Stanford Game - Position Grades

A day later and things still don't look much better after Washington fell to 4-1 with a 20-13 loss to Stanford. Here's a look at each position group and how they performed during Saturday's frustrating game at Husky Stadium...

Quarterbacks - Miles just looked confused and unconfident, almost from the get-go. The offensive line didn’t help Miles much, but there were definitely times that he had open receivers and either he didn’t see them or he just gave up on the play and bailed out of the pocket. Even when he did get out and use his legs, Miles typically chose the wrong way to run with it, running into the rush or the blitzer instead of away from it. He did make a couple of nice throws including the touchdown pass to Jaydon Mickens, but, for the most part, his day was nothing short of abysmal. Grade: D.

Running Backs - None of the tailbacks distinguished themselves although Lavon Coleman had a couple of nice gainers. When there wasn’t a hole, none of them could make someone miss or bounce it outside and none of the them did well picking up blitzers in pass protection. Grade: D.

Wide Receivers - There were several times that Husky receivers were open and Miles either couldn’t find them or he decided to pull the ball down and run, however, they didn’t help matters by not getting separation and even had some dropped passes and they have been woeful in blocking, both on the edge and down the field. Grade: D+.

Tight End - Darrell Daniels got the only targets for the tight ends, hauling in two receptions for a total of five yards, but overall, the tight end group has been basically non-existent in the offense for the past few weeks. Josh Perkins and Daniels are both good receivers, but it doesn’t appear that the Huskies like to use them much in the passing game. The lack of push along the offensive line also falls at their feet a little as well. Grade: D

Offensive Line: I do believe that Coleman Shelton will prove to be a solid starter for the Huskies down the road, but like the rest of the line, they were over-matched against a physical Stanford defensive line. He wasn’t the only one who struggled though. Dexter Charles got knocked on his backside a couple of times and James Atoe and Colin Tanigawa surrendered penetration on quite a few plays. It all starts up front and when you amass just 179 yards of offense, your offensive line most likely was a major culprit. Grade: D -.

Defensive Line: The defensive line played well overall. They only managed to post one sack, but they got pressure on Kevin Hogan several other times and they held up relatively well against the run, although the Cardinal did finish with 186 yards on the ground, but some of those were hitch passes or reverses to wide receivers. Danny Shelton continues to anchor the line and he had another standout game, posting seven tackles, a tackle-for-loss and a fumble recovery. Grade: B.

Linebackers - John Timu, Travis Feeney, Shaq Thompson and Cory Littleton, seeing his most extensive action so far this season, all had solid afternoons and made plays when given the opportunity. Thompson stepped up and made a huge play in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble deep in Washington territory when he hit quarterback Kevin Hogan who appeared to be heading for a first down inside the Washington 10. All four missed some tackles early on, but they played better in the second half and forced several punts. The missed opportunity by Timu, who dropped a sure interception and likely touchdown, in the first quarter was huge as it wound up being a 10-point swing as Stanford settled for a 35-yard field goal on the next play. All in all, this group was above average although they could have helped their team stop Stanford drives earlier with better tackling. Grade: B.
Defensive Backs - Considering the youth in the secondary and the fact that Kevin King was missing due to an illness, this unit played outstanding football. Now, helping matters is the fact that Hogan doesn’t take a lot of shots down the field and Stanford head coach David Shaw calls a very conservative game, so they didn’t have the dynamic passing attack they will face the rest of the season. Aside from one glaring missed tackle by Marcus Peters and then watching Trevor Walker get “trucked” by Ty Montgomery on his way to the endzone, and a completely botched coverage that allowed a long gainer from Hogan to TE Eric Cotton, the defensive backs were on their game. Peters posted an interception and locked down the always explosive Montgomery, holding him to just four receptions for 29 yards and the one touchdown. Freshman S Budda Baker had his best day, batting away two passes and showing better tackling skills as well. Naijiel Hale and Sidney Jones both had solid afternoons as well. Grade: B+.

Punting/Kicking - We talked about it in our Dawgman Radio segment after the game, Korey Durkee had the best day for a Husky punter that any of us could remember, at least in the past 15 years. Not only did he average nearly 52 yards on seven punts, but he also did an outstanding job of keeping the ball away from Montgomery who was visibly frustrated with his lack of opportunities at returns. Cameron Van Winkle didn’t do much as he had just one extra point attempt, the second was dropped by holder Jeff Lindquist, but he did a good job, aside from his first kickoff, of directional kicking, pinning the return men in the corner and allowing the coverage units to get good angles on them, limiting their effectiveness.

Coverage/Return Teams - Two huge mistakes cost these units an “A” grade. Montgomery’s opening kickoff return of 62 yards, to the Husky 35, set up Stanford’s first points and on the ensuing kickoff return, DiAndre Campbell got caught blocking in the back, negating a 98-yard kickoff return. Other than that, these units were solid, especially Baker who stopped Montgomery’s lone punt return before it got started, holding him to just two yards. Grade: B.

Offensive Coaching - This offense needs a retooling. Miles cannot make the throws he’s being asked to make, particularly the bubble screens, and they are not making a lot of plays in the running game. This team is at its best when it is using their best playmakers across the middle and down the field. However, with the lack of time and/or confidence in Miles, they just have almost no identity on offense. You also have to include the decision to run a fake punt from the Washington 48 with over seven minutes left as another bad decision by the coaching staff with head coach Chris Petersen taking responsibility for the decision. They have two weeks before they play again, so it will be interesting to see what changes, if any, they make. Grade: F.

Defensive Coaching - Washington forced three turnovers, got consistent pressure on Hogan and gave their offense every opportunity to get even with Stanford, which is really all you can ask from them. That being said, the Huskies still missed a lot of tackles and they also had a couple of coverage breakdowns. Overall, the defense had an above average game, but if they had been better tacklers, things might have been different on the scoreboard. We’ll never know. Grade: B.

Overall Grade: As Dawgman.com’s Chris Fetters put it so eloquently in our Dawgman Radio segment, this game was indicative of a good home team against top 15 team. Washington has as much speed, if not more, as Stanford, but they just are not on the same level from a physicality standpoint. Washington had a lot of opportunities to draw even and even go ahead, but they just couldn’t muster the offense necessary to put the pressure on Stanford who seemed to be in control most of the day. Washington will lick their wounds for the next couple of weeks as they get ready for eight straight weeks worth of conference play. Can they rebound? They’d better or this season could get away from them very quickly. Grade: C -.


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