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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 23, 2007 at 12:32 AM

UCLA post-mortem

A long night at the Rose Bowl figures to lead to an even longer week for the Washington Huskies, who now have wonder if that 2-0 start was just an illusion.
That might be too strong, but certainly the theory that the first two wins might not have been quite as impressive as they seemed at the time is beginning to carry a little more weight.
You have to give the Huskies a lot of credit for hanging in there and keeping this one close because it probably never should have been. UCLA dominated from the start and had the upper hand in all the stats. UCLA finished with 537 yards to UW’s 340, for instance, and also had 333 yards to UW’s 123.
The rushing yards are the most UW has allowed since giving up 424 to UCLA in 2004 (the day Maurice Drew went wild). And it was the most yards allowed by the Huskies since giving up 570 to Oregon in 2005.
Given the relatively veteran nature of the defense — thre are five senior starters and four juniors — that is a little concerning, especially with high-powered teams like USC, Arizona State and Oregon on deck the next three weeks.
UW defensive coordinator Kent Baer wasn’t in much of a mood to discuss it afterward, however. He talked with reporters for a few minutes but was obviously frustrated and didn’t have much to say.
“They are on scholarship, too,” Baer said at one point.
Baer disputed the hefty numbers against the Huskies a bit saying “other than the two long runs, we got them stopped.”
Asked what happened on those plays, he said that “somehow we didn’t fit the run there.”
UW coach Tyrone Willingham, asked about the team’s tackling, said “it may have been one of those days. This is a good physical back. It’s not like our guys didn’t want to. It’s not like they weren’t trying. We didn’t execute, and that’s something that we’ve got to do. We’ve got to continue to work at it and work to get it better.”
And asked about the early troubles stopping UCLA, Willingham said: “Probably just our inability to execute our defense. I don’t think there was that much structure that was wrong, but they just kept grinding and making plays. They took advantage of their third-down situations and kept drives alive. We had one that I remember in the first half that was a third-and-20, and gosh, you can’t give those up and we did.”
As you can tell there, the coaches definitely seem to think it was more what the UW players didn’t do than anything scheme-related that UCLA might have done.
The two biggest positives of the night might have been the way Jake Locker got untracked late, throwing for three TDs in the fourth quarter, and the way the team kept rallying.
Still, the overall thought leaving here has to be one of disappointment. This was a game there to be had, that many people (including myself, obviously) thought they could win. Instead, there was no question which was the better team despite the fact that the Bruins kept hurting themselves with penalties and other mistakes early on.
I’ll have grades in a little while.

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