Vs. Syracuse: The 1st Quarter - Drive by Drive Analysis - Part 2.

The Huskies' first drive should have started at the 18. But a special teams miscue foiled that. Kevin Smith was tackled at the 18 after fielding the ball at the 0-yard line. However, the officials called a block to the back penalty on Taz Stevenson (I think it was him; I couldn't clearly see the last name, but I don't think it was Devin Aguilar). The officials say that Smith had the ball at the 11-yard line when the foul occured (though he was actually at the 9-yard line), so they marked the ball there, and tacked a 5-yard penalty, forcing the Huskies to start at their 6-yard line.

When a field position starting at the the 18-yard line becomes backed all the way to the 6-yard line, it's like watching an Orange County woman who has gone broke and would much rather shop at Saks, try to shop at Macy's with a gold membership card being forced to shop at K-mart; while Macy's isn't so bad, and while she'd have preferred better, it doesn't erase the frantic stink off her elitist ego by being forced to shop at K-mart. That's what happened to the Huskies. They must not put themselves in that position. They must not allow themselves to start drives at K-mart. I daresay that this will not be acceptable against Nebraska.


Washington - 1st and 10 on their 6-yard line. 


Washington opens with a two-tight end Ace formation set. The two TE's are on the strong side, which, in this case, was the right side. There's a flanker and the split end on the left (the flanker was Devin Aguilar; I don't know who the split end was, but I presume that it was Jermaine Kearse). Polk is the HB.

Syracuse is in a classic 46 formation, with their SS lining up along side their linebackers.

Neither team makes any pre-snap adjustments. The ball is snapped. Locker hands off to Polk. Only Tolar gets any push, this is because Syracuse crashes the middle, leaving Tolar one-on-one with the ROLB. Polk sees this, hurriedly tries to hurdle the MLB, which slows him a little, and decides to follow Tolar. He is met by the SS who was unblocked and the LOLB after gaining three yards.  The LOLB, the SS, the ROLB that Tolar was blocking, Tolar himself, and Polk all tumble into a pile. 


2nd and 7, on the UW 9-yard line.

The Huskies break the huddle with a 4-WR spread formation, with Locker in shotgun and Polk offset to his left. The receivers are Marlion Barnett (who is actually a TE lining up as the left flanker) and Devin Aguilar the left, and D'Andre Goodwin and Jermaine Kearse on the right, with Goodwin as the flanker. 

Syracuse is in classic 4-3, a poor use of personnel if you ask me, because they should have been in dime formation for this one. I think they feared Locker running a QB draw.

The ball is snapped. Of all the WR's, the only route that I cannot distinguish because the player ran off the screen is Barnett. If I had to guess, I would say that he ran a flag route. The two WR's to the right run a post, and Aguilar runs a short curl. Polk runs an arrow route to the left.

Syracuse plays man, rushes no one. Pass protection is great, Locker is in no danger of being sacked, at least not imminently. Locker immediately targets Polk. He attempts a pass to Polk. The pass is defensed by the RE, who made an athletic leap and deflection on Locker's pass.

Nobody is at fault for that play, not even Locker. It was just a great play by the RE. This brings up 3rd and 7.  And we know what this means: Syracuse is blitzing.


3rd and 7, on the UW 9-yard line.

The Huskies break the huddle with a 3-WR, 2-back shotgun formation. The three WR's are Aguilar, Kearse, and Goodwin. Kearse is the lone WR on the left. Sylvester is lined up left of Locker, Polk, on the right of Locker. 

True to form, Syracuse lines up with a blitz package. They are in 3-3. The NT has a LB on either side of him. The SS is on the outside of the RE. They're all lined up at the line of scrimmage. The linemen are in their 3-point stance. The two LB's and the SS at the LOS are standing.

The ball is snapped. the two LB's at the LOS don't blitz, but the SS does and so does  the CB covering Kearse. It is a safety and CB blitz. Neither factor. The Huskies easily pick them both up; Sylvester on the SS and Polk on the CB. Locker's O-line maintains their protection.

Locker feels the blitz from the left, so he looks left. He easily finds Kearse on a quick down and out route. Locker fires. Kearse grabs the easy first down on the UW 21-yard line. Kearse is tackled by the FS. First down, Huskies.

The precision of this play and the timing of the players smacks of some sort of WCO influence. Thinking further, Kearse would excel in a WCO.


1st and 10, UW 21-yard line.

Washington is in Ace formation, with the TE strongside left, a WR lined up to the left, Jesse Callier, and two WR's to the right, Kearse and Aquilar. Locker is under center.

Syracuse is in 4-3 under.

Locker motions Callier inside, and Locker snaps the ball while Callier is still in motion. Callier is running an end-around route. Locker fakes a handoff to him, and hands off to Polk, who deceptively snakes his way up behind  Schaefer, who got blown back about 2 yards, and snakily cuts right around Habben, and makes it 6 yards up before getting taken down.

The play succeeds because of the fake exchange between Locker and Callier. The fake froze the weakside linebacker for a moment, allowing Polk to get the handoff and run off behind his center and RT without the worry of getting tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

6-yard gain, Washington. 


2nd and 4, UW 27-yard line.

2nd and 4, with two successful plays previously. The Huskies were building momentum. Or so it seemed...

Huskies break 3-WR shotgun, 2-back formation exactly as they had on their previous third down, with Sylvester on Locker's left, and Polk on Locker's right.

Syracuse is in classic 4-3.

Locker snaps the ball. and hands off to Polk. Sylvester runs left, off of the LT. Syracuse's DE's play contain, while their DT's crash the middle and two LB's fire into the gap. The interior of the O-line is compromised instantly, due to Schafield unable to control his man. The 3-tech that Schafield is responsible blows him back about 3 yards and stops Polk for a loss of two yards while the MLB helps to easily bring down Polk.

This play fails because of superior play by the Orangemen.


3rd and 6, UW-25-yard line.

Huskies break the huddle in 3-WR Ace formation with Izbicki strongside right. Polk, Goodwin, and Kearse are lined up at WR. Polk is wide left with Goodwin as the left flanker. Kearse is wide right. Aguilar is lined up behind Locker as the HB. 

Syracuse is in dime formation. Locker recognizes this pre-snap and has determined where he is going with the ball.

Locker motions Aguilar to right flanker. Ball is snapped. Syracuse is in zone. Kearse runs a streak. Aguilar runs a 6-yard curl. Izbicki, a drag route. Goodwin, a flag. I was not able to see what route Polk ran, but it doesn't matter because Locker never looked his way.

In fact, Locker didn't look in anyone's way except for Aguilar. This was a questionable decision. The FS and the MLB both read Locker's eyes and converged on Aguilar. Locker ended up throwing in triple coverage. Not that it influenced the outcome of the play, but it's almost never a good idea to throw into triple coverage. Aguilar doesn't get free in time from the dime CB who was covering him and is poorly angled to receive the pass and doesn't. The ball bounces off his arms harmlessly to the ground. So did whatever momentum the Huskies might have built up prior to that. 


4th and 7 on the 25.

Rasp gets the punt off quickly, but it is a line drive punt with a short hang time. Despite that, the punt had a chance of being successful because a special teamer got there in time at the Syracuse 36-yard line to make the tackle, but he misses the tackle. The PR isn't stopped until he reaches the 50 yard line.

A solid, but not good drive ends with an ugly special teams play. Quarter's not over, but at this point, the Huskies were a mixed bag of positives and negatives, with the negatives weighing them down a notch or two more than the positives.


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