Wow. It just felt like deja vu all over again. Same stuff, different week. And it's pretty crazy to see some of the same things - missed tackles, dumb penalties, dropped passes...overall execution issues on both sides of the ball.
I hope someone has an answer, because it's starting to get hard to talk about the same issues. And I can imagine that if it's hard on me, it's got to be borderline nuts for the players and coaches. They've got my complete and total empathy, because you clearly can tell they are working hard and not quitting at all. But even the most upbeat and positive person can't help but lose it a little bit when they consistently see the same mistakes happen again and again.
Third Quarter Analysis:
Can you say UCLA all over again? Big runs haunt the Huskies, as they just can't seem to go after the blood in the water - for some unknown reason. Ryan Torain is on the sidelines on crutches, and instead of making his backups pay - the Huskies make Keegan Herring and Dmitri Nance look like budding Heisman candidates.
And it all started with the one thing they couldn't afford to do - turn the ball over in their own zone. It's amazing how many different ways Washington has found to kill any momentum they've had going into the locker room this season.
Quickie Halftime Stats:
First Downs: UW 9 ASU 13
Rushes-Yards: UW 16-120 ASU 20-68
Passing-Yards: UW 69 ASU 170
Total Plays: UW 27 ASU 44
Penalties-Yards: UW 4-19 ASU 4-35
Louis Rankin 7-68
Jake Locker 7-47
J.R. Hasty 2-5
Jake Locker 5-11 for 69 yards, long of 36 and one touchdown
Marcel Reece 2-45 and one score
Anthony Russo 1-15
Cody Ellis 1-5
Louis Rankin 1-4
Byron Davenport: 7 total tackles, one sack, one TFL
E.J. Savannah: 5 total tackles
Donald Butler: 5 total tackles
Greyson Gunheim: 5 total tackles, one TFL
Second Quarter Analysis:
The Huskies go into halftime with a 17-13 lead, and they are doing all the right things. They are not turning the ball over (ASU could have said something about that a couple of times, but have not been opportunistic so far) and when they get a chance to make a 'sudden change' play, they take advantage.
With the Huskies getting the ball back to start the second half, it's going to be very interesting to see how they respond to the last play of the half, and the ruling that ASU QB Rudy Carpenter stepped out of bounds before the game clock expired. Looking at the different angles Fox Sports Northwest showed, I can see why they made the call they did. If the Sun Devils end up pulling this game out, they might look to that play, and the subsequent Thomas Weber 24-yard field goal as time expired, as two plays that changed the whole complexion of the game.
First Quarter Analysis:
A very solid quarter of football for the Huskies. Yes, they gave up a couple of plays for first downs that extended drives, but the Sun Devils didn't get much for all their efforts. The run game is being pretty well contained by the UW defense, and having a healthy Byron Davenport on the other corner is already paying dividends.
Offensively, Jake Locker looks poised and not at all the same QB that came out against UCLA and USC. His throws have been very good, very catchable for the most part, and his decision-making has been good. He needs to stay away from passing back in the middle of the field when flushed, he'll find nothing but problems there.
25 minutes to game time
Nice to be down in the desert again, getting some sun and warm temps before heading back to Seattle. It's really pleasant right now, I doubt the heat will be a big factor, but the Huskies do have the 'Big Fog' machines behind their benches, just in case.
Just from talking to a couple of the coaches before the game, it sounds like the team is really juiced about playing this game and showing people they can put a full 60 minutes together. They'll get an incredibly tough test tonight against the No. 13 Arizona State. I'll keep you updated, with analysis at the end of every quarter, and also a quick entry to tie everything together at the end of the game.
Afternoon Practice notes
Watched the LB's today, doing catching drills while in motion. For every missed catch, they would have to do pushups. There were a lot of pushups done this afternoon. Tormey and Baer were right on top of them.
A scout for New Orleans was there, and Jason Wells was once again seen on the field, but in street clothes.
I was the only one that stayed for the full 25 minutes today, and got a little treat for my efforts. I saw one whole series of '2 minute'. With ASU leading by three, Jake Locker led the offense from his own 20 to field goal range - completing key passes to Cody Ellis and Anthony Russo - and Ryan Perkins was able to convert a field goal that looked to be in the range of somewhere between 30-35 yards to tie the hypotethical game at 24 with less than 20 seconds left.
Afternoon Willingham notes
Not much to Tyrone's media session today. I had him clocked in at about five minutes total - from entrance to departure. He's getting very efficient. No injuries to speak of, wouldn't talk about the pecking order behind Louis Rankin, said because they can't simulate humidity in Dempsey they just practice outside instead. In other words, nothing new. Slow news day, I guess. I anticipate the practice report to be of similar length, but we'll see what happens.
Afternoon Practice notes
Nothing new to report...same three in gold (Homer, Forrester and Reffett), and no one in red. The coaches were pretty animated, especially on the defensive side. It was easy to hear Tormey and Baer today. A scout for the New England Patriots was there.
Afternoon Willingham notes
Said that Tuesday was a good first day of work and that they are on track to having a good week of practice. No new injury updates.
Asked about Wells and a possible surgery date, and he said that it probably wouldn't be this week. He added that they aren't holding off because of any sort of thought that would have Jason on the sidelines during games, it's just that his knee isn't ready to have the surgery done yet, and when it is they won't wait to have the surgery done.
Asked about the relationship between Dennis Erickson and Tim Lappano, and Willingham said that usually with relationships that close, you want to do well against friends like that, it's just human nature to want to do well in those kinds of situations.
Asked about the coaches and the 'hard look' they took in looking at the issues the offense and defense have had, and Willingham said that he felt the places where they've had troubles were 'quite obvious'. Defensively, it's been fitting the run and solid tackling on a consistent basis so they don't allow big plays in the run game. Offensively, it's getting more production in all areas, as well as improvement in things like pass protection, blocking, etc... "Hopefully we've found the answers this week."
Was asked about Erik Folk, and Willingham said that frosh kicker would be starting to kick this week, but added that the best thing for him may be to not kick competitively this year.
Asked about Darrion Jones, and Willingham said that Darrion started out well his first year, but the injury he sustained in camp set him back a bit. Added that there are two parts - regaining the physical part, and regaining the mental part. Willingham hopes Jones is back physically, and is regaining back the mental part of the game.
Asked about Jordan Murchison, and Willingham said that doing some good things, but still is rusty and working his way back. Asked about Darin Harris, and Willingham said that there wasn't any real thought to having him participate in last week's scrimmages, just because the safety spots are basically interchangeable and there isn't nearly as great a transition for him as there might be if another player was switching positions. He added that there was no indication at this point that they would take another safety on the trip to take the place of Jason Wells. Right now Harris, Mesphin Forrester, Nate Williams, Victor Aiyewa and Jay Angotti are the traveling safeties, although Aiyewa and Angotti are typically only used for special teams.
With all the upsets that have happened this year, Willingham was asked about parity in college football, and he said that - besides scholarship limits - the other biggest factor is TV. Said that outside of Monday, there was a college football game on every day of the week last week. "Now you can get exposure at almost any place, and before that was almost impossible to do."
Said that the traveling squad is posted Thursday night after practice.
Speaking with Kent Baer Wednesday, it's clear that Arizona State is another offense he has a lot of respect for. They have come from behind in two games (Colorado and Oregon State), and if you just looked at the score you would have thought they'd been ahead comfortably the whole game.
Baer said that ASU will probably be the most-straightforward offense the Huskies might see this year, but arguably the most efficient. "They don't try to fool you, and they are very good at what they do."
They have 10 offensive starters returning, led by Rudy Carpenter and Ryan Torain. Said that Carpenter is just one of those competitors that, just by his fiery nature, you can tell he hates losing. "He's probably one of those guys you wouldn't want to even play ping pong against."
Torain, in Baer's estimation, is probably running with as much confidence as anyone in the league.
He was asked about the Washington State game, where the Cougars had some success getting after Carpenter a little bit, and Baer said that what the Cougars and Huskies do is so fundamentally different from a defensive philosophy standpoint, he's not sure if it matters that much. He made a comparison to UCLA going into Utah, thinking that - like the Bruins - the Sun Devils just didn't look like they were ready to play that game from the opening whistle. "I don't think that's going to be the same ASU team that we see at all."
Asked about the heat and if that will play a role in maybe substituting more players in, and Baer said that it shouldn't make too much of a difference. Said that it's expected to be in the high 60's for the daily low, so heat shouldn't be an issue.
Because all the coaches besides himself, Tim Lappano and Tyrone Willingham were out on the road recruiting, that gave the three ample time to watch more film and 'take a hard look' at what the team is doing offensively and defensively. Baer said that he's said all along that he'd like the UW defense to be as consistent as possible, and that - outside the second half @ UCLA - they've done that. "If I read the notes right, we're third in the league in giving up touchdowns, and third in red zone, which is something we're so much better at."
The bye week also gave those three coaches a very long look at some of the players that will help the Huskies out in the future. Said that he feels the cornerback position is solidifying itself with Byron Davenport getting completely healthy, and the return of Jordan Murchison. "He has a little bit of experience, but more than anything, he's just out of playing shape," Baer said of Murchison.
Baer got to see a lot of work with the safeties, including Nate Williams, Victor Aiyewa and Quinton Richardson, and feels like all those guys are going to be contributors down the road. Added that Darin Harris has had nearly two weeks to get himself solidified at the free safety spot, the position he was put into when Jason Wells got hurt against USC. Harris, up to that point, had been backing up Mesphin Forrester in the two deeps, while Nate Williams and Jay Angotti had been backing up Wells. Baer said the decision to play Harris over Williams at the time was just a coach's decision, and he fully expects both Harris and Williams to be big contributors during this final stretch of eight games.
Asked about some of the younger players that stood out, and Baer mentioned Mason Foster at LB and also guys like Kalani Aldrich and Nick Wood - who just started practicing a lot this week. DeShon Matthews also got a specific mention, but Baer basically said he was happy with what he saw out of all the young d-linemen that played (Tyrone Duncan was not available).
Baer added that the young defensive players showed him something this past week. Said that Coach Willingham kept score during Thursday's scrimmage session, and when they were all done, the score was tied. Willingham took the ball, put it on the 3-yard line, and said that it was one play for all the marbles. The offense scored on the play, but Baer was excited to see his guys getting in there and talking about different schemes they could use to take on the offense. "I like the attitude I saw," he said. "It was like, 'Let's do this, let's run this'. That was exciting to me, to see them step up and want to run plays."
Was asked about Darrion Jones, and him starting to come back to where he was after suffering a high ankle sprain in camp, and Baer said that he's definitely making a difference now and is back to where he was before his injury. Although he couldn't definitively say whether or not Jones would travel, he sure seemed to intimate that he expected Jones to go to ASU and might be a needed contributor along the DL as the rest of the season winds down.
He was also asked about Caesar Rayford, and what might explain why his production has curtailed since his outstanding season-opening performance against Syracuse. Baer said that he's asked him if anything is up, and he said that since Caesar is pretty quiet anyways, he didn't say much. Since his 1.5 sack/TFL game against the Orange, the senior DE has only .5/sacks/TFL to his credit since.
Afternoon practice notes
Not too much going on during our allotted time...a little drizzly, but the team practiced in full pads outside...Mesphin Forrester, Jordan Reffett and Paul Homer still wore gold, and there was not a player in red...Jason Wells was there walking around, but in street clothes. A scout from the Washington Redskins was there. As we left, we got a chance to see Bob Simmons light into one of his tight ends while they were working on blocking assignments...might be the loudest I've heard Simmons in three years - he was not a happy camper.
Meeting with Tim Lappano Tuesday afternoon, and it's clear that he's really enjoying this week of preparing against two of his best friends, ASU Head Coach Dennis Erikson and ASU DC Craig Bray.
Because of his friendship and familiarity with Bray, both know each other's strengths. "He knows me and I know him, so it'll be a lot of fun. You always like to compete against your friends."
Said that the strength of their defense is their linebacking corps, and three-quarters of their team tackles have come from him. "You've got to have an idea of where he is all the time. He makes plays." Asked if he's expecting ASU to spy on Jake Locker with James, and Lappano said he wouldn't be surprised if they someone 'hanging around on the edge' to watch Locker. "I know they are aware of what he (Locker) can do."
Said the DL isn't all-world, but they do a great job of making sure the opposing OL doesn't get on their linebackers. Said that Josh Barrett is very similar to the type of safeties you'd see at USC, and Justin Tryon is their lock-down corner. "They'll probably put him on (Anthony) Russo, no matter where he lines up."
ASU leads the league in scoring defense (14.2 ppg), so the Huskies cannot have pick-sixes and the like. "They play together and run to the ball." Added that he doesn't expect them to blitz much (~20%). "You don't see a blitzarama like Ohio State." They also play quarters across the back, which makes it tough to throw vertically - even though Washington State still tried to do so and they'll try to as well to make sure their defense can't sit on the rest of UW's pass game.
Asked about why he thinks Dennis Erickson has been successful wherever he's gone, and Lappano said it's because he gets the most out of his players. "He gets them to believe that they can win right now." He added that it hasn't all be daises for the Sun Devils this year, yet they have found different ways to win. "They buy in, and he has a lot of credibility with a couple of national championship rings." Also said that the situations at ASU and when he was with Erickson and Bray at Oregon State are pretty similar, although ASU has more talent to start with than what they had in Corvallis back in 1999.
Lappano added that Erickson is at ASU not for the money, but because he genuinely feels like he can compete for a national championship there. "He's there for the challenge."
As far as gameplanning against ASU, Lappano said that they've had a game plan in place for the Sun Devils for almost two weeks, so he thinks Locker really likes the plan and knows it well enough that he can play at full speed and not have to think too much about what to do. Also worked on a 'scramble drill' to help him throw the ball while running full-speed. "I expect him to have a big game Saturday. He's ready, he's recovered."
Asked about the running backs, and Lappano singled out J.R. Hasty and Brandon Johnson from the second-stringers as guys who ran hard and physical during last week's practice sessions. "They were knocking people around." Added that he fully expects to use more than one running back against Arizona State.
Asked about the tight end position, and he said that he's still calling plays for them and trying to get them in the flow of the game, but many of the plays called for them go by the progression of the routes. "You can't just stare someone down." So if the TE's aren't getting the ball, it's not by design, it's by the decision of the QB to throw to another receiver in the progression.
Official Arizona State two-deeps for their game against Washington.
X 1 Michael Jones 6-4 208 Jr. 9 Brandon Smith 6-2 200 So. LT 62 Brandon Rodd 6-4 300 Grad. 75 Richard Tuitu'u 6-4 350 So. LG 73 Robert Gustavis 6-3 303 Grad. OR 67 Shawn Lauvao 6-3 307 So C 76 Mike Pollak 6-4 292 Grad. 56 Thomas Altieri 6-2 292 So. RG 63 Paul Fanaika 6-6 359 Jr. OR 67 Shawn Lauvao 6-3 307 So RT 78 Zach Krula 6-7 320 Grad. OR 73 Julius Orieukwu 6-7 317 Grad. Y(TE) 87 Brent Miller 6-5 257 Sr. OR 83 Brady Conrad 6-5 257 Sr. H(WR) 6 Kyle Williams 5-10 185 So. 3 Rudy Burgess 5-10 188 Sr. 81 Tyrice Thompson 6-5 220 Grad. 21 Rodney Glass 5-10 169 Fr.* -OR- U(TE) 81 Tyrice Thompson 6-5 220 Grad. 88 Andrew Pettes 6-4 252 Jr. QB 12 Rudy Carpenter 6-2 199 Jr. 15 Danny Sullivan 6-4 236 So TB 26 Ryan Torain 6-1 213 Sr. 24 Keegan Herring 5-10 186 Jr. 4 Preston Jones 5-8 186 Sr. 31 Dmitri Nance 5-10 204 So. 20 Jarrell Woods 5-10 210 So. 36 Shawn DeWitty 6-2 217 Jr. Z 13 Chris McGaha 6-1 189 So. 5 Kerry Taylor 6-0 187 Fr. 16 Nate Kimbrough 6-1 189 Jr. 10 Jeff Gray 5-11 177 Sr.
LE 97 Luis Vasquez 6-3 247 Jr. 80 Dane Guthrie 6-3 267 Jr. 54 Paul Unga 6-3 255 Jr. DT 77 Michael Marquardt 6-4 295 Sr. OR 59 Jon Hargis 6-4 310 Fr.* 93 Tashaka Merriweather 6-5 286 Sr. DT 90 David Smith 6-3 280 Jr. 99 Jonathan English 6-0 330 Fr. RE 58 Dexter Davis 6-2 247 So. 54 Paul Unga 6-3 255 Jr. 85 Kellen Mills 6-3 243 Sr. SAM 44 Travis Goethel 6-3 229 So. 2 Ryan McFoy 6-2 201 So. MIKE 52 Morris Wooten 6-1 237 Jr. 25 Mike Nixon 6-3 232 So. WILL 29 Robert James 5-11 229 Sr. 25 Mike Nixon 6-3 232 So. CB 32 Omar Bolden 5-11 200 Fr. 23 Chris Baloney 6-1 194 Sr. FS 7 Jeremy Payton 6-1 210 Jr. 19 Josh Barrett 6-3 231 Grad. SS 14 Troy Nolan 6-2 204 Jr. 19 Josh Barrett 6-3 231 Grad. CB 4 Justin Tryon 5-10 180 Sr. 9 Littrele Jones 5-9 170 Grad.
ASU Special Teams
P 35 Jonathan Johnson 6-1 226 Sr. OR 28 Thomas Weber 6-1 202 Fr.* PK 28 Thomas Weber 6-1 202 Fr.* 43 Zach Richards 6-2 188 Fr. KOR 3 Rudy Burgess 5-10 188 Sr. 6 Kyle Williams 5-10 185 So. 13 Chris McGaha 6-1 189 So. PR 6 Kyle Williams 5-10 185 So. 13 Chris McGaha 6-1 189 So. 9 Brandon Smith 6-2 200 So. 3 Rudy Burgess 5-10 188 Sr. SN 53 Jason Perkins 6-1 228 Jr. 51 Clay Davie 6-0 231 Fr. H 35 Jonathan Johnson 6-1 226 Sr.
UW two-deeps, as announced by UW Media Relations...
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. 24 J.R. Hasty 5-11 200 Jr. OR 14 Curtis Shaw 5-11 190 Fr. OR 6 Brandon Johnson 5-11 195 Fr. FB 30 Paul Homer 6-0 222 So. 32 Luke Kravitz 6-1 245 Sr. 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.
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. 40 Mason Foster 6-1 218 Fr. FS 23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 Sr. 27 Jay Angotti 5-10 180 So. SS 15 Darin Harris 5-11 200 Sr. 39 Nate Williams 6-1 205 Fr. CB 18 Byron Davenport 5-11 195 Jr. OR 19 Matt Mosley 5-11 190 So. OR 6 Vonzell McDowell Jr. 5-9 176 Fr. 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