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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 1, 2006 at 10:06 AM

Wednesday mailbag

Time once again to clean out the mailbag:
WHY DIDN’T UW GO FOR TWO LATE IN THE GAME SATURDAY? UW scored with 2:19 left and had two timeouts remaining and could have conceivably gone for two, and if it didn’t work, tried an onside kick, or just kicked off and used those timeouts to maybe get the ball back. UW coach Tyrone Willingham, however, said he never considered doing anything other than tying it up. And at home, I think that’s the right move. UW almost had a chance to win it in regulation, anyway, getting the ball back at its own 45 with seven seconds left (an underrated big play for ASU was when Ryan Torain gained 13 yards on the third down play preceding the punt moving ASU from the 4 to the 17 — if that hadn’t happened, who knows where UW gets the ball). But I think at home, the smart move is to tie it up.
IS TYRONE WILLINGHAM REALLY A CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB AT NORTH CAROLINA? Willingham’s name was raised in some newspaper reports this week due mostly to the fact that he grew up in the state and also was an assistant at NC State for a few years in the ’80s. But those reports were purely speculation and Willingham told me this week the report is laughable and didn’t even want to address it seriously. I don’t think there’s any chance that would ever happen.
WHY DOESN’T SEAN DOUGLAS HANDLE KICKOFFS ANYMORE? I think UW coaches want their kickers to concentrate on their primary task, so Douglas has handled punting and Braunstein all kickoffs. I think Braunstein has done all right on kickoffs — he has had 12 touchbacks on 40 total kickoffs this year, which is better or comporable in terms of percentage than Cal, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford and Washington State. And kickers in Seattle are always going to be at a disadvantage than kickers in Arizona (the leaders in touchbacks are the kickers for USC, Arizona, ASU and Oregon State, where Alexis Serna is one of the best in the nation).
WHY IS UW SO POOR AT FORCING TURNOVERS? Turnovers are a little bit luck, and a little bit about doing things such as stripping the ball. But they mostly come down to winning individual battles. A pass rusher beats his man and forces a QB into a hurried pass, or a cornerback gets in front of a pass and picks it off, etc. Those are things UW just hasn’t been doing much of this season as the Huskies have gained only 10 turnovers this year — tied, believe it or not, with USC for the fewest in the conference. The teams at the top of the list, WSU, Cal and Oregon State, have lots of play makers on defense, which is what it always comes down to, in the end.

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