At least he did for the first 13 plays from scrimmage, in its first two drives, last Thursday against the downtrodden, desperately needing a purpose in life, UCLA Bruins. The result? 14 points, a fast start, and no looking back.
If you look at the stats, the plays were hardly deep passes to Juron Criner or Dan Buckner every play, or even bubble screens. Foles was looking at the UCLA defense, clearly loading up against the pass, and calling runs.
The first play from the line of scrimmage was an 18 yard rush by Daniel Jenkins. Then, an incomplete pass, a 20 yard rush by Keola Antolin. There was a subsequent rush for no gain, followed by a pass to Dan Buckner for 26 yards, to the UCLA 4. In this drive, Nick Foles used the run to set up the pass, which was totally opposite to what Arizona is known for doing.
The following drive, Arizona got back into a passing rhythm, because UCLA started to respect Arizona's new-found rushing attack. There were some short passes, and short runs, and then Nick Foles had some more runs dialed up. On 2nd and 2 at the UCLA 29, Arizona rushed for 11 yards, and then for 18 yards and a score.
So, what does this mean? Is Nick Foles Andrew Luck? No. He is a solid quarterback, with a really good receiving corp. He was able to check out what the UCLA D was giving him, and pick a play that would have a high degree of success.
What does this spell for the University of Washington this Saturday? Well, the Dawgs need to be careful. However, the Wildcats are no Stanford. See this. Arizona does not have three Philistines as tight ends. (Goliath was a Philistine.) That means there are going to be 2 fewer gaps for the Husky D to cover for the majority of the game. So, if the Huskies can maintain average gap integrity, they will be fine.
The biggest problem I see here, other than the fact that our pass D has been far from awesome, heck, we've been far from presentable for most of the season, is our inability to shed blocks. Coming from the coaches this week, shedding blocks is a part of playing aggressive. Or D didn't play aggressive as a whole, and that shows a couple of things:
- The defense is very inexperienced, and individuals weren't able to find their assignments, or were unsure that they were hitting their proper assignments.
- The defense was tentative because there were too many gaps to cover. (This is similar to the previous point.)
- The defense gave up.
If the Dawgs are going to have a decent defensive showing against Arizona, they need to play fast, and they need to shed their blocks. Sure, Nick Foles might be calling the plays on offense, but being where you are supposed to be, at the time you need to be there, is going to be necessary for a respectable showing.