Monday, October 01, 2007

The Monday Morning Wash

Quite a game on Saturday as Washington gave USC everything it could handle only to fall short 27-24. The key to the USC victory was the sub par passing performance of Jake Locker who only passed for 90 yards the entire game. If Jake had hit 4-5 more passes, and been more accurate the Huskies would have won this very winnable contest.

USC basically handed this game to UW on a silver platter. It was obvious from the start that the Trojans would have much rather been anywhere else than a cold, damp, and windy Husky. Stadium. The recipe for the upset as I said earlier in the week was turnovers, and mistakes. USC made plenty of both, and if UW had the passing game going a little better #1 would have fallen in Husky stadium.

This is one of those games when you watch the replay you realize how really close we were to pulling it off. Our receivers were open for the most part all evening, Jake simply didn't deliver the ball well enough, or make the correct reads against one of the nations finest defenses. I think quite a bit of that had to do with a late hit in the first quarter that hurt so much it contorted his face. If you recorded the game take a good look at his face after that hit, it will turn your stomach. USC came out head hunting, but he still hung in there tough even though his accuracy waned from that point on.

UW has the week off to heal, and I think it is a good thing. This was a very hard hitting contest, and I know that USC is a tremendously sore team this morning. UW needs to rest up, and reopen camp a bit this week. They need to work on tackling first of all. One thing that has been lacking the last few weeks is the crisp tackles the team made the first two.

USC hits almost every day in practice. Washington only hits once a week. There is a reason for that and it is called depth. The Huskies just don't have the depth to risk getting their players banged up in practice while the Trojans on the other hand can take that risk.

Locker needs to work on touch, and accuracy. He has all the tools to do the job, but he simply needs more experience. Kid's at his stage of development have the ability to make quantum leaps during a bye week. Hats off to Todd Turner for pulling that off with the schedule.

USC Cheapshots and Penalties

One thing that sticks in my mind this morning is the number of personal fouls USC accumulated early in the game. I thought it lacked a lot of sportsmanship, and it downgraded USC in my eyes since that type of stuff is usually coach directed. USC is good enough to win without that kind of garbage. It was pretty obvious that they wanted Locker out of the game early. They were penalized for the late hit out of bounds, but it was blatant enough that it warranted an ejection. Pac Ten officials need to crack down on that type of crap and make a statement.

Another thing when you watch the film that is apparent is USC was holding on almost every play all evening long. They were whistled for quite a few penalties, but the refs also let them get away with it quite a bit. I saw absolute take downs of UW defensive linemen that were worthy of the WWF that were ignored by the officials. I am pretty sure Ty will file that in his report this week. Officiating in the Pac Ten needs to improve, right now it is a joke, and they run the risk of letting games get out of control.

UW's tackling was a problem as far as the running game was concerned, but holding was a very key element for the Trojans success on the ground. I aslo saw quite a few USC blocks in the back that weren't called.

You look at the statistics, you look at how many penalties they called on the Trojans, and on paper it looks like the officials weren't cutting them much slack, but in reality they could have thrown quite a few more flags because the calls were there.

The Rest of the Schedule

The Huskies are currently 2-3, which was the best most people expected them to be at this point. What they didn't expect was the Huskies could very well be 5-0 at this point if they had taken advantage of a few opportunities. Experience at the QB position has hurt them so far, but it is also the key ingredient that got them this far. For the Huskies to get to a bowl game and be successful during the second half of the season Jake Locker needs to become a more accurate passer. If he can pull that together, and I don't see any indication why he can't, the Huskies should finish the season no worse than 5-3.

If you look at this schedule the game that worries me the most is ASU. The Devils running game scares me a bit, and it is on the road. Oregon is scary too, when they are on all cylinders they are frightening to watch, but Husky Stadium can be an equalizer in these type of contests.

I am not predicting an 8-0 run to end the season, but it is in the realm of possibility because the Huskies have the potential to beat anyone left on their schedule. I do see no worse than a 5-3 record if Jake keeps improving.

Arizona State - Toss Up

The Sun Devils are undefeated, but if Washington played the same schedule they would be undefeated too. The key to stopping the Sun Devils is an area the Huskies have had problems with, and that is the running game. Oregon State was dominating these guys until mistakes blew them apart. I like the fact UW is playing them after the bye week. This will be one of the games I get to attend this year. It is tough to win on the road against a Dennis Erickson team that is getting better every week.

Oregon - Toss Up

I will be in attendance for this one too, and it will be nice that we finally get these guys back in Seattle. As you saw last weekend we do have an edge while playing in Husky Stadium. The Ducks lost last weekend to Cal, but the Ducks were the better football team. Three offensive mistakes in the fourth quarter cost them a game they dominated. If there is one team in the conference that can beat USC, it is Cal. If this game was in Eugene I would predict an Oregon win, but because it is in Seattle I am not so sure.

Arizona - Win

The Wildcats finally got a Pac Ten victory last week blowing up the WSU defense. I actually expected WSU to beat these guys, but Stoops is starting to get more traction with his offense down there. This is a must win game for Washington. This is the type of team we need to beat up on if we are going anywhere this year.

Stanford - Win

We play the improving Cardinal on the road this year, and let me remind you these guys knocked us out of a probable bowl game in Seattle last year, so take nothing for granted. Like Arizona it is a major step down in competition for the Huskies comparatively to who they have played previously, and it is a must win. Like Arizona, it is a team we should, and need to beat up on.

Oregon State - Win

The Beavers are a better team than they have shown so far, but the one dimensional offense has killed them in almost every game. Canfield simply has not been able to take over for Moore. They do have some tools, and they have the ability to beat the Huskies with them. This is a must win if you want to get to a bowl.

California -Tossup

Cal really hasn't been getting better since they knocked off Tennessee to start the season. They have a defense that needs a lot of work. The Bears are currently undefeated, but they were outplayed the entire game against Oregon last week. The Ducks self destructed. I like our chances against the Bears after watching the Huskies give USC everything they could handle.

WSU - Win

Anything can happen in the Apple Cup, but Washington is clearly the better team at this point.

Hawaii - Win

I don't see the Warriors being undefeated when they meet the Huskies in Aloha Stadium. I have kept a pretty good eye in this team and they haven't impressed me like they did last year. I think Boise State who is getting better every week will beat them. I also think Washington will beat them to end the season.

Weekly Poll Question

Last week we asked:

Do you have Confidence in the Washington Coaching staff?

Yes 29% (12 votes)

No 46% (19 votes)

Too Early to Call 22% (9 votes)

Other 2% (1 votes) Ty/JD/Lappano/Hart/Denbrock yes, others no

When you tally up the variations of yes, too early, and other you get a 22-19 vote that sides with the coaching staff. I had one of the yes votes by the way even though I could have also gone with too early to call. I think to be fair this is a question we will have to ask again at the end of the season.

This weeks question:

How will Washington finish the season?

What is your best guess on how many times UW will win over the next eight games?


dcdawg said...

re the schedule, I'm optimistic that an extra week to catch their breath and fix some things will help a lot. Plus, no remaining opponent has a defense anywhere near as good as Ohio State or USC. Not even close. So, IF Jake can improve his throwing accuracy even a little, I think the offense will be in pretty good shape going forward, certainly Rankin should see a little more daylight. Even so, I'm less optimistic about getting bowl eligible. Certainly they could do it, but it will be really tough. Pac 10 is pretty darn good, even Stanford and Arizona are showing some life.

re the refs, the only clearly bad call was the pass interference on Mays on the uncatchable ball. The personal foul for the hit on the incomplete pass in the flat to Daniels (or Williams?) was iffy, but defensible. And I don't know whether Carroll had seen the replay yet, but if he really believes Locker wasn't out of bounds on that first quarter hit, he's nuts. I thought the USC player could have been ejected for such a vicious hit CLEARLY out of bounds. And clearly Locker knew he was out of bounds and wasn't defending himself, which made it even worse than it could have been.

hairofthedawg said...

I went with 7-1 for the rest of the year, largely for many of the reasons both you and dcdawg mention. I like the fight in this team and I think they'll continue getting better. I just hope the improvement/regression isn't as evenly distributed as it's seemed so far.

It seems unanimous that the refs pretty much sucked but there's not much you can do about it except go through channels is there?

I also read some complaints about the fans leaving early. That's sad, but what I heard from the fans on my television was pretty impressive.