Mike Vorel’s latest dispatch from Washington’s spring practices centers on what steps the Dawgs are taking to improve last year’s lackluster pass rushing, which produced just 1.71 sacks per game (ranked 100th out of 130 teams nationally):
The underperforming pass rush was a glaring weakness in an otherwise elite defense. Chris Petersen knows it. Jimmy Lake knows it. Pete Kwiatkowski knows it.
Joe Tryon knows it, and he’s not afraid to say it.
“In the outside backer room, we all joke around about how little sacks we got,” Tryon said. “It’s motivation this year because I don’t even know how many we had last year, but it was a pitiful amount.
“I’m motivated to get that up there. I know me and all the other dudes are trying to get to the quarterback. That’s our main job, trying to get to the quarterback.”
Paul Myerberg continues his conference previews by turning his eyes to the Conference of Champions, and can’t help but note that the Huskies are likely to be the Pac-12’s only hope of landing a berth in the College Football Playoff:
The Pac-12 ended last season with two ranked teams: Washington and rival Washington State. That’s fewer ranked teams than the Mountain West, which had three. Likewise with the SEC West — and the SEC East. The Big Ten finished with five ranked teams, three in the East.
While the ACC matched the Pac-12 with just two teams ranked in the final polls, there’s one significant difference: Clemson. The Tigers tore through league play, the national semifinals and then Alabama. The Pac-12 was essentially removed from the College Football Playoff discussion after Washington’s loss to Oregon in October, even if the Cougars remained on the very periphery of the race heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
It’s springtime in the Pac-12. One question stands above the rest: Can this league put a team into the semifinals, or will it once again be left out of the conversation before even the debut rankings? The Huskies are the offseason favorite with several others in tow as the Pac-12 heads into April.
Dane Brugler’s latest mock draft predicts that eight Washington Huskies will hear their names called at the NFL Draft later this month, starting with Byron Murphy in the first round at No. 27 overall and ending with Greg Gaines in the seventh round at No. 250 overall.
- Scott Hanson tells the story of Steve Hawes, the 10-year NBA veteran from Mercer Island who set a bevy of school records while playing college basketball for the Huskies:
In Steve’s three varsity seasons (freshmen were ineligible to play varsity), he averaged 20.8 points and 12.9 rebounds, both No. 1 for any Husky who played more than 25 games. He has the fourth, fifth, and 11th highest season-scoring averages in UW history and the No. 1 and No. 3 rebounding seasons (14.9 and 14.0).
“It means a lot to me,” Hawes said of his UW career, one of the greatest in school history. “You look back, and you realize it was pretty special. I had great, great teammates, and great, great coaching all four years.”
- Washington’s softball program added their 10th win in a row yesterday thanks to a 4-0 shutout against Cal.
- The baseball team is looking for some sort of a spark, as Sunday’s loss to Arizona extended their losing streak to six games — all of them against conference opponents.