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Mid Week Debate - End of 1st Quarter Concerns

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Results from last week: What do you think of Brock Huard's prediction that Keith Price will take a step back this season? It was a very close race, 42% of the Dawg Pound faithful thought Huard was right on and 38% think the jury is still out, but major improvement is needed from the supporting cast. Unfortunately for us Dawg fans, the offensive line situation hasn't gotten any better in the last week; with the news of Colin Tanigawa, it's actually gotten even worse.

This Week's Debate: Now that we have completed the first quarter of the football season, what is your biggest concern heading into the game against Stanford? Now that we have completed the non conference portion of the schedule and are preparing for the tough slate of conference games ahead, we have a much better idea of who the Huskies are in 2012. Going into the season most of us had concerns about the offensive line and the defense was the great unknown. Now that we have seen three games, there are still major concerns about the offensive line, not to mention the entire offense seems to be out of sync. The good news is the defense is vastly improved over last year, but will they be able to slow down a Stanford team that is sure to run the ball right at us? This past Saturday saw a new concern show it's head: is there a disconnect between the coaching staff and the players? The last thing this program needs is another embarrassing performance on national television. After the jump is the usual run down of the options for this weeks debate.

The offense's ability to run the ball: At the end of last season we expected to have 4 returning starters to anchor the offensive line. Right now we are down to 1 remaining returning starter, Drew Schaefer. Out of the five guys who started the first game against SDSU, we only have 2 healthy guys left. The biggest question is whether Colin Tanigawa or Erik Kohler will make it back or will miss the rest of the season. If Tanigawa elects to have surgery and Kohler elects to take a red shirt season to get his knee healthy, it will be a symbolic white flag that we are surrendering the season.

The defense's ability to stop the run: I've been rather impressed with the defense this season under Justin Wilcox. It hasn't been perfect, but it has been significantly better than past seasons. The defense played great against SDSU, then gave a valiant effort against LSU in Baton Rouge, and then dominated Portland State the way a Husky defense should. The question is can they stop a physical team like Stanford when you know they are going to run the ball and run it right down your throat. There is no question what Stanford's strategy will be, the only question is can we stop it? Here's hoping Danny Shelton's injury was minor.

The injury epidemic: We all know that football is a rough game, injuries will happen, but Husky players are going down faster than Oregon players getting in trouble with the law! At the rate we are currently going, we are going to need help from the Women's Volleyball team in order to put 11 players on the field during the Apple Cup. My only hope is that Sark is being coy and using his new injury policy to hide how quickly the players are getting healthy. I'd love to see James Johnson, Erik Kohler, Colin Tanigawa, and Ben Riva all play against Stanford. Back to reality . . .

The possible disconnect between the players and coaches: Crap happens. It's part of life. The question is how do you deal with adversity when it strikes. Right now the players are not handling it nearly as well as they need to. If you think I'm crazy and making stuff up, here are a few comments from John's Monday Morning Wash explaining his thoughts on the issue:

Sark is trying to get his teams attention. He is trying to wake them up to the reality of who they are and who they need to be over the next four weeks. This team isn't meshing together for some reason. The chemistry isn't right. They aren't playing well together. They make way too many stupid mistakes.

You start to get the feeling that there is some type of disconnect between the players and the coaches.

All coaches hit crossroads of adversity during their careers. How they handle and conquer that adversity determines how long they are going to be able to stay in the profession.

The good news is that Sark is trying to light a fire under his players, as seen during the pre-halftime "speech" he gave to the team before entering the locker room. The question remains, can Sark get through to the players?

Another embarrassing performance on national television: This is basically the "all of the above" answer. College football is a game of momentum, the more you have the better, but it once it starts to snow ball in the wrong direction it get's even harder to turn it around. Sark has been a master of the momentum game. The first two seasons ended on high notes, sending us into the off season with positive momentum. The third season ended with the defensive meltdown in the Alamo Bowl, yet Sark made huge coaching hires to turn the momentum in his favor. Right now the program seems to be losing its positive momentum. Can the program survive yet another highly embarrassing performance on a national stage?

Let's hear it Dawg fans, what is your biggest concern going into the game against Stanford?