Game Speed

The big play continues to haunt the Washington defense. So far the defense and special teams have given up 13 touchdowns of over 30 yards. Oregon State was no different, James Rodgers tore through three different times Saturday night during the Beavers' 34-13 romp over UW: one went for 33 yards, another 52 yards, and the last one was 55 yards.

Washington's inability to stop the opposition's most athletic players has caused serious damage this year. The angles taken for tackles have been awful and the tackling isn't where it needs to be. The fact that defensive linemen continually have to run the other direction to make tackles tells it all.

"Sometimes it's the perfect play for the perfect defense," said senior defensive lineman Johnnie Kirton, trying to come up with an answer for the unanswerable. That could be true for a couple of plays, but 13 times? Where is the disconnect coming from? Is it the play calling, or the players, or both? Opposing teams are having a field day on the Husky defense and it's getting old.

Washington had two weeks to prepare for the Rodgers brothers, yet they looked lost and confused. "The back thing this week in practice was scary," UW Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano said, matter-of-factly. "There was a time we moved my son (Taylor) to the scout team running back, because we didn't have anybody to run against the defense." While Taylor might be a good athlete, I doubt he is anywhere near the quickness of either Jacquizz or James Rodgers. Is Taylor Lappano really the closest running back the Huskies had to mimic Oregon State's offense? What about Adam Long? He won the California 100 meters last year with a time of 10.53 and played running back in high school.

The opinions for why the big plays continue to happen vary from player to player, often resulting in contradictory viewpoints. "There was a screen where they caught us off guard. I myself was out of position to help out the defense overall," said senior linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo. "Of course they went to the outside because they weren't running in-between the tackle boxes. We were ready for that but we weren't in the right position at the right time."

"We were all in the right place. The scheme that coach had us playing this week, I felt personally it was the best scheme for this team. We need to execute better and tackle better and make plays," said starting safety Nate Williams.

The team seemed prepared for reverses and quick passes, even using one of their own with Jordan Polk in the first half, but they still couldn't stop them. The angles were off, and the requisite aggressiveness needed to take down such physical backs wasn't there on Saturday. The Huskies knew what Oregon State was going to do and they still couldn't stop it. Maybe practice needs to be picked up an extra gear to simulate game speed, or bring in some track guys to emulate the other teams speed and practice working on angles.

Another big problem with the defense has been the secondary. Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao was able to complete 18 out of 22 passes for 191 yards. "I mean that's never good especially being part of the secondary," said Quentin Richardson of Moevao's completion percentage. "Some things we need to eliminate. I think that's the most passes we've had completed on us. I think this week for practice we need to eliminate those things, find better coverages and techniques."

With the constant shuffling at safety the chemistry is lacking. During the off-season the tandem of Victor Aiyewa and Nate Williams was talked about, so hopefully with them now playing together as starters they can bring back the swagger they showed during the spring game.

All the positives that happened on Saturday will all be overlooked because of how poor the defense played. Ronnie Fouch and D'Andre Goodwin had career days, and Terrance Dailey reached 100 yards in his first start ever. Some of the more subtle accomplishments, like Devin Aguilar having his best day as a young pup and Jared Ballman hitting a career-best 45-yard field goal won't be mentioned around water coolers on Monday.

The losing is taking its toll on the coaches too. When UW Head Coach Tyrone Willingham was asked if this is getting old he simply said "Yes." And really, nothing more needed to be said. The frustration from above seems to be trickling down to the players. "It's very frustrating, even though it was a career game for me, I'm not happy with it because I would rather have a win then my best game of the season so far," said Goodwin.

On a positive note the seniors seem to be fed up with the losing and are ready to turn things around. "We the senior group refuse to come out with a 1 and 10 season, so we're going to keep moving and learn from this tape and the mistakes and get ready for next week," said Tuiasosopo.

Even if the seniors can't completely turn this season around hopefully they can contribute and give the younger guys something to build on for future seasons.


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