Oct 30, 2012

Slammin' Beavers

As if I wasn't going to make that joke for the millionth time...

Sean wasn't the Mannion on Saturday night.

The Huskies got their roller-coaster season back on track with 20-17 win over #7 Oregon State.  Clearly there are two different Husky teams this year: the 4-1 home team that plays inspired, physical defense and the 0-3 road team that falls apart at the first sign of adversity.

It's important to note that UW's first three away games were against #5 LSU, #2 Nike U, and #24 Arizona (who now appears to be the frontrunner in the Pac-12 South).  While these programs are going to make most teams look pretty bad in road games, these Dawgs have transcended the standard "away game disadvantage" into a completely different team.

Particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  In five home games, the defense has allowed 15.8 points per game.  In three away games, they've allowed an average of 15 points in the 1st quarter (and 48.3 for the game). 

The Husky coaching staff needs to figure out how guys like Sean "Don't Call Me Napster" Parker can crack skulls without the aid of 60,000+ cheering fans.  And they'll have just that opportunity on Friday night against a Cal team that is significantly weaker than any of UW's previous road foes.

The offense is also significantly worse away from the Clink, but not quite to the same degree as the defense - unfortunately, that just means that the offense hasn't been very good at home either.  It's certainly baby steps regarding the offensive line, but the unit stepped up against a very solid OSU defensive front in limiting the hits on Keith Price (two sacks) and opening up running room for Bishop Sankey (92 yards).  This position group is still the biggest concern on the team, but should build on their improvement against the "easier" final third of the schedule.

Can this young team mature enough to play at a high level on the road?  We'll find out at 6pm on Friday.  There will be much more on the bad blood between UW and Cal (see: Lupoi, Tosh) on here in the next few days.

Go Dawgs!

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Oct 27, 2012

Get To Know A D'Bag: Oregon State

This week the Huskies take on the Beavers of Oregon State University.  This Mike Riley-led squad has gotten off to a very impressive 6-0 start and is currently ranked #7 in the country.  Quite a turnaround for a program that had gone 8-16 over the last two years.

This game provides a great opportunity for UW to get their season back on track against a Top 10 (but beatable) opponent at home.  OSU hasn't been dominant in their wins, but they have played particularly well on the road, picking up wins at UCLA, Arizona, and BYU.

A beaver getting a BJ, you don't see that everyday.

One player who has really shined for Oregon St. is sophomore defensive end Scott Crichton.  He's second in the Pac-12 with eight sacks after recording six last year as a freshman.  Oh, and Crichton is from Tacoma and was a lifelong Husky fan before being denied a scholarship his senior year.

When asked a few weeks ago if he would have additional motivation to play well against Wazzu, Crichton responded, "Not as much as U-Dub. I hate U-Dub."

Crichton is also known for his press conference shoulder presses.

Damned.  It doesn't matter now, but Sark has admitted he erred in not offering Crichton.  Hopefully UW's young offensive line can keep him in check on Saturday.

The spread on this game puts the Beavs as a 3.5 to 4 point favorite.  The Clink should provided a bigger home field advantage than any of OSU's previous away games, but it will be a major challenge to limit quarterback Sean Mannion and a passing attack that's averaging over 310 yards a game.

Here's to the Dawgs sticking a fist up these Beavers as well... yikes, that got weird in a hurry.

Hopefully this week of self-analyzation and increased outside pressure will result in a fiery, but well-prepared Husky team that proves it's better than the squad that got dry-humped all over the field last week in Tucson.  I think Keith Price will bounce back with a solid game (and much better ball control), the Dawgs score over 21 against a FBS opponent for the first time all year, and notch their second win against a Top Ten team with a 24-21 squeaker.

Go Dawgs!

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Oct 25, 2012

UW at a Crossroads

Crossroads.  In the immortal words of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, "Bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, bone, bone" oh, never mind.  After the most disappointing game of the season, and perhaps of Sark's tenure, the Huskies are forced to do some introspection as more and more fans and media members question the direction of the program.

And as well they should.  Outside of the Stanford upset, this season has been hard to watch.  Obviously injuries have played a big role in that, particularly on the offensive line, but you have to expect this team to perform better than a 35-point blowout against a 3-3 Arizona team (with a first year head coach). Worst of all, it appeared that many UW players quit in that game.

It's Year 4 under Sark and that level of play is simply unacceptable.  It's a broken record, but injuries combined with youth have put this team in a very difficult position to win.  But good coaches find a way to get their team to compete at a high level.  One example was just across the sideline last Saturday where RichRod has dealt with injuries to 15 starters this year, but was still able to lead his team past the Dawgs... and easily.

And that is what's so frustrating about this team, and Sark's career here.  When the Huskies lose, they lose BIG.  In the preseason, a 3-4 record was a very realistic prediction of where this team would be, basically by interchanging the Stanford and Arizona results.  But the way in which Washington losses, the 30+ point blowouts, the failure to be competitive early in games, the perceived difficulty in responding to adversity, is what is really difficult for fans to endure.  In times like these, we're forced to search for answers and when I'm looking for answers, I go straight to the Bone Thugs:

Hmm, not a lot of knowledge to glean from that.  Say what you want about BT-N-H, but NO ONE can deny their fantastic use of the hatchet.

It's easy to pin the failures of this team on Keith Price as his overall level of play as been atrocious compared to last year.  Here is a solid, even-handed examination of Price from friend of the site and 6th Grade Scholastic Achievement Award Winner, Sarkisianity:

With the exception of Sankey (who has only come on recently) the rest of the offense hasn't really stepped up and performed. A lot of this has to do with inexperience. Kasen and ASJ were the new kids last year and I think they're going through some growing pains being "the guys" this year.  Between WRs not being able to adjust and improvise and the O-line being about as stout as my stool the night after 14 Jaeger bombs, Price has clearly lost all confidence in his teammates abilities. You can see it in his body language when the play isn't a quick hitter or doesn't develop within 2 seconds, he scrambles and launches it out of bounds. He's not looking down field most of the time when he runs out of the pocket. On top of that, his internal QB panic timer is all fucked up because of the O-line play. Numerous times he's scrambled when he didn't need to, but 1.5 seconds had transpired and he didn't want to get blindsided for the 18th time. 

On the one hand, I can't blame him. On the other, he is the leader and the face of this team. Along with that come some pretty big fucking responsibilities. The team's facing adversity? Pull them out of it. Receivers are dropping passes and linemen are imitating matadors? Get in their face, lead by example and inspire them to be better. That's what leaders do. So, I think there's a healthy portion of blame for Mr. Price.

Ultimately, Price is in a very tough position, but he also needs to project more leadership and determination to make his teammates better.  And Sark has to learn to adapt more effectively when the external circumstances change around him.  When the team continues to come out flat early in games, he needs to reexamine his approach to how he prepares and motivates his players.

Saturday night is a great opportunity to show improvement.  The crowd will surely give the home team a boost and the Husky defense has performed better against pro-style offenses like Oregon State's than against a spread attach (Arizona, Oregon).  It will be very telling to see how this team (and coaching staff) responds to the biggest public outcry for improved play since Sark took over.  Cross your fingers, toes, nubins, etc. that they rise to the challenge.

Go Dawgs!

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Oct 20, 2012

Get To Know A D'Bag: Arizona

First off, my apologies for not posting a recap after the USC game and for this scaled-down Arizona preview.  Busy-ass week.  I'll spare you the excuses (though I will say major illnesses, laptop-eating dogs, and aliens abductions were all involved).  Let's get to it:

This week, the Huskies journey into the desert to take on the Arizona Wildcats and their high-powered offensive attack.  This squad dropped 48 points at Stanford and averages 551 yards per game (4th best in the nation).  The Wildcats run their offense at a faster pace than Oregon and primarily look to pass the ball with quarterback Matt Scott setting Pac-12 records for attempts (69) and completions (45).

Paging Dr. Awkward.

Fortunately, this up tempo offense leads to an exhausted defense. Arizona is allowing 32.7 points and 479 points per game, so if there was ever a good situation for Keith Price and Co. to have a bounce back game, this is it.  And UW will absolutely need the offense to put points on the board to outscore RichRod's "Desert Dash" attack. Speaking of Rich Rodriguez, he's just as sleazy as ever:

"Can I interest you in a 2001 Pontiac Aztek?"

Just a quick refresher course on RichRod: first he manipulated his alma mater West Virginia into paying him more money after flirting with Alabama's coaching vacancy, then he fled in the middle of the night Lane Kiffin-style to coach Michigan.  After earning the title of worst coach in Michigan's history, RichRod was fired and out of the game for a year before resurfacing at Arizona where it appears he's developed Paulwulffitis in regards to his uncomfortable gameday posture.

"The Bomb spicy red hot burrito was a bad choice."

The Vegas line on this game is favoring Arizona by 7-8 points.  The Wildcats will rack up yardage, but the key will be to hold them to field goals (sort of like the Seahawks vs. New England last week).  In order to win, the Husky offense will have to take advantage of this weak defense and play their most complete game of the year.  I see the defense forcing three Arizona turnovers, Keith Price taking much better care of the ball, and the Dawgs escaping the desert with a tough 34-31 win.

Go Dawgs!

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Oct 12, 2012

Get To Know A D'Bag: USC

This week the Huskies welcome the Lane Kiffin-led USC Trojans up to the Clink in what should be a raucous (read: drunk) late afternoon atmosphere.  The Dawgs have the opportunity to make up for last week's stinker down in Eugene and run their record to 4-2, which would be very impressive considering the difficulty of their first half schedule.  Let's take a look at this year's batch of Trojans, but first an obligatory photo of USC cheerleaders:

Move your giant head!

In the offseason, the Trojans were perhaps the most hyped team in college football.  According to the punditry, USC was already in the BCS Championship Game, Matt "Dennis the Menace" Barkley had already won the Heisman, and Lame Kitten was being lauded as the top coach in nation.

"I'm a winner!"

But... the Trojans haven't lived up to expectations.  USC got knocked around by Stanford, Barkley has been pedestrian, and Lane Kiffin is who we thought he was: a douchebag with a hot wife:

"Abercrombie cologne on my balls was a bad choice..."

Besides being a mediocre coach, Lane can also provide one hell of a brief, awkward post-practice interview:

Evidently the Kitten took offense to a reporter asking about an injured player and ended the press conference after 29 seconds. Which is about 4 seconds longer than his time as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

But in a spectacular turn of events, Lane Kiffin isn't public enemy #1 going into this matchup on Saturday.  Instead that honor goes to former Washingtonian and current Trojan, Zach Banner.

Some day his brain will grow into his body. Maybe.

The enormous man-child son of Husky stud Lincoln Kennedy did a pretty solid job in making himself look like an asshat earlier this week in an interview with the Long Beach Press-Telegram:

First Banner made sure to let us know how highly he regards himself with this little gem, "I wanted to take a local name and become a national legend."  Good for Zach, he wants to be the college football version of Seabiscuit.

Then Z-Bann alerted us to what a standup guy he is: "I called [Steve Sarkisian] and told him I would put a USC hat on at my press conference. A lot of recruits won't even call the other schools." Humility and integrity?! This guy has the whole package.  But wait, there's more.

When asked if he would pet Dubs, the Husky mascot, this "national legend" replied, "I ain't going to pet it, I might kick it." Attaboy, Zach!

Real Men Kick Puppies.

Years from now when you ask yourself, "Where did that internet meme of Zach Banner kicking puppies come from?" Remember this.

But back to the game.  This is going to be a battle: USC is a 13-point favorite and will simply have more raw talent at their disposal than the Dawgs.  We've seen Sark's ability to game plan against the Trojans (as well as out-coach Kiffdog) and he'll need to put together a great offensive scheme to score enough points to hang with this potent USC offense.  The Huskies simply cannot make mistakes like they did last week: no turnovers, no special teams disasters, and no mass defensive confusion.

It will take UW's best game of the season to beat the Trojans and while that is certainly possible, I have to give the edge to USC.  The crowd should be wild, the Dawgs should execute better, but ultimately, I think the Trojans win in a hard-fought 27-24 squeaker.  I was wrong about the Stanford game though, so hopefully I'm wrong about this one as well.

Fine. One more:

Go Dawgs!

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Oct 8, 2012

Oregon Game Recap

Did I see 'recap'?  I meant 'recrap' as that's what this game was: the same old bullshit.  The Huskies made mistake after mistake in all three phases of the game, which made their performance
excruciating to watch.  The particularly frustrating part was that UW would have been competitive if they didn't keep having major lapses in execution.

Chippy has Sark beat in the gut department as well.

Let's take a look at how the first quarter played out.  The defense
started off strong, limiting the run and picking off a Marcus Mariota pass.  Keith Price and company took over and only managed 13 yards on the drive, but Travis Coons pinned the ducks back on their 10-yard line.  The defense impressed again with Andrew Hudson sacking Mariota on 3rd down to force a punt.  And that's when the wheels fell off:

Eyes on the ball.

Freshman Marvin Hall muffed the punt return and the dicks, uh ducks, scored two plays later.  Price took over again and displayed some of the worst accuracy of his career.  While the pass protection wasn't ideal, Price was simply missing throws and making bad decisions.  After another Coons punt, Oregon went 69 yards for a score in two plays that were both caused by confusion in the UW secondary. Bam. 14-0.

On UW's next possession, Price stares down a receiver on a screen, fails to get the ball out quickly, a duck jumps the route, and scores on a pick six.  21-0 and the game was all but over just 13 minutes into the contest.

Are they wearing black yoga pants now?

So there you go: a major special teams blunder followed by defensive miscommunication leading to a score and then a terrible decision on offense that cost another seven points.  Say what you want about UW's performance, but no one can deny their ineptitude was spread evenly across the three units.

From there on out, Oregon outscored UW 31-21.  As far as highlights go, Bishop Sankey has really come on as a feature running back.  He showed a gritty running style, patience in waiting for blocks, and an impressive desire to get into the endzone on his 6-yard score in the 3rd quarter.  Desmond Trufant and Travis Feeney also made a number of plays on defense.

There should be a ton of ball security drills this week.

Unfortunately, one guy who won't be picking up any accolades for this game is Keith Price.  In what could be his worst game as a Husky, Price threw two interceptions and fumbled twice displaying an inability to protect the ball while misfiring all over the field.  Obviously the offensive line issues have affected his play as has the young receiving corps (boy, we could use James Johnson right about now...)

But I can't help wonder if Price has personally regressed - he hasn't shown the ability to consistently make the right decision like he did last year.  Last year, Price was the new guy in an offense that was headlined by Chris Polk, maybe the pressure of being "the guy" has got to him this year.  Regardless of the cause of Price's poor play, Sark needs to snap him out of this funk quickly.

That is clearly Keith's "searching for answers" face.

Obviously, that sucked.  The Huskies had to play close to a perfect game to win and instead they showed up with their F- game (fine, I could be convinced it was their F+).  Five turnovers on the road is a goddamn nightmare.  And the worst part was we had to watch those yellow sacks of crap celebrate.  Honestly, has there ever been a fanbase that deserve success less than those clowns?

"Hey, look Ma! I'm an asshole!"

Ultimately there's no point dwelling on this crapheap of a game as USC comes into town next week and the Dawgs have an opportunity to make up for the loss.  The Trojans (#11 in the AP, #9 in the Coaches poll) are going to be another major challenge, but the game is at home and they've certainly shown they are beatable (see: Cardinal, Stanford).

I hope all of you gulped down enough purple goodness to numb the pain on Saturday night.  Hopefully we'll be hoisting up purple drank in celebration next year at the new Husky Stadium after taking out the shitbirds.

Go Dawgs!

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Oct 5, 2012

Get To Know A D'Bag: Nike U

Once every two years, the Huskies and their fans are forced to travel to the anus of America known as Autzen Stadium.  Check that, the anus is too good for these people.  Nike University is the dingleberry that clings to the ass hair of this mighty nation - clearly not wanted, but stubbornly refuses to go away.  Here is an artist's rendition of the stadium and its surrounding environs:

If you look really closely, you can see Phil Knight.

No one is safe in the land of flying dog feces and urine-filled cups.  At each duck home game, the sub-humans who enter the stadium are determined to uphold their reputation as the worst fans in the conference, if not the country.

In true duck fashion, Autzen Stadium isn't even named after an alum of the school.  Thomas J. Autzen attended Oregon State University and then donated money to build the stadium to ensure his son gained admittance into the university.  Which begs the question, how could any one struggle to get into this academic disaster?  Look at the notices they have to post down there:

I'm looking at you, Roboduck.

Even Washington athletic director Scott Woodward chimed in:

“It’s not really where we want to be … because it’s an embarrassment what their (Oregon) academic institution is, and what’s happened to them as far as their state funding has gone. In my mind it’s a wonderful athletic facility but they’ve watched it at the expense of the university go really down.”

Ouch.  But that's not shocking considering their pathetic fanbase.  Quick question: how many ducks does it take to put on a shoe?

Three ducks (and a Coug) is correct!

Speaking of abusing substances, congrats to the ducks for finally implementing a random drug testing program after Sports Illustrated revealed that potheads make up 40-60% of the team.  While I could care less if college football players smoke weed, it's a bit concerning that the university's extremely lenient policies on the drug actually attracted recruits to the school. Former Oregon running back Reuben Droughns said it best, "It's the weed capital of the world. Long dreads. Girls with hairy armpits."  Sounds like a blast!

I honestly don't know what is uglier: the clown mask or the jersey.

Yes, these fans are clearly miserable, but we haven't even touched on their tradition of way-over-the-line taunts directed at opposing players and their families.  Check out this Sports Illustrated article about how Oregon fans treated Kevin Love and his family when he played in Eugene as a member of the UCLA Bruins.  Here are a few voicemails he received before the game:

If you guys win, we'll come to your house and kill your family.

We'll find your hotel room and blow your fucking head off with a shotgun. 

Class acts!  And it doesn't stop there.  Stan Love, a former star on the Oregon basketball team, recounts what happened after the Love family entered the arena:

Stan says his family was pelted with popcorn cartons and empty cups, as well as a barrage of profane ­insults ("every filthy word you can think of"), including screams of "whores" that made Kevin's grandmother cry. "There were six-year-old kids with signs saying KEVIN LOVE SUCKS," says Stan, who ­endured a hail of one-finger salutes to snap photographs of the worst signs. "It was the grossest display of humanity I've ever been involved with. To think I'm sitting at the school where I played ball, and just because my kid ­didn't pick Oregon he gets abused like that? I'll never go back there."

Now that's how you recognize your former star athletes!  It's truly extraordinary that one fanbase can have so many terrible aspects.  Which one do you think is the worst?
So many great choices!  Obviously tomorrow's game is going to be a major challenge for this Husky team.  The defense was tremendous against Stanford and will need another elite performance to keep UW in the game.  The big question yet again is how will the offensive line perform?  If Keith Price can focus on targeting downfield receivers instead of scrambling for his life, the Husky offense will be much more effective than it was against the Cardinal.

While the ducks are a 24.5 point favorite, I am physically incapable of predicting them to beat the Huskies, so I'm going with the absolute best case scenario of the defense rattling Oregon's freshman quarterback into turning the ball over three times, the Husky running game grinding out yards, and Keith Price having his finest passing day of the season in a 27-24 UW upset.

One last note, the word on the street is Nike will debut these new mascot-inspired uniforms for the game tomorrow.

Those boys are going to look fab-u-lous!

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who has purchased gear from the website.  You guys rock and I truly appreciate it.  And for all the Dawgs heading down to the dingleberry tomorrow, stay safe out there.  Seriously.

Go Dawgs!

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Oct 2, 2012

First Ever TDD Podcast

We thought we'd try something a little different and jump on the podcast bandwagon.  Sarkisianty, Zane from Boring, Oregon, and I discuss Husky Football with subjects ranging from Erik Kohler's kneecap partying on Bourbon Street to whether Jeff Tedford will be coaching UW's offensive line by the end of the year.  There is a bunch of mediocre analysis and generally unimpressive jokes thrown in, so have fun listening!

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