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Mailbag: “Typo Edition” Edition

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Eastern Washington v Washington Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images
  • No number from 1 to 999, when written in its word form, contains the letter “a.”
  • “Phronemophobia” is the fear of thinking.
  • The odds of dying while in your car driving to buy lottery tickets is higher than the odds of winning the lottery.
  • The word “gorilla” is derived from the Greek word meaning “a tribe of hairy women.”
  • The average person spends about six months of their lifetime waiting for a red light to turn green.
  • “Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia” is the fear of long words.
  • A flock of crows is known as a murder.

Idaho-Portland Dawg: Did you like UW’s new blitz packages? Thoughts on Cal’s performance against UC Davis? And do you play WoW Classic?

UWDP: The Huskies blitzed a bit, more than I expected, but I don’t think there was too much that was actually “new” on Saturday. The outside linebackers were definitely freed up to rush and attack quite a bit; we saw them lined up wide of the offensive tackles in seven and even nine techniques, with their hands on the ground. But that was a lot like what we saw in 2016 with Jojo Mathis and Psalm Wooching. Their were a variety of blitzes from the inside linebackers, and a few different blitzes from the secondary (mostly with Elijah Molden). I don’t recall a corner blitz Saturday. And I don’t remember Jojo McIntosh being used as a blitzer too often the last few years, but Myles Bryant was (although he also lined up in positions other than the base Rover slot).

I didn’t pay too much attention to the Cal-UC Davis game, but it sure seemed like Cal had a tough time staying out of its own way. The Bears’ first five possessions went turnover, punt, turnover, punt, turnover. Seems like Cal is very similar to last season - good defense, anemic offense. I certainly don’t think they expected the starting running back to have to carry the ball 36 times on opening weekend.

If Wow Classic is a video game, then no. If it’s not, then also no.

Midas Fireball: Raise your hand if Mr. Fullerina (that man can dance!) was your pick for top playmaker week one? Yup, me neither. Who is going to light up Cal, Mr. Johnson?

UWDP: Great game for Aaron Fuller, which was nice to see. He had a lights-out start to 2018 as well, with 35 catches for over 600 yards the first half of the season, only to tail off pretty dramatically. So, I’m optimistic, but cautious.

Salvon Ahmed. Cal still has a really good secondary, so I don’t know that we’ll see as much explosion in the passing game. I expect the running game to start to hit its stride this week, and Ahmed is going to be the primary beneficiary. But I also expect a lot of guys to make plays - Hunter Bryant, Sean McGrew, Richard Newton....

co Dawg: what is the bigger concern:? that Joe Tryon was mostly invisible or the bad angel Cameron Williams took on the big play?

UWDP: The Cameron Williams play doesn’t concern me in the least right now. As far as I’m concerned, it was a true freshman in his first action that just lost his head a little bit and came in out of control to try and make a tackle. His play otherwise was solid. The way the outside linebackers were used seemed pretty tailor-made for Joe Tryon, and it seems like he should’ve been able to make plays against a largely overmatched opponent. I thought he was decent, even if the stats don’t show him with a huge impact. But it would’ve been nice to see more from him. I wouldn’t go as far as “concerned,” though. Not yet.

Zsmitty16: I really want to see more Latu on the field. What packages/situations do you see him getting playtime in?

UWDP: All of them, really. I don’t think he’s a “situational” player. He just needs more time to absorb everything that’s being thrown at him by the coaching staff. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him get more snaps as the games wear on.

IsIsaiahtheMessiah--IT4: Where does Jimmy Lake fall on the universal spectrum of coolness?

UWDP: With the shades he was wearing Saturday, he falls under “Sets the Standard.”

Hightop Husky: Why even bother playing Cal? Or any of the games left on our schedule for that matter. I mean after Oregon lost to Auburn our season is effectively over, right? That’s all I’ve heard from people like you, Chris, mmeggs and a litany of others. So my question is what do we do until next year?

Oregondawg: Since Oregon lost (no tears in my eyes) and our pathway to the championship is less clear, does this require Peterson to win by big margins to get the voters’ attention? For me, the means forget Mr. Nice Classy guy, and to act more like old Chip Kelly who would continue to run up the score despite being ahead 40 points in the forth quarter. Now I sincerely dislike Kelly but I also recognize college football is a beautiful contest and it’s about the voters. Your thoughts?

UWDP: If we didn’t play call, if we just called off the season, we’d miss being treated to your witty repartee, Hightop. That seems boring considering how much time until the next meaningful football game.

Thanks for reading.

At this point, Washington just needs to keep winning.

imabithusky: Jacob Eason no doubt had a great opening game. With all eyes on him, were the WRs getting open and making space, or was the Howitzer attached to Eason’s shoulder just that good?

UWDP: There were a number of factors, s’far as I could see:

First, Jacob Eason played great. That was just fantastic football. I can’t recall a Husky debut that would compare. Second, the receivers stepped up, particularly Aaron Fuller. Two really nice catches, plus the Baccellia big play, a dash or two of Hunter Bryant....but we’ve seen these guys all play well before. Three, it was Eastern. Not to bag on the Eagles, but this was an FCS team. Washington’s QB is supposed to dominate in games like this.

Jacob Eason probably has as much arm talent as any QB that’s worn the purple and the gold. The ball just flies differently when it comes out of his hand. It seems to spin faster. The closest comp I can come up with is Drew Bledsoe. You can hear the ball approach when those types of guys throw it. It almost whistles. But as much as it is beautiful to watch Eason throw the ball, I’d say the biggest factor in his performance on Saturday wasn’t his arm, it was his head and his feet. He was incredibly decisive on all but a few throws, and he got the ball out on time. That arm gives him a larger margin for error when he’s a tad late making a decision, but he’s pretty much unstoppable when he’s that precise and efficient.

Cal’s secondary is one of the best he’ll face all season. It’s going to take a big effort from the receivers on Saturday to even come close to replicating that performance.

Eason fan: How concerned should we be about the youth in the secondary and their ability to fix some of the miscues today? Are they completely fixable? I was a little disappointed that they gave up that 60 or so yard score, but then again our standards are ridiculously high.

UWDP: Yeah, we’ve gotten a bit spoiled; I wonder how many Husky fans actually remember what “bad” secondary play even looks like anymore.

I thought the secondary was pretty solid. I loved what Elijah Molden did as the nickel back, I thought Bryant looked good at Rover, and as I already said, the the missed tackle by Williams is just a one-off as far as I’m concerned - Keith Taylor makes the tackle if Williams doesn’t knock him out of the play, and Williams makes the tackle if he’s just a little more under control. Disappointing because it’s a bad stat against the D, but that’s just a sign of how good we have it.....

Dominque Hampton dropped what would’ve been an easy TD on an interception, but he was in the right spot. Trent (don’t call me OJ) McDuffie looks like a star, sooner rather than later. Kyler Gordon had a bit of a rough start, but even there, the things that went wrong for him are definitely fixable. I’m not worried about him at all.

JT Wop: What will Cal see from the week 1 game film that it will try to exploit?

BigWillie: Our line is so huge. Why couldn’t we get the run going??? Aside from Newton’s TD run we were constantly being stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

UWDP: They’re going to see that the Washington running game continues the years-long trend of starting off a little ragged. In terms of execution, the line is 80%-90% of the way there on each play, but it’s that last little bit that determines the difference between the running back having to go it on his own to pick up a couple of yards, and the play working beautifully for a gain of 7, just how it was drawn up. Cal has a great secondary, and Washington’s offense could very well look mediocre if they can’t run the ball.

This isn’t really something that Cal will exploit; it’s more a matter of Washington cleaning things up. If the Huskies can run the ball Saturday, they’re going to win comfortably. If they can’t stay out of their own way, it could be a much uglier win (but still a win).

AusDawg: Huskies can limit Cal’s run game, but can they stop Cal’s passing attack? Who wins the air game? Does Eason carve up Cal’s D? Will he have time in the pocket to pick apart Cal?

UWDP: I really don’t have a lot of fear of Cal’s offense, either running or throwing. They might be able to move the ball a time or two, but if Cal wins the game by “outscoring” Washington, the final for both teams is going to be in the teens again.

Ozdawg: Do you think bulletin board materials (See Cal: Weaver) really has an impact during a game?

UWDP: It might matter for the first series or two, but not after that.

Do people actually think what Evan Weaver said counts as “bulletin board material”? I certainly don’t.

GaryfromMI: Which coaches are on the sidelines and which are in the box during a game?

UWDP: Pete Kwiatkowski and Bush Hamdan are in the box during the game. I’m not sure who else.

Grammar Police: Can you edit the headline from “Cal Most Do Down” to “Cal Must Go Down”? :)

dmiller363: Why didn’t you double check your spelling?

UWDP: I have the capability, yes, but I’m far, far, far too lazy to do anything about it. But I appreciate the people that pointed it out. Each and every one of you. In the comments, in the questions, by email, text, etc. Thanks.

I’ll put the over/under for spelling or grammar mistakes in this article at 7.5 (that only includes the stuff I write, not the questions).

SkiDawg93: Huskies had some nice passes over the middle against EWU. Seemed to be missing the past couple years. Do you think we will utilize the middle of the field this year in the passing game and if so, why? Thanks.

UWDP: I think sometimes people wanted to make this an issue that was about Jake Browning’s arm strength at times, or bad play calling/design, etc. Really, at a basic level, it’s much simpler than that. When you start out with your personnel bunched tight in the middle, that’s where the defense is as well, and it means that the open areas are more likely to be on the outside (where the defense isn’t). The Washington offense in 2017 and 2018 ran a lot of tight sets. In 2016, and in game one of 2019, we saw more three wide receiver sets, with the personnel spread wide. That means that, in comparison, the middle has a higher likelihood of being open, by formation. Dante Pettis made a killing on deep in routes in 2016, if anyone recalls.

Short answer: more 3 wides, more ability to work back inside, yes. We’ll see how it evolves.

NeuroDawg: Can we do away with the DickCat moniker and recognize that The WildNewt™ is much better?

UWDP: I think the question of “what to call it” is completely secondary to “why do we feel the need to run it?”

Syd Barrett: In what year will college football players will be (openly) paid? And what will be the form of payment?

UWDP: 2027, in leftover war bonds.

Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Andrew Smith: After watching the UW, I watched Oregon Auburn, and it was pretty obvious that the Ducks didn’t have a play where the QB gets the ball under center. UW seemed to put so many different formations in during a game but there was at least one play under center. UW puts so many looks in, how do they manage that?

Is that just better coaching? Must be?

UWDP: Lots of plays with the QB under center.

It takes a lot of effort and attention to detail. It’s a big part of the reason college football is a year-round game.

Yes, I think Washington’s offensive coaches are far better than Oregon’s. Duck fans would agree, I’m sure.

Victoria Husky: One somewhat concerning aspect of Petersen has been his reluctance to use the best talent on the field out of loyalty or a ‘time in the program’ paradigm.

It’s early but it appears this is changing based on depth charts, who played and so forth. Has he had an epiphany and recognized the new landscape of college football?

UWDP: I’m not sure how much I actually buy this one. I think it’s generally true that older players are more experienced and more ready to play. I think there are just too many examples of young guys beating out older guys to think this is some sort of “issue” with the way Petersen coaches his team. Young guys start over older guys every game. I think as fans, when we see certain positions or players struggle, we like to tell ourselves stories.

Onewoodwacker: We hit some BIG plays but I believe we watered down our offense for EWU. What are you expecting/hoping to see more of?

UWDP: I’d be pleased as punch if we saw some cohesiveness from the offensive line in the running game. It seems like it’s usually about week four before they really “pop,” and things start to look good. Seeing that this week would be great.

Otis: Going forward, do you see Newton handling the wildcat sets? I was surprised that McGrew wasn’t in for that play. I did like how McGrew was one of the first guys to congratulate Newton on the TD run. I was expecting to hear the announcers say, “Newton gets his first touchdown as a Husky... and, this just in, Sean McGrew has officially entered the transfer portal”.

UWDP: Your last line, for the win. I think it’s going to be mandatory starting next season that all teams provide an actual transfer portal (like from Star Trek) on the sidelines during any official team activity.

Dawg4Ever: Do you think the publicized “even” competition between Haener and Eason was genuine? How can anyone who watched Eason in the EWU game believe the two were “almost even” and Coach Pete just had a “gut feel” about who should start? Come on! Unless Eason is one of those rare athletes who play MUCH better in a game than they practice, Eason must have always been number 1 by a lot!!

UWDP: More than a few people watch practice, and we never heard, not once, of Eason having a day like he did on Saturday. And we would have. So, we can assume he had a really good day, a special day, and maybe it’s because he’s a gamer. We’ll have to see. So, yeah, I tend to believe the reports that it was even. The conspiracies just don’t really make sense.

Dawg4Ever: Spiker (6’3”, 9th best WR in nation) and Osborne (6’2”, 39th best WR) were last year’s top class, 4 star receivers. But they didn’t even get 1 second on the field (I think) as a receiver. Against EWU, I don’t think Spiker played, Osborn did a little (I think) but had no catches. Coach Pete has said the receivers need to step up and make plays (meaning upperclassmen), and he’s been saying this for awhile. So is there any hope for these two highly heralded players contributing in a big way this year (and they are sooo tall!). I keep waiting and hoping. It appears Puka Nacua, a pure freshmen also highly heralded, is ahead of them in the pecking order? I don’t think EWU is indicative of the kind of pass defense they guys will face the rest of the year, so however great our wideouts were last Saturday doesn’t mean a lot going forward, does it?

UWDP: I think there’s two ways to look at this right now.

First, we have two different UW wide receiver coaches that have kept the young guys on the bench. Maybe they aren’t all they were cracked up to be, maybe it’s bad coaching (again), maybe it’s Petersen’s refusal to play younger players.

The other way to look at it is, Who’s game didn’t you like on Saturday? Fuller, Baccellia, McClatcher....who should’ve been sitting instead of playing?

It’s one game. I say we wait until the receivers struggle before we start to believe there’s a problem. It isn’t a crazy thought that guys that have been in the program for four-plus years are ahead of guys that only have a season - it doesn’t say anything about the ceiling for anyone, or who’s going to be where on the depth chart in the near future.

Jordan Nelson: Do you see Richard Newton becoming the primary starter at RB by season’s end with Ahmed returning to his change-of-pace role he filled alongside Gaskin?

hckeller: Where did Newton come from, and why haven’t we heard much about him in all of the lists? Like who is the likely breakout star, etc.? Was this expected? Is he a one game wonder?

UWDP: Salvon Ahmed wasn’t really a “change-of-pace” back last season. He was the backup. The offense didn’t change when he came in.

While I thought Richard Newton had a great game, I don’t really think it’s quite time to be forecasting him taking over the bell cow role. It’d be great if he seized it. He needs to show something against an opponent a little more formidable than Eastern, though.

Newton wasn’t a huge name recruit, but he was injured part of his senior season, and spent much of his redshirt year recovering. People around the program were excited about his potential but given his injury and the guys in front of him, he suffered from “forgotten man” status just a little bit. He’s definitely done a lot to earn more carries going forward.

N. Dynamite, Esq.: What kind of torture should be meted out to members who continue to make references to footballs being thrown “over them mountains”? (I think being forced to watch the 2008 Apple Cup on repeat would be appropriate.)

UWDP: That Apple Cup would certainly be appropriate and deserved punishment, but with special emphasis placed on Paul Wulff’s celebratory “pony ride” dancing in the aftermath of the Cuog win. Maybe between plays?

anon: can we get a depth chart for huskies so all the new players and rotations make sense

UWDP: Here’s the official one from the University of Washington:

https://gohuskies.com/documents/2019/9/3//UW_Cal_Flipcard.pdf

There are others out there, and anyone that wants to do anon a solid in the comments, feel free.

DawgsAndRoses: What is the deadline each week to submit ques

UWDP: You just missed it. Oh well.

All for this week Husky fans. Do down, Cal!