I’ll wrap up our coverage of the night with a little video and some links.
First, here are some links of our coverage, and a few others. Following that is a video of post-game analysis from Jerry Brewer and me:
— Here’s my game story.
— Here’s the notebook, leading off with Desmond Trufant’s night.
— Steve Kelley says “it’s time to ask for more” out of the Huskies.
— Brewer says UW’s lack of identity is troubling entering the second half of the season.
— Percy Allen says USC played if safe after jumping ahead.
— Here’s the 2-minute drill.
— Here’s the coverage from GoHuskies.com with links to stats and quotes.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller says UW remains firmly in the bowl hunt while pondering why USC’s passing attack isn’t better.
— The LA Times says it was all about the defense for USC.
— LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke ponders USC’s ultra-conservative game plan.
— The Orange County Register quotes USC WR Robert Woods saying the USC passing attack is “terrible” right now.
— LA Daily News columnist Vincent Bonsignore says USC might be playing it too safe.
— Turning to other Pac-12 games, Oregon State got a big win at BYU led by backup QB Cody Vaz.
— UCLA beat Utah, but LA Times columnist T.J. Simers thought the game pretty much a waste of time.
— Notre Dame pulled out a dramatic, if controversial, win over Stanford in OT.
— Cal beat WSU in Pullman, dropping the Cougars to 0-4 in conference play.
— And worth a reminder that UW’s opponent next week, Arizona, was off this weekend. The Wildcats are also 3-3 (though 0-3 in conference play). Here’s a good look at the Wildcats at mid-season from the Tucson Citizen.
Finally, here’s our post-game analysis:
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Here’s part two:
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And here are some transcribed quotes:
Opening comments: “Just a quick recap of the SC game…pretty disappointed that we couldn’t overcome the deficit we put ourselves into there the second half. We had some real opportunities…I think our defense, the final five possessions that SC had the ball, four of them are three-and-outs, the other one was the blocked field goal. We moved the ball and gave ourselves some opportunities to score some points; unfortunately we didn’t capitalize with the missed field goal there late in the third, the fumble inside the five there early in the fourth and the other fumble or I believe interception – excuse me – with about four and a half minutes to go in the ball game. That part was disappointing
“What was encouraging was our ability to fight in the second half, to understand the challenges that were presented to us, to make some subtle adjustments within the game plan and get those things fixed – and compete. But again, when you have four turnovers and a blocked punt, it’s hard to beat good teams. But what it does tell me is that we have a great deal of fight, that we’re willing to adjust.
“As far as the way Keith played in the game, I thought there was a lot of the old Keith Price that showed up, which was encouraging. Some of the playmaking ability, the avoiding of the rush, the extending plays, getting the ball downfield, utilizing his legs…unfortunately the ball security issue is something that needs to be addressed and will be addressed.
“Through it all we’re halfway through the season. We’re a 3-3 football team, and we consider this is halftime. We’ve got to come out and play the second half of football with a real sense of urgency and a real focused mindset on the task at hand that lie in front of us. I’m confident that we can do that and I believe we can do that – from the coaching staff to the players to our team leaders – this football team has matured gradually throughout the season, and I saw it again last week. That’s what the signs are pointing too. We had good meetings last night and I’m confident of the fact that we’re going to come out and play a good football game at Arizona and we’ll see if that’s good enough to win.”
On why there wasn’t a sense of urgency at the start of the USC game: “Yeah, we talked about that last night as a team – why, why, oh why do we have to spot our opponents 21 two weeks ago and 10 last week. Really early on in those games, in my opinion when I’m analyzing it and going back and looking at the sequencing of plays – whether it’s a dropped punt, whether it’s a misread by the quarterback, whether it’s a blown coverage in the secondary, whether it’s the first play of the game against SC and we’ve got the run bottled up in the backfield and our safety just doesn’t fit it quite as quickly as he does later in the game…to me, maybe we’re a bit too emotional, maybe we’re concerned about some things outside of us and not really focused on the task at hand, and that’s that play. We addressed it last night and I’m going to continually address it this week about really focused on what’s right in front of us and not worried about what’s down the road, not worried about maybe the crowd or other issues or the scoreboard, and just playing that snap to the best of our ability – all 11 guys that are on the field – and see if we can start that engine, that motor sooner in the game. It’ll be addressed to be sure because it’s hard. I don’t care how good you are, it’s hard to come back against really good teams like that when you spot them points early in the game. It would be nice to come out and execute right from the beginning and playing with a real sense of urgency and a real detailed game-focused game that I think we’re capable of doing. We just need to address it.”
On getting Price back on an even keel and how genuine he is in talking about his difficulties: “I love that about him. I think that’s a sign of a great teammate, a great leader, of a quarterback that has high demands of himself but also knows and is understanding of the position that he’s in. Some of that, of what he gives himself, is probably warranted and some of it isn’t. But at the end of the day he’s the guy that’s going to take the blame when things don’t go great and he’s going to be the guy that gives the praise to others when things go well – and I think that’s the sign of a very good leader.”
On breaking down the good and the bad of the first half of the season: “I think that our defense is continually encouraging to me. I think our offense has played a variety of football teams here early on in the season and I think that we are showing the capability to improve, especially in the back end, which is encouraging. I was encouraged by Josh Shirley’s sack last week of showing that when we needed a pass rush, we were able to generate that. I’ve been encouraged by our kickoff return team — we are close, we’re close on a lot of them to break some real big ones. We just are a block away or a tackle away every time, but that’s been encouraging. Our kickoff coverage unit to me is very encouraging from where we’ve been to where we are now and going against some very elite kickoff returners the last two weeks in De’Anthony Thomas and Marqise Lee to do what we have done there. Obviously when you get a punt blocked that’s a bit concerning, we’ve been good there. And when you drop a punt and you give up a touchdown off of it that’s concerning — but I think we’ve improved in those areas.
“On offense, the running game is still a bit spotty against really good teams. So I’m trying to gauge exactly where we are as an offensive football team based on the opponents we have faced. So I’m trying not to look at the sheer numbers but rather ‘how are we doing against really top-flight opponents’ when you look at USC, Oregon, Stanford and going all the way back to LSU — what do we look like against really good guys that are very well-coached, and so the running game is probably a bit more encouraging to me than maybe our numbers give us credit for because we have gone against some very good fronts. I think Bishop (Sankey) is improving as a runner, I think Kendyl (Taylor) is finding his groove there.
“I’ve been encouraged by what Kasen Williams has brought to our offense. I wish we could have found him a few more times and given him a few more opportunities last Saturday. But he’s been a real bright spot the first half of the season. I think the playmaking ability of what Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) has given us here with almost 30 catches in six games has been encouraging to me, as well. I wish we were a little better up front than we are right now but I think we are improving. I’d like to think that Keith will play better as the season goes on. We did a quick study and compared Keith’s three games last year in the same three game stretch last year against Stanford, USC and Oregon to the same three this year and they are very comparable. So I’m not nearly as concerned that the sky is falling on No. 17 — I think he is going to be okay the second half of the season. And probably the most thing I have been impressed with this team the first half of the season is their resolve. This has been a gritty group. We understand where we are at and we are going to go to work tomorrow and practice our tails off and play a good football game on Saturday.”
On if he can give a grade to the defense for the first half of the season: “I don’t know. We don’t assign grades. I think we are playing pretty good. We are finding our niches of where are strengths are and where there are some areas that need to be improved. I think Desmond Trufant is having an all-conference season at the corner spot. I think we are finding maybe a second corner here in Marcus Peters who can also play some man-to-man coverage. I think we’ve got some young linebackers that improve every week in (Travis) Feeney, John Timu, Thomas Tutogi, Shaq Thompson. I think they are showing just improvement week in and week out. We are getting steady play out of Talia Crichton and Andrew Hudson. We are getting good play out of Sean Parker and Danny Shelton, the play of which I think can improve and get better. I think each of those players can be all-conference-type players so I think there is room for growth for them, and I think we are understanding the role that Josh Shirley can have on this defense as a pass rusher. So with all of that, I still think our best days are ahead of us as a defense because of our youth but we are rapidly getting better.”
On the way Shirley is being used now: “We’re just a bit different. A lot of it depends on the teams that we’re playing, and their strengths, and their ability to run the football. We played three teams that really dedicated themselves to being able to run the football these last three weeks, and Josh’s strength is he’s a really good pass rusher in obvious pass situations. When we’ve been able to spot him, and then put him in in those instances … If you look at the last two games, he’s been able to make two really game-changing plays, with the sack fumble against Stanford three weeks ago and then the sack the other night on Barkley there in a critical third-down situation. That’s going to be his role for us for a little while, which is OK because he’s making plays when he’s been put in those situations.”
On if he has any concerns about Price being too hard on himself and that becoming debilitating: “I don’t think so. He’s a confident kid. He did a lot of really good stuff the other night. It’s unfortunate some of the plays that standout in all of our minds are the glaring mistakes, but he did a lot of really good stuff for us that gave us a chance in that game to be successful. Now the ball security issue when he’s running with the football is something that has to be addressed without a doubt. This is two consecutive weeks now that he’s made really nice runs to get down the field and the ball has come out. I don’t want to take his stinger from him because that is part of his game and that’s the part we’ve all grown to love with Keith, but the ball security issue when contact is near has to be addressed. The first interception is a heck of a play by their guy. Dion Bailey is an all-conference linebacker and he makes a tremendous play, and the next interception is a ball he’s trying to throw to Cody Bruns and Austin is trying to make a play and tips the ball and they intercept it. some of that comes with the territory of playing quarterback that you have to deal with some of the unforeseen circumstances and some you have to own up and take. I think Keith is on the right path to get back to playing the type of football he’s capable of playing and we’re capable of playing around him and I think he’s only going to get better this Saturday at Arizona.”
On if the increased scrambling by Price Saturday was by design: “Part of it was playing the game the way he likes to play the game and not try to be something he’s not. He’s a very creative quarterback if you want to use that term ,in that he can create plays for our offense by using his legs. Sometimes it’s outside of the pocket making throws down the field, sometimes is generating 7, 8, 9 yard gains running the football. What he just has to understand is the decision to get down and he did that at times in the game where he ran for 6 and 7 yards and got down and we were in 2nd and 3 football which is great. He also took a couple of shots he didn’t need to take when he was running the football out of the pocket. It might be a bit of trying to hard of wanting to make a play which sometimes competitors can do that. We’ll find that happy medium for him and we will to. After looking at the film there is some stuff in there where he says ‘I wish I would have done this, I wish I would have done that’ but it’s not as if he’s pointing the finger, it’s not as if he’s down in the dumps and not believing in himself, he knows he’s a good football player and we’re going to be a good offensive football team sooner than later.”
On how the team could be distracted playing an opponent like USC: “I think you have too much attention. Maybe you’re too wired in to everything and not really just this is the call the coach is calling for me in the position that I play, this is my responsibility on this play, this is the formation or the defense or what our opponent has come out in, no matter what they’re wearing and this is my job to do on this snap. And when that play is done I clear my mind and I reload and go do it again on the next snap. And not get caught up in who we’re playing against across, what uniform they’re wearing or what number the guy is wearing across from me or what the score is on the scoreboard. When we can get ourselves into that mindset we’ll be a lot better off for ourselves on just doing on job on the next snap and focusing on that task which is the next 6 seconds and when that 6 seconds is done reloading, clearning my mind, wiping the slate clean about what just happened, what might occur two quarters from now and really what lies directly in front of me.
On Arizona’s and Oregon’s offense being similar: “I think the biggest similarity is the tempo in which they operate. They both operate at extremely high tempos. Arizona really, I think the goal is to run about 100 plays a game; which, if you look at it, USC ran 60 plays last week, we ran 58 – so imagine playing two games, is what it’s like when you play Arizona. They’ve got a tremendous running back in Ka’deem Carey. And then they’ve got two big wide receivers on the outside that they try to get the ball to in one-on-one situations. I don’t know if they’re as multiple as Oregon, but they might even be faster in how many reps they try to get within a game. They’re going to try to repeat calls and go as fast as they can go.”
On if Rich Rodriguez is doing much different at Arizona than at Michigan or West Virginia: “The defense is different from what they did at Michigan. It’s similar to what they did at West Virginia, with the 3-3-5 stack and the multitude of defensive backs on the field. They’re arguably playing with six DBs on the field now with the move of Marquis Flowers to linebacker. So that’s a bit different from what he did when he was at Michigan. Offensively, it’s all pretty similar. They’ve got a good quarterback in Matt Scott, who fits perfectly in their system, with his quick release to get the ball out on the perimeter, his running ability. And they’ve got a back in Ka’Deem Carey who’s a multiple guy, a guy who can run the ball inside and on the perimeter, as well as catch the ball on the outside; he causes a great deal of problems.”
On the difficulties of the 3-3-5: “Just from an identification standpoint. You can’t look at jersey numbers when you play these guys and say, ‘He’s a linebacker, he’s a DB, he’s a d-end.’ They move guys around. So we have to block the look and not the number, which is going to be one of the keys for us as we start in our preparation process.”
On if it is fair to compare the offensive line and how it did against Oregon with how it did against USC: “Sure, it’s fair. They got posed a great challenge last week with an excellent defensive line in USC. Struggled at times. But also did some decent things at times, as well. That’s going to come with the territory with some youth and when you go against good teams.”
On how the right side was after the halftime change: “Wasn’t highly successful early on in the third quarter. We moved (James) Atoe inside and he got beat the first two snaps of the third quarter. Then I think he settled in later in the half, and as he settled in I think Mike Criste struggled some with (Morgan) Breslin. When you add in they had 90 or 94 on the right guard and 91 on the right tackle, they posed some real challenges for us on the right side of the line. We made some plays, but also got beat on some opportunities.”
On if that is the best defensive line UW will face this season: “I don’t know. I haven’t looked at all the times. But I do know then when you look at four of our last five games, we have gone against some really good fronts. I am going to hold judgement on this young guys and how they look and their potential and their capabilities down the road, because you look at LSU, you look at Stanford, you look at Oregon and you look at USC, those are pretty good fronts. Three of those teams are in the top 10 in the BCS — and the other one probably should be if they hadn’t gotten a bad call at the end of the game against Notre Dame.”
On what the study of Price’s games last year and this year in games against USC, Oregon and Stanford showed: “What’s consistent in the numbers (chuckle), they got pressure on Keith. Those teams did a good job of pressuring us and pressuring Keith, got him out of his comfort zone. And then the score kind of got away from us in some of those games. That made it difficult on Keith. Again, I believe in our system. I believe in our coaches. I believe in Keith Price. And we’ll be OK. We’ll play pretty well Saturday.”