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Mailbag: “A Ute and a Husky are Walking Around Utah Looking for a Bar....” Edition

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North Dakota v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images
  • Completion of the world’s first transcontinental railroad was celebrated at Promontory where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met on May 10, 1869. It is now known as Golden Spike National Historic Site
  • Utah is the site of the nations first department store. Zions Co-operative Mercantile Institution was established in the late 1800’s. It is still in operation today as ZCMI.
  • The Great Salt Lake covers 2,100 square miles, with an average depth of 13 feet. The deepest point is 34 feet.
  • The average snowfall in the mountains near Salt Lake City is 500 inches. Because of the state’s inland location Utah’s snow is unusually dry, earning it the reputation of having the world’s greatest powder. 14 Alpine ski resorts operate in Utah. None of that stopped last winter from sucking while I was there. Get it right this year, Utah.
  • State animal: The Rocky Mountain Elk.
  • Utah is the only state whose capital’s name is made of three words. All three words in Salt Lake City have four letters each.
  • Beaver is the birthplace of two very famous individuals of the past, Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television and Butch Cassidy, the notorious western outlaw.
  • Utah has the highest literacy rate in the nation.
  • The Utes played in the 1964 Liberty Bowl in Atlantic City, the first major college bowl game held indoors.
  • Former Ute coach Wayne Howard (1977-1981) resigned for several reasons but particularly because of his dislike for the BYU-Utah rivalry.

Not that fun, I know.


Why is there even a question about QBs when we have UW’s all time leader in almost everything and the PAC 12s top few in almost everything as our QB? Haener was great directing our 3rd string over an FCS 3rd string, but it means absolutely nothing.


I thought Browning had one of his worst games ever. Not just the interceptions but also choosing the wrong receiver to throw to. I have to say however that he did have some nice throws. I can’t imagine a quarterback controversy. Do you think Browning, and the rest of the team for that matter, just couldn’t get up for this game?

(redacted email address)

Give it a break..Browing is 1

No question

No question, just wanted to say that there is no quarterback controversy and it’s shameful to phrase it as such. Browning was the Pac-12 offensive MVP two years ago, he’s a four year starter that has won a bunch of games for us. Haener played well in back-up duty against North Dakota no question, but that doesn’t hold a candle to Browning’s achievements. Have we forgotten about Auburn entirely? Browning was excellent in that game. One bad game does not a quarterback controversy make.


“Fake News”!

I mean, what’s wrong with everyone...with all the fancy computer-tech-stuff out there why can’t these stupids just clone a Jake Browning head onto a Jake Locker body? QB Controversy gone...Maybe.


We all know the capabilities of Jake Browning after 4 years. Happy feet, average throwing arm, and good at reading defenses. Clearly after the first two games, opponents are going to stack the box to stop the run, so why aren’t they getting the best arm on the field?


What the ____ ?

A quarterback controversy ?

There is none. Browning starts all 15 games this year unless injured.


I think Jake Browning ceiling as a qb was reached in his So yr. As a Four yr starter he only looks good with inferior teams. It doesn’t matter how much he spends in film room and how much he knows about the game...he is not clutch!! In two games the team has 4 turnovers all by Browning...not good. It’s time to let Haner

Do some magic... he looks quick and sharp. Nice job in the fourth quarter against N D


The offense moved at a different place with the other Jake. Why not a few series a game as a change up?

Mac Brown says he made a mistake by not having a backup QB with reps behind Colt McCoy going into the National ChamlChampio game. Wouldn’t it be wise to get the other Jake serious reps?asdfasdf


Please don’t humor the idiots who think there is (and desperately want) a QB controversy. Browning is out starter unless he gets hurt. It was great to see Haener play well, but that was also against some of ND’s 2nd & 3rd string guys. I’d rather hear thoughts on whether the lousy run game was due to ND stacking the box or poor OL/blocking? Or maybe both. Personally I think UW should be able to run against ND even with 8 in the box.


Whats up with the calls to drop Browning? Haener did well but ND was gassed at that point.

A 4th year starter shouldn’t be having these problems. Really needs to find 2nd options quicker and not be so locked on his first.

Were most of Browning’s problems due to poor pass protection, or judgement and footwork?


It’s pretty obvious there are throws Haener can make that Browning can’t, anyone that watched any HS film was already aware of this... I know Browning is the guy still but if he falls flat on his face in a 1st half vs a good squad do u think they would trot out Haener to change things up if we were still in the game?? I’m thinking of this scenario at more like 4 or 5 weeks down the road

Darin Johnson

Where do I go to exchange my adult double-XL number 3 jersey for a number 13? I’m 90 percent sure the mustard will come right out with one of those Tide sticks.

UWDP: And on and on.

We lost out on another season of the “Great Jonathan Smith Debate” when the Beavers hired him, so we now get a year to really ramp up the “Jake Browning Debate.” And the same way that Bush Hamdan was the beneficiary of the disdain for Smith simply for not being Smith (and for never having called a play, so his greatness was intact a full offseason), the backup quarterbacks are all benefiting simply for not being the (current) lightning rod for fan criticism (but backups, your time is coming, and you’ll almost undoubtedly meet your reckoning...). Jake Haener was fortunate by several orders of magnitude more because he was able to step in to a zero-pressure garbage time situation and throw a small sample of really nice passes.

I was really impressed with Haener’s arm. After having seen him throw, I have a lot more confidence in him that I did prior. All Husky fans should. If you choose to make more out of it than that, so be it.

Yes, Jake Browning is close to his ceiling as a quarterback. It isn’t as high as fans would like because of certain things Browning will never be or have (like 6’ 5” with a rocket arm). But where he is right now, with all of his faults and limitations, is at a much higher level than the overwhelming majority of college quarterbacks. Even ones that will go on to have NFL careers that Browning won’t.

Unfortunately, we’ve very likely seen the last fully healthy football game out of Jake Browning as a Husky. He will miss throws at times, but very rarely by the margin we saw on a few occasions against North Dakota. He just didn’t have the same action between his legs and right arm. Whether it was actual pain, the annoyance of the knee brace, confidence, etc., whatever...his throwing motion wasn’t exactly right. The most obvious example was on a play where he scrambled to his left, then tried to quickly turn and throw an out to a late-releasing receiver on the right side of the field. Browning jumped like he took an electric shock as he threw, and the ball sailed way wide. Also check out that first interception....

It’s certainly not a horrible thing to get the backup more snaps in games moving forward. I think you can make a case Petersen should’ve done it more frequently in the past.

If you’re one of those people that think Petersen is playing Browning out of loyalty, or Petersen’s favor for “scrappy, heady guys”, then man....that’s a helluva indictment about the state of the program. If you think Petersen is playing Browning for any reason other than selecting the quarterback that’s giving the team the best chance to win, now, then Huskies are in the process of rotting from the head down. I don’t think it’s the case.


Jake Browning is your high school girlfriend when you really want to date the prom queen....I think there is probably a QB with a higher ceiling on the roster but not for this season agree/disagree?

UWDP: Totally agree. It remains to be seen if the prom queen is just a pretty face that’s always looking in the mirror and talking about herself.


Please explain how Larry Scott still has a job. The PAC 12 network is terrible and the conference is falling behind financially and perception wise. Time for a change, no?

UWDP: After the Pac 12 signed its (what was at the time, record) TV contract, a handful of people from different schools talked about what a great job Larry Scott in fulfilling his edict of getting the most money possible. I certainly don’t know if that was actually his ultimatum - to maximize money.

If it was, he successfully did that, from the broadcast side. Keeping the rights certainly has the ability to pay off huge in the near future, too. The rollout with the cable and satellite providers doesn’t look very good at this point. In fact, it looks worse and worse every year.

I don’t know if anyone within the conference could have or should have been able to forecast how start times and even days were going to get shifted around. Maybe protecting start times would’ve cost too much in the negotiation.

There really isn’t any way to “fix” things right now, I don’t think. Even though there’s been some hard talk from Pac 12 presidents and athletic directors about things (and effectively Scott), those same people approved a 33% raise for him not long ago that makes him the highest-paid commissioner.

Fact is, I don’t know how big a problem Scott really is. Things definitely don’t look very good right now, though.


This team appears to look good running in power formations, however every time they line up in power they run which is predictable. Where is the play action?

UWDP: You’re going to have to define some of your terms to really answer this question. I think they’ve done a good job of passing and running from a multitude of formations.

Denver Dawg

For the 3rd straight year, we’ve seen the running game struggle during our nonconference schedule. However, in the past two years, it turned out to be a non-issue once conference play began, (352 yards against Arizona in 2016, 258 against Colorado last year). Any cause for concern this year, or is this once again a case of fans making a mountain out of a mole hill?

UWDP: I was incredibly concerned in 2016. I was incredibly concerned in 2017. I’m incredibly concerned in 2018.

Chris Petersen et al have done enough that I’m not going to bleat on and on about it, but I certainly fall in the group that needs to see it. Hopefully Saturday evening....

S-Dawg 13

When was the last time a Power 5 conference team had a 4-year starter senior at quarterback? If they are actually that good, don’t they get drafted?

UWDP: Baker Mayfield, last season (although one of his years starting was at Texas Tech).

Yes, quarterbacks that are good enough to start four years usually go pro early. At least “very frequently” if not “usually.” A lot of it is about checking the right boxes next to “height,” “arm strength,” etc. Mayfield was short, but met pretty much every other NFL criterion. Browning misses on a couple of them.

Does Luke Falk count?


It’s not just Jake. The whole team seems to lack a bit of sharpness and fire in their guts. I’m starting to wonder if Peterson’s analytical don’t yell coaching style needs to be changed to instill a little more urgency and passion in the players.

UWDP: Maybe it’s Petersen’s style. Maybe it’s the personalities of the leaders on the team. Maybe it’s the rest of the coaching staff. Could be a combination of all of them, or something else entirely.

I don’t think the answer is just yelling a lot. Steve Sarkisian’s staff did quite a bit of that, and it certainly didn’t help.

Chris Petersen is intense. He isn’t terribly demonstrative, but I think he’s very intense.


Probability that Jake evades the rush against Utah by moving up in the pocket instead of bailing sideways? 20%, 6%, or no chance?

UWDP: I bet it’s probably somewhere between 6% and 20%. Probably closer to 6%, unfortunately.

When Jake Browning scrambles due to real pressure (as opposed to phantom pressure), I’d wager he steps forward instead of peeling wide around one in ten times.

Jake Forest

Just gonna say it: Jake Haener should start the Utah game. Tell me why I’m wrong.

Chris Landon

Convince the rabid fans that Haener/Ahmed isn’t better than their starting counterparts. Now, is there anything from the eye test that would suggest that replacing starters is a reasonable conversation to be having right now?


What do you think it would take for Jake Haener to get more gametime reps with the ones?


Salvon Ahmed average amount of touches per game going forward????? Curious as to the # you think they will want to reach to get maximum usage out of him... when you have weapons you need to use them, plain n simple

UWDP: As for Jake Haener and Jake Browning, it comes down to picking the guy that gives the team the best chance to win. We’ve seen one guy take live reps, but haven’t really seen the other guy outside of garbage time. Nothing I’m going to say is going to change anyone’s mind. If you trust Chris Petersen to want to win above anything else, then the starter (in both cases, really) is the guy that has the best chance to lead the team. If you don’t, I hope you’ll look really carefully at what you’re saying about the state of affairs in the Washington football program.

I get the excitement Salvon Ahmed brings. Are people down on Myles Gaskin? That doesn’t make any sense.

The Huskies had the ball for 65 total snaps on Saturday against North Dakota. Let’s call those final three drives “garbage time”, when Ahmed wasn’t going to see the field. That leaves 50 “serious” plays on the game. Ahmed got the ball 9 times, so almost 20% of them. Gaskin touched the ball 16 times, or 32% of the plays. Most of the increase in Ahmed’s workload is going to come at the expense of Gaskin. It’s tough for me to argue that the offense needs the ball in #9’s hands less often.


Surprise number of new players that will start because they are replacing someone who is injured that us fans didn’t yet know anything about?

Best guess on the number of surprise starters for the Huskies that us fans thought were still injured as of last week’s game?

UWDP: I don’t think there are going to be any new starters Saturday against Utah, unless it’s someone coming back into the lineup (like Nick Harris).


Has there been another game in recent memory where UW won but the stats belied just how frustrating the on field product looked?

UWDP: Depending on who you are, many will point to any win in 2017.

The Arizona State game in 2016 is one that stands out to me.

It’s something that happens All. The. Time. And unfortunately, it happens more frequently the better a team is, because what you’re really talking about is a perception thing, not an actual, measurable quantity. Fans of good teams think they should win pretty every game, and are able to find ugliness in just about everywhere. It’s the nature of being a fan.


I don’t think Browning can/will lose his job, but this is more due to Petersen’s class than Browning’s tenure. However, if a lesser coach (rhymes with Peach) were in this position, would Browning be on the hot seat?

UWDP: So, I don’t really know about Mike Leach, but if you’re arguing that Jake Browning is going to keep his job because Chris Petersen is a “classy guy,” then that’s a really, really bad thing.

I think Jake Browning gives the team the best chance to win for a variety of reasons. If Chris Petersen thinks it’s Jake Haener, then Jake Haener had better damn well be on the field.

Prego for Student Body Prez

There was a surprising lack of physicality, tackling, and what looked like blown assignments (ie way to much space for the likes of UND) in the second level of the defense. There was also some of this against Auburn as well. I’m curious if you think this is just shaking off the early season rust, overly simplified game planning, mistakes by the LBs and secondary, or something else. Edumicate me good sir!

UWDP: I agree with you. I’m a little worried about the linebackers right now. I find it pretty surprising that Tevis Bartlett spent so much time playing inside in the spring and fall, only to move outside when the season started. And really, to the bench much of the time given how often the team is playing with three down linemen. He obviously got snaps inside against North Dakota, so at least that part is still an open question.

Injuries aren’t good there right now. Brandon Wellington has missed the first two games, and DJ Beavers was in a boot against North Dakota. No idea how serious either of those injuries are. The backups right now are Kyler Manu and Jake Wambaugh.

The depth isn’t good certainly in terms of experience and arguably in terms of talent.

North Dakota repeatedly gashed Washington’s defense right up the middle. While you’d hope the defensive linemen would make a few more plays, it’s really the guys right behind them that aren’t making it happen.

The tackling hasn’t been great, I agree. Some of it - a lot, even - is coming from guys that have played a lot of good football at Washington (and I’m speaking specifically about Jojo McIntosh, Taylor Rapp, and Myles Bryant). It needs to get cleaned up.

Washington tinkered with its alignment a bit last year in the non-conference. I don’t remember about 2016 as well. We’ve definitely seen some new things this year (mainly three down linemen, and lots more Cover 3 than I can recall). Last year, when conference play started, most of that disappeared. We’ll have to see if that happens this year.


Do you think that Browning has hit his ceiling and has no more upside?

UWDP: I think there’s room for growth, but the steps are smaller than for others. But as I’ve said, I don’t think that’s the pure negative that some others do.


Can Cade Otton be “the guy” at TE??

UWDP: I thought Cade Otton blocked a lot better against North Dakota than he did against Auburn (no surprise there). And his first career reception went for a touchdown, which is pretty cool.

People that have seen him play (talking about Hugh Millen and Dick Baird) have really positive things to say about him.

Yes, he certainly can be. But it’s too early to say much about him at this point.


So I know worried about Stanford and their WR’s but didn’t Stanford have same WR’s two years ago when came to UW and lost badly?

UWDP: Yes, but they were freshmen, and Stanford had a different quarterback. KJ Costello is a much better passer than Ryan Burns was.

I’m definitely looking forward to that game. And I hope Washington’s secondary is hungry for some redemption as well.


Although it’s early what’s your assessment of Bush Hamdan? Better, worse or about the same as Smith especially in the red zone?

UWDP: I think it’s far too early to tell. My guess is that he’ll end up being very similar to Jonathan Smith, in that he’s going to run Chris Petersen’s offense, and his role as the quarterbacks coach is far more important than as the offensive coordinator.


What do you make of those ND OL/DL with our lines? Didn’t look good. Thanks Brad

UWDP: On offense, it’s hard to know what effect (if any) having Jesse Sosebee play center had on things. That was his first game at the position, and I don’t know if he struggled with the line calls, or was even the guy making them. It was a little disappointing to see Jared Hilbers struggle as much as he did - North Dakota’s ends spent all game just running right around him.

North Dakota gave a lot of pressure up front, and Washington didn’t really seem like they tried to take advantage of it.

Defensively, their running back Santiago (DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED?!?!!?) had a lot of success right up the middle. More than a few times, it seemed like Washington’s defensive line did the job, but there just wasn’t anyone there to make the tackle (like a linebacker).

It’s really hard to say much after a game like this. I don’t think Washington was particularly sharp, but I also don’t think Chris Petersen looks to abuse teams like this at the beginning of the season.


As a 4 year starter, Jake Browning doesn’t seem to be able to cope with the speed of play in the elite programs. Is that a fair assessment?

UWDP: If that’s true, I think you could certainly say the same thing about Washington’s offensive line, right?

Let me ask you (or anyone that wants to answer) a question: What was the improvement curve you projected for Jake Browning after 2015? What about 2016?


Who has a better chance of starting next year, Jacob Eason or Jake Haener?

Thomas C

The quarterback controversy I would like you to address is 2019 Haener vs. Heaps.


Jake Haener might be good. What were your thoughts on his performance? Does he have a shot at replacing Browning next year over Eason, Yankoff and Sirmon?

aUWDP: Jake Haener had some nice reps on Saturday, and he’ll probably get a couple more chances like that later in the season. There’s also the possibility of an injury or a quarterback change, when Haener becomes “the guy” in 2018.

Haener will be in his 3rd season next year, and will have some reps running Washington’s offense under his belt. Jacob Eason will be in his second year, but he’s going to have started like 12 games. He won’t have “Washington” experience, but he’s actually going to be the more seasoned QB, likely by a large margin.

If you were going to build a pocket passing quarterback from the ground up, you’d build Jacob Eason. Size, strength, etc. He’s the prototype.

It’s going to be a fun battle starting next spring. In the minds of fans, I think Jake Haener made HUGE strides to close the gap.


We are 2 weeks in. Who has been our “MVP” so far??

UWDP: On offense, Aaron Fuller holds off a late push from Ty Jones (and who would’ve guessed we’d be talking about receivers like this?). On defense, Ben Burr-Kirven has been consistent and is playing a ton of snaps. Greg Gaines is most notable because of the bad things that happen when he’s off the field (such is the life of a nose tackle). Those guys split it, and Byron Murphy entered the conversation with a handful of spectacular plays on Saturday.

Max Vrooman

Prediction for starting 5 this fall?

UWDP: David Crisp, Jaylen Nowell, Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson and Sam Timmons. And I get how much a lot of fans want to find different options for the first and last guys on that list. I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Idaho-Portland Dawg

Who is the best quarterback in UW football history, and what is the criteria? Is it wins, stats, ability, or some subjective amalgam of it all?

In all honesty, I think most fans concede that Jake is good, even great, but it’s the dreaded “it” factor in big moments that embolden Browning’s critics it seems. It is the same critique that LeBron faces in the NBA. It’s similar to how people remember the Bills of the early 90s or any other team, player, or coach that just could not get the elusive big win. Is Jake our Karl Malone?

I rank Jake as one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Let’s say top 10. Where do you rank him, Brad? I know that’s three questions (four if you count the ridiculous rhetorical question) in one, with some pontificating in between, so please forgive me.

UWDP: The “best” is so subjective that it basically comes down to personal preference. Age has a lot to do with it - it’s pretty much impossible for me to say anything about guys that I wasn’t old enough to see play. In all honesty, part of the fun is the debate.

I agree that the “it” factor is a big part of the reason. The problem is how few guys actually have “it,” and the fact that fans will determine some guys do in fact have “it” because of games that aren’t on near the level of the losses they use to determine that Browning doesn’t have “it.” For example, I’ve seen fans mention the USC wins in 2009 and 2010 as proof of Jake Locker’s “it.” Those were pretty mediocre Trojan teams, nothing like the Alabama, Penn State, Auburn, or USC losses Browning has lead. The only time Marques Tuiasosopo ever trailed against a team in that conversation and then eventually won was against Oregon State in 2000; Washington led wire-to-wire against Miami, and obviously lost to Oregon. All of Tuiasosopo’s comebacks came against middling competition. That’s not an attempt to diminish the importance or value or talent of either of those guys, just pointing out that fans don’t always make fair comparisons here. When they don’t want to.

Jake Browning with decent health is in that Top 10 conversation, I agree. I haven’t seen all that much football yet this season, though. Sure, he’s Karl Malone. It takes a lot more than one player to win it all, though.

New PAC coaches

So far Herm at ASU is doing the best out of the 1st year PAC 12 coaches. Both Sumlin and Chip lost both of their games and Smith is 1-1.

Would have you have thought that before the season started that ASU would be ranked? Herm seems to be doing an okay job. I think he actually did well in recruiting too. But ASU coaches (at least the last two) seem to do well either the first or second year then they don’t seem to be able to sustain it. ASU has always kinda been in the same category like Washington (a sleeper) but recruiting wise they’re closer to more talented athletes. Do you think ASU has been awakened?

UWDP: I definitely didn’t think ASU was going to be ranked. Congrats to them, that was a nice win over Michigan State.

I definitely think I’m going to hold off anything more than that, though.

I do not like nail biters....

Okay I don’t care for nail biters when my team plays. I like watching a defensive game if it’s not my team. When Petersen was at Boise State he dominated his conference and out of conference games. He really hasn’t had a signature win while at Washington (maybe USC) but other than that he hasn’t been great in bowl game since he’s been at UW. I am not implying that he needs to go but how long does it take to create a culture that is similar to BSU when we’re up by 30 by half time. The only time we had that kind of dominance was 2016. We started really fast and didn’t step off the pedal. Maybe Tedford should be credit for more that year.

UWDP: So, I remember Boise State winning a lot of games by healthy margins, but not a lot of specifics beyond that. So I randomly picked a year of Petersen’s tenure at Boise State, then looked at recaps and box scores to see how many were over at halftime.

I picked 2009. Boise State went 14-0 that year it turned out. I called a 21- point lead “over” at halftime.

They opened with a good Oregon team and finished with the #4 team in the country in the Fiesta Bowl. Big games, nobody would expect them to be over at halftime.

Of the other 12 games, five were over at halftime. One more was a 17-point margin, so I can count that if you want. But the other six were pretty competitive at the half - enough so that Boise State had to play to win, even if they eventually ran away with a blowout.

Maybe other Chris Petersen seasons were different than that one. I kind of doubt it, though. Not significantly, anyway.


If we had managed to sneak away with a W against Auburn, would dawg fans be as worried about our rushing attack, O-line, coaching?

UWDP: Yes. All football fans do. It’s the nature of being a fan, and the angst actually increases the more highly rated a team is.

Darin Johnson

We seem to be blitzing a lot. There are three ways to look at this: 1) It’s inconsistent with the Dawgs’ bend-but-don’t-break strategy, 2) It’s consistent with the high-risk strategy favored by some (i.e., three-and-out or bust), or 3) It highlights the Dawgs’ struggles to get pressure with the DL. Which theory is your favorite?

UWDP: Favorite, as in the one I like the best?

I think it’s #3 mostly, and then #1. I don’t think #2 really applies.

Darin Johnson

Given that glasses tend to be half empty half the time, what’s your over/under on injuries among DBs and receivers that lead to multiple missed games?

UWDP: Zero this year. It’s going to be linebackers and offensive linemen.

Darin Johnson

I just listened to Coach Petersen’s post-game press conference. He answered several questions with “I don’t know.” Did you make progress in the red zone? I don’t know. Jake called this a sub-par performance...? I’d have to look at the tape. In the running game, are the guys in the right place and not executing? Yeah, it’s hard to know. Regarding Sosebee blah, blah? That’s good... I have no idea how he played. Could you tell if you had progress at left tackle? Nope, couldn’t tell.

Now, I know this is mostly coachspeak, but as a firm believer in the idea that the first step to learning is to first avoid learning something that isn’t true, I like to think Coach Petersen is carefully withholding judgment until he and his team can review the data. Care to comment, or do you need to look at the tape first?

UWDP: I’d like to look at the tape first.

I have, actually.

I think part is withholding judgement, part is that he isn’t going to say negative things about individual players, and part is that he hates post-game interviews. All interviews during the season, really.

Darin Johnson

Is there any doubt that the Huskies would actually be in better shape for the playoff with a win over Fresno State last week instead of a loss to Auburn? Could you care less?


Why even play a tough opening game? I compare us to Wisconsin who played Western Kentucky and New Mexico and I see no purpose in that game against Auburn. The Big Ten West is a joke but if they win the Big Ten with less than 2 losses, they’ll be in the playoff. The Huskies would be too. Thoughts?

UWDP: I look at some of my favorite memories surrounding Husky football, and many of them are games like the one against Auburn. Wins over Miami, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan....

I love those.

No, I really couldn’t care less.

You play those games because you have a chance to win them. And be great.

Darin Johnson

I have a friend who is an annoying Buckeyes fan (but I repeat myself). He says things like, “What the Pac-12 has failed to recognize but the Big 10 has is the value of a running back who is both big and fast.” I always say, “Be serious. Nobody is turning down Saquon Barkley or Ron Dane. There just aren’t that many guys like that around.”

But then I look at the UW roster and wonder. The average running back is 194 with a standard deviation of ten pounds -- which suggests about one in 200 would be 220 or more. Ohio State’s backs average 212 with a standard deviation of 13 -- suggesting one quarter would be 220 or more.

Let’s stipulate that all things being equal, 220 is better than 194. Now, in the mind of Coach Petersen, what are the trade-offs with size that makes our backs so small?

UWDP: Do you actually think it’s a matter of tradeoffs vs. the availability of 220+ guys that have running back skills - like there’s an intent to select small guys for the position?


What is more surprising: Arizona being 0-2 or Arizona State being 2-0?

UWDP: I didn’t expect either, really.

I didn’t buy the Arizona hype but I really thought Kahlil Tate would run to at least one win in games against to mediocre opponents. And I wouldn’t have bet on ASU over Michigan State.

Probably Arizona being 0-2, when I think about it. Arizona State has enough weapons to win an early-season game against a probably-pretty-good-but-really-not-known Michigan State team. There’s no way a coach like Kevin Sumlin should’ve been able to so completely neuter a guy as dynamic as Tate.

Todd B.

Am I wrong in suggesting that Browning has lost arm strength? He doesn’t appear to have the same crisp snap on his throws.

UWDP: If he has lost velocity, I’d wager it has to do with his knee injury right now. But I don’t think it’s a huge thing right now, really. It wasn’t the issue on Saturday (at least versus “historical” Jake Browning velocity).


Why can’t we ever beat ASU and how does ASU’s start have you feeling about our matchup in two weeks?

UWDP: I think it’s going to be a pretty fun game, and Washington is going to win fairly comfortably. Double digits.


Which unit are you most concerned about heading into Pac-12 play and why are you so worried about the offensive line?

UWDP: Yeah, the offensive line is a huge worry. And it seems like the trend is going the wrong way. I’m really hoping Nick Harris is healthy and ready to go for the Utah Game. I watched both of the new starters play better against Auburn than they did against North Dakota. I don’t know how much of that was my lying eyes, a letdown, a coaching decision, etc. I just want to see better.

On defense, the injuries at inside linebacker are already concerning. Washington needs DJ Beavers and Brandon Wellington back right away. At least one of them. With Tevis Bartlett being a swing player, the depth issues inside are hurting what the Huskies can do on the outside as well.


Have the first two games changed your expectations for the season? If so, how?

Also, good one with the “QB controversy edition.” Did you realize how many people would take that seriously?

UWDP: Nah, I thought that this was a team that could win the Pac 12 and be in the conversation for the playoffs. I didn’t “expect” either of those where absolute sure things. I haven’t seen anything yet that either is unreasonable or even unlikely.

As a total number, no. As a percentage (I figured about 50% would), then yes.


Nice title for the week.

I might be only one that thinks this way.

Is it possible Peterson dumbs down his playbook for out of conference? I have had this feeling that he treats these type of games as almost like a practice.

To me last few years have had this feeling.

UWDP: I certainly agree. As other readers have said, there’s very little benefit to be had by simply out-athleting a team like North Dakota. I think the staff is using the game as a chance to work on certain things while still getting a win. That isn’t to say anything about any specific individual performance - just the philosophy of the attacks and the emphasis on both sides of the ball.

Asking for a friend

Do you feel like an A- is a reasonable grade to bestow upon our passing offense from the North Dakota game? What grade would you have given it?

UWDP: I’d give it a lower grade, but mostly because of some issues with the offensive line. There are people that are a lot more bothered by the interceptions than I am. One was a mental mistake (bad) and one was purely a bad pass, physical mistake (not at all good, but it appeared there was something else going on there). Same with some of the off-target throws later in the game.


Between Pleasant and McGrew, who do u see carving out the bigger role as we go on?

UWDP: I still think it’s going to be Kamari Pleasant, if only because he’s actually used in some meaningful snaps as a blocker. I don’t see Sean McGrew finding a niche like that, and I don’t think the Huskies are going to be using a three-back rotation with the game on the line.

That’s all, folks. GO HUSKIES!!!