Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Puppy Chow

Well I am finally back home after following the Huskies the past two weeks. We didn't win either game, but I learned, or updated myself on a lot of things you can only acquire by attending in person which is quite valuable.

I think the number one thing I learned is Husky Stadium is no longer a tough place to play, in fact it has become pretty vanilla compared to the rest of the conference. There isn't a lot of excitement in the old place, and the admin hasn't done anything at all to ramp things up to get people in their seats before the game starts. You would think it would be so easy to do, but this crew really lacks imagination, and motivation.

I remember in the early 70's we had a similar apathy going on, nothing as bad as this because the Huskies were still the only show in town. The admin introduced a program called Husky Fever that did quite well during that period and put butt's back in the seats. The old husky Fever program of course is archaic, but UW needs a massive retooling when it comes to game day promotion.

If you are bringing in Dan Evans to help get the stadium rebuilt you might consider bringing in Rob Weller to help retool the excitement. Rob's innovations kept the stadium rocking for a couple of decades, and they started during a very low point in program history. This admin needs to start thinking outside the box again so they can reconnect with a new generation of Husky fan. Like I said in an earlier post, this isn't ASU, or Oregon, and I don't want to go there, but this isn't Yale either. The program as a whole won't get any better until the admin starts getting motivated to make positive changes.

Some Last Oregon Thoughts

One thing I noticed when watching film last night is that UW really didn't assign anyone to shadow Dixon throughout the game. You have to wonder what Baer is thinking since teams have been assigning a spy on Jake Locker every single game this season and it has been working for the most part.

The defensive game plan was simply terrible against Oregon even though there is a wide gap in talent. The way I look at it is the Ducks main thrust of the evening was going to be the hand off to Stewart followed by the keeper with Dixon. Why didn't UW just assign someone on every play to hit those guys no matter what and try to take it away rather than just guessing where the ball was on each play?

I have never personally played football against the spread, but I have played plenty against the option, and it takes discipline to be successful which means each guy has an assignment and never deviates from it which means all lanes are covered. Too many times UW would tackle the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage only to look up and see Dixon carrying it around the end with nobody but the safety coming up for support. To me that is just bad scheming on defense.

You beat Dixon by making him throw the ball, and make mistakes. Washington never got close to doing that.

I have no idea what Washington was trying to do on Saturday night from a defensive standpoint. I don't think I have ever seen a more poorly coached, and ill prepared defense during the fourty years I have been watching Washington football. UW needs to make some changes in the off season because what they are doing simply is not working.

Another thing I watched was how well the Ducks blocked down field. I would love to see the Huskies do that some day. Oregon was very good at boxing people out on sideline patterns. Let me put it this way, the Ducks have way more talent, but more importantly they are a much better coached team.

Arizona Up Next In Survivor Bowl

Arizona arrives at exactly the right time for the Huskies. If you want to get better in a hurry these are the guys that can help you out. Mike Stoops hasn't had a break this season, and it looks like he is going to lose his job when it ends. That being said he has a lot of motivation to turn that around this weekend against Washington.

For the Huskies this game will be a drastic change because they are going up against a team that is primarily moving the ball by passing it. The five game losing streak has been against five teams that can really run the ball, the Wildcats on the other hand are one of the worst rushing teams in the league.

The Wildcats have obviously had some problems over the past three games, reaching the end zone just three times. The Wildcats have averaged only 16.5 points and are barely moving the ball any where but backwards. The red zone offense stinks with the Arizona only scoring 42% of the time they are inside the twenty.

Despite the poor numbers the Wildcats are actually improved over last season offensively if you look at the raw numbers, but since they started conference play they have only gotten it done in one game, and that was against WSU who has a very poor defense.

Washington's defense is now among the worst in the country. Last weeks game was historically embarrassing. Stoops has to like what he sees when game planning against the Huskies. Mike sees a team that always bites on fakes, and play action. He sees a team that doesn't tackle well, and can't stop the run. He sees a very weak middle, and a defensive alignment that is designed to give up 5-6 yard pass plays each down by completing it on the sidelines. They have to notice undersized linebackers that are beat up, don't line up right, and get blown out of gaps because the defensive line in front of them is incapable of putting pressure on the QB. If I am Mike Stoops I am thinking I can beat these guys and turn the rest of the season around.

The Wildcats are just average on defense this season, and the Huskies will be facing the easiest defense they have seen since playing Syracuse in the opener. UW needs to run the ball more in this one. They need to wear the Wildcats down. I am not against the big play, but long drives win football games and demoralize opponents. I like the way Louis Rankin has been carrying the ball the last couple of weeks, and I would like to see him get at least twenty carries in this one. When Louis is getting his carries and running strong it opens up a lot more opportunities for Jake Locker.

Arizona lives, and dies by the pass this season. Another chilly, and rainy day will hamper that attack since the Wildcats don't rush the ball well. Willie Tuitama isn't a great QB, he makes mistakes, and the Huskies are going to need to take advantage of that. UW should get more than a few turnovers if they show up ready to play.

I think if the Huskies come in with the right attitude they are going to run all over the Wildcats and get some confidence back for the remaining games on the schedule. Despite the 2-5 record this is a team that can win enough games to limp into a bowl game, and they need to keep that goal squarely in their sight. If UW loses Saturday this season is over, and Willingham will be in danger of losing his team, same goes for Mike Stoops and Arizona.

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