Even though this game was a 14-point game, it sure felt like a nailbiter the whole way. Kudos to BSU's defense in the second half for making adjustments and doing a fantastic job of shutting down UW's offense.
Conversely, what a great job by Kent Baer's troops. Sure, they gave up a lot outside. That was to be expected. Just like at Syracuse, the goal was not to get beat deep, and outside of the one play that was a great catch by the BSU WR, the Huskies did a really good job of executing their gameplan, and were just nails in the red zone That pick by Vonzell McDowell at the end is only going to give him more confidence as he moves forward.
It'll be interesting to see what Willingham says this afternoon. I'm expecting more of the same ala Syracuse, and now the media doesn't really have much to talk about in that regard, simply because I think UW showed that they are capable of a lot offensively, and left a lot on the field.
Going into the Ohio State game, the Huskies have to be sky-high. This game, the first win by Willingham against a top-25 opponent since he's been at Washington, could mean the team has legitimately turned a corner. Or it could just mean it was one game and the Huskies are brought back down to earth against an extremely strong Ohio State team. Either way, Husky Stadium should be packed and really rocking, as Ohio State's QB will be making his first start away from home and the Huskies made life tough for Taylor Tharp at crucial times.
I'm sure the UW coaches would like to see more out of their offense, but they didn't turn the ball over and BSU wasn't able to score. All things being equal, that's 15 more minutes off the board the Huskies don't have to worry about - and that's almost as crucial at this juncture of the game.
Kudos to Kent Baer and his guys for keeping their heads about them and not getting caught up in the emotions of the moment. Every time a big play hit, they maintained their composure and have kept BSU out of the endzone. Baer will take BSU kicking field goals all game long.
Quickie Stats and sideline notes
UW 223 total offense, BSU 197
Rushing - Rankin 9/36, Locker 7/31, Homer 1/4, Brandon Johnson 2/3
Passing - Locker 9/18 for 133 yards and one score
Receiving - Russo 4/37, Reece 2/61, Corey Williams 1/19 and Quintin Daniels 1/16
Other people seen on the sidelines - Justin Glenn (Kamiak) and Rainier Beach Head Coach Mark Haley. Anthony Kelley is also down there, and Spencer Hawes is in the stands wearing a #10 UW football jersey.
Except for the turnover and the big play right after it (which was really a great play by BSU and not a blown play by UW), that's about as good a half as one could have expected for this team against a top-25 team this early in the season.
The offense looked good, and with more consistency by the receivers and running backs in the pass game, the offense would have looked VERY good. The OL is doing a nice job of keeping things clean for Locker around the pocket, and Jake has settled in and is finding his guys.
Defensively, it's always been about 'bend but not break' with such a young secondary, and they have done a very good job of keeping everything in front of them. Even when BSU went for it on 4th and 10 and converted, they still couldn't find the end zone and had to settle for three points. Kent Baer will take it all day long. His front guys are now starting to infiltrate BSU's OL and the DE's like Rayford and Gunheim are finding themselves in the backfield more than they were in the first quarter. Also kudos to Gunheim for his film study and sniffing out the play that he picked off. That's just a heads-up play by the UW captain.
Overall, it's way before early in terms of what can happen in this game, but I haven't seen anything in the Broncos' defense that leads me to believe they can stop UW's offense when they are in rhythm. UW just needs to stop shooting themselves in the foot with drops.
You're seeing the best and worst of Jake Locker - all in one quarter. The best - the way he take things and moves the chains and doesn't play with an ounce of fear. The worst - that lack of fear manifesting itself in stuff like carrying the ball like a loaf of bread. It was the exact same way with Marques Tuiasosopo, and with exceptional playmakers like that, you're always going to take the bad with the good, because the good far outweighs any damage they do.
Other than Locker's fumble, the Huskies are playing with a lot of confidence and are moving the ball on BSU. Even on the long pass play from Tharp to Titus Young, Vonzell McDowell was in position to make a play, and that's all you can ask of the young man. Now he needs to shake it off and get back in the fray.
Overall, a very strong start for UW, on both sides of the ball. UW 14, BSU 7.
four minutes to go
The BSU team just came out, and one of the first guys out of the tunnel for them was carrying a sledgehammer. Not sure what that means. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Greyson Gunheim, Anthony Russo and Marcel Reece appear to be the game-day captains. The Huskies come out to a thunderous ovation. I focused in on watching Jake Locker coming out, and he appears fired up. He was exhorting the students on. The Huskies won the toss and will receive. It's time to go!
10 minutes to go
The Husky band is getting ready to do their pre-game national anthem thing, and there are a lot of empty seats on the south side. Too bad the Husky crowd is late-arriving - a trend that hasn't changed in recent years. Sure hope by the middle of the first quarter it'll be jammed, but right now it's disappointing. There's orange everywhere, and plenty of purple too - but not in dominating numbers like I'm sure the program would have wanted.
20 minutes to go
Guys we've been able to spot on the sidelines so far:
Jermaine Kearse (Lakes), Former UW DE Jason Chorak, Alameda Ta'amu (Rainier Beach), Ryan Robertson and Drew Schaefer (Eastlake), Tyler Tuiasosopo (Mariner) and Jordan Polk (Lincoln). I'll try to add more as we identify them.
About 35 minutes before kickoff
There's electricity in Husky Stadium, and I'm not talking about the power company. It's definitely going to be a struggle of purple vs. orange. From my vantage point in the press box, I can't see the lower bowl on the south side, but right now there looks to be more orange than purple in the stands. It's a very impressive display by the BSU faithfull so far. There is an orange ring going almost all the way around the west side of Husky Stadium, and there's also a section of orange on the north side on the far east end, as well as in the east end zone.
Even though school is not in session yet, the UW student section is packed and rowdy. Jake Locker's name was just announced by Lou Gellerman in the starting lineup, and the students went nuts.
Afternoon Practice Notes
There's a new LED board across the length of the east endzone, right up against the east chain-link fence. We'll see what they show on it Saturday.
Things are starting to come together, in terms of all the painting done inside Husky Stadium, as well as the parking lot just to the north, inbetween the new Husky Legends Center and the Nordstrom Tennis Complex. If you come into HS from the North (E1, etc...) you're definitely going to notice a few new things - including the Legends Center (still not 100 percent completed).
Speaking of the Center - which will open the weekend of the USC game (9/29), I've been told the replica jerseys are now on sale in the team shop. I'm going to look after I get done with this to confirm it, but I have it on good authority that they are a pretty striking resemblence - minus the actual original fabric used. It's not going to be wool, folks.
The defense worked on the east field, which is normal, but you couldn't hear any of the coaches really barking it up like Mike Denbrock and Tim Lappano were on the offensive side. Denbrock was really going after his guys to keep their pad level down and to get after it. Lappano was very animated as they appeared to be going through different parts of their gameplan - very vocal to make absolutely sure everyone understood their assignments. If the offense doesn't know what they are doing after a week of working with a guy like Lappano, it's their own fault. He's very meticulous and very thorough in his approach - and also very loud.
And yes - that's a good thing.
Sir Aaron Mason, Zach Gerasin and Darrion Jones were on stationary bikes today, and as I was leaving, I noticed Casey Bulyca running around the perimeter of the field - not sure why.
Afternoon Willingham Notes
Said that there have been no additional injuries sustained this week in practice, that only Luke Kravitz is still practicing in red and won't play. Also added that Darrion Jones and Sir Aaron Mason most likely wouldn't be available to play, and that both appear to be minor injuries.
Asked about Byron Davenport and Willingham said that he felt like Byron has put in a good week of practice and done OK, but since he put a percentage on him last week and he didn't travel, he wasn't going to put a percentage on him playing this week.
Said that J.R. Hasty's ankle is bothering him a little bit, but it's not too bad, and the ankle that has been heavily wrapped since fall camp started is still heavily taped, but Willingham said that it's just a precautionary measure.
Asked about getting a chance to get any sleep this week because of all the tape you have to watch to prepare against a team like Boise State, and Willingham said he's doing fine. "I'm so sleep deprived, it wouldn't make any difference."
Asked about the left tackle battle between Ben Ossai and Cody Habben, and Willingham said that both would play, but he hasn't focused on a starter yet. Ossai has worked with most first groups based on my first-hand observations. He also added that there's a chance Chad Macklin might see some time at left tackle as part of a three-man rotation.
A few more relevant links...
Here is a story about the Huskies' history of slower starts under Willingham, and how that just might be getting turned around with this particular team.
Here is Kent Baer's take on what happened against Syracuse and what might happen against Boise State. As he eloquently states, Boise State is going to offer up a myriad of challenges to Washington's D.
CollegeFootballNews.com has their Fearless Predictions out for the Pac-10 this week. Also included is CFN's Staff Picks. The faint of heart may not want to click on these links. It's a tough, but fair analysis of the game, and they are 9-0 so far on their staff picks in the Pac-10.
Afternoon Practice notes
Kravitz in red, all those that were in gold Tuesday stayed in gold. According to Willingham, during the week, whoever is wearing gold at the first practice gets that honor for the full week.
Sir Aaron Mason, Darrion Jones and Tyrone Duncan were doing stairs at the time I had to leave practice. It looked like Willie Griffin and Brandon Johnson were the RB's responsible for being the scout team's 'Ian Johnson'.
The coaches were definitely chatting it up today. Chris Tormey was getting after his guys a little bit for not being loud enough in communicating information to the rest of the defense. During warm-ups, Tim Lappano could be heard saying, 'It wasn't fast enough yesterday. We're going game speed today!"
And as we were leaving the practice, Mike Denbock was overheard saying, "There's not going to be a 15!" while his guys were working the sled. His comment was in reference to BSU's current 14-game winning streak.
It's clear that the coaches are talking the talk and walking the walk in getting the Huskies prepared for the Broncos on Saturday.
Afternoon Willingham notes
First, UW and WSU are going to announce something tomorrow to the public at UW about the Apple Cup rivalry. Don't have a clue what it is right now, but I'll be there to find out.
Willingham first brought up the Jordan Murchison case, and said that since things are still pending with the sentencing of his first case and the second case hasn't been dealt with yet, he's still on indefinite leave from the team, but hasn't been dismissed from the team yet.
Said that Luke Kravitz has no broken bones in his hand, so no surgery required. There still is no timetable for when Kravitz will be ready to play.
Said that the BSU offense is going to try and make UW overthink on defense. "They force you to make so many adjustments". Key will be to focus on their own keys and play fundamentally sound, aggressive football.
Said that the coaches can't use an example from the P-10 when gameplanning for Ian Johnson, because he's a little different than any other back they've seen. Willingham said that instead of powering through the hole, Johnson is great at finding little creases, even the ones that aren't diagrammed for, and getting through those and getting upfield.
The Players Speak
On Monday's press conference with Tyrone Willingham, a number of players were also made available to the media. Here is what Jake Locker, Louis Rankin, Marcel Reece, Anthony Russo, Roy Lewis, Greyson Gunheim, Ryan Perkins and Jared Ballman had to say
Duckfighter Illustrated is here!
Race Bannon's award-winning journalistic exploits are caught here every game week.
Rico's BSU preview is up!
Here is another in a long line of Rick Samek's world-famous opponent previews. This time his focus is set squarely on the BSU Broncos.
Afternoon Practice Observations
Seven players in gold Tuesday - Jake Locker, Louis Rankin, Jared Ballman, Jordan Reffett, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Caesar Rayford and Greyson Gunheim were all wearing the coveted gold jerseys.
Today is the first day D1 schools can expand their rosters, and Willingham added one player - walk-on kicker Zach Gerasin - back in the team. Gerasin was on the roster during spring.
Luke Kravitz was wearing red and had a cast on his left hand, but when through as much of the drills and warmup as he could. Based on the size of the cast, I think he's going to be out longer than a week, but that's just my opinion based on my observations.
TE Johnie Kirton had his left ankle really taped up and you could tell he was favoring that foot a little bit. J.R. Hasty seemed to be moving OK. Byron Davenport also looked to be sprinting and backpedaling just fine.
Ben Ossai was working with the No. 1 OL for the small part of practice I was able to see.
Links a plenty
Here are the links to the stories that were posted late Monday night/early Tuesday morning.
We spoke with UW Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano, and here is his takes on Syracuse and Boise State.
We had a chance to speak with BSU's Head Coach - Chris Petersen - and this is what he had to say.
Here is Willingham's look at Washington's next opponent - BSU.
Here is another CollegeFootballNews.com piece, by CFN's Pete Fiutak. It covers a wide range of college football topics, and includes a snippet on UW QB Jake Locker.
Here is CollegeFootballNews.com's Bowl Projections. Do they have UW making a bowl? You might be pleasantly surprised.
Here is Dick Baird's Coach's Corner - which talks about how the seniors played a particularly important role in UW's 42-12 victory at Syracuse.
Boise State's two-deeps
Here is Boise State's two-deeps, announced Monday afternoon.
Offense WR - 19 Vinny Perretta 5-9 190 Jr. 21 Toshi Franklin 6-1 180 Jr. or 87 Austin Pettis 6-3 200 Fr. WR - 9 Jeremy Childs 6-0 191 So. 4 Titus Young 5-11 165 Fr. LT - 79 Ryan Clady 6-6 315 Jr. 72 Matt Slater 6-5 261 Fr. or 73 Nate Potter 6-6 269 Fr. LG - 66 Tad Miller 6-4 297 Sr. 76 Jon Gott 6-3 281 Jr. C - 54 Jeff Cavender 6-2 285 Sr. 61 Jeff Biedermann 6-3 281 Sr. RG - 60 Andrew Woodruff 6-3 336 Jr. 64 Pete Cavender 6-2 288 Sr. or 77 Ben Iannacchione 6-3 265 So. RT - 75 Dan Gore 6-5 302 Sr. 68 Mitch Rudder 6-2 275 Fr. or 73 Nate Potter 6-6 269 Fr. TE - 39 Ryan Putnam 6-2 237 Sr. 40 Richie Brockel 6-2 249 So. or 86 Sherm Blaser 6-3 234 Sr. or 88 Chris O'Neill 6-3 233 Jr. QB - 10 Taylor Tharp 6-2 203 Sr. 3 Bush Hamdan 6-1 192 Jr. or 15 Nick Lomax 6-6 216 So. RB - 41 Ian Johnson 5-11 195 Jr. 27 Jeremy Avery 5-9 172 Fr. FB - 40 Richie Brockel 6-2 249 So. 30 Michael Lose 5-10 237 Sr. Defense DE - 97 Nick Schlekeway 6-4 256 Sr. 53 Sean Bingham 6-3 265 Jr. DT - 94 Phillip Edwards 6-4 283 Jr. or 90 Ian Smart 6-3 274 Sr. DT - 67 Joe Bozikovich 6-1 279 Jr. or 95 Sione Tavake 6-1 300 Sr. DE - 93 Mike T. Williams 6-4 245 Jr. or 98 Ryan Winterswyk 6-4 259 Fr. SAM - 24 Tim Brady 6-1 205 Jr. 18 Ellis Powers 5-10 206 Jr. or 13 Mike Altieri 5-11 222 Sr. MIKE- 44 Kyle Gingg 5-11 216 Jr. 52 Derrell Acrey 6-2 232 Fr. WILL - 43 David Shields 6-2 220 Jr. 51 Dallas Dobbs 6-2 220 Jr. S 5 Jason Robinson 6-0 190 Fr. 23 Jeron Johnson 5-11 190 Fr. S 20 Marty Tadman 5-11 185 Sr. 37 Austin Smith 5-9 171 Sr. CB 8 Orlando Scandrick 5-11 198 Jr. 38 Brandyn Thompson 5-10 166 Fr. CB 1 Kyle Wilson 5-10 190 So. 6 Rashaun Scott 5-10 197 Sr. Specialists PK - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 172 Fr. Brock Jaramillo 5-7 165 Jr. KO - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 172 Fr. Brock Jaramillo 5-7 165 Jr. HD - 2 Tanyon Bissell 5-10 194 Jr. P - 49 Brad Elkin 6-3 191 Fr. 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 172 Fr. SNP - 51 Dallas Dobbs 6-2 220 Jr. KR - 6 Rashaun Scott 5-10 197 Sr. or 8 Orlando Scandrick 5-11 198 Jr. or 19 Vinney Perretta 5-9 190 Jr. or 1 Kyle Wilson 5-10 190 So. PR - 20 Marty Tadman 5-11 185 Sr. 9 Jeremy Childs 6-0 191 So.
10:45 a.m. - Chris Petersen WAC conference call
Listened in on the WAC conference call this morning, here's what Boise State Head Coach Chris Petersen had to say.
Said that they were happy to get out of the gate against Boise State, said they were ready to play and that the first game is always hard to gauge, but he was happy the way they came ready.
Said UW is going to be a huge challenge because of HS and their team, multiple challenges to defend in the next week. Said that UW's team is big and fast. Said that to go out and battle them in that environment is an awesome test. This is their first big test. They haven't been in an environment like that in a while. Fiesta Bowl was a split crowd. Anxious to see how his guys perform.
Said they are highlighting Locker's strengths, put in a portion of the spread option in their offense. Said they didn't scrap what they did last year, just added. Said that there's still some uncertainty as to how UW will continue to use Locker.
Asked about the new rule about kickoffs starting at the 30-yard line, and he said that it's made a big difference so far, offenses are getting much better field position and he expects teams to be working more on their coverage teams.
Added that he plays starters on his special teams. 'Only the best players play'.
Asked about his starting QB, Taylor Tharp, and Petersen said that he did a nice job against Weber State. Did everything they asked him. He was efficient and guys blocked for him. Game 2 will start to answer a lot of questions about Tharp.
Asked about Appalachian State - Said that that's why so many people love college football. Talked about parity in pro football. In college football, the emotion of the kids influence things tremendously. That's why you have to go play the game no matter what. You can't take anything for granted, because games like that happen.
Asked about Jake Locker - said he can see why everyone is talking about him. Said mechanics are clean, ball just jumps out of his hand. Said Syracuse had things defended, but because he's so fast it ends up being a 15-20 yard gain. Said the key to slowing him down is playing assignment football, but when things break down it's impossible to do that. Said if they try to do too much or overcompensate, that's when you really have problems.
Asked about keeping the hype to a minimum at BSU, and he said that the coaches felt good about that even during the winter. He could tell his players wanted to move forward and not talk at all about the Fiesta Bowl or last season.
Added that there's always a danger of living in the past and feeling good about people patting you on the back. That's human nature, but he said that it's a good way of getting beat in a hurry.
Asked about scheduling, and he said that they want to play as many home games as possible. Said that it's hard to do that, and because scheduling is done so far in advance, it's hard to find those slots to get as many home games as possible. Said a mixture of easy and tough games is good, and that's where everyone is going because they want as many home games as possible too. So that's why teams are going to more 1-AA teams, because they have slots available and will travel to get paid.
Added that the bigger teams have more leverage to pay teams more money to play home games, so that's another obstacle to overcome.
Said that the UW game is going to be much different that WSU, because it's on the road, and it's going to be a much more physical game. Said it was nice to get that first game under their belts and go through it pretty clean, but he expects a much different situation because of the environment they'll be facing, as well as the team they'll be playing.
Here is UW's two-deeps, as announced by UW Media Relations...
Washington Offense WR 5 Anthony Russo 5-11 185 ^Sr. 18 Corey Williams 6-2 195 ^Sr. LT 79 Ben Ossai 6-6 300 Jr. OR 71 Cody Habben 6-6 300 So. LG 65 Ryan Tolar 6-5 310 So. 76 Jordan White-Frisbee 6-6 320 Sr. C 58 Juan Garcia 6-3 315 ^Sr. 64 Matt Sedillo 6-3 300 So. RG 72 Casey Bulyca 6-6 340 Sr. 64 Matt Sedillo 6-3 300 So. 70 Morgan Rosborough 6-6 365 Jr. RT 75 Chad Macklin 6-8 300 ^Sr. 69 Erik Berglund 6-6 310 ^Sr. TE 86 Michael Gottlieb 6-5 245 Sr. OR 37 Johnie Kirton 6-4 270 Sr. OR 81 Robert Lewis 6-5 250 ^Sr. QB 10 Jake Locker 6-3 225 So. 11 Carl Bonnell 6-3 215 ^Sr. TB 9 Louis Rankin 6-0 205 ^Sr. OR 24 J.R. Hasty 5-11 200 Jr. OR 14 Curtis Shaw 5-11 190 Fr. OR 6 Brandon Johnson 5-11 195 Fr. OR 21 Willie Griffin 5-8 200 Fr. FB 30 Paul Homer 6-0 222 So. 47 Austin Sylvester 6-1 245 Fr. OR 41 Tobias Togi 6-0 230 Fr. WR 3 Marcel Reece 6-3 240 Sr. 19 Quintin Daniels 6-0 195 ^Sr. WR 16 D'Andre Goodwin 6-0 170 So. 29 Cody Ellis 6-0 185 ^Sr. Washington Defense DE 66 Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 6-4 245 Jr. 96 De'Shon Matthews 6-4 255 So. DT 95 Jordan Reffett 6-6 295 ^Sr. 77 Erick Lobos 6-3 285 Sr. 93 Derek Kosub 6-4 295 So. DT 74 Wilson Afoa 6-3 290 ^Sr. 99 Cameron Elisara 6-2 275 So. DE 7 Greyson Gunheim 6-5 265 Sr. 85 Caesar Rayford 6-7 250 Sr. OLB 34 Dan Howell 6-1 225 Sr. 20 Kyle Trew 6-2 235 ^Sr. ILB 9 Donald Butler 6-1 240 So. OR 57 Trenton Tuiasosopo 6-2 240 Sr. 40 Mason Foster 6-1 218 Fr. OLB 22 E.J. Savannah 6-2 228 Jr. 29 Chris Stevens 6-0 215 Jr. FS 26 Jason Wells 6-2 210 Jr. 39 Nate Williams 6-1 205 Fr. 27 Jay Angotti 5-10 180 So. SS 23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 Sr. 15 Darin Harris 5-11 200 Sr. CB 6 Vonzell McDowell, Jr. 5-9 176 Fr. 18 Byron Davenport 5-11 195 Jr. CB 28 Roy Lewis 5-11 187 ^Sr. 19 Matt Mosley 5-11 190 So. Washington Special Teams P 12 Jared Ballman 5-11 175 Jr. 13 Ryan Perkins 6-0 185 Jr. FG/PAT 13 Ryan Perkins 6-0 185 Jr. 12 Jared Ballman 5-11 175 Jr. KO 12 Jared Ballman 5-11 175 Jr. 13 Ryan Perkins 6-0 185 Jr. HLD 11 Carl Bonnell 6-3 215 ^Sr. SNP 49 Danny Morovick 6-3 230 Jr. KOR 6 Brandon Johnson 5-11 195 Fr. 9 Louis Rankin 6-0 205 Sr. PR 5 Anthony Russo 5-11 185 ^Sr. 9 Louis Rankin 6-0 205 Sr. ^ indicates fifth-year senior