It took a lot of nerve to open this week's Gekko file after the trashing that the UW D suffered at the hands of Stanford. The pitiful display by the boys in Purple made me question not only their talent but whether or not they even wanted to play for Nick Holt. Sundodger and a few others pointed out that they didn't see it that way. Then Tuesday night rolled around and I got the chance to see Nick Holt's rambling interview video in Bob Condotta's blog. After listening to his eminent incoherency, it dawned on me that the players have NOT tuned him out. However, it might be the case that they literally can't tune him in. I'm sure he is better spoken in the meeting room. He has to be. Right?
More TGF after the Jump.
Most of you have become accustomed to my witty (banal?) bullet points as part of this feature. Arizona is such a special institution, that they only get three bullet points in the Gekko File
- UA fans like Rob Gronkowski
- UA fans like Porn
- UA fans like Rob Gronkowski and Porn
What an idiot.
Arizona at Washington: A Preview
I could start this preview off by pointing out that I've been looking at this game as a trap game most of the season. My logic here is that our lazy pass rush is just the kind of weakness that a spread passing team like Arizona can absolutely murder. Then I came to realize that it's not just a spread offense that can crush us - it is any offense. Thus, it really isn't right to call this a "trap game". We are not good enough to simply chalk up a W against any team left on our schedule. With that in mind, let's take it piece by piece.
Arizona's offense is pretty good. They rack up nearly 475 yards of offense a game and they are by far the most heavily weighted passing offense in the league. Nick Foles has really improved this year as a gunslinger. I've been impressed with him in terms of how he has gone from a screen/slant thrower to one who can throw effective fades and deep routes. He's matured this year despite playing behind a sieve of an offensive line and he's made stars out of the impressive receiving duo of Juron Kriner and Dan Buckner. In particular, I'm on the Buckner bandwagon. This man is a big, strong player who has "redzone terror" tattooed on his ass. The 'Cats are not featuring a stud TE this year (although Taimi Tutogi, brother of UW LB Thomas Tutogi, did catch a TD pass last week) like they have in years past, but they still have plenty of options in the passing attack.
Defensively, this team continues to reel from the losses off of last season's averagish squad. In particular, the loss of DE's Brooks Reed, D'Aundre Reed and Ricky Elmore - all of whom were drafted in the NFL - has left UA's d-line grasping for straws as they try to develop their youth. This D-line might actually be worse than ours, as hard as that is to believe. I admittedly haven't followed Arizona's defensive squad all that closely this year (they simply are not on the field enough). However, I've always been impressed with LB Paul Vassallo. He's a heady LB who plays with great effort and is a leader on the squad. He's the Cort Dennison of Arizona. Beyond that, the strength of Arizona's D this year figured to be its secondary with stud CB Shaq Richardson (he of the "UCLA Three"), S Trevin Wade, and S/CB Robert Golden. Injuries, poor pass rushing, suspensions and the curious case of Duane Akina have conspired to significantly weaken the UA secondary this year.
This game promises to be another high-scoring affair that might only get slowed down by the elements of a Seattle night. Washington's balanced offensive attack should have its way with the Arizona defense. Unlike preparing for other teams in the PAC, Arizona can't really cheat in any single area in order to take a Washington advantage away. As such, I expect (despite the secondary suspensions) that UA will focus first on taking Chris Polk away from the equation. This should open up the field for Keith Price and I expect he'll make big plays to Jermaine Kearse, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and James Johnson. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Kasen Williams pop on a big gainer in the first half.
The focus of the night, undoubtedly, will be on the Huskies' defensive effort. I'm not optimistic. I suspect that we are going to see a whole lot of Foles to Buckner, Foles to Criner and Foles to Hill with a few draw plays sprinkled in between. I don't see UW generating much of a pass rush with our completely overmatched d-line and I can see us getting burned big-time as we blitz to try to generate pressure. I predict that the analysts will call this the "coming out party" for the UA offensive line given all the time Foles will have to operate on Saturday night.
Prediction: UA 42 - UW 49
I like the Huskies in this one because I do believe that UW's offense is more balanced and less prone to turnovers than Arizona's - especially given that this is a home game. Fewer mistakes will give UW an edge in a game where we might as well allow each team to play 12 defensive players. I expect Keith Price will have a huge day with over 300 yards passing and four TDs. Polk will be equally as impressive getting 140 yards on 21 carries and two TDs himself. Our O-Line will have a banner day and will earn praises from Sark following their effort. The local media, while acknowledging the W, will focus their energy on asking more questions about the fitness of Nick Holt after our D surrenders another 550 yards - 470 of which are in the air to Nick Foles. Despite the fact that we will have clinched bowl eligibility (and, accordingly, a Bowl berth), the game will feel like a loss and the UWDP will erupt in continuous debate about whether he should stay or go. Steen, coming to grips with the fact that he'll never get his way, will emerge as the surprising voice of reason while UWDP studs Hawnk, the Dude, DenvDawg, Bugs, Carne, Todd and NY take to the world wide web in search of examples of when mid-season coordinator firings made or did not make sense. PPilot and BigGreenWreckingMachine will pop over to our blog and immediately predict that UO will score 94 points on us while charming us with their "we ain't so bad" schtick. We'll all agree that whatever happens is all Nick Holt's fault.
- UW will go another game with no sacks
- Jessie Callier and Bishop Sankey will both make big marks in the game - combining for over 100 yards rushing and a TD
- Dan Buckner will make at least two plays that leave you thinking "holy sh*t"
- The Tutogi brothers will appear on the field at the same time and our razor sharp Fox broadcasting crew won't notice
- Nick Holt will give someone a death stare over his glasses
- At least one sideline interference penalty will get called
- Nick Montana will not make an appearance
That's it DawgFans. What do you expect to see tomorrow?