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Stuff and Shenanigans: You See El, Eh?

Is UCLA Canadian in that title? I mean, their kicker’s from Montreal, so... sure?

NCAA Football: Washington at UCLA
Give that Husky a camera and a Pulitzer Prize gall darn it.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

*Singing to the tune of Beastie Boys* You gotta fight. For your right. To not have to write intros because they suck.

What is there to introduce? You all saw the game. There were some highlights. There were lots of lowlights. Confusing ones where you’re all like “WTF m8 how did we get so bad?”

Let’s check all of the above out.

A 46% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything

Ugh, now that was a disgusting football game. If you, like me, are trying to get the taste of it out of your mouth, may I suggest the following:

  • Mini spring rolls from Jai Thai on Capitol Hill
  • Devil’s Dill #2 sandwich (for those stuck in Oregon)
  • Dave Niehaus’ call of The Double
  • Chicken n’ dumplings
  • Chicken n’ dumplings n’ beer
  • Chicken n’ dumplings n’ beer n’ mini spring rolls
  • The Point
  • Little Big Burger with bacon and blue cheese (also for those in Oregon) EDIT UPDATE: AS OF TODAY OCTOBER 9TH THERE’S LBB IN SEATTLE GOD IS REAL.
  • Rubber cement

Now that you’ve finally got that bad taste out of your mouth, we’re gonna get it back in there (phrasing) because I’m gonna start off with the defense:

To begin, I should include the caveat that before any of us, myself included, think about freaking out, we should remember that we have a large enough sample size of this defense playing well to trust them, going forward, to more often than not play good (and do other stuff good too). So, before we begin being justifiably critical, just keep that in mind — and protip: it’ll make your Huskies fan experience far less exhausting if you can temper reactions to the good and bad, proportionally. In fact, I find that’s pretty applicable to all things in life. Holy butt, is that not the deepest thing you done ever heard?

Anyways, now that we’ve gone over how much less emotionally exhausting life is when you react proportionally, let’s throw that out the window because Washington’s definitely never gonna stop another team’s drive ever again forever. Kidding.

But seriously, that defensive performance was, and there is no other way to say this, as beautiful as a giant turd made out of a bunch of little turds made out of a poor diet.

In my notes, I interrupted writing down “wtf is with UCLA of all people having explosive plays and wh—” with “is that a cover 3 soft zone what the hell is this bullshit?” Going back over them, I assume that was supposed to be read in a shrill indignant voice a la Mrs. Molly Weasley. Who knows, though — past me is confusing.

In a similar vein, that 39 yard rush by Josh Kelley — was that the most explosive running play the Dawgs have given up this year? (If anyone knows, post in the comments.) On that play, both Ben Burr-Kirven and Tevis Bartlett made reads so poorly, they automatically were re-enrolled in English 102, ran straight into the wrong gaps, and did their opposing guards’ jobs for them. Not to blame anyone for that run, or anything.

Between that, the passing touchdowns, and just, in general, everything on the defense, that was what I can only hope will be the worst performance of the year. Guys were frequently out of position, made bad decisions, took bad angles, tackled like butt, were flat-footed... Ya know, like a Sark-coached defense.

On the (probable) plus side: There’s little evidence for us to believe this game was anything more than a really, really bad off-day.

Which brings us to special teams. Ooh, looks like I only have one note written down there:

  • Hi ring ring Aaron Fuller? this is Dante Pettis hi hello yeah run forward on punt returns you dingus okay bye

Whiiiiiiiiich brings us to the offense:

Which, actually, brings us to yet another caveat:

Which is that — generally — I think blaming play-calling is, more often than not, lazy, stupid, and untrue or, at best, only covers a blip of the truth.

That being said:

  • Hi ring ring Bush Hamdan? this is UCLA’s run defense yes thank you for not running it more xoxo luv ya bb

Whatever. I’m over it.

Also, Jake Browning’s unplanned first down run on 3rd and 15 is the play to troll all other actual normal-ass plays. Even as someone who’s been yelling for years from the rooftops about #JakeBrowning’sUnderappreciatedRunningAbility4Prez2020, that’s just stupid. I love it. I love it so much. Because this sport is stupid and that’s what makes it so bomb that Dresden better look out.

Also also, I’ve finally put my finger on exactly why, despite his alright mobility, Jake looks like mashed potatoes when he runs. It’s not even a big revelation; I’d just never consciously put it into words — but for his sneakily not-terrible running, he has an inability to change directions without looking like a Malamute on a frozen pond. It’s hilarious. Except when you need him to get that extra yard, and then it’s maddening.

Also, I don’t know what prompted this note, but I do have written down “Ugh, I love Salvon and Myles and how effin’ ass-kick-y they are.” Don’t know what that was in reference to, but, uh, that’s a thing.

Lastly, on the offense, a note about arm strength.

I’ve noticed people like to talk about arm strength primarily in regards to two things: Deep throws on go routes, and whether or not a quarterback can be rolling out and, without setting his feet or slowing down, flick the wrist and have a bullet pass 30 yards down the field. Sure, that’s where things become blatant, but where it makes the biggest difference is on throws like Browning’s interception across the middle in the first quarter.

Where it really matters is on mid-range routes like Fuller’s there, typically crossing, for a quarterback that has the strength to put enough velocity on the ball so that the parabola of the pass is as shallow as possible, subsequently putting more points on that pass’s trajectory in a catchable range for the receiver. If we had a Big Fat Debate™ on the merits and faults of Jake Browning, this would be my submission for the latter. It’s one half of the same reasoning why a softball or baseball batter swings through the ball (the other half being that, upon contact, if you pull sideways, it’s gonna be a powerless hit, but I digress). As it is, Browning’s average-ish arm strength requires his mid-range passes to be a steeper parabola, resulting in a far smaller percentage of that pass’s trajectory that inhabits a catchable range — let’s say, within Aaron Fuller’s radius, somewhere around 6’5” to one foot off the ground, reasonably.

Often, Browning’s accurate enough where that’s minimally important, but with his arm strength being mediocre, he only has to be a teensy bit off and you get a situation like Saturday’s — he misjudges or misplaces what, for his ability, is a very small window, the arc is still coming down out of Fuller’s range, and there’s a high safety right behind him to pick it off. While there’s plenty of things Browning does better than most college quarterbacks, this isn’t one of them, and there’s very little he can do to change that.

Overall, Saturday reminded me of the Oregon State game last year: Everyone watching is confused and worried why our team looked sluggish and garbage-y, but in the end it never felt like either opponents were a true threat.

Lastly: Give UCLA credit. They’re in a massive rebuild but they played their butts off. A lesser team would have given up at halftime. Good game, Bruins, you’ll be alright soon enough.


Because Saturday, something very special happened. I was at le beer bar, watching le Dawgs. And Dubs II was there. I REPEAT. I’m happy to report he’s the bestest boi in the whole land, and very fluffy, and howled every time the Huskies scored a touchdown.

Okay that’s all.

Lines of the Week

Washington fans, upon realizing that their defense was just all sorts of off against an objectively terrible team:

That’s enough of UCLA. Because now is time for *barfs* the water fowl.

I’m not one of those white girls who misuses the word “literally” all the time... So... figuratively Oregon and their uniforms:

Do good things, don’t do bad things, beat Oregon, and bow down to Washington.