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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 11, 2006 at 9:20 AM

Grading the Huskies at mid-year

I’ll begin today by posting the mid-year review that ran in today’s paper.
I didn’t do mid-year grades with that so I thought I’d post them here:
Offense – B. The line has been much better than people thought, and Stanback has emerged as the QB this team needed. The WR position hasn’t been as deep as hoped, but Shackelford has emerged as a legitimate play-maker. The RBs have shown some spark at times, but Rankin, in particular, has been inconsistent. Overall, better than most of us thought it would be, but plagued by too many sloppy plays — dropped passes, passes at the feet, etc. — to get an A.

Defense –
B-plus. I thought the defense would be pretty good so the performance here hasn’t shocked me. I thought they’d be pretty salty up front, and most of the time, they have been. The one negative has been a lack of pass rush at times from the front four. UW still has just four sacks from its front four (two by Gunheim, two by Ala). That has to improve. The secondary has gotten progressively better as coach J.D. Williams seems an upgrade from what they’ve had in the past. Dashon Goldson’s return has also helped greatly the past two games. I thought his game Saturday might have been the best by UW defensive back in several years.

Special teams –
B-minus. Sean Douglas has been great when he gets punts off, but two have been blocked, one dropped for a fumble, and a couple others real adventures. Snapper Danny Morovick has obviously struggled. Michael Braunstein’s been okay but hasn’t been asked to do a lot and did miss two realtive gimmes against Arizona. Marlon Wood shows a lot of promise as a returner but hasn’t really busted a big one yet, nor has Roy Lewis on kickoffs.

Overall –
A-minus. So how do they get an A-minus out of three B grades? To me, that’s the exact essense of what this team has been about as so far, it has seemed to play better than the sum of its parts would indicate it should. Look at the stats — sixth in the Pac-10 in total offense, seventh in total defense — yet tied for third in the standings. I think this team is getting the absolute most out of what it has, which is a tribute to the overall job being down by Tyrone Willingham and his staff. Sure, there are nits to pick with the coaches — Willingham himself has taken the blame for the last two seconds at USC. But you have to look at the big picture. And the big picture is much brighter than it was a year ago.

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