That was not the type of performance Chris Petersen was hoping for in his debut as head coach of the Washington football team. The play calling was atrocious, the defense looked out of sorts, and apparently getting John Ross the football is a difficult task for this coaching staff. Here are the main gripes with the game:
- Who looked good: That was not the defense I was expecting from a Washington football team that displayed immense talent last season. The defense did not look at all like it did under former defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. It should be noted that the team did only give up 16 points, a rather impressive feat given the lack of offensive output. However, it should be noted that there wasn’t much in the way of standouts on the defensive side of the ball. Good performances were few and far between to say the least. Danny Shelton and Elijah Qualls may have been the only two truly effective players on the defense. They were constant play makers primarily in the run game, while also providing consistent effort during passing efforts. The interior lineman were definitely a bright spot of this team.
- Not Enough John Ross: I have been preaching for some time now that John Ross is the type of player this team needs in order to be successful.
So it came as no shock that he was electric every time the ball came his way. Unfortunately the ball didn’t find it’s way to Ross nearly as much as it should have. Ross was clearly the best player on the field in this game, it turns out that Hawaii was the only ones who knew that. Ross tallied two touchdowns, one coming on a reverse run from 20 yards out, the other on a 91 yard bomb from Lindquist in which Ross just lazily jogged past his defender en route to a touchdown. Throw in a 40 yard kick return earlier in the game and Ross had a pretty decent night. Just don’t tell the coaching staff that. Ross was hard pressed to find playing time and the offense struggled because of that. If the staff actually watches the tape, I don’t think this problem will occur again.
- Running the ball works: I understand that Petersen is a coach who likes his quarterbacks, but running the football is still necessary. I have talked before about how running the football is the key to success in the PAC-12. Plain and simple, the Huskies needed to run the football more frequently. Sarkisian proved how effective this offense could be when it was committed to the run game. Petersen did not get the memo on that. Bishop Sankey may not be the guy anymore, but that doesn’t mean that the Huskies no longer have the potential to be a team with a dominating run game. Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman both proved to be talented runners. Coleman even locked up the game by moving the chains late in the game when the defense was expecting it most. They most certainly will get more carries over the next few weeks. If not, I have serious doubts about this team.
- Lindquist is not the guy: Plainly put, he wasn’t nearly good enough to even begin a conversation about him challenging Cyler Miles for the starting spot the remainder of the season. If this game didn’t serve as a wake up call for Miles, I don’t know what will. This team needs Miles. Don’t be surprised if the Huskies take on a completely different look with Miles under center. Lindquist was impressively effective during running situations. However, imagine Miles with those carries. I expect the offense to look much more potent with Miles under center. If he runs into injury problems though, I think I have seen enough to suggest that Troy Williams may be a more exciting option.
- Shaq Thompson: Non-factor: I never thought I would see the day that Shaq Thompson was a non-factor in a game. Unfortunately that day was today. Having a guy of that athleticism and skill set made me think it would be impossible to devise a game plan that didn’t maximize his abilities. Wilcox knew how to get Thompson in positions to be a game altering player, even if that meant making him fill gaps on run plays. This defense was not nearly as smart in regards to using it’s talent adequately. Shaq should play an integral role in any defensive effort this team puts forth. The way he was used tonight will not suffice if the Huskies want to contend as the season progresses. Personnel errors were abundant in this game. Fortunately for Petersen and staff, they have multiple tune up games to correct their errors.
In case you missed it, the Huskies did in fact win this game 17-16. Full game stats can be viewed here.
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