Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stanford Goes Mike Vick on Dawgs in Palo Alto

There have been many litmus tests for the coaching staff so far this season. The LSU game was a test to see how these new-look Dawgs would fair against a perennial power from the SEC. Despite the loss most eveyone would say that was a test the Dawgs passed. Next came Idaho, could the coaching staff, that had everyone patting them on the back for a good loss the week before, get their kids ready to play against an also ran of college football. A strong win in front of the home crowd, the first in almost two years, gave them a pass for the test. Then came USC. It was Coach Sark's chance to go against his mentor and his always high-powered Trojans. Another test passed. After the win catapulted the dawgs into the top 25 since god knows when there was another test to pass. Could the coaching staff keep the team focused on the road after a big win and get a win against an up and comer in the conference? That answer was a resounding "FUCK NO!"

The Dawgs played poorly from the start yielding a touchdown on the opening kick of, a rather ominous start to the game. Things went downhill from there. The Dawgs defense that had stiffened against the vaunted running games of LSU and USC provided as much resistance as Jeramy Stevens' date at a frat party. Big Toby Gerhart rumbled to the tune of 200 yards rarely finding anybody to run over til at least the second level. Though on one run he ran through a couple weak arm tackles on his way for a 60 yard touchdown.

The pass defense didn't fair too much better. Oh sure, they didn't give up near as many yards but when you're running the ball the way Stanford was you can get away with having your quarterback go 7/14 as Andrew Luck did. The dawgs might not have forced luck to throw as much as they had hoped but when he did throw it was on roll outs or off of play action. With the Stanford running game giving UW a Lexington Steele like pounding any play action was bit hard on and left Stanford players wide open for the reception.

After a decent looking first half marred by a single interception Jake came crashing down faster than the crew of the Challenger. Yes, he was hurried, but even when he wasn't his passes seemed to lack the certainty of prior games and his decision making was off as he tried to force the ball to his receivers to make plays. This is why Jake shouldn't leave for the NFL after this season, contrary to what all the talking heads were saying about him last week.

One thing that had seemed to be the hallmark of this new coaching staff through the first three games was their ability to make adjustments at half-time and learn from first half mistakes. Going into the half I had faith in the coaching staff that they could figure out how to stop the run and get some points on the board to erase the 10 point deficit. That was not to be the case tonight. The Dawgs got run over just as bad in the second half as they did the first. In fact they failed to even score the entire second half. Which is damn shameful. It's not like Stanford has an elite defense that should be able keep the number of UW offensive playmakers out of the endzone. And yet they did.

In my mind, if a team can beat USC they should be able to beat anyone in the Pac-10. That didn't happen this week and that worries me. Hopefully this terrible loss will allow the coaches to go hard on their players this week to make sure there is not a repeat performance this week as the Dawgs head to South Bend to play Notre Dame and Charlie Weiss's FUPA.

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