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PAC 12 coaches dish anonymously on UW

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No holds barred when conversations go off the record.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day
Does Justin Wilcox respect the UW coaching staff?
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Do you ever wonder what other coaches who have to face off against Chris Petersen each season think about the Huskies? Athlon’s does. In fact, they wonder what every coach in the PAC thinks about every other program and what those coaches would say about those programs if their quotes were attributed anonymously.

The result is an awesome article that comes out every season.

As UW fans, we are most interested in what various coaches had to say about the Huskies. I also find it fun to speculate on who might have given the quote. I know that the authors take quotes from head coaches and assistants, so pinning a quote to the right source is a bit of a challenge. But we can speculate.

Quote 1

“I know people talked about the Pac-12 being down last year, but in my mind those guys showed against Alabama they were the real deal on defense. They gave up the one big play that killed ’em, but they were right there. Common sense says they’ll take a step back because of how many guys they lose, but I wouldn’t bet against that staff. They’ll figure some things out and get their guys where they need to be by the end of the year."

Breakdown

This is a pretty straightforward comment that doesn’t really smack of controversy. In fact, I’d be shocked if whomever actually made the statement would object to having that quote attributed to them.

The fact of the matter is that UW didn’t really “lose” many players from last year’s team. They just happened to lose a few excellent players like Sidney Jones, Kevin King, Budda Baker and Elijah Qualls.

Figuring out who may have made a quote this bland is difficult. It clearly is a guy who is shies away from controversy. It also might be a coach who isn’t that dialed in to UW’s roster. He’s obviously a guy who holds Petersen in high esteem and who likely had time to watch UW in the Peach Bowl. Maybe a coach who didn’t go bowling?

Who said it?

Rich Rodriguez (40% certainty)
Justin Wilcox (35% certainty)
Gary Andersen (25% certainty)

Quote 2

"They were a little bit like USC last year in that they were so dominant up front they didn’t put extra guys in the box. The big nose tackle (Vita Vea) eats up a lot of space in the 3-4 and their linebackers are very good. In passing situations, they’re not afraid to drop everybody into coverage and see if their guys can win one-on-one matchups. We’ll see if they change it up a little bit this year to try to help their young guys on the back end."

Breakdown

This is yet another not-too-controversial of a statement. It is technically true that UW did run a lot of 3-4 last season and that, yes, they preferred to not have to blitz any of their back seven. However, we also know that after Joe Mathis went down, UW had to get more aggressive with the blitz in order to create a pass rush.

The last point leads me to believe that this coach is very likely a PAC 12 opponent that we faced early in the season. Mathis was particularly excellent against Stanford - a game in which I can hardly recall a single blitz. At the same time, I think Vea was most active in the subsequent Oregon and Oregon State games. But since there the Oregon staff has turned over, I think I’ve narrowed this list to two possible candidates.

Who said it?

David Shaw (55%)
Gary Andersen (45%)

Quote 3

"They don’t blow you away offensively, but the quarterback doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and they don’t give him more than he can handle. He was playing with a dinged-up shoulder at the end of last season, but he’s very accurate with the ball and he’s only going to get better coming into his junior year.”

Breakdown

I suppose this qualifies as “controversial” although it smacks more of ignorance than anything else. UW only happened to have the 8th best scoring offense in the country last year and boast the PAC 12 Offensive Player of the Year in QB Jake Browning. UW was easily the most efficient team in the conference having finished third in yards per rush and first (by a wide margin) in yards per pass attempt. Breaking it down further, UW was 10th in the nation in Rushing S&P, 5th in the nation in Passing S&P and a blistering 2nd in the nation in success rate on standard downs.

So, yeah, they blew most people away offensively last year. But not everybody.

There were a handful of PAC 12 games where UW’s offense struggled. Arizona, USC, Utah and Colorado are the obvious games. Browning’s shoulder injury happened in the USC game (as far as we know). That this comment was relatively complementary despite the initial qualifier leads me to believe that the speaker has a healthy deference for the UW staff. I think that this narrows the pool down a bit.

Who said it?

Mike MacIntyre (70%)
Kyle Whittingham (25%)
Clay Helton (5%)