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Mailbag: “Men Named Troy” Edition

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I’m Troy McClure. You might remember me from such educational films as “Two minus Three Equals Negative Fun,” and “Firecrackers, the Silent Killer.”

Washington v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Some useless facts.

  • Killer whales can learn to speak Dolphin, when held in close proximity to each other.
  • Nuclear power plants produce 1/100th the amount of radiation of coal plants.
  • Pteronophobia is the fear of being tickled by feathers.
  • There are 923 words in the English language that break the “I before E rule,” and only 44 that follow it.
  • In Hartford, Connecticut, it is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on Sundays.
  • For every 230 cars produced, one will be stolen.
  • One in 14 American women is a natural blonde. One in 16 men is.
  • The average human head loses about 200 hairs per day.
  • In the 40’s, the Bich pen company changed its name to Bic, for fear people would pronounce the name as “bitch.”
  • The number “four” is the only one that has the same number of characters as its value (in English, of course).
  • The average human eye blinks around 6,205,000 times per year.
  • The word “lethologica” describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want at that moment.
  • Canada is the only country to not win a gold medal in the summer olympics, while serving as the host country for the games.
  • One in 10 people lives on an island.
  • At birth, a panda bear is smaller than a mouse.
  • During periods of hibernation, a woodchuck will only breathe around 10 times.
  • A Boeing 747 uses just under 6,000 pounds of fuel at takeoff.
  • Nepal is the only country that doesn’t have a rectangular flag.
  • On average, four people in the UK die each year putting their pants on.

Questions? No? Good.


What's the best way to mock Desmond Howard over post Heisman Rose Bowl loss?

UWDP: Make him listen to his own broadcasts?

Anonymous Person that cares about recruiting:

Can we please get a recruiting roundup? As of the time this question was submitted, it's been like three weeks in the heart of recruiting season without a roundup. I have seen several people ask, and just this morning there was a question about it. I would love to get some updates on our class.

UWDP: It’d be nice if someone could do it, but the fact is that there really isn’t any regular writer here that follows recruiting closely enough. I’m sure the managers here would love to find someone to take on the task, if there are any volunteers....


Jen Cohen deserves credit for scheduling a 2018 game w Auburn.

Oregon Dawg:

Ok, with the huskies in the 2018 peach bowl kickoff, explain how Husky Nation fills that stadium. I know the UW ticket office will be allotted a certain number of tickets (usually in a corner near the band) but I want to make this a home game which requires husky fans to buy general admission tickets before the Auburn fans do. What half of the stadium is ours when looking at the seating chart; and when do ticket sales start? And can I write this off as a business expense? And will Browning still be our QB in 2018 (what are the NFL scouts saying)?

UWDP: Playing against Auburn in 2018 is a good thing, considering the current state of Washington out of conference scheduling. It’s making the best of a bad situation. While it’s techincally a “neutral site” game, Atlanta is less than two hours from Auburn’s campus. For most Husky fans, that same two hours won’t even get you through airport security. The ticket allotment (40,000 for Auburn, 4,000 for the UW) screams Auburn home game as well. I’m not actually complaining about those numbers, by the way, as there’s no chance the UW would sell more. What I really want to see is where those 4,000 UW tickets are located - if they’re in the rafters off the corners of the field, I’m going to be fairly disappointed that Washington is treated as the visitor in that regard....

It’s too bad that Washington won’t get anything approaching a return trip from Auburn out of this game. It’s too bad that the closest one of these big intersectional kickoff games gets to the west coast is Texas.

I bet Browning is the QB in 2018, but it’s probably barely better than even money if he has a season approaching this one in 2017. His leaving early is a risky proposition, because the things that make him great are the things that most NFL scouts and coaches think (usually incorrectly so) they’re able to teach young quarterbacks, and the things that Browning lacks are almost impossible to fix....

Should you choose to write the trip off as a business expense, let me know. My wife is a tax litigation attorney, and she can certainly help you out when the IRS comes calling.


Who will be the head coach of the Oregon Ducks football team next season?

UWDP: I think Mark Helfrich is going to get another year. I wouldn’t bet big money on it, but when the season mercifully ends for the Ducks, there’s going to be some stock put into the true freshman quarterback, the young offensive line, and the youth on defense as mitigating factors for the results in 2016. Add to that a buyout that’s over $10 million dollars after this season, and the fact that Oregon would likely have to overpay by a fairly substantial amount to get a “proven” head coach, and the numbers become unpalatable. Not that Oregon couldn’t afford it, mind you, but there’s a perception issue associated with spending $15 million dollars to hire a football coach.


Seemingly every week is the "biggest test of the season". Arizona (1st PAC-12 game, in the desert...), Stanford (#7 and physically dominant), Oregon (12 loses in a row and at Austen), Oregon State (their D will test UW), Utah (best team they'll play, College Game Day, on the road), Cal (beat Texas and Utah and offense for days), USC (most talented team in the league), blah blah blah. Then, for the most part, wins are dismissed because "they just weren't that good anyway" (sans Utah). In your opinion, when will UW get a little respect? Or is this just talking heads drumming up BS for ratings and twitter banter?

UWDP: The short answer on the respect question is “not this year.” The narrative is firmly set, and frankly, half the country hasn’t even seen the Huskies play this year. That won’t change this week, as the only other matchup between top-25 teams is on the east coast, and is playing at the exact same time on ESPN. To make matters even worse, a win over USC devalues itself, as the Trojans would be viewed as a four-loss fraud of a 20th-ranked team. One that won’t be in the top 25 when the next ratings come out.

The members of the media that think Washington is overrated aren’t saying so to drum up comments and conversation, they’re doing it because they think they’re right.

If Washington makes the playoffs and wins a first-round game, regardless of the opponent, it’ll be a “huge upset” regardless of if they’re favored or not.


Gameday at UW, the Arizona state losing streak, and the apple cup for a potential undefeated season. Every game is so juicy. Which are you most excited to watch?

UWDP: Right now, I can’t get past the game this week against USC. I’m really excited for Saturday evening.

To be honest, the Apple Cup scares me. A lot. I think the Huskies are the better team, but I also think WSU is probably the most undervalued team in the country right now. The Huskies absolutely cannot afford to lose the Apple Cup.


With rain forecast, what preparation needs to be implemented against USC that is unique from the other nine previous opponents?

Darin Johnson:

Choose your weather for Saturday. Would you rather have 40 degrees and overcast, or 50 degrees with rain?

UWDP: The current forecast is for a high close to 60 and a 30% chance of showers. Wind is probably a bigger issue than rain right now, with a forecast of 13-15 miles per hour. Unless there’s enough rain to make the footballs really wet and heavy, I think it’s an overstated variable. The wind, with a QB that floats the ball in when he throws deep, that’s the issue.

Preparing for USC isn’t really about the weather, regardless. It’s about the talent USC has at the skill positions.

Darin Johnson:

I kind of dig the SC music. I assume it's a subconscious association with the Song Girls. Is that wrong?


USC's "Tribute To Troy" is the greatest fight song in college sports. It's instantly recognizable around the country and, love it or hate it, it does what a fight song is supposed to do - it gets inside your head and whips you into a frenzy or drives you insane. "Bow Down To Washington" is, of course, demonstrably the second greatest fight song in college sports. What all of this leads to, of course, is the all important question of what is the third greatest fight song in college sports?

UWDP: Yeah, I agree with both of you. But at the same time, I also liked Jim Harbaugh when he was the head coach at both Stanford and in San Francisco. Still do, actually. Being hated the way he was, and the way the USC songs are, is the ultimate sign of respect.

The white sweaters are almost more important than the cheerleaders wearing them.

When I was in high school, our fight song was “On Wisconsin,” with modified lyrics, of course. I guess I’ll go there.


What's the difference between a flea flicker and the "double pass" we've seen the last two weeks?

UWDP: A flea flicker involves a handoff to a running back, who runs toward the line of scrimmage before stopping and pitching it back to the quarterback for the pass. The double pass is exactly what it sounds like; one player receives a backward lateral, and then throws the ball down the field.

Dawg in sc country:

Close game or blowout? I think close. Espn says today about 80% chance of winning. Avg yards and yards allowed seem comparable to me across the board (our defense is a bit better). Points scored and points allowed is quite different. After seeing Texas a&m, Ohio state and others fall to what I think were unranked teams, I'm a bit on edge.

UWDP: I certainly think USC has the talent to keep the game close, and even win it, but in the rare moments I’m able to keep my wits about me when considering this game, I think the most likely outcome is that the Huskies win by more than ten points.

USC’s defense is very similar to Utah’s by advanced stats; the Trojans are slightly better on a per-play basis, while Utah is better on a drive-efficiency basis. The Trojans are better against the run, but aren’t nearly as good as the Utes in forcing turnovers or generating sacks. USC’s offense is exceptionally good on a per-play basis, but less so on a per-drive basis as they’re prone to turning the ball over.


Do you see USC performing better than usual against us given their eventful loss last year?

UWDP: I’m sure USC is going to use every bit of motivation at their disposal, including the results of last year’s game. But when you get right down to it, what happened last season was such a unique set of circumstances that I don’t think it provided anything “special” for the Trojans.

USC is going to be jacked up because they’re playing a very good team. Same for Washington. All the outside noise goes away pretty quickly as soon as the game kicks off.

Darin Johnson:

Have you thought about how good Sidney Jones will be next year when he's a senior?

UWDP: I actually hadn’t considered that. But now that I think about it, if he really commits himself in the offseason, there’s no reason he couldn’t fill a valuable role on the team next season. Maybe even get some honorable mention as an all-conference-type player, if things really go well. I could even see him getting some NFL camp invitations after the draft, but that’s getting ahead of myself.

His name is All-American Sidney Jones. Get it straight.


Do you know, or have a link to coaching staff bonuses available?

Over & under on Coach Smith contract extension?

I'm guessing Coach Tedford moves on after this season, maybe to Fresno. Which coach(es) are most likely to move on, and presumably up?


Just b/c you always need something to worry about, given the large scale coaching turnover that is likely in the conference this year (RichRod, Helfrich and Mora) how concerned should we be our coaches will be poached. I don't mean Coach Pete but the assistants, even if all those coaches remain there will be massive turnovers in coordinators (add Cal to that list).

UWDP: I don’t, and I don’t know how easily available it is to find, specifically. They probably aren’t published for public consumption, but would be made available since they are state employees.

Jonathan Smith is making $440,000 this season, plus bonuses, whatever those might be. Pete Kwiatkowski is making $600,000 as the defensive coordinator, and Jimmy Lake is making $500,000 as the co-DC. Smith was the only one of the three to not get a raise in 2016, so he’s due regardless of his success this year.

As well as the offense has played this season, to be consistent, I have to say that Smith has done a fine job of running Chris Petersen’s offense. He empirically has. I suspect that he’ll be rewarded with a contract that’s very similar to what Kwiatkowski is making this year - in the neighborhood of $600,000, plus bonuses.

We now know that Jeff Tedford is moving on. The bad news for Husky fans is that Tedford has had a year to really analyze the current assistants up close, and he’s been out of coaching long enough that he doesn’t have a ready-made staff to take with him. Washington is at some risk here of losing guys. Much like Chris Petersen, Tedford is a de facto offensive coordinator and QB coach, so I doubt he’s going to want Smith. Hamdan doesn’t have a ton of experience at this level as a position coach or a recruiter, so I doubt that Tedford would offer him a promotion, nor can he offer a raise. If Keith Bhonapha has designs on being a coordinator, it’s possible Tedford could try to lure him, especially since Bhonapha is a good recruiter. Same goes for Chris Strausser, although Strausser is well-paid, and he’d probably have to accept less money even to be a coordinator at Fresno State.

Bob Gregory was a defensive coordinator for Tedford at Cal. Tedford eventually fired Gregory, however, so I don’t know if there’s bad blood there or not. Gregory is making $490,000 at UW, so he might have to take less money to even be the defensive coordinator at Fresno. Same applies to Jimmy Lake, and the fact is that due to his ability as a recruiter, I think Lake is destined for something bigger than Fresno, even after this season.

If there are a lot of changes made elsewhere in the conference, I think there’s a risk the Huskies lose some assistants. I think Bhonapha and Lake are the biggest risks.

Ben Nice:

The offense is very balanced and multidimensional. The defense has the "Death Row" nickname, probably the best secondary in the country, and many NFL prospects on that side of the ball, but I cant shake the feeling that if the Huskies lose (not necessarily this week) it will be because of the defense not the offense. Am I wrong?

UWDP: I don’t think USC is going to score 35 points on the Huskies. So, to win, they probably have to get close to that number, while holding the offense significantly below its season’s average (which they will almost regardless, but the degree is the question).

The Huskies aren’t weak on either side of the ball (on the contrary, they’re exceptionally strong). USC isn’t likely to win with just a great defensive showing, or offensive explosion. A win only happens if they play exceptionally well on both sides of the ball, and also probably get an exceptional special teams play or a key turnover.


What the heck was up with all the short kick offs can't we get some touch backs It seemed like cal started at 25 to 35 all night.


Will the Huskies Special Teams unit use a similar tactic they used during the CAL game in order to limit Adoree Jackson's success in the return game?


With Coach Pete's emphasis on special teams typically falling on the return game, when will we see some additional attention paid to the kicking side of things. This has been an issue over the last couple of years, and reared its head again this past weekend at Cal. What can they do to get this fixed outside of find someone from Australia ala Utah.

UWDP: Chris Petersen stated that he didn’t want to risk giving up a big return to the Bears. While there’s probably some truth to that, I think he’s covering for his kickoff specialist/punter. Fact is, we saw Tristan Vizcaino kicking the ball to the back of the end zone with regularity at the beginning of the season. He was also getting significantly better loft on his punts than he did Saturday...

Speculating on injuries is wrong - IT’S WRONG!! - but I’m going to do it because that’s how I roll. Maybe not an injury, but I think something is up with Vizcaino. Injury, dead leg, whatever. He’s not as effective right now as he was at the beginning of the season.

Adoree’ Jackson is a pretty exceptional return man. Unless Vizcaino is showing that he can hammer the ball again, I expect to see the short kickoffs again this week. Punting is going to be dangerous, and I won’t be at all surprised if the extremely risk-averse Chris Petersen is content to accept minimal yards through the air to maximize the chances Jackson doesn’t get to return the ball....

Idaho-Portland Dawg:

Ohio State will most likely leap-frog the Huskies on Tuesday and claim the number 4 spot. Now what? UW's OOC schedule is the only legitimate blemish for this team. That seems unfair given the precarious state of the program when that schedule was produced. Should the committee take something like that into account when considering who are the top teams in the country? And on a related note, shouldn't Wisconsin be punished for dismissing the home and home series with Washington? If the committee wants to emphasize OOC scheduling, wouldn't it be prudent for the committee to punish teams, like the Badgers, for watering down their OOC schedules?

I know this is a difficult issue to discuss - and that the politics and biases lurking behind the scenes complicate the committee's rankings further - but I'm struggling to cope with how the Huskies are being critiqued with the committee. Thanks Brad.

UWDP: I certainly hope that the intent or circumstances surrounding schedules are giving precisely zero weight by the playoff selection committee. The rankings absolutely need to be 100% about what happens on the field, not in the athletic directors’ offices in the offseason.

Wisconsin played LSU. No matter that they backed out of the UW game, that doesn’t really qualify as “watering down the schedule” to me.

The Huskies are being devalued because they played a weak non-conference schedule, and the way the Pac 12 is playing out this season on the field, have yet to face their biggest challenges in conference play.

I understand the rationale in ranking Texas A&M ahead of Washington last week, and wouldn’t have had too much heart burn if Ohio State had been ahead of Washington this week, for that matter. In fact, I’m glad that the committee is trying to assess overall goodness instead of just avoidance of badness.

Here’s the none-to-pleasing reality Husky fans face right now (sort of, but not really....): It’s 1984 again, and we’re all BYU fans.

Darin Johnson:

Consider these four numbers: 12, 1, 10, 18. Are they

A) The combination to my gym locker in ninth grade?

B) Number of drummers drumming, partridges in pear trees, and lords a-leaping, and a good number to remember?

C) The national rankings of USC's last four classes?

UWDP: On the Husky Honks show this week, Hugh Millen said that there is actual data that USC underperforms its recruiting, and has done so outside of the tenures of a few coaches. I wish he would’ve expounded on that. Maybe he just meant wins and losses, but I interpreted what he said as more than just that.

USC is probably the most talented team in the conference nine out of ten seasons. That doesn’t translate near as well as it should.


In re-watching the Utah game, it is clearly a SEA OF RED in the stands. Granted, it's been a long time since I've been able to attend a Husky game, but I don't ever recall a SEA OF PURPLE in the stands. Any thoughts on why this is? Our fans are loud, passionate, knowledgeable and love our Huskies. Why can't we create the same environment in terms of color? (Maybe because noise is more important than color, and we do that one really well?) And as always, thank you for your work!

UWDP: Yeah, I’ve wondered about this a little bit too.

The fact is, it’s just not a priority for the athletic department to make it happen. Other than during the blackout games....At the Boise State game a couple of years ago, there were notices on each seat prior to the game, telling fans in each section which color (white, blue, or orange) to wear each week. You’re never going to see anything like that at the UW.

I see lots of people at games in grey or black or white Husky stuff. And I see lots of people not wearing Husky stuff period. There’s kind of a general apathy toward wearing purple at games. It’s even worse because a lot of Husky games are in “jacket weather.” There aren’t a ton of options in existence.

I’ll look on with a small amount of envy at how cool Neyland Stadium looks when Tennessee has a game there, but I’m never going to trade people in purple for people yelling really, really loud (at the right times, people - when the other team has the ball). But I’d trade anybody for the number of fans that dress like empty seats in the second halves of games.


How do you feel the matchups of John Ross vs Adoree Jackson/ Sidney Jones and Kevin King vs JuJu Smith-Schuster will go?

UWDP: I can’t wait to watch them. That’s going to be good football. Worth the price of admission.

USC’s secondary is pretty good beyond just Adoree’ Jackson. I don’t know if or how much he’ll match up against John Ross, but on the other side of the ball, the Huskies are perfectly content to play sides on defense, so both Jones and Kevin King are going to get plenty of time on Juju Smith-Schuster.

USC might have a slight advantage just in terms of star power with the guys you’ve mentioned, but the Huskies have a pretty significant edge in overall depth in both units.

I can’t wait to see it.


Assume we have to play Alabama in the playoff. Would we rather face them in a semifinal after four weeks of film study and practice, or after 9 days with the championship on the line? I think I'd prefer to be the four seed, instead of two or three. I like our staff's attention to detail and ability to game plan, and think our tactical advantage is more pronounced the longer the lead time.

UWDP: I agree. I’d rather play them with a month to prepare as well.


Looks like Myles isn't 100%. Earlier in the year wasn't he nursing an injury of some sort also? What's his status? It's great that Coleman and Dotson have contributed but we really need all hands on deck as we close out the season.

UWDP: There hasn’t been anything said about Myles Gaskin that I’ve seen this week, but I agree, he’s limped off the field in several games, including Saturday against Cal.

I’m not sure if it’s really affected him or not. His numbers are pretty good; he’s second in the conference in rushing yards, and his 6.3 yards per carry is more than a half-yard better than what he did in 2016 (and good for 8th in the Pac 12). He played well against Utah, certainly.

His carries are down a little compared to how much he was toting the rock at this point last season. It could be injury, but it’s more likely that the depth behind him is good enough that there’s no reason to wear him down.

I think he could’ve played more than he did last week. If he’s needed on Saturday, I’d wager good money he’ll be there as many times as he’s needed.



Yeah, Michigan make sense:

But why is Clemson rated so high?

UWDP: Confirmation bias is about the only answer I can give you. They had a good season last year, brought the key players back, so were highly ranked headed into the season. While they haven’t been terribly impressive much of the time, they’ve managed to avoid doing anything so egregious to drop from the position voters had them in in their minds in August.

If there was no AP or Coaches poll to color perception, I have a hard time believing a playoff committee would have them as one of the four best teams in the country.


Is there a good place to find raw data on husky formations and and snap counts? I'd be very interested to see how often we have two tight ends on the field as well as how the playing time is broken down. I've been shocked at how little credit the tight ends are getting for the offensive efficiency improving this season.

UWDP: None that I’m aware of. I’d wager it’s over half the time, probably substantially so.

They aren’t getting their due as blockers, for sure. They aren’t huge components of the passing game (23 catches combined as a group). Their abilities and versatility have been huge components of the offense, though. I agree.


With all the playoff committee hubbub bagging on out OOC schedule, and major pundit across the country and in our home town (Jude) determining that a one loss UW team gets left out of the playoffs, there's one question that I rarely hear them ask, which is: how much importance is the committee supposed to put on winning your conference championship (which at this point in the season cannot be determined)? Is it your opinion that (god forbid) a one loss UW PAC-12 champion is out of the playoffs in 99% of the possible scenarios?

UWDP: The beauty of an arbitrary process to select the four playoff teams is that the committee can say just about anything it wants without actually being beholden to any of it. The committee’s web page says that conference championships are important, but there certainly isn’t anything approaching a formula for weighting one.

In a perfect world, I suppose that’s a good thing. The idea is to get the four best teams into the playoff, and there’s reasonable odds each year that the team that finishes second in one conference is actually better than the winner of another.

In reality, all I really care is that the Pac 12 gets the credit it deserves as a football conference. I don’t think it does. Or, to put it better, I think there are too many times that it doesn’t.

I don’t think it’s quite as dire as you’re suggesting for a one loss Washington team. But it would take some help, for certain. If Alabama, Clemson and Michigan all win out, Ohio State is probably out of contention. Louisville would need to lose again. At that point, it would come down to a one-loss Pac 12 champion Washington versus two-loss non-champion Ohio State, Louisville, and Wisconsin teams. I think the Huskies get in over any of those.

Ned Schneebly:

What is the chance UW wins out, yet missed the CFP?

UWDP: Right next to zero. It won’t happen. There’s no way an undefeated, Pac 12 champion Washington that has wins over two teams ranked in the final poll (at least) is left out over a one-loss team that won’t win its conference championship.

Ur Mom:

How much does it hurt the Huskies SOS that USC was not ranked in either the AP or Coaches Poll this week? How in the world is a team that is on a 5 game win streak NOT ranked 25th (at least) when you have a 6-2 Baylor squad that got violated by unranked TCU, and two 3 loss teams (FSU and LSU) ranked in the top 20 (20th and 19th, respectively)?

UWDP: The benefit of the doubt is currently working for Florida State, Baylor, and LSU, and working against teams that lost early (and badly) like USC and certainly WSU. USC should probably be ranked. WSU should be ranked higher.

At this point, the college football playoff poll is the only one that really matters. Baylor is out of that one, and USC is in.

In the end, all that really matters at this point is winning.


I realize there's a lot of golf left and you might not want to speculate on my opinion this early.... BUT.... I believe Coach Pete isn't the 2nd coming of Don James. I believe he's better he's better( relax people! I'm not knocking the Dawgfather!) and when his run is over he'll have taken the UW program to an unprecedented level in its history! What percentage do I have of being right? 40, 50, 75?

UWDP: What’s “better” mean? Higher winning percentage? More national titles? More conference championships? Something else?

It’s not impossible, but the likelihood is pretty low, I think. The biggest thing working against Petersen is that his tenure is probably going to be quite a bit shorter than was James’.

It’s an arbitrary evaluation. I think Petersen is going to have a tough time being as well-loved as James was, even if he wins at a higher rate.

But that’s getting way ahead of things here. This is year three. It’s a good one.

Your Mammy:

Assuming that WSU wins this week at Cal (likely) but losses a close one to Colorado who is currently ranked 15th, what would the Cuog's come into the Apple Cup ranked? Again, how in the heck are the Cuog's not ranked higher than Florida (no Offense, iffy D), FSU (struggled against Wake Forrest, were a missed field goal away from losing to a bad NCST team, winning games by an average of only 9.4 pts (discounting Charleston Southern game)), or Nebraska a team that was just exposed on National Television and who has lost against all relevant competition except a good Wyoming team early in the year?

UWDP: WSU has a pretty small margin simply because they started out 0-2, and lost those two games to a bad team and the lowest-rated team with one loss. In the eyes of voters and the media, losing to an FCS team is a death knell. And it will be tough to move a two-loss WSU team ahead of a one-loss Boise State team that already beat them.

I think WSU might be the most under rated team in the country right now (and I can’t stand WSU, so there’s absolutely zero fandom in that statement).

Your Mammy:

Is 4 questions enough to beat Rhaego in the "questions asked" category this week?

UWDP: Ragu took the week off; he’s probably out fighting crime. So, yes. But not in a normal week.

RS Frosh class:

Benning looked pretty good. Made some tackles near the line of scrimmage and the Cal QB was off his game for a while after Benning knocked him to the ground.

UWDP: Benning Potoa’e was definitely a net positive for the defense on Saturday. He’s got good quickness for a guy his size rushing the passer.

He struggled at times with his technique, typically by spending too much time and effort engaging blockers instead of working to defeat them. And ultimately, I’m not sure if he’s actually an edge guy versus an interior one. But he’s improving, and the team is going to need him to take an much bigger step this Saturday. I’m excited to see what he can do.


What's your contribution for a Game Day sign on Sat.?

UWDP: Same as every week.

I hate Game Day. The show has become a caricature of itself.


It seems to me that before the Cal game, Jake Browning has struggled a bit. Yes, that means he has merely been a really good QB as opposed to a Great QB. After the first quarter he seemed to be the Jake Browning I was used to seeing in the beginning of the season. I think OSU and Utah took away the intermediate game, and forced Jake to throw the long ball which isn't the best part of his game. Did OSU and Utah take away an aspect of his game, was Jake just a little off after the bye week, or am I simply insane in thinking he was off?

UWDP: It’s probably a little unfair to expect him to play at the level he started the season at for the entire year. It’s not realistic.

I don’t think Oregon State was his best game. I think Utah has a good defense, and pressured him fairly well. But that game was more about the lack of pass attempts than what he did with them; he was well over nine yards per attempt in that game.

Against Oregon State, Browning’s passer rating was 172.7, and his adjusted QBR was 91.3 (100 is perfect). Against Utah, he was at 161.1 and 81.2, respectively. Most teams in the country would take those numbers every week of the year.

Yeah, maybe a bit insane. But Browning would probably agree with you, too. He’s set an incredibly high bar for himself.


In the 6 games that Sam Darnold has started USC has AVERAGED 552 yds./gm. in total offense. Their attack has been well balanced - averaging 258 yds./gm. running the ball and 295 yds./gm. passing. The least they had running was against AZ. for 157 yds. but they threw for 366 yds. in that game. The least they had passing was against Cal. for 231 yds. but they had 398 yds. running in that game. They take what the other team has been giving them, and no team has really had an answer to stop them, except from forcing turnovers. What do you say is the best strategy to deploy against USC to limit their yards, scoring, and control of the clock - stack the box against the run with additional linemen, or blitz the LBs to provide a much needed pass rush to disrupt their Freshman QB and force mistakes??


How real is USC? I see they are one of the better offenses in the PAC-12 right now, but their last three games have come against the worst three defenses in the PAC-12 (Arizona, Cal & Oregon). The team is on a roll, but the roll has been against some bad teams.


The SC offense will shred a defense if given a chance and their OL provides a good pocket to do so. Will we have to dial up more blitzes than the whole year so far to limit Sam Darnold?

UWDP: And against Utah in Darnold’s first start, USC put up 456 yards against the Utes.

USC has a really good offense. The running game in particular is strong.

Stopping the Trojans is on the Husky offense, not just the defense. The Dawgs have made a living out of starting out incredibly fast, and getting big leads. Doing so can help to limit an opponent’s ability to run the ball, but it also puts an incredible amount of pressure on an offense to score points. That pressure is what can lead to mistakes, especially in Husky Stadium.

If the Huskies can get pressure on Sam Darnold without blitzing, this game could go the UW’s way in a hurry. If they can’t, and they weren’t able to at Utah or consistently against Cal, the coaching staff is going to have to bring pressure from the linebackers more than they’d really like. That’s probably going to be the case, and it’s going to put an added onus on the secondary to play even better than their usual standard. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the defense use less Cover one, man under coverages, and more Cover Two or Cover Three zone looks, especially when the team blitzes.

The Huskies need to make the first tackle in the running game, even if it’s five yards down the field. USC will move the ball on the ground, but like the game against the Utes, the long runs might be a better indicator of success than the total rushing yards. Joe Williams’ long was only 18 against Washington. That’s good. If that’s the case again this Saturday, then the run defense was a success.


Questions galore! What is the real story with the Husky run defense? Right now the run defense isn't very impressive, as they are in the middle of the pack in yards per game and yards per rush (the non-conference games make the numbers look a lot better than they should). Here is the reality; Arizona, Oregon, Utah and OSU all ran the ball well against the Huskies. Is the Husky run defense struggling, or is there another story that can explain the mediocre numbers?

UWDP: Well, those teams (plus Washington and USC) are the best running teams in the conference. It’s not a terrible shock that they had more success against Washington than “average.”

I wouldn’t say it’s “struggling,” outside of the Arizona game. Most of what Oregon State did was after the game was well out of reach. Against Oregon, over half their rushing yards came once the score was 56-14. Utah is a good team.


Now that we know Mathis is done for the season, will we see more blitz packages thrown in to the mix to help get some QB pressure? I have been waiting to see Buddah utilized more off the edge to provide pressure, but it seems like they don't want to do this for whatever reason.


What's the latest on the Mathis recovery? Based on what you've see in film, just how much have we been missing his presence?


Where will the Huskies find pass rush off the edge with Mathis now confirmed shelved for the season? Only 3 sacks since his injury..

UWDP: The Huskies have already shown more blitzing the last couple of games than they did the first seven, as they’ve struggled to replace Joe Mathis. Make no mistake, the Huskies are missing his presence at the end spot.

Expect to see more blitzing against USC, but it’s not likely to come from Budda Baker, who’s far more valuable in coverage than he is running at the QB. USC has a better group of receivers than either Utah or Cal as well.

Sacks were going to be tough to come by against Utah, no matter what. And especially in the second half, the Huskies did a pretty good job of pressuring Davis Webb, even though they didn’t actually bring him down.

The Huskies could really use a healthy Psalm Wooching on Saturday. And it would be a great time for Benning Potoa’e to really take a huge step in his growth. For that matter, it’d be great to see Elijah Qualls and Greg Gaines each get home a time or two. But if that doesn’t happen, expect to see the Huskies bring Keishawn Bierria on the blitz a handful of times, and expect it to work (but also expect it to get burned once).


My guess is that Jake staying for his senior year is dependent on him developing more arm strength. How does he improve his arm strength?

UWDP: The answer, of course, is physics.

Actually, the answer is that it’s just not ever going to happen. You can’t turn Jake Browning into John Elway, no matter how much time Browning was to spend in the weight room. He’s simply scraping up against his genetic limitations as to how explosively he’ll ever be able to transfer the power of his lower body to his upper body, and then to a football. Browning can maximize his potential through strength training (more in lifts that develop the fast-twitch muscles, like cleans, as opposed to say, the bench press), but the ability to generate velocity on a football is simply a limiting factor that Browning is going to need to work around to the best of his ability.

And the best of his ability is pretty damn good.


is jojo mcintosh a candidate for buck?

UWDP: He’s 6’ 1” and he’s 195 pounds. No, I don’t think so.

He’s also a pretty good safety. I like him there.

There are plenty of guys on the roster that are far more suited to play the Buck in 2016. I’m sure lots of guys will get chances next spring.

All for this week, Dawg fans. Make sure you properly dispose of your Trojans!