My Thoughts on the Eastern Game and Hawaii Ahead


The Washington Huskies had three weeks of training camp to prepare for Eastern Washington. They had plenty of tape on them, most especially their National Championship game in Dallas last year. The Eagles returned their gunslinging starting QB and most of their wide-outs and linemen. Their star running back last year (Taiwan Jones) was off to the NFL, so you knew the running attack was going to be less of a factor in their play calling. With all that information up front, someone explain to me why Bo Levi Mitchell was able to throw 473 yards in 39 of 69 passing?

Bo Levi Mitchell said on KJR that they saw some things on tape about the Huskies that they thought they could exploit. Clearly those things included a secondary prone to allowing opposing QB’s to have near career games every time they played the Huskies. For all the hype Nick Holt gets as the highest paid defensive coordinator in the Pac-12, he clearly has not firmed up that secondary in what is now his third year on the job.

My first observation is that the secondary never jammed those recievers at the line of scrimmage. The key with that is that Mitchell was rarely threated by our D-line to be sacked or hurried. The primary reason was that he was able to so quickly get the ball out of his hands since virtually every passing route was just 3-8 yards from the line of scrimmage. By jamming their recievers and slowing their routes, our linebackers and linemen would have that extra seconds or so to put pressure on Mitchell while he had to wait for routes to develop.

Perhaps the coaches were worried about Mitchell going deep. When you attempt to jam a wide reciever at the line, you always risk the reciever slipping the coverage and streaking down field for a long pass. If you have confidence in your safeties you can take that risk. I guess Holt and Sark do not. So, it was all about containment. But, man were they picking on Ducre. They hoped that just letting them go short-pass after short-pass would cause Eastern to fatigue and the superior talent and depth of the Huskies would eventually begin to dominate.

But, you guys remember the games; such as last year’s Arizona game when Nick Foles was hurt and backup Matt Scott threw for 233 yards on 18 of 22 attempts? Or how about in 2009 when Jimmy Clausen threw for 422 yards on 23 of 31 attempts? I could go on and on for the last two years, but you get the point.

Clearly the Husky coaching staff needs to come up with a plan to contain the passing attacks of opponents. The Pac-12 is a QB dominated league. It always has been. Just look how many QB’s go to the NFL from this conference. If UW is to have success on the road back to the Rose Bowl, they will first-and-foremost need to come up with a great improvement first in how these players are coached and prepared and then later an improvement in the recruiting of the athletes necessary to get the job done.

Hawaii comes in very dangerous, because they have a quarterback in Bryant Moniz who loves to throw the ball, but will also take off running at any time. Think similar to Jake Locker, but faster. It will force the secondary to cover Hawaii’s recievers, but also the linebackers to contain Moniz from taking off if the secondary does offer good coverage or if the D-line forces him to scramble. But, with the way the secondary played against Eastern, you might be tempted to move a linebacker or two back into pass coverage. Man, this is going to be a tough one…Ready to bite your nails again?