clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Washington Football's Next Great Dynamic Duo - a UWDP Debate

New, 56 comments

Who do you think comprise the greatest one-two punch on Washington's roster?

Is Sidney Jones destined to become part of the next great Dynamic Duo in Washington Football?
Is Sidney Jones destined to become part of the next great Dynamic Duo in Washington Football?
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan and Pippen

Biscuits and Gravy

Tango and Cash

Crockett and Tubfs

Johnson and Johnson

Peanut Butter and Pickles

...OK.  Not Peanut Butter and Pickles.  That's only if you are pregnant and especially hungry.  Any-hoo..

Shelton and Kikaha

You get it?  We are talking about dynamic duos here.  When one player is great, he's great.  When paired with another great player, that is two great players.  When the two great players elevate each other instead of just being two great players side by side, that duo becomes dynamic.

Last season, the combo of DT Danny Shelton and Hau'oli Kikaha were unquestionably the Huskies "dynamic duo".  Great players individually, as each is now demonstrating as starters for their NFL teams, Shelton and Kikaha elevated the games of each other by both feeding off the energy and motivation that each provided the other and by creating tactical challenges for their opponent to contend with.

With the help of Kikaha, Danny Shelton put up ridiculous stats for an interior defensive lineman:  93 tackles, 16.5 TFLs, 9 sacks.  He translated that success into a first round NFL draft day selection and a reputation for being an excellent teammate to play alongside with.

Hau'oli Kikaha also scored big alongside Shelton.  Benefiting from the extra attention that Danny Shelton demanded, Kikaha led the nation in sacks with 19 while setting the all-time UW record in that category.  A player who was always known for his judo-champion hands and his tireless motor, many had perceived Kikaha as too "damaged" following a college career that included two ACL ruptures.  But Kikaha overcame those concerns with the aforementioned production and earned  himself a second-round draft pick and a role as an opening day starter for the New Orleans Saints.

When you look at the 2015 Huskies, a clear dynamic duo has yet to present themselves.  But I have some proposals for you to consider.  Take a look and place your vote in the poll below.  Alternatively, leave your own idea in the comments section.

1.  S Budda Baker and CB Sidney Jones

Budda Baker and Sidney Jones are the two best players on Washington's best positional unit.  Each has their own style, but each is tremendously effective and individually significant to the surging Washington defense.  But are they UW's best "dynamic duo" of the future?

The two players came to UW in different ways.  Sidney is the big guy who plays corner in a physical way with tremendous results.  He burst onto the scene for a Jimmy Lake secondary as the surprise replacement for star CB Marcus Peters and heir apparent to the departed Desmond Trufant.  Not from Seattle originally, the less-heralded 3-star recruit was a Chris Petersen flip after he decided to rescind his commitment from the University of Utah.

Baker came to UW as the more celebrated 5-star recruit.  Like Jones, he played extensively last year as a true freshman.  Also like Jones, he was a "flipped" commitment except that Baker decided to turn away from the more prestigous and celebrated program at Oregon to join the rebuild at his hometown school.  Baker is a more slightly built player whose game is all about closing speed, athleticism and play making.

Together the two players demonstrate the kind of commitment and work ethic that comprise the definition of "OKG", at least as far as the typical fan romanticizes about that notion.  There is little doubt that, even as true sophomores, each are upper echelon PAC 12 players.  But does each shine a little brighter thanks to the presence of the other?  That is the question before us in this debate.

2.  QB Jake Browning and TE Josh Perkins

Through two games, it is clear that TE Josh Perkins has becomes the safety blanket for QB Jake Browning.  It is not unusual for a QB to develop such a relationship with a sure-handed TE at either the college or pro levels of football.  But does this qualify as "dynamic duo" situation?

It very well could.

Browning's accuracy and his ability to make quick reads through his progression works to Perkins advantage in many ways.  First, Perkins is going to get more opportunities simply by the fact that Browning will get to him as an option more frequently than a QB that can't get past their first or second read.  Second,  his ability to deliver the ball quickly and in a catchable spot will create more catch opportunities for a TE that is often just a foot or two away from a defender that is ready to strike.

On the flip side, Perkins can elevate Browning's game.  Not only is the senior TE a big target with a large catch radius, but his sure hands ensure that more passes than not will be caught.  More caught passes result in better completion percentage and more TD passes.  The presence of a reliable relief valve also forces the defense to adjust and could create more big play opportunities for Browning to complete down field with other players.

3.  RB Dwayne Washington and RB Myles Gaskin

UW fans would love to have that one feature back.  The accomplishments of guys like Chris Polk and Bishop Sankey - not to mention some older players like Corey Dillon and Napolean Kaufman - have conditioned us to believe that if you don't have one stud RB, you don't have a rushing attack.

But contrast that bias with the situations that the best rushing teams in the land boast.  Last season, Oregon moved a 1,000 yard rusher to wide receiver so that they could create more carries for the duo of Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner.  ASU did the same thing when they moved DJ Foster to WR to make room for Demario Richard.  USC has been rotating ridiculous depth since the arrival of Steve Sarkisian.

The old combo of "thunder and lightning" is a great luxury to have and one that, when present, can give each half of such a platoon an additional advantage against a defense that doesn't always know what to expect.

D-Dubs and Gaskin are an interesting combination.  Washington is the big-back with outstanding straight-line speed who can hit a homerun if he can find the crease or get to the edge.  Gaskin, though just a true freshman, already shows very good vision, balance and ability to excel in a zone blocking scheme.  Could the combination of the two grow into a platoon that gives opposing defenses something extra to think about?  The potential is real.

4.  DT Elijah Qualls and DE Joe Mathis

Maybe this should be a "terrific trio".  Thanks in large part to the readiness of the Vita Vea / Greg Gaines platoon, Elijah Qualls has been able to take a number of snaps in the 3T role, often next to DE Joe Mathis.  The results have been terrific.

The combination of the two players has created a lot of extra pressure on opposing quarterbacks AND held up surprisingly well against the run.  After struggling a little bit in the 1st half of the Boise State game, these two defensive lineman have put on their hard hats and come to work.  Their defensive prowess has created space for the UW linebackers to pursue ball carriers and created opportunities for each player to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.  It's also contributed significantly to UW's six straight quarters of shutout defense.

If you've gotten this far, kudos to you.  My estimate is that about half (two-thirds?) of you have already moved on to the comments section.  If you are one of the few that have endured this far, thank you.  If you want to help me with a little social experiment, leave me a solitary "WOOF" in the comment section below.  At the very least, it'll befuddle those that have skipped this text.

Leave your opinion in our poll and join the discussion below.  I'm interested in who you think will follow in the footsteps of tandems like Pickett / Williams, Kaufman / Kennedy, Hobert / Bailey and Shelton / Kikaha.  Who do you think will be the next great "Dynamic Duo" of UW Football?