Hello Cougar Nation! Hope you’ve had a great week.
Well, in case you missed it last night, our ugly brothers to the west pulled off a shocker last night, nipping 8th ranked Stanford 17-13. For a few thoughts on that one, as well as a few remarks regarding our own tilt this Saturday against the Quack Attack, read on.
Nation, if last night’s game was instructive of anything, it showed us this: One week can really, really change the outlook of a season.
I mean, before last night’s game, Stanford looked like world beaters. And the Dawgs? Well, they sure looked like they were headed toward a 7 loss season... And now? Well, depending on what happens with Oregon State over the next two weeks, Washington now looks poised to compete for second in the Pac-12 North, even with a highly suspect offensive line. And Stanford? Well, in spite of the fact I still think their D is phenomenal, it looks like they may be vulnerable to any team that lines up (consistently and appropriately) with 9 in the box and who carries enough weapons offensively to make them pay for a mistake or three over the course of a game.
And for that reason, last night’s shocker should be instructive regarding how we all should view the rest of the season. To be sure, our loss to Colorado and our struggles against a weak non-conference slate should help us all lower our expectations about what this team can reasonably accomplish. At the same time, win one of our next two games (e.g. beat Oregon State) and all of a sudden, the world might just start to seem filled with a host of pleasantries, like Puppies and Rainbows.
So, with regard to Saturday night’s game, well, color me a guy that really wants to believe that we can hang in there. I mean, when you look at what we’ve been able to do offensively in the first half of our last two games, well, there’s good reason to think that we may be able to score enough points early to make this thing interesting through two quarters. And because our special teams play has shown itself to be pretty darn good (as in #2 in the Conference good).....
we might even be able to hang in for longer than that—as in having a two possession game well into the fourth quarter.
But the other side of me is still walking up in the middle of the night screaming out “bubble screen!” at the top of my lungs. And truly, when you think about D. Thomas on the outside catching Mariotta missles for 10-35 yards every play, well, it gets a bit hard to breathe.
And truly for me, that’s what we’re up against: That damn bubble screen. Because if we couldn’t stop it against the likes of Colorado, UNLV, and Eastern Washington, what’s Oregon going to do to us with all that speed on that very same play?
So, keeping in mind that Huddy’s post on Humpday pretty much nailed all that needs to be said, here are my three keys.
Score early. We all know that Oregon is going to score a crap load of points, so if we want to hang in there, then we’re going to have to score, score, and score some more. But what is more important to me is that we gain some confidence that we can put 38-41 up next week in Corvallis. To do that, we’re going to have to move the ball early against Oregon (and convert) and we’re going to have to see something out of our offense in the “Turd Quarter.” I’m looking for 28 points through 3 quarters in this one from us. If we can match or exceed that, I’ll think we've won.
Come on Down. For the BYU game, Mike Breske spent the game on the sidelines.
Since that time, he’s been upstairs in the booth (boof?). Given the play of our secondary—he’s the safety coach and our CBs coach is a grad student (or so I’ve been told)--I'm starting to think that it might be a good thing if there’s someone on the field coaching them up a bit more during games. After all, if we have ANY chance of inching toward mediocrity (6-6) this year, the secondary must dramatically improve.
Stay Healthy. Everyone who doesn’t live in Muttlake knew that the Dawgs were going to get DRILLED when they went to Baton Rouge to play LSU a few weeks back. The only question was whether Keith Price and company were going to come out of the game alive. In my book, this simply is NOT a winnable game for us. And so, although I’m looking for us to compete really hard and improve, what I'm really interested in is coming out healthy—especially with respect to our quarterback and both of our lines. Do that, and I we can all get ready to view next Saturday's game in Corvallis with great interest.
For the past two years I have come up with some pretty outrageous pre-game predictions in favor of Oregon, and both games have turned out to be reasonably respectable. And although I'll be yelling "watch the f-ing bubble screen" on every snap Oregon takes on Saturday night, I think that our kids have something to prove this weekend and the pride in which we'll play will allow us to cover with relative ease. Call it Oregon 51-35.
All for now. Go Cougs!