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Day 19: Is the Secondary Going to be Another Liability?

If not for injuries and newness of the staff, one can argue very well the team would have finished 12-0 with a trip to the conference championship.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 Oregon State at Washington Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the dramatic world of college football, one narrative has consistently echoed across the nation’s back pages: “Under Coach DeBoer’s helm, a team once marred by a 4-8 record skyrockets to a staggering 11-2 in a single season.” The football fraternity has been left astounded, not just by DeBoer, but by offensive maestro Ryan Grubb, whose playbook mastery has now crowned him the richest coordinator in the game’s history. And then there’s Washington, barging into the preseason top 10 for a commendable 14th time.

Now, let’s not mince words here. For all their glory, had it not been for one insurmountable hiccup that fate threw their way, we might very well have seen this team cap off the regular season with an untouched 12-0. The Achilles’ heel? The unraveling of the team’s secondary.

UCLA Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet has a field day against UW’s weakened defense
Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a recent huddle with the folks at the Pound, the debate got heated. Who’s that one former player to revolutionize our current squad the most? Names like Vita Vea were in the air, and Danny Shelton loyalists had their say. Yet, many nostalgically reminded us of the era when Washington was christened “DBU”, where safety blitzes from Taylor Rapp sent shivers down opponents, and interceptions by Budda Baker were as predictable as the sunrise.

While the limelight has predominantly celebrated the offensive juggernaut (and rightfully so), spearheaded by two 1,000-yard receivers, prolific rushers, and a quarterback being touted as the next Heisman sensation, the defensive talk has been muddled at best. Most fans don’t even know who the defensive coordinator is.

An old acquaintance of DeBoer from their Sioux Falls days, Chuck Morrell’s pedigree is unparalleled. Once a contender for the head coach position that DeBoer eventually cinched, Morrell’s prowess was further established at Fresno State, championing them in a plethora of defensive metrics in the entire FBS.

Actually, Fresno State ranked among the nation’s top 25 in metrics like scoring defense, turnovers, tackles for loss, fumble recoveries, as well as third and fourth-down conversion defense. Before this accolade, Sioux Falls thrived under his reign, giving up historically minimal points against their opponents.

However, the general consensus for the casual Washington follower paints a picture of a feeble defense, with detractors predicting our defense might just be our undoing in the PAC finale. Yet, the shrewd among us, acquainted with Morrell’s illustrious past, know that the narrative was skewed when four games into the season, a spree of injuries plagued our cornerbacks.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 17 Michigan State at Washington
Michigan State #10 (QB) Payton Thorne looks to comeback against the Huskies
Photo by Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michigan State, for a fleeting moment, believed they held the keys to our downfall, realizing that targeting our battered secondary was the chink in our armor. UCLA and Arizona State didn’t waste any time capitalizing on this lapse either.

So, the million-dollar question remains: Can the secondary return to its former glory? Metrics like opposing QBs QBR and interception rates will tell part of the story. But I implore our readers to ponder this: how many points per game will this revamped secondary and larger defense concede? Could our recent transfers put us over the edge? Or were we set all along? Given our staff’s illustrious record, I’d wager things are looking up for the Washington defense.


How many points per game will the Huskies give up?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Over 21.5
    (161 votes)
  • 50%
    Below 21.5
    (164 votes)
325 votes total Vote Now