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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 26, 2007 at 9:10 AM

Monday links, notes

Here’s my story today, where I tried to look both back at the WSU game and ahead to the task the Huskies now face at Hawaii this week.
As for an analysis of the game, as some of you have pointed out has been done elsewhere, I had planned on doing a review of the tape of the game.
But in something that might sound like blaming the players, I actually returned home to find that my recording of the game consisted only of sound and had no picture. Bizarre. It also wouldn’t let me fast forward to see if the picture at some point returned, so I listened to Tompkins and Papapapapapapapakadksiisis and Watty for about a half-hour with no picture returning, until I couldn’t take it anymore and hit delete. Comcast, you have an unhappy customer right now.
There are several listed replays of the game for today and I am taping them all to see if at least one will record.
But in reviewing the printed play-by-play, I noticed what was a bizarre defensive game for the Huskies.
WSU had 15 possessions in the game — the Cougars scored touchdowns on six of them, all drives of 57 yards or longer. On the other nine, WSU punted, never moving more than 11 yards. Seven of those were three-and-outs.
The nine punts were the most forced by UW since Arizona punted nine times last season in what was a 21-10 win in Tucson, a game that felt like a dominating defensive performance for the Huskies.
Some of that, to be sure, is the feast-or-famine nature of WSU’s offense, which is one reason I’m not sure blitzing would have helped much. I’m just not sure UW has the personnel to really blitz a ton right now, and since they were giving up tons of big plays anyway — every touchdown was 19 yards or longer — they might have just given up even more if they blitzed.
UW seemed like it was gaining some control of the game before the fumble by ?Corey Williams which then set up the tying touchdown. On the play before the TD, Nate Williams was called for holding on a play that ended in a WSU sack, obviously a big momentum swing. Since I haven’t seen a replay, I’m unclear if the sack would have happened without the holding — can’t always just say a penalty wiped out a big play without knowing whether the penalty contributed to the big play.
The Huskies forced three-and-outs on WSU’s first three possessions, but the Cougars then scored TDs on six of their final 12 possessions, if you want to look at it that way.
Baer said afterward that the Huskies made some adjustments at halftime (I think going more with the three-man front) and that he thought they worked well for a quarter-and-a-half. Indeed, WSU went three-and-out on four of its first five possessions of the second half. But it scored a 28-yard TD on the other drive, the drive that included booth reviews for both a 16-yard catch on third-and-15 by Brandon Gibson (another pretty important play) and then the TD itself.
One real key for the Cougars was getting the running game going. WSU had four rushes for two yards in the first quarter from its RBs but finished the game with 126 on 21, meaning the Cougars rushed for 124 yards on 17 carries the rest of the way.
A FEW OTHER NOTES:
— The depth chart for this week is out but it features no notable changes.
— As some of you have noted, Tyrone Willingham is rising with a, uh, bullet on the coacheshotseat.com rankings, up to No. 7 this week, even higher than Karl Dorrell and Bill Doba, the latter of whom is expected to learn something of his fate today.
— Here’s another story out of Hawaii on what the game this week means to the Warriors. It’ll be interesting to see how UW reacts this week, obviously. Part of me thinks it’s a good thing for UW that there will be such a spotlight on Hawaii in this game — that’ll give the game a real bowl-like feel all week and force them to get ready for it. On the other hand, it’s going to be quite raucous there Saturday, probably similar to what UW faced at Miami in 2001, a game the Huskies lost 65-7 in the only other time since 1948 they have played a regular-season game after the Apple Cup.
More later today from Montlake.

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