Any idea why the defense plays so well against pro-style offenses and gets utterly gashed by the read-option? Is it coaching? Personnel?
Jesse Kennemer, The Husky Haul: I hesitate to necessarily say that the struggles can be assigned to type of personnel, as the Huskies are loaded with athletic defensive backs and small, fairly quick linebackers that should be able to hold their own against the speed of Oregon and Arizona, but obviously when a defense falls apart, it has to have something to do with the failure of the players on the field. The blown coverage that led to wide open touchdowns for Arizona on Saturday were certainly due to the failures of individual players rather than massive flaws in the scheme, but once again, if the players are struggling, it is the responsibility of the coaches to sort things out and find a fix. They clearly haven’t done that yet.
What has been the biggest strength of this team so far?
Jesse Kennemer, The Husky Haul: Earlier in the season, I probably would have said the pass defense, but Matt Scott shredded the defensive backs all game long, and any positive statistics in that category are mostly in total yardage, not efficiency. The run game was horrible early in the year, but now, I think it really is the biggest current strength. Bishop Sankey hasn’t had a big game since Oregon, but he was respectable against USC and had 87 yards and a score on Saturday. If he starts getting 25 carries a game again instead of less than 20, we’ll see more hundred yard games out of him. With Price stuggling, it’s the right call. Kendyl Taylor, moved from wide receiver to running back, has also looked good, averaging 6.4 yards a carry in limited time.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: I think this team does have some great individual players - Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kasen Williams, Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, Travis Feeney, Shaq Thompson, Desmond Trufant - I think all of these guys are stars, or will be stars soon. The problem is that they are too spread out and too easy to scheme against since they are surrounded by limited talent.