Remember how intros suck? Ha, me too. That’s so wild, what a coincidence! Let’s not!
To the non-intro:
A 99% Sober and 100% Accurate Rundown of Absolutely Everything
Welcome to week two. Some things were better than week one (outside blocking by the receivers) and some things were worse than week one (dropsies by the receivers) and some things were about the same (everything else by the receivers*).
*See also: Run blocking in short yardage situations...?
I realize as far as the negative goes, it’s fair to expect a recap like this to focus on the uncharacteristically “off” performance from the receivers and even Michael Penix himself. (He should’ve had two interceptions, but ironically it was the one that the defense couldn’t corral that was far far scarier in my extremely humble-and-correct opinion.)
As far as I’m concerned, though, that’s pretty much just what that was; sometimes you’re really awesome at something and you just do that thing you’re awesome at worse than normal. Meh. I don’t think I could elaborate on that. Or, I could, but it would be completely lacking in insight and totally garbage.
I believe it was Hannah Montana who graced us with the wisdom, *ahem*: “Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days.” So deep. So true, Disney Corporation, so true.
(Actually, if you think about it, we should’ve seen a TV-driven football super league power grab coming when Disney obsessively controlled a bunch of teenagers in the mid-late 2000s til whenever and screwed up pretty much all of them just so they could make an even more obscene amount of money. Obviously Our Disney Overlords would do the same to college athletes and communities, are you kidding me?)
Umm, so, that’s that.
Should we move on to the defense?
Defense: In some ways better than last year, in some ways not... Still kinda scary
Still, it does feel a bit weird feeling so apprehensive about the defense in a game where they only gave up 10 points. Granted, the possessions in general moved slower, so that probably deflated that total at least a bit to make it look better than the performance actually was, and there was that one drive that barring the endzone interception would’ve ended up with at least three points, but still. I suppose this is my personal silver lining.
And yeah, on one hand you could say "Well it was Tulsa, a group of five team that was the definition of middling last year” — to which I would counter with, “Well, some people lose to Texas State. Or Wyoming. Or Rutgers.” Checkmate, son.
Also, I apologize to Texas State and Wyoming. It was unfair of me to put you two in the same category as Rutgers.
(No seriously, Texas State and Wyoming officially rule. This is the official stance of UWDP and yes I am speaking on behalf of everyone here and no I haven’t run this by them and no I will not.)
In other words, my gut right now is both oddly scared of this defense’s weaknesses and more confident in their improvements at the same time. It’s quite a bizarre paradox.
There’s really no need to re-hash the tackling issues — update: There are no updates! Still not great! — so let’s slide on over to a new-ish thing making me antsy...
The Pass Rush: Nervous Gulp
Here we are. The pass rush — or lack thereof — against Tulsa made me feel like I assigned the preseason Jake Eldrenkamp Award to the right person when I picked Jeremiah Martin over Peyton Henry. This is good for me personally, because it clears me to be a condescending d-bag about potentially being Correct™. This is bad for all of the rest of us because... well, obviously.
Yeah, ZTF was out, but this whole thing was a reminder that this position is — and this is the scientific term — “absolutely screwed” if even a bit of bad injury luck occurs. Even without bad luck, you can’t play Bralen Trice and ZTF on every snap in every game; what happens when you have to rotate them out, or if you’ve overplayed those two earlier due to not being able to rely on their depth and then they’re zonked when a defining fourth quarter drive comes along?
Meanwhile, this is also a reminder of how useless the NCAA is given that they’re not bothering themselves with trivial matters such as “the complete and utter destruction of college football as we know it to be picked apart by TV networks” and instead are focusing on the big issues at hand like “ensuring edge rusher Zach Durfee isn’t eligible to play on account of he enrolled as a NARP** student at North Dakota State for like, an hour.”
**For the unfamiliar, that’s “non-athletic regular person.”
Thank God the NCAA is here to save us! Oh the humanity! What would we ever do if Zach Durfee were treated with basic sense? Certainly it would be the end of America, if not the world.
Now obviously it’s not like Durfee being granted eligibility would solve anyone’s problems — for all we know he’d just be another body that has to spend a bunch of time adjusting since he’s jumping up two levels of play — but at least it would’ve been another option with a guy who was showing a bunch of potential until getting nuked from the season by The Most Annoying Bureaucracy On The Planet. (Even more aggravating is the fact that technically they haven’t said he isn’t eligible, but instead are just twiddling their thumbs “still deciding” as far as we know.)
Whatever. I’m not freaking out about the edge yet, but they gave Tulsa passers a lot of time a lot more often than you want to see. It feels like it would be such a waste if the secondary improved to be able to sometimes have their shit together-ish only for the pass rush to fall on its face and force them to cover guys for, like, 18 seconds because the quarterback’s had enough time to lay out a picnic blanket and butter some toast.
Now I think it’s not not likely that one of the younger guys improves over the year and by the end of November we’re going “Oh yeah I’m looking forward to him next season,” but that’s A) not guaranteed and B) not now. What bumps happen along the way while we wait for the depth to develop into impact players?
Lastly, and most importantly: Kam Fab has glorious flow.
Lines of the Week
All of the Tulsa defense on that Ja’Lynn Polk end around touchdown:
Ya know, there weren’t many things that happened Saturday that had Line of the Week potential. Good lord it was just such a boring, predictably-scripted, uneventful game. Huh. (This is not an insult to the players or coaches or anything, that’s just what happens sometimes when you’re the way better team but also are playing as the boringest version of yourself. Yes, “boringest” is a word.)
Well, I guess that’s all.
Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.