I’ve landed in Arizona, where it is indeed hot. Had time to bat out a question-and-answer entry on the flight down, so here we go. …
Q: So, how hot is it down there anyway?
A: Okay, so no one really asked that since I’ve been here, but thought I’d use this entry to pass it along, anyway. Weather.com says it will hit 101 here tomorrow, but notes that sunset is at 5:52 and that the night time low is 73.
Q: Doesn’t it seem like the Huskies are committing a lot more penalties this year?
A: It doesn’t just seem like it, they are. One of the few bright spots of the Tyrone Willingham era, at least statistically, was that the Huskies annually ranked among the least-penalized teams in the Pac-10. UW was the second-least penalized team in the country last year at 39.8 — Arizona was first at 35.8, interesting given all the debate I’ve heard this week over whether the way Mike Stoops coaches his team leads the Wildcats to commit more penalties as the numbers don’t prove that out (and Arizona is third in fewest penalties this year). UW, meanwhile, is eighth this year in penalties at 59.0 yards per game, their lowest-standing since at least before Willingham became coach.
But some on Montlake would argue that there was a tradeoff during the past four years, that playing not to commit penalties also led to playing unaggressively and tentative. I heard UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt make that same point on his weekly show with Dave Mahler this week, saying that “you don’t want to take that aggressiveness away. You’ve just got to make good decisions. It’s just a few players that are in that situation.”
He mentioned Victor Aiyewa, who got a personal foul on a third down play that kept Arizona’s first TD drive alive Saturday, and noted that Daniel Te’o-Nesheim has also gotten two personal fouls in the last two weeks. “Those two guys play harder than anyone else on defense,” Holt said. “You’ve just got to remind them to play smart.”
Q: Was Jake Locker’s 56-yard run last week the longest by a UW quarterback?
A: Close, but not quiet. A quick perusal of the UW record book shows that the longest run by a UW QB was 71 yards by Warren Moon against USC in 1977, what old-timers will tell you was a really huge play in what was one of the biggest wins of the Don James era in securing the coach’s first conference title. (CORRECTION — As one reader pointed out, I initially missed an 81-yard run by Tom Manke in 1967 that appears to be the longest by a QB.)
James Anderson, who was the first African-American to start a game at QB in UW history, had a 63-yarder against Syracuse in 1973. Steve Pelluer, not exactly known as the fleetest UW QB ever, had a 61-yard TD run against Oregon in 1983. Billy Joe Hobert had a 60-yarder against Wisconsin in 1992 and Dennis Fitzpatrick also ran 60 yards against WSU in 1974, the day he rushed for 249 total —- the single-game high for a Husky QB. As far as I can tell, Locker’s run Saturday would be next. (And no, I don’t see any that long by Marques Tuiasosopo, who may be the best running QB in UW history other than Locker. According to the UW record book, he never had a rush longer than 50 yards.)
Q: Are there any of last year’s freshman who were forced to play redshirting this year?
A: No. Reality is, some of those guys are gone, such as RBs David Freeman an Terrance Dailey. The most likely candidate in the eyes of fans to redshirt this year may have been WR Cody Bruns, whose redshirt was lifted last year in the fifth game of the season against Arizona in what seemed to many as a really unnecessary move given the way the season was going at the time. But Bruns has played in five if six games this year so it’s too late for him to redshirt now — and he’s on the trip this weekend with a better chance to play than ever due to the injury to Jordan Polk. Most of the other frosh who played last year, such as Everrette Thompson, Alameda Ta’amu and Senio Kelemete, are playing key roles. So the only redshirts by choice this year are true frosh.
Q: Can you print ASU’s starting lineup for tomorrow? I thought I heard there are some key guys out?
A: Here’s the starting lineup as reprinted from today’s East Valley Tribune:
Arizona State offense
WR — Kerry Taylor
LT — Shawn Lauvao
LG — Jon Hargis
C — Thomas Altieri
RG — Brent Good
RT — Tom Njunge
TE — Dan Knapp
WR — Kyle Williams
QB — Danny Sullivan
RB — Dimitri Nance
WR — Chris McGaha
Arizona State defense
DE — Dexter Davis
DT — Lawrence Guy
DT — Saia Falahola
DE — James Brooks
OLB — Travis Goethel
MLB — Vontaze Burfict
OLB — Mike Nixon
CB — Terell Carr
FS — Jarrell Holman
SS — Ryan McFoy
CB — Pierre Singfield
The only change in that from the beginning of the week is at right guard, where regular Garth Gerhart is out. Gerhart is the only regular OL expected to miss the game as the other four starters are expected to play. However, both starting WRs are in some question as McGaha has had the flu all week and Williams has been bothered by a hamstring. Williams caught 13 passes last week against WSU, however, despite the injury, which he first suffered in practice in late September. Regular starting CB Omar Bolden is also out and will be replaced by Terell Carr, who has started three games this year in Bolden’s place and leads the team with four pass breakups.
All for now.