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Mailbag: “Just Plain Mailbag” Edition

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Washington v Oregon Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Just plain useless facts.

  • A 1915 study by the University of Chicago concluded that the color most easily spotted at a distance is yellow, which is the original reason taxis were yellow.
  • Japanese police used to categorize murders they could not solve as suicides, both to save face and to keep the crime rate artificially low.
  • In 1994, the United States Air Force began work on a non-lethal bomb that would release human pheromones on enemies, causing them to become attracted to one another.
  • There are approximately 1,600 people in the U.S. named “Seven.”
  • The water we drink is older than the sun, which is approximately 4.6 billion years old.
  • About 40% of the people in the U.S. believe dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time.
  • If two identical twins have children with another set of identical twins, the resultant children will genetically be full siblings.
  • Nobody is exactly sure who named our planet “Earth.”
  • In China, killing a Panda bear is punishable by death.
  • Approximately 33% of men and 43% of women claim to have fallen in love with someone they initially found unattractive.
  • December 4th is National Cookie Day.
  • Beards can slow the aging process by trapping water in the skin, thus keeping it moisturized.
  • The number of H2O molecules in 10 drops of water is roughly equal to the number of stars in the universe.
  • Octopuses have copper-based blood instead of iron-based blood. This makes their blood blue instead of red. Octopuses also have three hearts and nine brains.
  • The hormones responsible for human growth are only produced during sleep cycles.
  • Dogs have around 100 different facial expressions.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto - creator of “Super Mario Bros” and “Donkey Kong” - isn’t allowed to bike to work because his safety is deemed too important to Nintendo.
  • Each year, people lose approximately 1.73 billion bobby pins.
  • Dolphins give each other “names” - specific sounds they use to call to family and friends.
  • The average woman will spend one year of her life deciding what to wear.
  • 100 million years ago, crocodiles had long legs and would gallop after their prey.
  • The real Top Gun school gives a $5 fine to any staff member that quotes the movie.

Questions. Lots of them.

Bentheanalyst:

Is the PAC-12 as bad as people are saying? UCLA nearly beat Texas A&M at the beginning of the season. It could hurt Washington's playoff hopes with this perception.

2003husky:

If we win out the regular season....what is your prediction of # of teams we played finishing in the final top 25? Who and how high?

UWDP: Part of the problem with the Pac-12 is that it looks volatile, with Stanford out of the top 25 after starting in the top 10, Oregon sitting at 2-4, USC with three losses, a team in Colorado leading the South after being predicted at the bottom, etc. When “traditional powers” are down, the perception is weakness to a lot of fans (and members of the media).

The Pac-12 isn’t “great” this year. There wasn’t a big win out of the conference by anybody, and there were some bad losses. Washington is really the only team at the top, and the bakery-esque schedule the Huskies have played is further fuel (to some people) to doubt the strength of the conference as a whole.

And realistically, the conference isn’t strong at the top as things stand today. It is in the middle, but that fact is lost on people that don’t follow Pac-12 football as closely as fans of Pac-12 teams do.

There’s a lot of football left to be played, though, and with each passing Saturday, a national picture of parity is starting to emerge. The grind of the season is really just starting. The upsets that shape the conference races and the playoffs will start to happen on a weekly basis. Right now, there could potentially be seven undefeated teams at the conclusion of the 2016 season. I’d put the over/under at 1.5. I think the Pac-12 will finish the regular season with three ranked teams.

Patently Purple:

Washington absolute throttled a terrible team on the road, as a good team should expect to do. Now that we've wrapped up the first half of the season, where does this Washington team need to focus on improving?

UWDP: With a team that’s playing as effectively as the Huskies are right now on both sides of the ball, it gets down to picking nits.

The kicking game hasn’t been especially great, especially punting. Regardless of what you think about the rugby-style kicking of Tristan Vizcaino, it’s not netting a ton of yards. It seems likely that the Huskies will have a punt blocked (but it also seems likely that they’ll get an extra set of downs on a “roughing the kicker” call). Cameron Van Winkle’s percentage on field goals isn’t great, but I’m not terribly worried about that at this point. It’s also worth pointing out that the 1991 team missed something like 7 PATs on the season. It didn’t really seem to slow them down too much.

On defense, teams have had success against the Huskies when they’ve been able to get Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria into man coverage. But doing so isn’t exactly a given. Picking nits, like I said.

Offensively, my memory may be faulty, but I seem to remember the rushing attack being more effective utilizing the zone rushing schemes last season, and the power attack was more the “counter” play to it. This year, virtually every big play in the run game has come out of power, and the only game the zone attack had any real success was with Myles Gaskin against Stanford.

Jake Browning’s passer rating is over 200 throwing to John Ross, Dante Pettis, and Chico McClatcher. It’s down below 150 throwing to everybody else. A fourth and fifth (and sixth, and seventh) option emerging would be great. And improving the depth on the offensive line.

Yeah, picking nits...

LandingDawg:

Was the 400+ yards by *ucks offense a product of being up big and subbing in backups? Or something to worry about?

UWDP: Oregon’s offense is really good (5th in the country by S&P+). That’s the biggest reason. They have an especially good rushing attack.

The Ducks put up a lot of yards (well, quite a few, but still around a hundred yards fewer than their season average, even including the Washington game), but not very many points. The Huskies’ bend-but-don’t-break defense bent (a little) but didn’t actually break. The Ducks needed to gain about 20 yards per point. That’s not good.

MS4Dawg:

Which position group has been the biggest positive surprise this year? QB (i.e. "really good Jake" vs. "out of this world Jake") vs. O-line vs. receivers vs. outside backers?

UWDP: They’ve all been very pleasant surprises.

The offensive line has started to take that “next step” in their development. I’m not actually surprised by what they’ve done.

Jake Browning has been out-of-this-world good. I expected him to be significantly better, but not this much better. I’m surprised, but slightly tempered because he’s going to face stiffer competition, and he’s gotten away with some plays in each game that have kept his number of interceptions low (maybe artificially so).

The outside linebackers, who are actually defensive ends in the Huskies’ nickel package, have done well—Jojo Mathis especially. Psalm Wooching has held up very well at the point of attack, and has been a good pass rusher, but he still has room to improve playing in space.

I didn’t expect John Ross to be this good, this soon. More than just his speed, he’s shown a lot of polish as a receiver. Dante Pettis has emerged as well; he’s benefiting from the attention paid to Ross, but he’s shown great development as a route runner, especially in his post-snap reads. He and Browning have developed a great connection. Chico McClatcher is simply a big play waiting to happen. The coaches have found new ways each week to let him be a playmaker. Aaron Fuller and Andre Baccellia in particular are becoming “trusted” newcomers to this group. But maybe as important as their development in the passing game, there’s a new-found willingness and ability to block for each other, as well as the backs in the running game.

HuskyInExile:

Over & under on amount of raise included in Coach Pete's extension after this season?

UWDP: Washington extended Chris Petersen through the 2020 season toward the end of last year. He’s making $3.6 million in base salary this season, and that number increases to $4 million in 2019 and 2020. While that number is tremendous, it puts him someplace around 20-25th overall in college football.

I’d guess that he and the UW Athletic Department will begin working on his next extension at the end of this season. The Huskies aren’t going to make Petersen the highest-paid coach by any stretch (that’s Nick Saban, at $7.7 million), but I’d wager that Petersen will be making around $4.5 million at the end of his next deal.

LandingDawg:

Does the apple cup become the biggest test for the Dawgs or does the trip to Utah still loom as the biggest potential test, or a combination of the two games?

HappyDawg:

What game are you most worried about the rest of way?

Godawgs17:

What games should we have the most concern about going forward now that the "gauntlet" of our schedule is done with?

Ducks for dinner:

When does it start becoming more likely than not that uw will win out, after Utah? Are the superstition gnomes going to get me for asking that?

SeattleHusky:

Toughest game left on the schedule? I'm between @Utah and @WSU.

Lstarbuck:

Alright, we are perfect through the first half of the season. We get a week to regroup and prepare for the second half. Who are we going to lose to if it is going to happen? Most likely home loss is USC, agree or disagree? Most likely road loss is Utah it seems, but is the second most likely loss to cal or is it WSU? I think we just might pull out a perfect 12-0!

So-Cal Dawg:

So the way we are playing currently - really controlling the lines of scrimmage - who on the schedule poses the biggest threats to losing games? It it physical Utah? Is it SC's talent? ASU or WSU? Man, the Apple Cup might be madness this year.

Ozdawg:

Ok, b/c I can never stop worrying about the next fall. Which team is the most likely road bump? I say USC as they may have a chip on their shoulder after last year and they will be the most talented team we play.

The Real Rhaego:

Of the Pac12 South foes that we play this season, who worries you the most?

Benno:

Coming into the season, Stanford and Oregon were going to be the tests for this team. 114-27 tells me we passed with flying colors (regardless of how good those two teams were). The remaining hurdles are obviously Utah, USC and WSU. How would you rank them in order of difficulty? While I don't want to discount Cal, ASU and OSU, I just don't see them up there with the other three.

UWDP: Things have certainly changed in the Pac 12 landscape since September.

USC looks to be finding its stride. The Trojans still have great talent on their roster. That looks like the toughest game left on the home schedule. I think Utah is a marginally better team than WSU, but the Apple Cup looks to be the toughest road test left, and there could be a ton on the line for the Huskies in that game—and for WSU as well. Defensively, I think the Huskies match up well with everybody in the conference. For Utah to have a one-off, highly productive offensive day, it’s going to take a number of people playing well all at the same time. For the Cuogs, it could just be a matter of one particular player having an exceptional game (namely, a healthy Luke Falk).

Cal is looking trappier and trappier by the day.

Denver Dawg:

Is it too early to start talking about the playoffs? It's too early, isn't it?

mattdkeene:

Do the Huskies really control their own destiny? Or do we need help, like either Ohio St or Michigan getting blown out by the other?

duckeater69:

Now that our playoff hopes are looking more and more real, can this team lose again and still make it into the final 4? It seems losses earlier in the year are more favorable than those late in the year (recency bias). Thoughts?

UWDP: Yes, it’s too early to start talking playoffs. We’re halfway through the season, and even though the Huskies have played (and won) what appeared to be their two marquee games already, the second half is a lot tougher than the first.

If the Huskies win out, including the Pac-12 championship game, they’re going to make the playoffs. I’ll guarantee that. If they lose one game, the odds drop waaaaaaay down, and it’ll come down to when that loss occurred, and how much the rest of the world cannibalizes itself. In the end, there could very well be only one, or even zero, teams without a loss, and the Huskies are going to have to put their résumé up against one-loss teams that have better résumés. In the end, I think they’d get left out.

HuskyInExile:

Who is next Coordinator or assistant to be hired away?

RunningFaster:

I realize we're at mid-season, and I'm probably getting ahead of myself with this question. However, with all the hot seats at big-name programs, which of our current stable of coaches should we be most concerned about being lured away? Could Coach Lake get offered a DC job at Oregon, for example? With Coach Hamdan's success with the WRs, any chance someone might go after him? And what about Socha--with the incredible job he's done turning our players into dominant beasts...is there a program that might lure him away? For the record, the coaches I'm least concerned about leaving right now are Coach Gregory, Coach K, Coach Malloe, and Coach Strausser. Good as the running backs are, I don't see someone going after Coach Bhonapha for an OC position. I don't really see Coach Smith leaving us yet, but a few more years of similar success, he could get a call. What are your thoughts?

UWDP: That Jimmy Lake was given a raise and promotion (even if in name only) suggests Petersen recognizes his value. Lake is young, he’s a dynamic recruiter, and he’s gotten tremendous results with the Huskies’ secondary. I think he’s in line for a solo defensive coordinator position at a relatively big-name school, and I bet it comes as soon as this offseason.

Ikaika Malloe will likely be the next name on that list due to his age, his ability to recruit, and the fact that he’s been successful at two stops now. His body of work isn’t quite as impressive as Lake’s so he may be a year or two away. Bob Gregory may like a chance to coordinate a defense again, but he’s had more mixed results in that regard. I doubt Pete Kwiatkowski leaves for another defensive coordinator position; he might move on if offered a head coaching job, but that is seeming less likely each year.

Bush Hamdan changed his career track by taking the Quality Control job at the UW a couple of years ago. It seems to me that he’s now the new project of Chris Petersen: the guy that’s being groomed in much the same way that Bryan Harsin and Jonathan Smith were. I don’t think Hamdan leaves to go back to a smaller school, and I think it’s likely he’s next in line at Washington if Jonathan Smith leaves.

WeBeatOregon:

Has these two marquee wins helped on the recruiting trail? or Will it?

Ozdawg:

Any word on how the past few games (our wins and Stanford and Ducks losses) have impacted some of our remaining recruit targets? I know Molden was at Eugene for that game and Foster S saw the beat down of the Tree live.

UWDP: The wins are obviously great, and they certainly help with targets for the class of 2017, but recruiting is a multi-year thing. These wins have a much greater impact on the classes of 2018 and beyond than this cycle.

It’s certainly fun for Oregon to host a bunch of big-name recruits—guys that the UW is also targeting—and turn the game into an unofficial Washington recruiting trip.

(anonymous):

what do you think the new receivers coach is doing that the old one didn't do? Or is QB getting better most of it?

UWDP: Bush Hamdan certainly deserves credit for the improvement of the receivers in 2016, but I think at least as much is due to the fact that John Ross is healthy and a more complete receiver than most expected. Also, the young guys (like Pettis and McClatcher) are a year older, and the Browning-led offense is able to do whatever it wants because it’s playing from ahead nearly every minute of every game, and is supremely confident right now.

Hamdan is eliciting performance, which is the ultimate goal of any coach. Players are doing what he’s asking them to do. I don’t think his message is actually different than Pease’s was, but what Hamdan is doing is working.

Yoney:

Did Lenius see the field Saturday? I read your answer on last week, but still, a 6'5" proven receiver is appealing, especially as a blocker and on fades.

Dravland10:

After his 3 game suspension is Braydon Lenius being redshirt for the rest of this season or did he really get catch Pete that made at him

UWDP: Brayden Lenius started most of 2015, but wasn’t a consistent threat at receiver. He made some plays, sure, but it’s tough to say how much of that was due to his ability, and how much was simply due to opportunity. I’d hesitate to call him “proven.” He has potential, no doubt, but he was no more established coming into this season than anybody else on the roster.

At this point, the question I keep asking myself is, “Who do I want to see less of in order to get a guy that screwed up right before the season began onto the field? Ross? Pettis? No, and no. McClatcher? No. Baccellia or Fuller? I suppose, but it’s not as clear-cut as it probably should be.”

Lenius hasn’t played all that much football in his life. He has enticing meaureables, but he’s got a lot of work to do to really be a “refined” receiver. In short, he’s a guy that needed a redshirt at the beginning of his career, but wasn’t afforded one. With as much time as he’s missed, giving him one now could be very beneficial down the road.

MS4Dawg:

If other Pac12 teams were allowed to raid the Huskies and pick any one player - not including JakeB - who would they each steal?

UWDP: Every team in the conference would take Elijah Qualls, Azeem Victor, Budda Baker, or Sidney Jones. Every. Last. One. Most would take Keishawn Bierria, Kevin King, Greg Gaines, Jojo McIntosh, or Jojo Mathis. Utah, who recently tried to recruit me to play center, would certainly want Coleman Shelton. John Ross would be the best receiver on most teams. Dante Pettis would be a huge addition on the Palouse.

Myles Gaskin at Stanford? Or Arizona? Or just about any team outside of Oregon or USC?

Ducks for dinner:

Is uw that good, or are Oregon and Stanford not that good? Is way good?

Gil:

As giddy as I am about how UW totally destroyed Stanford & UO, how nervous should I be that neither team was very good to begin with? As good as we've looked, what are the odds we've just been feasting on inferior competition and will struggle when we play someone, you know, actually good?

UWDP: Stanford didn’t have the depth to lose both starting cornerbacks at the same time, then play two effective passing teams. The Cardinal aren’t what they were last year by any stretch, but they’re better than the results of those two games.

Oregon’s defense is bad on an epic scale, and that’s a program that is on the verge of implosion. They aren’t untalented per se, but they are in the conversation of all programs around the country getting the least from the most right now.

Washington is good, but it’s highly unlikely they’re going to continue to beat teams 45-14 (even the 1991 team didn’t do that). They will be challenged, and they’re going to struggle. What remains to be seen is how well they’re able to do when they play a reasonably good team, but don’t bring their “A” game.

HuskyInExile:

How much more fun are questions after a gratifying win?

UWDP: It goes to 11. It’s one louder.

browning is man:

What do we make of the unsportsmanlike conduct flag and taunt? It was definitely surprising, but part of me kind of liked to see the fire, part of me was kind of disappointed. Coach Pete didn't seem too upset about it, and no one really made anything of it afterwards. Thoughts?

PointGameStrong:

We all know Oregon has "the streak" and "the pick" that they love to bring up as turning points, but does Washington now have "the point"? Was it a taunt or a warning?

UWDP: It was certainly a surprise, but I’m with browning is man in that it didn’t actually bother me that much. I think Jake Browning’s teammates like it, I think Browning took his punishment without complaint, and it’s such an out-of-character thing that it’s ultimately going to have more good come out of it than bad.

The Huskies have swagger, but I don’t think it comes from things like this. It’s not manufactured, the way it can sometimes be. Browning’s teammates like him more than they did before it. But I don’t really think it’s going to become some sort of iconic moment in Husky history.

The Dagger:

Where could I find a list of players are eligible for a red shirt this year? I am sure you have a spreadsheet with a current list of eligible players, right?

The Real Ragu:

Who is getting redshirted?

UWDP: Here is Washington’s 2016 recruiting class:

http://www.scout.com/college/washington/2016-football-commits

As far as I know, the only guys that have played are Aaron Fuller, Nick Harris, Brandon Wellington, and Taylor Rapp. K.J. Young has as well, although he wasn’t eligible for a redshirt season.

Outside of an injury requiring ones of these guys to play, it’s fairly likely that all of the rest end up redshirting the season.

Dawgs Fan12:

Do you think ti possible both UW and WSU could be undefeated in conference play going into Apple Cup?

UWDP: It’s certainly possible. Washington State might actually have the easier road at this point, with the most likely stumbling blocks being this week at Arizona State, and then November 19th at Colorado. The Huskies still have tough games against USC in Husky Stadium, and at Utah.

There are just a lot of games left, though. Neither team has a bye remaining, so it’ll be five tough games to play in getting there. Injuries could very well be a factor.

jplummer:

To continue to advance in the rankings the Dawgs need people they've beaten to be good, but Oregon has lost four and Stanford appears broken; where are "quality wins" going to come from (in the eyes of the press)?

UWDP: There just aren’t all that many left. Unless Utah falters at home this weekend against UCLA, they’ll be ranked when the teams meet. A 6-3 USC team might sneak into the rankings over the next couple of weeks, if other teams fall. If the Cuogs win out prior to the Apple Cup, they’ll undoubtedly be ranked, and maybe around 15th or so. If Colorado keeps winning, the Huskies could meet a ranked Buffs team in the conference championship game.

Jhik:

Not to nit pick here at all, but after watching BBK the last couple of outings and assuming Azeem bolts for the league, should we be worried about the MLB spot in the coming years? Bierria provably assumes AV's spot but who else makes the jump? BBK, DJ or Wellington?

Erik:

Burr-Kirven is a weak link. He got burned on two of their TDs. Do we have a better option for next year? Rapp was also beat on a TD, but he is a true freshman so it is understandable.

UWDP: I certainly don’t want to pile on Ben Burr-Kirven, but he’s had his struggles this season. Mostly, he just doesn’t seem quite fast enough to do some of the things the Huskies are asking him to do. I think a lot of that gets fixed with reps, though. When he’s able to diagnose things and react quicker, he’s not going to need to rely on speed as much. The Huskies have had successful inside linebackers that weren’t any faster than he is.

Linebacker is a bit of a concern moving forward. Connor O’Brien and Tevis Bartlett have both gotten significant snaps at the outside spots, but prior to the Oregon game, the coaches weren’t doing near as much rotating at the inside spots. In Eugene, both D.J. Beavers and Burr-Kirven played quite a bit, so we’ll have to see how that looks the rest of the season.

I think there’s some talent on the roster, but we’ll have to see how those guys are utilized moving forward, and at what positions.

Duck for dinner:

Why did Peterson have Browning play the whole game? Was that a statement win to break the streak or was there such good protection injuries weren't an issue?

UWDP: Jake Browning’s last drive actually spanned the last couple of minutes of the 3rd quarter and the first couple of the 4th—the drive that ended with Jomon Dotson’s long TD run on a screen pass. K.J. Carta-Samuels and Tony Rodriguez both got snaps in the 4th quarter.

To be honest, I don’t think Chris Petersen actually expected to score those last two TDs.

Bottomline1:

Did Sidney Jones and Budda Baker set the tone for the defense. First kick off Jones force fumble that was recovered by the Ducks. First play Budda Baker pick.

UWDP: They certainly helped, but I think the tone was actually set in the week leading up to the game. The Huskies came into the game emotional but focused, while the Duck defense was mostly looking for an excuse to lose.

Andrew:

How about that play by Mathis to hold Nelson to a no gain on the reverse? To me it is between that play and the 1 handed TD catch by Pettis in terms of the "best display of athleticism". Those two plays were amazing feats by both players.

UWDP: Both were exceptional plays, and both were among the several really nice plays those two turned in on Saturday. I mentioned in our defensive film study article that my favorite Jojo Mathis play was him stuffing Royce Freeman on an attempted lead power play by the Ducks. His chasing Charles Nelson down on that reverse was great determination.

Dante Pettis made that incredible catch, but what really stood out to me last weekend was his route-running. Technically beautiful.

RunningFaster:

Which o-lineman (aside from Shelton) is playing best this year? I've seen a few guys lay some monster pancake blocks (Sosebee stands out to me in that regard), but we've also seen some guys just playing phenomenally sound football; not many are getting pushed around much. Regarding Coleman Shelton, I've heard some of the commentators marveling at him pulling to block, and being surprised at a center doing that; furthermore, he's had no issues (that I've seen) getting the snap to Browning.

UWDP: Coleman Shelton is doing great work as a center. The Huskies pulled him quite a few times at the beginning of the season, but I haven’t noticed it as much lately. But yes, it’s a rare player that has the ability to do that.

Trey Adams has really settled in nicely after a few struggles earlier in the season. Same with Kaleb McGary. Both of those guys are surprisingly athletic for their size. Jake Eldrenkamp has been very effective as the lead blocker on the power plays, especially since conference play began.

IsIsaiahtheMessiah?--IT4:

Besides Burr-Kirven and Dotson, who among UW's unsung heroes (i.e. non-1st-stringers) do you think showed the most promising breakthrough against duck soup on Saturday?

UWDP: I liked what Andre Baccellia did filling in for Chico McClatcher. He’s not quite as freakish an athlete as McClatcher is, but he was a credible threat on a couple of carries, and has shown that he’s a solid receiver with some real potential.

2003husky:

Follow up to last week's question about returning starters on D for next year....thoughts on why you don't think any of our D-linemen will leave early?

UWDP: Unfortunately, I’m becoming more and more convinced this is the last season we see Elijah Qualls as a Husky. He missed so much time last year due to a couple of injuries, and I believe played out of position as a nose tackle (largely a waste of his superior athleticism) that I probably didn’t give him his due coming into the year. But he’s been playing great; he’s amazingly quick off the ball, and is very powerful. I think he could be even quicker and more explosive if he played closer to 300 pounds instead of his current 321. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he drops some weight in the NFL.

As much as I like Greg Gaines and Vita Vea, both of them are sophomores. You just don’t see many guys make that leap. Neither of them are quite the elite level of athlete as Qualls, either. Both are incredibly powerful, but neither is as explosive.

Dawg4Ever:

I think we have worn only one home uniform (helmets, jersey, pants) and one away uniform (helmets, jersey, pants). I know we have at least 3 more helmets and different jersey / pant combinations, too. I'm not complaining but wonder what has changed. I'd like to not change anything, it's working sooo good! (I will admit I was out of town for the Idaho and Portland State games and didn't get to watch them.)

UWDP: I think the change is Chris Petersen’s influence. I don’t get the impression he’s as keen on using the alternate uniforms here at Washington.

Jon May:

Is it just me or did the UW football team have an attitude about the Oregon game that many sports writers tried to convince us was just the fans (our suffering memories being long and the players being too young for that). Jake taunting during his first touchdown run was just one example. This team takes it's lead from Petersen and that tells me this game was personal for Petersen and hence, the team attitude.

UWDP: I agree that the team takes its lead from Chris Petersen. I’m certain he wanted to win this game very, very badly.

I also think that he isn’t going to be as prone to getting caught up in the emotion of the moment as we as fans might like to think. I think he’d love to hang 56 points on every team through three quarters. It didn’t hurt that it was Oregon last weekend, but I don’t really think it was personal.

gliderdawg:

UW was unable to score any defensive points or FG's in Autzen...also, Budda looks like he's struggling to run with the ball. With Coach Smith's play calling only able to score one TD in the last 10+ minutes of the 4th Qtr should we be concerned with our teams inability to score 4th quarter points? Thank God for the bye!

UWDP: Man, I agree. The defense has one score for the entire year, and that was against Idaho. Budda Baker looked like he had roller skates on at the beginning of the game. And yes, that offensive showing in the 4th...that was pretty bad.

Darin Johnson:

So, yeah. We crushed Stanford and Oregon. What else you got, Pac-12?

How much of that was Washington being good and how much was Oregon being bad? I say 50/50.

My nine-year-old once put up 70+ on the Ducks in NCAA Football on the X-Box. Is this a matrix-type situation, where we're actually living in the video game and the video game guys were in Eugene? It's really hard to say either way. That X-Box team still had Keith Price. Do you agree that there are some similarities between Price and Jake Browning? Like if Keith were still here with three more years of development you might sort of have Jake Browning? I'll just say I've never seen them together.

Did you hear that Kikaha tore another ACL? How many ACLs does that guy have, anyway?

Step into my wayback machine and set the dial for September 18, 2016. The Huskies have just wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a win over Portland State. I'm offering you an over/under for total rushing yards over the next three weeks at 900. Which way are you going? Be honest.

Jake Browning's QB rating is a blistering 205. But KJ Carta-Samuels's is 259. How excited are you for the QB controversy over the bye week?

UWDP: That Washington won was because the Huskies are good. That it was a 70-21 shaming was because Oregon was bad. I’d call it 53/47.

Keith Price would’ve looked great as a Chris Petersen quarterback, I think. I don’t know if Petersen actually recruited him or not, but the accuracy, decision-making, intelligence...Price would’ve been an even bigger star. Browning takes all of that stuff to an entirely different dimension, but those are the same traits both have.

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about, even though I try not to: it’s very possible that the success of this season on offense is due to the presence of Jake Browning far more than anything Petersen has built or developed at Washington. Unless the next guy up can even approach Browning’s level of understanding of the offense, the Huskies could regress significantly; those same regressions at Boise State existed, but were masked by an exceptionally weak schedule.

If you would’ve offered 450 instead of 900, I probably would’ve taken the over, but not by all that much.

70-21 Streak Breaker:

What is the ceiling for this team now that we know we're legit?

UWDP: The Huskies’ defense is consistently good enough to win a national championship. If the Huskies’ offense can maintain this level of efficiency, they can match the defense.

Washington’s next, last, step is to show that they can get punched in the mouth and still respond.

ewstein:

Is there any record of snaps played by all the players - just curious about how many snaps all our 2nd and 3rd stringers are getting. Loving the depth and player development!

UWDP: I’ve seen the participation charts in the box scores over at gohuskies.com, but I’ve never seen anything that tracks number of snaps per player. If anybody out there knows of something like that, I’d love to have the resource.

(anonymous):

A few players Tweeted (or Retweeted) some locker room celebrations that included the "Say who?" chant. I believe it includes some variation of the following: "Who says Dawgs ain't bad MFers?" So my question: Do the coaches and athletic department admin approve of players tweeting chants that include vulgarity? Call me old school, but I don't think it puts UW Football in the best light. That said, I'm not trying to over-react here either. I'm just a bit curious...how does the sports world view this? And how does the coaching staff view this? Thank you for your coverage of Husky Football.

UWDP: This is a chant that’s been around for decades. The only person I’ve ever heard of trying to do anything about it was Tyrone Willingham, who put a stop to it, at least temporarily. Steve Sarkisian brought it back.

Does anybody “approve” of it? Probably not, at least officially. As to the light in which it casts the football program, I can understand your point of view, but personally don’t actually care about the chant. Football locker rooms are pretty graphic places, as are the fields during games. Petersen is certainly prone to using language between the hash marks that he wouldn’t in polite conversations. Maybe players shouldn’t tweet stuff like that out. Maybe people should avoid following football players on Twitter.

ewstein:

I read fans commenting on how many rushing plays for the Huskies actually went for little or no gain, while others went for long gains. Then after the game Jake referenced that, saying something like "that's how it goes when you run blitz". Is that what was going on?

The Real Rhaego:

We still gave up a ton of yards, but it doesn't quite reflect with 21 points. Were we playing contain? Did they legitimately move the ball without our help?

UWDP: Yes. Oregon probably blitzed on 75% or more of the Huskies’ offensive snaps. Sometimes they’re going to guess right. When that happens, you see negative plays. When they guess wrong, you see long runs, and the balance of blitzes was decidedly in Washington’s favor. No small part of that was due to Jake Browning’s ability to diagnose the blitzes and get the Huskies into a more favorable play.

Oregon plays a high-risk/high-reward defense. It hasn’t paid off for them very often this year.

dawggirl805:

Did I see an eagle land on a handlers arm during the Oregon game? What the hell was that about?

UWDP: It was a special tribute to Auburn’s victory over the Ducks in the 2011 BCS title game.

War Eagle!!

Idaho-Portland Dawg:

Now that we've reached the half-way point, let's assess the Pac-12's coaching staffs. Particularly, let's determine which programs need to hire a new head coach. I think the only program that should replace their coach is UCLA. The boisterous clamoring in Oregon for Helf's head might force the administration's hand, but I think Helf deserves time to right the ship (not that I want that to happen). Meanwhile, USC's anti-Helton element has abated the past 2 weeks, but I'm sure another embarrassing loss - probably to UW honestly - will incite the fire Helton crowd. What are your thoughts?

UWDP: The majority of fan bases want to replace their coach each season.

UCLA’s defense is pretty good, and at times they can throw the ball effectively. But there is no excuse for their run game to be as inept as it is. The Bruins have a total of 244 rushing yards as a team in four conference games, and 42 total in their last two. That’s shocking ineffectiveness. I don’t think it’s a lack of talent, but for whatever reason, Jim Mora just doesn’t seem to consistently get effective play from his teams. To fire him will cost money that UCLA may not have, but maybe more importantly, the man that has to make the decision to fire him—athletic director Dan Guerrero—will have to indict his own ability to hire and fire coaches in order to do so. Firing Mora will probably cost Guerrero his own job.

New athletic director Lynn Swann will probably want to put his mark on USC football. That’s likely going to mean firing Helton sooner rather than later. Probably too soon, as I don’t really think Helton is even close to being the biggest issue with USC football.

Mark Helfrich has lost his team. I’m currently campaigning for a long extension for him.

Dawgfan:

After the team ends the streak against A State, what other revenge games are out there? BYU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, others?

UWDP: The Huskies have beaten BYU and Ohio State, but never the Fighting Irish. And two of those losses have been absolute heart breakers; a 29-21 loss in Seattle in 1995, where Notre Dame took a late lead on a “lonely end” trick play two-point conversion and then stopped a last-minute Husky drive with an interception and touchdown, and the overtime loss in South Bend in 2009 when Chris Polk’s touchdown was overturned based on a poor replay review angle and the Huskies fell in overtime.

Dawg Fan:

Thoughts about the remaining schedule. Will the PAC12 Championship be a rematch?

UWDP: At this point, if Washington wins out, then the winner of the South will likely be decided when Utah visits Colorado Thanksgiving weekend. If that’s the case, then I just don’t think Utah will have enough offense to keep up with the Buffs, and the conference title game will be Washington and Colorado. So, no rematch.

Dawg Fan:

What records can be broken this year? Will 15 games warrant asterisks on new records?

UWDP: The Huskies just set the record for most TDs in a game against Oregon with 10, as well as the modern record for points scored in a game (since 1945), PATs attempted (and PATs made) in a game, and no asterisk is needed.

Passing touchdowns in a season will probably be broken, and in fewer games than it took Price to throw his 33. Browning will also likely obliterate the records for completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer efficiency rating.

Total points scored, total TD’s scored...those records could fall, and yeah, they may need to be qualified. Single-game records, season average records (like points per game) don’t need to be.

Rhaego:

Huskies aside, why should I care about the playoffs more than the Rose Bowl?

UWDP: The answer is:

You should care most about the games involving Washington. After that, I’d say just pick the games you like best for whatever reason you want; matchup, tradition, importance, etc.

BigNick360:

Is this the best 6-game stretch any QB has had in UW history?

UWDP: With the exception of total passing yards (which Cody Pickett would own), then yes, and second place is pretty distant.

Dawg Fan:

Big road wins by Clemson, Michigan, and Washington. It seems likes good teams improve faster/more than bad teams during the season, why is that?

UWDP: I don’t think they necessarily improve more as a rule, just that they’re better to begin with, and more able to survive and thrive in the battle of attrition.

JoeinWSea:

If you had to pick one post-season game to make travel plans for starting this week which would you choose? Let's hypothetically say these are the scenarios:

1. Pac-12 Championship game - $1200 total cost per person. 80% chance Washington is in.

2. Playoff Semifinal game (Fiesta Bowl in Arizona) - $1500 total cost per person. 50% chance Washington is in.

3. National Championship game (Tampa) - $2200 total cost per person. 20% chance Washington is in.

UWDP: I’d probably pick the Pac-12 championship game, but I’d also say I’m willing to wait and pay a premium to see either of the other two games if I knew the Huskies were in one of them.

OsidePup:

Browning's 2 TDs against the Ducks seemed to me to be called plays rather than option plays for Browning to decide - at least the last one for sure was a draw play with Coleman providing the lead block. Should we start to get concerned that such plays should conceivably end up breaking a key bone in his body - like say his right shoulder, his tibia, femur, or ankle? Or knock him unconscious for 6 weeks. How should the fan base here on the blog respond to such an injury?

a) hang Smith if effigy

b) commit suicide

c) shoot someone

d) get smashed for 2 months straight

e) destroy all our UW apparel and other fan gear

f) all of the above

UWDP: Probably all of the above. A for sure, but maybe not B, as it makes the rest impossible.

The first TD run was a zone read; Jake Browning read Oregon’s tackle, who crashed down on the running back, and kept the ball based on the defense. The second was definitely a designed run. Coleman was blocking from the start.

OsidePup:

It looks like Myles Gaskin is picking up his game. Then again, Lavon Coleman has a way better performance for ave. yds./play. But his total carries are way less than Gaskin's.

Should the fan base thus expect more carries in the future for Coleman until the yds./play for each averages out to be about equal?

Or should we expect Smith to actually reduce the number of carries/game for Coleman so his ave. yds./carry goes up even higher?

Is it possible to "fine tune" these number of carries between the two so that the Husky's yards gained on the ground steadily increases for all the remaining games?

UWDP: One thing to note is that Jonathan Smith doesn’t actually determine the running back rotation; that’s Keith Bhonapha’s job. That doesn’t mean there aren’t certain plays the offense wants to run with each guy (or not run, as the case may be), but Smith isn’t actually the one deciding when each is in the game.

The starting running back is Myles Gaskin. He’s the man, based on everybody’s body of work. That’s as it should be.

Lavon Coleman had a great game against Arizona. He was an integral part of that win. If his average yards per carry stays at 9.0 for the season, that’s great. Just don’t expect it.

The Huskies are averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground in conference play. It might be just a titch greedy to expect even more than that.

duckhunted:

Petersen seemed pretty apologetic about hanging 70 points on the ducks. I know he and Helfrich are homies but we had our third strings in to score the last two touchdowns. Thoughts?

UWDP: Washington wasn’t exactly looking to run up the score. At some point, the opposing team has to play defense. I don’t think Chris Petersen is looking to embarrass other teams, but he’s also not going to take three knees and punt in the third quarter, either.

Aledawg:

We've given up some pretty big numbers on the ground to Oregon and Arizona, could this be an Achilles heel of this defense?

UWDP: The Arizona game wasn’t the defense’s best job of being assignment-sound. They gave up big plays as the result of a couple of mistakes, not fundamental failings. Oregon has a good offense; one of the best in the country. The Ducks’ downfall is defense. While it would’ve been fantastic to hold them to 70 yards rushing, it’s just not realistic.

With 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the score was 56-14, and Oregon had 105 yards rushing. Feel better?

The Huskies are better against the run at the point of attack than in space. Most teams are, which is why so many offenses are designed around creating space.

Mike Pitzler:

The last time I put a football helmet on was in 1969. There was no use of the hands at all as an offensive lineman, and now all blocking looks like holding to me. Do the Ducks hold more than other teams, and how can you tell?

UWDP: I think Oregon holds a lot, but at the same time, wanting Oregon to be guilty of holding (especially among Husky fans) is a “thing.”

There’s a ton of holding in every football game. As a ref, you could call it on most plays. If Oregon is more guilty of it, it’s not by as much as our eyes tell us, and since it’s not a penalty if it doesn’t get called, then they don’t actually hold. Wink, wink...

Patently Purple:

Is THIS now the most questions you've ever received in a week?

UWDP: By a ton.

Sorry this is late, folks.

Go DAWGS!!!!!!