Conditions were pristine for football. The boats were floating, tailgating, and ready: ready for some football. The season had arrived. Has arrived. The 2013 college football season has begun. Washington started it off well.
The stadium, oh the stadium. The $280 million steel salute* to a game involving men running around with plastic on their heads and leather in their hands. Husky Stadium was christened today, and it was christened right.
It didn't matter that the second play from scrimmage would be an interception. The tone was not set on that play. It was set when Keith Price threw a bubble screen to the electric freshman John Ross. The message was clear: We have better athletes, attack us in space. You can't do it. The Boise State Broncos could not.
Jaydon Mickens caught nine passes for 108 yards. Most of those catches came from behind the line of scrimmage. The sophomore showed his ability to make defenders miss in space on a multitude of WR screens. Kevin Smith had four catches of his own, showing he has returned to form from an ACL tear two years ago.
Deontae Cooper saw the field. Deontae Cooper carried the football. Deontae Cooper made it back. Had he retired, no one would have blamed him. Had he retired, there would have been no shame. Instead he was cheered. He is still timid hitting the hole. He needs to gain confidence, but wow is that a story.
*Interesting fact: my uncle runs the company that sold UW the steel used for the construction. Go my Canadian Uncle.
- Keith Price looked decisive. Even if he made the wrong read (every college quarterback will make wrong reads) he didn't hesitate. He threw the ball with confidence. He was given quick reads to throw and made them quickly, as by design. His line was 23/31 for 324 yards with two touchdowns and the one interception.
- Will Shamburger was all over the field. Although we couldn't see down the field on the broadcast, the lack of deep throws by Boise was no doubt influenced by the deep coverage. The defensive back most responsible for the deep zones? Shamburger. Not only did he cover the deep zones, he was able to come up in the run game and make a few nice stops in the run game as well. After being a part-time player for several seasons, he makes a nice back end teaming with Sean Parker.
- If anyone knows where I can get this stat, I would like to know the YAC for this game. Did Kieth Price have more yards in the air than his receiver had yards after the catch?
- Bishop Sankey isn't as powerful as it appears initially, but is deceptively slippery. He breaks tackles with lateral explosiveness. Yes, he has power, but the sheer number of tackles he breaks deceives the amount of power he has. His ability to hit a defender while moving laterally to make himself more difficult to wrap up while using his great balance to stay on his feet is what helps to set him apart. He hits the hole with explosiveness. If he isn't headed to the hole square, he is able to make the subtle cut losing hardly any speed getting into the hole. There are backs who can get what their blockers give him. Bishop Sankey wrings his blockers dry and gets every bit out of what his blockers are able to give.
- The loss of Austin Seferian-Jenkins was minimized with the lateral plays. With Kasen Williams being bracketed all game someone had to step up. Jaydon Mickens did just that. Kevin Smith did his part. John Ross got touches early and made them count.
- Bend but don't break: the defense was backed up into the red zone only three times, but when they did get there they gave up nothing. They allowed zero touchdowns and forced three field goal attempts. One was blocked by big ‘Ol Danny Shelton. Shelton played like we all know he can today and that was his highlight of the night.
- Shelton has yet to record a sack in his career, but he is a run-stuffing nose tackle. Even then, he was disruptive in the pass game, pushing the pocket into the face of Joe Southwick. He shot gaps in the run game and forced his way past double teams, clubbing blockers aside like he had, well, clubs for hands.
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