I don’t know about you, but I don’t often find myself voluntarily learning about Washington football. So thanks to John Sayler, who despite his poor life decision in choosing to be a Washington fan appears to be an otherwise kind and knowledgeable human being, for getting us caught up on the 2017 Huskies, and what we can expect to see on the field Saturday.
If you’d like to read my answers to his questions, you can find them at UW Dawg Pound HERE. It’s really, really purple over there, but as long as you’re only exposing yourself in small doses there shouldn’t be any permanent effects.
Catch us up to speed on Washington football: what has changed since last year's College Football Playoff appearance?
John: The change is that fans have gone from hoping to win to expecting to win. I think getting into the final four gave the coaches and players validation of how far they had come since Chris Petersen arrived. Alabama gave them a sense of how far they still have to go to become a true power.
It feels good to be a Husky fan again, and the bandwagon is fully loaded with new faces.
What the hell happened against Arizona State, and could Oregon potentially match that performance?
Potentially, anybody can beat anybody in this conference, so hell yes. Here’s what ASU did:
- Did not turn the ball over or really make any major mistakes on offense.
- Confused Jake Browning with something he had not seen on film
- Outplayed the UW offensive line with their front seven
There’s your blueprint, give it to Taggart.
What else do you need to see from Jake Browning before we can entertain the conversation of him supplanting Jake Locker as Washington's greatest quarterback?
I’d like to see him play a really good game, because it’s been a while. Browning has been super-hesitant, a product of the entire passing game being off.
Locker is a good comparison in the sense that he showed a lot early in his career, then next thing you know he is the greatest thing ever and a Heisman Trophy candidate. How a QB performs has so much to do with the players around him. Locker had a better supporting cast as a junior than he did his ‘hyped’ senior season, and the same is true for Browning this season versus last.
Of the 70 points Washington scored against Oregon last year, which one was your favorite?
I gotta go with that third extra point; started it right, slight draw back to the left. A thing of beauty.
Editor’s Note: Went back and watched, and he’s not kidding. Great extra point, just nailed it.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Washington defense, and does Oregon's one-dimensional offense have any chance for success?
If it’s one-dimensional, I can’t imagine Oregon having much success. But I doubt it will be. The Oregon gameplan will certainly involve trying to get the running game going, but if you don’t have balance the UW defense is pretty tough to score on. I’m sure Oregon will have some creative plans on offense.
The strength is right up the middle with DTs Greg Gaines and Vita Vea. Those guys are tough to block and defenses can generally only double team one, or else LBs Azeem Victor and Ben Burr Kirven will be in the opponents backfield all day. The secondary is also surprisingly great this season. We were told there wouldn’t be a dropoff with three of last years’ DBs moving on to the NFL. That held true. What’s even more surprising is how they have continued to play really well even after the top two corners went down with long-term injuries. Next guys in… they’ve look good too.
Weakness? Probably the edge players. Benning Potoa'e was a prized recruit and we all keep waiting for him to be amazing. A lot of opponents’ successful plays are his fault.
Now that Washington has snapped the streak, how are Husky fans feeling about the Oregon-Washington rivalry? What rivalry means more to you, Oregon or Washington State?
The rivalry is what it is, and Washington winning last year doesn’t change that. These schools have been playing football for a long time, and each has rolled the other for periods of time.
Personally, I’m more of a “I hate WSU guy.” Probably has to do with my age (old) and that I live in close proximity to so many Cougs. My least favorite topic of debate on our site is the “who you hate more, who you SHOULD hate more.”
I hate them both, and when they play each other it’s a good day because someone will lose. Oh shit, someone wins too. I just ignore that part.
What's the long term prognosis for Washington football? Oregon fans are already looking ahead to 2019 when all these young talented freshmen are now upperclassmen; could that be the year Oregon regains a hold of the rivalry?
It’s hard not to feel good about what Chris Petersen is doing at Washington. We’d love to have more 4 and 5 star recruits, but Petersen and his staff seem to find the 2 and 3 star guys that everyone else overlooked; guys who become All-Conference players. Who knows how good the two teams will be in a couple years. We feel very good about the direction of the program. Sounds like you guys are pretty happy with what you have going forward as well.
I'll dispense with the game prediction and ask an over/under instead: O/U Oregon points scored: 13.5. What are you taking?
With my own money, I wouldn’t touch that. Who knows who the QB will be for Oregon, and if there is garbage time in the game that can dramatically change things. UCLA finished with 23 points and didn’t do shit all day except for one drive. If I had to pick I’d take the over.