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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 6, 2009 at 9:09 AM

On further review — Notre Dame

I know some of you are ready to move on from the game that was in South Bend Saturday. But I didn’t get my first chance to really look at any of the replays of it until last night, finally back in the friendly Condotta abode. So I’ve got a few more thoughts to pass along:
— Unfortunately, the game lasted so long that I didn’t get the final couple minutes and OT recorded — hoping there’s another replay of it I can tape down the road to get all of that. So I don’t have any further insight into any of that.
— However, I did get the Chris Polk apparent TD and reversal and agree with the basic tenor that it seems too close to have overturned — though if they had just not called it a TD initially that probably wouldn’t have been real arguable, either. It’s the fact that it was overturned, when it doesn’t seem real conclusive, that does make you wonder a little bit. That said, it almost seemed like a break for UW at the time as if the Huskies could have scored there — which they should have — it could have taken another minute or two and shortened the game that much more and made it that much harder for Notre Dame to come back.

— ND fans do have as much of a legitimate reason for a beef with the roughing the snapper penalty as Husky fans with the calls they haven’t liked. Looking at the replay, I don’t really see it. Point being, I don’t buy any of the “home-cooking” type theories out there. Instead, I see it as just your usual head-scratching officiating job we’ve seen too often the last few years. And more proof that while replay was billed as being a cure-all for everything that ails college football officiating, it can just as often simply lead to more head-scratching.
— Looking at the two goal-line stands, the play-calling didn’t really seem quite as conservative watching it again as it did in the emotional immediate aftermath. The two sneaks on the first goal-line stand make a lot of sense — Jake Locker is one of the two or three best running QBs in the country and you’re asking him to get half-a-yard or so. Seems reasonable to think that could have gotten done (and that’s not to put the failure on Locker — on the fourth down sneak, the interior of the ND line simply blew up the Huskies and forced the line back into Locker, causing him to lose control of the ball for just a second).
— On the second goal-line stand, UW called three passes in six plays, throwing two — the other was a bootleg with an option to throw to the TE that got disrupted and resulted in a Locker run. Two other plays were Polk runs, the other a Locker sneak. Since none of it worked, it’s easy to second-guess, obviously. What I would question most is why they never spread the field and snapped it back to Locker with the option to run the way they often have in other short-yardage situations — and just like they did for the first TD of the game. That’s when Locker is really at his most dangerous running.
Desmond Trufant really played a good game — not that we needed replay to notice that, but it just reinforced it. Pat Haden made a really good point after Trufant stopped the long pass to Golden Tate early in the second half from being a TD about the angle Trufant took to catch up to Tate. It’s a subtle skill that isn’t necessarily easy to learn that Trufant just seems to have — and is obviously invaluable in the secondary. He essentially saved UW eight points with his two TD-saving tackles.
— The Huskies are really streamlining the personnel used in games. I counted just 38 players used in non-special teams situations. That includes just two TBs and just four WRs. The most notable substitution may have been Nick Wood for Greg Christine at left guard. Wood came in for good for the last drive of the first half after Christine had been beaten for the sack that turned into a Locker fumble. Sarkisian said Christine was bothered by an ankle injury.
Jimmy Clausen was overrated for so long that I think he’s now actually underrated. The Clausen-Tate combo will almost certainly be the best passing attack the Huskies will face the rest of the year
— UW had its worst game of the year in third-down conversions at 7-17, which may just be kind of a regression to the mean in that number — no way the Huskies were going to continue to convert at 60 percent all year. Still, UW’s ratio of 54.4 percent (43-79) continues to lead the Pac-10.
— UW was also 1-3 on fourth downs and it’s felt like the Huskies are going for it more on fourth down this year than in the past. Interestingly, the numbers don’t really back that up. UW is 3-6 on fourth downs this year, tied for fifth in the most attempts on fourth down in the Pac-10 this year — USC has 11 attempts, ASU and Oregon each 10. UW was 5-14 last year on fourth down, roughly the same ratio of attempts as this year.
— Those who like bashing Kavario Middleton for his seeming lack of passion for the game should check out the replay of the Polk TD run that was reversed to see how high Middleton leaps in the air in celebration. He seemed pretty passionate there, as well as when he caught a fourth-down pass earlier in the drive.
— One UW official was raving yesterday about the quality of the telecast and I concur. The announcers were more than fair to both sides and also had more than the usual insight into both teams. It should be good, obviously, for the money NBC is paying Notre Dame. But the difference from, say, last week was definitely noticeable.
All for now.



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