Weekend Thoughts (Week 6)

UW dropped to 4-1 on the season with their 31-28 loss to Stanford on Saturday. However, there isn't a lot of time to dwell on what happened in Palo Alto as the Huskies need to keep focused on the future and that includes their game against Oregon this weekend. That being said, we here at Dawgman always take a look back at the weekend that was both for the Dawgs and the rest of the Pac 12...

Washington Gameday Observations...

-- Keith Price definitely stepped up and made his doubters (me included) eat our words with a gutsy performance against a tough Stanford front seven. There are several NFL players on that defense and he took shot after shot and just kept getting back up and making plays. His first down completion to Kevin Smith in the second quarter was impressive, not just because it was thrown into a tight window, but also because he was blasted by a Stanford defensive end. He also did everything he could to keep the Huskies in the game, something that wasn't necessarily the case the past couple of years. It was definitely a step forward for him as a leader and for this team as they move forward.

-- This was definitely the best game that Travis Feeney has had this season if not his two years of playing. He was all over the place and even played some safety for the Dawgs when it was needed. He brought a physicality to the Husky defense and, unlike his game vs. Arizona where he had a mental lapse that resulted in a big fourth-down conversions for the Wildcats, he didn't seem to struggle with making decisions.

-- Micah Hatchie continues to shine on the offensive line. Yeah, he had a couple of mistakes, but for the most part, he graded out really well on Saturday night and as the season moves along, he will be a huge key for the Dawgs. He's a good run-blocker, always has been, but he's shown a lot of improvement as a pass-blocker and that can only mean good things for Price and, by proxy, the Huskies.

-- Whether he's injured or not, the Husky staff needs to figure out what to do with Cameron Van Winkle as a kickoff guy. He's been decent at getting touchbacks on turf, but has yet to hit the endzone when kicking off on grass. If he was hurt, it's hard to understand why he was still out there other than to say, the coaches obviously felt he was going to do a better job than anyone else on the roster.

-- Regardless of how deep or short the kickoffs were, the coverage units were absolutely abysmal in staying in their lanes and making plays. Ty Montgomery didn't even have to make a move on the opening kickoff. Is it a coaching issue? Is it a talent issue? Whatever it is, it better get fixed quickly because there are some very good kick returners on Washington's schedule coming up.

-- Marcus Peters really came into his own on Saturday. His interception was impressive athletically, but the play he made on 3rd-and-1 on Stanford's final drive was a play I doubt he makes last season. Absorbing a block by the fullback, a very good one I might add, and keeping his balance and then making a play on a quarterback (Kevin Hogan) who is a very good runner was something to behold. He's definitely playing at an All-Pac 12 level right now and hopefully that continues.

-- From watching the UCLA/Utah and UW/Stanford games, I just cannot fathom how Larry Scott can continue to let things slide on the officiating side of things. The Pac 12 has long been considered a national joke as far as refereeing is concerned and it just continues. Both hands to the face penalties on the Dawgs (one vs. Hauoli Kikaha and one against Danny Shelton) were just terrible calls and the unsportsmanlike conduct call on Darrell Daniels for a legal hit was so egregious, words just can't do it justice. Then throw in the fact that Stanford's left tackle and fullback got head starts on several plays that were not called and you get the gist of why this is such a problem. I want to believe it will change, but alas, this is years of terrible refereeing so color me skeptical until it happens.
Pac 12 Weekend Observations...

-- Seems like I've said this the past few weeks with Washington State, but, while I give them credit for coming out with a win, especially one on the road (a game they would have dropped last year), but Cal is just bad this year. They can't run it at all and when you are relying on a true freshman to lead your team, especially in the Pac 12, that's just a recipe for disaster.

-- Against a competent defense, Connor Halliday cannot throw the ball 67 times if the Cougars want to be successful. He was also limping around and he really isn't that mobile, so the quick passing game will need to be in effect for them since the pass-rush will eventually get to him and punish him.

-- Utah QB Travis Wilson needs to take better care of the ball if the Utes have any prayer of making a play for the Pac 12 South in the next couple of years. He threw six interceptions in Utah's 34-27 loss to UCLA. That's pathetic. The scary thing is, there obviously isn't a better option for them or they'd have used him by now.

-- UCLA QB Brett Hundley is really starting to mature as a quarterback. He still makes some bad throws, but he's efficient when he needs to be and he's making plenty of plays with his legs. He's going to be a handful the rest of the season for the Pac 12 and it will be interesting to see how he continues to progress.

-- What do we know about Oregon? They are fast and they are disciplined. What don't we know about them? How good they are. Yeah, they have blown out pretty much every team that has faced them, but who have they beaten? Teams with a combined 11-14 record who really haven't beaten anyone yet.

-- While Marcus Mariota looks great leading the Oregon attack, he isn't killing teams by throwing the ball down the field. I've seen several big plays this year that came from screens to the tailbacks as well as the wideouts and they have come in every different way (middle screens, smoke screens, jailbreak screens, swing passes, etc.). That is definitely something that the Huskies need to prepare for.

-- ASU played Notre Dame to a standstill last weekend. The difference were three turnovers by QB Taylor Kelly, one resulting in the game-winning points for the Irish.

-- The Sun Devils are struggling to stop the run. Their defensive line used to be their strength, but it has struggled to stop everyone the past few weeks.

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