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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 23, 2007 at 12:50 AM

Grading the game

Here they are:
QUARTERBACK: A real mixed bag. Jake Locker was again off much of the night with his throws and the one interception was costly. But he also again provided much of the offense with 92 yards rushing and getting untracked late to throw for four touchdowns, the most for any UW QB since Cody Pickett against Oregon in 2002. He has to start getting some more help, especially in the running game, which is one reason I’m not grading him as harshly as others might. They are asking a redshirt freshman QB to do an awful lot right now. Somewhat ominously, however, offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said afterward he thinks Locker is “pressing at times” the kind of thing the Huskies have to get stopped.
Grade: C-plus.
RUNNING BACK: Louis Rankin had another subpar night statistically with 42 yards on 14 carries, none longer than eight. But as Lappano said afterward, “I don’t see a lot of room (to run) there right now.” Indeed, this is a team-wide failing with the offensive line again seeming a bit overmatched. That’s a disappointment in this game considering UCLA was without two of its starting defensive linemen. Lappano said the team considered playing some of the young guys, and that in retrospect they probably should have to give Rankin some rest. Lappano said several times that “we’ve got to get the running game going” and that it might be time for UW to simplify the running game a bit to get better execution. Grade: C.
RECEIVERS: Anthony Russo had a real nice day, and Marcel Reece had his moments. But much of it came late making it hard to know how to accurately judge their night. Lappano said “we didn’t look like we were separating” much when the Huskies were going against UCLA’s man coverage early in the game. Also, UCLA’s given up lots of yards passing so far, so that was the one area where UW figured to have some success. Grade: C .
OFFENSIVE LINE: As noted above, the Huskies weren’t able to get any straightahead running game going, which has to fall largely on the line. Locker also was sacked twice despite his obvious ability to get away from those. But there’s little UW can do but hope the guys who are out there figure out how to get it done. Lappano said this week that the six who are playing are basically it for who the coaches feel comfortable putting on the field. Grade: C-minus.
DEFENSIVE LINE: The numbers say it all as UW allowed 333 yards rushing, indicating a lot of push up front. The Huskies also got just one sack and Patrick Cowan, who hadn’t practiced since Aug. 20 until this week due to injury, was comfortable enough back there to complete 17-30 passes. Grade: D-plus
LINEBACKERS: You have to figure that when the coaches say the team wasn’t “fitting the run right” on some of those big plays that much of that falls on the linebackers. Trenton Tuiasosopo appeared to be the culprit on the first big run by Chris Markey and barely played the rest of the night, officially not making any tackles. Donald Butler made only five tackles and didn’t seem to be much of a presence. E.J. Savannah was productive, making 15 tackles, but obviously it wasn’t enough. Grade: C-minus.
SECONDARY: The numbers weren’t so terrible here but then they didn’t have to be with the way UCLA was running the ball. The Bruins didn’t figure to throw a lot if they didn’t have to given Cowan being in the lineup and having hardly practiced. Still, he converted a number of big third downs, and the secondary was also fooled for the long play on the flanker option pass. Might have seen a changing of the guard with Byron Davenport taking over at the corner spot opposite Roy Lewis in the second half. Grade: C-minus.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The coverage units had been playing with fire in the first three games with opponents always seeming just on the verge of breaking one. It finally happened tonight and at the most inopportune time, which is enough to drag this grade down quite a bit. Jared Ballman apparently also didn’t put that kick where it was supposed to go, as it wasn’t designed to be a squib. He apparently just didn’t hit it right. Grade: C-minus.
INJURY REPORT: I’ll throw this on here, as well, since I forgot it on the earlier post. There didn’t appear to be any major injuries, but one that could be concerning is that Savannah left at the end with a recurrence of stingers. It is the second time in two weeks Savannah has had some trouble with stingers, the injury that held him out of the 2005 season, as he also had some problems the week before the Ohio State game in practice.
NOTE: I revised a couple of the above grades after an initial posting and some quick second-guessing. What you see now are the final grades.

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