A Team Like Washington


"“Against a team like Washington, who’s allowing over 450 yards per game, there really is no excuse for [Utah] not having an improvement. In fact, anything less than 400 yards [against the Huskies next] Saturday should be cause for concern.” – Utah blog"

“Against a team like Washington…”
Long-suffering Husky fans have had enough of this, and after watching California game video, the solution isn’t any more complicated than last week: football is a violent sport; the Husky defense needs to show a greater tendency toward violence, a greater desire to hit someone, hit them hard and do so every time the opportunity arises.

It is important that Husky players perpetuate violence until the whistle blows, not because they have an obligation to their teammates or coaches – what they are supposed to do – but because they enjoy hitting someone and hitting them again. And again.

Jamaal Kearse had a great hit on special teams. Spontaneous cheering by the Husky fans was in part because of the violence of the hit, in part because of the infrequency of said violence, and in part to encourage more such violence.

Last Saturday, although the Huskies beat California, occasionally some of the best seats in the house were occupied by Washington lineman on the field. Some O-linemen seemed to perfunctorily block and on occasion, before the whistle had blown, turned around to see what happened, to watch.

If they really want to watch, they should become


When the other team fumbles, a Husky defensive lineman should be after the ball. He cannot be after the ball, however, if his back is to the play while he nonchalantly walks away, oblivious to what was happening although the whistle had not yet blown.

If continued, cheerleading calls.

Second-effort from Keith Price and Chris Polk was commendable but where the Huskies really need that effort is in the trenches. Were that already the case, upcoming opponents wouldn’t make contemptuous remarks about “a team like Washington.”

"“…a team like Washington.”"

It’s not a talent or coaching problem. And Washington has decent depth. If some of the present starters don’t want to consistently go to war, coaches should look at the bench and find the players who do. There have to be 11 Huskies who really want it.

In the same vein, there has never been a rule stating that a receiver, if he is able to catch the ball and run with it, should instead catch the ball and fall down. Simply put, yards-after-catch are minimal if a receiver makes no attempt to run.

The word “perfunctorily” appeared above. It means “done routinely with little interest or care” and, unfortunately, “perfunctory” has too often described what some Husky linemen are occasionally doing on the field. No doubt they don’t believe they’re playing that way; they’d argue they’re going all-out. Video of the Cal game and performances of past players, however, provide a contrast suggesting otherwise. As always, it comes down to heart. Some Washington players need to stop doing things perfunctorily and do them with passion. Mid-1990s guard and future pro-bowler Benji Olson said he loved the battle in the trenches. Loved it. Teammate and future pro-bowler Olin Kruetz never needed to discuss his passion, it was obvious. Kruetz never watched. A consummate alpha-male, he considered winning in the trenches the best means toward winning on the scoreboard and, in either case, loved proving who was dominant. It’s an attitude many of the present Husky linemen need to adopt on both sides of the ball. While they believe they’re playing well, some have no idea of what they’re really capable. Perfunctory needs to go.

Years ago, future pro-bowler D’Marco Farr described what it was like coming in midway through the 3rd quarter substituting for Steve Emtman. Farr said he could see it in the offensive linemen’s eyes, something akin to post-traumatic stress disorder. After facing Emtman play-after-play-after-play, they had just had it. Although Emtman had an extraordinary vertical leap, he wasn’t superman; he wasn’t huge; he took pride in not being blocked by two guys much less one. After going to war with Emtman, the opposing linemen were defeated regardless of what the score was. But that was the idea.

Although Emtman was physically gifted, his key to success wasn’t his body, it was his mind, his attitude. As discussed in When the Going Gets Tough, any present Husky can have that attitude.

The Seahawks defense played tough this past weekend and that toughness won the game. Great defenses play with that attitude. During the second half of the California game the Husky defense may have adopted that attitude as well but it’s too early to tell; the jury is still out. Washington fans will see what the Husky defense does against Utah. Perhaps Washington’s defense has received a small clue as to their playing capability and are going to pin their ears back and blow Utah away. Or perhaps who shows up is again “a team like Washington.”