Dear Magic 8 Ball,
Do I have to write an intro?
*Try again later*
Okay, well at least while I’m waiting for the Magic 8 Ball to tell me if I have to write an intro, I’ll just get to the rest of it.
A 100% Accurate and 74% Sober Rundown of Absolutely Everything
First off: Do you know how un-stressed you have to be watching a football game to start drinking red wine? I do. Because according to last Saturday, apparently “Washington versus Arizona 2020” is the new official threshold. That’s right: Washington beat down that poor Arizona team so badly my brain went “Ya know what drink matches this atmosphere? Vino rouge.” I don’t even speak French!
I suppose that makes last week versus Oregon State the equivalent of, like, absinth.
This could be premature — but this game feels like Halloween 2015 versus, fittingly, Arizona. Ya know? Like, not a super great opponent, but everything sure seemed to fall together so well for a team we had questions about that the opponent seems almost irrelevant. And then afterwards we looked at that team and went, “That’s a spicy-a meatball!” Remember?
And we were right! They were a spicy meatball! And they were soon to be even spicier!
Remember that feeling of hope and giddiness after that Halloween? I do, because besides Jake and Myles annihilating the Wildcats, someone at my house’s Halloween party spilled liquid... something... on my computer that was streaming the game. (Plus I had a killer costume: the right two bear arms. It was just a brown felt pant leg and sleeve with paws and duct tape claws. Get it... two bear arms? On my right side? Ah I crack myself up!)
I’m gonna start with Zion Tupuola-Fetui (again) because he was such a monster (again). Through two games he looks like what we always wanted Benning Potoa’e to turn into. Am I wrong there? No, I don’t think so. (Though I will happily hear out any arguments otherwise.) There’s not really much to elaborate on here that wasn’t already said last week and hasn’t been said by everybody who spent even one atomic second watching the Huskies’ defense on Saturday. Also add some credit for a couple coverage sacks to the secondary, too, who were so good at their job — the starters, anyway — that there’s almost literally nothing to say about them.
Although, the only time I noticed ZTF screw up was actually a screw-up many of us at first attributed to Sav’ell Smalls, thinking their spots were swapped. That is, there was maybe one single explosive play for Arizona against UW’s first stringers, and it came when ZTF didn’t seal the edge against Gary Brightwell who scampered off for a handful of yards, 15 or 20 maybe. Our writers’ group chat didn’t realize that was on ZTF and not Smalls until, like, at least 48 hours later, which I’ll defend by once more bringing up the fact that my eyes are so bad they can’t actually be measured. That’s right, like any stately British politician or a very small premature baby, I will use whatever innate and/or learned flaws I’ve got to avoid accountability for my mistakes. Thumbs up!
All this leading up to the fact that, even disregarding ZTF, all the OLBs had some diagnosably kickass moments — even the true freshman that was more an afterthought than anything going into this season, Cooper McDonald, had a batted down pass. Then you got Ryan Bowman’s spin move, which was so instantaneous and embarrassing I’m pretty sure the spin move itself was sentient, and Smalls, who the very next snaps after we incorrectly thought he blew it, was the guy to end the play. Twice. In a row.
Otherwise I have to give credit to the dude I picked on last week. Thank you, Jackson Sirmon.
Don’t get me wrong, he was still clearly not close to Eddie Ulofoshio’s level, because Eddie Ulofoshio’s level was borderline a violation of at least three of the four Geneva Conventions. But unlike against Oregon State, Sirmon looked far more decisive, fluid, and instinctual. I guess that’s not saying that much considering how indecisive, slow, and whatever the opposite of instinctual is that he looked against the Beavs. But, hey — improvement is improvement!
I’ll still be keeping an eye on Sirmon because as we all know, ya girl hate’s small sample sizes. But that was nice to see; considering how much of a weakness he was the week prior, if he plays more like against Arizona and less like against OSU, then this defense can roll like a basket of Thanksgiving bready side dishes.
(...God that was the worst pun I’ve ever said, seen, or heard. Apologies.)
Before I pivot to the Dawgs’ offense, a quick thought that I think Arizona being a more balanced offense actually kind of screwed them. (I mean, that and having Noel Mazzone and Kevin Sumlin as coaches...) Obviously Gary Brightwell’s not the kaiju that Jermar Jefferson is, but he’s still quite good and had the Wildcats leaned on him early I feel like they would’ve at least had a chance to kind of maybe think about staying in the game. Sure, that would’ve only lasted like a quarter maybe, but better than being in the game for no quarters.
But no, of course Mazzone and Sumlin wouldn’t do that, because they’re both great recruiters and terrible coaches. If you can convince a talent like Grant Gunnell to come to Arizona, why wouldn’t you want to try to win the game off his arm? (The answer, of course, is because that’s a horrendously stupid idea against Washington’s secondary. But, equally of course-y, would the genius team of Mazzone and Sumlin heed that? Of course not.)
Arizona’s offensive ineptitude was a good reminder: What is a passing game if not instant gratification? Or, when utilized poorly, instant, soul-sapping disappointment?
The good thing for UW fans in this regard is that, if Jimmy Lake’s made anything clear about his vision for the offense, it’s that he really really really seems to feel that.
Which brings us to
tonight’s word last Saturday’s offense.
Namely: Yes. Please.
I don’t even really have that much to say about it because really my thoughts are just, like, that weird happy baby sun from the Teletubbies. But in a non-creepy way.
So I’ll try my best to articulate something but my thoughts aren’t words so much as a pleasant sunny vibe somewhere in the solar plexus.
First off — that amount of Cade Otton is the correct amount of Cade Otton, and honestly probably should’ve been the amount of big blocking tight ends in the pass game for, like, the last five years.
Second-of-ly, there’s only one weakness that stands out about Dylan Morris, and it’s ultra-fixable: He doesn’t sell play-action well. Yes, surely that’s what you were thinking, too, right? Surely there wasn’t any other thing people were “Aw schucks”-ing about his game? Oh, what’s that? There was? You mean he overthrew all but two of his deep balls?
Yeah, I’m not worried about that.
There’s two reasons, one regarding the throws and one specifically pertaining to Morris himself.
Nummer eins: the problem with his deep throws were easily identifiable and fixable — all they needed was to be less line drive-y AKA a steeper parabola AKA more air so the receivers could get to them and track ‘em better. That’s pretty much it.
Sure, there were a couple where, with the leverage of the defensive back, he probably could’ve benefited from throwing it so the receiver could change his trajectory and run a bit more diagonally to track the ball, but that’s adjacent to the issue, anyway.
Once you go “Yeah, it just needs a bit more of an arc” — well... that’s easy to fix.
Nummer zwei about why I’m not worried about DMo’s deep throws: he identified Problem #1 as The Problem With His Deep Throws and improved it during the course of the game. We saw over the span of, like, 20 minutes, Dylan Morris identify and correct one of the few obvious issues he had.
If a redshirt freshman is that cognizant and effective at applying what his cognition tells him while starting his second ever college football game...
All this to say: I’m pretty sure he’ll get the deep ball figured out.
Lines of the Week
Grant Gunnell and the rest of Arizona after coming so close to beating USC to just... have that happen to him:
Kay so this next one is a detour from the usual in that it’s not a line, per se but more of a... reenactment. Performance art, if you will.
Presenting a work I call, “The watermelon is Grant Gunnell and the man is ZTF and the people clapping are a l l o f u s .” (I’m not very good at coming up with art titles.)
Okay, enough on Grant Gunnell that poor child.
Wait actually I lied one more: ZTF’s future nephew telling the tale of him versus Grant Gunnell...
Okay but for real, let’s end on an “our joy” note instead of a “Gunnell’s misery” note. So with that in mind, Washington’s whole-ass defense and frankly offense and also Jimmy Lake and also all of us:
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.