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Mailbag: “The Disappointment of 10-2” Edition

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

will i get in:

Do you think Myles will leave?

So-Cal Dawg:

Hey Brad - with Murphy back out there for the Apple Cup, thoughts of next year's defense drifted joyfully through my head. Who are the FOR SURE, and likely departures from both sides of the ball heading into next year? Things could be special on D next year.

Fan:

Which juniors declare for the NFL?

ProsserDawg:

Is it basically a 100% chance that Gaskin returns next year for us?? He's incredible and deserves more shine nationally

2003Husky

Over under for number of underclassmen leaving early for the draft from the current roster?

MTMD:

Who do you think is leaving early to the NFL?

UWDP: I certainly hope Husky fans took the chance to appreciate the greatness of Vita Vea, because he’s almost certainly gone.

The other biggest risk for Husky fans is probably Myles Gaskin. He didn’t catch a ton of passes, but showed good hands on a number of occasions. He isn’t going to get bigger by coming back. He’s not going to get faster. Objectively, he should leave. The only reason not to is the fact that he’d own every career rushing record at Washington. Maybe that’s worth something to him, and he might realize that with the short career of an NFL running back, leaving early most likely reduces the number of football games he gets to play in his lifetime. He’s not really a guy that projects to be a star in the NFL, but running backs seem to come from all over.

Greg Gaines has played with a knee issue the last half of the season. He missed spring practices while recovering from injury. He’s not necessarily going to be a coveted player in the draft, but he’s a married man now, and that changes how decisions like this are made.

Jake Browning will stay. I don’t think there are any other realistic candidates. Count Vea as gone and hope for a miracle. As a Husky fan I hope the other two stay.

Desiigner:

How serious are Lavon and Dante's injuries

Steam Donkey:

Any update on the injuries to Pettis and Coleman?

UWDP: No broken bones, according to Petersen. Both are going to get a lot of rest over the next few weeks. Hopefully, they’ll be able to end their careers in a bowl game on a better note than Senior Day at the Apple Cup.

Desiigner:

Who is the best target available that will most likely commit to UW

Kitsap Husky:

The leftover apple in my mind is our 2018 recruiting class. How does UW recruit the "hot prospects (Togiai, Taimani, Tremblay, etc) without appearing too aloof or too aggressive. Is the UW recruiting protocol different than say a USC, Alabama or Ohio State?

OregonDawg:

Now that the regular season is over, will we see some recruits finally commit. Seems like UW is stalled yet we have decent players so far and many others who say UW is their first choice.

Is it me or does this recruiting season seem slow? What will be the impact of the new early signing date in December?

UWDP: Anyone that knows more about recruiting than I do should chime in.

There hasn’t been a ton of noise lately for sure, but part of that is due to this being a small class that was mostly full prior to the season starting, and the fact that lots of top-level recruits like to wait.

There’s probably going to be some action in the next few weeks leading up to the early signing date, but I don’t know if the drama of announcing in December is going to be equal to the drama surrounding the original February signing day; we’ll have to see how many guys the Huskies are in on actually sign in a few weeks and how many wait.

Yes, what Washington does is at least somewhat unique, if only because of the personalities of the UW coaches versus those at other schools. Some schools like to bring recruits in for games, while the Huskies look to do it when the coaching staff has more time.

Desiigner:

How good can Salvon Ahmed be next year? 8 rushes for 80 yards is very impressive? Why haven't we used him more this year? He seems to always have an electric play than we never see him after.

UWDP: With Ahmed’s speed, the sky is the limit.

The biggest thing coaches talk about with young running backs is their ability to pass block. Thinking back to 2015, Myles Gaskin frequently came out on passing downs because Dwayne Washington was a more accomplished blocker (and receiver). Gaskin has improved more than just a little in that regard. It’s not just the ability or willingness to block either; recognition is a huge part of it, as the backs are frequently responsible for picking up blitzes. When they fail to read the defense before the snap, you see highlight hits on QB’s.....

Ahmed has a tendency to just run as fast as he can right now. He needs to set up his blocks better; it’s not really something that comes naturally to him as a runner. I’ve no doubt that he’ll get better heading in to next year. Some added size would help as well.

He heads in to the 2018 season as the #2 back if Gaskin returns, and might end up the default starter if Gaskin leaves. That’s a bit of a scary thought.

Aus*Dawg:

Would you consider Ryan Priest's prediction of a WSU win

a) The apple of a Priest's (blind) eye

b) A polished apple

c) A J. "Granny" Smith

d) A rotten apple

e) A road apple

UWDP: Ryan drew the short straw and was forced to pick a Husky loss to draw the ire of the fan base.

jega:

Which ny6 bowl will pick Washington?

UWDP: Cotton, if the Huskies make one.

RunningFaster:

Up until this offseason, Chris Petersen hasn't been much in the rumor mill for coaching jobs since his arrival at UW. However, Tennessee seemed to think they had a shot (I'd love to hear a rational explanation why Tennessee would be more attractive than Washington). Is this something we're just going to have to get used to, whenever another big coaching position opens up? Do you see any other school that would really fit Coach Petersen as well as the UW does? I'll admit to being biased, but I really don't see anywhere else that has the culture, the setting, the academics, and the fans that are as "just right" as the UW has. On a side note, how high do you think the UW Athletic Department would go if it needs to "incentivize" him to stay (if, say, some SEC team offered 6 million or more a year)?

RunningFaster:

Where do you see the coaching carousel grinding to a halt? I'm sure some of the positions will be filled by the time you post your answers to the Mailbag, but postulate on those that aren't yet. Frost to Nebraska or Florida? Mullen where? Who's filling Arkansas? How about ASU? Does RichRod get fired? Any other Pac12 moves? How about Pac12 assistant coaches getting hired away or fired?

UWDP: Chris Petersen has been and will always be a name that gets mentioned. He’s also been a guy that’s avoided playing the game throughout his career, so unless he’s already made the decision that it’s time to move on, I doubt it’s ever going to get farther than it did this year.

There are jobs with more prestige than Washington, but the gain is incremental and the number is few. I don’t think it becomes a matter of money, even though there are schools that would be willing to spend more than Washington would be. After the last four seasons, I take the man at his word that fit is important.

I could see him at a school like Nebraska. Or Penn State. Or Michigan. I can’t see him at Florida, Alabama, etc.

I really don’t think he’s going to leave, though. He has more passion and fire to win that I would’ve guessed when he was hired (that was probably my biggest fear), but he also has the ability to smooth out the highs and lows of coaching and stay grounded - something that lots of people in general lack, and coaches that burn exceedingly hot in particular.

There’s going to come a time when he feels that it’s time for both he and the University of Washington to make a change, and it will probably be earlier than fans will want to see when it comes. But he strikes me as a “retire at the top” guy, like Don James, only to disappear into the woodwork and entirely out of the public eye.

Fan:

How does the new signing period change (assistant) coaching personnel decisions?

UWDP: It really doesn’t for assistant coaches. Those decisions are made when seasons are complete. As for head coaches, I think some of the mid-season firings might have been made with that at least partially in mind, but mostly, they were done with a much bigger picture (than a single recruiting class) in mind.

Phil Can't Buy a NATTY:

Can Potaoe move inside and play tackle successfully?

UWDP: I think he can, and would be successful, but we’re getting dangerously close to that ship having sailed. Benning Potoa’e would need to put on a good amount of weight to be a true every down interior lineman, and there’s no guarantee he’d be able to make that adjustment in a single offseason. He’s going to be a junior, so if it doesn’t happen heading in to 2018, it’s not going to.

Vantucky Trapper:

As a layman, I don't get why a QB's arm strength can't be fixed with some supplements and more time in the weight room. Would a dramatic strength increase screw with technique, or something?

UWDP: It’s not really “strength” as measured by weight room numbers per se. It’s the type of strength that’s more important. Fast-twitch strength versus slow-twitch. Throwing a football is a more explosive action than it might seem; it’s about the ability to transfer energy from the lower body to the upper body quickly and seamlessly. You can train for strength to maximize what you’re born with, but the ability to throw fastballs is mostly genetic, just like the ability to run fast and jump high.

People also have a genetic limit to how much strength they can realistically add (as measured by lifts like the bench press). Just because a fifth-year senior offensive guard can’t bench 400 pounds doesn’t mean he isn’t as dedicated or hard-working as the sophomore that puts up 500.

Jake Browning just doesn’t have the genetics to be a fireballer as a QB. I know exactly how he feels.

smithsucks:

What can be done to keep coaches Kwiakowski & Lake from the coach poachers? What can be done to get rid of Smith?

UWDP: It’s tough to name a coach that has had as much consistent and dramatic success as Pete Kwiatkowski, and gotten so little recognition for it. Maybe a large part of it is coaching under a guy who’s star is as bright as Chris Petersen’s (and maybe Petersen is actually responsible for much of the defense’s success - which would be a great thing). Maybe it’s just Kwiatkowski’s personality. I don’t know, but I have to admit to being extremely happy about it, even though it comes at the man’s own personal achievement.

Jimmy Lake is almost the exact opposite; he’s being tabbed for huge things and projected for success with a much shorter track record. Maybe people value recruiting just that much. I don’t know. But Lake isn’t going to be at Washington all that much longer (unless Kwiatkowski leaves). And even then, his trajectory seems higher than defensive coordinator.

You get your wish with regards to Jonathan Smith.

husky57:

WHY after scoring a TD does a player becomes an open target? Should be a late hit as play is over?

ProsserDawg:

Did Pettis get hurt on the punt return where he went to the ground and a wazzu player smashed on top of him? When will that stuff start being called anyway? I've seen guys be down for awhile and defenders nose bomb at them at hurt em, needs to stop

UWDP: I’m not sure which TD you’re referencing 57, but there’s a fine line between starting to attempt a tackle before an offensive player is in the end zone (or down) and a late hit. And also holding up while still making some contact versus simply unloading. Jake Browning drew a penalty after scoring against Cal for what was pretty clearly a late whack. I don’t remember anything that really crossed the line in the Apple Cup.

Yes, it appeared Dante Pettis got hurt by the player landing on him when he was on the ground. Again, that didn’t really look like a late hit to me near as much as it did an unfortunate part of playing football. I think Lavon Coleman may’ve gotten hurt the same way.

Darin Johnson:

Do you still have prune-hands from the game? Me too.

UWDP: My bigger issue was that my “rain jacket” was apparently only designed to hold some of the drops out, not all of them.

Darin Johnson:

In 2015, the Dawgs won the Apple Cup by 35. Last year it was 28, and this year only 27. The extreme second derivative of this function suggests we will lose by over 80 points next year. Do you believe that?

UWDP: While 2018 certainly looks bad, it’s losing by the hundreds and then thousands in the next few seasons that really has me worried.

Darin Johnson:

That team didn't actually lose to ASU, did it?

UWDP: No, that team didn’t.

Darin Johnson:

How was UW able to get such consistent pressure with three pass-rushers? I mean, I saw it happen, and I know about Vea and Gains and so on, but still. Do you think the Dawgs went into the game planning to rush three most of the time, or did they just find that it worked and stuck with it?

UWDP: WSU only played with two offensive linemen. I don’t know how you missed that.

ProsserDawg:

Are we playing down and up to our opponents? There is no reason why we should have had to be spoilers, it's obvious Wazzu is a full class below us still

UWDP: The Huskies won 10 games, mostly by dominating their opponents. They lost a couple along the way, with one being a top-to-bottom clunker, and the other feeling mostly like a team that simply couldn’t stop the momentum of their opponent once it got rolling on either side of the ball.

It’s incredibly difficult to perform consistently over the course of 12 games. It bit the Huskies this year. There’s a lot of luck involved, and some of the breaks the Huskies had go their way in 2016 evened out a little in 2016.

WSU is due credit for winning big games against USC and Stanford.

ProsserDawg:

Anyway we can get something like this going for basketball?

UWDP: Anyone want to take it?

Benno:

What is it about the Husky defense that makes it so effective against the high volume passing offenses (Air Raid)? It seems like the Dawgs under Coach K have the Leach offensive playbook and can hear the calls. Great performance by the Dawgs in the Apple Cup!

UWDP: The Husky defense is so effective against the Air Raid for the same reason it’s effective against any offense under the sun. The defensive line can dominant the run and rush the passer with a minimum commitment of resources. When you add in a secondary that is as aggressive and talented as Washington’s, you have the recipe for a great defense.

Against any offense.

mmeggs:

Brad,

Another season is (mostly) in the books and another group of coaches have been fired after delivering insufficient victories to satisfy their fanbases and AD. These coaches were (mostly) hired in the last four or five years to great fanfare and an accompanying monster buyout to demonstrate the great faith administrators had in these new hires. Jim Mora: $12 million. Butch Jones $8 million. Kevin Sumlin $10 million. Mike Riley $6 million. (On top of the $6 million they're still paying Bo Pelini. Et cetera et cetera.

My question is why is there is there always enough money to pay these obscene buyouts but there's never any money to "pay the players?" (put in quotes so as to not identify any particular payment scheme, just generically that the players get some cut of things as well somehow)

mmeggs

UWDP: Two things:

I really appreciate the formal construction of your question. It’s like a letter.

A sample of four, out of more than 120 FBS schools, and four that have the revenue (not just the profit) to actually make these types of moves....

I understand your argument, that athletic departments can certainly be run at a higher level of efficiency. But Texas A&M, with over $100 million coming into its athletic department comes close to doubling a few schools in the Pac 12, and puts almost everyone to shame. You really aren’t making the case for most of the schools in the country.

I don’t know if I agree with you or not on paying athletes. But I think you dismiss details far too readily for me to be convinced. It strikes me a bit like blaming play calling....

mmeggs:

Bowl season is almost here and we are bound to see some high profile players sitting out in order to avoid injury and hurt their draft stock. Can anyone make a rational case for why these players should expose themselves to the risk of a serious injury in order to help the team win the Massive Corporate Sponsor.com Bowl?

UWDP: Not really, but unless you can define some parameters of who should sit out what bowls, then the logical conclusion to the argument becomes, Why should anyone play any of them? Or play any season beyond the first that ensures their draftibility?

DawgsFan42:

How Do You Feel About UW Fans Saying This is Bad Season Because No Playoffs?

UWDP: I think it’s short-sighted and stupid.

Provo Head, Seattle Heart:

Perhaps this is premature, but please work with me here. Huskies lose Dante Pettis, Lavon Coleman, Keishawn Bierria, Ezekiel Turner, Azeem Victor, Tristain Vizcaino, Coleman Shelton, Andrew Kirkland, and Will Dissly. I'm banking on the hope that Vita Vea, Greg Gaines, Jake Browning, and Myles Gaskin all return next year. How crazy is this hope? What is your way-too-early preview and prediction for this upcoming bowl game and for next season?

UWDP: With Vita Vea’s name in there, it’s pretty crazy. Almost certifiable.

I think the Huskies win whatever bowl they play in. And that’s partly due to the incredibly poor bowl tie-ins of the Pac 12. I don’t care about the names or the locations or the monetary payouts, but the fact that one of the major conferences plays “down” an opponent in every bowl is an insult (meaning - just as a made-up example - the Alamo Bowl matches “Pac 12 #2 vs Big 12 #3” and so on). It does as much as anything to me to perpetuate the “also-ran” status of the conference.

I thought 2017 was going to be the “big year” for this cycle of recruits ever since 2015. They ended up hitting a year early, and then early NFL entries, bad luck, maybe failing to meet some lofty progression goals, etc. slowed them this year. It happens.

Things are really fluid for 2018. But I’m pretty comfortable that Chris Petersen has set a pretty high baseline for this program, and the Huskies are going to play to it.

dawgincostarica:

Jon Wilmer recently referenced recruiting in California being second to that in Florida. Seems to me,in Florida with the recent addition of USF,UCF,FAU,FIU all finding sucess,that the traditional powers of U Miami,FSU and U of F. don't have the recruiting advantage they once had. California recruiting has remained static. UCLA,USC with the rest of the PAC getting ample athletes to fill out their rosters. California #1 ? What are your thoughts ?

UWDP: Miami and Florida have both been relatively down for a bit now. With the right coaches, those teams are likely to get the guys from the state of Florida that might have considered one of the smaller schools. It’s the same way that Pac 12 schools benefited from Washington being down for an extended period - the Huskies are starting to win recruiting battles they wouldn’t have five years ago.

I think a lot more schools than you’re mentioning are getting talent out of California. Not that it’s becoming a staple recruiting region for them, but look at the guys that have gone to Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma, etc. over the last few years.

The state of Florida produces far more players per capita than California, although the overall number is very similar. California turns out skill players at a far higher rate than linemen.

“The South” produces far more players than the west coast. Far more. There are several factors in that. I don’t really think it’s nearly as simple as one state vs another.

NorthwestPurple:

UTAH GAME: At 6:50 in the 4th quarter the Huskies were 1st and 10 from the Utah 27 yard line. Pass to Aaron Fuller for TEN YARDS and a Washington First Down.

As he goes out of bounds Fuller stretches for the extra yard and could have easily gone out at 9 vs. 10 yards. Now 1st and 10 from the 17. The next 4 plays go nowhere, ending in the turnover-on-downs Browning Helicopter. Whereas if they picked up only 9 yards on the Fuller play they'd essentially be "2nd Down out of 8" and Goal from the 18. In the best case scenario you'd get a free pass or two into the endzone on 2nd and 3rd down, then pick up the easy extra yard (if needed) by rushing on 3rd or 4th down. Then you're back to where you could have been, first down on about the 17.

My Question: Do any coaches or "Football IQ" principles teach essentially **going for 9 yards**, rather than the full first down, to retain the extra downs from the previous set of downs?

UWDP: No, and you’re asking for a level of awareness from a receiver that’s being attacked by multiple people looking to do him physical harm that is just not possible in real time.

Mossyrock Fan:

After watching Vea and Gaines dominate in the Apple Cup, I'm more worried than ever about next year's D Line. Who starts? Who are potential stars? Is Bronson a sleeper who can really blossom next year?

UWDP: If Greg Gaines is back, he’s definitely one.

Jaylen Johnson has shown that he can play. Levi Onwuzurike got better over the course of the year. But even if Gaines is back the team needs someone to step up, for certain. Ricky McCoy, Shane Bowman, Jason Scrempos, Pulu...The answer isn’t obvious right now. I’m nervous as well.

dawginparadise:

Wondering about Jake Browning and his overall won-loss record as a Husky quarterback. Surely one of the best winning percentages in program history, right? Billy "Dough" was undefeated as a starter if I recall correctly, but other than that, Jake might be #2?

Steam donkey:

Jake browning: ok, very good or great?

Haters gonna Hate:

Brad, I need your help. Jake Browning has thrown the ball over the middle and thrown slants the last few games, led a fourth quarter comeback drive with 10 points in the last minute against Utah, and threw a dart to Baccellia while rolling to his left with his noodle arm. What am I going to complain about now? Does the comeback against Utah not count because Gaskin ran the touchdown in and we only kicked a field goal to win against Utah? We should have had a touchdown instead. It really only counts if Browning leaps over 15 defenders to score the winning touchdown, right? UW is 22-4 in the last 2 years and all the wins are due to the defense and every single loss is due to our front running QB. If he would stop throwing all those touchdowns in the first 3 quarters so he could lead more comebacks, then I would be a believer.

Andrew:

It sure seems to me that Luke Falk really hurt his draft stock by coming back for this season. Sure, he set some records in the process, but I dont see much different between Falk and a lot of the other QBs who have put on a uniform for Mike Leach.

UWDP: Jake Browning (and Luke Falk) suffer(s) from being a guy that performed exceptionally well right out of the gate, and then having the audacity to reach his potential ceiling prior to his senior year.

When Browning was a freshman, the potential was pretty clear. Then he had a great sophomore season, and fans start saying “Think how good he’s going to be with TWO MORE YEARS of development!” They project multiple heismens, slews of records, and at least one national championship (if not five or six) by the conclusion of his career.

Jake Browning became a victim of his own success to a degree by getting so close to his peak as a sophomore. He’s a great technician as a quarterback, but he doesn’t have the physical skills of Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold, and he’s doing exactly what’s expected of him by taking care of the ball and avoiding the negative.

None of that is a knock on him.

As a three-year starter, we as Husky fans have watched Jake Browning take over 2,000 offensive snaps. We’ve seen him make all sorts of plays (both good and bad). Meanwhile what we’ve probably seen of his contemporaries mostly consists of highlights and box scores. We don’t actually know how those guys play with anywhere near the familiarity that we know Browning. And because human nature is to hold on to the negative more tightly than the positive, each successive mistake that Browning makes has a multiplying effect, not an additive one.

If people think Jake Browning isn’t capable of carrying a team on his back on by himself, it’s almost undoubtedly true. Just like it’s true of all but a teeny, tiny sample of quarterbacks that have ever played the game at any level. If you believe Jake Browning can’t take an average receiving corps and make them look exceptional, that’s also true (and true of virtually every QB). None of that means he isn’t really, really good at what he does, though.

Browning had many of the same flaws that made people cringe this season in 2016 as well. He held the ball too long. He made crazy, looping scrambles instead of stepping up. He also had a better receiving corps last year than this one, even though that doesn’t excuse some of his decisions this year.

Browning is one of the most accurate, most efficient quarterbacks in Washington history. He’s never going to be “win” the way Marques Tuiasosopo did, but he’s also highly unlikely to make some of the crazy mistakes Tuiasosopo did. He’s never going to be as popular as Jake Locker.

He’s a lot like his head coach - efficient, boring, and more than just a little unlikely.

Benno:

If it isn't too early, what current Huskies would be considered in the list of all-time greats? The obvious choices would be Gaskin and Browning. Pettis is up there with the WRs, but would he crack the list? What about Vea and Gaines on the line, or Victor and Bierria? To me, Gaskin is up there in the top 5-6. Browning, while the most efficient is a step below my top QBs (Moon, Tui, Brunell).

UWDP: Vita Vea absolutely deserves to be in the conversation with the top defensive linemen in UW history. And Gaskin at running back.

Beyond those two, there are just too many factors for it to become anything but opinion. Just looking at your list of QB’s for example, as much as I like Brunell, there’s no way he’s anywhere near that high for me.

Age, sentimentality, and pure subjectiveness make it pretty tough to make a list here

Fwdawg:

How successful do you think Chip Kelly will be at UCLA? Have colleges figured out his "blur" offense, or will they be scoring 40+ points a game next season? Why does it seem that nobody is doing a full-time HUNH spread offense anymore in college?

Prego:

I'm a Chip Kelly fanboy. Tell me why I should rationally or logically talk myself out of thinking UCLA is about to become super exciting and awesome.... question?

UWDP: UCLA should be a far better program than it is, period.

Chip Kelly was a very good coach at Oregon, and has shown that his offense is about more than just going fast (it was at Oregon, too). There’s no reason he can’t recruit well in L.A.

Yes, defenses have adapted to up-tempo offenses to a large degree. The inherent advantage in it is mostly gone.

I doubt UCLA is going to look exactly like Oregon did during Kelly’s tenure. Partly by design, partly by necessity.

There are lots of good coaches in the Pac 12. It’s a good thing. It’s going to be interesting to see how desirable a location Kelly can make UCLA.

Leach v Petersen:

I'm not complaining, but what do you think are some of the factors that have led us to a 4-0 record in the Apple Cup with Petersen?

jordancda:

Chris Petersen clearly has Mike Leach figured out. If WSU can't beat our pro-style system then why can they consistently beat other big dogs each year? USC, Stanford, Oregon, etc. I have a hard time grasping UW's dominance over WSU while they can knock of so many other decent to good teams each season.

UWDP: Washington takes the field with a pretty significant talent advantage each time the teams play. That’s far and away the biggest reason the Huskies’ have had so much success the last four years.

Defensively, the Huskies’ style is incredibly well-suited to defending a pass-heavy attack. Especially one that’s predicated by short passes turning in to longer gains.

WSU is a good team, which is why they were able to beat Stanford and USC (although luck was on their side on both games, as USC was missing three starting offensive linemen, and Stanford didn’t have a healthy Bryce Love). College football is fickle. There’s no transitive property at play.

GU1966:

Huskies need some DL in this years recruiting class. Having whiffed on last years top target is Malloe in trouble if he doesn’t get at least one of their top two targets?

UWDP: One of last season’s top targets was Levi Onwuzurike, and the Huskies’ put a considerable amount of effort into landing Draco Bynum this year, so those two just can’t be discounted.

I don’t know if Petersen “blames” Malloe for the recruiting situation or not. Frankly, we don’t know much about it, period. All we really know is that we’re dealing with really small sample sizes at the position. It’s one of the thinnest groups on the west coast.

As much as some fans want to cast blame, I don’t see anything to suggest Petersen is going to make a change at the defensive line position.

Entprof:

I’ve watched a lot of football this year and I’ve concluded that the Huskies D is as good as any I’ve seen. Even in the losses the D was strong. The offense was somewhat inconsistent, but only when they has short weeks and late games. So the question is the P-12 killing its chances at a Championship by chasing TV dollars that put its best teams at a serious disadvantage? Consider the SEC lame schedules and 10th week cupcakes.

Scheduling:

Question about next year's schedule: Why would the Pac 12 give Oregon a bye prior to facing us? The SEC wouldn't do this to Alabama or any of their top teams. I don't think any conference would do this to one of their top teams. Why would the pac 12 keeps putting themselves at a disadvantage? Our bye week is against Oregon State!

The Pac 12 scheduling is frustrating. One reason is that the pac 12 does everything even disrupting their own members scheduling so that ND can have a recruiting advantage. If Stanford and UCLA wins their division next year they'll be facing each-other back to back. Why would a conference put themselves at a disadvantage?

UWDP: I really don’t think there’s “intent” behind the conference schedules. That bye weeks are when they are seems more like the result of luck of the draw, not some sort of nebulous desire to create advantages or disadvantages for particular teams.

Start times, and even start dates (like Friday night games) are entirely in the control of the TV networks. The Pac 12 sold its soul when they signed the deal that gave each school millions of dollars. What seemed like an absolute home run at the time now looks like a bloop double that maybe should’ve charged as an error.

As bad as it is for football, it’s even worse for basketball.

I don’t know if the conference would actually do things differently with the benefit of hindsight, or if they’d even have much room to affect any sort of change. We won’t know for a few more years, and the entire viewing platform of college sports might look different by that time.

ProsserDawg:

Curious about the future... who do u see us giving more touches at RB next year with Coleman gone... Gaskin and Ahmed, who's next? Pleasant? I would love to see a true bruiser back there but I don't think we have that type of back on the squad at the moment . Or does McGrew start to get implemented more in the game plan? I still think he could be great out of the backfield as a dump off option in space, maybe even line up in the slot occasionally too

UWDP: No, there definitely isn’t a real big back on the roster; no one over 200 pounds, in fact.

Right now, it certainly looks like Kamari Pleasant is #3 (or even #2, if - shudder - Gaskin leaves). I don’t think it’s a matter of implementing Sean McGrew near as much as it’s up to him to earn carries.

I don’t know if Trey Lowe ends up at running back or receiver. Richard Brown isn’t a very big guy, and he’s the only “true” running back committed. Maybe the coaches take one more.

Dawgincostarica:

With both Stanford and Washington having identical records (although UDubs' better overall) Why not Co-Champions ?

UWDP: Stanford won the head-to-head. They earned it.

Rhaego:

Regardless of who is LIKELY to get into the playoffs, what four teams do you think are the best four teams, and what four teams do you WANT to see playoff?

UWDP: I really see a lot of incomplete teams at the top.

Auburn is playing well right now. Even with two losses, they might be the best team in the country. Clemson’s loss is to a pretty bad team, and it’s tough to entirely excuse not being able to beat Syracuse even with a backup QB. But teams are certainly entitled to a bad game, I suppose, and I think they’re going to beat Miami pretty soundly. Oklahoma probably has the best offense, but their defense is just so mediocre (relatively). Wisconsin is one of the least inspiring undefeated teams I can ever remember, but if they beat Ohio State, I’m not sure it’s fair to ignore the consistency it takes to win 13 games in a row. Alabama is in the conversation, and it’s tough to penalize them for losing so late (to a very good team), but it’s probably going to happen.

Rhaego:

Real talk: I truly believe Jonathan Smith is more of a liability than an asset, or if Pete was calling plays, then whatever. Whoever calls plays is dumb. Can we just fire Smith?

UWDP: No.

Ragu:

So Fresno State and Tedford's job have been kinda legit this year. This is why our offense sucked this year; we miss having him as a "consultant". AMIRITE?

UWDP: Would it change your mind if I said no?

Rhaego:

I don't think Myles Gaskin will be productive in the NFL, amirite?

UWDP: Probably. It’s tough to see him as an every-down back. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he was able to carve out a career, though.

Ragu:

Next year: Step back or step forward? Or no steps? Dubstep?

UWDP: How are you defining any of these?

I think the team will finish within a game of where they did in 2017, record-wise. You’d have to tell me what that is.

Rhaego:

I'm already stressed out about next year. @Auburn (if you say neutral, STFU), @Utah (they want revenge and Rice Eccles is tough, I'll probably be there), ASU ( I AM CIRCLING THIS ONE), BYU (I need this win more than Oregon, Wazzu, and Pac12 championship combined for personal reasons), @UCLA against the great CK, @Oregon against their talented recruits and herbert, Stanford, and @Wazzu. I'm already super emotionally involved in this schedule. Help me find zen with your sage wisdom.

UWDP: It’s Husky football. I’m emotionally involved too.

Pregooooooooooooo:

Are we seriously talking about Taggart as a real candidate for other HC positions? It seems weird enough to have a coordinator jump ship after just one season somewhere (like Baldwin to OSU), but to have a HC leave so fast? That raises so many red flags in my mind. It says they are greedy and seek the money over actually doing what they said they would do, have no ability to stick with a project long term, don't care if they burn bridges, and generally shows poor judgement and character. Maybe I have an old fashioned view on these types of things.

UWDP: Yeah, I’m not sure I get it either. I have a hard time believing that FSU can’t do better than Willie Taggart, who’s simply moved on from each job he’s had just quick enough to still look like he’s building something big, but before we’d really know.

He’s recruited well, but it’s tough to really put together a solid resume beyond that.

RockDawg:

How much of a financial hit to the PAC by not having two teams in the NY6/CFP? Between, this, due in part to the asinine 17 schedule, lack of a deal with DirecTV, inadequate Bowl tie-ins, his lack of support of the PAC institutions during public responses, how long until Mr. Scott gets a pink slip?

UWDP: The total payout looks big for one of those bowls, but by the time you subtract travel costs for the team in the game, and divide the rest by 12, it doesn’t really amount to all that much per team.

A lot of the luster has faded from the early returns on Larry Scott, but the schools probably need to look at their own presidents a little bit as well; Scott pretty much did what they asked him to do. I don’t think anyone really anticipated the consistency of the late starts, and I’m not sure that’s all Scott’s fault.

The DirecTV is a big deal, as is the fact that cable rollout wasn’t national. Holding on to digital rights might end up being a big plus.

I don’t know if the dissatisfaction is quite as wide-spread as you seem to think or not.

QB queries:

In the coming years, we'll have Haener, Sirmon, and Yankoff. Odds are at least one of them will end up transferring, right? Or maybe 2?

UWDP: Don’t forget Daniel Bridge-Gadd.

Individually, the odds are overwhelming that they all transfer. If you’re betting money, that’s the way I’d go.

As a group, one of them is going to be the starter in 2019. Once that person is determined, the Huskies are going to start losing quarterbacks. And that’s if they don’t start the process this offseason....

Prego Prego Pppppppprrrrreeeeeeggggggooooooooooo!!!!!!:

So, J-Smithy is going to be the HC of the Beavers.

Putting aside the divisiveness that he has brought out in the UW fanbase, does he have the chops to be the head coach of such a major rebuild project? I am really unsure if he has enough experience to pull off the massive undertaking that he is about to embark upon.

That said, what does success look like for a Smith coached Beaver team? Frankly, as someone who has a soft spot for the Beavers (my wife is from Corvallis), I don't know that we can really do much more than hope they can be bowl eligible within the next 3-5 years.

I am not convinced that Smith is the man for this job....

UWDP: It’s a very tough job to win at Oregon State, Jonathan Smith has zero experience as a head coach and only a few years as an assistant, and the safe bet on any coaching hire is that it’s going to be a failure.

I’d put the over/under on his tenure at 3.5 years, and that’s much more about playing the odds than it is about Jonathan Smith specifically. The fact is, he’s had so little opportunity to show football fans who he is personally or as a coach that none of us can actually say how good he is (or isn’t) with any degree of certainty. No matter what we think right now about him.

I was shocked when Oregon State was able to lure Gary Anderson away from Wisconsin, and surprised that Anderson wasn’t able to do better than he did in Corvalis. The only hope here is that Oregon State has miraculously caught lightening in a bottle with a first-time head coach at his alma mater. But “luck” is the biggest factor in just about any successful coaching hire....

Rhaego:

Do I have this right?: In order for us to have a shot at a NY6 bowl, we want: 1. USC to beat Stanford 2. Oklahoma to beat TCU.... those are the two main teams we would likely pass if they lose, BUT THEN: 3. Wisky to beat Ohio State 4. Auburn to beat Georgia 5. Clemson to beat Miami. Of these last three matchups, do you forsee us passing any of the fallen opponents?

UWDP: It probably depends how those games play out.

Washington most likely passes a three-loss Ohio State team that lost its last game no matter what. If Auburn beats up on Georgia again, then they stand a decent chance of passing the Bulldogs as their strength of schedule wanes. If it’s a close game, then no, I don’t see them falling that far. Miami is in the same boat; the win over Notre Dame has lost a bit of luster, and the Hurricanes have had two pretty poor outings in a row after that. If Clemson wins comfortably, then yes, the Huskies pass them.