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Mailbag: Oregon State Edition

Washington v Colorado
Just because.
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
  • Ice Age ancestors of modern beavers, called Castoroides, grew to be as large as eight feet long, and weighed up to 200 pounds.
  • Beavers secrete a chemical compound known as castoreum that is an FDA-approved natural flavoring sometimes used to make vanilla, and is used to make vanilla-scented items.
  • The largest beaver dam in the world is located in the wilderness of Alberta, Canada. It is approximately 2,790 feet in length (twice the width of the Hoover Dam), and is visible from space. Scientists believe multiple generations of beavers have worked on its construction since the 1970’s.
  • In 1948, rising human populations clashed with the local beaver populations in western Idaho. To protect the beavers, Idaho Fish and Game used airplanes and surplus WWII parachutes to relocate the animals. 76 ultimately “jumped,” and all but one survived.
  • Beavers’ front teeth are orange due to a significant presence of iron in them. The iron makes the teeth extra hard and sharp, which is useful for doing beaver things. That doesn’t include biting off their own testicles, which was a common belief until around the 1100’s.
  • A beaver lodge typically contains two dens: the first is used for drying off after entering the lodge from under water, and the second is used for family life. Beavers have been known to share their lodges with families of muskrats.
  • Beavers are master manipulators of their environments. Large trees are felled to form the structure of the dam. Smaller trees are felled for food. Broad-leaf trees near the lodge may be felled to encourage the regrowth of trees more desirable for the beavers. Beavers create wetlands with their dams, and standing dead trees, which bring insect populations, and then birds.
  • Oregon’s state flag has a picture of a beaver on the reverse side, making it the only state flag with two designs.
  • While any fan new to our hallowed sport of College Football may think that defense is optional, between 1990 and 1995, neither Oregon nor Oregon State scored more than two touchdowns in any Civil War matchup.
  • Oregon State alum Douglas Engelbart is credited with inventing the computer mouse.
  • Oregon State entomology professor George Poinar is known for extracting DNA from fossils preserved in amber. His work inspired the book (and later movie) “Jurassic Park.”
  • Oregon State is one of two universities in America (the other being Cornell) with Land Grant, Sea Grant, Space Grant, and Sun Grant designations.



I dont really consider the TD to Pounds to have been thrown into double coverage. If you go back and watch that play, the safety came in after the ball arrived and didnt really have any opportunity to make a play on it. His only real option was to try and hit Pounds to dislodge the ball after the catch had already been made. Browning saw his man had a step, the safety help was too far away and had moved away from Pounds' route, and he threw it where only his guy could get it. That is top shelf quarterbacking in my book. Thoughts?

UWDP: You’re 100% correct. The pass was thrown into single coverage, and the safety came over to play the ball. That’s part of the problem with watching a game on TV - on a passing play, you only see the ball arrive at the receiver at pretty near the same time the defensive back does, so it looks like the quarterback has thrown into tight coverage. Frequently, the receiver was wide-open when the ball was thrown, and it’s only the recovery by the defensive back that makes it look closer than it actually was.

The announcers did nothing - nothing - to help fans on that play. That was one of many that was disappointing.

It wasn’t a perfect ball by Jake Browning, but it was good enough, and you definitely want him to take a few low-risk chances like that a game. The odds of success aren’t all that high on a bomb like that no matter what, but giving a receiver a chance to make a play can have a big payoff.

Gary from MI

What is the rule for Chico getting a redshirt year for 2017

UWDP: It should be to no one’s surprise that the rule isn’t exactly clearly spelled out by the NCAA. A player that hasn’t used a “regular” redshirt season can qualify for a medical hardship waiver (not a medical redshirt) if he plays less than 30% of the season before suffering a documented season-ending injury. Chico McClatcher played ever-so-slightly more than 30% of the Huskies’ 12-game season (by a matter of mere minutes), but the Pac 12 conference championship game at a bowl game are considered part of the season (so it appears), so McClatcher should have a slam-dunk case to get this year back. Chris Petersen said he was confident that was the case.

Field Goal McGee

What the heck is up with the kicking game? What is the best solution?


After the problems with the FG/XP team this season, how likely is a change or do you chalk up the problems at CU to kicking on grass in the rain something I am sure is hard to replicate in practice. on a scale of 1-10 how worried should the fans be about this unit?

Prego from Pregonia

After that horridly botched PAT by Vizcaino, the wifey and I were trying to figure out what exactly happened. Did he slip in bad field conditions? Did someone get a piece of the ball? Or did he really just flub it that badly?

UWDP: I didn’t rewatch the missed extra point to see what happened. Maybe Tristan Vizcaino slipped.

By itself, missing the 41-yard field goal doesn’t bother me all that much, missing from 32 does a bit more.

Vizcaino is 21-23 on PAT attempts in his career at Washington. Right now, I’m ready to chalk up the two misses to randomness, even though they’ve occurred recently. At the same time, he just doesn’t appear to be a great field goal kicker (4-8 in his career, to misses within 40 yards) that might be suffering a crisis of confidence right now.

I’m sure there’s weekly competition for the placekicking spot for each game; Vizcaino isn’t just being handed the job. I’d also wager his experience breaks all ties, though, and any competitor would have to win the job pretty clearly.

Kicking is overvalued. In 1991, the Huskies were 8-16 on field goals, and missed six extra points. More importantly, there’s no real correlation between finishing in the AP top 25 and having a kicker in the top 25 (for accuracy). There are obviously situations where a field goal is crucial, but too often a make or miss is credited or blamed for the outcome of a game where other factors are far more significant.


Did our OL come alive this game? What was holding back our rushing attack and QB protection before this?

UWDP: The offense has played as well as it has needed to in the first three games.

There was probably a bit more diversity in the rushing attack against Colorado (in terms of the ratio of zone-to-power), but the biggest single difference was in execution in blocking. It’s tough to rewatch the game against Colorado and find a ton of flat-out missed assignments.

The Rutgers game is a bit of a concern for me still, but the offense basically had its way in the second half. Had the Huskies wanted “more” against Fresno State or Montana, they could’ve gotten it.

It’s a good offense that’s pretty much in the exact same position it was last season at this point (although with fewer explosive plays thus far).


If no one declares early for the draft, is our team scary next year?

UWDP: Most definitely. On both sides of the ball.

But, that’s not going to happen. The defense is going to have to rebuild the middle (at least one lineman and both linebackers), and the offense is really up in the air right now. Lots of guys will have the option.


I'm relatively new to this world. I remember when "SPREAD" was the hot word and under center started to disappear, then pistol was dabbled with, then in the spread people were doing the zone read or option read stuff. Can you see some new buzzword formation/playstyle/etc coming?

UWDP: “Buzzwords” are brought to you by a media that fails to recognize the cyclical nature of football (and probably the rest of life as well).

Things in football are “new” on a micro level. On a macro level, it’s much more trends repeating themselves.

Defenses have substituted size for speed at key positions to combat offenses that did the same a few years earlier. That suggests the next trend is offenses getting stronger in small spaces to negate the advantages of speed.

Upright Husky

Vizcaino's first FG miss looked to to directly over the upright. Is there a rule for that like in baseball and the foul pole? If the official sees that it's directly over an upright, does it just become a judgement call? Asking for a friend.

UWDP: The rule is that the entire ball must past inside the inside edge of the goal post, so a kick directly over a goal post is not good.


Who the hell thought it was a good idea to get rid of the feature that showed how many unread comments each story had next to the total # of comments on sbnation?

UWDP: I see it there. Sometimes. And it’s kind of random as to when. I liked it too.


Do you think CP or the NCAA will start playing with extra strange formations more in the future? Like linemen shifted off to the side, the extreme I formation, etc? Also, if there's time, maybe you could explain what makes a formation legal, when players can and can't shift, etc?

UWDP: The things you’re suggesting have been around for a long time as gimmicks, but I doubt we’re going to see a point in time where they’re the norm. Chris Petersen’s offense provide a lot of looks, but they’re mostly just window dressing, particularly in the running game. That’s not to suggest his offense is “basic” or anything, but it’s not really “new.”

To be legal, an offensive formation has to have seven men on the line of scrimmage at the snap. Only the furthest outside man on the line of scrimmage is an eligible receiver (that means if a tight end lines up with a split end outside of him on the line of scrimmage, the tight end will be assessed an “ineligible receiver down field” penalty if he goes out for a pass). The furthest outside man on the line of scrimmage on each side has to have an eligible receiver’s number (0-49, 80-99), or report to an official that he’s an eligible receiver prior to a play. Any number of players can “shift” prior to a snap, but each must be set for a minimum of one second prior to the snap. Only one man can be in motion at the snap, and he has to be moving either parallel to or away from the line of scrimmage. There’s more, but that’s pretty much the basics.

Prego, Lord of the Sauce Wars

People tend to have no problem with the concept of "running back by committee". People also tend to praise QBs for "spreading the ball around". Why, then, do people freak out when a team does "wide receiver by committee"?

UWDP: I don’t think that people would actually have a problem with a bunch of guys having a lot of catches at the end of the season. Through the first three games, I mostly attribute the concerns fans had (here, at least) to overreacting to small sample sizes. Dante Pettis is well on his way to being the #1 receiver, and McClatcher was separating as the #2. That spot is now open, obviously. The difference between now and after the first two games is that it initially looked like nobody was ready to take that spot. Now, it looks more like any of a number of guys have the potential to step up there.

The Huskies need guys to play well at receiver, but I’m not as concerned as others with a “pecking order.”


I'm still feeling uniform envy. Are there three teams in the Pac12 that you think overall have better unis than us? I do. At least 3.

UWDP: The colors matter more to me than the uniforms, so no way, in hell. I much prefer tradition to flash. I really don’t care about uniforms all that much.

Which three are better, traitor?

Prego Prego Prego Prego

Brock made a comment today that UW has not lost on the road since the ASU game in Nov 2015 and the last UW team to have that kind of streak was the Championship team. We have three more road games this year (not counting post-season). Do you think we can keep the wins coming?

UWDP: Absolutely. The Huskies are good. People make a huge deal out of things like “not playing well in Arizona/UCLA/Oregon/whatever the last decade.” The problem wasn’t some inability to win in particular locations, it was that the Huskies weren’t a very good team. At least consistently. It’s harder to win on the road than it is at home, but I’d argue the single biggest reason is that the road team has 20 fewer players at its disposal due to travel rules.

Good teams win games no matter where they’re played.


What do we have to do to keep Lakes?

UWDP: Making Jimmy Lake the sole defensive coordinator would probably mean keeping him for at least a few more years. But that’s unlikely to happen (even though Pete Kwiatkowski doesn’t seem to have an oversized ego, and may accept a “demotion” in title for the good of the team. May.). Lake seems like he’s got a head coach trajectory. That doesn’t mean he’ll be good at it necessarily, but he’s probably going to get a shot at at least one job, and probably sooner rather than later.

As valuable as he is to the Huskies’ success, I feel pretty confident that Petersen would be able to find an adequate replacement. And just as it is with his team, the “system” (meaning Chris Petersen) has value in terms of the coaching staff’s success and ability.


Will we see "The Pursuit series" this season?

UWDP: No, they aren’t doing it this year. I think there might be something else planned.

Maybe next year. It’s a cool series, but I’m sure it’s a lot of work.


Will they ever make a Beerfest sequel?

UWDP: I haven’t seen the original, but I’m certain the plot left room for it.

Ragu Sucks, Prego is better!

People have been super hyped on the whole Bryant story while panicking about the same thing happening with Bowman at the DL/OLB spot and being "concerned" that other guys who came in more highly rated are riding pine. Why the different treatment?

UWDP: Well, Myles Bryant has played well pretty much from game one. Ryan Bowman hasn’t had the same level of production, even though he played well against Colorado (and hasn’t been “bad” by any stretch all season). The Huskies simply aren’t getting much out of the Buck position this year, so it’s easier to be concerned about a walk-on getting snaps ahead of scholarship players.


Smith is off the hotseat at least for one more game... but when can I realistically start calling for his head again?

UWDP: I think you should open up your window and start screaming for Jonathan Smith’s ouster RIGHT NOW.


I thought that was a nice win against Colorado. From what I saw in the replay, the Huskies didn't bring their A game, but were able to grind and grind until the tide turned. Does this feel like a good win from the standpoint of beating a quality opponent, or should we be concerned about the early game struggles?

UWDP: Some of both. I agree they didn’t play their best, but I also think the momentum had turned well before it really started to show on the scoreboard. Probably mid-second quarter, to me at least.

Being able to grind out wins is hugely important. I’d always prefer to be up big at the end of the first quarter and coasting from there, but as a team, knowing that you collectively have the resolve to win late is a good thing. Unless, of course, the lesson you learn is that you can still win easily, even if the effort isn’t there....With Petersen as the head coach, that’s not a tremendous concern to me. I think he’s going to be able to keep egos right-sized.

9 out of 10 Saucemmelier prefer Prego to Ragu

Why didnt USC drop in the rankings after struggling against Cal? Is Cal that good or is USC that overrated? Seems people in the media want to discount our win over Colorado and hype up the USC win over Cal. Why are they all so dumb?

UWDP: With a 7:00 pm kickoff that actually turned into a 7:30 start time due to the Oklahoma/Baylor game running long, I’d wager a fair number of voters didn’t see much of the game; at least the second half when the Huskies started playing better.

USC is in LA, and is always going to get the benefit of the doubt. Washington is part of southeast Alaska, and isn’t. Not ever. This isn’t news.


Bowman; fluke or here to stay?

UWDP: Right now, Ryan Bowman is the best option for depth at the Buck position. That’s probably not going to change in 2017. We’ll have to see about 2018, but I’d probably pencil him in for important snaps for the rest of his career.


Why do you think Coach Peterson's reputation and record as a coach doesn't translate into more respect for the Huskies on a national level?

UWDP: Unless you’re a Washington fan, or a big fan of defense, Washington football is probably pretty boring to watch compared to a lot of what’s out there. There’s not a lot of flash, the games start too late, the Huskies aren’t in LA, and they haven’t been good for all that long. Chris Petersen is boring and not quotable.


I know injuries happen and maybe I'm overly sensitive because I bleed purple, but don't we have a higher than normal injury report? Even when Sark was coaching I thought we were always beat up.

UWDP: You’re certainly more aware of Washington’s injuries because as you said, you bleed purple. How much do you know about other teams around the country? I’d wager “far less.” Me too.

It’s been fairly bad so far this year, but I’m still working under the assumptions that it’s within the range of normal, and by the end of the season, won’t look different than anywhere else.


Will the Chico injury have an effect on formations or just personnel?

UWDP: Other than the explosive big-play potential you see when the ball is in McClatcher’s hands (something that can’t be replicated without a player like McClatcher, who either is or isn’t on the roster), I don’t think you’ll see any real difference at all.


Considering that ASU was a pick-six away from starting 0-3 (NMSU threw a pick-six that ended up being the difference), my initial reaction to ASU beating Oregon is that Oregon is bad – like really bad – perhaps way worse than anyone thought. Thoughts?

UWDP: I probably wouldn’t go quite that far with ASU - the scores that made the game look close against New Mexico State came mostly against backups. If ASU needed a stop or another score, I’m confident they would’ve been able to get it.

That doesn’t mean they’re good. They really aren’t.

Oregon wasn’t nearly as bad as its record last season. On talent, that’s a 7-5 team. They gave up in much the same way the 2008 Huskies gave up. I don’t think they’re actually different this year - really good offense, highly suspect defense.


Isaaih Ifanse ??? No power 5 offers. Just makes the ST front page sports section every week. Last week 254 yds on 20 carries v. Archbishop Murphy. How come no UW interest? Reminds me of Donnie Moore running style.

UWDP: He’s listed at 5’8” and 181 lbs with a listed 40 time of 4.6. That’s not a recipe for a ton of scholarship offers, no matter how productive a running back is in high school.

Maybe he’ll turn out to prove everyone wrong.


Clemson, Oklahoma, Penn State, and USC; they all struggled last week. Were they just like "our last year Arizona game" or were they exposing chinks in the armor?

UWDP: It’s way too early to tell. All are “good” teams, even if they’re being overvalued right now. I’d wager each one is going to lose at least one game in the regular season as well.


I love UW football, but it's hard to get excited about watching UW @ Oregon State. What do I do to get excited for this week?

UWDP: I’m always excited for kickoff, but I can understand your point.

I’d suggest keeping in mind that this game represents one of only 12 guaranteed opportunities you have in all of 2017 to watch Husky football.

PDX Dawg

Now that we're 1/3 through the season and know a little more about our opponents, what game left on the schedule scares you the most, matchup-wise vs the Huskies?

UWDP: I’m always nervous heading in to every game.

Stanford is on the road. WSU has the offensive potential, and statistically, the Huskies are “due” to lose and Apple Cup. It’s always the game you don’t see coming, though....


Since none of you JERKS answered my question in the thread: Are slot receivers often short BECAUSE it is beneficial or are they short because they are good receivers but can’t flourish as a wideout? If it’s the latter, then McGrew would be better in the slot and Ahmed should remain the back?

UWDP: You didn’t like the answers you were given?

Landon said something about bigger receivers on the outside are more suited to winning 50/50 balls. I said it’s more difficult to jam a receiver when he’s lined up in the slot (and two yards off the line of scrimmage), so smaller guys that would have a tough time beating press coverage have a place to play.

It’s not a matter of size. The slot position is a true receiver, and neither of those guys are. Round peg, meet square hole.


Colorado looked good, until they played us. Last year, Colorado looked good, until they played us. Will Colorado be a force in the South this year or did we expose them?

UWDP: Eh, I don’t really agree that Colorado looked “good” prior to the game against Washington in 2017. They were okay. Pretty highly flawed, in a small sample size, but capable. Last year, the Buffs had a really good defense, but a mediocre offense.

Colorado will win some games this year, and likely a “key” one. I doubt they’re a contender in the south, though.


Percent chance WSU has against USC?

UWDP: I’d say 30%. WSU has shown signs of being solid on defense, but it’s starting to look like the one team they’ve played with an offensive pulse (Boise State) isn’t actually very good. On the other hand, WSU has a good quarterback, and they put pressure on a defense by requiring it to be very disciplined and assignment-sound a lot of snaps in a game. USC’s defense just isn’t that great this year.

If the Trojans tackle well and decide it’s a good day to run the ball, they’ll win.

Dawg in Boston

As with last season, the running game looks markedly better now that conference play has started. Is this because the coaching staff was saving some of our most effective running plays/schemes for conference play?

UWDP: I don’t think there was the “intent” to save anything necessarily. I think the team did what it needed to secure wins the first three games, and then spent time working on the things they wanted to develop.

The zone blocking scheme takes more consistency from all five linemen, so it’s not really a surprise the coaching staff wanted to “work” on it more.

The Husky offense is about execution far more than anything else. It’s the ultimate Crane Technique - if do right, no can defend.


Will Oregon fans tone it down a bit after the ASU fiasco

UWDP: Other than the one or two that come around the ‘pound, I really don’t know what Oregon fans are like this year. I don’t know?

PDX Dawg

Whats the cut-off for # of games played to still qualify for a medical redshirt? If Byron Murphy is out for 6+ weeks, what's the possibility coaches red shirt him?

UWDP: Byron Murphy has already used his normal redshirt year, so he wouldn’t qualify for a medical hardship waiver no matter what. And it’s not a coach’s choice with an injured player, the injury has to be season-ending.

Phil Can't win A Natty

How good of explosion and skill set does Ryan Bowman have? Does he have "major contributor" potential as he matures?

UWDP: Ryan Bowman epitomizes all of the backhanded compliments players get when they aren’t just superior athletes - “smart”, “high motor,” “effort player,” etc.

Bowman isn’t terribly quick or fast, so he doesn’t have as high a ceiling as other guys on the roster. But he is a heady player, and he does work hard. He’s got good size, and he’s pretty strong. He’s earned the coaches’ trust, and he’s going to get better. He’s already a major contributor.

Phil Can't win a Natty

Salvon to the slot to replace Chico

UWDP: Salvon Ahmed is working to learn all of the nuances of playing running back at Washington. There are slot receivers on the UW roster that will fill McClatcher’s role.

That’s it for this week.