For my story for Wednesday’s paper, I wrote a little about UW’s issues getting a pass rush in the first three games of the season.
Or probably more accurately, the last two. UW had four sacks in the first game, including one by Travis Feeney (pictured at right in a Jordan Stead photo).
But UW has been shut out getting to the quarterback in each of the last two games. And while there are some extenuating circumstances in each case — LSU didn’t pass much, throwing just 19 times, and Portland State generally got rid of the ball quickly — Steve Sarkisian cited getting more pressure on the quarterback as a major point of emphasis for this week in his Monday press conference, saying it was “back to the drawing board” in terms of finding a pass rush.
To review the stats, UW has four sacks in 72 passing attempts by opponents (or 1.8 percent of attempts) compared to 28 in 486 opponent passing attempts last year (or 1.7). So not much difference.
But as reviewed in the story, UW had 11 in the last two games of 2011 (the one thing the defense did well in those two games), with Josh Shirley getting four and emerging as someone who looked like a future star.
Sacks, though, have not come easily the last two games.
And the challenge only gets more difficult now coming against a Stanford team that has allowed just two sacks this season, and hasn’t allowed any against UW the last two years. In fact, UW’s only games without a sack the last two seasons were both of the games against Oregon and Stanford in 2010 and 2011 and at BYU to start the 2010 season.
Stanford and Oregon are the next two teams UW faces, so the need to get more pressure on the quarterback is obvious.
Now for a few links (and I’ll note that nighttime posts with lots of links will become more common as UW shifts to practicing more in the morning):
— Bud Withers makes a good case for why the Pac-12 ought to adopt some sort of uniform injury reporting policy.
— Pacific Takes examines what could be learned from the UW-Portland State game.
— The Pac-12 has issued this letter to fans who have DirecTV.
— UW commit Troy Williams’ Narbonne team has a big game Friday night.
— The Titans are sticking with Jake Locker.
— Mike Leach still isn’t saying who will start at QB for WSU on Saturday.
— Good stuff from Yogi Roth on the Pac-12’s official site breaking down Stanford’s running game.
— The LA Times has more on the injury report issue.
— Pacific Takes examines what it calls a slow start for Leach at WSU.
— An interesting take making the case that defense is usually ahead of offense this time of year.
— Here’s the Boulder Daily Camera’s weekly Pac-12 notebook.
— And here’s the Salt Lake Tribune’s Pac-12 notebook.
— The Associated Press previews the weekend in the Pac-12.