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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 21, 2006 at 9:35 AM

Tuesday mailbag

There were a lot of questions in the wake of the Apple Cup, so I’ll try to answer a few of them here:
WHY DID THE HUSKIES DO MORE RUNNING ON THE OUTSIDE, SUCH AS SWEEPS, AGAINST WSU AND NOT AGAINST OTHER TEAMS? The biggest reason is simply that WSU was in a 3-4 defense and likes to blitz a lot, so getting to the outside is always a good strategy against such defenses. But after the struggles running against Oregon and Stanford, the Huskies were also looking to shake things up a bit. But you have to remember that what works against one team isn’t always going to work against the next due to differing schemes, personnel, etc.
WASN’T UW TERRIBLE DEFENDING THIRD DOWNS THIS YEAR? Actually, the Huskies were much better than a year ago. UW will finish this year holding opponents to 33.7 percent conversion rate on third down, which is currently fifth in the Pac-10 and ahead of the likes of USC and Washington State. Last year, UW allowed 45 percent of third downs to be converted.
WHY DIDN’T MARCEL REECE PLAY MORE BEFORE SATURDAY? Certainly, one of the more burning questions of the year, without a doubt. But you will notice that Reece was playing a new position Saturday, on the outside instead of in the slot. He played the slot earlier, and when that didn’t work out so well, they moved him outside, the position Reece said he prefers. That took some time to make that adjustment. He also had to get in shape and learn the playbook, which stunted his playing time earlier in the year.
WHY DID THIS TEAM PLAY SO WELL AGAINST WSU, USC AND CAL AND SO POORLY AGAINST STANFORD, OREGON STATE AND ARIZONA STATE? DID THIS TEAM NEED SOME EXTERNAL MOTIVATION, SUCH AS PLAYING A TRADITONAL RIVAL OR A TOP 10 TEAM, TO GET UP FOR GAMES? Kind of looked that way, didn’t it? The only game that doesn’t seem to fit that pattern is Oregon. On the other hand, that was a 17-14 game five minutes into the third quarter, so maybe that was more a case of UW’s vexing inability to defend Oregon’s offense more than getting up for the game. But no doubt, this team’s motivation seemed to waver week to week depending on the opponent. That could just be a function of the personalities on this team — Husky teams of the past few seasons have been much the same way. But one person who covered Stanford while Tyrone Willingham was there told me the Cardinal often had the same issue — Stanford lost to San Jose State three straight years, for instance. The theory there was that Willingham’s personality is so consistent that he really does treat each game the same. So the players would get themselves up for the big games (Stanford went 7-0 against Cal during Willingham’s time) but would struggle at times then maybe they needed a little help getting up. But the personality of every team is different, and maybe next year’s Huskies, being in the same system for a third straight year, won’t have as many issues with wavering intensity.
WHY WOULD UW TURN DOWN STEVE EMTMAN’S OFFER OF $2.5 MILLION FOR A FOOTBALL-ONLY WEIGHT ROOM? As far as what Emtman said, all I know is the same as you guys from the KJR interview last week. What I can add is that UW is a public school and has limitations on what it can and can’t do. I don’t think it can get into building weight rooms segregated by sport.
WHAT’S THE OUTLOOK FOR NEXT YEAR’S TEAM? I’ll try to break that down
in more detail in a future post.
WILL THIS BLOG CONTINUE INTO THE OFF-SEASON? Yes. It won’t have the same frequency, but we will continue to keep you as up-to-date as we can on Husky football, as well as the Pac-10, during the off-season.

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