Ah, so we've reached the halfway-ish-est point of the season. This is, in my fair opinion, quite an accomplishment after The Events of Saturday October 14th meant many of you surely had to be given horse tranquilizer to prevent any bleach from being thrown down the hatch.
But congratulations on making it here anyway, fellow Husky fans.
As always, I hate intros, so let’s get to it:
An 11% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything
At this point it’s obvious most of us are less likely to provide a measured, rational response to this team than we are to a nationally divisive issue like, say, protesting racially-corresponding police brutality during the anthem, or whether the New York Yankees are the lovechild of Satan and Vlad the Impaler. (Also, no, that’s not an invitation for you crotchety old guys to tune into the comments with your opinion on the former; spoiler alert: you doing so is a cliche that we’ve already heard before and you’re not enlightening anyone by doing so.)
Anyhoo, I’ll try my best to bring some maybe-actually-but-probably-not valuable thoughts to this team but consider this my preemptive apology for the occasional bursts of hysteria which are probably about to occur.
Thought by thought, here goes:
Let’s start with the defense, where their motto is “We’re still the shit.”
Sure, stuff started out a bit iffy against Rutgers (who is apparently a “quality win” now, by the way, compared to... ya know... what they would’ve otherwise been) but, like the Chris Petersen defenses we know and love tend to do, they once again shimmied their way into being so totally wicked.
So far under Coach Petesy, I’ve learned that worrying about the defense is a silly pastime, especially as long as Kwiatkowski and Lake are involved. Remember back to September? We were young, naive, and worried about the pass rush... Times were simpler (which, for the record, is almost always a euphemism for “terrible-er”).
Heck, even in Washington’s one loss which I’m sure you’ve already forgot about and aren’t stewing over this very moment, the defense held ASU for 13 points while spending roughly every waking moment on the field. This is an Arizona State offense that, on their other six games, averaged 32 points all while playing alongside an ASU defense that gives up... one moment, calculating... carry the one... A lot more than seven measly points on average (more on that later, though).
Also, if you’re feeling down about injuries to the secondary, just imagined how absolutely screwed the Dawgs would be if they were any other school who lost their two starting cornerbacks.
Sure, I’m not dancing a little jig about still having a few weeks to play without Byron Murphy and the rest of the year without Jordan Miller, but you know who would be starting at most if not every other Pac 12 team? Austin Joyner, Myles Bryant, and, like, maybe the next five dudes in the depth chart. Plus the combo of the Huskies’ starting safeties is still the bomb/should maybe be on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list given how hard they hit.
Between that, the pass rush rearing its head, and the fact that Vita Vea and Greg Gaines still exist, the defense is alive and well.
On the other hand.
Even last year, it felt like the offensive weapons had a limited ceiling that became noticeable against far superior talent (hello, USC and Bama). Now, exacerbated by the loss of a player with infinity speed on Madden, they’re still über-efficient and plow through lesser defenses, but the product of their composition has a kind of mediocre ceiling. The 2017 offense feels like proof that you're only as good as your weakest component — relevant whether we're talking about the people on the field or the parts of an individual's game; sure, they've got the 1-2 of Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman, the precise routes of Dante Pettis, the experience of Coleman Shelton, the brute badassery of Kaleb McGary (and until recently Trey Adams RIP), the versatility of Will Dissly, and the mental acuity and deceptive mobility of Jake Browning. But they've also got an otherwise uninspiring receiving corps, guards who don't pull their weight, and Jake Browning's trust issues and poor arm.
So there's that.
I'm not gonna go piece-by-piece through each problem the offense has, but this is your moment to get sad about the things about the offense that suck.
And now is your moment to be happy about the parts of the offense that don't suck.
For real though, before you make a joke of yourself/do your best Nebraska fan impersonation by typing out your list of offensive candidates for job termination in the comments, remember that things are mostly good, even on this perplexing side of the ball.
Basically, if you find yourself too pessimistic, think of it this way: The Huskies are averaging, against Power 5 opponents not named Arizona State, eight points more than these opponents on average give up against other Power 5 teams. Furthermore, these numbers would be significantly increased except that Chris Petersen had, in all of these games, put in the third and fourth and 100th string players often times well before the fourth quarter.
There's still plenty to worry about, but perhaps it's wise to use that for some perspective.
As for special teams, The Whitford of Oz pwns and Dante Pettis pwns and the coverage team pwns and that's that; everything on special teams is so good, like what else could I possibly be forgetting about on special teams? Nothing, there's nothing else on special teams I'm not mentioning kay bye.
The best part of our kicking may have been last night, when I had a dream that someone kicked a 25 yard field goal successfully. It's now a distant memory as bygone as, say, the Berlin Wall unjustly separating friends and families and neighbors, or Hammer pants.
Anyways, here’s some potential title ideas for the chapter on Washington’s 2017 Kicking Woes when some PNW historian decides, in 50 years, to chronicle Le Coach Pete Era:
- How to Lose a Football Game Without Really Trying
- How the West was Lost
- Harry Potter and the Impressively Trash Kicking Game
- It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged That an Offense That Sucks in the Red Zone Must be in Want of a Kicker
- If you had Trouble Getting the Myth of Sisyphus, Read This
- Atlas Shrugged
Seriously, at this point, I want the Huskies’ kicking to get better not for the football team’s sake, or for we the fans’ sake, but for the sake of Van Soderberg and Tristan Vizcaino’s dignity as human beings.
I keep going back and forth between being driven insane by how bad the kicking’s been and feeling so irreparably bad for those two. Because while it never looks good to stink it up anywhere on the field, there is no other position where each moment of failure is so in the spotlight. And that sounds excruciating — personally, I’d prefer getting repeatedly slugged by a golf club in the shins.
So... Congrats... You just got through the first-ish half of the season.
Which brings us to...
Line(s) of the (Last Eight) Week(s)
Firstly, let’s get off our chests all the negative chi, or xi, or feng shui, or whatever, that’s been weighing on all of us following that Dumb Desert Duel of last week.
The first step is to exorcise all the bad crap out via a strictly regimented diet of self-loathing and illegal-in-this-country 180 proof alcohol, a la Teenage Rachel Dratch:
The second step is repeat the first step.
The third step is get the frick over it.
Now that we got that off our chests, let’s remember the things we’re thankful for:
Like how we were all scared of the secondary becoming a weakness in 2017 before being reminded that, having accepted into our hearts Our Lord and Savior Jimmy Lake, we shallt never hath fear. Let’s be thankful for Sir Jimmy Lake a la In Love Y2K Rachel Dratch:
Or like how, to our surprise Ryan Bowman got real good, a la Hangin’ in the Jacuzzi With Her Man, Mr. Ferrell, Rachel Dratch:
But most importantly, we must all remember that we’re here to enjoy Husky Freaking Football, gosh dang it, and nobody — not ESPN, not ASU’s spontaneously functional defense, not Coug-fans-who-we-were-teasing-for-bombing-at-Cal-who-then-got-the-last-laugh-when-Washington-bombed-in-the-desert, nobody — else is gonna get in the way of us having a good time. We won’t let them, a la Drunk n’ Angry Rachel Dratch:
Do good things, don't do bad things, and bow down to Washington.