The first batch. …
Q: Does the clock still stop when the player goes out of bounds? Or is it during the final 2 mins of the half only?
A: In a change made before the 2008 season, the clock no longer stops completely when a player goes out of bounds other than the final two minutes. It stops only as long as it takes the officials to set the ball. When the ball is set, the clock starts again. Here is a good explainer of the new rules. UW fans may just not have noticed this last season since so few games were ever in doubt long enough to make any clock management stuff relevant.
Q: What do you think is the single most glaring weakness on the Husky defense? For three years now it has statistically been one of the worst defenses in the country. And it continues to be so even under a well-respected defensive coordinator. So if you had to point to a single weakness what would that be, and what can UW do to resolve that issue? And is it something that can be resolved soon (i.e., by next year or by the last few games of this year)?
A: Let me start off by saying there is no way that there is just one problem with a defense that has been as shaky as UW’s the last few seasons. But if I had to pick the biggest one, it would be the secondary, the lack of any lockdown corners and big-play safeties. There have been a few times UW has been able to at least contain the run and force teams to throw to beat them, which is what coaches will almost always say is their defensive goal, but the Huskies usually haven’t been able to stop it. They haven’t had the personnel in the secondary to play aggressively up front, so they haven’t often gotten consistent pressure. And even when they have played in zones they’ve often gotten beat there, as well. As with most things with this team, I think it will take a few recruiting classes to really fix. But no question that the emergence of Desmond Trufant is a big step in the right direction.
Q: Following late games we don’t get all the stats. I thought the punting hurt us a couple of times. What was the average against Arizona State?
A: First off, we have all the stats on-line pretty quickly after the games, so you can always check there. Here are the stats for the ASU game. And you can find the archived stats here — just click on the game score. Punting stats for any single game can sometimes be misleading based on whether a guy is kicking into a lot of short fields. But Mahan’s stats were fine Saturday — he averaged 42.6 per kick with a long of 59 and had two inside the 20. His last punt wasn’t great — a 40-yarder that was a little line drive and allowed for a nine-yard return to put the ball at the 50. But his overall average isn’t bad — 41.6 for the year, sixth in the conference.
Q: Here is a more “meta” question. How would you propose the Pac 10 change its reputation in media? When Florida barely beats an average Arkansas team you hear that this is not a sign of a poor Florida team, but a sign of the SEC’s depth. On the other hand, every comment about the USC loss now points to: “it was a bad loss”.This same phenomenon happens in the basketball season and it’s extremely frustrating.
A: As it should be. I think the only solution is to move the Pac-10 to the East Coast. Otherwise, not sure anything else will change anything. I’m not really a conspiracy theorist in this stuff — I just think people think more highly of what they see and hear about all the time. The major media for college football/basketball (namely, ESPN) is located in the East so I think they just feel more comfortable with what they know. The Pac-10 already schedules aggressively, especially for football. I guess the TV deals could be better but I’m not convinced those are really going to change a lot — the major issues with the Pac-10 TV deals are geography and the time difference and there’s nothing you can do about either of those. But I always caution against painting everyone who is in national media with a broad brush. Lots of ESPN guys and others — Bruce Feldman, Kirk Herbstreit, to name a couple — give the conference its proper due. And it is worth noting that USC is the highest-ranked one-loss team in the BCS standings.
All for now.