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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 1, 2007 at 4:00 PM

Grading the game

We’re not going the usual Grading The Game segment that we did for the paper the last few years, so I’ll try to do a new version of it here.
Seems almost meaningless after this game, like grading one of Einstein’s papers or something, but here goes.
QUARTERBACK: History is easy to revise, and also easy to forget. I was looking today that Brock Huard was 6-11 for 143 yards and a TD and also ran for a TD in the first game he ever played, rallying UW from 42-21 down to a 42-42 tie at Arizona State before ASU held on. That said, I can’t imagine very few actual debuts (the first time a QB played in a game, not just the first start or first significant action) ever went any better than did Jake Locker’s. GRADE: A.
RUNNING BACKS: We heard all camp how Louis Rankin was in the best shape of his life and then we saw it for real against Syracuse. Maybe he really will break that 1,000-yard drought. The young backups looked good, too. One question is where J.R. Hasty will fit into it all. GRADE: A.
RECEIVERS: No real imposing numbers, but as I wrote earlier one of their biggest contributions was blocking and in that they seemed to excell. Anthony Russo had a nice game and showed he is over that pinkie injury. Expect more action here in future weeks. GRADE: A-minus.
OFFENSIVE LINE: All that hubbub over the youth on the line turned out to be much ado about nothing. The LT rotation worked just fine with Ben Ossai and Cody Habben, something that figures to continue, and everyone else did their jobs well. Worth noting that after all the talk of a lot of rotating there that UW essentially went with just six OL in the first three quarters. GRADE: A.
DEFENSIVE LINE: As dominating a performance as UW has had in a while with seven sacks, more than any time a year ago, and holding Syracuse to eight rushing yards. That’s the lowest total since holding Arizona to minus-7 last year. The revelation was Caesar Rayford, who appearas to finally be ready to be a regular contributor. Greyson Gunheim also looked like a dominant player. GRADE: A.
LINEBACKERS: Some different looks here with Trenton Tuiasosopo starting in the middle, and ultimately rotating with Donald Butler. Those two combined for 10 tackles, while E.J. Savannah had six in his first start. The LBs will be tested by better offensive schemes and much better running backs in coming weeks, but for one game, a solid performance. GRADE: A-minus.
SECONDARY: Another position that was much discussed during the week and turned out just fine. A better pass-catch combo than Syracuse had out there might have done more to take advantage of UW’s youth. But when the ball did come their way, Vonzell McDowell Jr., and Nate Williams responded. One of the most positive signs was sure tackling, unlike Syracuse had in its back end. The Huskies wanted to keep everything in front, and the Orange had only one gain longer than 16 yards all night. GRADE: A-minus.
SPECIAL TEAMS: You almost need to divide this into kickers and everyone else. Kickers Jared Ballman and Ryan Perkins did just fine, especially Ballman, whose 64.6 yard average on kickoffs was something of a revelation (he surely liked the dome). The coverage units, as discussed earlier, were spotty, but I’d think youth had a lot to do with that and would expect it will be better with a game under the belt now. GRADE: B.
COACHES: Two teams playing what was viewed as a must-win game — one coaching staff had its team ready to play and the other didn’t, simple as that. And as of today, the way the coaching staff has handled Locker since he arrived sure looks to have been the right call. GRADE: A.



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