Tim's take

SEATTLE - Tim Lappano has reason to smile. In fact, he's downright calm these days. Ever since some newcomer by the name of Locker came up to him before Washington's game against Syracuse and told him things were going to be OK, the Huskies' Offensive Coordinator has been breathing easier.

"I'm not so sure he was all that excited," Lappano told Dawgman.com Monday, when asked for his analysis of Locker's play after seeing the film of the Syracuse game, a 42-12 win for the Huskies. "That first throw, he got jacked up. The second throw, he had a little bit of pressure up in his face. He still has to make that throw. The third throw was cleanly on him. But he was good before the game. He settled me down. He made me feel a lot better. He looked at me and had a big smile on his face. He said, 'Coach, let's go. I'm ready to go.' When a kid says that to you, you feel good. He calmed me down. That's him. He's a competitor. That's why he's here. He lives for these moments.

"After he settled in the first couple of throws, he played extremely well. He ran the run game really well. He did a nice job of looking off the first progression in the passing game. He graded out really high. He played really well."

Lappano felt Locker did the one thing quarterbacks are always taught from a young age; he took what the defense game him. "He played smart," Lappano added. "When you don't turn the football over, you're doing something right. As an offense, we played pretty smart. We didn't have a lot of stupid penalties or bad snaps, and we didn't turn it over. You are going to be in every game if you do that."

The biggest question on offense coming into the Syracuse game - besides how quickly Locker would get comfortable - was the play of the offensive line. It had first-timers mixed in with veterans, and no one was quite sure how much chemistry would be there.

For their first test - a lot of people thought that Syracuse was going to have their best line in 18 years - they can get better," Lappano said of their work. Overall, the offensive line helped generate 444 total yards against the Orange, an average of over seven yards per play. "We still need to get more physical. We can play better technique-wise. On the first play of the game we blew an assignment and someone (Tony Jenkins) came right up the A gap and stung Locker pretty good. We can't let that happen. But overall it was a good start. The young guys - Ryan Tolar and (Cody) Habben - played well. They'll get better every week. (Ben) Ossai and those guys played OK, but they know they can do better. We can improve in a lot of places, not just the oline."

Blocking apparently wasn't an issue for the receiving corps. In fact, Lappano heaped his headiest praise upon them. "That's as good a performance on the perimeter that I've been around," he said, matter-of-factly. "We had some great, great effort. And we challenged them before the game, especially with the new option phase we've gone to. It's really important that they get on blocks and do that, because if they don't those are going to be five-yard runs instead of 30 and 40-yard runs. And they saw that. We made a big deal over that. We've challenged them and have done some things to keep them motivated to get those 'knock-downs'. They take pride in it, and it's a chance for receivers to pay back the DB's. They are going to get hit going across the middle, so now they get a chance to put the hit back on them. It's payback. We've made it competitive and they've answered the bell pretty good."

Lappano, just like UW Head Coach Tyrone Willingham earlier in the day, stressed the idea of staying physical and aggressive against the Huskies' next opponent - the Boise State Broncos. "That's still why we run two-back, and as long as I'm here we're always going to have two-back," Lappano said about staying physical and aggressive against tougher opponents. "It's an attitude. Are we great at it? Probably not as good as we need to be at it. We still ran the power play for a touchdown (at Syracuse) with (Louis) Rankin, but we are going to use it because one, we aren't going to run (Jake) Locker into the ground and two, it's an attitude. We're still trying to instill an attitude of being physical and tough here, and a way to do that is line up in two-back and do it. You can't abondon that."

The UW OC wants his offense to be tough and aggressive, but he doesn't necessarily feel their biggest challenge is going to be in the trenches. I think the biggest challenge for us is going to be their secondary," he said of the Broncos. "They've got both their corners returning, and they have a lot of confidence in those corners. The come up and bump you and play a lot of man-cover, which we saw last year against Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon State...Washington State tried to do that a little bit at the end. We're going to have to step up and defeat man coverage, and that's been a problem around here the last couple of years. It's a challenge and we know it's coming.

"It's going to be a lot different than what we saw at Syracuse. We know it's coming, we've seen it already, we have a lot of players looking at it right now. It's going to be a challenge. They are probably a little smaller than the defenses we'll see in the next three weeks, but they play very hard and they are very well coached."

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