Tuesday, September 16, 2008

UW Dawg Pound on Sports Blog Network

If you haven't been over to our new location at Sports Blog Network you are really missing out. The difference between the two sites is like night and day.
I publish new articles every day on University of Washington Athletics so please come over and visit out new site at :

Thursday, September 04, 2008

This site has moved to a new location on the Sports Blog Network.
Please add the new address to your favorites.
Please come over to the new site and register so you can continue to post comments.
The reason for the move is simple. The new site gives our readers a lot more information and interaction. It gives the site a better way to network with other premium sports sites across the country which brings in more readers, comments, and interaction.

What To Expect From BYU

BYU is going to come into Husky Stadium with the full knowledge that a possible national championship is on the line. Washington needs to mentally prepared because they are playing a team on a mission - no pun intended.

BYU is currently ranked 15th in the country which puts them in a very good position to play in the national championship game if they go undefeated. Beating out of conference opponents Washington and UCLA will vault them into the top ten early this year. The biggest obstacle in conference will be beating rival Utah who just finished off Michigan in the Big House last weekend.

BYU is going to run and throw the ball at the Huskies using one of the more potent offenses the Dawgs will face this season. Max Hall is a big time QB who has good mobility, touch, and accuracy. He completed over 60% of his passes last season. He will be surrounded by a lot of age and experience since the majority of BYU players sat out two years to go on a mission.

We saw what happened to Washington last week going up against a team with twice as much as experience. This week the Huskies go up against an experienced team that is a couple of years older on average. Washington is going to have to grow up quite a bit in only one week to be able to stick with these guys.

The key on defense is going to be trying to hold the Cougars under 30 points. BYU is going to get there points against almost every opponent this year. If Washington plays defense like they did last week the over and under on this one might be over 70 points with the Cougars picking 40-50 of them.

The key on offense is to score more points than the Cougars. That is easier said than done after the dismal offensive performance Washington had last week against Oregon. Look for Bronco Mendenhall to take a cue from Bellotti and stack the box to open the game.

Washington faced the number two defense in my opinion in the Pac Ten last weekend and was shut down three quarters of the game. BYU's defense won't be as good as Oregon's, but they really don't have to be until Washington shows it can burn teams for stacking the box. Jake is going to have to show he can win the game with his arm. It is crucial that Washington comes out attacking through the air to loosen up the BYU defense.

Breaking Down BYU

The BYU offense is led by Max Hall who had a good debut season as the starting quarterback for the Cougars, throwing for 3,848 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. If he makes the progress that many signal callers make heading into their second year running the show, the BYU offense will be very hard to stop.

Receiver Austin Collie returned from his mission last year and immediately became Hall’s favorite target. This year should be even better for Collie, but Hall will have plenty of other options. Tight end Dennis Pitta is a superb pass catcher and a nice target in the redzone and Luke Ashworth and Spencer Hafoka both had great springs after coming back from their missions and should compliment Collie at the wideout spots quite well.

On defense replacing a majority of the secondary and a few starting linebackers is tops on the list of things to do for BYU. Corners Brandon Howard and Scott Johnson have some experience, but they will be tested for the first time this week against Washington.

Making matters more disheartening is the loss of linebackers Kelly Poppinga, Bryan Kehl and Markell Staffieri. Those will not be easy guys to replace and that will put a lot of pressure on some inexperienced players. Former tight end Vic So’oto might find himself in a starting role and Matt Bauman has to prove that he is ready for a full time starting position.

While the back eight has some issues that need addressed, the defense has its leader with Jan Jorgensen. As a sophomore, Jorgensen tallied 14 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. As an upperclassman, and one of the more experienced players on the team, he will be asked to be a leader as well as a sack machine. And as long as the front line can get pressure, the secondary will have some time to adjust.

What do I think?

I had this game marked as a possible "W" before the season began. BYU does not have the horses Oregon does on defense so Washington should be able to move the ball better on Saturday. It is much easier to play a ranked opponent at home than on the road so figure that Husky Stadium is going to give these guys a big boost.

If the UW defense can put together four good quarters and keep the Cougars under thirty points I think the Huskies win this one. The question is when was the last time the UW defense put together four good quarters?

Win this one and the ugliness of the second half against Oregon becomes a faded memory.

UW Dawg Pound on SBN

We have moved the site over to Sports Blog Network and have renamed it the UW Dawg Pound. I will keep publishing on the old site through Sunday to give everybody the chance to get switched over.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Moving Time

UW Dawg Pound on SBN

We have moved the site over to Sports Blog Network and have renamed it the UW Dawg Pound.


I have been simulcasting posts at both the new and existing addresses since last weekend as I get a feel of the new editing tools.

The advantage of moving to SBN is the great suite of publishing tools they have plus the networking possibilities with other top sports bloggers across the country. The move increases the overall syndication of what is written here plus it is a boost in blogging prestige.
I know it is a bit of hassle to join a new site because you need a user name and password to post but it will be well worth the couple of minutes it takes. You are going to have access to not only my blog, but the best sports blogs on every subject in the country.
To post over at the new site you will need to sign up and pick a user name and password. That only takes about a minute and you are ready to go.
One huge advantage is you are not going to have to use a cryptic code when you post anymore. I know more than a few people complained about this in this Google blog format.

I won't be killing this original site. It has an archive of over 1000 articles on Husky Sports articles over the past three years. I will continue using it as an archive and sign post to direct our readers over the the new site.

The new address is:

Please list it in your favorites because starting Sunday morning all new articles will only be posted over at the new address.

Seattle Examiner

Some of the articles you read here are also being posted over at the Seattle Examiner.
I am the Seattle Husky Examiner. An Examiner is someone in a local market who enjoys informing others about subjects they love and are proficient at. The Examiner also has local and national feeds from AP, and local newspaper and television stations.
The articles that are published over there are edited differently than here because it is being written in a newspaper rather than blog format.
The articles that are written here and in the new blog are also published and re-edited in a different format over on this site.
The whole idea behind publishing in three different places with three different slightly versions is to increase awareness and readership of the blog. The more readers we get the more comments we get.
Nathan Ware has a great blog over in the Seattle PI called the Original DawgBlawg.
Nathan and I ask each other questions each week during the football and basketball seasons once per week. The only place you can get "Backtalk with Nathan and Johnny B" is in the Seattle PI Internet sports section.

UW Notes - Fogerson Moves to Safety

Fogerson Moves to Safety

Johri Fogerson has moved over to safety where he will be given the chance to play right away. the coaches feel that he is one of the better athletes on the team and they need to get him on the field. It will take Johri a few weeks to get the position down so don't expect him to get extensive playing time until after the bye week.

The coaches feel that Fogerson has the talent to possibly be a two way player in the future if needed, but for now his future will be as a second team safety.

Last years starter Jason Wells who suffered a knee injury last fall is likely going to redshirt this year. I think it makes a lot of sense to be patient and get him back to 100%. Wells is one of the better safeties in the league when healthy.

Victor Aiyewa has been recovering from a groin pull suffered late in camp. The coaches love the way Vic can lay the lumber but they feel he is still a little green to start. Senior Darin Harris has been running opposite Sophomore Nate Williams.

Walk-on Tripper Johnson actually started last week against Oregon as a third safety. The NCAA has granted him an extra year of eligibility which means he is currently a sophomore with two years more to play. Johnson is obviously a mature player at 26 year old who will continue to get better. No matter how well he does UW won't have to put him on scholarship because his former MLB team is paying for all his college expenses.

Injury Report

Washington players didn't suffer anything more than the usual bumps and bruises this past week. TE Mike Gottleib who didn't make the trip is now probable for BYU.

Jake Locker will have another full week to get his timing down with his receivers in practice. he still isn't 100% but did not suffer any setbacks against the Ducks.

Bellotti Gives Willingham Vote of Confidence

You might have read in the newspapers yesterday that Oregon coach Mike Bellotti gave UW coach Ty Willingham a vote of confidence in his post game press conference saying it is way too early for people to think of making a change.

Don James said the same thing tongue in cheek about Cal's Joe Kapp. James wanted Kapp to be named coach for life of the Bears.

In college football the Devil you know is much better than the Devil you don't know especially if you have been beating the crap out of the Devil you do know. I can't imagine a coach in the Pac Ten who would want to see Willingham go because he represents an almost automatic win on the schedule.

Mike Bellotti wants Ty Willingham to be named coach of the Huskies for life.

Lappano to open up playbook

I hate to be critical but how many of you did a double take when Tim Lappano said he was going to open up the playbook for BYU this week?

You are telling me that you went into a conference game with eight months to prepare and you didn't have your complete playbook at your disposal? Was that the reason your team wasn't able to figure out the nine in a box alignment that Oregon used to shut down your offense?

This game reminded me a lot of the 2003 opener against Ohio State except this Oregon team is certainly not as good as the 2003 tOSU team. Both games had plenty in common because Washington was completely shut down and ran out of the stadium.

It is only game one and our coaching staff is grasping at straws and this team is drifting back to a 2003 state of development.

This is going to get pretty ugly if it isn't turned around in week two.

Brigham Young's quest for perfection

Welcome to week two!

How many of you tuned in to watch Utah beat dominate Michigan in the Big House last Saturday? Utah is a pretty good team but BYU which plays Washington this weekend is picked to win the conference and challenge for a BCS bowl berth. The stars are aligned in such a way that the Cougars could be playing for all the marbles at the end of the season if they beat UW and UCLA. If they win those two non conference games Utah is probably the biggest hurdle in achieving an undefeated season.

Before the season I circled this as a winnable game and it still is if the Huskies can rebound from last weeks disaster. They say the greatest amount of improvement a team can make is in the weeks between the first and third game. Obviously the Huskies have a lot of room to improve and the talent on the roster to do it with.

One thing that has to emerge this week is team speed. The Huskies looked very slow against Oregon which was a surprise because we were supposed to be a lot faster this season. One thing that makes you look slow is not knowing your assignments well enough. That hesitation when you have to think about what you have to do next is a problem that all young teams have. It keeps the team from playing on all cylinders. If you look at the game film you will notice that Washington didn't have a mistake free play on either side of the ball last weekend.

If Washington is going to beat BYU they are going to have to play together better as a team. A better game plan plus some real game day adjustments from the coaching staff would be a big plus.

Another big key to winning this game would be to hit the playing field with emotion. Washington was flat last week in the first quarter against Oregon and it helped the Ducks run out to a 14 point lead which easily could have turned into 28. You have to figure that this team should be pumped up to play an opener in Husky Stadium against a nationally ranked opponent. If they aren't there is something seriously wrong with the leadership of the program.

Husky quote of the week

This one comes from Jordan White-Frisbee and it really sums up what happened last Saturday.

"With as many in the box as they had, it's going to be hard to run against anybody," White-Frisbee said. "We expected to dominate physically and they dominated us scheme-wise. They played smarter than we did."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pillow Fighting

One critic of former UW Rick Neuheisel used to tell me that his practices looked like a pillow fight. That was an obvious reference to the lack of structure, hitting, and tackling going on during practice not to mention the rock music and Popsicle breaks. Teams eventually play like they practice and Rick's teams were on a downward spiral when he was fired. Rick actually recognized the problem and was about to correct it because he felt his team was beginning to lack toughness.

A good friend of mine who watches UW practices told me that if you think Neuheisel's practices were non physical you should see Willingham's. He felt the structure and organization was better but he questions if this team will ever learn to be physical and tackle well if they aren't allowed to do it in practice every day.

Ninety-nine percent of Ty Willingham's practices have been closed since he hit campus. The reason insiders say is because he does not want to be open for criticism about the way he does things. Truth be told the Huskies rarely tackle and scrimmage full bore at practice these days and it shows on Saturdays. It is hard to expect a team to tackle well if they don't do it in practice.

Don James and Jim Lambright had a completely different philosophy about practice. They used to scrimmage, and do a lot of hitting. You worry about injuries but it was the only way to get a team ready to play on Saturday. If you could survive practice with those two warriors surviving a game wasn't as much of a challenge.

Willingham takes more of an NFL approach to practice. If you have ever been to a Seahawk's practice you notice that it is more about teaching and preparation than it is about being physical. The health of the 53 man roster during an 18 week long season is paramount.

We all understand that Ty wants to keep his so called bullets healthy, but how can you expect these kids to light it up in games when they are not allowed to do it in practice? I think you need to accept the risk if you are going to build a solid college football team. You may have some disappointing injuries along the way but overall your program is going to win more games and be tougher.

How would Don James respond to last weeks Oregon game if he was in charge? It wouldn't be pretty. They would be scrimmaging all week till they got it right in addition to running gassers till they puked.

The top team on the West coast and arguably the best team in the country over the last ten years beats up on itself every day in practice. Most of those practices happen to be open to fans and media. Pete Carroll of USC has this crazy idea that if you don't practice what you are supposed to do Monday thru Friday you aren't going to do it on Saturday.

Like the Huskies of old the toughest team USC plays each week during the season is its second team. In Carroll’s seven years at USC, the Trojans have gone 76-14, been to six BCS bowl games, won two national championships and produced 30 All-American first-teamers.

Don't you think this guy might know what he is doing?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Good to be Back at UCLA Baby

Rick Neuheisel didn't wait long to get his first signature win at UCLA. In his debut the Bruins upset Tennessee 27-24 in overtime.

Quarterback Kevin Craft rallied UCLA twice in the fourth quarter after four first-half interceptions. Craft was sensational after halftime Monday night in guiding UCLA to an unlikely win over No. 18 Tennessee.

Rick Neuheisel's homecoming couldn't have gone much better in the Rose Bowl.

Personally I am surprised by the result. UCLA's defense looked great tonight against a supposedly superior SEC team. Never bet against a Rick Neuheisel coached team. He knows how to get his team prepared and up for a big game.

Beating Nine in the Box

I was surprised when Washington came out in a 3-3-5 nickel defense with three safeties in the first quarter against Oregon. The Huskies reaction to fearing the deep ball is still to stay back rather than mount an attack on the QB from the line of scrimmage. Does that philosophy come from Willingham or is it the defense Donatell really wanted to run? I can't understand the philosophy of not putting pressure on Oregon's young QB's.

Oregon on the other hand came out and played a nine in the box defense. The nine in the box defense consists of four defensive linemen, four linebackers, and a safety that all line up near the line of scrimmage. What this defense does is sell out completely to stop the run. Oregon can run this defense with confidence because the defensive backfield still consisted of Chung, Thurmond, and Byrd who are among the nations best at their positions.

Washington's strength is the run even though that was hard to believe on Saturday night. Locker is a very mobile threat and I think Brandon Johnson, and Chris Polk are going to be very good running backs. Washington however is never going to move the ball on the ground if teams continue to stack the line of scrimmage.

How do you beat the nine in the box?

You beat nine in the box by calling a play action fake and throwing deep!

If your opponent respects your ability to throw deep it will pull them out of the alignments which will allow you to run the ball.

What Washington needs to do before next Saturday is to develop a deep passing game which will make opposing defenses pay for loading it up on the line of scrimmage.

This is easier said than done because you have a starting QB that simply isn't very accurate at long range yet. He also is out of sync with his WR's because he spent most of camp on the sidelines with an injured hamstring. Those WR's that he is out of sync with for the most part have exactly one game of experience. Don't forget that Jake's offensive line needs to give him enough time to drop back and set his feet to make a throw. They also need to give the WR's enough time to go deep and get open.

That is a lot to learn in only one week which brings up the question of why the Huskies weren't prepared for it on Saturday night. Was it matter of lack of preparation, surprise, or was it the simple matter of not being able to execute?

I think it was a little of all three and if this team is going to go anywhere in 2008 it better start anticipating and adjusting to their opponents better. Hitting a couple of long bombs while your at it wouldn't be a bad idea either.