Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Washington Huskies 2010 Review
2010 Record: 7-6 (5-4)
2010 Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl, Defeated Nebraska 19-7
Are the Huskies completely back yet? Oh, hell no. Are they showing signs of life after a decade of dormancy? Oh, hell yes. The Huskies are discovering a bit of a resurgence under Steve Sarkisian, and you had to know that it was coming. By the end of last season, it was clear that Washington was on the way back, and people had reason to fear the bark as well as the bite.
Jake Locker was not the main cause of the celebrated improvements. Locker actually regressed every season that he played at UW, and 2010 was no different. Locker managed to pass for 2265 yards last season, and he had a 17/9 TD to pick ratio, but he was supposed to be better than that. Only in a weak draft class would he have managed to be drafted in the first round. Locker did add 6 rushing TDs to his totals, as he also rushed for 385 yards, but even that was not as good as it should have been.
If you were looking for a star on offense, look no further than RB Chris Polk. Polk was a stud for the Huskies last fall, as he broke free for 1415 yards and 9 TDs on the ground. Polk carried the ball just over 20 times per game, and averaged 108.85 yards per game, while carrying for ann average of 5.44 yards every time he got the rock. Polk returns to spur the Huskies on in 2011 as a junior, and may be the second best back in the conference in a tight battle with Stanford's Taylor for every down backs. We all know that James of Oregon rules the roost there. Jesse Callier, a freshman last fall, never scored, but he too averaged over 5 yards per carry, while rushing for 433 yards as the primary reserve to Polk.
Jermain Kearse was another monster on offense for the Huskies at WR. Kearse was amazing at times, as he posted 63-1005-12 last fall. D'Andre Goodwin was a nice complimentary receiver to Kearse, as he posted 44-530-4 last fall. He is gone now, leaving Devin Aguilar, a solid receiver in his own right, to move up to the #2 spot. Aguilar posted 28-352-2, but missed two games last season. Polk is able as a receiver, but only caught 22 passes last season for 180 yards.
Back in the days of Don James, the Huskies were feared on defense. Now they are just sort of there on defense. UW gave up a whopping 401.2 yards per game last season, and that has got to improve if the Huskies hope to just keep up with Oregon and Stanford in the new North Division. The Huskies are going to be hard pressed to get better this fall, as they lose 3 of their best 4 defenders. Mason Foster was just freakish as he finished with 162 tackles last season, averaging 12.46 per game. He was followed by another beast in DB Nate Williams, who recorded 105. Cort Dennison will evolve into the new leader on defense as a senior in 2011, as he was third on the team with 92 tackles, and is the only returnee in the group so far mentioned. LB Victor Aiyewa was another senior, and he finished 4th on the team with 81 stops, and he was followed by sophomore DB Nate Fellner with 79.
The Huskies, despite their bad habit of giving up big plays, still rocked when it came to providing pressure from the front 7. Aieywa was especially adept into busting the backfield, as he collected 21 TFLs last fall. Mason Foster was also a nuisance up front, having recorded 14. In all, the Huskies made 84 TFLs last season. Foster only had 6.5 sacks, and that led the team.
Fellner and Quinton Richardson led the secondary last season,, as Fellner collected 8 passes defended, while Richardson added 8 of his own. Fellner will be heavily leaned upon next fall, as he led the team with 5 picks on the season. Richardson only picked off 2 passes, but returned 1 for a score.
Erik Folk was all over the place as the PK last fall, having only hit 13 of his 20 FG attempts. He was highly succesful when it came to PATs, however, as he made all 33 of his attempts there. Kiel Rasp was one of the best punters in the nation last season, having averaged 43.77 yards per punt, and he was used often, to a tune of 5.8 punts per game as the offense failed badly early in the year when Locker was really struggling. In the first meeting with Nebraska, Rasp punted 9 times, and then punted 10 more times in a loss to Oregon.
Callier will be the primary kick return man, as he collected 733 yards in that duty last season, averaging 22.91 yards per return. The Huskies punt return game was a disaster.
The Huskies were decimated by Nebraska in Spetember, having lost by 5 scores, but then turned around and defeated the Huskers in the Holiday Bowl. That's how different the first half was from the second for Washington in 2010. Locker and his erratic play hasmoved on now, and the ball is likely being handed to Keith Price, so his development this off-season may be key in how good the Huskies can be. The defense has some major rebuilding to do as well. The first game next season is a tricky one, as FCS National Champ Eastern Washington comes to town, and the Eagles will boast the better QB.