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Stuff and Shenanigans: Third quarters suck (but first quarters, second quarters, and Pukas rule!)

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Also, a plea for Cade Otton to get at least one billion yards.

Hawaii v Washington Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Intros suck, here’s some lack thereof for you:

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Alrighty then, moving on.

A 100% Accurate and 79% Sober Rundown of Absolutely Everything

For starters, isn’t it great being in such a better mood than this time last week?

In the words of my main dude Richard Ayoade, “Every value I’ve ever held is being questioned, and I’m loving it.” Except minus all the words in between “every” and “and.” Because, really, this game didn’t prove affirmatively or otherwise any of the narratives or assessments we had after Cal. If anything, it was exactly what we know from this team — but it’s still reassuring to see the Dawgs healthily annihilate a team that A) is pretty alright and B) they should. Unlike last year, it’s nice seeing Washington step on the throat of teams they should beat.

Offensively, my personal favorite discovery has been the combination of Newton, Ahmed, and McGrew. Obviously it sucks losing Gas Can, but these three have held up way better than I was expecting. This is particularly true with McGrew; Ahmed we knew how explosive he could be while inferring he probably wasn’t an every down back while Newton had sounded good in camp and, as a redshirt freshman, was a high variance player with potential to look out for. But McGrew, as a redshirt junior, was a candidate for someone whose contribution ceiling had maybe been met. After all, it’s not shocking for someone to improve a lot during their latter years in a program, but the nature of marginal utility means it typically increases way more between a player’s first and second years than the years following. Seeing as he was going from his third to fourth years, it would have been excusable if you predicted his position had been carved out and would stay that way.

And for what its worth, he so far seems like a pretty clear third back behind Ahmed and Newton but, as far as third backs go, he’s clearly a step above both his old ability and what you’d usually expect from someone in that role. This is especially true of his patience of vision, and it’s certainly given even more room with Hunter Bryant improving significantly as a blocker. #RunningBackDepth #IsTheBomb #AsAre #KillerTightEnds

Also — imagine saying this in 2015 — I’m so happy we found someone to take over the wildcat.

Continuing with the trend of skill position improvement, I have no thoughts on Puka’s touchdown other than seeing him so pumped for his first career catch and score makes my heart happy. And, hopefully, that his appearance is a sign of things to come.

Because otherwise — just like we already knew — it still kind of sucks that the senior receivers aren’t able to get better separation even against secondaries that should be overmatched. Even Aaron Fuller’s long touchdown catch wasn’t a result of anything he did, but rather a credit to Eason’s ability to put the ball exactly where it needed to be. After all, Fuller still had a defensive back right on his hip, whose outstretched hands were only an inch or two away from swatting the ball down. Other than Bryant, there’s no upperclassman who I feel we can trust to separate.

Oh, and speaking of tight ends, I shed a tear over the lack of Cade Otton in the passing game. It’s not like I’m asking for a 1,000 yard season, but that dude’s a stellar mismatch for short and mid-range passing, has a ginormous catch radius, and mostly it’s just hilarious watching him rumble through people to pick up 10 yards. What is more American than watching a frighteningly large human beat the crap out of less-large-but-still-jacked humans? Why would you deprive us, the people, O Pete, of the joy of witnessing that? I can only think of one answer, Sir Peterton, and it is that you hate us with the passion of all of Saturn’s moons. And, through extension, that means only one thing: Chris Petersen — you heard it here first — hates America and also probably puppies. Spread the word.

Lastly, where the offense is concerned, it was nice to see the line be pretty heckin’ dominant in both the pass and run even given Hawaii’s not known for their front seven. At least we know the potential’s there.

On to the defense where, like you, I too am not super stoked on the third quarter but the amount of Hawaii going for it on fourth, liberal rotation of the Dawgs’ backups, and the fact that Hawaii’s offense is “like, really pretty,” is helping me keep this in perspective. This is especially true when considering the amount of Hawaii’s catches where their targets were always in the weak part of the zone, since that’s the basic first tenant of their run and shoot offense.

Pretty much, do I think the first half of Washington’s season will involve the Dawgs holding any high caliber opponents to three points? Mmmm, no. But we knew going into the year that, with the talent-youth combination, this was going to happen for at least the first month or two and perhaps longer. So, in order to keep my mental health from crumbling like Puyallup in a Mt Rainier eruption, my personal approach has been that there’s no need to get re-stressed each time this defense reminds us they’re not 2016, as if each time this occurs it’s a new revelation. Feel free to adopt this train of thought too, but also no pressure because it’s your life and you can do what you want so long as “what you want” does not include robbing a Target lingerie section while loaded on PCP.

I do suggest reminding yourself this defense is gonna get really good in a sec and blah blah blah growing pains.

In a related vein, if you want to see fun progress over the course of the season, my bet is on the young interior defensive linemen. My bet for the player about whom we exclaim “Oh my sweet baby Odin he’s so beautiful” is Tuli.

On the edge, on the other hand, it stinks that Ryan Bowman appears to be clinically incapable of not over-committing. On a related note, I am clinically incapable of not using double negatives.

Both of these stink, the former because Bowman came out of nowhere as a successful redshirt freshman but hasn’t been able to really replicate that productivity or progress since, and the latter because I’m sure there’s someone who wants to punch me in the face for the double negative tendencies and ya girl is definitely not hot enough to overcome a broken nose.

On the other part of the edge, it’s similarly somewhat frustrating that Joe Tryon hasn’t — at least briefly — continued his trajectory from the end of last season. Granted, most of you know that I’m a fan of considering sweet sweet sample sizes, and three games into a season isn’t enough to freak out about. It’s just... three games of certified ass-kicking would be a lot more fun.

Anyways if you took only one thing away from this let it be that our boy Pooks is the man.

Lines of the Week

All of us when Puka got his first touchdown catch:

You guys have no idea how much joy it brings me to use the above gif. It’s been saved in my “Gifs for UWDP” bookmark folder for over two years...

More shots of Husky fans revisiting Puka’s moment:

And, lastly, everyone watching the third quarter:

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