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Stuff and Shenanigans: Apples to Apples

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Always play the Helen Keller card. Unless you can play the “Beating Wazzu with Luke Falk in” card, then play that one.

NCAA Football: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fun.

Let’s relive it all again, shall we?

A 100% Accurate and 73% Sober History of Absolutely Everything

My prediction for Friday was largely based on whether or not the UW O-line could win the battle in the trenches. Spoiler alert: they could. Double spoiler alert: they did.

Not only did the Husky offensive line win that battle in pass protection, they also excelled in downfield blocking on screens and rushes. Ya know, those things everyone hated last year when they failed because the execution was trash but are now working because the execution isn’t trash? So for everyone who spent 2015 vocally wishing for Jonathan Smith to get fired...how about that playcalling now, b*^&%?

Actual words of Jonathan Smith I dare you to fact check this.
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today

Plus, it was so refreshing seeing Jake be able to drop back and have a comfortable pocket to throw in, especially after watching Sunday’s flaming inferno of compost that was the Seahawks’ pass protection.

The other component without which that sweet, sweet Smith playcalling would’ve been weak was the vision we saw Friday from Chico, Gas Pedal, and Lavon Coleman. Can we all just agree that the latter’s improvement since the end of last season has been so much fun to watch? (Answer: yes we can, because I’m right.)

Coleman has gotten particularly good at utilizing a slight change of direction—as little as a couple degrees—in order to make a defender’s angle ineffective. Thanks to that spatial manipulation, he was averaging somewhere over eight yards per rush against Wazzu. Now imagine he keeps that up and you just know he’ll have a mob of too-high-standard havers coming after him when he ends a game with only seven yards per rush. The horror, I say!

Speaking of running backs, the Cougs’ James Williams strikes fear in my heart when he touches the football, and that’s almost at the same magnitude as when Christian McCaffrey, Joe Williams, or Adoree’ Jackson have possession. Not quite, but almost.

Unfortunately for Williams, the Husky D-line Friday got physical against the run when it really mattered. (Can you say “pad level,” boys and girls?) Heck, regardless of whether WSU was running the ball or passing it, Washington’s defensive play in the trenches was up there as one of the better performances they’ve put on all year. If it weren’t for Luke Falk’s adept pocket awareness and better-than-he-gets-credit-for mobility while keeping his eyes downfield, the Huskies probably would have looked even better in that department.

On a similar topic, one of our writers at UWDP (I think it was Chris, may have been Ryan) brought up in his prediction how Wazzu’s spread O-line gaps play to the advantage of Qualls, as well as Vita Vea and Greg Effing Gaines. For the uninitiated, essentially the Cougars’ spread scheme has bigger gaps between each lineman so as to extend the distance from a 5-technique or 7-technique defender to the quarterback. Pre-Friday I had forgotten about that until one of the guys mentioned it, and that sure was validated on the field. The most blatant example of that off the top of my head was Keishawn Bierria’s sack, but in general the front seven took advantage of the smidgen of extra room throughout the game as well.

Back to offense. Everybody’s Favorite Bolt-Action Rifle, although not perfect, was for the most part back in that groove that he had going until the last few weeks. He seemed to have better timing than the last few weeks (though I still saw a handful of late throws), and the Cougars’ softer zone coverage on the outside allowed him and Ross and Pettis and Company to pretty much do out-routes and short curls to their hearts’ content. Plus, I personally love Jake’s Russell Wilson-esque discipline when the pocket gets iffy. He doesn’t panic and take off, but will stay behind the line of scrimmage for as long as possible to find an open receiver. That shows his discipline and that he’s a smartypants, and also implies a significant amount of trust between him, his skill players, and O-linemen to do their job so he can do his.

Lastly, some quick thoughts I had during the game:

  • Um, wow; Dante Pettis, we knew you were good but that was just some mean stuff you pulled on the WSU secondary.
  • Seriously, and I know I’ve probably said this enough to the point where it’s getting kind of annoying, but I’m so psyched to watch Taylor Rapp play more as a Dawg.
  • This is the most important thing you’ll hear all day. The Cougs and Dawgs should both wear home uniforms in the Apple Cup a la UCLA/USC because both teams have some of the best home uniform colors and it would look so totally wicked. My call to action this week, instead of the usual “everyone tell Derek Waters to put me on Drunk History when they come to Seattle” is that all y’all need to drop everything, unless it’s an infant or margarita which you hopefully didn’t have at the same time anyway, and call up Jen Cohen and Bill Moos. Tell them how right this idea is. Seriously.
  • And finally, the fun part of half your family being Cougars:

CoopWatch

In his final collegiate game, the beloved Deontae Cooper goes out on a high note with 126 yards on 26 carries as San Jose State beat their rivals from Fresno State. (Then SJSU turned around yesterday and fired their head coach, but whatever.) On behalf of all Huskies everywhere, way to go, Coop!

Line of the Week

That’s right, we’re going back to the SNL cache this week because it turns out the Cougs have more in common with an old Soviet babushka than I would’ve initially thought:

I don’t believe there’s a more accurate depiction of Friday. I suppose if it said 60 minutes instead of 90... Otherwise, though...

And the threat of “I will sic my MMA-fighter friend on you if you pull that ‘SNL was better back in the day’ bullcrap” still stands. Even if you’re right, I don’t care and would rather be kicked in the shins a thousand times than hear another single human moan on about their SNL opinions.

For example, people less vocal about their views than a 30 - 70 year-old American talking about Saturday Night Live:

  • Republicans and Democrats in a knife fight
  • Your in-laws at Thanksgiving
  • The New York Times comments section
  • Vegans

Sorry about that digression. I could go on but at this point we’re not even remotely talking about football and you’re probably wasting valuable time reading this sentence.

See you next week after the Pac-12 Championship game, and...

Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.