Tuesday, as always, means the Pac-12 Coaches Conference Call.
And that meant a chance to talk to the coach of the team that most recently played UW — Colorado coach Jon Embree; and the coach of the opponent this week — Stanford’s David Shaw.
Embree’s team, in fact, has played both Stanford and UW the last two weeks, each on the road, losing to the Cardinal 48-7 and at UW 52-24.
I asked Embree what he thought of this week’s matchup of UW and and Stanford:
“I think it will be a great game for the fans of both of those programs. You’ve got two very good quarterbacks in (Keith Price) and the odds-on favorite for the Heisman Trophy in Andrew Luck so I think it will be a very good game, both offenses have found their identity and they’ve kind of got things set in what they want to do. But it’s kind of like the national championship game last year where everyone wants to talk about the offenses and ultimately it came down to the defenses. I would expect a high-scoring game but shoot, it might end up being both defenses having big days.”
I then asked Embree if he thought there was anything that separated the two team’s defenses:
“No, you know they are different in that one is a 3-4 and one is an even front so how they do things from our standpoint they are a little different in how they get to 8-man fronts and from a pressure standpoint, so it would be hard for me to say of a difference in scheme what would separate those two.”
As for Shaw, he was asked if there is one specific thing he would look at in trying to defend UW’s offense:
“Not at all. There’s not just one place because they can hurt you in a lot of different ways. You can tell that it’s an orchestrated attack. They have a quarterback that is playing really well and multiple receivers that can do a lot of different things and run a lot of different routes and a running back that if you play too much coverage he can hurt you. He’s been hurting people for years. So they’ve got a good thing going.”
Asked why Price has been so successful this year, he said:
“It’s two big things — one is talent and the other is coaching. Athleticism wise he can move in the pocket, and not just escaping out to run it but being able to bide a little time sliding in the pocket and keeping the ball in throwing position. He’s a talented passer, an accurate passer with a nice release. I know Steve (Sarkisian’s) history with quarterbacks and he’s got a good one that’s going to be good for a while.”
Asked about last year’s 41-0 win for Stanford over UW, he said:
“Our game last year to be honest I think was it was just, I don’t want to call it happenstance, but we did a lot of things right they did some things wrong, we called some perfect plays versus some perfect looks and caught momentum and sometimes once you catch momentum you just keep it going. But the thing is they looked like a different team right after our game. They went on and played some great football the rest of the year, all the way to the bowl game against Nebraska last year. So these guys have been good and kind of been on that roll ever since last year. They are playing with a lot of confidence and playing physical, playing hard on defense. They give you a lot of different schemes and blitzes to pick up and when you can play with confidence you play at a high level.
“I remember I saw them on TV the next week and said ‘wow they’ve put this thing back together.’ Because you never know, a game like that sometimes can go either way and give those guys a lot of credit, coach (Nick) Holt, coach Sarkisian just rallying those tropps and they’ve been on a roll ever since.”
And asked to elaborate on what he sees in Price, he said:
“I believe this, when I was in the NFL evaluating quarterbacks (he was an NFL assistant for a decade)— when you watch a quarterback and you can tell what his progression is, that means he’s well-coached and he knows what he’s doing and that’s what you see in Price. You see him drop back with urgency, you see him set his feet, you see him keep his eyes where they need to be, you see him get his entire body around to where he can throw it to No. 2 (progression) and No. 3 (progression), and that’s a credit to the coaching staff up in Washington. What you see is that it’s not a hodge-podge of randomness, you see that they are trying to attack something specific, which as an offensive coach I appreciate seeing that on film.”