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Mailbag: “Down to Business (Finally)” Edition

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NCAA Football: Portland State at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Useless (I means seriously useless) facts about Arizona:

  • Arizona leads the nation in copper production; in fact, it outpaces the copper production of the rest of the U.S. combined. The amount of copper on the roof of the capital building is the equivalent of 4,800,000 pennies.
  • Arizona has an official state fossil. It’s petrified wood.
  • The bola tie is the official state neckwear. Officially.
  • Arizona observes Mountain Standard Time all year round. The one exception is the Navajo Nation in the northeast corner of the state, which observes the change to Mountain Daylight Savings Time.
  • The original London Bridge was dismantled and shipped overseas stone by stone, and then erected in Lake Havasu City.
  • Williams has the highest average annual precipitation of any city in Arizona, at 22.3 inches per year spread out over 72 days per year with measurable precipitation. Yuma has the lowest annual average, at only 3.3 inches over 18 days per year.
  • Arizona has the highest percentage of its land set aside in Indian lands of any state in the U.S.
  • Mt. Humphreys, north of Flagstaff, is the highest point in the state, reaching 12,643 feet above sea level.
  • Arizona is home to the world’s largest rose bush. With a trunk circumference of 12 feet, the single bush covers more than 9,000 square feet.
  • Pluto was discovered in 1930 at the Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff.
  • Arizona has more mountain peaks and summits - 3,982 - than any of the other Mountain States (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming).
  • By land area, Arizona is the sixth largest state in the U.S.
  • Arizona was the last state in the contiguous United States to be granted statehood, on February 14th, 1912.
  • Mount Lemmon, in the Santa Catalina Mountains, is the southernmost ski resort in the U.S.
  • The largest privately owned Ostrich farm in the world not located in South Africa is in Arizona.
  • The two largest man-made lakes in the U.S. (Mead and Powell) are both in Arizona.

I now feel a certain pride at sharing a nation with a place as wonderful as Arizona. To your questions.

Rhaego:

Thoughts on the Legacy vs Harris?

How is #72 doing?

OsidePup:

I saw Harris in at guard with the #1s. Has he now passed up Brostek?

UWDP: Neither Shane Brostek nor Nick Harris has played very consistently at right guard. While Brostek hasn’t had the smoothest ride at the UW due to multiple position changes, illness and injury, playing too early, and a coaching change, that lack of consistency is probably a bigger indictment of a fifth-year senior than it is a lightly regarded true freshman.

Brostek is one of the strongest members of the Husky football team, but right now, he’s a lot of wasted motion on the field. And it’s causing him to play poorly too often. Maybe it’s still a case of the game not slowing down for him. But right now, he and fellow fifth-year senior and new starter Psalm Wooching are both struggling to add much at their respective positions.

Some of the mistakes that Harris is making can be attributed to his youth and inexperience; I’d wager he was one of the last true freshmen anybody thought was going to get meaningful minutes this season. The good news is that he’s improved in each of the three games thus far; the bad news is that no matter what, he’s going to struggle this season because he’s just not big or strong enough right now. Saturday is going to be a big test for him. As wrong as I was about him playing at all this year, at this point, it wouldn’t shock me at all to see him in the starting lineup sooner rather than later. I don’t think it will be against Arizona or Stanford, though.

Trey Adams hasn’t had the best start to the 2016, either (although that can be said of anybody on the offensive line). He’s playing better assignment football today than he did against Rutgers, but it’s absolutely shocking how many one-on-one matchups he’s lost to players much, much smaller than himself, mostly due to the fact that he’s playing way too tall, way too often. I take that as a sign of his thinking too much, and it’s a pretty correctable issue. I expect Adams to take a big step forward this week against Arizona, and to really start building on his true freshman season.

LandingDawg:

How much did the easy OOC schedule help or hurt the team preparing for the Pac-12 slate?

UWDP: I think we’ll find out on Saturday. The Huskies are almost entirely healthy after these three games (the only injury that resulted from playing them was to Austin Joyner), and they’ve been able to taste some success. But we have no idea how they’re going to respond to adversity. In that latter regard, Chris Petersen’s influence is going to be tremendously beneficial.

The biggest benefit I see out of playing such a weak schedule is that Arizona will undeniably have the Huskies’ complete attention. Had the UW had to beat a good team in the first three games to garner their high ranking, there’d be some amount of risk of the team peeking ahead to a short week, and a huge matchup against Stanford. Since this is the first real test on the schedule, the chances of that happening are greatly reduced.

Truth is, after Saturday, the first three games really don’t matter anymore. The Huskies will have a league game under their belts, and the baseline for the season will be set.

OsidePup:

What's with Jaylen Johnson?? No rumors sneaking out anywhere? Anyone see him at least on the sidelines?

UWDP: Jaylen Johnson got hurt some time in the week leading up to the Rutgers game. He didn’t dress for that one, suited but didn’t play against Idaho, and then was in street clothes again for the Portland State game. He was definitely on the sidelines for all three games.

It’s important to remember something about the defense, too: prior to getting hurt, Jaylen Johnson was the starter over Vita Vea. Vea has certainly played well to start the season, but he’s more of a mauling interior tackle as opposed to an edge player. And against teams like Arizona that like to attack the perimeter of the defense more than the interior, Johnson’s quickness would be beneficial. I’d wager that once Johnson is fully healthy, he’s back to the starting lineup and Vea provides depth behind Greg Gaines and Elijah Qualls. Even if Vea keeps the starting job, adding Johnson to the mix provides starter-quality depth to the defensive line rotation.

Idaho-Portland Dawg:

What do you derive from Cal's win over Texas? I think Texas's ranking was inflated from a thrilling win against another overrated Fighting Irish squad (They just look so slow Brad. Like a snail climbing a hill through a trail of molasses). Cal looks to be exactly what you and others thought: Golden Bears can score but can they stop anyone else from scoring?

UWDP: I think you’re exactly correct. Texas benefited from the hype surrounding Notre Dame to catapult early to a dubious elite-level ranking. And right now, Notre Dame looks like a four- or five-loss team in the regular season.

Davis Webb is a good quarterback, but like Luke Falk at WSU, that perception is enhanced in some part by the volume of passes he throws. And as is the case with both of those teams, the key to slowing them down is to keep the quarterback throwing underneath the coverage play after play after play, and then tackling soundly. Something the UW defense is particularly adept at doing, by the way.

The win over Texas was a good thing for the Pac-12, especially considering the number of similar games the conference had failed to win so far. Cal’s offense will have the potential to score points in any game this season, but you’re correct, they aren’t going to be able to slow too many teams down on defense. In the end, they’ll be a team that’s fighting for bowl eligibility, I’d guess.

Patently Purple:

Despite my extremely high intelligence, I am struggling to come up with any quality questions. So... please correctly predict a huge upset for the upcoming weekend of FBS college football. A request: please don't predict a Wildcat win over Washington.

UWDP: Tough to lay off the meatball over the middle of the plate.

Ole Miss is going to beat Georgia.

Oklahoma State is going to beat Baylor.

Auburn is going to beat LSU.

dawgincostarica:

Last year we "beat down" Arizona ( 49-3 ?)...now we visit them. What's the biggest reversal of two teams scores...ever ? Would an Arizona win even be close to a record ? ( My H.S. team beat our rival 32 - 7...the next year (I'd graduated) they beat us 66-7) sheesh !

UWDP: In 1916, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland College 222-0, in the highest-scoring game in college football history. For whatever reason, little talk is given to the fact that Cumberland won the rematch in 1917 by a score of 38-0 for a 260-point turnaround.

Okay, only the first part of that is true.

Ever? I don’t know. A quick Google search didn’t give me the answer.

For the Huskies, it’s likely the two games against the Ducks in 1973 and 1974. In ‘73, the Ducks beat the Huskies 58-0 in Eugene. In 1974, the Huskies paid them back with a 66-0 win in Seattle.

wt:

I cannot make sense of the recent epidemic of players dropping the ball at the 1 yard line. What in the world is going on? How did this become a thing? It's not as though this has been going on for decades but we just recently started paying attention to it. Perhaps I'm being overly confident, but I simply can't imagine a Husky ever doing this. Do you care to guess how Coach Pete would respond if a Husky made this ridiculous mistake?

UWDP: It certainly seems to be a recent phenomenon, doesn’t it? I’m not sure if it really is, or if the amount of coverage of every single college football game, plus the insane number of camera angles and replays, plus a little recency bias, plus what actually amounts to a fairly small sample size, doesn’t factor in as well.

I know I’d hate to be the Husky player that did this, that’s for sure. It’d make the icy glare Chris Petersen used to back up Cory Littleton on the sidelines during last season’s USC game look like a warm smile of greeting. Knowing Petersen the way we do, I’d probably rather he yell at me for making such a foolish mistake than calmly show his extreme disappointment. Which is probably what he’d do.

The easy answer to make sure this never happens is to give the ball to the referee after a touchdown.

Rhoega:

Rapp passing Gardenhire?

UWDP: It’s tough to say what’s actually going on with the secondary right now, but based on the last two games, Brandon Beaver passed Darren Gardenhire, and then Taylor Rapp passed Beaver.

The Huskies have done some experimenting on the back end of the defense the last couple of weeks. My memory might be incorrect, but I really don’t remember Budda Baker playing nickel coverage very much last season, which is where he’s started the last two games. Against Idaho, Beaver was the deep safety. Against Portland State, it was JoJo McIntosh. In both games, the Husky defense gave up plays in the soft middle of their zone defense - plays that the center fielder should help to clean up - that I don’t remember being there last season. I’m anxious to see what the Husky nickel defense looks like on Saturday at Arizona, and if the Wildcats make an early effort to attack the defense there, should Baker be outside in coverage.

It’s very possible the defense wants to utilize Baker closer to the line of scrimmage in order to blitz him more often; he’s already had more tackles for lost yardage than he did in all of 2015 (2.5 to 1.5), and got in on his first career sack.

Rapp played pretty well, I thought. He played fast, which is about as much as you can ask from a true freshman in his third game and first meaningful action. I wouldn’t bet on him starting many more games this year outside of injury necessitating it, but I suspect that he’s going to find himself in the rotation at safety from here on out.

Rhaego:

Is Peterson winning with Sark's players? Is next year (vs this year) a better predictor of his program's sustainability?

UWDP: Based on sheer numbers, the starters are about half Chris Petersen recruits, and half Steve Sarkisian holdovers. In the two-deeps, about 2/3’s of the players were recruited by Chris Petersen. There are only six members left from the class of 2012 (redshirt seniors), while 15 remain from the class of 2013 (true seniors and redshirt juniors). With only a couple of exceptions, they all play.

I don’t think the “his guys” designation is much of a deal anymore with Chris Petersen’s program. The ones that are left from the last era have bought in, to the point that they’re now “his guys.”

I’m not sure what’s going to signify stability, short of winning itself. I’d like to “know” that Petersen has hit on a quarterback outside of Jake Browning, and I’d like to see some more quality and quantity in terms of actual results on the field from his offensive line recruiting. But the sample sizes are small enough right now that I’m not actually worried about those things yet.

With so many moving parts, it’s really difficult for any program to truly be sustainable.

OsidePup:

Can we expect K.J.#2 (Young) to start getting a play or two with the starters? Or, is the receiver rotation set for the 1st half of the season?

UWDP: I was a little surprised to see that K.J. Young didn’t get any snaps against Portland State. I don’t know if he was dinged up or not, though.

In terms of learning the offense and developing a chemistry with the quarterbacks, Young is behind every other receiver on the roster, including the true freshmen. That’s certainly not to say he won’t get there as the season moves on, but he clearly isn’t there right now. Things likely get tougher for him if Brayden Lenius is reinstated and in good standing.

HuskyInExile:

I can't find a rec button for posts in new format; can you find it for me?

UWDP: I can’t find it either. Anyone?

RBinOR:

What is going to take for us to create some buzz/inertia on the OL recruiting front? This long, dry spell specific to that position group is KILLING me.

UWDP: The “well, duh” answer (which happens to be the only one I’ve got) is for one of UW’s offered lineman prospects to decide to commit. Until that happens, I’m not sure that there’s anything that the coaches can do to speed up the process, and I don’t think there’s anything that can happen on the field that’s going to sway anyone to decide. When you aren’t here regaling us with your wit and insight, word is you’re a brilliant chemist, RB, so I’m not breaking new ground when I say that what happens with the team this year isn’t going to be a huge factor in the decisions that these high school kids factor in when choosing a college. It’s a years-long relationship, with a dash of whimsy (we’re talking about 17- and 18-year old kids, after all).

I’d like to get some offensive linemen into the fold soon, too. There aren’t many offers out right now to uncommited players, though. According to scout.com, there are only three out there right now (although that doesn’t mean the Huskies aren’t still after guys currently committed elsewhere). That number will probably go up as the season moves along and coaches get to see how the senior seasons of some guys unfold.

Mikesbike:

It seemed like Portland State was able to complete a lot of longish intermediate passes to their tight ends. They had a lot of space to run a few times as well. What was going on there?

Bonefire03:

It seemed like Portland St. was able to attack the middle of our defense with medium passes to slants or cross routes pretty much at will. I am having trouble remembering if that was the case with either of the two previous games. Is this a concern going into conference play (the soft middle of our D) or was it more a byproduct of Coack K shifting to a safer, more "prevent" defense as the game wore on?

UWDP: I saw the same thing against Idaho as well, particularly early in the game. And as mentioned above, I wonder how much of it was a factor of Budda Baker playing in coverage as opposed to being the center fielder for much of those two games.

We’ll probably get a better idea on Saturday against the Wildcats of what the defense will look like for the remainder of the season. Thinking back to the early part of 2014, with a similar pillow-soft early season schedule, the Huskies also played a very vanilla defense those first three games; schematically, we saw things (like Hau’oli Kikaha playing in coverage) that were nearly non-existent in conference play. We’ve seen some of those similar types of things in the early part of 2016. For example, the inside linebackers have had a lot of man coverage on the running backs that hasn’t been a “normal” part of the defense in the meat of the schedule (if you rewatch the Idaho game, you’ll see Azeem Victor and Ben Burr-Kirven repeatedly chasing backs from the middle of the field all the way out to the sidelines). When the defense is actually scheming to take those sorts of plays away, the backs are frequently picked up by defensive personnel a lot closer to the play.

I expect things to look a fair bit tighter against Arizona.

r2mnotr2:

Greg F. Gaines is beginning to remind me of a sophomore Husky DT from '90 who earned all-conference honors that season, and followed it up with a pretty good year in '91. Am I out of my mind, or do I just need to lay off the purple Kool-Aid?

UWDP: I don’t think that’s purple kool-aid in your glass. Or if it is, you may’ve gotten the proportions reversed.

Yes, you’re out of your mind. Greg Gaines has had a fantastic start to this season, and I fully expect big things from him this year and beyond. He’s incredibly strong; there was a video here sometime this summer of him taking 405 pounds from the floor and hang-cleaning it. Amazing.

Gaines isn’t the same type of player Steve Emtman was, though. I certainly don’t intend to be critical of Gaines, but Emtman was a better athlete. In fairness, Emtman also played as a 3-tech in a one-gap defense that was designed to take advantage of his strength and explosiveness. Gaines is mostly a two-gapping nose tackle whose primary job is to eat up multiple offensive linemen on each play. Which he does, with aplomb. I’m not sure that Gaines would thrive as an 3-4 end or 4-3 tackle, nor do I think Emtman would’ve been the player he was if he’d played the nose.

I’m incredibly pleased with Greg Gaines. Right now, a better comparison for him would be Danny Shelton, though.

Kogdon:

I haven't pumped my own gas in over a decade... Being a Dawg fan living in Oregon, I am constantly surrounded by d*ck fans, many of which are my friends. Needless to say, this time of year can be incredibly irritating, and I am confident that it has shaved a few years off of my life. Even though UW is ranked #9 and the d*cks are impotent (LOL) this year, I have remained humble. My question is this; how do I manage my relationships and interactions with my feathered friends as we get closer to this years showdown? Should I continue to remain humble, or should I liberate the 12 years of hate that is in my heart? Should I simply find new friends? Help!

UWDP: I see three options for you. If it was me, this is how I’d rank them:

  1. Find new friends.
  2. Be confident, but maintain a semblance of humility.
  3. Be an arrogant jackass in the weeks leading up to the game.

#3 comes with a high risk, but the reward may be sweetest. If it’s the route you take, you’ll probably need to take #1 either way. My advice is just to start there.

Gilly:

Not sure i see the benefit of using Budda Baker on offense. The potential downside seems far greater than the upside, but maybe I'm just an old fart. Your thoughts? (About Baker, not about being an old fart... I really am)

UWDP: If Budda Baker had played receiver the moment he stepped on campus, it’s not unreasonable to think he’d be the best one on the roster today. Instead, he’s one of the best safeties in the country. The guy is just a great football player, and if you could clone him, he’d probably start at five or six spots for this team.

That said, I tend to agree. Baker has played more snaps than any Husky the last two seasons; the last thing he really needs is to be on the field more. I’m sure he would disagree, though.

It’s a pretty obvious package right now. When he’s in, he’s either going to carry the ball or the Huskies are going to throw it to him. Which means that we aren’t too far away from seeing Baker throw the ball to Dante Pettis on a delayed go from the fly sweep action.

I love what I’ve seen from Chico McClatcher thus far in 2016. Just had to throw that in there.

There’s a certain element of playing with fire. If Baker were to get hurt playing offense, Chris Petersen and Jonathan Smith probably wouldn’t make it out of the stadium alive.

bowdown15:

Does anyone else notice Jake's fake throw after handing the ball off looks way more believable this year? Or at the very least he makes a more concerted effort for it to look believable.

UWDP: Every couple of years, Hugh Millen tells the story of backing up John Elway in Denver - the team was watching film of the previous game, and the QB coaching ran the same play back several times. Finally, he barked out, “Carry out your ball fake, #7!”

I agree with your observation. File it away under “The Little Things.” The sum of them is what’s going to elevate Jake Browning’s play year over year.

HUSKY57:

Stanford looks to be our toughest game? Is Christian McCaffrey the reincarnation of our own George Wilson? Seldom does one player dominate a game and decide the outcome as the aforementioned.

UWDP: To anybody that doesn’t know who George Wilson is:

He was an All-American halfback for the Huskies in the mid-20s, scoring a then-record 37 touchdowns in his UW career. He was elected to the College Football in 1951, and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1991. His number 33 is one of the very few retired by the University of Washington.

Sportswriter and author Damon Runyon wrote the following about Wilson after the 1927 Rose Bowl against Alabama:

“George Wilson, the slashing back of the Washington team, was splashing the Crimson Tide at will. Then he got hurt” (Runyon). Wilson was knocked out late in the second quarter and did not return until the fourth quarter. With Wilson on the bench, Alabama rallied to score 20 straight points. Alabama was on the move again when Wilson re-entered the game. The Huskies stopped the Crimson Tide at Washington’s 12. With Wilson leading the way, the Huskies drove down the field. Wilson hit John Cole with a 20 yard touchdown pass. It was too little, too late. Alabama won 20 to 19.

The Rose Bowl statistics confirmed the legend of George Wilson. With Wilson in the game, Washington gained 317 yards and scored 19 points. With Wilson on the sidelines for 22 minutes Washington gained only 17 yards and Alabama scored all of its 20 points. After the bitter loss, Wilson graciously told reporters “That Mack Brown was all they said of him and more”

Christian McCaffrey is one of the most dominant players in college football today, and should be working on winning back-to-back Heisman trophies. Not only did he rush for 2,019 yards in 2015, but he caught 45 passes for 645 yards, both of which led the Cardinal. In all, McCaffrey touched the ball on over 41% of Stanford’s offensive snaps. The Huskies did a reasonably good job against McCaffrey as a runner in 2015, but allowed him to have his best day of the year as a receiver.

Yes, I think Stanford is the toughest game on the schedule. Stopping McCaffrey is paramount, but what has made Stanford’s seemingly boring offense dangerous is what happens when defenses key too hard on their bellcow running back.

HUSKY57:

Many on this blog have high expectations of Jake Browning. I go back to Don Heinrich and first game attended Bob Schloredt was the QB. At one time we had six QBs playing in the NFL. But to be current who is the better QB: Jake Locker, Billy Joe Hobert or Jake Browning? Poll maybe?

UWDP: Ranking quarterbacks, especially across eras, is just about impossible. There are lots of reasons, some of which are wins and losses, the evolution in offenses, talent around the quarterback, sentimentality, and the list goes on.

Jake Browning has had some good games thus far, and I think he has a great trajectory. But he’s three games into his sophomore season, and hasn’t played anybody yet. Of the three guys on that list, I’d probably put Keith Price first.

Bonefire03:

With Jake playing like a GOAT on fire these first three games, do you think some of those big WR targets that chose to go elsewhere might be regretting their decision any time soon? Do you think his performance will sway recruits in any way when they might only get one year (next year) to play with him?

UWDP: Nah, I don’t think Washington’s sophomore quarterback has any real influence on those guys, either way. A top recruit in their same high school class might, but even then, I think relationships with coaches carry a lot more sway.

Rhaego:

Rank the 2017 early departure candidates including numbers 8, 1, 11, 99, 50, 36, 7, & 32. 26 looks ready for the next level

UWDP: All-American Sidney Jones is as good as gone. 93.21%. As for the rest:

#8: 1.03%

#1: 18.67%

#11: No way KJ Carta-Samuels leaves after this season. Qualls, on the other hand...31.27%

#99: 4.93%

#50: 0.29%

#36: 42.44%

#7: 13.88%

#32: 61.14%

Rhaego:

What does a Heisman candidacy season look like for Browning? For Ross?

UWDP: For starters, the record in the regular season has to be at least 11-1. If that doesn’t happen, I think it’s all moot.

For Browning, he’d need 4,000 yards, 70% complete or better, 9.5 yards per attempt or better, at least 35 TDs, and no more than 5 interceptions.

For Ross, a minimum of 80 catches for over 1,400 yards, at least 18 receiving TDs, plus he’d need at least 500 kick return yards with an average over 28.0 yards per return, and 3 more TDs. One would need to win a game, and he’d need to rush for another 4 or 5 TDs, one of which would need to win a game.

It’s not happening. There’s going to be a guy like Lamar Jackson at Louisville that’s going to throw for 3,800 yards and rush for 1,300 more with 45 total TDs, or a Career Achievement nominee like Donnel Pomphrey or Nick Chubb that’s going to take the award. Washington’s offense isn’t going to produce the stats to create a Heisman winner.

HuskyInExile:

I'm already planning spread for Standord game. What kind of wine(s) & cheese(s)?

Extra credit reason behind choice(s).

UWDP: Tailgate food begins and ends with this:

Everything else is window dressing. At best.

HUSKY57:

Is there too much trivia posted on this blog? Of 100 comments it is very hard to find one or two about Husky football. After 20 I don't even bother to read.

UWDP: Trivia? No. Trivial items? That’s a matter of personal opinion.

Lots of people read. Lots of people comment. Not everybody is going to be pleased. You’ll have to just ignore the stuff that doesn’t interest you, same as the rest of us. But unless things get out of hand, there just isn’t going to be a lot of moderation in the comments section (regardless of what some of you may believe).

enednal0316:

While generating lots of points in the first three games, the Husky offense seems anything but highly creative and kind of vanilla in its style. Is this what we should expect over the course of the season or, as I suspect, is Coach Petersen simply keeping a tight cover on the playbook, and by that remain something of a mystery to upcoming teams, until he needs in conference play?

UWDP: Boy, I certainly disagree that the offense isn’t creative. It’s definitely subtle, and it’s easy to miss some of the things that are happening unless you really watch it carefully, but I think it’s very inventive. And it really always has been.

Here’s the youtube link to the game against Portland State.

The first offensive play is around the six-minute mark. While it looks like a simple curl to Chico McClatcher, it’s actually a great design. Darrell Daniels runs a very common tight end route: a “hook” right in front of the inside linebackers, and draws their attention on the play. This allows Chico McClatcher to sneak in to the very same hook zone, right behind the linebackers, for a much better gain. Daniels is obviously a decoy on the play.

On the next play, the Huskies take out the running back and show four wide receivers plus a tight end in the huddle. Portland State responds with a nickel defense. McClatcher lines up as a running back, and finds a huge hole because the Vikings didn’t have the “best” personnel matchup.

On the second scoring drive (about the 12:45 mark), the Huskies bring Budda Baker in. He motions across from left to right, which coupled with the positioning of Lavon Coleman as what looks like a lead blocker, screams “handoff to Baker.” The entire defense flows with Baker to the now-overloaded right side of the offense. Darrell Daniels blocks, runs a delayed release back to the left side, and is wide open.

It’s not in-your-face stuff, it’s not flashy, but it’s very creative. Subtle. And it builds upon itself.

Dawg:

Let's get real about Jeff Tedford wants to be a head coach again and he may get a chance at the end of the season. Do you think he's going to pull from Washington's staff. Lake as his defense coordinator. Speaking of defense coordinator why doesn't coach K doesn't have a head coaching job himself. Do you think he's content where's he at? Like former Oregon's defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti? I think he coached there for over 20 yrs. I just hope coach K and Lakes stay at Washington forever. If Lakes leaves the best thing that may happen is that he returns after Coach Pete retires.

UWDP: I totally agree that Jeff Tedford wants to be a head coach again and not an offensive coordinator. And while he’s certainly getting an up-close view of guys like Jimmy Lake, it’s important to remember that he’s got a lot of close ties with other, more experienced coordinators. I doubt he’d want to trust what would probably be his last shot as a head coach to a guy that has no experience, especially when he might be able to get a guy like Clancy Pendergast, who he’s already worked with, off the unemployment line after this year.

Pete Kwiatkowski may very well see himself as a defensive coordinator. He’s quickly getting to the point that he’s just a little too old to be a first-time head coach. He’s never been a serious candidate for a job, ever, as far as I can tell. That he wasn’t promoted to the top job at Boise State following Chris Petersen’s hire here could be a statement of how he’s viewed in that regard. Or he could’ve made it clear he just wasn’t interested.

I’d prepare yourself for Jimmy Lake moving on, and sooner rather than later. He’s got a great reputation as a recruiter, and he’s young. Somebody is going to give him the reins to an entire defense soon, even if it isn’t Jeff Tedford.

Andrew M Smith:

What is your honest opinion on the trajectory of the teams in the Pac-12 North? We seem to like where we're headed, but the ducks seem to be on a distinctly downward trajectory, the cougs seem their usual cougy selves, etc.

UWDP: I think the bottom of the conference is getting better, but the problem is that there just doesn’t look like there’s much room at the top right now.

Realizing trajectories is something that’s most often done with the benefit of hindsight. Stanford’s trajectory looks to be a slow decline, but they’re at the top right now. How far they fall remains to be seen. Washington and Oregon may be trading places. The Ducks are also on the decline, and firing Mark Helfrich might be the tipping point for them; continuity has been incredibly beneficial for the Ducks the last decade. That’s also true with Stanford, but in their case, I don’t believe that David Shaw is as good a coach as Jim Harbaugh, and while he won’t get fired, he isn’t going to sustain or rebuild the heights Harbaugh brought to the perception of the Cardinal.

Cal and Washington State seem like the teams most likely to continue in an up-and-down cycle. Neither seems like it has the wherewithal to make a consistent move to the top half of the division, but neither is likely to be a consistent bottom dweller, either.

Oregon State, to me, is a team that could rise (which probably sounds laughable today). I’m still shocked that the Beavers were able to lure Gary Andersen away from Wisconsin, and I don’t really think Andersen will look to leave Corvallis any time soon. He could build something there, I believe. But like I said, it’s a crowded division. Oregon State could become a much better program, and still be a middle-of-the-road team.

ajsibley5:

Please talk about the attendance issues on game day. Is it just me, or has the stadium been the emptiest these first 3 games as at anytime in the last 6 years, despite the excitement and potential of the team?

Also, I've noticed ticket prices for the Stanford game have reached over $100 for nosebleeds. Do they want this game to sell out or not?

UWDP: I don’t know if it’s been the absolute emptiest or not, but it’s certainly been close.

The problem is that fans aren’t going to buy season tickets based on potential, nor are they going to choose to attend uninteresting matchups when there are single-game tickets available for the “big” games on the schedule.

The attendance has been disappointing, but about what I expected.

There’s a lag with season ticket buying. It’s probably going to take a season or two of genuinely good results before there’s a big jump in sales. Once the single-game tickets aren’t available for the Stanfords and USCs on the schedule, people will be forced to buy the whole package. The lag on the back end will continue as well; people will keep their season tickets a year or two after the peak of a run, and the number will gradually decrease each year. I saw this happen in the late 90s, when I was first trying to get my own season tickets after graduating.

Here’s a dirty secret: no, the athletic department doesn’t actually care about selling games out. The goal is to maximize revenue, full stop. If that means some tickets go unsold, so be it, because a sellout means the tickets were priced too low to begin with.

All for this week, and a new record-length mailbag to boot.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

HUUUUUUUSKIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!