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Mailbag - Jonathan Smith is Obviously the Anti-Christ Edition

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I have a really bad cold, so I'm going to type quietly in order to save my voice for Saturday.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

First up is your dose of useless facts.

Most American car horns honk in the key of F.

Barbie - of Barbie Doll fame - her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

Studies show that a cat that falls from the 7th floor of a building has about a 30% less chance of surviving than one that falls from the 20th floor.  Supposedly, it takes approximately eight floors for the cat to realize what is happening, relax, and correct itself.

More people are killed annually by donkeys than airplane crashes.

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks.  Otherwise, it will digest itself.

"Stewardesses" is the longest word typed only with the left hand.

A pig's orgasm lasts for 30 minutes.

The word "samba" means "to rub navels together."

To escape a crocodile's jaws, push your thumb into it's eyeball.  It will let you go instantly.

In 1912, a law was passed in Nebraska requiring drivers in the countryside at night to stop every 150 yards, send up a signal flare, wait eight minutes for the road to clear (not seven, not nine) and proceed cautiously while blowing their horns.

The typical Jonathan Smith consumes approximatey eleven kitten hearts in the average week.

TO THE QUESTIONS!!!!

Jim/Issaquah:

The offense play calls reminds me of last year. Very vanilla with no imagination. I hope this isn't going to be the same story lie last year. If so maybe we should start looking for a new OC now

Fry-n-pan:

How do we get the coogs to fire Leach now and hire Jonathan Smith?

HUSKY57:

How many games this year will the coaching staff lose??? Last year it was 2 or 3. This year they are 1 for 1 in losing games.

flogdog:

To coach Pete. At what point do you concede poor coaching as the source of the problems for lack of offensive production last year and the first game this year? What could possibly be the reason for the inability to consistently run the ball

Why not get the quarterback under center to create some misdirection and quick handoff to running backs? The backs never seem to be running down hill

Flyman2:

Where do you rank Jonathan Smith among OCs in Washington? I think definitely under EWU and WSU; maybe also under Bellevue's?

(no name):

Let's say, hypothetically, that Jonathan Smith gets axed at the end of the season. Who should UW target as a replacement?

DawgGirl05:

What are the odds/how soon/PLEASE GET RID OF JONATHAN SMITH. After last year, I could see the idea of 'wait and see, give him one more year' but after that game? Noooope. Goodwill gone. He needs to go. Especially because Jake looks special and he deserves the best.

(email address):

when are we going to get a decent o-cordinator, the play calling is rediculous

artmit:

Why oh why do we keep putting QB in the game and telegraph what the play call is, we did it last year, we're doing it this year, it is absolutely useless

Randy:

Why are the Huskies so timid on offence?

Andrew M Smith:

Pretend you are Jonathan Smith's manager, and you have decided that his job performance is not meeting expectations, as many Husky fans feel. So you are going to put him on a "performance improvement plan". What goals would you put into the plan?

Doesn't Have Ocho Cinco &Housh 2 Make Him Look Good:

It was obvious last year that Jonathan Smith just doesn't cut it as an FBS offensive coordinator. But it was easy for people to blame Cyler's lack of arm strength etc on the questionable play calling. Yes Browning showed he's a true frosh at times but he looks like a legitimate pac 12 QB. So it makes it even more painful to watch Smith call screen after screen and run when they should pass vice versa. 3rd and 1 anyone? 45 screens? So I'm hoping you can tell me what the chances are that Peterson fires him. And while that notion will be easy to write off as irrational to me it's the obvious choice. And if he is too proud to fire him would he AT LEAST consider moving Pease to O.C. and demoting Smith to strictly a QB coach? Pease's success as the O.C. at Florida can be questioned but if Muschamp thought he was good enough then he'd deserve a shot here. We have a great in house solution that wouldn't impact cohesion at the top. I'm telling you Smith is going to end up having a negative impact on offensive recruiting.

Darin Johnson:

Will you sign my online petition to have Jonathan Smith fired?

UWDP: And there were more, believe it or not.  It's like a theme has developed for Husky fans....

I'm stuck in the position of coming across as defending Jonathan Smith.  I don't like it, because I'm really not a "fan" of his by any stretch.  I don't think he's great, I think the Huskies could do better, and I think he deserves blame for the performance of the offense.  But I don't know how much.  And in my opinion, anybody that believes they do needs to come strong around here with something other than a results-based analysis, because you're going to miss a bad process that comes up with good results the same way you're going to miss a good process that produces bad results.

One thing I really liked about GeddyT's most excellent fanshot on the offensive woes was this:

In the aftermath of what ended up being a thoroughly entertaining and gritty comeback loss, there's been a lot of blame thrown around the Pound when it comes to the offensive... offensiveness. Depending on who you ask, Jonathan Smith (and sometimes, by extension, Coach Pete himself) couldn't pass Vernon Adams' math final, Dwayne Washington couldn't break through a wet paper bag if he didn't run into his lineman's ass first and miss it completely, the offensive line are better at cultivating mullets than run-blocking, and the receivers just "can't get open" (whatever that means).

I was firmly in one of the above camps until re-watching the game and paying a little bit better attention, but, in this game at least, it would appear the failures can't be blamed on a single cause. What's clear from Friday night's performance is that the offense CAN do some things well, but it struggles to generate explosive plays or get into any kind of rhythm. Isolated plays for positive yardage do not net points; you have to be able to string plays together or be explosive to hit pay dirt.

I apologize if I'm putting words into your mouth here, Geddy, but it seems to me that a guy with something of a preconceived notion of what the problem was with the offense actually took the time to objectively test his hypothesis, and came away a different conclusion.  I commend that.  And I largely agree with most of his takeaways.

I hate the notion that what we saw last Friday is somehow a continuation of what we witnessed in 2014.  Here's a complete list of the offensive players against Boise State that started all or most of the season based on merit (and not injury):

Jaydon Mickens

Dwayne Washington

Josh Perkins

That's it.

Here's a list of the true sophomores or younger that started or played most of the game on Friday:

Jake Browning

Dante Pettis

Brayden Lenius

Coleman Shelton

Matt James

Kaleb McGary

Add in the newbs like Myles Gaskin, Chico McClatcher, and Drew Sample plus mostly new starters in the upper classes like Siosifa Tufunga, Jake Eldrenkamp and Shane Brostek, and this is almost entirely a new team in 2015.  One that is young, and inexperienced.

I'm not making excuses.  Objectively, the performance was poor.  But the notion that the blame lies precisely one place is simply false.  There are a ton of moving parts.  All of them, sometimes in groups, contributed to the offensive failings in Boise.

You know who didn't hold up their weight in the running game?  Everybody.  But I haven't seen Chris Strausser's name mentioned even once.  Even though the tight ends didn't block very well, Jordan Poapoa's name hasn't been brought up.  And other than a potential promotion in one of the questions above, Brett Pease is somehow blameless for the receivers' performance....

We're shareholders in this whole thing.  Our one point of contact is Chris Petersen.  He's hired the staff.  He's retained the staff.  He's got the muti-million dollar guaranteed contract.  Fix the offense, Coach.

Everyone is entitled to whatever opinion they want of Jonathan Smith.  I really don't care.  But we're heading for a redux of 2012 with Nick Holt around here, and it bogs this place down.  It gets really boring.  If anyone wants to produce a fanpost like GeddyT did that can tie all of the offensive failings singularly onto Jonathon Smith, I'd love to read it.  But if you can't do that, we're all going to be better off if we at least acknowledge that we don't actually know the extent of the problem that is Jonathan Smith, and how much is youth, how much is other position coaches, how much of it is talent, and how much of it is actually Chris Petersen.  Because we don't.  We just don't.

Darin, has your petition hit change.org yet?

dawgstar76:
What are the top three priorities for getting the run game going - in order of importance?

UWDP: Good question.  My top three would be:

1.  Get the offensive line technically and assignment-sound.  As my brother pointed out to me, there were too many times that a linebacker would blitz or shoot a gap, and the guard and tackle would still be double-teaming the defensive tackle.  Somebody just didn't recognize on the fly that his job was changing.  And the line really never got to the second level the entire game; even when they'd handle the man in front of them, nobody got off that initial block to take out the guy that ultimately prevented what could've been a much bigger play.  These guys aren't going suddenly become redshirt seniors during the course of the season, but becoming more proficient technically is really going to help the running backs.

2.  Better blocking from the tight ends.  The Huskies ran out of a lot of jumbo-type sets with multiple tight ends, and none of them did a particularly good job of securing the edge.  They've shown better in the past.

3.  The jump cut.  It's probably not ever going to be Dwayne Washington's strength, but it's the move that's going to open up the most real estate for him if he's able to get himself to change direction at the line of scrimmage even just a little bit.  Gaskin is probably already better at it, and as the season wears on, he could very well find himself with more touches because of it.  The running backs need to hit that cut back.

(Yes, obviously improvement in the passing game helps as well.  JONATHAN SMITH!!!!)

JayDawg:
How do the Dawgs intend to slow down a Sac State offense that put up 41 points on a tenacious, dominating yet somehow still underrated Eastern Oregon defense that has absolutely crushed Ashland Tech and Northwest Southern Ashland State in recent exhibition competition? Do we believe that the Dawgs anemic offense will be able to cross midfield against a Hornet team that is undefeated, tied for first place nationally (Alabama and Northwestern also boasting undefeated records), ,and squarely in the conversation for a berth in the National Championship playoffs?

UWDP: I don't think that anyone actually expects that the Huskies are going to be able to shut down the Hornets for the entire game.  And yes, yards are going to be difficult to come by against that defense.  The key is going to be to minimize the explosive plays from Sac State (our 52nd state, right after Boise State), and keep Jake Browning healthy.

Lord Farquar:
Feeney looks a little to long and lanky to play Buck? Can't get low enough to beat an offensive tackle around the edge and to small to power through him. Is there any chance Mathis can play buck and subsequently move Dissly along the defensive line? I just don't like seeing two OLB in Feeney and Littleton on the edges getting owned by offensive lineman. To easy to get pushed off the LOS with sub 230 OLB's. Am I wrong here?

UWDP: Travis Feeney looks long and lanky no matter what position you play him.  But yeah, I agree to an extent.  I was a little surprised to hear that he's was moving there; I really expected Jojo Mathis to take that position.

And if the Huskies were trying to replicate Hauo'li Kikaha, that's probably what they would've done.  But the thing about a position like Buck - it's really just a code for putting a good football player in a position to make plays.  Feeney brings a lot of speed to the position as a pass rusher, and if he can develop a good counter to that speed rush, he could end up generating a lot of sacks.  And having him that close to the ball is going to allow him to really get after the run game.  I don't think he had a great game on Friday, but I think that the coaches are going to find unique ways to deploy him as the season goes on.

As to the times when the Huskies rushed both he and Corey Littleton off the edges, that was their nickel package, with two down linemen, four linebackers, and five defensive backs.  And really, it was pretty stout against the rush.

LovemyHuskies:
Less of a question than a comment---I was very pleased with the way the Huskies bounced back in the second half against Boise. Our very young D stepped up in the second half, and I think by the time we play Cal this will be a much, much better team.

UWDP: Me too, and I agree.  For all of the angst about losing six of the starters on the front seven, the defense stepped up and played really well.  And they did it with lots of guys getting lots of reps on Friday.  The substituting might have been a little too liberal in the first half - I'm not really a fan of seeing all of the backup linebackers in there at one time for a whole series - but I think you can make the case there's some legitimate depth in the front of the defense.  And that's going to allow some guys to emerge as playmakers.

PawsDawg1:
Running game: What happened to the "shortest distance between two points"? Except for QB draw or scramble it appeared all attempts at running the ball were outside tackles? My experience over 60+ years... young offensive line has better odds of opening a seam on quick hitters up the gut against an experienced line/linebackers than off tackle or outside end. Comment?

UWDP: Yes, there were a number of designed runs to the outside, especially with the true freshmen Gaskins and McClatcher back there.  I think the coaching staff felt like they had a speed advantage with those guys.  But with Washington (and Gaskins, really), I think a lot of what we saw was a back either having to deal with a defender in the backfield and being forced to bounce the play outside, or the backs misreading the hole.  I don't really think the running game worked as designed.  Give credit to Boise State for playing good football.  But I think the running game will improve as the season wears on and the line gets a little more seasoning.

JerDawg:
Nervous about FCS games when we are so green. What do you think the trickiest match-up will be next week against Sac St?

UWDP: I think it's going to be the Huskies versus the Huskies.  Playing this game is really a no win proposition outside of the financials.  So, the question for me is do the Huskies spend Saturday shoring up the running game by letting the line and the backs pound away at a physically overmatched opponent, or do they try to make it a Jake Browning showcase and let the true freshman have his first real taste of success?

I hate playing these games.  They're a negative opportunity.  The only way they're beneficial for the team is if it's 35-0 midway through the second quarter and the backups play out the string.  There are just too many ways to look bad, and there's the chance of someone getting hurt.  Blech.

rpeery:
How good is the Pac-12 this year? WSU loses to Portland state. Stanford scores 6 points and losses. Oregon gives up 42. ASU oilne looks terrible in loss to Texas A&M...Only UCLA seemed to excel against a good opponent. Is this a down year in the Pac?

UWDP: Add in Arizona struggling against Texas San Antonio.

Outside of the unthinkable - a loss to an FCS team at home by WSU - I'm probably as surprised by the fact that Oregon gave up 42 points at home as any of those results.  I didn't think there was any way Eastern would be that effective on offense.

I obviously thought Stanford was going to win, but on the other hand I think Kevin Hogan is an overrated quarterback and David Shaw is frequently his own worst enemy (and not that great a coach), but most importantly that Stanford is going to start regressing to its mean as it gets further away from the Harbaugh Effect.  I think Texas A&M might have been a little undervalued heading in to the season; there was always talent on the defensive side of the ball, even if it don't show up.  They had a pretty major coaching upgrade there in the offseason.

UCLA finished strong, but I certainly wouldn't call Virginia a good opponent - the Cavs have only had one winning season since 2008.

I'm not sure how much to read into a single week.  But the North in particular was pretty bad.  Let's see what happens in East Lansing Saturday....

Ben Nice:
Why is the Huskies live mascot an Alaskan Malamute and not an actual Husky? (serious question)

UWDP: Because "Husky" isn't an actual breed, it's a generic name for any of several breeds of sled dogs including the Malamute, the Samoyed, the Chinook, the Alusky, the Greenland, and the Kugsha, among others.

Not quite a useless fact, but close.

Rhaego:
After watching the BSU game, do you feel more or less optimistic about this season?

UWDP: It took a couple of emails with my brother to actually figure out how I felt about this question, and I finally decided that I'm more optimistic than I was heading in.  There are two main reasons.

1.  The defense is good.  It could actually end up being more efficient than it was last year, when it was really only mediocre despite the presence of a lot of individual talent.

2.  I think much of what we saw on offense on Friday is imminently correctable without waiting for guys to get older or a new batch of recruits to enter the program.

I really, really want to skip this game on Saturday, and get to the Utah State one on the 19th.

Grad and Dad:

This is my first full cycle on the pound, and my first experience with the live game threads. I'm going to swallow real hard now and ask this: I was absolutely appaulded by the venum, vitriol and snark displayed by a great many of posters during the game including at least one mod. Why? My question is why? Are we not dawg fans? Do we not want the best for our team? Does not our community want thoughtful and reasoned debate about such things as how we can best improve the offense, for example? How do inane and the worst kind of hyperbolic comments contribute to the debate? What we got was a kind of feeding frenzy to see who could say the most insulting things. And no, I'm no Pollyanna. And yes, I know that there will always be a few nuckleheads (or trolls) out there. So why? Help a relatively new pound member out here.

UWDP: I've never participated in a game thread, or actually even read one, but I can imagine what they might be like.  I think there's two reasons.  One, there's going to be a lot more emotion involved, and the results on Friday were mostly not good.  Two, I'd wager any single one of the posters there could provide a reasoned, balanced debate,  But when you get that sort of negative emotion coupled with "people" it's going to be a pack mentality.  And not in a good way.

When the game is on, I'd much rather watch than spend my time typing on a computer.  And there's an article that comes up almost right after the game ends ("Instant Reactions").  For me, that's a much better time and place to come here to talk about things.  It seems that lots of people like the game threads.  I'm not one, and it sounds like you really aren't, either.

Thanks for all the questions, and if you've got a burning one that didn't get answered this week, feel free to resubmit for next week.

Gooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Huskiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeesssssssss!!!!