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Stuff and Shenanigans: Gross Victory

That’s a great leg right there.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Welp, my notes I wrote for Sunday for this piece just said “detail b*tch”? I’m not quite sure what that means... Like a security detail? Whatever, we’ll figure it out as we go along.

Whoah, I almost wrote an intro there. Gross. Just like the winner of this game, who is also extremely Gross! (Get it? God I crack myself up.) That Grady is so Gross right now.

A 0% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything

Let’s get this out of the way first — and I say this with the full understanding that we all make mistakes but for some of them there are less excuses for, for example if it’s a really really really boneheaded thing to do in your area of expertise where you spend 20+ hours training a week and where you had time to think it through first and go “hmm is this a good idea” and also you had like a decade plus to know it was a bad idea and even casuals know it’s a bad idea but we all make mistakes as I said — why. On Earth. Is someone who spends their life dedicated to football. Trying to do the move that everyone knows is in practice almost always an automatic first down penalty. With a rivalry opponent. Just outside the red zone?

I just... dude come on.

This isn’t to go overboard on Dom Hampton’s case — I think he’s a fun player and a contributor you want to have on your team — but it’s more evidence in a small but noticeable pile of areas on defense where details have been neglected. In this case the detail of “Ya know that really stupid decision? Yeah, don’t do that.”

Clearly this isn’t just Hampton’s fault since another player (I believe ZTF) did the same move earlier in the game, only he was either aware enough to know you can’t freaking touch your opponents while leaping over them, or they both knew that but only ZTF was good enough to execute it cleanly. Either way, almost nobody can execute it legally and betting on yourself being some special exception is arrogant as hell.

As far as I can tell, this is a microcosm of the thing holding this team back as “simply super awesome” when they could be “almost literally unstoppable.”

And sure, maybe it’s silly to have criticisms of a team that’s 12-0 for the first time in Pac-12 history and 12-0 in the regular season for the first time in their own program’s 120+ year history, but when the criticism is attention to the last 10% of detail in execution or mental discipline? That doesn’t take skill or a five star ranking.

There’s no reason a team should be so good at so much — but then be constantly leaving their feet and attempting pathetic weak arm tackles across the board. Or dumping the ball on the three yard line after what would have been a pick six. Or jumping the line and immediately gifting your opponent four extra points. Or or or.

I find this especially frustrating because it’s primarily a defensive issue, and this is a defense that has improved significantly from their status as an injury-demolished sieve last season. They’re so much better. They’ve kept Washington undefeated, even: When Mike Penix was especially unhealthy coming out of Oregon against ASU, or when the weather meant there wouldn’t be a shootout against Oregon State, or when they had to step up one final time to stop USC’s absolute magician at quarterback.

But they’ve also kept WSU in the game, and Utah, and extended opponents’ drives or turned what should’ve been a short play into explosive ones and even touchdowns from pathetically weak — to the point of arrogance to think it would do the job — tackling attempts.

That’s on the coaches.

These fantastic coaches who’ve taken us two years out from arguably the worst season in Washington history to be undefeated. (Yes, ‘21 was worse than ‘08, come at me.) I thought they would be quite good when the hire was announced and predicted — like most of you, presumably — that first year under DeBoer the Huskies would probably have either eight or nine wins. (Let’s use this as a moment to dunk once more on Jimmy Lake — how awful you have to be to have Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, Puka Nacua, and so on and have that offense. Oof, verily.)

But now we’re at the point where we’ve got a decent sample size, know this staff eats fools for breakfast, lunch, second breakfast, elevensies, tea time, and dinner, know DeBoer is one of the best in the country, know that we love ‘em all — and also can point to the aspects of this team that aren’t operating to that same standard.

So, uh... here’s me doing that, I suppose.

Otherwise there are plenty of things to discuss from this Apple Cup but I won’t because I’m pretty sure everyone else already has (*insert freaking out about Mike being off*) and there’s no point in just running my mouth with no new thoughts. Which, to be honest, is how I feel about everything I say here and I’m quite sure that having to talk each week is absolutely pointless for everyone involved whether it’s me writing this or you reading this or whatever.

There’s only one other thought that can’t be repeated enough:

Grady Gross: You are The Man.

Protect this icon among mortals.

Nothing to add. That is all.

Lines of the Week

Kay, one thought before getting on with it which is that, like last year to end the regular season, I’m gonna throw up my Ko-Fi in case anyone feels like throwing me like, two dollars. Here it is! Donate if you want! But you don’t have to!

This is because, as much as I do like writing for you guys (read: have Stockholm Syndrome because this community has been cool and without it I would’ve peaced out long ago), doing so has held me back professionally from getting more work each football season and realistically has actually held me back from getting an actual, non-freelance job this whole time. I enjoy it (again, Stockholm Syndrome), but I try not to think too hard about the opportunity cost of spending so much of my time and energy here the last eight years, because said opportunity cost is depressingly high. Realistically it has had a significant impact on both my professional career and financial security in a, umm... not great way.

(I mentioned in a bit more detail the realities of this last year, which I don’t want to spam you with rehashing again.)

Really though, if I’m being completely honest you should donate to my Ko-Fi because I’m down to one pair of wearable long pants after my black Levi’s I dressed up and down for everything and wore realistically 275+ days last year finally died last week. I am genuinely not joking — there are now two unpatchable deteriorating holes just... right on both upper inner thighs (one might argue crotch). Absolutely elegant. So dignified. I am grace.

So there’s my sales pitch: Donate to my New Pants Fund! Isn’t that compelling?

(Alternatively if you’d like to support me but can’t afford to spend at the moment you can subscribe for free to this dumb story time.)

But that’s enough about how I barely own pants anymore.

To the lines!

Kalen DeBoer and Ryan Grubb calling that heart-stoppingly ballsy call (you know the one):

(Yes I know they were metaphorically hyper sober and made the opposite of a drunk decision rather an extremely calculated, well thought-out decision but ya know what don’t ruin my fun.)

at Pac-12 user Washington State:

Aaaaand for the third time this season, we’re bringing Cunk back because this is just the whole Apple Cup in one moment. In fact, it’s the whole history of the Apple Cup in one moment:

Lastly, my request to all of you next week, no matter what happens in this Oregon rematch:

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