Nope, not gonna talk about Alf’s woulda-been pick six two-yard line drop, nagada. You try to tempt me, O Satan, but I will not succumb. You can’t make me.
But this is nice:
What did co-DC and LBs coach William Inge say to Alphonzo Tuputala? "I told him that I love him, and I appreciate the fact that he made a play." But also, he coached him to hand the ball to the official next time. "He owned it, and said, 'coach, I'm going to make up for it.'"— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) November 13, 2023
Welp, that was suprisingly easy, actually.
Which brings us to...
A 38% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything
Welp, just like I tragically thought, the tragedy of what I thought would happen tragically did happen.
That is, Utah matches up perfectly against Washington. If you’re Utah, that is. They match up horribly with Washington if you’re Washington.
Because as we all know, the Dawgs haven’t exactly had the stoutest of defensive interiors this season. Nor have they had, uh, “championship level” tackling. And Utah, as we knew coming into this, runs well and runs often and run-blocks giant, awkwardly-angled lanes that make the second level’s job all that more difficult — particularly when said second level has been known for suboptimal angles and mediocre tackling form on top of it.
So yeah: We knew this was gonna happen, it did indeed happen, everyone spent three hours trying not to stress vom even though we all knew to expect this happening, and then it was over.
Still though, as I said at the end of last season, moving forward tackling would be the biggest obstacle in the way of this team levelling up. I still extremely feel this way. I get the sense that most of you feel the same. We are all — obviously — right.
Granted, that was only half the issue Saturday in this category. The first that had to be fixed before a tackle could even be made was Utah’s offensive line bulldozing UW’s initial defense out of the way like 19th century loggers on their way through an old growth forest. That’s a whole other problem, and one with a less straightforward fix and some concerning implications for the future. But whatever, I’m not here to be concerned about the future during a season like this because a season like this is to be enjoyed in the moment, dammit.
And a team like Utah that clears full corridors for a running back as scary as Ja’Quinden Jackson — yeah, that’s gonna expose your team’s flaws when your team’s flaws are “we get cleared into full corridors for running backs and then can’t tackle them when they’re as scary as Ja’Quinden Jackson.”
There’s not really a point to all this, except maybe on an existential level that it’s slightly less horrifying to witness problems in action when you knew to expect said problems to begin with? Except, was it really less horrifying? I don’t know about you guys, but I for one was just about as stressed as possible watching this game anyway. Or was I? Would it have been worse if Utah did exactly what they did and we were just sitting there, unsarcastically going “Whoah! This is brand new information!”
We’ll never know.
And to end it:
This — this is why I was harping on core health for torque generation the last three weeks:
watched this 50 times pic.twitter.com/AiAhh8Ywtu— Steve Sandmeyer (@SteveSandmeyer) November 12, 2023
*Prying your eyes open, Clockwork Orange-style*
Look how unaligned Mike’s feet are! He’s throwing that, through a clusterfork of wind, in tight coverage, with like... 60% of his body actually behind it. And it’s an absolute banger of a throw. Look at it! Look at pass, Michael!
(But also to be fair, the ball’s final placement is a few feet “behind” in the direction of his lead foot/hip opening versus where he’d presumably want to place it in a perfect throw and Rome just is elite at adjusting to track a ball mid-air.)
Anyways, all this to demonstrate Mike’s absurd coordination and how that allows him to generate so much leverage to chuck absolute bombs on a rope even with his feet all willy nilly — and why his torso being healthy is so crucial to that, and why subsequently he looked waaaay worse against ASU and Stanford.
Sidenote: While obviously you have to have the muscle mass to do certain movements as well as possible, what we attribute exclusively to “arm strength” is actually more coordination and mobility. Add in length and you’ve got a doozy of an arm. Power comes from torque and torque is well-coordinated length. (Different motion but see: “Ruby Meylan hurling darts.”)
Arm “strength” ain’t shit.
(No but for real, I’m 5’8” but with the arms and legs of a 6’ tall person. I have always been a little weakling. I have also always been so slow AKA lacking in fast twitch muscle fibers that it should genuinely be studied as a genetic anomaly. Like, so slow scientists would assume there was a documentation error. “Oh look at this, clearly a typo,” they’d exclaim upon my slowness metrics. I can also throw farther and faster than probably 90+% of the people reading this, and have been able to since I was 13. That’s what happens when you have the limbs of a giant squid and the mechanical coordination of a... are giant squid coordinated? What’s a well-coordinated animal? I’m not arrogant enough to say cat because those mfers are freaks, which I am extremely not. Well whatever, you get the picture. My arms don’t possess strength.)
That is all. Torque Appreciation Society meeting adjourned.
Lines of the Week
To be quite honest, Utah:
All of us realizing what happened on that pick woulda-been six:
And once again pulling out this banger for the second time in, like, a month for “all of us when Grady Gross, who’d been shockingly good as a first year starter, had his game-sealing kick blocked in a way that would make Charlie Brown look graceful:”
Lastly, cheers to those of you who suggested I watch the game at Feile while in New York. Can confirm it’s a good time.
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.