UW Worrisome In Win, Seahawks Optimistic In Loss

UW Worrisome In Win, Seahawks Optimistic In Loss

A blowout win for UW and a close loss for Seattle doesn't tell the full story

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)One would think that the Huskies 45-3 blowout win against lowly, FCS opponent North Dakota would be enough to say, "Yeah, they took care of business". You could also say that the Seahawks 27-24 loss against the Denver Broncos was another typical competitive, heart-stopping and disappointing close game in which the Seahawks just missed out on more opportunity. Although both statements are accurate, the Huskies and Seahawks played to the opposite of what the scoreboard showed. The Huskies are poised to return to the CFP and represent the lowly Pac-12 in it, while the Seahawks are filled with new, fresh young faces that are going to take their lumps all season long.

Let's start with the Huskies...

I was live and in-person for my first game sitting in the Young Alumni section at Husky Stadium where I was expecting the Dawgs to blow this one out byBut halftime. They were only up 17-0 by halftime. Jake Browning didn't play like a fourth year starter as he threw two Interceptions (he could've easily thrown three or four) and finished 23/37 for 313 yards with two TDs too. The other fourth year starter, Myles Gaskin-who has had a history of starting off slow-ran for one TD, with only 53 yards on 15 carries.

I'll give a little more leniency towards Gaskin as the biggest issue with me from this game was the Offensive Line. The O-Line didn't give Gaskin many holes to run through and struggled with North Dakota's D-Line. However, even when the O-Line held up and gave Browning time to throw, some of his decisions were atrocious. Browning continued to make head-scratching plays and has not shown much through two games. Even the rest of the Dawgs have not fully played up to the standards that Chris Petersen demands. The fact that the Huskies had five penalties resulting in 45 yards and North Dakota didn't commit a single penalty throughout the whole game shows a lot.

You must respect every opponent that you play, whether they're top-tier teams like Auburn or Alabama, or FCS teams like North Dakota or Portland State. North Dakota came into Husky Stadium thinking they would upset the Dawgs. Although the scoreboard read 45-3, the Fighting Hawks gave everything they could and lost to the Huskies who were clearly not on their A-game. Either UW was still feeling the hangover of last week against Auburn, or played down to their opponent (which is something you should never do). When the starters came out, young guys like backup QB Jake Haener and RB Kamari Pleasant really showed their talents. We'll probably see more of Pleasant this year than Haener, but the "bench Jake Browning" crowd got more fuel added to their fire as they watched him go 7/7 on 110 yards with a TD. Browning is not getting benched at all...no matter how mediocre he plays this year, he's going to get better as it's only been two games.

As for those Seahawks...

As long as Pete Carroll is coaching, the Seahawks are going to play every game to the very last second and will always win by less than a TD or lose by less than a TD. It was another Seahawks-like performance, but Russell Wilson couldn't get into clutch mode at the end as they fell 27-24. Sure, there were many flaws: Sebastian Janikowski missed a FG early that would've had the game tied at the end, the pass rush was horrendous as they only sacked Keenum once and the O-Line (and Germain Ifedi especially) was awful as Russell was sacked six times.

The reason why I came away from this game optimistic is because of this 2018 Rookie class. TE Will Dissly (Go Dawgs) who looked like a man possessed on three catches, one of which looked a little Beast Mode-esqe. LB Shaquem Griffin had some ups and downs this game, but he looked really comfortable in place of injured LB K.J. Wright. CB Tre Flowers gave up quite a few yards, but his length and agility really gave him an edge in this game and he can only get better from here, watch out for this kid over the years. Most importantly...Michael f**king Dickson! This might sound horrible, but I'm quite excited to see the Hawks punt the ball a lot as this kid can pin opponents deep, and he didn't waste any time in his first official game. Dickson punted six times with an average of 59 net yards and had the ball inside the 20 four times. Considering how average this defense should be this year, Dickson's ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory is a weapon that only the Seahawks are lucky to have.

The rest of the starters gave me a reason to smile after the game (ask my girlfriend, it took me a while to get over this loss as I hate starting the year off with an L). Earl Thomas decided to show up and caught an Interception real early, Chris Carson is only in his second year, but hurdled a Broncos defender and looked outstanding, despite only getting 7 carries (no bueno), and even though Baldwin went down with a sprained MCL, Lockett and Brandon Marshall looked like they can handle the load if Baldwin has to miss a week or two. My prediction was 10-6 for these guys, and I still feel okay about that considering they'll be in every game they play this year. These young studs might have struggled in their first official game, but they can only get better from here on out.

Predictions for next week!

If the Huskies show up to Utah playing the way they did against North Dakota, we'd already have to be talking about one of the most disappointing Husky teams in recent memory just three games in. My hope is that the Dawgs were looking past North Dakota and were already ready for their first conference game against Utah. As for the Hawks, they play on Monday Night in Chicago and while I don't see the Bears as being too much of a threat, the boys better study and look over that week 1 film. There's a lot to learn from in that Denver game, but I know Pete is going to get these guys fired up for MNF in hopes that they cleaned up mistakes and learn from what went wrong in Denver.

Picks: UW 27 Utah 24 & Seattle 23 Chicago 20

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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An 'Expert's' Thoughts On The Worst Loss Of The Saban Era

Dabo Swinney solidifies Clemson as an elite college football program.

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Monday night, the Clemson Tigers were crowned national champions in one of the all-time beatdowns in the history of college football. Some may think that phrase is a bit harsh, but I can't show my bias in this situation. In fact, there is no real way to spin the game into something positive. Sure the referees missed a couple pass interference calls, you can even take away both of Tua's interceptions, I still think Alabama loses that game by 17-plus. That's how big the gap was between the two schools.

The first quarter of the game seemed to be typical championship shootout. Clemson forced an early pick-six but Alabama came right back with a 62-yard touchdown by Jerry Jeudy. The tide was actually leading 16-14 at the start of the second. Then it all went wrong from there. Clemson proceeded to move the ball all the way down the field for a dominating 65-yard drive which only lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Next drive Tua throws an awful interception which is returned for over 40 yards giving Clemson the short field again. Three and a half minutes later it's 28-16. Clemson closes out the half with a field goal and now it's 31-16.

Everyone's mindset at this point was "Alabama and Nick Saban have a pretty good track record of having second-half comebacks." And with the first drive of the second half, it seemed as if they were starting to get their stuff together. Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs lead the offense down to the Clemson 22 before an incomplete pass on third and six made Saban trot out the field goal unit. Sure a field goal in this situation wasn't ideal but it would have made it a 12 point game and given the defense some momentum. Instead, but occurred was the worst decision a Saban lead team had ever made. A fake field goal, up the middle with the kicker as the lead blocker. And Clemson was ready for it.

WOW! Botched fake field goal ( college championship game ) YouTube

It was at this moment even though I didn't want to say it when I knew we had lost the game. It was a panic move by Saban at a time where the team just needed some sort of points. I understand that our kicker has struggled but if you want to go for it on fourth and six don't do a fake field goal, just keep the offense out there. I even disapprove of that.

Trevor Lawrence and the offense now back on the field was able to score in three plays which included a 74-yard touchdown pass to Justin Ross who lit up the secondary all night long. When it was all said and done the Tigers won 44-16, scoring 30 unanswered points to close out the game.

I sat up all night trying to fathom how this could have happened. It bothered me so much that I actually started rewatching the game (thanks Youtube). Yep, I relived every painful moment secluded in my room, cautiously evaluating every meaningful snap of the game. I was also simultaneously looking at the statistics of the game and when I brought it all together I figured out Dabo's formula to beat us. It was having elite receivers who can win every 50-50 ball, it was a defensive front which can make the quarterback uncomfortable, it was a secondary who can force multiple turnovers, it was a coaching staff that hasn't lost a coordinator in seven years, it was an offensive line which can keep the quarterback from getting touched at all (this is actually true). The short answer to all of this is that Dabo Swinney and Clemson was able to beat Nick Saban and Alabama by becoming them.

Think about it. Everything I just listed above is what the tide has been doing for the past 12 years. Other teams have been trying to replicate it for years but to no success. Now someone has finally figured it out until now.

Now I'm not here to say that the Saban dynasty is all over. When looking at all of the great dynasty's in sports every single one had a rival to tie it too. Michael Jordan's Bulls had the Detroit Pistons, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had the New York Giants, LeBron James had the San Antonio Spurs. When you really look at Saban's era he really hasn't had a true rival who consistently got in his way of winning a championship until Monday. Clemson is the first real threat Alabama has had in over a decade.

Swinney and the Tigers kicked our behinds, there's no defending that. It was awful. But it could be the wake-up call Saban's team needs. They aren't just going to run through the entire league anymore. The rest of the country is catching up and Alabama needs to play like they haven't won in a decade.

This was the fourth time these two teams have met in four years. And contrary to some outlets who don't like to tell the whole story, Alabam and Clemson are now 2-2 in their College Football Playoff series. And I have a feeling the 2019-20 season will hold the tiebreaker.

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