NU/UW Post Mortem

Howdy everyone!

Like I mentioned in a few threads, I will be writing up a brief wrapup thread with some closing thoughts and to say goodbye.

What I liked about Washington: Basically two things jumped out at me as I reflected on this game about Washington: One, the Huskies have a very good offense that has the potential to be elite.  Contrary to some of the bashing I saw on these boards, I thought the offensive line did well.  Price only got sacked once for one yard (although by the looks of it, he's lucky he a): didn't fumble and b): didn't have to be wheeled off on a stretcher afterward), wasn't extremely pressured, and Polk had a pretty good day as well.  Price was composed and accurate all day.  Polk ran really hard and is obviously a talented back.  The only facet of the UW offense I wasn't impressed with was the receivers.  They're athletic and did a good job of getting open, but had a couple really bad drops that hurt UW, especially in the third quarter.  Overall though, assuming no offensive regression, UW is going to seriously dent the defense of anyone they play this year.  Balance + good coaching + talent usually has that effect, and it looks to me like Sarkesian has his system in place.

Two: They fought back.  A lot of teams would mail it in when down 44-17 in the 4th quarter, but Washington kept fighting hard.  NU's defense seemed to relax a bit with the big lead and ouch...UW made them pay for it.  3 touchdowns in 7 minutes is very impressive no matter who you're playing.  The comparison isn't perfect, but it reminded me a bit of Nebraska's 2008 game at #1 OU.  We were big underdogs, but felt we had good shot at making it a game.  About 18 interceptions later we were down 35-0 at the end of the 1st quarter.  Naturally we still decisively lost the game, but the Huskers fought back and outscored the Sooners over the last three quarters.  That set the tone for the rest of the season and we finished by winning four straight games a couple of which we were underdogs in.  Keep that in mind as the Huskies enter a crucial stretch of winnable games over the next month.


What I didn't like: The defense.  I'm not quite sure what the issue is here.  To me they didn't look like they lacked a ton of talent, so maybe it's coaching, maybe they haven't gelled as a unit yet (the difference between the beginning and ending of last year was startling) but in any case, they didn't get the job done Saturday.  Receivers were open most of the day, and Nebraska's oline controlled the line of scrimmage.  Our OC claims he called the exact same power play with Burkhead 10-12 times in a row in the 4th quarter.  That's obviously not good if you're a UW fan.  I hope for Washington's sake that this group grows up quickly, because NU fans know all too well the tragedy of having the team miss out on championships because one side of the ball elected to not show up for key games.

Second, Washington didn't handle adversity very well.  They were in a tough environment, and had some really bad calls go against them...and responded by not showing up for the first 20 minutes of the second half.  Not sure if that's on the coaches, players, or both, but it extinguished any chance UW had of winning the game.


Other thoughts:

-I hope any Husky fans who made the trip to Lincoln enjoyed their visit.  We pride ourselves on treating guests well and if there were any drunken jackasses who gave you a hard time (yes, we have them too), then I apologize on behalf of Husker Nation.

-I would like to thank the folks here at the UW Dawg Pound for being hospitable hosts once again.  I do mean it when I say this is the friendliest (and generally most rational!) opponent's blog I've ever been on.  So, I will miss you guys...your team, not so much.

-If I (likely) or any other Husker fans (probably also likely) have come across as arrogant, etc, I apologize for that as well.  We pride ourselves on being civil, but I think we probably also take ourselves a bit too seriously at times.  Both fanbases love their teams, so I guess it makes sense that there are disagreements when we get together.

-Good luck to you the rest of the year.  I think that offense will be able to carry you past a lot of teams this year.  Even though I didn't enjoy being on the receiving end of it so much, UW is clearly a drastically improved team.  Sark has things moving in the right direction--which is good for college football.  Washington has a great history (you're in the national title club and beat us to get there, so that's enough for my respect anyway) and it hurts college football when Ty Willingham happens to teams.

Once again, good luck to you the rest of the year (beat the living crap out of Colorado for us), and hopefully sometime soon we'll see you in the Rose Bowl.

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