©M. Samek / SCOUT

Dawgman.com Mid-Season Awards, Part Two

It's the bye week, and it's come at a perfect time for the Dawgman.com guys to recharge the batteries and get ready for the second half of the season. But how did this first half shake out? Who excelled? Tuesday we looked at the offensive standouts, so Wednesday we take a look at who we think were the outstanding performers on defense and special teams - as well as revise our season records. And more!

Dawgman.com Mid-Season Awards, Part One

Luke Mounger - Intern Extraordinaire

DL Mid-season player of the year - Greg Gaines. You could make a case for any of the starting three, but Greg Gaines’ production has been the most impressive to me. His ability to clog things up in the run game and provide interior pass rush have led to great numbers for himself and for everyone else around him. 

©M. Samek / SCOUT

LB Mid-season player of the year - Keishawn Bierria. Often overshadowed by Azeem Victor, Bierria has had himself a heck of a first half as well. He’s always around the ball, as supported by his five fumble recoveries, and is second on the team in tackles. I also think his tackle numbers are a little skewed given he had zero registered tackles against Idaho. Toss that outlier out and he’s had a great season so far.

Safety Mid-season player of the year - Budda Baker. Baker does it all. Whether he’s in coverage on a slot receiver, playing centerfield, or supporting in the box, his contributions are crucial.

Corner Mid-season player of the year - Sidney Jones. Nobody tests him. Those that do regret it.

Mid-season defensive position coach of the year - Jimmy Lake. Two things come to mind when I think of the secondary and the way it’s been coached. First, the improvement of Jojo McIntosh. Second, the emergence of Taylor Rapp. Jimmy is coaching his guys up and putting them in situations to succeed.

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Mid-season special teams player of the year - John Ross III. His presence causes teams to sky kick, conceding good field position to avoid the risk of him taking one the distance. 

Mid-season game of the year - Arizona. Somehow, some way, the Huskies ended their dry spell in the desert by outlasting the Wildcats. That’s been their only tight game so far, something they might have to look back upon if and when they’re taken down to the wire in the second half of the season.

Turning point of midseason - Defensive stop in overtime against Arizona. All night long the Huskies couldn’t quite separate themselves from the ‘Cats. Buckling down after opening the overtime period with a touchdown, and ‘staying alive’ on the road in the desert was a major crisis averted and this season’s turning point thus far.

Top Play of the first half of the year - Jake Browning’s touchdown pass to Dante Pettis in OT against Arizona. That was by no means an easy grab, especially given the scenario. Pettis hauling that in allowed the defense to seal the deal and stay undefeated.

Revised season record and why - 15-0. Predicting that the best scoring offense and defense in the conference wins out is far from outlandish. That goes for the regular season and the PAC-12 championship. Then, most likely, comes the college football playoffs. It’s hard to predict from there, having to go on the road and play an unfamiliar opponent. However, Coach Petersen has had his boys ready for the two most exciting matches so far this year. Also, I just think it would be awesome to be a student for a national championship team. Do it for the children.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scott Eklund - Recruiting Editor

DL Mid-season player of the yearVita Vea. We all had a good idea of what Greg Gaines and Elijah Qualls could do, but then when you throw another 330-pounder into the mix, he's made Washington's defensive front downright scary.

©M. Samek / SCOUT

LB Mid-season player of the year - Joe Mathis. Someone needed to step up with the loss of Travis Feeney and Cory Littleton to graduation and Mathis has been the most consistent outside pass-rusher. His length and size make him an ideal fit as a edge defender for the Dawgs.

Safety Mid-season player of the year - Taylor Rapp. The emergence of the freshman has allowed the Huskies to do a lot of different things in the secondary that they might not have been able to do if he hadn't exceeded expectations.

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Corner Mid-season player of the year - Kevin King. We already knew he was pretty darn good as a slot corner, but he pushed his way into the starting corner spot opposite Sidney Jones and he's played very well. He brings an attitude to the secondary and he's one of the leaders on the defensive side of the ball.

Mid-season defensive position coach of the year - Ikaika Malloe. He's had to integrate himself into a group of guys who already were playing well and it's been seamless. He's got his players playing well and they will be a key in the second half of the season.

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Mid-season player of the year special teams player - John Ross III. The threat he poses has really affected the way teams kick off to the Huskies. He's a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

Mid-season game of the year - Stanford. Yeah...the Oregon win was bigger for UW's psyche, but the Stanford game really put Washington on the national map and the Oregon win solidified their position there.

Turning point of mid season - OT win over Arizona. In year's past, Washington loses that game. They hung tough and got the win in a place they hadn't won in 10 years. It gave them the confidence going forward and it's shown the past two weeks.

Top Play of the first half of the year - It was more of a series of plays, so I am going a bit off the reservation here, but I believe the goal line stand vs. Arizona when they had the chance to extend the lead and possibly start the rout of the Huskies. Instead, Washington held tough, stopped them at the two yard line and went down to tie things up before the end of the first half.

Revised season record and why - I said 9-3 at the beginning of the season. Now, I've given them one more win...so...10-2 and winners of the Pac 12 North. I just think Washington is due for a letdown game at least once. Very few teams win every game they are supposed to win. They have tough games vs. Utah, Cal and WSU on the road and USC at home. They'll win at least two and possibly three, but I don't see them winning all of them. Before the season, I thought UW would split the Stanford/Oregon back-to-back

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chris Fetters - Editor

DL Mid-season player of the year - Greg Gaines. I give it to Gaines, who has been a rock in the middle for UW, but you could just as easily give it to Elijah Qualls or Vita Vea. The three of them have been exactly as advertised, but I like Gaines here because of his consistency, his ability to take on multiple blockers and his never-ending quest to get to the quarterback no matter who is in his way. 

LB Mid-season player of the year - Joe Mathis. It seems like each year the defense under Pete Kwiatkowski there’s been a senior that has fulfilled their potential. Last year it was Tani Tupou: this year it’s looking more and more like Joe Mathis. He was UW’s Defensive Player of the Game versus Oregon, and he just looks like he’s getting better and better. 

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Safety Mid-season player of the year - Budda Baker. Easy call here, with all due respect to Jojo McIntosh. But Budda stirs the drink for the defense, and his pick against Oregon set things up for UW in perfect fashion. He’s the only UW defensive player with at least 10 tackles and marks in all the following categories: tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions, pass breakups, and forced fumbles. His preparation has become the stuff of legend. 

Corner Mid-season player of the year - Sidney Jones. Pro Football Focus tweeted out earlier in the year that Jones had allowed only 20 receiving yards on 100 coverage snaps, good for the best yards/coverage snap of Pac 12 cornerbacks. In short, most teams are simply playing way from Jones. He’s already considered one of the top draft-eligible corners for next year, and he’s playing to that level so far this season. 

Mid-season defensive position coach of the year - Pete Kwiatkowski. Four of the top-10 sack leaders in the Pac-12 are Huskies: Joe Mathis, Psalm Wooching, Vita Vea, and Greg Gaines. Kwiatkowski was the one that put Mathis at BUCK to replace Travis Feeney and it’s looking like a master stroke. How UW loses players to graduation and the draft yet continue to remain the top defense in the Pac-12 is a testament to Kwiatkowski’s scheme and also the defensive coaches’ ability to develop the players they do have. That all starts at the top of the defensive coaching chain, and that’s Coach K. And don't forget, he has a huge hand in coaching up the outside linebackers. And how good have they been?

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Mid-season player of the year special teams player - Dante Pettis. Already has a punt return for six, should have had another against Oregon. Just the most solid performer in the special teams game up to this point in the season. He always makes good decisions and he never turns the ball over. 

Mid-season game of the year - At Oregon. For obvious reasons. As big as the Stanford win was, getting the monkey off the back at Oregon nourished the soul of Husky Football. It needed to happen in the worst way, and the way it happened only made it that much sweeter. 

Turning point of mid season - Winning at Arizona. It was a real gut-check moment, and Washington survived the test. They didn’t have their ‘A’ game, but dug deep and survived. And now that they are firmly in the discussion for the CFB playoffs, all they need to do is survive. Survive and advance. In some ways, winning the way they did in the desert helped them prepare for the atmosphere they expected to see at Autzen, especially along the offensive line of scrimmage. 

Top Play of the first half of the year - Budda Baker’s pick versus Oregon. It set the tone for their biggest test, and going up 21-0 after one quarter put the marker down for the Ducks. They were going to have to chase the game, and do it with a true freshman at quarterback. And then it was 35-7. And then it was 56-21. And then it was 70-21. The Dawgs stepped on the Ducks’ throats, and never let up. 

Revised season record and why - The Full Monty. If you read my post-game op-ed, I absorbed a gallon of purple kool aid after the Oregon win. The road to the Pac-12 title was supposed to go through Stanford and Oregon, the only teams to have won the Pac-12 this decade. They just ripped through those two teams 114-27. That’s ridiculous. There’s no reason they can’t run the table because no one will be favored against them from now on. The only team that can trip up UW at this point is UW. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kim Grinolds - CEO

DL Mid-season player of the year - Elijah Qualls. His first step is absolutely lethal. he may not have the numbers but he's requiring a constant double team which is freeing up up other guys.

©M. Samek / SCOUT

LB Mid-season player of the year - Keishawn Bierria. Physical tacking machine not only getting it done at LB, but is a special teams’ War Daddy.

 

Safety Mid-season player of the year - Budda Baker. He's turned into Earl Thomas. Ball hawk who is tremendous in run support. heart and soul of the defense.

Corner Mid-season player of the year - Sidney Jones. Nobody throws his way. Shut down, physical corner. Has NFL scouts drooling.

©M. Samek / SCOUT

Mid-season defensive position coach of the year - Ikaika Malloe. Has his guys playing with energy and passion. Didn't take long for the guys to buy into the new guy on the block.

Mid-season player of the year special teams player - Keishawn Bierria. Giving him a running start to hit guys just isn't fair.

USA Today Sports

Mid-season game of the year - Stanford. Husky Stadium was born again. Statement game for the program. UW is back.

Turning point of mid season - Beating Arizona on the road in overtime. The was game they lose in any other year. They didn't play well.They escaped with a wake up call instead of a loss.

Top Play of the first half of the year - Budda Baker's interception on Oregon's first play of the game. It set the tone for ending 12 years of misery.

Revised season record and why - 11-1. Running the table is tough. Really tough.

Dawgman.com Mid-Season Awards, Part One


Dawgman.com Top Stories