So the question — how to grade a win?
Guess we’ll find out.
QUARTERBACK: Sure, you can say it was “just Idaho” about any of these categories, so we’ll admit that here and then get on with it. But Jake Locker was as good today as he has ever been. Efficient and accurate throwing. Smart running. If he puts together a few games like this in the next few weeks, he will truly begin to be known as one of the best QBs in the country, not just a guy with the potential to be one of the best QBs in the country. GRADE: A.
RUNNING BACK: Chris Polk had another solid game, though he didn’t have a lot of room to run at times. And Johri Fogerson is thriving in the role of go-to receiver out of the backfield. One interesting thing through two games is the lack of activity for the fullbacks. Thought was they might get used a lot given how the fullbacks get used at USC. But so far, the only touch is a two-yard catch by Paul Homer last week. Curtis Shaw got some late carries today and looked all right though he had the earlier fumble on a kickoff return. GRADE: B-plus.
RECEIVERS: That deep receiving corps is starting to come to frution as five different receivers had catches as well as two tight ends, Locker spreading out 17 completions to nine receivers overall (including RBs). James Johnson had a nice play on the play-action for a TD, D’Andre Goodwin a nice catch on the scramble play, and Jermaine Kearse a good grab down the sideline. And by our count in the press box, just one drop. GRADE: A-minus.
OFFENSIVE LINE: The one unit of the offense that seemed to regress a bit from the first week. You would have thought the Huskies would have been able to put together a little better of a conventional run game against a team like Idaho. And Locker had to use his legs to create a couple of UW’s better plays. Also a couple more snaps that weren’t great, one on a fourth down that could have been critical. But given that the Huskies were able to score at will most of the day, hard to grade too harshly. We’ll really know where the line is after next week. GRADE: B.
DEFENSIVE LINE: This is where the harder grading begins. Steve Sarkisian seemed to lay much of the blame for Idaho’s ability to throw the ball on the inability of the Huskies to get a pass rush. Lots of guys played — nine by my count — and in a variety of different combinations, including one that had Daniel Te’o-Nesheim playing inside. The Huskies had three sacks, but Idaho’s QBs often had time to throw and the pressure wasn’t consistent. UW, however, did do a nice job stopping the run, which coming in almost seemed to be Idaho’s strength. One highlight was the first career sack for Cameron Elisara. And all of the young guys got some time and figure to only get more as the season wears on. GRADE: C-plus.
LINEBACKERS: Hard to know how much of the blame the LBs share for the lack of pressure, if any. Statistically, the LBs were typically productive and Mason Foster turned in the two biggest defensive plays of the day — the interception and a later fourth-down pass breakup. Also, the first significant playing time for Cort Dennison, who responded with four tackles. GRADE: B-plus.
SECONDARY: The QBs may have had time, but the WRs also seemed to have lots of room to roam. It would be expected, however, that this unit might continue to have some growing pains with the shakeup this week resulting in Justin Glenn now starting at free safety. And it should be noted of the entire defense that it is still a huge work in progress — it only makes sense that the offense would be further ahead given the return and vast improvement of Locker. But if stats mean anything, UW had just one pass breakup, that by Foster, in 40 attempts. GRADE: C.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Kind of a quiet day kicking with no FGs and just two punts, though Will Mahan continues to be solid averaging 48.5 on two attempts. The coverage units were fine though the kickoffs could be a little deeper — still, Idaho had three of its drive starts following kickoffs inside the 23, so nothing too damaging. The disappointment is the returns as they haven’t yet gotten much out of them — though Fogerson had a decent punt return today — and the lone turnover of the day for the team came on the Shaw fumble. GRADE: B-minus.
COACHING:Sarkisian set the stage earlier in the week by admitting there was concern about a possible letdown and it was would be the job of the coaches to try to prevent. Looks like they did their job as intensity and emotion didn’t seem to be an issue today. Also some good aggressive play calls, such as going for it on fourth-and-three and the third-and-one play-action for a touchdown. The defense needs some attention, but again, it makes sense it has more issues right now given the personnel of the two sides of the ball. And you have to like how Sarkisian, when asked about USC afterward, said he wanted his players to just enjoy this one, that too many people get caught up in immediately moving on. He’s right. College players deserve some time to celebrate. GRADE: A-minus.
So the question — how to grade a win?
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