Washington Huskies Football 2018: The Season That Wasn't

Washington Huskies Football 2018: The Season That Wasn't

UW had extremely high expectations for 2018, but questions of 'what went wrong' loom over their heads

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Ugh!

I've been a Seattle sports fan from the minute I was born, so I know what disappointment feels like. The Seattle Mariners haven't been to the playoffs since 2001, I was probably still eating boogers at the time. Before the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks were a team that other teams would scoff at. The Sonics left in 2008. Finally, although they've been dominant over the last many years, the Huskies finished 0-12 in 2008, something Wazzu (surprisingly) has yet to do.

As for those UW Huskies, simply put: They blew it! Before the season started, talking heads ranging from Fox Sports to the mothership at ESPN predicted the Huskies to be one of the top four teams at the end of the season to reach the College Football Playoff. If you also recall, a certain Odyssey content creator picked the Huskies to not only lose one game, but he too predicted the Dawgs to return to the CFP. Yep...I was wrong.

The Huskies had all the potential in the world to be one of the absolute best teams this season. Seniors like QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin, DT Greg Gaines, LB Ben Burr-Kirven, CB Jordan Miller and DB JoJo McIntosh all returned for their final year of eligibility to prove why they're the (no pun intended) top dogs of the Pac-12, but they swallowed the olive. Everybody knew that even if UW lost to Auburn at the start of the year they would still be contenders for the CFP. When they did in fact lose that game, disappointment set in my heart, but hope wasn't lost. Hope was officially lost after the Oregon loss, and the cherry on top of the recent loss to the CAL Golden Bears. Last year, UW lost to ASU which officially killed their season, and this loss felt exactly like that one.

I'm not a beat writer for UW, nor do I have any close connection to the football team itself. I'm just a former UW student who got to sit in the Dawg Pack for a couple of years and am now a UW alumnus with season tickets to boot. This situation is worsened because I don't get paid to follow the team, my girlfriend bought me season tickets to support my Dawgs and I was hoping to see a dream season like I got to witness in 2016. When you love your team as much as I do, broken dreams and faulted expectations keep me up at night, and if you're a reader of my articles then you know I am not going to accept any, "It's just a game" comments.

So what exactly went wrong this season? I love Jake Browning, but we haven't seen the same production from him since he lost John Ross to the NFL after the 2016 season. Coach Petersen was so fed up with Browning that he benched him and put in backup QB Jake Haener later in the second half, only to have Haener throw a crucial pick-six that gave CAL all the momentum. Injuries could play a part in this for sure as star LT Trey Adams was lost for the season, as was stud TE Hunter Bryant, and Myles Gaskin missed the last two games with an apparent shoulder injury. Chico McClatcher recently left the team for "personal reasons" and he never got a chance to flash his talents this season, which is really frustrating because McClatcher is a fast stud who is a massive weapon when used right. Did the Huskies come into the season fat and sassy? We've seen it from teams before, they think they're bigger than their britches and talk a lot of smack, and teams like the 2018 Washington Huskies get slapped in the face by teams like Oregon and CAL, which result in a letdown of a season.

So what next?

The CFP conversation is done and over with, especially now that UW find themselves out of the top 25, but all is not completely lost. It sounds crazy but the Huskies can still win the Pac-12 Championship, but they must win their remaining three games. Oregon got destroyed against Arizona, Stanford lost to Wazzu, which puts UW in a good position if they can take care of business. If UW beats both Stanford and WSU, they'll own the tiebreakers against them and they'll surprisingly be in the Pac-12 Championship game. Take care of business the rest of the way UW! Although the national media will downplay your year, winning the Pac-12 will be a huge victory for a year that was lost after the Oregon disaster.


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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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We Know Tua Is An All-Star, But Don't Forget About Alabama's Defense

UA has an all-time great offense, and a defense that is still up to par.

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Alabama's high powered offense has been the talk of the college football season. A program that has been built on Nick Saban's fantastic defensive mind now has an offense that overshadows the past 11 years of dominance. It's weird to think that the second UA has a good offense, the media and teams take their focus away from how good the defense has been. And that is probably how Saban likes it.

But I believe after this past weekend when UA shut out LSU 29-0 the worst kept secret in college football is out. Alabama still has one of the best defenses in the country.

I guess Ed Orgeron and the Tigers focused so much on how to stop Tua Tagovailoa from picking them apart, they forgot to figure out how to move the ball. And for the most part, LSU did a decent job at holding Tua in check. The Tigers were able to hold the crimson tide to six first-quarter points and 16 total points in the first half. With the reputation, the offense has built this season any team would take those kinds of numbers at the half granted that they were able to move the ball on bama's defense. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

Alabama Vs LSU Highlights 2018 Week 10 College Football YouTube

The second LSU's offense took the field they were already overwhelmed by the crimson tide's defense. I honestly can't remember an LSU offensive line that got so physically dominated, and for the most part by one guy in Quinnen Williams who recorded 10 tackles and two and one-half sacks. The Tigers ran for a pitiful 12 total yards for the game. It didn't get much better for them in the passing game either. Quarterback Joe Burrow was 18/35 for 184 yards no touchdowns and one interception. Most would call that a poor performance.

It was this dominating performance which helped Tua and the offense get multiple chances at beating down the opposing defense and were eventually able to put together sustainable scoring drives. And now here is probably the most terrifying statement the rest of the contending teams can hear. Tua played ok, and Alabama still dominated. Scary isn't it?

But this is no anomaly, Alabama's defense has been really good all year. They are tied for fourth in the country in interceptions, 11th in the country in opponents 3rd down conversion percentage, they are fourth in sacks and red zone defense and are ranked 11th in total defense. But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Bama has a top 10 defense because I don't think the teams ranked ahead of us like UAB, Appalachian St and Southern Mississippi have played any teams with offenses that can be compared to the SECs.

There may not be a million all-Americans or first round draft picks on this year's defense. But they are definitely playing up to par and deserve some recognition.

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