October 2011 Archives
There has recently been talk of a rule change for the 2012-2013 athletic season to pay student-athletes an additional $2,000 dollars on top of their scholarships.
This has been a touchy subject for some time now, but it appears the ball might be rolling on this rule change. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, says he is in favor of paying student-athletes this additional sum of money.
Many coaches are on the same page as Scott, and are in favor for it as well, but some coaches are still a little leery. There are many pros and cons as far as helping the conference recruit and help out its players, but some coaches believe that there are too many rules as is, so adding more could be detrimental.
Here's a transcript of a brief interview with Scott (Posted on the Seattle Times Blog by Percy Allen):
(Thoughts on last week's rule changes.) "These things have been socialized for some time and people can quibble about whether you've gone too far or not far enough, but as far as the direction I think it was spot on. I personally am a big proponent of refocusing the academic standards.)
(At the high school level or with the junior college transfers?) "Really both. Entry level and staying eligible. If you're the Pac-12 conference and some of the most elite academic institutions in the world, we want as much of a level playing field as possible because we think our schools do things a certain way. ... We'd like to see these schools that we're competing against - on the field and on the court - held to some of the same standards. I'm all for that.
"Certainly the step for cost of attendance is a good start. Again people can talk about the amount and is it enough? But we crossed the Rubicon in agreeing that one size doesn't have to fit all. Just because every school in Division I might not be able to afford something, doesn't mean you should prevent the schools that want to do the right thing from doing the right thing. So I really like that direction."
(As a conference will you vote on that measure any time soon?) "I haven't decided exactly when and what form we'll do it, but our conference has been very supportive of that. Cleaning up the rule book and focusing on the big ticket stuff and deregulating some of the small things like texting ... that kind of stuff, I'm definitely in favor directionally. I like all the moves. I commend the presidents for taking this step. ... I'm hoping this will be the beginning of the journey and not the end of the journey. I like the direction that it's heading."
(Most teams don't offer full scholarships. So what happens to the $2K payment in those cases?) "Well these are for full scholarships with the idea being for someone that you want to give a full scholarship - where you've made that decision - I want to try to cover their full costs. For me this puts student-athletes on a level playing field with other students that may be on a full ride, but (also) going to work and have some spending money. Because a lot of those student-athletes can't. They're practicing all the time. They practice in the summer. But it is and it has to be limited."
(Your thoughts on schools having the option of giving multiple year scholarship instead of the one-year renewable.) "I like it. I like it in that I think it's the right thing to do for the student-athlete to not necessarily feel like they're being held hostage or at risk. But you got to be careful. I don't want the pendulum to swing completely the other way. You hear from some coaches that you want to make sure the student-athletes are taking it seriously and putting in the same commitment as other student-athletes and not slacking. I think it has to be a healthy balance, but I do think year to year was too far and this I think is a step in the right direction."
(Which cities are in the running for hosting the Pac-12 Tournament?) "I won't confirm all of them, but I will confirm Seattle is one of the bidders."
likelihood of the tournament moving?) "It's hard to say. LA is also bidding
to keep it so I don't think I'll handicap it."
What are you thoughts on the possible new rule?
Here are some Husky football links from around the web:
- With a week left before the renovation of the stadium begins, now is a great time to reflect on some of the memorable moments and people that have impacted Husky football over the years. Throughout this week the Seattle Times will be sharing peoples' favorite Husky football memories. Today former running back Joe Steele reveals his favorite memory.
- Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard examines Oregon's two quarterbacks and which one, according to coach Chip Kelly, will play against the Huskies this Saturday night.
- Bob Condotta writes about Chris Polk's big game and the Huskies becoming bowl eligible.
- Coach Sark gets some recognition for his outstanding coaching job from cbssports.com in their week 9 review of Pac-12 winners and losers.
- Ryan Divish of Tacoma's News Tribune reflects on Chris Polk's dominant performance from Saturday, when he became the first Husky to reach 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game...not to mention his five touchdowns.
Each week the Pac-12 will catch up with student-athletes from around the conference. They will ask them some questions and see what fun facts come up.
Starring in the week of October 27: Meagan Ganzer (Washington State, volleyball), Shelby Houlihan (Arizona State, cross country), Megan McBride (Oregon State, volleyball), Rachel Quon (Stanford, soccer), Spencer Richey (Washington, soccer).
View their answers here: http://www.pac-12.org/SPORTS/SoccerM/Tabid/1456/Article/138128/Pac-12-Pop-Quiz-October-27-2011.aspx
You can also check out other Husky athletes that have been featured in the past:
Brent Richards (October 6)
Kari Davidson (September 23)
Much was made in the media about Arizona's switch to their famed "Desert Swarm" defense in last week's pasting of UCLA. This physical style of play was introduced by former Wildcats coach Dick Tomey in 1992, and was a foundation to their rise as a program.
With a strong chance Washington will see this defensive look tonight at Husky Stadium, we decided to break it down here on the Dawg Blawg. The defense is key on the down linemen creating havoc at the line of scrimmage, allowing the backers and DBs to "swarm" to the ball-carrier. Speed is a priority over brawn, which is why Arizona players like Tedy Bruschi were able to have such success in the system.
In simple terms, it's an eight-man front that many coaches feel is one of the best in stopping an opponent's running game, much like the Chicago Bears old "46 Defense" did in the NFL. And for Arizona, it worked last week as UCLA was held to 37 yards on the ground.
The formation: Five defenders reside on the line. The defensive end in the system plays a "7 technique," meaning he lines up inside the tight end on the strong side of the offensive line. In partnership with the neighboring 3-technique defensive tackle, the nose DT lines up in a slanted position, attacking the neck of the center, which makes him hard to double-team and hinders what teams can do on the weak-side (away from the TE). Additionally, there's a "flex" tackle playing a few yards off the LOS on the weak side. Finally, another lineman plays out wide ... WAY off the left tackle, almost at the 9 technique slot.
The strong safety overhangs about five yards off the LOS and plays more like a LB. In coverage, the remaining three DBs are often play Cover 3.
For more info, local blog SeatownSports has a thorough writeup of Arizona's vintage D that's worth checking out.
Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian noted this week he hasn't prepared for the double eagle flex in almost 10 years, but considering few coaches can script a game plan like Sark, Huskies fans shouldn't be worried
It was an amazing night at Conibear Shellhouse on Friday, with generations of Husky oarsmen gathering together to celebrate the Husky crew program's 2011 National Championship.
Guests were treated to drinks, appetizers and a photo montage throughout the night. What brought chills to the room was the video from the varsity eight's win in the IRA Grand Final, complete with audio from coxswain Sam Ojserkis. Guests included athletic director Scott Woodward and UW president Michael Young, among others.
We've posted the best images from the celebration. Hope to see you at a regatta this spring!
Check out the photo gallery from the Husky softball team's trip to Safeco Field<div><br /></div>
Here are some news and notes:
-FoxSportsArizona released it scouting report on the Huskies.
-Scott Johnson of the Kitsap Sun writes a story about Nick Montana's patience as the backup quarterback and his passion for playing the game of football.
-The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta takes a look at Arizona's recent coaching change and compares it to a similar incident in recent Husky history.
-ESPN's Pac-12 Blog has some fun facts about the conference and has some good information about all the week's match ups.
-On a sad note, former Huskies defensive line star Ron Holmes passed away at the age of 48. Bob Condotta writes that the 1984 All-American had a big impact on the football program as well as the people that knew him.
With Arizona coming off a resounding win over UCLA last week in Tucson, the intrigue surrounding this weekend's matchup against Washington has picked up. The two programs staged an epic game in 2009 here in Seattle, with the Huskies needed a shoestring interception return for a touchdown by Mason Foster to ensure victory. Will it be that close again Saturday night at Husky Stadium, with the program instituting a fan-wide blackout. To learn more about the other side of the matchup with talked with the Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, the Wildcats beat writer.
Q: How surprising is it that Arizona was capable of such a turnaround after the coaching change in the program? What happened during the bye that led Tim Kish to change the culture?
A: I don't think Arizona's win over UCLA was surprising, necessarily; the way the Wildcats were able to beat them was. For the first time all season, the UA was able to start fast and hold a lead. The Wildcats also seemed to play freer, which is a testament to Kish's positive approach. In the span of 10 days, Kish brought back much of the fun that was lost during the final month of Mike Stoops' tenure. The Wildcats scrimmaged more in practices, were looser in meetings and even dusted off an old look -- the double-eagle flex defense that the famed "Desert Swarm" team used in the mid-90s.
Q: While Arizona has struggled this year, the Wildcats still have one of the nation's best QBs. Now he's scripting plays a la Andrew Luck. Was this something that changed Tim Kish took over?
A: Nick Foles had a lot of responsibility within the offense when Stoops was the head coach, but being able to script and call plays is a new level for him. Kish gave the Wildcats' offensive coaches total control over game planning and play-calling for the rest of the season; they've passed some of that responsibility on to Foles.
Q: The running game returned to form against UCLA. In your opinion, is that a fluke or a sign of the Arizona offense to come? Why were the Wildcats able to generate yardage running the ball against the Bruins?
A: I think it was probably a combination of better execution and a struggling opponent. Nobody will ever confuse Arizona with Tailback U, but the Wildcats' run game continues to improve. Right now, they're experimenting with a shotgun, full-house attack that they call the "bone."
Q: What is the biggest storyline this week coming out of Tucson?
A: People are still talking about the streaker and the ensuing brawl that marred the Wildcats' last game and led to four UA players being suspended for all or part of Saturday's game. Cornerback Shaquille Richardson and nickel back Jourdon Grandon, both starters, have been suspended for the entire game, while backups Lyle Brown and Mark Watley will miss the first half. The UA is so thin in the secondary that coaches have moved a few wide receivers to corner, just in case.
Q: With a quartet of defensive backs out for the game, how do the Wildcats cope with the passing acumen/decision-making of Keith Price?
A: Arizona would be smart to try to control the clock, offensively, for the first half. I can see the UA playing nickel and possibly dime in the first half, forcing the Huskies to run the ball. Of course, given Arizona's struggles against the run this year and Chris Polk's success, it's a pick-your-poison situation.
Q: What does Washington need to do to win the game?
A: Take care of the football. Arizona forced two turnovers in the first half of last week's win over UCLA, and it turned the game in the Wildcats' favor for good. If Price is responsible with the ball and Polk stays true to form, the Huskies will be in fine shape.
Q: What does Arizona need to do to win the game?
A: Control the clock. The best way to stop Price, Polk and the Huskies might be to just keep them off the field. If Arizona can show some balance offensively, move the ball and dominate time of possession, it'll win. Stanford showed last week that conservative play -- and some stellar executioin -- might be the blueprint to beating the Huskies.
Q: Have any of the Arizona players talked about the 2009 game at Husky Stadium? Or is that a distant memory?
A: Oh, they remember. Time has mellowed their anger over what they thought was a bad call, but it's still a memory. Mostly, the Wildcats remember the flukey finish as one of the strangest games they've ever been associated with.
Check out some great pictures by Scott Eklund at the UW softball game vs. the NPF All-Stars at Safeco Field last Saturday.
Taking a swing through this morning's football coverage around the web.
- The Kitsap Sun's Scott Johnson takes a closer look at Chris Polk's impressive season so far and how he is quietly having his best season yet.
An updated list of TopDrawerSoccer.com's Top 100 Upperclassmen was announced Wednesday, and three Huskies have been named to the list. The rankings include all seniors, juniors, and sophomores across the country.
For the women's soccer team, senior midfielder Kate Deines is 30th. For the men's, senior forward Brent Richards is 11th and sophomore goalkeeper Spencer Richey is 100th. Deines (34th) and Richards (29th) were named to the website's preseason Top 100 rankings in early August.
Two-time team captain Deines has started all 16 games so far, tallying in two goals and an assist for a total of five points as a midfielder. Throughout her UW career, Deines has started in every game for the Huskies with 21 career goals. Deines also played in the U-23 National Team this summer.
Richards was recently named GoHuskies.com Student-Athlete of the Week and Soccer America's Team of the Week. After scoring his season-high 10th goal of the year this past weekend, he leads the team in goals (10) and points (23) and is second in assists (3).
In goal, Richey has posted seven shutouts with a 10-3-2 overall record this season. Richey has played in every minute (1415:23) in all 15 games, recording 51 saves and allowing just 13 goals. Richey is only one of five goalkeepers on the Top 100 list.
Full list for women's Top 100: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-national-top-100/women/2011
Full list for men's Top 100: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-national-top-100/men/2011
This is supposed to be a food blog. Oh well. There's a recipe below. I made it. It's good.
I'm the type of person who actually likes working out. I do it mostly because I feel like it gives me more than I give it. So, in effect, it seems to have become a part of who I am. But what do you do when you lose a part of who you are? When you can't just go for a run? A 30 mile bike ride at 6am on a Saturday sounds like a great way to start a weekend. But what if you're forced to start it on the couch? It seems like everyone else is out there working out, and then there's you, horizontal on the couch. Not just for one morning, but what about 5 days, or a week, or a month? Injuries have a way of forcing us to stop when we've seemingly been going at 100mph. And there we are, making a permanent indent on the couch.
I don't know what it's like to be an elite athlete experiencing a long term injury. But I think I got a glimpse of it after sustaining a concussion over 5 weeks ago, and having headaches and other symptoms for over 4 weeks after the injury. I craved being "normal" again, and gratefully, I think I'm finally there. There wasn't a lot of cooking happening during that time. Fortunately, I've now cleared myself for full kitchen participation.
This is far from your typical spaghetti and meatballs. Instead, we're cooking spaghetti squash, homemade marinara and turkey meatballs. Spaghetti squash isn't a highly nutritional vegetable, but it is tasty and 1/6 of the calories of regular spaghetti. It also has a decent amount of fiber at 2.2 grams per cup. Homemade marinara is one of the easiest things to make and it's leaps and bounds past what you will buy in a store. Plus, you can make tons of it at one time and freeze it in batches. Adding turkey meatballs to the squash and marinara completes the feeling of eating regular spaghetti and meatballs, but is incredibly more nutritious. I've also mixed the spaghetti squash with pesto and Morningstar Farms sausages. Very tasty. Another possibility includes mixing the squash with feta, fresh basil, olives, tomatoes and sautéed onions and garlic - my next plan.
Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
Cut squash in half lengthwise.
Scoop out seeds and innards. Lightly brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on rimmed baking sheet and into preheated oven. Roast for 1- 1 1/4 hours or until soft.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until not too hot to touch. Use fork to scrape inside of squash into spaghetti-like strands. Serve immediately.
This is one of those recipes where there isn't really a recipe. Start off with some basics and then add and subtract ingredients to suit your palate.
Heat a sauté pan with about 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent. Be careful not to brown the garlic. (If using a carrot, add with the onion and garlic. Add other veggies after the onions are done cooking.) Pour tomatoes into pan and increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add desired spices, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or let simmer on the stove for longer. (Increasing the cooking time evaporates the water and enhances the flavor.)
Quinoa Turkey Meatballs
One recommendation is to brown and cook these in batches of 5 in a pan on the stove. That takes forever. In addition, if you desire larger meatballs, baking them becomes necessary. I actually am not able to locate the recipe I used to make the meatballs (I have the excuse of being concussed at the time). But I found this one in my search, and it looks pretty good. The quinoa and spices in these make them intriguing.
Mix the quinoa with the spices and nutritional yeast.
Add the ground turkey and beaten egg and mix well (using your hands works best). Form into balls (about 20 medium).
Heat a pan with the oil over medium heat. Cook the balls for 12-15 minutes or until internal temperature is 170 degrees F (or open one up). They can also be baked at 350F for 30 minutes (browning first on the stove is best for color and outside crunchy texture).
And finally, combine everything together. Throwing some parmesan cheese on top wouldn't be a bad idea.
Senior defender Jamie Finch has been selected as part of the TopDrawerSoccer.com Men's College Team of the Week for his performance in the Dawgs' two victories this past weekend.
The Husky co-captain had his second assist of the season, setting up senior forward Jacob Hustedt's header in Friday's 2-1 win against Stanford. On Sunday, he helped the Dawgs shut out Cal in a 1-0 victory.
Washington, currently on a five-game winning streak, improved to 5-2-0 in conference play and 10-3-2 overall to lead the Pac-12.
Full list for Week 9's TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week:
GK: Justin Epperson, James Madison
D: Andrew Duran, Creighton
D: Jamie Finch, Washington
M: Steve Neumann, Georgetown
M: Nik Robson, UCF
M: James C. Nortey, Marquette
F: Carson Baldinger, New Mexico
F: Darren Mattocks, Old Dominion
F: Harrison Shipp, Notre Dame
F: Ashton Bennett, Coastal Carolina
Read the full story here: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-soccer-archives/nid-22900/Lobos-
The Canadian softball team, led by UW sophomore Victoria Hayward and former Husky star Jenn Salling, had a great run at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico before falling to the USA Softball Women's National team in the gold medal game, 11-1. They advanced to the final game after defeating Cuba 4-0 earlier in the day. Team Canada had a strong start to the contest, immediately putting a runner in scoring position when Melanie Matthews reached base on a walk before stealing second, but the team wasn't able to advance any more runners in the first inning after Jen Yee also reached base on a walk. Canada tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second when Hayward drove in Heather Ebert with an RBI base hit. Canada put two more runners on base with one out in that inning, resulting in a pitching change for the US, but they were not able to make any more serious threats the rest of the game. The Canadian National softball team comes away from the Pan Am games with a silver medal and a 7-3 overall tournament record.
Check out this twitter interview with former Husky hooper Spencer Hawes.
Senior forward and co-captain Brent Richards was named to Soccer America Men's Team of the Week for the week of October 10-16. The honors continue to roll in for Richards, who was also recently named Bank of the West Pac-12 Men's Soccer Player of the Week for the second time this season.
Richards was honored after having two assists in a 2-0 win at Stanford and scoring both goals, one of which was a Golden Ball, in a 2-1 two overtime win over California.
The Huskies returned to the Top 25 National Rankings, coming in at No. 23 in the NSCAA poll and at No. 24 in the Soccer America poll.
Soccer America Men's Team of the Week (Oct. 10-16):
GK Carl Woszczynski (UAB), Sr.
D Nikko Boxall (Northwestern), Fr.
F Dom Dwyer (USF), Jr.
F Ethan Finlay (Creighton), Sr.
F Giuseppe Gentile (Charlotte), Fr.
F Tim Hopkinson (Old Dominion), Soph.
M Sebastian Jansson (Marquette), Fr.
F Garret Pettis (Lipscomb), Sr.
F Brent Richards (Washington), Sr.
F Mark Sherrod (Memphis)
Two of the best quarterbacks in the nation are facing off this weekend when Washington meets Stanford in Palo Alto. One, Andrew Luck, is already cemented as the No. 1 pick in next spring's NFL Draft, while another, Keith Price, is just starting to introduce himself to America.
But there's more to the matchup than just two scintillating quarterbacks. We go in-depth in a chat with Tom Fitzgerald, who covers the Cardinal for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Q: Andrew Luck is obviously a focal point but it's hard to discount the strength of Stanford's offensive line. What does the team do so well that makes it hard to pressure/hit/sack Luck?
A: Partly it's Luck's superb pocket presence. He's very aware of where the pass rushers are and can slide and move up in the pocket as needed. He also throws very well on the dead run. His line has been improving steadily, led by veterans RG David DeCastro and LT Jonathan Martin. They and the new starters this year-- C Sam Schwartzstein, LG David Yankey and RT Cameron Fleming -- have been excellent at pass protection. The tight ends have also excelled at that. Lastly, RB Stepfan Taylor is terrific at picking up blitzes. That's one reason why he plays so much, even though Stanford has some other very good backs.
Q: You could argue the Huskies haven't faced a defense like the one Stanford presents this weekend? Although the Cardinal line up in vanilla formations, what is it about the D that makes it extremely difficult for teams to move the ball consistently?
They are constantly switching things around. They vary their blitzes quite a bit. The main thing, though, is they've been very stout against the run. NT Terrence Stephens has stepped in nicely for Sione Fua, and DEs Ben Gardner and Matt Masifilo have played very well too. At some point, the loss of ILB Shayne Skov (knee) is going to come back and bite them, but it hasn't yet because Jarek Lancaster and A.J. Tarpley have been OK in that spot. Safeties Delano Howell and Michael Thomas have been great, although Howell won't play Saturday because of hand injury. Basically, Stanford has shut down the running games and forced teams into third-and-long.
Q: In your opinion, what caused Stanford to look out-of-sync in the first half at Washington State last weekend?
A: I think they were trying a little too hard to get the wide receivers involved since so much of the offense has revolved around the three tight ends. Luck's first pass was picked; it was underthrown and Jamal-Rashad Patterson didn't put up enough of a battle for it. On the next series, Luck tried unsuccessfully to hit Chris Owusu deep, then tried a pass to him over the middle on which the safety smacked Owusu, putting him out of the game. Stepfan Taylor lost a fumble, so that meant two turnovers in one half, very rare for Stanford.
Q: What concerns does Stanford have about Keith Price and a Washington offense that has scored 30+ points in each game this season?
A: They are very concerned with Price's ability to buy time for the excellent receivers to get open. Stanford seems to have trouble making tackles in space, so if those wideouts and (Austin) Seferian-Jenkins can get open, they could cause trouble. The Cardinal also are well aware of Chris Polk's ability to run and catch.
Q: Washington has a tight end (Austin Seferian-Jenkins) that causes matchup problems for opposing defenses, much like the Stanford trio of tight ends. How does the play of that group open up things for the rest of the Stanford offense?
If the linebackers and safeties concentrate on stopping the tight ends - Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo - that can open space downfield for the WRs or on short patterns for fullback Ryan Hewitt, who's a good receiver. It can also open things up for screen passes, although Stanford doesn't run a lot of screens. When the defenders take off with TEs, it can open up the running game as well.
Q: What's the biggest storyline coming out of the Stanford camp this week?
A: The hand injury to Delano Howell, who's the hardest hitter on the defense and one of the leading tacklers. He'll be missed this week.
Q: What will Washington need to do to win the game this weekend?
A: They need to run the ball with Polk to chew up some clock, but mainly they need to hit some big pass plays. Stanford is not an easy team to mount a sustained drive against because they are so sound defensively, mainly against the run.
Q: What will Stanford need to do to win the game this weekend?
A: Score at least 37 points, as they've done every game this year. I don't see the UW defense containing them for long, especially since Stanford is even more concerned with ball security after last week. It won't be 41-0 like last year, but I'd imagine Stanford will win by 2-3 touchdowns.
Check out the video taken during picture day this year.
Check out some video highlights from the 2011 non-conference season.
By Karissa Fogel
Read the full story here: http://www.pac-12.org/SoccerW/Tabid/1458/Article/137480/Husky-Soccer-Building-A-Program.aspx.
Former Husky pitcher Forrest Snow ('10), who wrapped up his second year of pro ball with AAA Tacoma, got in touch today. He's pitching in the Arizona Fall League and will pitch for his team tonight. Here's what Forrest had to say:
Hey Dawg fans! I bring you this message from Peoria, Arizona, spring training home of the Seattle Mariners.
As UW's fall ball is in full swing on Lake Washington, the 20th season of the Arizona Fall League is now underway as well. Being a prospect league, each team is comprised of five different big league organizations. We have top prospects from the Cardinals, Brewers, Mets, Padres, and of course, the Mariners.
I'm having a great time getting to know the playing styles and philosophies of the different clubs, as well as the players from all over the nation. Danny Hultzen, the Mariners' second overall pick of this year's draft is on our staff, and I'm excited to see what he brings to the table to make our organization the championship contender I know it can be.
Other top picks like Gerrit Cole (former UCLA Bruin and #1 overall pick of this year's draft) and Bryce Harper (#1 overall pick of the 2010 draft) make this one of the most exciting off-season leagues in the nation!
I've got the rock tonight against the Salt River Rafters (Dodgers, Astros, D-Backs, Rockies & Tigers). Even though the forecast calls for sun, I'm thinking about bringing a blizzard to Scottsdale. LET IT SNOW!!!
GO DAWGS! GO M'S!
This might be the best time for Washington to approach the bye week. Off to a 4-1 start, the Huskies have positioned themselves in the upper-echelon of teams in the Pac-12 and now can use the weekend off to rest weary bodies. With that in mind, we'll revisit the game at Utah, where the Dawgs shook off (by their own standards) a lethargic first 30 minutes of football to stun the Utes in Salt Lake City.
Coming off that performance, here's a five things we learned about the Huskies.
The Dawgs Are Road Warriors: For the first time since the 2000 season the Huskies have won three straight road games within the conference. With last Saturday's 31-14 win at Utah, the Huskies have piggybacked off last season's dramatic close, which saw the Dawgs pick up victories at California and at Washington State. For Coach Sarkisian, this comes down to a tried-and-true philosophy of defense and ball control, as the Utes rushed the ball for just 17 yards and faced a steady diet of Chris Polk in the second half. This took a lot of the steam out of a boisterous crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Defense Continues To Improve: Utah piled up 305 yards through the air, but did so by completely abandoning their run-game. By making the Utes one-dimensional, the Huskies were able to pin their ears back on defense, play fast, and force turnovers. All in all, Washington had five takeaways (two interceptions and three fumble recoveries), including one that it took back for a score. Utes running back John White found zero room to run, thanks to some stellar play from defensive tackles Alameda Ta'Amu and Semisi Tokolahi.
Chris Polk Is A Bell Cow: When all else fails, the Huskies know they can hand the ball off to their junior TB and find yards. Polk rushed for 189 yards, and although he didn't have a touchdown he was able to soften up the Utes defense and open throwing lanes for Keith Price. The highlight of the evening was a 49-yard scamper down the left sideline, a gashing run that put Utah right on its heels to start the second half. Polk is averaging 122 yards per game on the ground, second in the Pac-12 and 10th nationally.
Keith Price Embraces A Challenge: Much was made after the game about how Coach Sarkisian playfully challenged his sophomore quarterback during halftime. Whatever the tenor of the discussion was, the message hit home. Price threw three touchdowns in the second half, and performed surgery on the Utes secondary by spreading the ball to a variety of receivers. And there's the problem for opposing defenses. Key in too much on one player, and Price will coolly distribute it to someone else. He hit eight different receivers during the Utah game, completing 22-of-30 passes in the process. Another note: with 17 TD passes on the season, Price has already moved into a tie for seventh in single-season TD tosses. The record is 28 (set by Cody Pickett).
Offensive Line Responds As Well: The success of Price and Polk wouldn't be possible without the improved play of the O-line, which shrugged off a sluggish first-half performance to wear down the Utes late. During his weekly meeting with reporters, Sarkisian credited the work of offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto in making some halftime adjustments, which shored up the protection of Price and opened holes for Polk.
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