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Mailbag: “ROOOOOOSE BOWL!” Edition

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Fresno State v UCLA
How’s it goin’, Chip?
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Facts about Bruins, UCLA, Roses, etc.

  • In October of 1924, the Boston Bruins were awarded the first NHL club in the United States.
  • The word “Bruin” is Dutch for brown, and is mainly used as a folk term for brown bears.
  • UCLA was initially known as the “Cubs.” Fellow University of California system school Cal was known as the “Bears” (later the Golden Bears). To rid themselves of the little brother status, UCLA adopted “Grizzlies.” But when UCLA joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1926, existing member school Montana already had the Grizzlies moniker. Cal the bequeathed the name “Bruins” to UCLA.
  • UCLA receives the most college applications of any school in the world each year, and typically sets a record for applications each year.
  • Students at UCLA participate in a “Midnight Yell” during finals week. It’s exactly what it sounds like - yelling at midnight.
  • At just 419 acres, UCLA is the second-smallest campus in the UC system. The largest, UC Davis, is over 5,000 acres. The University of Washington is 634 acres.
  • UCLA didn’t begin playing its home football games at the Rose Bowl until 1982. Prior to that, games were at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
  • Caltech did play its home games at the Rose Bowl from the time the stadium was completed in 1922 until the university dropped football in 1993.
  • Rose Bowl is also known as Speaker Field at the Rose Bowl. The BCS National Championship Game was played their four times: In 2002 and 2006, as the Rose Bowl game, and then in 2010 and 2014 as the stand-alone BCS National Championship Game.
  • From 1916 to 1946, the Rose Bowl Game pitted a team from the Pacific Coast Conference vs a team from the east coast. During this period, there were 10 matchups with undefeated teams.
  • Defense was made illegal in college football in 2016, and the last two Rose Bowl games have featured combined scores of over 100 points in each - USC defeated Penn State 52-49 in the 2017 game, and Georgia defeated Oklahoma 54-48 in 2018. As the latter game featured overtime, USC fans are petitioning to keep the title of “Most Defenseless Rose Bowl In History.”

Truth.

Darin Johnson

I was watching the BYU game the other day, and I noticed two pass plays where Browning threw the ball and nobody caught it. Both of these were ruled “incomplete passes,” resulting in loss of down for the Huskies. Do you think we can get this fixed by next week and avoid these needlessly wasted plays? Maybe one of the other QBs?

Hake Jaener

Browning can’t even go 25/25 time to put me in coach?

NorDawg

Don’t you think that Jake Haener could have gone at least 24/25?

23 of 25 ... it’s not 25 of 25

Should we be alarmed that Browning missed two of his 25 throws?

Aus*Dawg

Even though he passed Cody Pickett, how could Browning miss those two easy passes??? Shouldn’t we expect a lot more out of our QB’s?

Bigred72

I am a Jake browning fan. However, when I express that to some of my fellow passionate Husky fans, they respond with doubts. Their logic is that Jake has played more years (and downs) than any other QB before him and therefore he SHOULD lead many categories. So it’s Browning’s “time in service” vs. talent that makes him the leader. Are my doubting friends correct?

Godawgs17

Do we say Jake Browning is an all time great? To me absolutely but does he break even the top 5 or so in all time QBs for the Dawgs?

UWDP: Jake Browning had a great game obviously, and should’ve had another completion and touchdown on that last pass.

Yes, Jake Browning has many of the records he has because he’s played for a long time. That’s the same as the guys whose records he’s breaking. And Browning has done it in less time than all the others. Cody Pickett’s passing yardage record came in only three seasons as the starter, but it came on 208 more attempts than it took Browning. I didn’t realize that. It’s impressive, and definitely speaks to Browning’s efficiency over the years.

Jake Browning defenders are feeling pretty good right now, but it’s only going to take one game until the pendulum swings back the other way. That’s sort of the funny thing about sports....

Christopher E. Denton

Is there any realistic chance to land Enokk Vimahi, now that they have Julius Buelow and so many Hawaiian recruits?

UWDP: I don’t get the impression that it’s too likely, but I’m really not the person to ask. Hopefully Aaron or somebody else here that follows recruiting closer than I will chime in and give some information.

Landing Dawg

Where is the pass rush?

fartpowered flamethrower

Where’s the pass rush?

KPreston

Our defense is great and we are a top 10 team, but can you remember such a highly ranked team with zero pass rush? We are getting away with it because everyone else does their job great but is it sustainable?

UWDP: The Huskies only finished with a couple of sacks against BYU, but I think it was the most consistent pressure they’ve managed all season, outside of maybe the North Dakota game.

I’d love to see a huge rush, but I think 1. It’s not quite actually as bad as some people think, and 2. It’s tough to argue with the overall success of the defense in its primary purpose - preventing points scored.

The Huskies play a conservative front in terms of committing resources to the rush, and the guys they do have are put in a tough position in terms of generating pressure on their own. I don’t want to imply the coaches are intentionally trying not to rush the passer, but it’s a not a end unto itself.

It’s also important to remember that this isn’t actually a new thing - fans have complained about the rush for the last few years.

RunningFaster

How dominant was this performance rated against similar games in recent history (2016 vs Stanford or vs Oregon, any Apple Cup in the last few years)? Was BYU all that bad, or did our Huskies just manhandle them? It seemed to me that Tanner Mangum was rather accurate, and had a decent stat line In the first quarter, but just couldn’t make anything stick consistently enough. How badly will this shellacking impact BYU’s reputation/ranking and the “quality” of the win?

UWDP: BYU is probably in that muddled middle of college football - mostly solid teams that will finish somewhere around 5-7 to maybe 8-4, good enough to beat a good team here or there, but flawed enough to lose to some bad ones, or get the snot beat out of them by teams like Washington. They aren’t bad, Washington is much, much better, and it was strength (Washington’s defense) against weakness (BYU’s offense).

I’m pleased with the win, it was almost as good as you’d hope to have for a Saturday evening. But I don’t anticipate looking back at it as a quality win beyond the context of the 2018. I don’t think it’s going to carry anywhere near the weight of Stanford in 2016, or the last three Apple Cups. Frankly, the win over Oregon in 2016 - that doesn’t have any special meaning to me, either. It ended a long losing streak, it was a nice beating to put on a rival, but I don’t think it was any sort of landmark game. Oregon was terrible. It was a fifth grader beating up a first grader. A really obnoxious, arrogant first grader that absolutely deserved every bit of it, but, eh, moving on from that one.....

Husky fans obviously need to hope BYU wins lots of games the remainder of the season. But the Cougars did in fact beat Wisconsin, and Washington did in fact beat up on BYU. Those two things are part of the narrative for the 2018 season. That’s a good thing.

Philosopher of Science

I’m on the road for the next 6 hours, but have to submit a research paper proposal by midnight. Can you recommend any good sources for evaluating the impact of Richard Feynman’s lecture, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” on the scientific community from a philosophical standpoint?

UWDP: It’s probably too late at this point, but if you still have time, I find that wikipedia is a really good source for information on stuff like this. And stuff in general.

True Freshman

Are any of us not redshirting?

UWDP: Right now it appears you are all set to redshirt, and I frankly find that incredibly surprising. I can’t remember an entire class ever doing it before.

Things could change if there are some injuries, but knock on wood on that one.

425UW

Alright, how many Browning-haters will be honest and acknowledge that his struggle on the field is more a reflection of our OL than him as a QB?

UWDP: I’ve defended Browning, but he exacerbated things on at least a few occasions. Fair is fair. And the “Browning haters” are all Husky fans, same as every person on the opposite side of whatever hotly-contested internet debate is currently consuming you (and by you, I mean me).

OsidePup

What was the most recent season UCLA was undisputed champion of the PAC Conference? Last time UCLA had a Conference MVP? Last time they had a 1st round NFL draft choice? Last time they beat USC?

UWDP: I’m fairly certain you can find the answers to these and many other questions using your google machine. Make sure to report back what you find.

Wandering Dawg

UCLA looked awful on the road at CU. Is UCLA truly that bad of a team, or does Chip Kelly just have a team of players not fit for his system?

UWDP: UCLA probably doesn’t lack for talent, but that might be a far more toxic culture than Chip Kelly knew he was inheriting. I don’t remember seeing as much give-up and lack of hustle from a college team as I did from the Bruins last season, and it could very well be a case of upper classmen refusing to buy into a system that’s not going to help them win games during their college careers.

And Kelly is pretty much writing the season off - he’s playing a quarterback that really doesn’t belong on the field after forcing one that probably did out the door. It’s a move that’s about the long term, and wins this year aren’t really as important as building toward the future for Kelly. I suspect you’re going to see a mass exodus of Bruin players as soon as the season is over, and I’m a little surprised that we didn’t see more after week four (when players that hadn’t used a redshirt yet could elect to call 2018 their redshirt season and leave the team).

I expect UCLA is going to have that “one game” that teams in a massive rebuild often have during an otherwise lost season. I just hope it’s not this week against the Huskies.

Underclassmen

At what point in the season do we worry about getting enough game reps to prepare for next year?

UWDP: When the Huskies have the national championship sewn up. This is 2018, and 2019 will have to fend for itself.

The defense has gotten quite a bit of rotation, even if it’s less than the last two years. I feel pretty good about where the Huskies sit heading in to future seasons. Where a natural successor isn’t obvious at a given position, it’s due to an abundance of talent that will sort itself out more often than not.

Fan

How many 2019 NFL draftees are playing for the Huskies?

UWDP: As starters? Kaleb McGary, Myles Gaskin, and Drew Sample on offense, probably Jake Browning as well.

On defense, Greg Gaines Jojo McIntosh for sure, and I think Taylor Rapp leaves. I think Jordan Miller and Byron Murphy both stay. I don’t think Ben Burr-Kirven, Jaylen Johnson, or Tevis Bartlett get drafted, but all three will get free agent interest the second the draft ends.

Jon May

I met Rhaego on Saturday and I just don’t see why you guys pick on him.

UWDP: He’s pretty mean.

Who picks on him?

Aus*Dawg

Who’s the toughest UW QB of all time? A)Marques Tuiasosopo; B) Cody Pickett; C) Jake Browning?

UWDP: All three of those guys played through some pain for sure. I sort of doubt that’s a comprehensive list, though, and that there are other guys that belong in the discussion.

I’d bet Marques Tuisaosopo’s “hip” hurt the worst given how much he ran, but it was also the shortest-term injury. Playing with a torn pectoral (Pickett) or labrum (Browning), those are things that are going to hurt for a long time even if the pain isn’t overwhelming at any one point.

Jon May

How many years will it take for this year’s Husky defense to be labeled “Genius?”

UWDP: I don’t know, but that’s a good question.

I don’t watch much NFL football, but a few weeks ago, I sat down and watched a few minutes of a game. Both teams were running the exact same nickel scheme the Huskies run. I wish I could remember who it was now.

I don’t know where this defense came from, to be honest. I don’t know if it’s Pete Kwiatkowski’s brainchild, or if he stole if from someone else (and even if it’s the former, it’s also the latter).

Wait a couple of years, and the base is going to be a dime. Safeties like Taylor Rapp are going to be the most important recruits out there.

CO Dawg Fan...MAGA

is our beloved Gaskins being supplanted by Ahmed

RB Coach Ragu Dadsmith

Now that we’ve determined that Jake Browning is the best QB since sliced bread, is there ANY value in discussing this: 97 carries at 4.5 yards per carry.... VS.... 34 carries at 7.1 yards per carry. Give me some Brad insight. Why is this significant and why is this not significant?

UWDP: The coaches have always been careful to not overwork any single running back, so having more than one quality ball carrier is a necessity. Salvon Ahmed is showing that he has what it takes to be an every down back. Supplanting Myles Gaskin, though? Nah, not at all.

Gaskin’s career average is pretty close to 6 yards per carry. Either you’re overreacting to small sample sizes, given how many more carries Gaskin had against Utah and Auburn, or Gaskin has forgotten how to run the ball this year. As a senior.

HRSportsfan

What are your thoughts on the struggles in special teams this season?

UWDP: Same as they always are - stop punting so much, and stop kicking so many field goals. Go for it on fourth down way, way, WAY more often.

Catch punts.

Ragu with suateed mushrooms and polenta

So, McGrew was the first RB off the bench to spell Gaskin. I have two thoughts and am curious where you stand on this. 1) What do you think is going on during the week that leads to McGrew getting on the field before Ahmed? 2) what is Gaskin’s carries per game rate so far this season compared to the last few? It seems that he is not getting quite the workload as seasons past. Do you think that Coach Pete and company feel they owe it to Gaskin not to over work him this year since he made the decision to come back for one more season in lieu of declaring for last year’s draft?

UWDP: There could be a lot of factors - maybe Sean McGrew runs a certain play better than any of the other backups. Maybe Ahmed got banged up on a special teams play and was getting taped or something like that. Maybe it’s a reward for putting in extra work before or after practice. I really don’t know, but I bet the backups are more concerned with “who’s getting the most carries” than with “who’s getting the first one.”

As for Gaskin’s work load, his carries this season are actually a career-high through five games, by a decent margin. In 2015, he had 61, but hardly played in the first game against Boise State, and was the backup behind Dwayne Washington much of the season. In 2016, he had 82. Last year, only 67 carries. And only 24 in the first three games. This year, he has 97 already. It’s mostly due to the schedule. But the coaches have always been pretty conservative with him early in the season, saving him for the second half. His total carries for a year are almost like clockwork, too - right around 17 per game on average. He’s a bit ahead of that pace right now.

Prego >>>>>>> ragoooooo

This one is actually from a different game and it has to do with the targeting rule. In the Cal-OU game there was a play were a duck defender sacked the Cal QB and his first contact point was the crown of his helmet right between the numbers on the QBs back. There was no flag and the commentators never mentioned targeting or potential for a penalty on the play. Does targeting have to be from the front or is helmet to helmet contact necessary? I was under the impression that leading with the crown of the helmet was targeting.

UWDP: By the letter of the rule, you’re correct. It isn’t just supposed to be helmet-to-helmet contact. I don’t remember the play you’re specifically talking about, so I can’t say either way.

The other one I’m waiting to see is a running back called for targeting for running straight into a pile bent at the waist with his helmet out like a battering ram. By the rule, that’s targeting. And the idea behind the rule isn’t just to make the game safer for the tackle-ee, but also to protect players from injuring themselves.

Watch this run by a WSU Cuog:

Right at the goal line, the back lowers his head and uses it to attack. Since he bends low, a defender has to go low to tackle him. It increases the odds of helmet-to-helmet contact, and it isn’t really a defender’s fault. Regardless, that posture - that’s really dangerous. To himself, and anyone in the area. And by the rule, it’s targeting, by the rule:

No player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent (See Note 2 below) with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder. This foul requires that there be at least one indicator of targeting (See Note 1 below). When in question, it is a foul (Rules 2-27-14 and 9-6). (A.R. 9-1-4-I-VI)

Note 1: “Targeting” means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball. Some indicators of targeting include but are not limited to:

Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make forcible contact in the head or neck area

A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground

Leading with helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area

Lowering the head before attacking by initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet

The intent of the rule is okay, but the implementations is really tough to handle some times.

Gu1966

Jimmy Lake said he wasn’t concerned about the defense giving up first downs on third and long but I am-are you? It seems to be a combination of defensive calls and lack of execution going back to the Auburn game and that third and nine with a three man rush and linebackers standing at the line of scrimmage that didn’t pick up the tight end. Then against BYU, a blitz ended up with a big gain. Are there metrics that tell us what calls are more effective in third and long situations? My gut tells me pressure (four man rush not blitz) is essential but Lake makes the calls, do you think he’s right that it’s not a big deal?

UWDP: I didn’t hear him say it or read a quote, but my guess is that he means he’s not overly concerned about it. I’m not trying to parse words (especially since I didn’t hear them, but I don’t think he believes it’s a good thing, or even okay, just that it’s not as bad as fans might think it is, in the bigger picture.

I’m not aware of any metric that tells us anything about what type of call is best in any situation, offense or defense. I don’t know how you’d actually quantify it accurately given the number of variables even in what constitutes success vs failure.

I don’t love watching it happen, but I think you really need to always remember just how risk-averse the coaches are. First and foremost, they aren’t going to give up a big play. That means that scoring on the Huskies is going to require 10+ play drives, and most offenses are going to make enough mistakes all on their own that they aren’t going to be able to put those together more than a couple of times a game. Especially when you take into account how much harder it gets to move the ball the closer things get to the goal line. Quality offenses might be able to make their way to the Huskies’ 20, or 15-yard line, but from there it gets exceptionally difficult to find the end zone.

I’d love to see 3rd and 6 turn into 3rd and 16, with hapless quarterbacks succumbing to an onslaught of rushers, but I’ve grown used to this rather boring, but somehow far more stifling than could ever be believed, defense that Lake and Kwiatkowski are putting together. If the 1991 defense was destruction by an earthquake, the 2018 defense is death by a fit of sneezes. The end is still the end.

deltron

Seems like Huskies are running a lot more under center single back than in previous years. Any idea why and advantages to it? I miss the 2 back split zone they ran with Coleman and Gaskin in previous years.

UWDP: Huh. I’d say there’s been a lot less of Browning running under center this year than last year for sure, and probably 2016 as well. We started seeing more of it against ASU, but not a lot against BYU.

You’re correct that there haven’t been too many plays with two backs. I can really only think of a few goal line plays out of the I, with Justiss Warren at fullback, and I think one with Kamari Pleasant. They did do it some last year with Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman, but I wouldn’t really call it a staple of the offense - maybe four or five plays a game, as I recollect.

King Husky

BYU got beat like a drum. This is not a question nor should it be questioned by anyone who saw the game.

Go Dawgs

UWDP: Yes, I fully agree.

Go Dawgs.

D.C.

Early in the game against BYU, I was watching Aaron Fuller drop back for punts and I started thinking about whether it was worth the risk of having him back there. He’s doing so much for the offense right now -- should someone else be groomed for the punt returner role? Then McClatcher gave it a try and...thud. Any other candidates to give Fuller a break?

(I know, I know, Dante was important to the offense too, but he was also the *greatest punt returner in the history of college football* so yeah, you let him return kicks).

UWDP: Yeah, and Fuller muffed one earlier in the game, too.

It doesn’t matter how great you are with the ball, you still have to field it every single time first. I think some good candidates probably select themselves out of the position by failing at that first part.

In all honesty, I’m a lot more concerned about Myles Gaskin returning kicks than I am about Fuller returning punts. But I don’t really like either one.

DPT dawg

If gaines were to go down with an injury...who most likely takes over at the nt spot?

UWDP: With the news that Shane Bowman is out for a few weeks with an injury, the depth on the defensive line is far less than ideal.

My guess is that we’d see Jaylen Johnson move back inside on a full-time basis, and maybe see the redshirt come off one of the freshman. It’s a far less than ideal situation, for sure.

oregon dawg

Having a chance to beat UCLA and Chip in the same game seems like Christmas come early. Does a rout of UCLA help UW recruit the LA area? With USC down too, could we see a top 10 husky recruiting class.

Also: Last time they coached against each other was 2009, which is famous for the Blunt punch (Boise State win). If you could throw a haymaker punch, who would it be (ragu not an option)?

UWDP: UCLA being down certainly doesn’t hurt recruiting, but I think Chip Kelly is going to get some grace because of his past success, and the fact that he’s right at the beginning of making big changes there (at least in theory). I’d say the bigger issue is what happens with Clay Helton at USC - if he gets fired, it could really impact recruiting in that are (not just for UW).

It’s a little known fact that Ragu is an expert street fighter. No way I’m taking a shot at him. You’d be wise to avoid it as well.

tking

When is the Pac 12 going to fix its scheduling issues. In the SEC they do not schedule byes before conference games. In the Pac 12 a team may have to play conference opponents who have byes before the game and they may have home field advantage too. Crazy! I’m thinking of last years Arizona State game. It makes it difficult to go undefeated with these unbalanced schedules.

UWDP: Well, first thing is that I bet all schools complain about their schedules.

You’re saying that nobody in the SEC has a to play a conference game against somebody coming off a bye? I don’t think that’s correct. I think it’s going on the road consecutive weeks, with the second against a team coming off a bye that’s the issue here. Like Washington does the next two weeks - at UCLA, and then at Oregon, who will be coming off a bye.

I don’t get the impression the Pac 12 cares about protecting its teams. Maybe it’s ignorance. It partly feels like the NFL model - the team that wins the Super Bowl has the most difficult schedule the next season (at least in theory). Like maybe the conference really wants to promote parity amongst its members. I actually think the latter is true, but I think in this case, it’s simple ignorance by the people that create the schedules. Occam’s Razor....

Darin Johnson

Before the BYU game, I commented to you that Kaleb McGary looked pretty good against ASU, at least in the part of the game I focused on him. He then proceeded to acquire between two and... between about three and eight holding penalties. What was that about?

UWDP: Hard to say those flags weren’t deserved, too.

NorDawg

Can somebody please start a petition to have better pre-game music? I swear the selections are the equivalent of those used at Guantanamo Bay to torture the prisoners.

UWDP: I don’t like the music either. But complaining here isn’t going to change anything. Have you sent any (polite) emails asking about it?

Jake The Great Browning

What was BYU doing defensively that allowed Jake to be so effective? Did they have basic coverages? Did they not blitz a lot? Or was our offense just that much better?

It seems were our offense, and Jake, has struggled is against teams that play man to man and disguise their defense/blitzes very well, but I could be wrong.

UWDP: BYU didn’t blitz all that often, and they didn’t have a particularly able front four. They were fairly content to play a fairly soft zone coverage.

Washington was much better, yes.

I think it’s far less about Jake Browning’s struggles than it is the entire offense’s. And I’d say it’s against “really good defenses like Auburn’s and Utah’s,” not against just any blitz or man coverage. The Utes and the Tigers have two of the best defenses in the country. Washington’s offense struggled against the rush in those games. They handled the blitzes ASU and BYU threw at them fairly well, though.

P1n SL1ppy

Are you at all surprised by the, nearly total, lack of national coverage of what was (maybe) the most dominating win by a ranked team over another ranked team so far this season? I know there have been more surprising outcomes (JMU over VT, KU over any team with a pulse), but we held BYU to 1.2 yds per attempt, while against a ranked Wisconsin team they averaged 6.8 YPA. They were held scoreless until 0:40 left in the game. If that doesn’t deserve some press, what does? A related question: What does Jake Browning have to do to get some positive national press? Did ANY quarterback last week have a performance even close to Jake’s? Sure, the duel between Trace McSorely and Dwayne Haskins was more exciting than watching Jake dissect an over matched foe, but still, 92% completions with a QBR of 95.4 doesn’t happen that often for QB’s playing Power 5 teams - especially ranked Power 5 teams, does it??

UWDP: Do you believe that BYU is actually a top 25 team? I don’t. I think it was a case of having to rank them after they beat Wisconsin, in part to justify Wisconsin’s rank (protecting the integrity of the polls, if you will).

I didn’t expect to see national coverage of this game. On the surface, 35-7 doesn’t sound impressive. Even with the high completion percentage, Browning didn’t break 300 yards, and he only had one TD. No back ran for 100 yards.

It was domination, yes. It didn’t have highlights, though.

Golden Dawg

OK, here’s one for ya. It’s week 6, rankings are starting to solidify a little bit. We know who is legit, and who isn’t. BIG hypothetical question here. Let’s say that Bama, Clemson, and Ohio State all run the table and win their conference. Notre Dame also wins out, as does UW, making us a 1-loss PAC-12 champion. Who makes it between Notre Dame and UW?

UWDP: An undefeated Notre Dame team is absolutely, positively getting in over a one-loss Washington team. Every. Single. Time.

UWdadVanc

Is there a way to know what the actual attendance is at a Husky home game? The last two home games were, I believe, considered sell-outs, but I saw blocks of empty seats at both games.

UWDP: I’m sure the UW has a fairly accurate number, but no school is going to want that information to get out (actual attendance vs. tickets sold). There’s zero benefit to it, short of having 100% attendance, which no game will ever have.

I doubt it.

bdubzz

Early in the season, there was a lot of concern around Bush’s play calling. Are we past that now? If so, how much of that should we attribute to:

1. “Rookie” play calling.

2. Not having the entire playbook installed.

3. Early season rough edges (e.g., questionable O-Line play) making good plays look bad.

4. Overreactive fans looking for scapegoats for close games (and the Auburn loss).

Offensive playcalling

What are your thoughts on Hamdan’s playcalling so far? There was a lot of hand wringing when Smith was here, but do you believe Hamdan to be a clear upgrade or does it not matter much as it will always largely be a Petersen led offense?

UWDP: My opinion on this hasn’t changed - we don’t really know if the play calling is good or bad. We don’t know the play call. All we really know are results. Until someone has the ability to separate execution from the call, it’s a pretty pointless exercise.

This isn’t necessarily an original thought on my part - two of the most knowledgable football fans in the Seattle area (Mike Holmgren and Hugh Millen) have each said the exact same thing on multiple occasions.

It’s Petersen’s offense. I thought Jonathan Smith was fine. I think Bush Hamdan is fine.

Mikesbike

How is the practice squad prepared each week? Is there one coach who leads or coordinates the plan? Do each of the position coaches install the defensive and offensive plan that mimics the opposition for their position group? It seems like a daunting task given how hard it is to just learn your own playbook and then execute it, let alone learning a new one for the opposition each week and then executing it with some level of competence.

UWDP: I don’t know the specifics of how its done at Washington, although it’d be interesting to find out.

You’re right, it’s definitely a daunting task, and it makes you realize how important depth is to your team. Someone like Alabama has a crew of really, really talented players running their scout team, and it’s more apt to give their primary offensive and defensive players better looks than a team that has less talent to field the scout teams.

Depth in practice is actually more critical than depth in games.

Thomas C

I love the 2 tight end set this season. Does it seem like Peterson is running with this more than previous seasons?

UWDP: I’d say two tight ends is the base look Petersen et al. want to run going back to 2015. Tight end depth has improved, making it easier to do, but it’s been a feature now for years. In 2017, the base was actually three tight ends, with the lack of depth at receiver due to all the injuries. Even after Hunter Bryant went down with his injury, it was still three tight ends.

Sealing the edge

What are your thoughts on Potoae’s ability to seal the edge? I remember this being a concern in the past, but don’t recall seeing BYU have much success getting to the outside.

UWDP: I think Benning Potoa’e has improved each year, and that he’s doing better. BYU mostly tried to get to the edge with speed, which they don’t actually have. Teams that run linemen at Potoa’e have had success getting around him at times. There’s still room to improve, but the trajectory is on the up for sure.

Wellington

It was good to see Wellington back out on the field. How did he look? Our LB depth is thin and we could use his athleticism.

UWDP: I didn’t get nearly a good enough read on how he played to say how well he actually did. I’m sure he was very rusty, but I totally agree, it’s great to see him out there. Huge position of need at this point.

Stanford legit?

What are your thoughts on Stanford after their thrashing at the hands of Notre Dame?

UWDP: The biggest surprise to me is how ineffective Stanford’s rushing attack has been. Stanford’s offense was supposed to carry the team this year, but outside of the big-play ability of JJ Arcega-Whiteside, the offense is surprisingly mediocre. The defense was supposed to be down, but is largely holding the team together right now.

I still think Stanford is a good team, but also thought they were overrated prior to their loss to Notre Dame. They’ll be fine, and it’s still going to be a huge game when they come to town.

Bartlett

Why was Bartlett moved inside? Was it due to a lack of depth at the Inisde Linebacker position? It seemed as though he was one of the few guys who could generate pressure on the QB last year when he played on the outside.

UWDP: Yes, I think the concerns about depth inside were the biggest reasons he was moved there. But I think the whole issue with the pass rush is mostly due to the interior line. The last three years, they’ve had at least two active, athletic, disruptive 300+ pound forces in the middle that each commanded a double team just about every play. That changed who the defense could use on the outside (they could sacrifice size for speed more readily), and how they were used. This year, they need the size outside because they don’t have it in the middle.

All for this week, Dawg fans.