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Mailbag: “Industry” Edition

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That’s the Utah state motto. I would’ve gone with “Shakalaka.” More pizzazz.

Oregon State v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Useless facts.

  • In Utah, it is illegal to hire trombone players to play on the street to advertise an auction.
  • It’s also illegal to hunt fish from horseback, and hunting whales in any manner is outlawed.
  • Utah has one of the highest literacy rates in the entire United States.
  • If one boils a quart of water from the saltiest parts of the Great Salt Lake, a half cup of salt would remain. It’s approximately four times as saline as any of the world’s oceans.
  • Utah is known as the “Bee Hive State” because many of the early settlers were mormon, and wanted to christen the state “Deseret.” “Deseret” means “honey bee” in the Book of Mormon.
  • Salt Lake City has more plastic surgeons per capita than any state in the U.S. I can personally attest to the number of billboards one sees advertising breast augmentation on the freeway between Salt Lake City and Provo. And in BYU’s stadium.
  • The state of Utah could fit in the land area of California two times over, with room to spare. However, only have of Utah could fit in the land area of Virginia.
  • Utah is the 13th largest, 33rd most populous, and 10th least densely populated state in the U.S. On average, there are only 32 people per square mile.
  • Utah is the only state to have a cooking pot as part of its state symbolry.
  • One of the most centrally located cities in Utah is Levan. Levan is “navel” backward.
  • 57% of Utah women age 15 years and older are married. In 1950, it was 69%.
  • The divorce rate in Utah is slightly higher than the national average.
  • Kanab, UT is known as “Little Hollywood,” because more than 100 movies have been filmed there since 1924. Most are westerns.
  • Utah has the highest rate of online porn subscriptions in the U.S.
  • Utah has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S., and it has increased over 800% in the last decade.
  • Bars and restaurants in Utah frequently have a partition that separates bartenders preparing drinks from the customers who order them. The idea is that keeping alcohol out of sight will prevent excessive drinking. The partition is known as the “Zion Curtain.”
  • In 2014, 1,039 people dressed as angels, wise men and other religious figures set a new Guinness Book of World Records record for the largest live nativity scene.
  • Salt Lake City, UT is home to the nation’s largest manufacturer of rubber chickens.
  • Approximately 75 million years ago, Utah was part of a land mass known as Laramidia, which was hot and swampy, and home to many species of dinosaurs. The largest raptor, the “Utahraptor,” was found there.
  • The highest Jell-O consumption rate in the U.S. is in Utah. It’s also the official state snack.

Questions.

Idaho-Portland Dawg:

In retrospect, will people look back on this season as the veritable "perfect storm" for the resurgence of UW football?

UWDP: There’s waaaaaaay too much football left for me to fathom how this team will be viewed in hindsight. Right now, they’re a talented, well-coached team. I’m optimistic about the rest of the season.

LandingDawg:

Do the utes match up well with our O and D lines, and where will our offense be able to find success against Utah.

UWDP: Yes, both of Utah’s lines match up pretty well, although they’ve suffered some injuries there. I think UW has an advantage on both sides of the ball in the trenches, albeit slight.

The offense should be able to do the things it’s done well all season, because it’s good. It likely won’t have the same amount of relative success, but the Huskies should be able to throw the ball fairly well, which should open up some success with the running game. The same way it’s worked all season.

So-Cal Dawg:

The Utes boast a tough physical brand of football. The Husky offense hasn't been slowed down in weeks. Can the Utes pressure Browning enough to keep this game close?

UWDP: Utah is “pretty good” at generating pressure and getting sacks. The totals are a bit skewed due to the ten sack performance against UCLA last week, but that was on 80+ called passes, and the Huskies’ offensive line is playing markedly better than UCLA’s. If I had to put an over/under on the number of sacks the Utes generate on Saturday, I’d put it at 2.5.

Jake Browning is a good quarterback in the face of pressure. If Utah wins, I think there will be factors far greater than the pressure they manage to put on Browning.

Dawgincostarica:

The Utes have a very good defense. Washington has a very good defense. Which offense will crack the other's defense ? My guess is Washington's but Rice-Echells Stadium will be our toughest challenge to date. What do you think?

UWDP: Washington’s offense is better than Utah’s defense by nearly every metric available. Washington’s defense is better than Utah’s offense by nearly every metric available. That’s not homerism or being disrespectful of Utah to say; it’s simply the facts. Washington should win, by a reasonably comfortable margin.

But the games aren’t played on paper. The Huskies have a really small sample size of road games; one was the worst outing of the season, and one was probably the second-best outing. Rice-Eccles will be a more formidable challenge than what the Huskies saw at Arizona or Oregon. Washington has made a living this year by starting extremely fast. If they manage that again, the home crowd becomes much less a factor. If they don’t enjoy that same start, the crowd could be an issue.

LandingDawg:

Was the Utah running backs game last week a fluke and we should be able to slow him down, or should we be worried...

UWDP: Anytime a player gains over 300 yards rushing in a single game, it’s a fluke. Over 200 of his yards came on five carries. It’s obviously not as simple as just deducting the best efforts from his totals, but that amount of success is an anomaly.

That being said, yes, be worried. Joe Williams is a really good running back. He has a great combination of size and speed. The Huskies aren’t going to be able to totally shut him down. But they can take him out of the game by getting an early lead and forcing Utah to throw the ball more than they’d like.

Success for the defense against Williams, to me, will be keeping his longest rush at 15 yards or under.

Eegoar:

I've been looking forward to this game for awhile. Utah's stingy defense against our explosive offense could show us, and the rest of the country just how good we are. Conversely, our outstanding defense against their modestly successful offense would give a cushion to the anxiety I'd have with this challenging matchup. Now week 9 happened, the Utes beat defensive stalwart UCLA 52-45, and my scenario, and anxiety cushion are both flushed down the crapper. How can I get my sanity back?

tomahawk18:

All the talk over the past few weeks has been about how inept Utah's offense is. Was the UCLA game more about how bad UCLA is, or has Utah turned the corner offensively?

UWDP: Utah played well and deserved the win against the Bruins, but UCLA is dysfunctional in 2016. There’s simply no excuse for their inability to run the ball. That game just went sideways.

Joe Williams’ return has certainly helped the running game. He’s been deadly outside of the tackles. The good news for Husky fans is that the Dawgs’ secondary is great in perimeter run support. I expect Williams to find some success, but not manage the pace the he’s set the last two games.

Utah hasn’t gotten much out of its passing game for a few games now. For them to have “turned a corner,” they’ll have to show improvement there.

Oregon Dawg:

Which former UW quarterback is Browning most like. I think Moon but I never saw him in person, so I yield to the Dawgpound for the answer.

UWDP: Warren Moon was a much more high-risk, high-reward quarterback, but a fair amount of that is likely due to the fact that offenses were just so much different 40 years ago.

I don’t think there’s a great comparison for Browning at Washington. Keith Price is probably the best, because his tools for success were the most similar - accuracy and intelligence in reading defenses. Browning is currently on pace to shatter every single season and career mark Price holds at the UW, though - completion percentage, touchdowns, passer rating, yards per attempt, etc. He’s better in most every way, but he just hasn’t had the number of games yet.

Jroc:

*If* the huskies lose Saturday, what would have to happen for them to make the cfb playoff? Consolation looks like they'd still have inside track to the Rose bowl.

UWDP: College Football Armageddon. But that’s more common than you’d actually think, I’d wager.

The best way to get there would be for Alabama, Clemson, and Michigan to all go undefeated. Louisville, Ohio State, Texas A&M, and Florida would all need to lose again. Nebraska would need to lose, and continue to not look overly impressive. Baylor and West Virginia would both need to lose at least once, or not look overly impressive. Boise State would need a loss. The Huskies would need a rematch with a one-loss Utah team in the conference title game, and to whip the Utes. WSU would need to enter the Apple Cup with only two losses and a high ranking. And probably more than just that.

minton53:

It seemed to me they were rotating many backups in even in the first half, especially the middle line backers. Is this because Coach Pete is trying to keep his starters fresh for the late season push or another reasons that is beyond me?

UWDP: It’s been a common thing the last two years, actually. At all positions along the front seven, particularly. By Oregon State’s 13th offensive snap, the Huskies had rotated five players through the two defensive tackle positions, for example.

There’s been less rotation this year with the inside ‘backers than last, for sure. But the coaches showed a lot of faith two weeks ago in D.J. Beaver and Ben Burr-Kirven in Eugene, and it carried over to the Oregon State game.

Yes, it keeps people fresh. And it also develops the younger players. Really, it’s a good thing all the way around.

karth295:

Not that I'm complaining, but why isn't WSU ranked? They're undefeated in conference including a win against a then top 25 Stanford team. Their first loss was to a good FCS team, and their second was to a top 25 Boise State team. Their resume looks about as good as the lower top 25 teams.

UWDP: All I can really come up with is confirmation bias. Same reason Ole Miss stayed in the rankings as long as they did despite three losses (and no real quality wins).

WSU lost twice at the beginning of the season, and mostly fell off the radar. Much of the luster of the Stanford win was lost the week before by what the Huskies did.

The Cuogs will probably slip into the rankings with a win over Oregon State this weekend.

HuskyInExile:

We are (properly, IMO) being pilloried for our weak ooc schedule by national media. IIRC didn't Wisconsin bail on us after B1G backed off PAC/B1G interconference scheduling deal?

UWDP: The Wisconsin games were scheduled for 2018 and 2021, so they wouldn’t have had any effect on this season’s schedule.

Walla2dawg:

I know Coach Pete will prepare appropriately, but who do you think will fill in for Joe Mathis? Benning? O'Brien? Bartlett? (Likely a committee?). Second, what kind of impact will his loss have on the rush and will this necessitate sending more guys to put pressure on Troy Williams?

UWDP: Connor O’Brien has been the primary backup to Mathis all season, and obviously got the start against Oregon State. He played pretty well for the most part, too. Tevis Bartlett has played behind Psalm Wooching all season. He also missed the Oregon State game.

Benning Potoa’e was the primary backup to O’Brien. I don’t know the total number of snaps he played, but it was probably in the neighborhood of 25% of them. He ended up being credited with three total tackles, including one for a loss. I think he’ll continue to be the primary backup to O’Brien this weekend in Utah.

Ragu is Single:

Computers do not like our chances. After the OSU game, our chances of going undefeated dropped because our opponents continued to win, our vanquished foes continued to lose. At this point, computer says 75% chance of having at least one loss, 44% chance of having two losses. Tell me stuff.

UWDP: Which computers? ESPN’s FPI has a 75% chance of losing a game, yes. Is that what you’re talking about?

Ragu is saucy:

Who wants to win this game more: Utah or Washington?

UWDP: How would one possibly quantify an answer to a question like this?

Both teams need the win. Both teams want the win. Who “wants” something more is a made-up measure that fans and media use to explain the outcome of games like this.

HuskyInExile:

Our loyal site manager is sometimes criticized, and also mocked for 'Cal is too high,' but I distinctly recall his promise to increase the volume of high quality content just a few years ago. He delivered. As a long time contributor to the blog, were you surprised by the Gekko's success in recruiting new contributors?

UWDP: As a leader, Chris is a consensus-builder. It’s a style I personally hate, as I think groups function better with a single voice - as long as it’s my voice.

Chris once hosted a conference call of all of the regular contributors on this site to discuss all things uwdawgpound. He asked for any thoughts, and I told him I thought he was ineffectual as the manager of the site. He said, “That’s a valid thought, Brad. I think we should all discuss this and see if we can come to a conclusion.” I thought this was a great idea, until I realized that his evil mind control games had worked on me.

I made that last part up entirely. Except the bit about Chris’ evil mind control games.

A blog like this is typically fairly fluid. People come and go. It’s rare to find someone that’s willing to be as heavily involved for as long as Chris has, and the same can be said for Ryan Priest. Those two have done a good job in keeping things moving on their own in the slow times, and getting new people excited to contribute.

Ragu is Prego:

ESPN picked SLC for gameday, even though there are two "better" matchups in Clemson FSU and Nebraska Wisconsin. What's the thought behind picking UW and Utah in SLC?

UWDP: It’s really the last chance to host a game on the “west coast.” I’d wager that’s the single biggest reason.

Jim Zorn:

Offensively, who needs to step up the most in this game?

UWDP: Nobody single player or unit has to do anything outside of the established norm on Saturday, because the whole offense has been functioning at a pretty high level the majority of the season. I’d argue it’s more a matter of not doing “bad” things - receivers dropping passes, the line giving up sacks or penalty yards, the backs taking care of the ball, etc.

Hamsterdawg:

Could someone give me a breakdown of the Huskies' defense? Are we a permanent 4-2-5 now, or was that just for OSU? On the starting lineups we listed 3 safeties (typical 4-2-5). And we moved Budda down over a receiver and Rapp to deep middle, is that how we are going to look moving forward?

UWDP: The Huskies have started every single game this year in the nickel.

Since Joe Mathis/Connor O’Brien and Pslam Wooching are listed as linebackers on the roster, the defense is a 2-4-5 based on personnel. But I agree that it’s functionally a 4-2-5, as the outside linebackers are playing defensive end techniques, but from a two point stance.

Jojo McIntosh has spent a fair amount of time as the single high safety this year, as well as Taylor Rapp. Budda Baker has spent almost all season as one of the safeties at the line of scrimmage.

With the sure loss of Kevin King, and the likely losses of All-American Sidney Jones and Budda Baker, the defense may look somewhat different in 2017. But for the rest of this year, yes, this is what we’re going to see. And it works.

Ragu was born in Utah:

If we lose to Utah, what unit do you think will be the one most outmatched? Or which Utah unit will receive most of the credit for slaying goliath?

UWDP: The answer to this probably comes down to how you see a Utah win playing out - do they win a shootout, or do they win a grind-it-out affair?

If the Utes win, I think it’s more likely to be a low-scoring game, with the defense playing the primary role.

Fry-n-pan:

Any word on Mathis and McClather? Will they be good to go for Utah?

UWDP: Mathis is out for the foreseeable future. Chico McClatcher played a little against Oregon State. I saw him out there four or five times, but I heard the number was closer to ten. My guess is that if the offense needed him, he would’ve played more. And I expect him to play his usual role this Saturday.

Jon May:

After the Huskies dismantling of Utah on Saturday, will Husky nation finally accept that this team has arrived?

UWDP: If that were to happen, I think the fans that don’t think as much of the Huskies will probably think that Utah wasn’t all that good to begin with. So, no, I don’t think a win will change a lot of minds.

Ragu watched 6-6 Tie:

Which has a better overtime structure: NCAA or NFL?

UWDP: College. It creates some serious drama in a matter of a few snaps.

While I don’t particularly care if the NFL adopts the Kansas City rules, I think it’s a more exciting way to settle things. Since kickers or consistently so much better, start at the 35 instead of the 25.

Darin Johnson:

I hear that Jeff Tedford may be leaving. The Sharks 5/6 grade flag football team has scored on every drive in which the starters have played. Do you know where I should send my contact info? (The Sharks also have not yet been scored on -- so this is a two-fer situation.)

Were you surprised that Browning got the start this week, given Carta-Samuels's clear advantage in passer rating? The Dawgs' failure to cover the spread is obviously due to inefficient quarterback play.

I thought the absence of Joe Mathis showed. Didn't you?

Little known rule: the offense must have seven men on the line of scrimmage, four at least on yard back. All the players off the line of scrimmage are eligible to catch a pass, AND, of the seven on the line, the two farthest from the ball are also eligible. This is true even if the end player is lined up "tight," i.e., close to the knuckle-dragging mouth-breather next to him. A good trick play for Coach Petersen to think about some time would be to throw a surprise pass to one of these "tight ends." Can you imagine?

Did you have a warm feeling of nostalgia when the Dawgs gave up one big play for a TD? Just like the old days.

Of the teams currently ranked near the top, the Dawgs clearly have played the weakest schedule. It's not close. According to Sagarin, they have played one team in the top 30 (Stanford). Of the remaining games, USC and WSU are rated higher than anyone we've played so far, Utah and ASU are behind only Stanford, and Cal is behind only Stanford and (barely) Oregon. Have the Huskies just been beating up on bad teams and are about to get a rude awakening?

Who's better: Dante Pettis right now or Jermaine Kearse as a senior?

Gaskin, Sankey, or Polk?

I'm on record as suggesting Steve Sarkisian might have the best resume for QB development in the country. He clearly added one zero to Jake Locker's account balance. What do you think would have happened if instead of Sarkisian taking over in 2009, it was Coach Petersen?

Picture the bell curve describing offensive line play among Power Five conferences. Most are in the fat part -- slightly above or below average. A few are very bad or very good. Where does the Husky line fall? Express your answer in standard deviations above or below the mean.

If you were tasked with blocking Greg Gaines, would you a) assume a fetal position and allow him to step over you, or b) run toward the sideline, hoping he'd ignore you all together? Bonus question: would you pee yourself before or after the snap?

UWDP: Thanks for not breaking this up into multiple questions. That would’ve been just silly.

Send me your info. I’ll make sure it gets to the right receptacle. I hear the Sharks have played with an out-of-the-area, overaged ringer at receiver for a couple of years.

While Browning deserves his share of the blame, I’d argue that Jonathan Smith was far more at fault. I can’t tell you how many times I knew what the Huskies were going to run just based on the way they broke the huddle. Ask the people that sat around me. I was like, “Obvious run with Gaskin.” Or, “They’re throwing here.” I was right at least two or three times out of ten. C’mon, Petersen.

I keep waiting for the Huskies to utilize the tight ends this year. They’ve got a combined 17 catches this year. It’s getting to the point that the answer is “2017.” Which means it’s probably this week.

Dante Pettis is on pace for more receptions, yards, and yards per catch. And way more TD’s. Thing is, Jermaine Kearse’s junior year was his best year by far; he had over 1,000 yards that year. How good would Kearse have looked in this offense?

The two primary backups already each have as many carries as the backups to Bishop Sankey had in all of 2013. Myles Gaskin has a great average per carry, in part because he’s playing on a much better team, and in part because he’s not taking the beating Sankey or Chris Polk did. I’d probably take Sankey, but it’s closer than I ever would’ve predicted.

Chris Petersen is simply a better head coach than Steve Sarkisian, in all of the important factors encompassed by that title.

Within a standard deviation of the mean, on the “above average” side. Close to taking that next step.

My first choice would be a). B) would only be out of necessity. Both. A steady stream.

OsidePup:

It's conceivable that USC, Utah, and Col. all finish Conference play at 7W - 2L (USC wins out, Col. loses to WSU but beats Utah, Utah loses to UW but beats Col). Which team ends up representing the South in the Conference Championship game??

In WSU's 4 games prior to meeting UW in the Apple Cup, the only game they may not be favored in and are likely to lose is @ Col. Do you see even another loss among @OSU, AZ, or Cal?

UW looks to be in the Championship game, even with 2 losses, if WSU loses to Col., and the Dawgs win the Apple Cup. Tell me that's true. Is there any way UW gets in if they DONT beat the Cuogs??

UWDP: In the first part, I believe Utah, since they’d have the head-to-head wins over both the teams they’d be tied with.

I wouldn’t predict a WSU loss to any of those teams, but it’s more likely than not that one of them beats the Cuogs, based on the odds. Oregon State could sneak up on them in Corvalis. I’d say Cal has the best chance, though. They have the most ability to score points, and it wouldn’t take but a few opportunistic plays on defense to win a shootout. It’s also the last of those three games the Cuogs play, so the likelihood Luke Falk is injured increases.

Not necessarily. Cal could also tie for first. For the Huskies to win the North with two losses, including a loss to WSU, then they have to beat Cal, and hope WSU loses three of their remaining games.

OsidePup:

Where does Gaskin stand (after 4 games) in the ranking (Conference) for yards/game for running backs? And for total yards gained on the ground, and then also for receiving yardage? What are his chances to be top dawg in any of these categories by the time the conference season ends? post-season ends?

UWDP: I’m not aware of a site that sorts stats based only on conference games.

For the whole season, though, he’s leading the conference in yards per game, and is second in total rushing yards to Phillip Lindsay at Colorado, who has yet to have a bye. No idea on receiving yards, but I’m sure he’s well down the list there, as he only has 41.

He’s got a pretty good chance to lead the conference in rushing by the end of the year. But again, for the whole season, not just exclusive to conference games.

Ragu is Rhaego:

Playing at Rice Eccles, we beat up some pretty solid Utah teams. What did we do well in those games? We all know our offense scored for them last year.

UWDP: The Huskies have only played at Utah once since the Utes joined the Pac 12. In fact, that’s the only time the Huskies have played at Rice-Eccles.

In 2011, the Huskies won 31-14 mostly by being the dominant team all-around. The Dawgs held the Utes to 17 net yards rushing, and won the turnover battle 4-1. Chris Polk had a monster day on the ground with 189 yards.

Interesting note about that game: Utah running back Harvey Langi had one carry for one yard. In 2016, he recorded seven tackles and a forced fumble in the Holy War - while playing linebacker for BYU.

HRsportsfan:

After the OSU game, should I be concerned about UW's run defense?

MS4Dawg:

Early in the 3rd quarter on Sat, the Beavs hit us for 3 or 4 consecutive rushes that went for 10+ yards. And no, it wasn't our 2nd and 3rd stringers... as I looked on the field I saw most if not all the regular starters still out there. How concerned should we be about Grandpa Williams gouging us for mucho yards-o this weekend?

UWDP: Yeah, the first drive of the second half for Oregon State wasn’t particularly good for the Husky defense. Two of the run plays were inside zone splits, and one was a power lead. In all three instances, the primary culprit was the defensive line, not maintaining gap integrity.

The long run on the fly sweep was a matter of several things going wrong, all on the same play.

None of that is to excuse anything. The defense needs to play the run better. I think they’ll be a little more focused against Utah than they were against Oregon State in the second half.

As I said, I expect Williams to get his yards, as long as the score is close enough for Utah to run the ball. The key will be not to give up huge plays.

OsidePup:

Rice-Eccles Stadium is a tough place to play for Utah opponents. Should we expect to not see much up tempo play sequences from the Huskies in spite of the noise? What will the Huskies use to get the plays in - rotate "messengers" in the form of frequent substitution of players coming in with the plays, hand signals from the sidelines, more of the huddle up, or let Browning call his own plays? At the line of scrimmage do we stay with the hand-clap, or use a silent count? What do you expect to see to see the Huskies do to overcome this noise handicap?

UWDP: I wouldn’t expect to see much different than what we’ve seen thus far. Hand signals for most of the plays, and subs bringing them in otherwise. A lot of the changes that Browning makes at the line don’t really involve too much communication, as they’re simply reads he’s making based on box counts to either run or pass.

The Huskies haven’t really run much no-huddle this season, if that’s what you mean. Don’t expect to see it Saturday, outside of end-of-half or game sequences.

Dawg53:

When was the last time we were all vaguely disappointed by a 41-17 win? I can't remember, and it's been 40+ years as a fan...

UWDP: Yeah, it’s been a while. I remember not being terribly happy that the team always needed to come back in the second half in 2000, but they weren’t winning by 24 points that year.

You’d probably have to go back to 1992.

It’s amazing how quickly fans show their fickle side, isn’t it?

HRsportsfan:

What are the odds WSU makes it to the Apple Cup 8-0 in conference? Their schedule doesn't look too daunting until the Colorado game.

UWDP: If we use ESPN’s Football Power Index predictor, the Cuogs have a little less than a 20% chance of entering the Apple Cup undefeated in conference play.

No, the schedule isn’t too daunting. But “the odds” usually have a way of coming back and biting teams.

Did you see any of WSU’s game against Arizona State? Geez, Luke Falk took a beating that night. What odds would you give him making the last five starts for WSU?

GewDergzzz:

I've been reading Utah is a "Tough place to play". They same is said of Husky stadium and when at capacity we have 30,000 more fans... Is there anything particular or unique about rice-eccles to be aware of?

UWDP: Utah has a great student section that’s right on top of the field. It sits a little over 4,500’ above sea level, and the altitude can bother teams. Other than that, it’s got a good reputation, and it’s a talking point. It’s a nice home field advantage for the Utes, but there’s nothing about it that really makes it “unique.” Noise is noise.

All for this week, Husky fans.

Go Dawgs!!!!