I love Mail Day. All Huskies love Mail Day. Right Joel McHale?
This week, Brad and Chris take on your plentiful questions and, uh, stimulating comments ... including one from an alleged distant relative of one of the UWDP bloggers.
This ought to be as much fun as a kick in the groin.
UWDP Mail Bag - Week 4
Many thanks for the great content. Congrats on increased audience & comments; time to ask SBN for a raise! 1. Love the cross blog features, and linking in interesting posts from other SBN blogs. 2. While I completely understand and support ads that support our free blog, the popups on the bottom of the screen overlap the speed reading buttons. 3. After we beat the Tree, where will the East Coast after party be? 4. It would be more convenient to have a permanent button somewhere on the front page for submitting mailbag questions. 5. BZ on recruiting OWW! 6. Many thanks for periodic recruiting updates. While I don't mind paying for (good quality) content, the recruiting sites are frenetic. 7. When will you get around to adding Lear to the Masthead? Best Regards,
UWDP: HuskyinExile, it's tough to deal with your continued negativity on this blog. Why can't you just be a little more positive for once? (I kid of course, HuskyinExile is probably the most positive force 'round these parts)
Thanks for the compliments. Anthony, Chris, Kirk, Ben, Ryan, etc. do a great job running this place. As for the formatting stuff, that's largely an issue with the Mother Ship I believe. Maybe one of them can answer better. As for recruiting, Anthony's twitter feed gives you almost as much as you'd pay for at the recruiting sites, and for half the price.
purple swarm & purple haze were aggressive defenses; can we expect a similar style during PAC 12 play? As for offense, CP used a lot of motion with Boise State, will we see a similar style with Washington?
UWDP: Realistically, the answer is probably not. Certainly not on the level of the 1984 defense, or the ones from the early 90's, and there are a few reasons.
First and foremost, the Huskies simply don't have the personnel to really pull it off right now. It takes an exceptional collection of athletes to execute that way, play after play. Whether you want to say it starts up front with a dominant line with an equally dominant secondary or the other way around is probably just semantics. But the fact is that with two true freshmen starting in the back end of the defense, the Huskies really aren't ready to play that way on an every-down basis.
Second, it's really not Pete Kwiatkowski's style. He's not afraid to attack on occasion, but over the course of his career as a defensive coordinator, he's shown to be much more selective when he does it. He's got a different risk/reward balance with what he wants to see from his defense.
Third, the game has changed to the point that "aggressive" is a relative term. I don't think you're ever going to see a defense that plays that way again. Offenses, particularly in the passing game, have become so sophisticated, and even the worst of them put an immense amount of pressure on a defense to be assignment sound. The best Husky defenses rarely played against more than three receivers. Now, four and five wideouts are common offensive sets.
As the secondary gains experience, Kwiatkowski will probably be more comfortable playing aggressively. But I think the number of times you're going to see more than five pass rushers will be extremely rare.
Offensively, the answer is probably yes. As Petersen has said, the team is still working mostly on the basic packages, and hasn't really gotten in to any of the wrinkles that we might end up seeing. But Petersen is a very smart offensive mind, and utilizing motion and formation is a fantastic way to create personnel mismatches.
Crazi just brought up a great point to me in this thread. I have never thought about this side of it before and he was almost successful in changing my mind completely. What is your take on the quick punt? I hate it, cannot stand it. I am of the old school mind set of a punter is a punter for a reason. Crazi brought up that the QB in that situation has options prior to punting. I think the punt is predetermined before hand and never really gave a second of thought to their being other options other than getting the opposing team to jump offsides or punting. How do you guys feel on this? I have not watched many Boise games but it was brought to my attention that this is a staple of Coach Pete, did the QB's at Boise have options? Have we ever seen anything other than a punt? Keep up the good work guys, go Dawgs!
UWDP: Thanks, Edward. Crazi, among others have laid out the case for the quick kick. And it's definitely something that Petersen did at Boise State, and will continue to do here. I don't actually know if the quarterback has the option to run a play, or if it's a coach's call from the sideline. My guess is the latter.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan. As you say, you have punters on your roster for a reason, and I'd rather my quarterback spend his time at practice working on being a quarterback than working on his pooch punt.
The biggest reason I'm not a huge fan is that I think coaches should simply be lining up and going for it on fourth down in that situation as opposed to ever punting. The math is there. On a 4th down and 3 or fewer yard, the best odds to score the most points are to go for it every time. Of course, there are situations that dictate a punt or even a long field goal. But coaches, statistically, are far too conservative. Look at it this way - the best outcome of the QB pooch kick is pinning the opponent inside his one yard line. The best outcome if going for it is picking up a first down. One guarantees you zero points. One gives you the chance to score. The most likely worst outcome of the kick is a touchback. The most likely worst outcome of going for it is giving your opponent the ball at, say, his own 40. There's very little difference in expected points for your opponent starting a drive from its own 20 versus its own 40.
Given the slower than expected start and a better understanding of the Pac 12 competition; what are your revised expectations for this team's wins and loses this year? To be considered successful, what does Coach P need to achieve this year?
UWDP: Good question, and one that's very difficult to answer right now. Beyond Oregon being really good, I'm not sure what we know about anybody in the Pac 12, including Washington. USC had a big win on the road against Stanford, but tripped all over themselves on the road the next week. UCLA has looked imminently beatable against poor and middling competition. ASU has a major injury issue at quarterback that could carry over a month or so. Arizona has put up tons of yards, but struggled to beat Texas-San Antonio and Nevada. Utah has a great offense. Cal is running the ball. I'm not sure anybody predicted what we've seen the first three weeks of the season. I'm not sure my expectations have actually changed; I don't see a reason for them to as of yet. The slow start is beginning to look more like a crescendo.
I don't think Husky fans will ever reach a consensus regarding "success" for 2014 barring a division championship. For some, it's beating Oregon. I don't personally put that much stock in a single game, but it'd be a nice win. I think this is a team that can win 6 games in the Pac 12. That's what I'd like to see.
The rushing attack doesn't seem to have the same crispness as a year ago. Obviously, no Bishop is an issue. But, has the scheme changed from Sark's approach to running the ball?
UWDP: The biggest single factor is the loss of Bishop Sankey. It's tough to replace a guy like him, especially when you've changed the entire coaching staff at the same time.
As far as the running scheme used, it was very similar in the first game to what Sarkisian utilized. Mostly zone blocking, where the running back flows in one direction and then looks for the cutback. Sankey was exceptional as a cutback runner. However, none of the current running backs really are. In the second half of the Hawaii game, and in the subsequent games against Eastern Washington and Illinois, there's been a shift to more of a power running scheme, where the back hits a designated hole. Even the zone blocking we've seen is more of a power zone than designed for the cutback. All of the backs on the roster have looked more effective with this blocking scheme.
Besides Joesph Wicker and Benning Potoae do the Huskies have a chance at guys like Stanley Norman, Dechaun Holiday, Canton Kaumautale, Porter Gustin, Jaylin Hawkins and Lavan Alston? Still think UW needs to have a big presence in southern california to be compeitive. Can UW flip Austin Joyner back? is the recruitment for Jacob Eason over? Any chance he flips?
UWDP: Paging Anthony Cassino and Kirk DeGrasse....
Is it fair to say that Petersen acts more knowledgable about the total game than Sark. It seems that Sark was more of the offensive guy with no involvement on defense whereas Perersen seems to be more involved in all aspects. Any thoughts ?
UWDP: Do I think Chris Petersen is a better football coach than Steve Sarkisian? Yes. But the reality is that Chris Petersen has made similar comments as Sarkisian about the defense - to the effect of "Well, you'll have to talk to Coach Kwiatkowski about that." If I had to guess, and that's all it would actually be - Petersen has his stamp on the defense (and most definitely special teams) more than Sarkisian ever did. But I think the notion that Sarkisian didn't understand defense or had absolutely zero involvement is likely false.
What are we to make of Criste's almost complete lack of playing time??
UWDP: There's probably a few ways to look at this. Under Sarkisian and Dan Cozzetto, quicker, more athletic linemen were preferred. That meant that James Atoe was the odd man out, regardless of his skill. Under Petersen and Chris Strausser, larger linemen are preferred at the expense of athleticism. If Tanigawa is simply a better center than Mike Criste, and Criste isn't as powerful as Atoe, then Criste becomes the odd man out. It's worth noting that the Tanigawa-to-center is new to this season; the previous staff experiment with him there as well. And Tanigawa, when healthy, has always been one of, if not the best, interior lineman on the roster. Probably the simplest way to look at this is that Petersen is putting his best five on the field.
Chris- It would appear you are really grasping at straws with the ʺDucks have failed to establish a 100 yard rusher in a gameʺ comment, wouldn't it? The Ducks don't need to have a feature back, considering the wealth of talent they possess in the backfield. Marshall, Tyner, and Freeman have been seamlessly interchangeable, with all three seeing time in the role of slot back as well (running routes). This isn't your Uncle's football we are talking here, Chris. If anything, that lack of predictability out of the backfield is a strategic advantage, as well as it is a privilege. The Ducks' ʺlackʺ of a running game has less to do with the RB talent and attrition on the offensive line (as you claimed), and more to do with the fact that the Ducks are extremely balanced offensively. We are recruiting better receivers than in years past, and have the Heisman front-runner and future #1 NFL draft pick commandeering our O. Why wouldn't we utilize the passing game more-so now than in years prior? But, I guess as top ʺDawgʺ here at the 'Pound, you have to find anything you can to give the Husky-faithful some glimmer of hope, am I right? I mean, you guys haven't had a 10-win season since what, the year 2000? That's nearly 15 years, Chris. Fifteen. YEARS!
UWDP: Here, James!
Now roll over.
GOOD BOY! Now come get your treat. Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? James is a good boy!