Okay, first off, I hate writing up games against FCS opponents. Hate it. Hate it so much it makes me want to spell “hate” as “h8,” like the entitled, lazy finger-having millennial I am.
It’s not that I don’t like FCS football — it’s the bomb — but, unless your FBS team either is A) not at a certain level (I call this level “Florida State”) or B) playing the certified badasses at North Dakota State, there’s a limit to what one can learn from that matchup. Unless you’re a fan of an FBS team like, I dunno,
the Cleveland Browns Wazzu in week one Baylor, you’ll probably beat the tar out of said FCS opponent and have the fourth string in by the second half or, at worst, be mentally disengaged but still win easily based on pure talent advantage. And yes, the latter looked like Washington on Saturday.
So, with that in mind, here’s my best-ish shot at thinking any thoughts about the Dawgs’ performance against North Dakota.
A 67% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything
First of all, uh, why the eff is The Whitford of Oz not punting? This is mostly rhetorical, as Petersen has said he’s been dealing with a previous injury, but by the power of Grayskull he better have a good reason for being injured... like, I dunno, he got in a sword fight with Mike Leach, or had a severe case of hiccups. This isn’t a knock on Race Porter — he’s fine-ish I guess — but he’s “fine-ish punter circa 2006”-style, AKA the type of punter teams had before said teams realized that there exists real-ass good
Australians punters that are a legitimate weapon.
In other words, as long as I live, I hope to never see an American punting the football; just the thought causes some mild dry heaving. As far as I’m concerned, every punter the Huskies ever have, from now until the sun explodes or mutant Hanford spiders kill us all (whichever comes first), should be so full of Australianness (Australianity?) that they literally — not figuratively, literally — attended Summer Heights High, fight kangaroos, play the didgeridoo,
get coked out in Whistler snowboard in Whistler every moment they’re not punting, and, of course, played Aussie rules.
If there was one way to describe this game, it’d be this: Washington, on Saturday, looked like a *dum dum dum* Sark-coached team.
Or at least, the offense did frequently, and the defense did from time to time.
That might have been the meanest thing I’ve ever said to and/or about anybody. Now, luckily for fans, we can rest assured that the Huskies aren’t a Sark-coached team and so should probably return to looking focused and flooring it for the rest of the season. But that... was... pretty mediocre...
If there’s any consolation, it’s that, upon a second viewing, the game didn’t look quite as bad as it appeared in real time.
The main points we learned?
- Washington needs Nick Harris at center
- Receiver blocking in the perimeter was ass
- Salvon Ahmed’s a monster (still)
- Washington needs Nick Harris at center
- Kamari Pleasant is Lavon Coleman-esque maybe or maybe not or maybe?
- Byron Murphy’s also a monster (still)
- Washington needs Nick Harris at center
Overall — and especially on the offense — this game was such a perfect example of sloppy execution. Run-blocking was weak both on the line and by receivers and skill guys past the edge; any given passing play would develop fine but then either Jake would throw a terribly-timed or inaccurate pass or, when he didn’t, targets dropped what looked to me like around four perfectly good throws (which, fun fact, when added back would have given Browning around a 73% completion percentage).
In a similar vein, the defense primarily was fine but still had moments where their tackling looked like it was from about 2004. I don’t know about you, but I’d repressed all those memories and then boom here they come, flooding back, of UW linebackers just running blindly into opponents without so much as a semblance of trying to wrap up, subsequently giving up enough yards after contact that that stat category (“stategory,” if you will) could be mistaken for the GDP of a small country.
But, so that you don’t — out of frustration with the Dawgs’ Saturday performance — all start throwing full-ass bottles of Redhook at your work computer (c’mon, we know you’re reading this while pretending to finish up that client report — looking at you, Steve) here’s some bright spots:
We did see a few examples of solid, well-called, well-executed, not-trying-to-get-too-cute plays: Cade Otton’s 3rd quarter touchdown was a rare moment of near-perfect execution, with Browning’s well-timed pass out of the bootleg and a convincing play-action that forced UND to give little thought to anything happening in the flat, thus opening Otton up for an easy score.
Also, so long as Nick Harris is back at center, there’s legitimately nothing that could make me worried about the run game. That’s because, since Gaskin and Co.’s been around, it’s a tradition at this point — the first few games of the year, Washington fans lose their collective minds over a run game that’s looked spectacularly mediocre, convinced that it will never ever be dependable as long as we live, then October comes around and we’re reminded that, actually, the Husky run game is fine (still); then it continues to steadily kick more and more ass, then the season ends; then the next season begins, the run game’s nothing special, we all freak out... wash, rinse, repeat.
After four years, I’ve decided it’s worth neither my nor your emotional energy to get worried over the running game. The only way any fears come true about it is if The Big One hits and wipes out Washington’s backfield but, in that case, we’ll all be dead anyway, so...
Oh, and speaking of the running backs, Sean McGrew’s touchdown run reminds me of a tradition one of my college roommates and myself had of creating ridiculous custom characters on Madden NFL: in this case, custom-made Cleveland Browns running back, “Gimli Sonofgloin” — all 5’0”, 300 lbs of him*.
In other words, if McGrew can make up for his diminutive stature by harnessing his ridiculously low center of gravity to continue carrying lone remaining DBs ten yards in space, we could end up seeing some hilariously frustrated defenses.
*I walked by that dude (McGrew, not Gimli) once at Laughs on Roosevelt and, as I was at least an inch or two taller than him, there’s no way he’s 5’7” much less, per his old 247 recruiting profile, 5’8”. So, naturally, we should cross our fingers and hope we get to see him take out someone much bigger than him (so, anybody) this year. It’d be hilarious.
Lines of the Week
To be completely honest, this game was so boring that, an unprecedented, historical first, today’s Lines of the Week are all un-flippin-related to the Husky game.
Instead, our first goes out to Will Dissly, John Ross, and Dante Pettis for getting their first NFL touchdowns, to which we say:
Elsewhere in the Pac-12, UWDP obtained an exclusive camera angle on USC attempting in vain to beat the Trees in Palo Alto with a freshman quarterback:
If the west coast — nay, America — found out anything Saturday, it’s that the concept of the color “cardinal” > extinct tribe of Turkish-ish and/or Greek-y dudes, obviously.
That’s why we watch football: to find out the natural hierarchy of abstract concepts as represented by mascots et al.
And meanwhile, America — nay, the world** — reacts to ASU and Colorado maybe actually sorta being not awful possibly this year:
Lastly, I think I speak for us all regarding Utah because, any given year, it doesn’t matter how good they are or are not or how good Washington is or is not — the Utes are always terrifying and always will be. Like a tigress with a taste for humans. Or driving behind a Subaru on Highway 2 in the winter.
Accordingly, the official UWDP stance on Utah, always:
**That's right, who are you to tell me the entire world isn't tuning into #Pac12AfterDark? After all, where is it #AfterDark-er than, I dunno, Kosovo or Lagos during a 7:30 PST kickoff?
Do good things, don't do bad things, and bow down to Washington.
Update: Before initially hitting the “publish” button, my finger accidentally lingered a second too long on the “n” key when typing “Manitoba,” thus committing the sin of misspelling the name of the most fabulous Canadian province of them all, or so I’m told by the, like, three Canadians I know who’ve spent time there. Don’t worry, that typo’s been fixed, and, if any Canadians are reading this, I’ll be redeeming myself by listening to the Arkells and Tragically Hip for 24 hours straight while subsisting on nothing but Molson lager and Nanaimo bars. Please don’t detain me next time I return.