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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 10, 2006 at 6:00 PM

The day after

Here’s a few items in the wake of the Oklahoma loss.
First, here’s the replay and game grades that will appear in Monday’s paper.
GRADING THE GAME
Offense: The running game’s been a revelation, powered by an offensive line playing better than anyone anticipated. All five starters have played every play of both games. Still, the line had trouble picking up OU’s blitzes as the game wore on and the Huskies have to get the passing game going to have any real success this year.
Grade: C-plus
Note – I cover Isaiah Stanback extensively in the story that will run with this which is why he’s not really mentioned in the grade portion above.
Defense: Maybe Paul Thompson is better than everyone thought, but for the second straight week, the Huskies let a quarterback who wasn’t the projected starter a month ago have a career day. And it wasn’t all on the secondary as UW had only one sack, as Thompson often had all kinds of time. But the secondary remains the primary concern and it’s not good news that Dashon Goldson re-injured his ankle slightly.
Grade: C-minus
Special teams: A mixed bag at best. Sean Douglas leads the nation in punting at 52.13 yards per kick and had two punts that bettered the UW school record (82 and 81 yards). Michael Braunstein also made two field goals and kicked off well. But Douglas also had one blocked and shanked one down close, and the Huskies allowed one long return that led to OU’s first touchdown.
Grade: C.
On a separate matter, it’s obvious that the UW running game is improved. Still, I wonder if Saturday’s total are a little of a mirage. Kenny James rushed for 54 yards on UW’s first play of the game. Louis Rankin then had 45 yards on three carries in garbage time late. Take those away, and UW rushed for 105 yards on its other 36 carries. Still decent, but that may help explain how UW could rush for 204 yards at Oklahoma yet still lose soundly.
And the view from Oklahoma wasn’t too kind to the Huskies. Daily Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel
was hardly impressed by the Huskies, writing that UW “couldn’t find the Rose Bowl if you put it in the parade on Colorado Boulevard.” He also said that OU will play “much better offenses than UAB and Washington starting next week with Oregon.”
In a separate story Tramel also questioned UW’s play call when Stanback fumbled at the 4-yard line, saying UW coaches “outsmarted themselves” with the option.
I don’t know. Did Oregon coach MIke Bellotti outsmart himself with the fake field goal that won the Fresno State game last night? Former UW coach Don James use to call options near the goal line all the time. So did Rick Neuheisel. I remember Braxton Cleman scoring from the 1-yard line on an option in the 2001 Rose Bowl. I don’t let the coaches off the hook for yesterday, but if Stanback doesn’t fumble, it’s not a bad call at all.
One coaching decision I found somewhat odd was Tyrone Willingham deciding not to go for two when UW scored to cut the score to 37-20, then deciding to go for the on-side kick. Go for two and UW could have been within two possessions.
Willingham said he didn’t go for two because “I didn’t think we could probably get enough scores there to win the football game.” But if that’s the rationale, then why go for the onside kick? And why not go for two, anyway? What possible harm could it have done?

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