A few key statistics from last year and whether or not I’d take the hypothetical Over or Under on that number for the 2012 season.
4.44 Rushing Yards Per Attempt: Over
While it may seem a little odd to project a more efficient rushing attack after Chris Polk, the entire Washington run game for the last three years, leaves, that is exactly what I’m doing. With defenses aggressively keying in on Keith Price and the passing game, there will be holes for Callier and Sankey that never would have existed for Polk. Injury issues along the offensive line cannot be ignored, but I am not overly worried about the line’s ability to step up and run block. Even if the Huskies run less often, I still believe that with two fresh, healthy backs splitting carries, those fewer attempts will be slightly more efficient than the 4.44 Yards Per Attempt of last season.
5.09 Rushing Yards Allowed Per Attempt: Under
Outrageously, historically, embarrassingly bad. 106th in the nation, tied with Wyoming bad. So bad that you have to cut that figure in half to just barely edge out the 2.74 allowed by Week 2 opponent LSU. This is one of the big reasons why Nick Holt is gone. If the much anticipated defensive renaissance is to take place this year, strengthening the run defense will be key, and really, improving from this level of failure isn’t difficult. Look for more like 4.5, or hopefully even lower. If I’m wrong on this one, we will all suffer this season.
28 Total Defensive Sacks: Over
28 sacks is good enough for a fairly average 37th in the nation, but man, early in the season it really seemed like the Huskies couldn’t buy a sack. Well, that might have something to do with 11 of those sacks, a full 39% of the season total, coming in the Apple Cup and Alamo Bowl, the final two games of the season. Now, I don’t mean to complain about sacking WSU seven times, but some consistency would be nice. That’s where Justin Wilcox comes in. His hybrid defense and creative blitz packages should get just about everyone involved with rushing the quarterback, and as I wrote about in “Five Numbers to Remember,” I expect Josh Shirley to be an absolute pass rushing stud.
10 Defensive Interceptions: Over
I feel a little odd looking at the depth chart and thinking about how deep our defensive backfield is, considering the 284.6 passing yards allowed per game last year. Still, even if it’s a little odd, it is certainly true, we are loaded at safety, and have good solid talent at corner, and I fully expect a ball hawking defensive identity centered around Senior CB Desmond Trufant and Junior Safety Sean Parker. Who knows, maybe even five-star recruit Shaq Thompson will get in on the fun.
68.8% Field Goal Percentage: Under
When I first saw this number, the first thing that came to my mind was “Folk didn’t hit 70%?” While he was occasionally shaky, and didn’t have a fantastic senior year, Erik Folk handled place kicking duties for the Huskies for what seems like forever, and trading his veteran leg for JUCO transfer Travis Coons doesn’t seem likely to yield a higher percentage. The coaching staff doesn’t seem too worried about kicking, but I won’t be convinced until I see Coons split the uprights when the pressure is on.