need to dial up a lot of blitzes and keep RGIII under fire the whole game in order to throw him off his. Common football knowledge tells you that keeping pressure on a quarterback will keep him shaky and unstable and unable to get into a rhythm. That is exactly what the Huskies need to do here.
RGIII was sacked 23 times this year which shows that he is not untouchable.
With vets like Alameda Ta’amu constantly in the backfield, the Huskies must keep that pressure up in order to keep Griffin on the run and not comfortable in the pocket.
3. Cover the Baylor WR’s well
As I previously mentioned, the Huskies were hurt severely in the passing game with the lack of coverage they executed. Baylor’s offense is similar to USC’s but faster, which is quite a scary thought for some. And we all see how that went. RGIII threw for 36 touchdowns and 3,998 yards this season which are bigger numbers than all Pac-12 QB’s can match.
The Huskies must cover the leading Baylor WR in Kendall Wright, who had 101 receptions this season for 1,572 of RGIII’s yardage and 13 touchdown grabs. The guy can catch, but he’s even dangerous after the catch as he can flat out fly.
Baylor’s #2 WR Terrance Williams had 53 grabs for 895 yards and 11 touchdowns and their #3 receiver, Tevin Reese, had 46 catches for 811 yards and 7 touchdowns.
2. Keep an eye on RGIII
We all know RGIII is a gunslinger, but he can run the ball, too! His multifaceted play style is similar to Keith Price‘s but on steroids. Griffin III picked up 644 yards and 9 touchdowns on the ground this season. Keep in mind that sack yardage ties into rush yards, so those 23 sacks on him would probably took a big chunk out of that rush yardage total.
And he didn’t score those 9 touchdowns on QB sneaks on the 1 or 2 yard line, folks. His season long rush, which went for a touchdown, was 49 yards.
We all love the Huskies and know what they are capable of at this point.
Stopping RGIII and the Baylor offense is going to take a miracle from god himself and Nick Holt had better put a win in his prayers every night leading up until the Alamo Bowl.
We all need to pray that the Husky defense knows exactly what is standing in their way and need to play beyond inspired to tackle this one.