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Mailbag: “Bye” Edition

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Florida Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum Campaigns in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Bye week questiony goodness.

Otis

How come, for the last 3 weeks, my questions go unanswered? Are they that bad? Easy, I have a delicate self esteem. Sure wish we could win a game going away. My heart is taking a hit this year. I’ll take the win though.

UWDP: Sorry, Otis. It wasn’t intentional. I went back and looked, and I remember the question(s). I thought I even answered them. I guess I didn’t.

You asked about the running back rotations, why different guys were getting the start and the bulk of the carries while Gaskin was injured, and Ahmed was a little dinged up. The coaches have said that they like to use certain guys in certain packages or plays; for example, we’ve seen Sean McGrew run the wildcat a few times, but neither Kamari Pleasant nor Salvon Ahmed have. It seems like that’s something that they like with McGrew (although there’s pretty small sample size to work with). Ahmed is used a lot on the stretch (wide zone run) plays, and even though McGrew has really good speed, you don’t see him doing that as much. Same with Pleasant. As to who gets the start, it could be because they have some things in their first 15 scripted plays that they want to run with a specific back. It could be a reward for the week of practice.

My biggest takeaways on the non-Myles Gaskin running backs are these: Ahmed is a really good running back. He’s far more than just a speed guy. I think he’s capable of being an every down runner next year, and he’ll hopefully have a lot of tread left on the tires. And I love watching his scooting, sliding, bent-waisted style. Sean McGrew doesn’t have a weakness as a back other than size. There’s not much he can do about that past a certain point, but he’s a legitimate Pac 12 back that needs to see the ball each game. Pleasant isn’t quite big enough to be the “power” back the Huskies need, but he runs very hard. And just when we (meaning me) dismiss him for not having enough speed or shakes to be a smaller back, he shows off speed and shakes to pick up good yards.

Really?! $700

It’s sad that our offensive coordinator Hamdan is making $700K a year. I think that’s really stupid! We could have gotten a far better coach. I really didn’t agree on the hire and didn’t like us giving him a chance, especially $700K, that’s just even more dumb. He had no experience calling plays. I think he needs to be let go at the end of the season. What are your thoughts? We could get a veteran OC coach for that much. Heck we could get a good head coach from the lower division school

UWDP: This is a conversation that seems to come up pretty frequently. While everything you say is probably true, you have to take into account what Chris Petersen says and does with this position (offensive coordinator). He’s said on multiple occasions that the teaching and mentoring aspects are two of his favorite things about coaching. Add that to the fact that Chris Petersen has a background as an offensive coach, one with a successful offense that he wants to run as a head coach, and the coordinator job has pretty much always gone to a young, inexperienced, up-and-coming, teachable, moldable, hire. Bryan Harsin, Robert Prince, Jonathan Smith, now Bush Hamdan. The only guy with any notable experience as a coordinator that Petersen has ever employed was Brent Pease.

The odds of Hamdan getting fired after this season are exceptionally low. Even if he is, history says that the next hire is going to looks just like him, anyway.

A veteran coach is either going to: 1. Want to come and run Chris Petersen’s offense, or 2. Have an offense that Chris Petersen thinks is either better than his own, or can be assimilated readily into his own.

I think there are issues with the offensive coaches right now (including Petersen) but I don’t think the sequencing of plays on Saturdays is all that big a part of it.

$700,000 is actually on the low end of the scale for coordinators.

Sharp-eyed Viewer

In recent years while watching games on TV, I’ve noticed that quarterbacks stand on the sidelines with their hands tucked inside their collar, so their arms don’t hang down at their sides but instead stay bent at the elbow. I don’t see other players doing this, just the QBs. Is there a reason for this? It looks kinda badass, but is there more to it?

UWDP: You are certainly a sharp-eyed viewer to catch this.

You’re right in that it’s an offensive player thing, but I think it goes beyond QBs - those just happen to be the ones shown on the sidelines the most, and the ones that really have no involvement in the game (outside of the starter). Backup receivers an running backs are more likely to be involved with the game while on the sidelines, and shown far, far less frequently. No offensive linemen is going to stand around like that.

Defensively, hands-on-the-hips is definitely a linebacker thing. In-shape defensive ends, too. Maybe because it allows some ability to flex while just standing there. Safeties and corners tend to bounce around anxiously.

Proper stance while doing nothing is covered in the fundamentals. Spring practice, the first part of fall, etc.

OldDawg72

Why not have the “bye week” apply halfway thru the Pac12 season for ALL teams at the same time? Eliminates what can be a huge advantage based on the roll of the dice in the current system.

UWDP: People have all sorts of ideas how to make the byes work equitably for all teams, but usually fail to take into account the greatest driving force behind scheduling, which is TV. ESPN is dictating who plays on Thursdays and Fridays, not the Pac 12. Probably more important than when a bye falls on a schedule is making sure a team doesn’t have to play a Thursday game on a short week. Luckily, the Pac 12 hasn’t been stuck with those games this year; that’s not usually the case. But let’s say that, hypothetically, Washington is selected to play At Stanford next season on a Thursday in week four. Are you going to be happy if they have to play anyone the prior Saturday?

There are better means to run scheduling than the current way the Pac 12 does it, which is monkeys locked in a room throwing darts. The best suggestion I’ve heard is Jon Wilner’s autonomous “Competition Committee” that handles all aspects of football, with zero input from Larry Scott, university presidents, or any outside sources.

20/20

I am undoubtedly a biased fan, but am I the only one who thought the referees were particularly visually impaired in yesterday’s game? The holds were incredibly blatant; the Stanford O-line wasn’t just blocking...they were tackling the Husky D-linemen/OLBs...

UWDP: While I agree there were some blatant calls that weren’t made, I’m sure if we polled the six Stanford football fans out there, they’d say the same thing, but the other way around.

King Husky

How many fans will still be in Martin Stadium at the start of the Apple Cups 4th quarter? Not much right?

UWDP: Cougar fans will tell you all about their loyalty and school pride by pointing out how they always say “Go Cougs” to people in WSU gear they see on the street, and how they got the Space Needle painted crimson a few years ago, and we’ll be able to see it in action at the Apple Cup with all of the WSU license plates on the cars rolling out of the pastures around Martin and heading for home during the second half.

Rawse206

Another close game that should have never been close. When will the offense actually try something NEW?? and im.curios to hear of what u think could help improve this offense so they actually perform during the length of a whole game. This happens far too often and it really shouldn’t. That never should have been a close game after halftime.

UWDP: There’s no intrinsic value in “new.” That isn’t the answer by itself; what you (and me, and everyone else) want is for the team to play better on offense, more consistently.

There’s nothing that’s a foundational part of the offense that this team can’t do. They can run gap and power schemes on offense, they’ve had success at one point or another with just about all aspects of their passing tree. What they can’t do is do it consistently, especially when they regularly deal with long fields (an insane percentage of their possessions begin inside their own 25), and can’t generate explosive plays. The offense doesn’t go three-and-out all that often, but they just can’t string together the six first downs they need to move the ball all the way down the field. Eventually, two out of three plays fail and they have to punt.

I think the dye is pretty well cast for the season, and there isn’t likely any real magic in play calling. I also tend to think that the offense is actually closer to being “good” than most people do. Most plays that fail for this team come down to one or two guys not doing their jobs. It’s not a failure of scheme or structure.

Rawse206

What was your opinion on Taylor Jr besides his poor tackling at the goal line vs Love and mental mistakes in the pass game

UWDP: By the time Bryce Love got to the goal line, a handful of other players had engaged in some not-so-great tackling, so I won’t say that run was Keith Taylor’s fault.

Which mental mistakes are you talking about? The pass interference call?

I think he’s played very, very well. His pass break-up on a third down with JJ Arcega-Whiteside was beautiful. He’s one of the guys that keeps the secondary playing at a high level next year, no matter who else leaves.

RockDawg

Brad,

Know that you have repeated stated that you think Tedford had a minimal impact on the 16 offense, but was wondering if you know what role he played on game days? Is a offensive consultant (wasn’t that his position) allowed in the press box with Smith but not allowed contact with players during the game?

UWDP: He’s not supposed to have “coaching” contact with the players, but he was in the coaches’ box with a head set on, so it sure seems like it would’ve been difficult to police how much contact he actually had. He was also part of the communication between the offensive coaches, so it certainly seems that he’d be able to offer insights into the opponents’ defenses or play suggestions to Smith, Petersen, etc. at any time.

Dawglegleft

Is there a tracker on how many games each true freshman has played? I’m certain the coaches are all over this but would be good to see as we are in the final stretch.

UWDP: A number of the true freshmen have played, but I don’t think anyone has gone higher than two games so far. Off the top of my head, Kyler Gordon, Julius Irvin and Tuli Letuligasenoa are at two appearances. Dominique Hampton, Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Jackson Sirmon, and Sam Taimani are at one. Corrections and additions necessary to this list....

Does our defense go conservative?

In the 2nd half of the ASU, UCLA and Stanford game it seems that we went conservative? Why is that? The ASU and UCLA I never thought will lose but it seems we go into cruise control or that we play the second half not to lose? The excuse for the Stanford game could be our depth in 2nd half but play calls didn’t seem like we’re on the pedal; what’s up with that?

UWDP: The Husky defense’s top priority in every half on every snap is prevent giving up a big play, even if that necessarily means giving up lots of small plays. I suppose that you can call that playing not to lose, but I don’t think it’s necessarily different from one half to the next outside of maybe one or two play calls. There’s another team on the field every game, sometimes they make plays and get momentum. That’s the nature of football. I think that’s the most likely explanation for the UCLA and Stanford games. I don’t really feel like the ASU game was in the same realm.

Rawse206

How would u grade Nick Harris so far this season overall... same with DL Levi O ???

UWDP: Nick Harris had some rough moments at the beginning of the year, particularly against Utah, but he’s generally a fairly intelligent player. He’s never going to be physically dominant. He’s been a solid player on a fairly average line. Like everyone else that’s going to be back in 2019, they need to play better.

Levi Onwuzurike started slow, but has really had some great flashes the last few weeks. He has the potential to be a great one-gapping pass rusher, but is going to be asked to be a two-gap player much of the time. I expect him to continue to get better the rest of the season and into next year. The experiment with Jaylen Johnson at outside linebacker seems to have ended the last few weeks, and putting him in the defensive tackle rotation benefits everyone.

Randy from DC

How do you explain the difference in the performance of the Huskies between the first and second half? Either Stanford made better adjustments than the Huskies to counter what U-Dub was doing OR U-Dub stopped doing the things in the first half that made them successful. This includes both the O suddenly struggling to finish drives with touchdowns and the D suddenly being unable to contain Costello after shutting him out in the first half.

UWdadVanc

Petersen likes to down-play halftime adjustments, but the results on both sides of the ball were significantly different between the first and second halves. What were some of the major reasons for those different results?

UWDP: The momentum actually swung in the second quarter, but it didn’t really show on the scoreboard until the second half. Stanford still made a mistake or two, and/or the Huskies made a play (like the Greg Gaines interception). And I fully agree with him - this notion of halftime brilliance is entirely overblown.

If you look at Washington’s offense in the second half, the biggest thing they stopped doing was executing successfully. In the first half, the offense didn’t do anything unique schematically, they just played at a high level.

Rawse206

Great to see Hunter Bryant back out there!! Do u expect him to be brought along slowly or do u think they will fully unleash him next week? We need the help, we need guys who can get open on the intermediate routes due to Brownings lack of arm strength.

1Highlight

At the most there are four remaining games. Will Bryant play, given he will not burn his redshirt year? Are we that desperate for additional offense?

UWDP: If the coaches are still thinking of redshirting him, then he probably shouldn’t play at all against Oregon State. If that’s not a consideration any more, then the bye week plus another week healthier probably means a lot more action for him the next time he plays.

We don’t even really know what his injury was, do we? Hard to say how soon he should be back to 100%. Probably not his second time out.

Hunter Bryant is a playmaker, period. He makes the whole passing game better.

Stewak

Can you go through the South scenarios for me? I’m not sure if anyone will win that division.

UWDP: I think that ASU is the only team that controls its own destiny. But there’s also a possible scenario with every team winning (including a six-way tie at 5-4). It makes my head hurt.

Rollercoaster

After last week’s heated column and ensuing dicsussion, I am curious how that tale of two halves game may have changed your views on the osu and wsu games coming up. The first half Huskies easily win them both, but the second half Huskies lose one and very probably both of the remaining games.

UWDP: Nothing has really changed for me personally. Washington has played pretty much the same style of football this entire season, and had almost all of the same issues. Seven times it’s resulted in a win, and three times a loss. The Huskies’ worst game this season could lose to Oregon State, but the worst game would likely be even less than the Cal loss (because Cal actually has a very good defense, and Oregon State does not). I absolutely don’t think the second half of the Stanford game “very probably” loses to Oregon State, because Stanford’s defense, again, is much better than Oregon State’s. I also don’t think you can just look at a half in isolation.

Rawse206

A look into next season. I feel like Hamdan will be able to utilize his playbook and what he learned in the NFL more with an arm like Eason compared to what he has now. I’ve seen open targets but Browning knows his limits and wont test things much, how do u feel about a guy like Eason in this new system we are seeing? No need to get defensive about Browning, this is not a knock on him its more about what could happen with a QB who happens to have a stronger arm. As we know a stronger arm doesnt = success all the time. It’s why I’m curious to hear your take on it.

UWDP: I think it has far less to do with arm strength than it does what Jacob Eason can do with his head. He has the physical ability to make every single throw that would ever need to be made on a football field. He needs to be able to make them at the right time, and without turning the ball over. Eason has a higher upside than Browning due to his physical abilities. That doesn’t translate into very much without the more important part of the package. The playbook isn’t limited due to Jake Browning’s arm. Not at all.

I thought we were a 2nd half team?

What happen to our amazing 2nd half adjustments. All year it seems like we’re not as good at making changes in the 2nd half as previous years. In the past most teams didn’t score on us and now it seems we’re getting out coach. Is it the coordinator or opposing teams are getting better at adjusting?

UWDP: Can yo describe the changes that were made in the 2nd halves of previous seasons? A paragraph each for offense and defense will suffice

Future 2018 Pac12 Champions

Which team from the south could give us the most trouble in the Pac12 Championship Game?

UWDP: It’s fairly equal at this point, and no matter what, the final score is going to be 24-21 either way.

Is there hope?

What’s wrong with our pass rush? Ever since we’ve had Petersen’s recruits we really haven’t had a pass rusher. I think that our upper class-man this season are good but not great. Thus could be due to recruiting struggles Petersen’s first 2 seasons. Stanford QB had too much tim against the Husky secondary. I think he threw for nearly 350 yards. That’s too much for suppose to be an ‘elite’ secondary. Getting little or no pass rush is killing us. Is there hope on this roster next year for a great pass rusher? Or is it that Petersen isn’t getting those types of players or coaching them up? It seems that other teams are getting to Browning; why can’t we do the same?

UWDP: This team doesn’t invest much in terms of resources in rushing the passer. So a better rush is going to come from great individual play unless the coaches decide they are willing to live with more risk in order to generate a rush. That means that as of right now, the answer is recruiting, specifically misses in the 2014 and 2015 classes. The guys that should be great upperclassmen rushers on the roster aren’t there. There’s still a lot of potential in the freshman and sophomores.

Washington actually made KJ Costello move pretty regularly. The problem was that there was no second wave of rushers to finish the play. That’s the big compromise with a 3-man rush.

There was a coaching change back in 2013. Chris Petersen is an excellent program manager and a great coach, but he’s not a super-dynamic recruiter that immediately creates buzz and a shot in the arm by revamping a roster. That’s not a knock, that’s just the way it is. I believe this is short-term pain we’re experiencing, at a few positions.

Elijah Molden

Should I be covering WRs and TEs that are 1.5x my height? I’m good, but ins’t there a better height match?

UWDP: The answer is to stop recruiting defensive backs out of The Shire.

That’s not really fair, Elijah Molden isn’t exactly short. Right about average. It’s tough to ask him to match up against a guy that’s nine inches taller, with a quarterback that’s so adept at throwing high to those big targets. Molden became the victim, but that was the only part of Stanford’s offense that really worked. Washington’s game plan puts guys in tough spots and expects them to make plays. Molden’s coverage on a handful of those plays couldn’t have been better, so at some point you have to tip your cap to the opposition and line up again.

I certainly hope Husky fans aren’t down on Elijah Molden based on the Stanford game.

Prego mixed with Bertolli

Do you think it is possible for fans to like an offensive coordinator? Pretty much everyone hated Smith for his entire tenure. Those same people loved the hire of Hamden. Now, without even a full year, people are already saying he is incapable of being an OC. Bonus question: how long do you give a brand new coordinator before you say you have seen what there is to see and need to move on?

UWDP: I think it’s exceptionally difficult. The only way for it to happen is for success to be immediate. That’s why Jonathan Smith was still reviled in 2016, when the offense set records - fans had already determined that they were right, Chris Petersen was wrong, and Jonathan Smith sucked, so there must be some other explanation for the Huskies’ success.

I’m all for overreacting. It’s what I do. I tend to believe I have the answer pretty quickly, so I don’t blame other fans for feeling the same way. I thought Smith’s issue, if there was one, was more related to the quarterbacks than his role as the offensive coordinator. I think the same thing for Hamdan. Without some dramatic departure from his normal modus operandi, there’s always an extra layer of difficulty (in an already difficult task) in assessing his coordinators, because he doesn’t hire them to come in a add, or revamp, or otherwise tweak the way things are done.

At some point, moving on is about the voice as much as the message. Two coaches can say the exact same thing, and only one is able to elicit performance. I’m not saying Hamdan is struggling with this by any stretch - the issue could be a matter of personalities clashing with certain guys, and that dynamic changes as players roll through the program, for example.

Why are we not taking advantage...

This years Pac-12 is weak and a good team would have gone undefeated in conference play. But this year it’s been difficult to watch and we’re not that ‘good’ team. I though this team would have gone undefeated in pac-12 play. I thought with the upper class-man we would be blowing teams out. But I didn’t know that rookie OC would be such a poor coach. (I blame the OC for all of our problems this year)

I still think we win the Pac as we get some of the guys back and our starters get healed up. I like where Peterson is going with the huskies but are my expectations too much to think National championships (of course not this year)? It took “Dabo” Swinney 6-8 years to make Clemson into a national power. But he took advantage of a weak ACC then never took his foot off the pedal. Why isn’t the case for us? When we (as well as USC) were down both Ducks and Stanford took advantage and won Pac-12 championships. It seems the ducks are winning in recruiting and this season seems like a disappointment. What are your thoughts

UWDP: My thoughts are that you suggest a Dabo Swinney model of success, which implies some patience, then turn around and say that Petersen has failed to meet it after 4 12 years. And you’re going to turn your nose up at a conference championship, because the record in getting there doesn’t make you tingly inside, even though winning the conference would represent exactly what you say isn’t happening (taking advantage of a down Pac 12).

I don’t think Petersen has a fundamental flaw that keeps his ceiling as a coach from being national championships.

Ozdawg

Do you think that Coach Pete needs to bring in someone on the offensive side that is not from his coaching try to bring in some fresh ideas? I’m not talking replacement of Bush, but just someone who be another set of eyes and ears. Alabama seems to have 4000 analysts why not one for UDub?

UWDP: I think this is a great idea, and something that I hope Chris Petersen considers on both sides of the ball. The continuity that Petersen breeds is fantastic, but sometimes it can blind people to seeing their own weaknesses.

Matt

Average S&P+ Ranking : 25

Average Rank, Browning Era : 28

Average Rank, Kellen Moore Era : 5

Average Rank, Other : 39

So, maybe:

Top 40 floor

Top 25 when the pieces are mostly there

Top 10 ceiling?

Some comparisons:

Avg Pac 12 Champion Rank: 13

Avg Clemson under Swinney: 29

Avg Mike Leach team since 05: 34

I dont feel like running the numbers on chip kelly.

Basically just data mining to tell myself our offense will be fine again someday.

UWDP: This is an interesting exercise, Matt.

I think that when you look at the variance from one year to the next even with the same quarterback (like the Huskies in 2016 with Browning vs 2018 with Browning), you have to entertain the notion that it’s a lot bigger than just the QB. I agree with your conclusion about the relative scale, though.

I think some people think Chris Petersen has this really unique offense. It’s not, it’s a collection of football staple concepts that have mostly been around for decades. The packaging of the plays can be unique. The fact that he hasn’t moved to a system that mitigates a certain weakness is also unique. In some respects, I guess that makes the success of his offense from year to year more volatile, and appear to be QB-dependent. It also keeps his offense from having a structural or fundamental weakness, so when the parts are there, it’s unstoppable in a way that an air raid or spread-option attack aren’t.

Aus*Dawg

If the Huskies win out this year (11-3) and win 10+ games next year, will they be considered to be the best ever Washington Huskies team over a 5 year period for any coach in the modern era?

UWDP: That’s an individual decision, of course. Not for me. An extra game or two in the schedule inflates the win totals. And that whole national title thing.....

As consistently “really good” as this team has been, they still need to make a statement.

Henry

The receivers are not getting open enough. Against OSU it’s time the dawgs try some of the young receivers don’t you think?

UWDP: If it’s going to happen, one would certainly think Oregon State at home would be the game to give it a try. There’s been a little bit of buzz that it might, too. But we don’t really know how close any of these guys are to seeing the field. Maybe they’re pushing for playing time, and maybe they’re struggling with the play book, or the speed of the game...

On the pregame Husky Honks show last week, Dick Baird said that the young receivers spend tons of time working on fundamentals. That’s a good thing.

Kevin

It seems like soooo many people want to blame playcalling for everything. It was last year with Smith, and now this year from Hamdan. It has always felt to me that this is a close to impossible thing to critique. The fans have the benefit of knowing how a play resulted, while having no idea the logic, play responsibilities/assignments, or other aspects that go into selecting a play. Do we even know how much freedom Hamdan has in terms of his playcalling? I don’t know where my actual question is in all of that. Just seems like a total cop-out complaint when we know so very little about the process.

UWDP: You’ll get no disagreement from me. Brighter football minds than me speak to the near-impossibility of separating play calling from execution, too. And fans - they like plays that work, and hate ones that don’t.

Expectations

If the Huskies had not gone to the playoff in 2016 and/or if they were not ranked in the top 10 to start the season, would we be as frustrated and disappointed with the losses this year?

UWDP: Maybe not as frustrated. But even fans that understand how good Cal’s defense are, aren’t going to excuse the offensive showing in Berkeley.

Really, I can understand a lot of the angst. This is an offense that isn’t great, and works to minimize the negative as opposed to maximize the positive. It’s arguably not the most fan-friendly style.

HuskE

As we (sadly) start to wind down the terrific UW career of Myles Gaskin, what are the predictions in terms of his next-level production? He’s been a joy to watch on Saturdays, with his patience, reliability and uncanny ability to make defenders miss in tight spaces. But will he follow in the footsteps of recent Husky RB successes like Bishop Sankey and Chris Polk, who never really gained a foothold in the NFL?

UWDP: I’d say that’s the most likely outcome, yes. Of course, I never would’ve predicted that Phillip Lindsay would’ve had such a dynamic rookie season with the Broncos, so what do I know.

Myles Gaskin is a great Husky, one of the best in program history at running back. You’re totally correct about that. I hope he has a lot of success in the NFL, but if he doesn’t, nothing changes in terms of his legacy.

GaryfromMI

When the Dawgs are on offense and getting the play call from the sideline does each position group get the call from their “coach “ and is their one coach that is makes sure the same play is being relayed?

UWDP: This falls under the heading of things I don’t have the information to answer. There are times the entire offense huddles, and Browning is giving the call to the entire unit. Other times, the line and outside receivers don’t huddle, and it’s just Browning and the backs. There’s all sorts of yelling and gesticulating on the sidelines, but it’s impossible to know who’s yelling what at whom, and who’s actually a “live” single vs a decoy to confuse the opposition. It’s also worth noting that the offensive line, for example, isn’t really running “plays” at times, as much as they’re running concepts. Their job is exactly the same for a run and a pass out of the same basic set of assignments.

Oregon4ever

What is the approximate breakdown of college football penalties by source- offense vs. defense (ignore special teams)? A couple weeks back, someone provided a link to NFL penalty statistics. Assuming they might not be too dissimilar from college, I examined them and categorized the penalties as either offensive or defensive. There were 19 different categories with 20 or more infractions. Since this was a quick spreadsheet analysis, I ignored those penalties with fewer than 20 occurrences. The 19 penalties with greater than 20 occurrences totaled 1,655 occurrences in 2018, 92% of the total of 1,792 occurrences for the year. Some of the penalties were not strictly offensive or defensive in nature (face mask, illegal use of the hands, and unsportsmanlike conduct), and I therefore set these aside. Out of the remaining 1,529 occurrences, I found that 59% were offensive penalties and 41% were defensive. This suggests that teams with a defensive focus should incur fewer penalties than teams with an offensive focus. Is it similar for NCAA football?

As an aside, the penalties with the greatest occurrence were offensive holding (349) and false start (290). The next three were defensive: defensive pass interference (124), defensive holding (115), and unnecessary roughness (96). Yes, I realize unnecessary roughness can be called on the offense, but I assumed that the overwhelming majority of occurrences would be defensive.

UWDP: You seem to be implying that a “defensive focus” somehow includes penalty avoidance. There’s almost no correlation between penalties and winning (in fact, I think there was a slightly negative correlation, but I can’t remember for sure).

Offensive holding is a big drive-killer, but it’s interesting that the three most common defensive penalties all give the offense automatic first downs. I’m not really a fan of the NFL spot foul on defensive pass interference.

King Husky

Rank these running backs: Louis Rankin, Myles Gaskin, Chris Polk, Rashaan Shehee, Corey Dillon, Napoleon Kaufman, Bishop Sankey, Kenny James, Rich Alexis, Willie Hurst, and Greg Lewis. Please, if you can, don’t consider how good the team was/is just the player.

UWDP: Don’t consider the team....that’s pretty much impossible.

In reverse order:

Willie Hurst

Kenny James

Louis Rankin

Rashaan Shehee

Greg Lewis

Chris Polk

Myles Gaskin

Bishop Sankey

Napolean Kaufman

Corey Dillon

That’s a tough exercise. I think you can make a case for a pretty drastic top five ordering.

All for this week. Go Dawgs!!