And now, after one year and four days, we get to exorcise it from our system. This is all of course thanks to Kalen DeBoer and:
Finally, an offense that’s not from the Thatcher administration!
Not even hyperbole, I felt like I could breathe again watching that.
I couldn’t even really tell you the specifics of the offense simply because my brain wasn’t processing anything, just breathing one three-hour sigh of relief. This is true to the point that I just messaged our UWDP writers’ group going “wait did we run power or zone or...? I couldn’t tell you because every time we rushed out of a modern formation my brain just went static from palpable bliss.”
And I know it’s Kent State, and I know we have a talent advantage, and I know not to get too carried away...
But that was the case against Mon-f*cking-tana too. In other words, Washington’s offense did what Washington’s offense should do, and the pure relief of witnessing that felt like what I imagine it feels like to drink a litre of CIA-grade cough syrup (but like, only the good parts before things get weird).
Oh, and the offensive line’s pass protection wasn’t incompetent on a level reminiscent of the Pig War, which was nice.
No more thoughts there because, again, I had none.
Now to the defense.
Being well-rounded is good for your soul
Before diving into what we saw Saturday, I’ve gone through a re-run of my last impression of the last season of Jimmy Lake’s defense:
- Really good at one thing
- Really bad at one thing
- Like, truly, generationally bad at that one thing
Stale. Static. Still. Unevolving, unadapting, uninspired.
Despite its reputation for being suffocating successful — mostly based, by this point last year, on past performances and a couple extreme talents at corner — it was excruciatingly flawed. Known for the secondary yet placing safeties in the pre-snap equivalent of a football gulag. Ground defense so porous you could roll a whole Amtrak wagon through there unscathed. Never adapting your defensive line despite years of not having the physical freaks required to run that system effectively. Linebackers who can’t read and react to the fallout of the scheme in front of them.
It felt like by the end of last season even Washington’s defensive good-ness was held together by increasingly desperate patches of saran wrap and masking tape.
Sure, they were still ostensibly “good,” but when you started to consider the flaws for more than half a second with more than half a brain cell, that status was... dubious... at best, and it existed with a stability reminiscent of Rome circa 400.
All this to say: Ya know what, screw it, I’m down to give up some more passing plays if it means a defense with fewer gaping, “someone get me a turniquette stat”-level liabilities.
I mean, for one that was inevitable on some level anyway, given the departure of Trent “Perfect at Everything” McDuffie and Former Storm Youth Dance Troupe Icon Kyler Gordon. So we might as well make the front seven suck less donkey turds while we’re at it, right?
This especially stings less when you consider the alternative that was last season, which could be summed up with the sales pitch: “What if I told you you could be scored on at will, but you also get to lose like eight minutes off the clock each time this happens?”
Frankly that was half the depressosaurus rex of last year.
Last year’s defense’s status was such that teams would score all the time anyway but just also take up a whole-ass geological epoch in the process. Just for good measure, they’d be sure to convert like 13 third downs over that time, something that’s stumped mathemticians for ages given the dimensions of a football field.
This component is particularly worth noting considering the efficacy of Kalen DeBoer’s offense; its design is prolific enough where you ideally want as many possessions as possible — you’re betting that the marginal points scored per possession is greater for your offense than for your opponent’s.
So, if your defense is gonna give up some points, fine, whatever, but don’t hemorrhage the clock while you’re at it and do twice the damage.
All together, I’d rather have not just a more well-rounded defense but a more well-rounded defensive-offensive philosophy, even if it means a defense that’s weaker in one specific area that we’ve become spoiled over the last seven years.
Otherwise, my defensive notes included such insightful gems as:
- Pass rush looked pretty alright albeit hoo baby let’s work on finishing and contain discipline
- On second thought, their quarterback was Rasputin-level slippery, plus tackling for all teams usually is rusty in week one
- Although maybe he was just slippery because we suck. Oh god.
Then after that it was just a bunch of static and mmmmostly non-sensical stream of consciousness ramblings reminiscent of the lunacy that goes through your brain in those moments before falling completely asleep.
Which brings us to the moment you’ve been waiting all year for:
LINES OF THE WEEK
Jimmy Lake watching a non-dogshit offense, probably:
All of us seeing non-dogshit offense, definitely:
All of us the first time we saw a formation and route combo from the 21st century:
Michael Penix being healthy n’ good n’ showing off that he *ahemlookingatyoubrockhuardyouweeny* earned his starting role:
To Kalen DeBoer and Co for restoring my enjoyment in Husky Football:
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.