College Football – Washington Huskies Led Nation in One Critical Category – Strength of Schedule

If you ask a Husky fan or rabid booster to describe Washington’s recently completed football season in 3 words the answer might be “another losing season.” In 2 words it might be “lousy coaching” or “terrible defense” or “stupid mistakes.” My description in 2 words would be “Locker” and “schedule.” Schedule would be strength of schedule. The Huskies ended their season as the No. 1-rated team in strength of schedule (difficulty of opponent) among the NCAA’s 242 Division 1A and 1AA teams.

With a 4-9 season record, some fans might say, “So what?” While it is true that playing the toughest schedule in the country did not win Washington any more games, it did provide the one ingredient the Huskies need most to improve more next year: experience against quality opponents.

In effect, a lot of inexperienced Huskies got up-close, personal lessons in what it takes to win at the highest level. They, according to the most recent BCS Standings:

1) Upset No. 24-ranked Boise State 24-10 at home.

2) Led No. 1-ranked Ohio State 7-3 at the half before losing 33-14 at home.

3) Led No. 7-ranked Southern Cal 17-14 at the half before losing 27-24 at home.

4) Led No. 11-ranked Arizona State 17-13 at the half before losing 44-20 on the road.

5) Led No. 10-ranked Hawaii 21-0 after 10 minutes and 28-21 at the half before losing 35-28 on the road.

The inexperienced, talent-challenged Huskies never did really learn how to lock down and finish off an opponent. It was not the offense that let them down, they averaged more than 4 touchdowns a game; it was the defense that most often collapsed in the second half.

Among 119 Division 1A schools, the Washington defense was ranked 94th in Scoring Defense (Poor), 102nd in Total Defense (Poor), 89th in Rushing Defense (Poor), 99th in Pass Defense (Poor) and 99th in Pass Efficiency Defense (Poor).  ทางเข้าUFABET

Name calling is never nice, however, the Husky defensive secondary could not cover their grandmother on their best day. Note to Coach Ty Willingham: Recruit and offer scholarships to players with speed. You cannot coach slow.

If God did not give you speed, you cannot make players faster by coaching them to death. They are already dead, dead slow in a fast player’s game. If the entire Husky defensive secondary were all seniors and gone next year, Washington would do no worse. Speed kills in football. If the defensive staff cannot recognize speed, have them watch NFL films of Randy Moss separating from defenders.

Which brings me to Locker, Jake Locker, as in Washington’s redshirt freshman quarterback. Locker is a NFL quality running back with size, strength and speed right now. He just happens to play quarterback. Running is all about instinct and speed. Passing is about arm strength, quick release, patience, presence and proper technique. Passing is so much more complicated than running; no wonder Locker is so impressive running rather than passing. I believe Locker will improve his accuracy and touch in passing, Lord knows he has the arm strength.

How good is Locker? He was just named the Pac 10 Conference Freshman of the Year. Locker broke the Husky and Pac 10 record for rushing yards by a quarterback, finishing the year with 986 yards and 13 touchdowns (also a Husky QB record). He also set a new Husky freshman record for most yards passing with 2,062. Unless injured, he will be playing on Sundays in the NFL.

Ty Willingham’s Washington Husky recruits for next year include 5-star Kavario Middleton (rated No. 2 nationally as a tight end), and 4-star recruits Craig Noble (DT), Senio Kelemete (OT), Drew Schaefer (OT), Jermaine Kearse (WR) and Cody Burns (WR). Washington has the 18th best recruiting class in the country, according to Scout.com and Dawgman.com.

Despite a 3-year record of 11-25, it was announced today that Ty Willingham will return as the Husky head coach next year. Some fans and boosters wanted Willingham gone, others loved that he is staying on to finish what he started when he signed a 5-year contract. Can Washington go from a 4-9 record this year to a 9-4 record next year? Only time will tell.

 

 

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