So, WHAT A WIN. I know, they are 1-10, we’re 5-6 and lifting weights for the bowl season, but you know what?? It felt AMAZING to run on that field. As Doba said after the game, don’t let ANYONE say this game doesn’t mean anything, because it means a hell of a lot!
I told anyone who would listen to me pre-game that we would win 28-10, and halfway through the 3rd quarter it was looking good, but then UW has to go and pull the worst QB in school history in favor of a wildly erratic (but really talented) kid in Stanbeck. Man is he quick, but as DJ Talarico pointed out, you have to be more than fast to effectively run the option. Sure enough, a couple of times they tried it he did NOTHING. And, aside from two deep throws and a few scrambles, Stanbeck really isn’t ready to do anything over a full game, let alone a full season. As bad as Paus was, it probably screamed volumes that Stanbeck couldn’t beat that guy out!
Remember, before people get too carried away about the dreadlocks, all of Husky nation was a-twitter over Paus last year when he came off the bench to go 5-for-8 with 100 yards passing vs. Oregon last year in their 42-10 rout! Many said Paus was the next great one at UW, and look how that worked out. Stanbeck’s line from Saturday? 5-for-8, 100 yards, and a LOSS. So there you have it. Let’s not hand him the Heisman, not just yet.
What blew me away was watching the replay of the game on Sunday night, and how disappointing it was to see how BADLY both safeties bit on the last TD pass! Stanbeck goes back to pass, play-action, and both safeties took like 5 steps toward the line of scrimmage. Totally fooled, there was virtually no chance for them to recover, and Stanbeck beats them deep with Chambers. Boy oh boy, starting with that Oregon game, any team worth a damn just killed us this year with the over-aggressive safeties! I will always point to that game as being the entire season. Easy to say now, of course, I mean we win just that game and we are in a bowl game today. But it was more than just that, it was the whole confidence thing for a young team that was just destroyed. Win that one, they probably beat Stanford the next week too, and we’re probably sitting here today at 7-4.
Oh well. In reality, maybe a 5-6 season was a good thing for a great young nucleus. Keep them focused on getting back to a winning unit, that extra motivation to prove themselves, all that stuff. And, to hear Doba talk, as badly as we are injured it might be an ok thing to not have another game on the schedule!
Speaking of young teams, I know I’ve been saying it lately, but it’s really fun to think about how much we have coming back next year. 9 starters on offense, 9 starters on D, man oh man it could be a special season next year. Take a look:
SE – 83 – Jason Hill – 6’, 198, JR
19 – Greg Prator – 6’, 210, SR
86 – Tremaine Murray – 5-10, 183, SR
LT – 71 – Spencer Hollison – 6-6, 290, JR
LG – 70 – Bobby Byrd – 6-7, 300, SO
C – 66 – Nick Milhauser – 6-3, 290, SR
RG – 76 – Norvell Holmes – 6-2, 310, SR
RT – 55 – Charles Harris – 6-6, 315, JR
TE – 81 – Troy Bienemann – 6-4, 250, SR
80 – Cody Boyd – 6-8, 251, JR
47 – Jesse Taylor – 6-3, 242, JR
SB – 5 – Michael Bumpus – 5-11, 175, SO
6 – Marty Martin – 5-10, 186, SR
36 – Jevon Miller – 6-0, 195, SR
QB – 9 – Josh Swogger – 6-5, 250, JR
10 – Alex Brink – 6-2, 204, SO
18 – Gary Rogers – 6-4, 215, R-FR
12 – Arkelon Hall – 6-2, 200, TRUE Frosh
RB – 1 – Jerome Harrison – 5-9, 192, SR
4 – Allen Thompson – 5-10, 209, SR
20 – Kevin McCall – 5-11, 209, SO
FL – 2 – Chris Jordan – 6-1, 204, JR
88 – Trandon Harvey – 5-11, 193, SR
87 – Thomas Ostrander – 6-2, 200, SR
PK – 27 – Loren Langley – 5-7, 150, SO
18 – Graham Siderius – 6-2, 207, SR
Total – 9 offensive starters back from 2004 team, including kicker
On Jason Hill – think about this. A redshirt sophomore who only played WR this year and only on special teams last year, with these young QB’s and no running game early in the year, and he STILL sets a team record for TD’s in an 11-game season?? WOW. What a player! And a BIG play guy at that. 45 catches for 1007 yards and 12 TD’s with green QB’s and no running game to speak of for half the year?? Even bigger – OVER 22 yards per catch! Now that is a big-play guy. He’s the home run threat every team needs, yet he’s more than just Daryl Turner redux.
The other player who really looks like he will be special is Harrison. 900 yards rushing on 174 carries, 5.2 yards per carry and 9 touchdowns??? This is a guy that didn’t even get double-digit carries until the 4th game, and didn’t even start until the 6th game of the year. What a season for that guy, and what a year he should have next year! As Rooster will attest, the guy up close and personal is more 5-foot-7 than 5-foot-10, but he’s got some guns on him and certainly showed he’s not just a speed guy.
WE – 94 – Mkristo Bruce – 6-6, 245, JR
82 – Adam West – 6-6, 248, SR
59 – Rayshawn Bobo – 6-2, 230, SO
LT – 40 – Aaron Johnson – 6-6, 303, SO
58 – Matt Mullenix – 6-6, 250, SO
RT – 75 – Ripoti Pitoitua – 6-8, 275, SO
19 – Odell Howard – 6-3, 287, JR
SE – 13 – Adam Braidwood – 6-5, 265, SR
54 – Paul Stevens – 6-3, 250, SO
WLB – 42 – Scott Davis – 5-11, 230, JR
MLB – 51 – Will Derting – 6-0, 235, SR
56 – Chris Baltzer – 6-0, 225, JR
43 – Brian Hall (6-2, 228, JR)
SLB – 49 – Steve Dildine – 6-2, 220, JR
LCB – 32 – Omowale Dada – 5-11, 190, SR
25 – Don Turner – 6-0, 187, JR
27 – Shelton Danzy – 5-10, 185, FR.
SS – 24 – Husain Abdullah – 6-0, 188, SO
**Wildcard – Michael Willis – 6-2, 210, FR
FS – 37 – Eric Frampton – 5-11, 195, JR
34 – Christian Bass – 6-2, 195, SO
RCB – 21 – Alex Teems (5-11, 176, JR)
12 – Tyron Brackenridge (5-11, 180, SR)
P – 8 – Kyle Basler (6-3, 230, SR)
Total – 9 starters returning from 2004 team, including punter and a superstar in Derting??? Uh, let’s see, that’s 18 starters next year that started games this year on both sides of the ball.
I’m really excited about the d-tackles, for good reason. Johnson will be back from the knee injury, and Ripoti has a REAL chance to be something else. You can’t coach 6-8, 280 with great feet! Wait until he reports next year at 300.
Of course, the LB’s are stacked. I wonder, though, as many have been speculating lately, but will they slide Derting back to his natural position for next year? Or do they hope he puts on more muscle to survive the year in the middle? Can’t underestimate how the wrist injury + green DT’s + broken wrist + new position hurt him this year, but he still rallied for a good (but not great) year. He sure was big in the AC, though, no question the best player on the field. He sets up for a gigantic season next year, provided health is on his side.
There are also several players that will make themselves known this spring and summer with the workouts and all that. Plus, there are probably bound to be a few guys that fall off or disappear due to injury, academics, etc, but the foundation is there for a 9-2 season next year.
There are weaknesses, sure. Kicking game needs to get better. The safeties have to better defend the pass in a pass-first league. Both Bruce and Braidwood need to rush the passer a little better this year, but hopefully the depth will help them out next year.
Glancing at the schedule, here’s the way it looks (and I’m already predicting wins and losses, I know, WAY too early to do that. I’m also going to call one of our bye’s a gimmie-win based on rumblings that we’ll schedule a creampuff-city opponent. Fine by me):
2005 (Arizona missing)
W – September 3 IDAHO AT PULLMAN
W – September 10 Nevada at Reno
September 17 Open + -or- (FCD, BD)
W – September 24 Open + (CREAMPUFF STATE???)
L – October 1 Oregon State at Corvallis
W – October 8 Stanford AT PULLMAN
W – October 15 UCLA AT PULLMAN (HC)
L – October 22 California at Berkeley
L – October 29 USC at Los Angeles
W – November 5 Arizona State AT PULLMAN (DD)
W – November 12 Oregon AT PULLMAN (AFD)
W – November 19 Washington at Seattle
That’s 8-3 right there. I think the Oregon State game at Corvallis is a swing game, could go either way. We’ll be better than them, top to bottom, but at Corvallis, we just don’t play well. I know Cal loses a lot of guys on paper, but Tedford has done an amazing job of stocking that team with depth that is USC-like, so I really don’t think they’ll drop off much. We won’t beat USC at LA, and it might be a while before we can take them again (maybe in ’06?). Otherwise, I’m confident in all those games, including UW at Seattle who will be a losing team again next year, virtually guaranteed.
One more final thing – there is now some whispering that Jonathan Stewart is leaning towards USC after all. He is visiting there THIS coming weekend, which happens to be the Notre Dame game. For what it’s worth, Notre Dame has offered him a scholarship and has him highly rated, so both schools are after him. There was talk two weeks ago that people had been told off the record that he was coming to WSU, but there has been new info after this weekend that point to him going elsewhere, USC being the leader. There was even scuttlebutt that a WSU coach told someone on Sunday that they feel like Stewart is “slipping away from us.”
Again, it’s just one running back, and if he wants to go be another horse in Pete Carroll’s stable, then go for it. However if he wants to come in and compete to play – right away – behind Harrison and get 10 carries a game as a true frosh, then come here. It is also just recruiting, and you never, ever know how someone will pan out until they get into the system.