With the cold chill of fall in the air, our thoughts naturally turn to football...
Facts about Rutgers University, and New Jersey:
- Founded in 1766, Rutgers is the 8th-oldest college in the nation.
- Rutgers played Princeton in the very first intercollegiate football game. The Scarlet, as they were then known in homage to the school color, prevailed 6-4 in what was undoubtedly a barn-burner.
- The first official Rutgers mascot was the Chanticleer, a fighting rooster, and was adopted in 1925. I can only imagine the hostility of the “GO!” “CHANTICLEERS!” chants in the stadiums in those days.
- According to oneclass.com blog about Rutgers, 80% of Rutgers students are from the state of New Jersey. 17% come from out-of-state. No word on the remaining 3% as of this writing.
- Rutgers has the second-largest bussing system in the state of New Jersey, trailing only the New Jersey Transit System.
- The classroom building Lucy Stone Hall was architecturally designed to be intentionally confusing, so that when students got lost in its hallowed walls, they’d be encouraged to stop and talk to each other, thus making life-long connections.
- “Rutgersfest” was a day-long free festival to celebrate the end of the school year at the university. It was permanently cancelled in 2011, when heavy drinking and large crowds contributed to several shootings, five injuries, and 11 arrests.
- It is illegal to plant trees in the middle of the street in Blairstown, NJ.
- New Jersey boasts thirteen times the national average number of people per square mile of area, and classifies all 21 counties as metropolitan areas.
- New Jersey rated 8th in the nation for car thefts. The gold standard for theft was the ever-popular Honda Accord, followed by the Civic, the Toyota Camry, and the Nissan Altima.
- New Jersey has seven shopping malls within a 25-mile square area.
- Highlands, NJ has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard.
- There are more Cubans in Union City, NJ, than in Havana, Cuba.
- New Jersey is frequently referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World.”
- The first brewery in the US was in Hoboken, and opened in 1642.
- New Jersey was the first town lit by incandescent bulbs.
- The first-ever submarine ride was taken in New Jersey’s Passaic River.
- Blame New Jersey for Bon Jovi, Tom Cruise, Eddie Money, and Whitney Houston. Or thank them. Whatever.
To your questions.
Question: Will Jake be able to keep up the production with the loss of John Ross?
UWDP: That probably depends a little bit on what you mean.
I don’t think Jake Browning is going to throw for 43 touchdowns again. I don’t expect him to eclipse 4,000 yards passing. But I think Browning can equal or even improve on his efficiency numbers in 2017. I think he can complete over 65% of his passes, have a passer efficiency rating over 170, and an adjusted Quarterback Rating that’s near 90.
Ross was definitely Browning’s favorite receiver in 2016, especially in the first half of games. I’m not sure it was really a matter of Browning being overly-reliant on Ross, though. I really think it was more about Ross being the primary receiver on those passes, his being open, and Browning hitting him. The same way he did Chico McClatcher and Dante Pettis, when the play called for it.
Browning is a smart quarterback. He isn’t prone to forcing passes to covered receivers, and instead, made his mark throwing to wide open guys. I expect that to continue, and that Dante Pettis will have a huge senior season. Probably close to Ross’ numbers in terms of catches and yards, if not achieved in the same way.
One thing that’s interesting about Ross’ production last year. He averaged 14 yards a catch for the season. He had eight games with five or more catches, but only equaled or exceeded that 14-yard average in three of those.
Ross was great in 2016, but I think I’m less concerned about replacing him than most Husky fans are. That’s not a statement about Ross near as much as it is about Browning, Pettis, and the ability of the coaching staff to scheme what they want in the passing game with formation, motion, and route concepts.
Name: Ben Nice
Question: In what ways to you think the offense will change or what new wrinkles do you think new WR coach/Co OC Matt Lubick will add to the offense?
UWDP: Matt Lubick has shown to be a good wide receivers coach at multiple stops, including being named the top Wide Receivers Coach in the country while at Duke in 2012, and getting huge increases in production from guys while at Oregon. He’s also known as a top-flight recruiter.
As far as how the UW offense is going to change with him on the staff, I certainly don’t expect anything dramatic, or even really visible, necessarily. He’s going to be asked for his input on the offensive design, same as every Husky assistant is. He’s going to have subtle nuances to add to the passing game in terms of route timing, route combinations, reads, and the like. Mostly, he’s going to be relied upon to get his receiving corps ready to block and catch in Chris Petersen’s offense.
The added title of co-offensive coordinator is mostly a means to justify his contract, though, which is worth more than most of the other offensive assistants. Washington’s offense isn’t going to look like Oregon’s in 2017. Lubick’s additions will be subtle, much like Jeff Tedford’s were in 2016.
Question: With the four team "play-off" in mind,how much will Washington's weak out of conference schedule hurt their chances of being selected?
UWDP: The weak out-of-conference schedule by no means precludes the Huskies making the playoffs, as we saw in 2016. What it really does is reduce the Dawgs’ margin for error. It has the potential to make Washington a less appealing candidate versus teams with the same record, so every loss hurts more, and every ugly win becomes just a little uglier.
As things stand today, the perception that the teams the Huskies play in conference being not all that great hurts far more; there are only two teams currently ranked on the Dawgs’ schedule in Stanford and WSU (plus the potential of any team coming out of the south in a conference championship game). I fully expect that will change as the season moves along, though.
I mostly care about the out of conference schedule as a fan watching the games, though. There are so few Husky football games each year that giving away three of them is hard to do. I want to watch Washington play in big games.
Question: What's the over-under on how many questions Rhaego will ask this season?
UWDP: Ragu has been noticeable in his absence over the summer. I would’ve put the plus/minus at a zillion based on last year, but now I’m lowering it to 85.5.
Question: We could possibly have Three 100 yard rushers this week.Has it ever been been done in Husky History?
UWDP: It’s happened twice in Husky history.
The first was in 1996, vs San Jose State. The backs were Corey Dillon (222 yards), Terry Hollimon (148) and Maurice Shaw (100). The second was in 2013, vs Oregon State. The backs were Bishop Sankey (179 yards), Deont’ae Cooper (166) and Dwayne Washington (141).
I think it’s highly unlikely to happen on Friday. The single biggest reason is that this Washington team is going to pass first, as all Chris Petersen teams do. Jake Browning is going to have 15 passes in the first half, at least. Should that translate into a sizable lead, there just aren’t going to be enough snaps total in the game for the offense to distribute enough carries for three guys to get that many yards. The only way it happens is if the third-in-line guy breaks free for a huge run late, and ends up with 100 yards on five or six carries.
I’m expecting the Huskies to score a decent number of points, but don’t necessarily think it’s going to come with some hugely explosive offensive output. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a start similar to last year, where fans were tearing out their hair over the running game for the first few weeks.
Name: Looking ahead
Question: How does a victory at Rutgers look at the end of the year?
UWDP: That obviously depends on how the Huskies look in the game, and how Rutgers season plays out afterward.
I don’t expect the Huskies to equal the betting spread for the game, but do expect a fairly comfortable win. Something like 35-14. Rutgers’ ceiling for the season is realistically about 6-6, and maybe fighting for bowl eligibility. If both of those things happen, the game is fairly close to a plus on the Huskies’ resume.
If the Huskies don’t play well, and either have to come from behind or hang on late for a too-close-for-comfort 28-24 win, and Rutgers then limps to a 4-8 finish, the game looks pretty bad in week one, and could certainly have a negative impact on the team when it comes time to rank them for the playoffs (although a team that struggles that much to beat Rutgers probably isn’t going to be in the playoffs not matter what).
Name: Cherish the moments
Question: Which non-seniors declare for the draft?
UWDP: Right now, it certainly appears that Vita Vea is in his last season in purple and gold. Husky fans really need to hope that Greg Gaines isn’t as well. I think Gaines is every bit as good, but he’s less dynamic as a playmaker, and probably not as coveted by the NFL.
Trey Adams’ name is thrown around a lot. He’s a true junior, so he’s young, but by the end of the season, he’ll have started a lot of football games. Left tackle is one of the premier positions in the NFL, and teams will spend very high draft picks on guys of Adams’ size and athletic ability. Adams probably needs to show that he’s stronger than last season, which he probably will. And he’s going to need to put a really good game against a premier pass rusher on tape. In the end, I’d say he’s 50/50 right now. What a copout, Brad.
Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin may have a choice to make. But they’re still going to have the same size limitations at the end of the season that they do today. In the end, I think both come back.
I don’t think the Huskies are going to get hit too badly by early entries this season, unless both Gaines and Vea decide to leave.
Name: Gekko Mojo
Question: Where the hell has the mailbag been all summer? I'm starting to wonder if you are worth all the internet millions we are accruing in salary payable for you.
UWDP: I’ve been on strike, and will note that you caved on my salary demands.
Name: Phil Can't Buy a Natty
Question: Rumors on UW injuries coming out of camp: DJ Beavers? Anyone else?
UWDP: Beavers is the only one reported, but Petersen is fairly coy about guys that aren’t definitely out each week. I wouldn’t be surprised if a guy or two is limited or doesn’t play at all on Friday due to a small injury that hasn’t been mentioned. But knock on wood, the Huskies have come out of camp in pretty good shape, health-wise.
Question: Love reading conjectures on who the breakout players will be e.g. Murphy, Ahmed. But given your druthers, what two players would you most like to see break out?
UWDP: Given needs on both sides of the ball, I’m going to choose a cornerback and an offensive lineman.
I don’t care whether it’s Byron Murphy or Jordan Miller, but I’d love one of these two to become an all-conference caliber guy this season. Both, preferably. Murphy is simply an incredible athlete. In limited time in 2016, Miller has shown that he has the same attitude for playing corner that his predecessors had. I expect both of them to be very, very good players this year.
On the offensive line, Coleman Shelton, Trey Adams, and Kaleb McGary have proven themselves as Pac 12 players. Each has room to be even better, but all are well past the point of “breaking out.” Nick Harris has made huge strides this off season in getting physically ready for the guard position, gaining around 25 pounds. He exceeded reasonable expectations last year, but was overmatched when it really counted in 2016. I think that may very well change in 2017. At the other guard spot, Jesse Sosebee has seen his playing time decline from the first few games his freshman season, when he started at Boise State (although he was actually running ahead of Harris for a short time in 2016). He’s passed Andrew Kirkland heading into 2017, which hopefully means that Sosebee is ready to go. One of these two needs to have a big year this year.
Honorable mention to a number of people - Benning Potoa’e, Tevis Bartlett, any of a number of receivers....
Question: Is this mailbag actually going to happen?
UWDP: Probably not.
Question: In all the euphoria last year the calls for Smith's dismissal died down to a whisper. Should we worry that the offense might revert to looking pedestrian now that John Ross isn't around to catch balls Brown is trying to throw away before being sacked?
UWDP: The calls for Jonathan Smith’s firing were every bit as misguided as the vast praise heaped on him in 2016.
John Ross was something of a catalyst, but maybe more so, the beneficiary of being the primary receiver. The engine of the offense is Chris Petersen, and the driver was Jake Browning. Those things don’t change in 2017.
I expect the offense to look just about exactly the same as it did in 2016.
Name: The Dagger
Question: With Gaines and Vita eating up the interior, any word on who has shown they can provide the outside pressure? The loss of Mathis last year showed a real lack of replacement, which makes me nervous for this year.
UWDP: Lots of names have been mentioned at various points going back to spring ball. Benning Potoa’e, Myles Rice, Tevis Bartlett, and lately Jusstis Warren most frequently. It comes down to how much you trust the sources reporting on those names, at least for me.....
Connor O’Brien has played a lot of football at Washington, and at times, looked pretty good. But I agree, the pass rush declined noticeably when he was inserted in the starting lineup following Mathis’ injury. It should also be noted, though, that the best offensive lines the Huskies faced all season also came after Mathis’ injury, so there’s no guarantee that the dropoff was a result of losing Mathis....
This is a “we’ll see” question. Just like it was in 2016.
Name: How does it sound
Question: Which Husky player or coach is most likely to pick up an East Coast accent during the Rutgers trip?
UWDP: Chris Petersen.
Question: Landon, lacking all integrity, has been trying to sell us on Oregon State for a while now. What does that loss to Colorado State tell us, and is Oregon State officially the new 'Cal'?
UWDP: If you’re looking for someone to join you in bashing Chris Landon for being bullish on Oregon State, it’s not going to be me. I still think Gary Anderson is a good coach, and I think Oregon State lost some mojo with the poor call on the TD at the end of the first half. The third quarter was a disaster for the Beavs on offense, with their only two possessions ending in interceptions. After that, things just snowballed on Oregon State, but I don’t think the final score is an indication of the relative difference between these two teams near as much as it was “one of those games” that just got away.
Oregon State has a higher upside than Cal.
Name: Elite class or less depth than expected
Question: All 3 DBs are playing as true frosh. What's your take?
UWDP: Mostly, the 2017 class of defensive backs was really, really good. So was the class of 2016.
They might all play, and they still might not. The suspension of Austin Joyner increases the odds for at least one of them.
The classes ahead of this past one are still carrying most of the water, but the Huskies signed some really good players. They’re potentially valuable in the rotation, and frankly, I’m surprised how little rotating the Huskies have done in the secondary the last few years.
If we were talking about playing three true freshmen offensive or defensive linemen - no matter how highly regarded they were as recruits - I might be apoplectic. Three DBs? Let’s see ‘em.
Question: How vanilla will our early OOC playbook be? Super-vanilla? French-vanilla? Milli-vanilli? So over-the-top vanilla that it's actually just water?
UWDP: I used to eat a lot of ice cream as a kid. So much that my mom would buy the cheap stuff. It was called My-Te-Fine Ice Milk, and it came in half gallon bricks inside a cardboard package. The Husky offense will be somewhere between My-Te-Fine Ice Milk (with plenty of chocolate syrup and crushed peanuts) and Milli Vanilli.
Question: How much of that was Stanford being good and how much of it was Rice being bad?
Question: How concerned should we be with Stanford after their first game? Obviously Rice is terrible, but we must have learned something from that game, right?
UWDP: Stanford was a pretty good team last year (30th overall by FEI, 23rd by S&P, 25th by F+), even with the beatings they took at the hands of the Huskies and WSU. Rice was absolutely terrible last year (116th by FEI, 121st by S&P, 119th by F+). Both look to be true in 2017.
Tough to take too much away from that game. Biggest for me was that Keller Chryst looked healthier than I would’ve guessed, and that Connor Wedington is a receiver for the Cardinal. In fact, he was their leading receiver for the game. I missed that all fall, I guess....
Question: What's up with Sean McGrew? I haven't heard about him in camp....
UWDP: Sean McGrew is in the battle for the scrap carries behind Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman, with Kamari Pleasant and Salvon Ahmed. Ahmed will probably play this season, and if he does, the coaches are going to look for ways to get him the ball as both a runner and receiver. Realistically, he’s probably ahead of McGrew in terms of the number of snaps he’ll get, even if they don’t all come at running back.
McGrew is a redshirt freshman, and he’s really, really small. He goes down pretty easily, and is more straight-line fast than he is shifty. But by all accounts, he’s had a good camp. We’ll have to see what that means in terms of carries.
Question: Who scores our touchdowns on Friday?
UWDP: Dante Pettis, Chico McClatcher, Myles Gaskin, Lavon Coleman, and Jordan Miller.
Question: How many times are the announcers going to mention UW's weak OOC schedule during the Rutgers game?
UWDP: Depends if you count pregame, halftime, and postgame.
If the game is a blowout snoozefest, the over/under is 7.5. As long as it remains close, it’s 4.5.
Question: Petersen said frosh that will play: 3 of the DB's, Ahmed and Bryant. Ty Jones maybe? Two questions here, we've heard about the talented depth in the secondary, but should we be worried that 3 of those incoming kids are likely to play? Regarding Ty, lotta hype on Lenius being back and looking good, but Ty Jones is a physical nightmare matchup especially in the red zone, maybe???
UWDP: Like I said above, I’m not worried about the defensive backs, and I hope the defensive is able to utilize more rotation in the secondary than it has in the past. Running backwards in man coverage is tiring.
Ty Jones shows the benefit of early enrollment; he’s got far more rapport with the quarterbacks than the other true freshmen receivers. He’s good. He’s a big target everywhere on the field, not just the red zone. It’s going to be interesting to see how much he and the other true freshmen play, and how Lenius looks coming off a redshirt season. The Huskies need two or three guys from the receiving corps to step up surrounding Dante Pettis. That includes Chico McClatcher, who has to show that he can be an every down receiver, and not just a situational “slash” guy.
Question: How does your excited-ness/hype for this season compare to other seasons? And why?
UWDP: I’ve been pointing to the 2017 season for a few years now, really ever since Jake Browning was named the starter heading in to the 2015 season. I thought this was going to be the year, based on a lot of young guys being upperclassmen at this point.
2016 obviously trumps a lot of that prognostication, so the question is now whether the team was merely a year ahead last year, or if it reached a peak. The problem is that there’s such a fine line between success and failure, if one uses the playoffs to define either of them. A one loss Husky team could be superior in most ways to the 2016 edition, but not make the playoffs depending on how the rest of the world shakes out.
At the beginning of each season, I’m so excited about the start of Husky football that it’s hard to imagine ever having cared more than I do at that moment. This year is no different.
Question: 2 part question: Recruiting is going well but no DT yet. This position (in my mind) is the foundation of our defense and when strong, we rush three and drop many into coverage. How many DT's will Peterson take and who is likely to commit?
Part 2: Am I crazy or is this the deepest team in years?; like since I graduated in 1992. Can we win the national championship? Against Alabama I thought we lacked depth at a few positions and lacked physical size at receiver to get off their DB's, and Browning was not sharp, likely due to injury. I think those issues have all been fixed. So what stops us now?
PS I hate Willy T already.
UWDP: Well, the team almost always rushes four, but I do agree that the next group of defensive tackles isn’t exactly obvious right now. I think the team would take two or three, if they’re the right guys. As to who they are, I’m really not the guy to ask. All I really have is a list of names that have apparently been offered.
Things change as any given season unfolds, but I’d probably agree that this team is as deep as any in the last 25 years heading into game one. We’ll just have to wait to see how the season unfolds - which guys step up out of the blue, which guys fail to deliver, injuries, and the craziness of team dynamics that can carry a team (like in 2000) or crush it (like in 1992).
Question: How does a team like Rugers attempt to attack the Huskies on offense? Defense?
UWDP: It’s tough to know what to expect from Rutgers offensively, given a new staff. Jerry Kill has had a lot of success as a head coach at all of his stops. Typically, his teams have utilized at least some running by the quarterback, but starter Kyle Bolin is most definitely a pass-first guy. He may get some carries at Rutgers, but most likely, the Scarlet Knight offense is going to be fairly traditional as far as that goes. I don’t know if you remember the game against Rutgers last season, but keep on eye out for Janarion Grant. He might be the most dynamic player on their offense, and will likely be used as a rusher and receiver (as well as returner). Rutgers has a lot of big running backs, especially if Miami graduate transfer Gus Edwards is the starter, as expected. He’s almost 240 pounds, and has done some damage in the ACC in the past.
Defense is head coach Chris Ash’s calling card, and especially the secondary. Rutgers plays a lot of press-man coverage, and will keep their safeties pretty tight in the box. It’s a very aggressive look, but obviously relies on a pass rush that struggled last year. Jake Browning was able to take advantage early in 2016, hitting Ross and McClatcher for long TD’s in the first half and narrowly missing at least one more. Rutgers is going to dare the Huskies to attack deep again, most likely.
Question: How will our young corners fare?
UWDP: The Huskies were in a similar situation in 2014, when starters Jermaine Kelly and Marcus Peters were both lost early in the season to an injury and a suspension. True freshmen played most of the rest of the season, and struggled.
Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller have been penciled in as starters since spring ball, which gives them a pretty significant advantage. Both have been in the system, which is an even greater one. Most importantly, all they’ve known as Huskies is domination from the cornerback position; it’s the legacy they know they have to fill, and the way they’ve been taught to play the position.
I expect both are going to look like they belong from the first snap on. Miller has already shown the attitude for the position as a tackler and in run support, and Murphy has the skills to cover. It remains to be seen how he holds up against the run, but I’m confident that fans will be fairly comfortable with the newbs by Friday evening.
Question: What is more likely to happen: Tevis makes the leap to play at or near equivalent to healthy Mathis last year OR one of the RS FR step up and by conference play assume most snaps? Thanks for all that you do UWDP team and GO DAWGS!
UWDP: I’m not sure if you’re implying that Tevis Bartlett is stepping in to Mathis’s position (he’s not, he’s on the strong side, replacing Psalm Wooching), or if you’re just looking for him to replicate the production. I think Bartlett is going to get the first chance to show what he can do on the strong side, but the coaching staff has some veteran presence to put there in Connor O’Brien as well (as of right now, those two are an “OR” for the SOLB spot).
Wooching had some good production in terms of sack numbers, but on the whole, Bartlett or O’Brien should be able to equal what he did on the outside.
Question: How does one prepare for jet lag and the muggy weather on the East Coast?
UWDP: The Huskies should have a couple of days to get over the travel aspect, and the late kickoff is certainly going to help. The weather doesn’t really look like it’s going to be a factor.
Here’s something that a lot of people don’t realize - Seattle is actually a very humid city. In fact, one of the most humid in the country, coming in at #7, ahead of Miami and any city in New Jersey (a lot people don’t understand the relationship between humidity and temperature). Temps should be in the 70s in New Brunswick on Friday, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
Name: New talent
Question: Predict the rest of the recruiting class. Comment on early vs late signees
UWDP: I predict it will consist of guys who will shortly graduate from high school or junior college. Some Husky fans will be very pleased, and some will lament the “ones that got away.”
Anyone that follows recruiting is more than welcome to add whatever they think, they know, or think they know.
Question: It looks like Rutgers passing game was pretty bad last year. What can we take away from watching our young secondary against this offense?
UWDP: Rutgers has a new offensive design, and a new quarterback coming in. It’s tough to know ahead of time how they’re going to look. Instead, I’m going to focus on things like the secondary not making mistakes that leave a receiver wide open, making good decisions in playing the ball vs making a tackle, run support, and how fast they look to be playing.
Question: Aye aye what's good my guys. Who will be the biggest surprise on defense.
UWDP: Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller are obvious, since they’re starters. Jaylen Johnson is fairly well known to most loyal Dawg Pound readers, but in case there are some that are unaware, look for him to be a disruptive force as a backup on the defensive line. Benning Potoa’e has the talent and the opportunity to step up and be a star. Brandon Wellington, Myles Rice, and Jusstis Warren will all probably get some snaps at the linebacker spots, and seem ready to be contributors.
Question: Who's going to be playing Buck on Friday and will they be used the same as Mathis was last year?
UWDP: Every indication under the sun tells us that Benning Potoa’e has the spot heading in to the game Friday.
In 2014, I distinctly remember Buck Hau'oli Kikaha spending an inordinate amount of time in coverage the first couple of weeks of the season (and thinking that Pete Kwiatkowski was either insane or well over his head because of it). It turns out that those early games were a little experimentation and a lot of vanilla, as I don’t think Kikaha dropped back into coverage more than a handful of times the rest of the season. The team didn’t have the same soft landing in 2015, and Travis Feeney spent almost all season as a pass rusher and edge-setter, the same way that Mathis did in 2016. So really, the position hasn’t changed all that much outside of the first couple of games under Chris Petersen. I expect that to hold true in 2017, if the Huskies are playing their base defense out of the nickel as they’ve done well over 90% of the time. Probably more like 95% or 98%. Potoa’e may play with his hand on the ground more than Mathis or Feeney did, but that’s small stuff. The Buck is an up-the-field player, and I think that’ll be the case in 2017.
Question: What will be the most exposed weakness on offense and defense that other teams exploit?
UWDP: Heading into the Rutgers game, it looks like the answer on both sides of the ball is on the outside.
Defensively, attack the unproven corners, especially if the Huskies are going to play a lot of man. Not just deep, but make them prove they can fight off blocks and tackle well, consistently. In the run game, I’d try to attack right on the edge, and make the outside linebacker show what they can do, and that the fill-in for Azeem Victor (and the fill-in for the fill-in for Azeem Victor) can move laterally and make plays.
Offensively, the Huskies are strong up the middle. I’d sell out on the run, bracket Dante Pettis, and make one of the other receivers prove they can beat my defense deep enough times to win a game.
Things will probably look a lot different after this first game. We’ll have to see.
Question: National Title???
UWDP: I’d wager one will be given. Washington is a long shot.
Name: Stoutish Dawg
Question: Any chance for an in depth story about Petersen's background and how he created his program? Prior coaches he worked for, and who he learned from? It is amazing how he gets buy-in and everyone feels accountable to the system. It obviously isn't easy or everyone would be doing it.
UWDP: While I’d love to read it, nobody here has the access to get it. And it would probably take catching Chris Petersen in the right mood for him to really open up about it.
Really, your last sentence kind of sums it up. I’m sure that he learned things from every coach he worked for - Paul Hackett at Pitt, Tim Walsh at Portland State, Mike Bellotti at Oregon, and Dan Hawkins at Boise State. It wouldn’t surprise me if he gave a lot of credit to Jim Sochor, a Hall of Fame coach who won 18 straight league championships, coached Petersen in his playing days, and later gave him his first job. Petersen seems like enough of a student that he’s probably absorbed something from other assistants he’s worked with as well.
When you get right down to it, he’s not really a “disciple” of any particular coaching tree or philosophy. Especially when you’re talking about what it takes to run a program. He does things his own way, which is really true of any successful coach. I doubt he could really explain fully what makes him great, either. It’s an ingrained part of his personality and who he is, not something he’s learned.
Question: Any idea of the impact last season has had on ticket sales? Both on season tickets and individual games?
UWDP: I haven’t seen up-to-date information, but based on some numbers from Jen Cohen back in May, not as much as I would’ve hoped. At that time, retention and new sales were both high, but the overall goal she stated for the start of the 2017 season was 44,000 (not including students). That number is fairly modest, considering that over 46,000 were sold in 2013, and the number since 2009 has bumped along in the low-40,000 range. There wasn’t any information given about single-game tickets sold, although I’m not even sure to what extent they’re on sale.
The other thing to keep in mind - ticket sales are about maximizing revenue, not the total number of tickets sold. A sellout means the tickets were underpriced....
Fact is, there are tickets to buy. If you haven’t already, buy some. Even if you live in Minnesota, Chris Landon. You have millions of my dollars that you haven’t paid me. Donate them to a local Boys and Girls Club.
Question: What are the top performances you are looking at when we play Rutgers? For me it is QB pressure, and play at the corner positions, the two biggest question marks I have coming into the season. Anything else we should be looking for?
UWDP: Those are the two biggies on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, I really hope the running game can get out of the gate a lot faster than it did in 2016, when fans here were up in arms over the lack of production against Rutgers, Idaho, and Portland State.
I’d like to see punting be a little less of an adventure than it was in 2016 as well.
Question: The Huskies have had and will have a lot of East Coast attention with the Rutgers game, the Peach Bowl, and the 2018 kick off game, how does this impact recruiting?
UWDP: Other than the fact both games are nationally televised, very little. None of those games is in an area the Huskies actively recruit. Maybe a guy back east shows a little interest in the Dawgs, and the Huskies pull someone to the west coast, but these games don’t really change how the staff is going to approach recruiting.
Beating Auburn would be nice.
Name: Make the case
Question: Why should Togiai choose UW over the other O State?
UWDP: Chris Petersen. Location. Playing time.
Question: In 2017, does UW get more shut outs or 5 stars?
UWDP: Shutouts win, 1-0.
Question: How many players will they take to Rutgers?
UWDP: There’s no restriction for a non-conference game as there is in Pac 12 play, so coaches use travel like this pretty liberally. I’d expect every scholarship player in good standing will make the trip, as well as most of the walk-ons. Probably pretty close to the entire roster.
All for today, Dawg boys and Dawg girls.