Thursday, December 30, 2010

Huskies take on Cornhuskers in Holiday Bowl



By Kshell

When the Washington Huskies(6-6,5-4) take the field tonight in their first bowl game in eight years facing them will be a familiar foe. The Huskies will be facing defending Holiday Bowl champion #17 Nebraska Cornhuskers(10-3,6-2) who destroyed the Huskies earlier in the year 56-21. That was a game which saw Jake Locker have his career worst day passing just 4 for 20 with two picks and another pick that was called back. The Huskies will now have a chance for redemption against the Cornhuskers. The Huskies will also be trying to do something no Huskies team has ever done which is win the Holiday Bowl. The Huskies have lost three close games in years past in the Holiday Bowl. In this following blog post I'll review those Holiday Bowl games which this year will be the fourth time sine 1996 the Huskies have played in this bowl.

December 30th, 1996: #8 Colorado Buffaloes(9-2,7-1) vs #13 Washington Huskies(9-2,7-1)

This was when the Holiday Bowl featured on most occasions two highly ranked teams. This game featured Rick Neuheisel before he supposedly ruined Huskies football as Colorado's head coach. The Buffaloes were led by Senior quarterback Koy Detmer and future scumbag Rae Carruth. The Huskies were led by running back Corey Dillon and freshman quarterback Brock Huard.

The Huskies began the game up 14-0 behind Dillon rushing for two touchdowns on the first two possessions. After that the Buffaloes defense wouldn't allow another score. Detmer would hit future murderer Carruth for a 76 yard touchdown pass to pull within 14-7. Then Huard threw an interception that was ran back for a touchdown to even the game at 14-14.

Jerome Pathon would give the Huskies the lead back when he ran back the kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 21-14 lead. The Buffaloes would lead 24-21 in the first half which looked to be a shootout. Instead both defenses settled down as the Buffaloes won 33-21 led by game MVP Detmer who completed 25 of 45 passes for 371 yards and three touchdowns for the Buffaloes.

December 29th, 1999: Washignton Huskies(7-4,6-2) vs #7 Kansas State Wildcats(10-1, 7-1)



This game featured two teams who didn't want to be there. First for the second straight year Kansas State saw their national championship hopes die once again late in the year. Add insult to injury the Wildcats wouldn't be playing on January 1st. Hoping to avoid what happened the previous year where they were upset the Wildcats were focused this game.

The Huskies under first year head coach Rick Neuheisel saw them almost reach the Rose Bowl. In fact all the Huskies had to do was beat the two worst teams in the Pac-10 to reach the Rose Bowl but instead fell to UCLA in overtime to end their hopes. Both teams featured running threats quarterbacks as Kansas State had Jonathan Beasley while the Huskies had Marques Tuiasosopo who nicknamed by Keith Jackson as the "warrior" when he bruised his tail bone but threw for 300 yards and ran for 200 yards against eventual Pac-10 champion Stanford Cardinals.

This was a terrific back and forth game which saw the Huskies kick two field goals in the first quarter but Beasley for a one yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 7-6 lead at the end of the first. After trailing 10-6 the Huskies would take the lead at halftime when Pat Conniff would rush for a three yard touchdown to give the Huskies a 13-10 lead at halftime.

In the second half Beasley would rush for an 11 yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 17-13 lead. The Huskies would then answer back with a touchdown from Maurice Shaw from five yards out to give the Huskies a 20-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. That is when Kansas State went on a 20 play 92 yard drive after intercepting Tuiasosopo on the eight yard line for the game winning touchdown. The touchdown was capped by Beasley's third rushing touchdown of the game from one yard out.

The Huskies would lose the heartbreaker but go on to the Rose Bowl the next year. Tuiasosopo finished 18 of 27 for 197 yards with 11 rushes for 30 yards. Beasley the games MVP had just 48 yards rushing but three touchdowns along with 216 yards passing.

December 28th, 2001: #21 Washington Huskies(8-3,6-2) vs #9 Texas Longhorns(10-2,7-1)



This game goes down as one of the top Holiday Bowl games ever played. The Texas Longhorns were hoping to play for the National Championship but were upset in the Big 12 title game by Colorado a team they had destroyed earlier in the year. The Huskies began the year 7-1 saw themselves limping into this game after being destroyed by eventual national champion Miami Hurricanes 65-7. Rick Neuheisel was the Huskies coach who in his first three years as Huskies coach saw his teams finish second in the Pac-10, win the Pac-10 and finish second again. Both teams featured strong passing games from Texas Quarterback Major Applewhite who replaced Chris Simms, Applewhite's main target was Roy WIlliams. While the Huskies featured sophomore quarterback Cody Pickett whose main weapon was Reggie Williams.

After a scoreless first quarter the fireworks began in the second quarter. After two John Anderson field goals for the Huskies they finally scored a touchdown when Terry Johnson a defensive lineman intercepted a pass and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Huskies a 13-0 lead. The Longhorns would answer back when Applewhite would hit a 43 yard touchdown pass then a 25 yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams to retake the lead at 14-13. The Huskies would kick score a touchdown when Pickett would hit seldom used tight end Joe Collier for a four yard touchdown. With no time remaining Anderson would kick his third field goal to give the Huskies a 23-14 lead at halftime.



The Huskies would began the second half with Pickett hitting Jeramy Stevens in the flat as Stevens would rumble in the end zone for a 17 yard touchdown. After a Longhorns field goal cut the lead to 30-17 the Huskies would score another touchdown by Willie Hurst from four yards out. The Huskies would fail on the two point try but hold a commanding 36-17 lead. That is when Applewhite would start picking on Chris Massey over and over again. The Longhorns would get another field goal pulling within 36-20 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth Applewhite would throw for a two yard touchdown, then the Longhorns would rush for another touchdown pulling the game within 36-33. Applewhite would then hit tight end Bo Scaife from four yards out to give the Longhorns a 40-36 lead with six minutes to play. The Huskies Willie Hurst playing in his last game would bust a 34 yard touchdown run with a little over a minute left which everyone thought the Huskies would win. Applewhite wasn't done just yet he would hit some more long passes to Roy WIlliams which set up the game winning touchdown by Ivan Williams from three yards out. The Longhorns would win 47-43.

The MVP award was Co-MVP which was fitting as there was no losers in this game. Applewhite would complete 37 of 55 passes for 473 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He was the Co-MVP and his main target was Roy WIlliams who caught 11 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. For the Huskies WIllie Hurst ran for 137 yards on 16 carries for two touchdowns in earning the Co-MVP in the loss. Cody Pickett completed 27 of 54 passes for 293 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His main weapon was tight end Jerramy Stevens who caught nine passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.

As you can see the Huskies all three times were huge underdogs much like today. All three times the Huskies had leads in the game but couldn't hang on. After what everyone saw in September when Nebraska spanked the Huskies 56-21 Husky fans would take a close game and build for the future. The Holiday Bowl has always had some crazy scores and finishes and hopefully this year the Huskies can pull off the upset.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Huskies beat Trojans 73-67 in overtime!



By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(9-3,1-0) overcame plenty of adversity to earn an important 73-67 overtime victory over the USC Trojans(8-6,0-1). The Trojans last season were the only team to sweep the Huskies last year in basketball and have proved to be a tough road trip in years past. The Huskies overcame poor shooting, turnovers, foul trouble and an early 12 point deficit for the win. The Huskies wouldn't have won this game without 18 points from true freshman Terrence Ross. The Huskies also had more balanced attack as the Huskies had five guys in double figures while USC had just two. The Huskies had a deeper bench as well as USC basically only played six guys while the Huskies played nine guys. Overall this was a huge win for the Huskies who last year started off 0-5 on the road in Pac-10.

The Huskies came out sloppy from the start finding themselves down 16-4 early. At that point it was looking like a repeat of last year when USC won by 26 points but the Huskies fought back to pull the game within 19-13. That is when Terrence Ross hit two three pointers to pull within 20-19. The Huskies led by Ross who had nine points all on three pointers and Matthew Bryan-Amaning who also added nine points. The Huskies actually took a 28-26 lead at halftime after Ross hit his third three of the half. The Huskies had halftime were in foul trouble as Aziz N'Diaye had three fouls, along with Darnell Gant and Justin Holiday. Bryan-Amaning had two fouls as this game had the feel of a Texas A & M game.



In the second half in an attempt to save N'Diaye, Lorenzo Romar started Gant instead. The Huskies were continuing to battle foul trouble in the second half. The Huskies were struggling to score once again and then Ross saved the day. Ross scored nine points in the second half including his fourth three pointer of the game giving the Huskies a 51-46 lead with under five minutes to go. Ross would hit another key bucket to give the Huskies a 54-50 lead before Nikola Vucevic hit a three pointer to cut the lead to 54-53. Vucevic would then hit two free throws to tie the score at 55-55. Thomas would miss a potential game winning three pointer and the game was heading to overtime.

Overtime is when Venoy Overton took over the game. He scored four crucial points to give the Huskies a 66-61 lead. Overton down the stretch knocked down 9-13 from free throws to secure the tough 73-67 road win at USC. Overton would finish with 11 points and six rebounds on the game after struggling during regulation shooting just one for five. The Huskies overcame Vucevic and his 28 points and 14 rebounds. Despite those big numbers the Huskies won the rebounding battle 40-26 as Bryan-Amaning played one of his best games of the year. Bryan-Amaning scored 18 points, grabbing eight rebounds while shooting 6-11 from the field and had just one turnover.



The Huskies had a slow game from Isaiah Thomas who had just 10 points and six turnovers but he did add four rebounds and three assists. Holiday unlike the Texas A & M game didn't foul out this time. Holiday scored 12 points on four for seven shooting hitting two three pointers and grabbing six rebounds while blocking two shots. Terrence Ross was the star of the game hitting four three pointers and adding a much needed 18 points off the bench.

All in all it was a great win for the Huskies to begin Pac-10 play. The Huskies had lost three out of four down at the Galen Center and four out of six overall to the Trojans. The Huskies will now take on the UCLA Bruins next game in a game where I'll be in the stands. This was an important win for the Huskies to prove to themselves that they can win on the road in a game where they didn't shoot that well.

Observations:



- I'm going to give credit to Lorenzo Romar today in having his guys ready. The reason the Huskies play some soft teams non conference so you can see what you have in young players. Without those games nobody would have known about Terrence Ross abilities.

Ross is the reason the Huskies won today as several key players had off nights and with Wilcox out to an injury Ross stepped it up today. Romar also made the key adjustment after the Texas A & M loss to start both Bryan-Amaning and N'Diaye which has worked out beautifully. N'Diaye may have fouled out today but with him playing center it is allowing Bryan-Amaning to flourish as a power forward.

- Speaking of the twin towers they did their job for the most part. The Huskies have lost two games(Kentucky and Texas A & M) due to poor rebounding. Today the Huskies dominated the rebounds with N'Diaye grabbing six rebounds(four offensive) and Bryan-Amaning grabbing eight rebounds. Most importantly they gave up just seven offensive rebounds.

Rebounding has been a problem for the Huskies earlier this year. I expect with those two starting that will no longer be a problem.

Well that is my recap for now. With being on vacation in San Diego plus the game not being on T.V. kind of hard to recap. Which is a shame as this is the type of win where the team can gain confidence and go forward. It was nice to see the Huskies struggle offensively and overcome foul trouble to get a win. The location of the victory was huge as the Huskies are 1-7 the last four years on the Los Angeles road trip. The Huskies will try and be greedy in two days and go for the Los Angeles sweep which will make a statement to the rest of the Pac-10 that this conference is theirs for the third straight season.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Arsenal come away with a 3-1 win over Chelsea

By Money Mike




In a must win game for both clubs, Arsenal were the better side from start to finish as they defeat Chelsea 3-1 and pull within 2 points of League Leaders Manchester United while Chelsea, who have not won in 6 straight matches now, find themselves 6 points off the pace. Chelsea have won the last 5 matches against Arsenal since losing to them at home 2-1.


Arsenal had a chance to go up in the early stages of the game when Alex Song's chip found Robin van Persie in the box but the Dutch striker took his eye off the ball at the last second and it bounced away from him. A couple minutes later, Didier Drogba who has scored 13 goals against the Gunners tried his luck from about 20 yards but his shot was inches wide. That was just about the only chance Chelsea had in the first half.




With over 40 minutes gone, Samir Nasri nearly brokethrough as his shot was dipping over the head of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech and into the top-left corner of the goal but Cech did enough to punch it away and prevent Arsenal from going in front. However in the 43rd minute, Arsenal got on the board as Jack Wilshere's ball somehow found Alex Song who dragged a low left-footed shot into the bottom right corner to put Arsenal on top 1-0. Cesc Fabregas was tripped in the Penalty area, but Song was never going to wait for a penalty signal and he scores his 5th goal of the season and the Gunners were ahead at the break.




Within 6 minutes of the second half, Arsenal would increase their lead after Michael Essien's challenge on Robin van Persie pushed the ball to Theo Walcott who drew Petr Cech and slid it to Cesc Fabregas who tapped it into the empty net to give Arsenal a 2 goal lead. 2 minutes later, Chelsea were caught sleeping again as Walcott and Fabregas hooked up for a 3rd goal. Walcott took the ball away from Florent Malouda and fed Fabregas who sent him away to the right and Walcott did the rest as he drove his shot low into the bottom left corner to give Arsenal a 3-0 lead. Chelsea did respond in the 57th minute when Didier Drogba's free kick found the head of Branislav Ivanovic and the defender heads the ball past keeper Lukasz Fabianski and in the back of the net to cut Arsenal's lead to 3-1, but Chelsea's momentum had already been lost and that was to be the final score of the game as Arsenal held ground for the last half hour and the majority of the fans at the Stadium went home happy as Arsenal came away with a huge 3-1 win.




Arsenal have had some rough times during the season, mostly at home, where they suffered a 3-2 defeat against West Brom, they lost 1-0 to Newcastle, and just a month ago, they blew a 2-0 lead at halftime at home against rivals Tottenham Hotspur and lost 3-2. This Arsenal team has gotten better over the last couple of years. The last time the Gunners have won the Premier League title was their unbeaten season in 2003-04.

As for Chelsea, well of course, they have not won in 6 straight matches now. The defending Premier League Champions got off to a great start, scoring 21 goals in their first 5 matches, but lately, they just couldn't even buy a win, they lost at home to Sunderland 3-0, lost 1-0 at Birmingham, drew at Newcastle, drew at home to Everton, drew at Tottenham, and today, lost 3-1 at Arsenal. There are gonna be some questions, not only about Carlo Ancelotti's job, but about the players as well. Who they need to pickup in the January transfer window, who needs to go, that kind of stuff.


One of Arsenal's big matches next month is on January 5th at Home against Manchester City, who are also in the title race. Chelsea, unless they can start picking up some wins, are just about out of the radar at this point.


Scoring summary:


Arsenal - Alex Song (Cesc Fabregas) 43'

Arsenal - Cesc Fabregas (Theo Walcott) 51'

Arsenal - Theo Walcott (Cesc Fabregas) 53'

Chelsea - Branislav Ivanovic (Didier Drogba) 57'


Lineups:


Chelsea - Petr Cech; John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Paulo Ferreira (Jose Bosingwa, 61'); John Obi Mikel (Ramires, 45'), Frank Lampard, Michael Essien; Florent Malouda (Gael Kakuta, 56'), Didier Drogba, Salomom Kalou.

Arsenal - Lukasz Fabianski; Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna; Alex Song, Jack Wilshere, Cesc Fabregas (Tomas Rosicky, 88'); Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott (Abou Diaby, 73'), Robin van Persie (Marouane Chamakh, 76').

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Freeman throws for career high five touchdowns as Bucs crush Seahawks 38-15



By Kshell

The Tampa Bay Buccanears(9-6) who are fighting for a playoff berth took care of business by destroying the Seattle Seahawks(6-9) in a game that ultimately didn't mean anything for the Seahawks. When the San Francisco 49ers(5-10) lost earlier to the St.Louis Rams(7-8) that clinched that next week's game between the Rams at the Seahawks will be for the division title. Despite the game not meaning anything for the Seahawks they still suffered a pretty big injury. Pete Carroll decided early in the week to start Matt Hasselbeck over Charlie Whitehurst. Hasselbeck was hurt early and Whitehurst got to play the last three and a half quarters while not looking good. The Seahawks must recover from this disastrous loss which has seen the team lose seven out of their last nine games.



The Seahawks just like last week began the game up 7-0. The Seahawks were helped out by Marshawn Lynch rushing for 29 yards. After a few Hasselbeck completions including a six yard pass to Mike Williams which put Hasselbeck over 3,000 yards passing. Hasselbeck set a Seahawks record with his seventh 3,000 yard plus passing season. Facing a fourth and inches the Seahawks decided to do a wild cat formation. The formation had fullback Michael Robinson as the quarterback which Robinson ran to the left and was blown up but spun around and went to his right to get the first down for a gain of three. After two failed short run attempts on the goal line the Seahawks called a bootleg from the one which Hasselbeck ran in the touchdown. That touchdown was costly as Hasselbeck came up hurt. Hasselbeck had hurt his back and since this game meant nothing to the Seahawks he didn't return.

On the ensuing kickoff the Seahawks gave up a 79 yard kickoff return to Micheal Spurlock which set up a Tampa Bay field goal. The Seahawks led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. With Whitehurst at quarterback the Seahawks would see many three and outs. While the Buccaneers would start heating up with another good field position due to a poor punt. Josh Freeman would hit Kellen Winslow who was defended by Marcus Trufant for a 10 yard touchdown pass. Then Freeman would hit the Buccaneers Mike Williams down the middle for a 20 yard touchdown once again was defended by Marcus Trufant. The Buccaneers had a 17-7 lead heading into halftime.



The Buccaneers continued to look like a team who wants to play in the playoffs in the second half. They began the second half when Freeman would throw for his third touchdown of the game when he hit Winslow once again for a 21 yard touchdown pass which saw Winslow bounce off Seahawks defender Lawyer Milloy for the touchdown. On that drive the Buccaneers drove 98 yards down the field. The Buccaneers took a commanding 24-7 lead at that point in the game. The Seahawks continued to do nothing under quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.



The Buccaneers were also rushing on the Seahawks as well as passing. The Buccaneers featured running back LeGarrette Blount who as we all know went to Oregon last year and was suspended for most of the year. Blount had a sportscenter top plays type 53 yard run on the Seahawks. Blount had a 12 yard run then hurdled Lawyer Milloy and ran for an additional 41 yards. That run set up another Freeman touchdown pass to Mike Williams from seven yards out which was once again defended by Marcus Trufant. The Buccaneers took a commanding 31-7 lead.

The Seahawks finally got on the scoreboard with Whitehurst under center. Whitehurst completed six of seven throws on the touchdown drive for 31 yards which set up a Leon Washington 16 yard touchdown run. Whitehurst then hit Ben Obomanu for the two point conversation to cut the lead to 31-15. The Buccaneers would get one last touchdown pass from Freeman when he would hit Maurice Stovall from two yards out to give the Buccaneers a 38-15 lead. Freeman would throw five touchdown passes on the day in which seems to be a theme for the Seahawks defense.



This loss is a total team loss but Whitehurst once again didn't take advantage of his opportunity. Whitehurst struggled moving the chains all day long. Whitehurst would finish completing 11 of 18 passes but for just 66 yards with a quarterback rating of 68.3. While Matt Hasselbeck was three for four passing for 24 yards with a rushing touchdown. The Buccaneers had great passing from second year quarterback Josh Freeman who completed 21 of 26 passes for 237 yards with five touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 144.2.

The Seattle Seahawks despite being 6-9 control their own destiny. Pete Carroll in his first year has a chance to do what Mike Holmgren did in his first season which is win a division title. The Seahawks may have lost seven of their last nine games but with the Seahawks playing on primetime look for an electric Qwest Field atmosphere. If someone had told you before the season that all the Seahawks have to do is beat a team with a rookie quarterback, a team who has lost five years in a row at Qwest Field for a division title you'd ask where do I sign. For the Seahawks to win they must clean up a ton of areas and get Matt Hasselbeck back to full health.

Observations:

- The Seahawks aren't trusting the run game. Marshawn Lynch carried the ball 14 times for 53 yards. While Justin Forsett who had just seven carries the previous three games had eight today for just 12 yards. Leon Washington who never carries the ball had a touchdown run from 16 yards out.

The Seahawks offensive line is bad in short yardage situations but they should trust the run. Part of Hasselbecks interceptions and Whitehurst being ineffective is the fact the Seahawks don't even try to run the ball. The Buccaneers have been killed on the run by Ryan Torain and then Maurice Morris the last two weeks. Just like last week when the Seahawks ran the ball well on the first drive I felt they got away from Marshawn Lynch. I want to see Lynch carry the ball 20 times, Forsett 10 times and Washington with five carries.



- Former Oregon Ducks running back LeGarrette Blount killed the Seahawks. Blount ran for 164 yards on 18 carries(9.1 YPC). Blount was an undrafted free agent who originally signed with the San Francisco 49ers but decided to sign with the Tennessee Titans.

I saw Blount play against the Seahawks in person score a rushing touchdown with the Titans in the teams first preseason game. I still remember at work watching live as Blount punched the Boise State defender and the whole room reacting to that punch. Unfortunately for Blount that punch will be his "defining" moment.

Like Mike Vick though he has shown a great job of overcoming adversity. Blount despite going from a projected late first round pick/second round pick to undrafted then being released leads all rookie running backs in rushing yards with 941 yards rushing on 182 carries(5.2 YPC) with six rushing touchdowns. You have to wonder with him being in the Seahawks backyard why not sign Blount on the cheap instead of trade two draft picks for Lynch? I know the Seahawks don't take risks on players like that but maybe they should.

- The Seahawks are struggling this year at staying competive. Last year the Seahawks turned a 5-7 season into a disaster 5-11 season which saw Jim Mora fired after one season.

The Seahawks in their nine losses this year have been outscored 313-124 which is an average loss of 34.8-13.8. In the past nine games the Seahawks are 2-7 and have been outscored 294-174 which is an average of 32.7-19.3 which isn't good at all. The Seahawks are playing like one of the worst teams in the league for a good stretch now of nine games. For the year the Seahawks have been outscored 401-294 which is an average loss of 26.7-19.6

Even with all that because of the NFC West though all the Seahawks have to do is beat the St.Louis Rams. The Seahawks if they win will be made fun of but that doesn't matter. What matters is winning the game which will bring home the fifth Division championship in the last seven years.

All in all, we all knew this was going to be a rebuilding year as nobody predicted playoffs from this team. After the Bears game which saw the Seahawks improve to 4-2 media analyst like Tony Dungy called them the best team in the NFC which raised expectations. The Seahawks are doing what everyone thought and because of a weak division have a chance at winning the division. Regardless if the Seahawks win or not they have a ton of work to do in the offseason. This next Sunday's game is for the NFC West Championship and I know that the 12th man will be the big "X" factor for the Seahawks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Huskies crush Wolf Pack in final tune up 90-60



By Kshell

Isaiah Thomas led the Washington Huskies(8-3) in thier final non conference test before Pac-10 play with a 90-60 over the struggling Nevada Wolf Pack(3-9) at Bank of America arena. With the win that gives the Huskies 22 consecutive non conference home wins in a row. The Huskies this year are 7-0 at home where they are beating opponents by an average score of 98.6-67.7. Now it's time for the Huskies to get ready for Pac-10 play which starts one week from today down in USC then at UCLA. That road trip has seen the Huskies go 1-7 the past four years which hasn't been very kind to these Huskies. Romar kept the same starting lineup which saw Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Aziz N'Diaye starting together. For the second straight game the Huskies have controlled the rebounding which will be a big factor in determing how far they go this season.

The Huskies began the game playing smart unselfish basketball while controlling the glass. Isaiah Thomas hit two three pointers in the first half while scoring 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Bryan-Amaning added nine points in the first half while reserve Terrence Ross added seven points. Thomas ended the half with a great drive and kick pass to a wide open C.J. Wilcox who drained the three pointer to give the Huskies a 47-27 lead at halftime.



In the second half the Huskies put the game away outscoring Nevada 43-33 in winning 90-60 when the Huskies led by as many as 36 points. The Huskies were playing some "showtime" basketball with alley oops to Justin Holiday and some nice dunks by Bryan-Amaning. This game was all Thomas though as he played his best game of the year. Thomas finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists while hitting four three pointers. When Thomas is driving the lane and taking smart shots and dishing it to open teammates for easy shots he can be the best player in the Pac-10. The Huskies cruised once again at home in a non conference game.

Once again both big man played great when starting together. Bryan-Amaning finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds while blocking four shots while Aziz N'Diaye finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds while blocking a shot. For the second straight game N'Diaye also played over 20 minutes which is key. Justin Holiday had a nice game as well scoring 12 points on five for seven shooting and grabbing nine rebounds. Terrence Ross finished with nine points on the game as well. The Huskies showed off their depth playing without Venoy Overton. That was the first game in Overton's career he didn't play but should be ready for USC.

The Huskies didn't really tell you much this non conference schedule. The Huskies did blow out all the teams they were supposed to beat. Unfortunately the Huskies lost all three games all be it close games but still losses to ranked opponents. The Huskies are 8-3 which most would say worst case scenario they would be 8-3. The Huskies have shown that if teams play poorly against them or if they are on their "A" game they will blow you out. I still would like to see how the Huskies handle a close game. I have a feeling we'll find out a week from today down at USC.

Observations:

- Romar's new starting lineup I like a lot. For the second straight game the Huskies controlled the glass. Even in previous blowout wins they weren't as dominant on the glass. Today the Huskies outrebounded the Wolf Pack 55-40 including 21 offensive rebounds. The two bigs of Bryan-Amaning and N'Diaye combined to score 27 points, grab 21 rebounds and block five shots. No team in the Pac-10 can match the Huskies two bigs and the Huskies still have great guard play.



For playing time for the two bigs means less playing time for Darnell Gant. Gant played the fewest minutes amongst scholarship players with 14 minutes and had five points with four rebounds. For Gant to find himself in the rotation he must do a better job of rebounding. Otherwise look for Ross to be the new backup big man.

- The Huskies were doing a great job of sharing the ball today. The Huskies had 18 assists to just five turnovers. Without Overton, Gaddy had five assists while Thomas had four assists. Gaddy actually had his worst game of the year scoring just two points on one for six shooting. He controlled the game well but hopefully this was just a bad game for him.



Thomas on the other hand shot 9 for 19 and was a playmaker. Like late last season when Thomas is creating plays for himself and others he is pretty dangerous. I would caution one thing which was Thomas shot 4 for 10 on three pointers. That is way to many three point attempts for one guy to shoot especially a historically bad three point shooter in Thomas. Thomas the last two games though has had nine assists to just one turnover. In the teams loss to Texas A & M he had six turnovers to just two assists.

- C.J. Wilcox shot one for seven in 15 minutes. This is the third straight game Wilcox hasn't shot well at all. He is the Huskies best three point shooter but with the play of Scott Suggs(8 points) and Ross(9 points) recently he might be the odd man out. The battle for playing time amongst Wilcox, Suggs, Ross and Gant will be quite the battle during the year.

Hopefully Romar finds the perfect balance between having a good solid rotation and keeping guys involved so nobody transfers. I like all 10 scholarship guys on this roster. Holiday, Bryan-Amaning and Overton are graduating but with Wroten coming in next year can be tough to crack the rotation as well.

- Good to see Justin Holiday break out of his mini slump that he was in. Holiday ended up scoring 12 points on five for seven shooting and hit two early three pointers in the game. Holiday also added three steals along with nine rebounds. Holiday is a future NBA player who can defend anyone.

For all the talk about Klay Thompson remember last year with help from Quincy Pondexter, Holiday shut down Thompson. Thompson has never scored 10 points or more on the Huskies. Last year Thompson was 4-29 shooting(13.7%) against the Huskies which is why I still like the Huskies to win the Pac-10. The reason I like the Huskies to win the Pac-10 is because of Justin Holiday and his terrific all around game.

At the end of the day for the Huskies they are 8-3 heading into Pac-10 play. This opening weekend although won't determine the season will speak volumes to how the year will go. Start off 0-2 and you'll hear whispers that this team can't beat anybody good, start off 2-0 and the Huskies will be ranked. If the Huskies go 1-1 you probably won't know much at all. Just like two years ago when the Huskies swept USC when Brockman was a Senior they have some guys in the middle who can bang with USC. The Huskies should be able to win both games but should winning and winning are two different stories. I think the rebounding problem has been fixed with this new starting lineup and look for the Huskies to make a great opening statement in L.A. by starting off 2-0 in Pac-10 play.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Seahawks lose at home 34-18 to Falcons; possible quarterback controversy



By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks(6-8) drop a tough game at home to the NFC leading Atlanta Falcons(12-2) 34-18 at Qwest Field. The bigger story in the game could be the possible benching of franchise quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck after turning the ball over on three straight possessions in the third quarter found himself benched in favor of Charlie Whitehurst. Pete Carroll must face his toughest challenge next week at Tampa Bay. He has a struggling team who has now lost six out of eight games and with just two games remaining has a quarterback controversy.



When the game began nobody could see into the future that Hasselbeck would be benched. The Seahawks started the game off running the ball to Marshawn Lynch while Hasselbeck was completing passes. The Seahawks went on a 12 play 80 yard drive which ended with a Lynch one yard touchdown run to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead. Lynch on the drive carried the ball four times for 30 yards while catching a pass for 17 yards. Hasselbeck was five for five passing for 44 yards passing hitting four different receivers on the drive. The Seahawks made the drive look easy as they faced only one third down the whole drive.

The Atlanta Falcons would respond with a long drive of their own which extended into the second quarter. The Falcons who started at midfield went on a 15 play 51 yard drive which saw two close fourth down spots go their way. Facing a fourth and literally an inch from the Seahawks 18 yard line the Falcons decided to go for it and had Matt Ryan on a quarterback sneak. Ryan was blown up on the play and appeared that he didn't make the first down but the lines judge gave him the first barely. The Seahawks challenged and lost the challenge. Then the Falcons faced a fourth and one from the Seahawks eight yard line and once again appeared Turner was stopped short. The line judge however once again spotted the Falcons a first down. Facing a third and goal from the three Ryan threw a touchdown pass to Jason Snelling to tie up the score at 7-7.

After the Seahawks went three and out the Falcons would have to settle for a field goal from Matt Bryant from 27 yards out to give the Falcons a 10-7 lead. The Falcons had recovered their own fumble twice on that scoring drive. The Seahawks after going three and out again would catch a break finally. The Seahawks Jordan Babineaux would pick off Ryan and run it back 17 yards to set the Seahawks up with good field possession. Babineaux brother plays for the Falcons so his mom was there wearing both of their jerseys. The Seahawks once again couldn't get a first down would settle for an Olindo Mare 38 field goal to tie the score up at 10-10.



The Falcons on their own 20 yard line with 2:05 remaining in the half would proceed to execute the two minute drill to perfection. The Falcons picked up four third down conversations on the drive. Ryan hit Roddy White twice on third down for gains of seven and then for 15 yards on third and 10. On third and six from the Seahawks 24 yard line Ryan hit Michael Jenkins for a 24 yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons a 17-10 lead at halftime.



In the second half is when Hasselbeck fell apart. After the Seahawks forced a Falcons punt for the first time in the game the Falcons Michael Koenen from Western Washington University pinned the Seahawks on their own three yard line. The Seahawks called for a play action pass, Hasselbeck who was outside the pocket saw nobody opened then hung onto the ball in his own endzone. The result was a sack by Jamaal Anderson who forced a Hasselbeck fumble which was recovered by Jonathan Babineaux for the touchdown to give the Falcons a commanding 24-10 lead. Hasselbeck would throw an interception on the next series which resulted in a Bryant 25 yard field goal to give the Falcons a 27-10 lead.

On the next possession Hasselbeck threw another interception which had the crowd booing as Hasselbeck last week turned the ball over five times. The falcons took advantage as Ryan drove down the field and eventually hit White for a five yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons a commanding 34-10 lead. At that point Charlie Whitehurst started to warm up as Hasselbeck was benched for the first time.



Whitehurst looked pretty good on the Seahawks scoring drive. Whitehurst would hit Mike Williams for a gain of 17 yards then he would hit John Carlson for a gain of 31 yards to the Falcons 13 yard line. Facing a fourth and four from the Falcons seven yard line, Whitehurst ran up the middle for a gain of six to get the first down. Then Whitehurst ran in the touchdown from one yard out. On the two point conversation Whitehurst would hit Ben Obomanu on the fade pass to cut the lead to 34-18.

The Seahawks couldn't get any closer unfortunately losing to the Falcons at home. The Falcons after the opening possesion dominated the Seahawks. Matt Ryan ended up 20 of 35 for 174 yards with three touchdowns to just one interception. While Matt Hasselbeck for the third straight game struggled completing 10 of 17 passes for just 71 yards with two interceptions and a fumble. His backup Charlie Whitehurst wasn't much better throwing 8 for 16 for just 83 yards. Now Pete Carroll has a tough decision to make far as what to do with Matt Hasselbeck.

The Seahawks are in a weird situation with two games left to be played. Typically when an old aging quarterback is struggling who is set to be a free agent at the end of the year he is benched. When the team gives up a third round pick, trades 20 spots down in the second round to acquire his backup and the team sits at 6-8 that is a no brain decision Whitehurst plays. Since the NFC West is so terrible the Seahawks at 6-8 are tied for first place in the division. So it's not simply about playing for the future as the Seahawks have a division title to win. Sad to say I think Whitehurst gives the team the best chance at winning at this rate.

Observations:


- Matt Hasselbeck is struggling right now which happened last year. Last season in the last four games last year Hasselbeck threw just four touchdown passes to ten interceptions. This year in the last three games Hasselbeck has thrown just two touchdown passes but eight interceptions and two fumbles. Hasselbeck on the season has thrown 12 touchdown passes to 17 interceptions. The Seahawks were a team who had a shot at winning the division because they featured the "best" quarterback who had the most experience. Instead with the season on the line he might be on the bench.

Since 2008 Hasselbeck has thrown 34 touchdowns but has 42 interceptions in 33 games. That doesn't include him losing seven fumbles and fumbling 17 times in the last two seasons. Hasselbeck is a free agent at the end of the year and sad to say we might have seen his last game as a Seahawks quarterback at Qwest Field.

His backup Charlie Whitehurst hasn't taken the job from Hasselbeck is the problem. Carroll might end up sticking with Hasselbeck because Whitehurst is so inconsistent. Whoever Carroll decides is the starting quarterback he must hang on to the football to give this team a chance.



- Whoever the quarterback is having Mike Williams back is a nice welcome. Williams return today catching eight passes for 66 yards. Williams didn't play in the NFL for two years is the Seahawks best receiver. On the year Williams has 60 receptions for 720 yards. Williams is a big target and the Seahawks need him to stay healthy if they have any chance at the playoffs.

- Marshawn Lynch had a solid game for the Seahawks today rushing for 60 yards on 12 carries(5.0 YPC) with a touchdown while catching a pass for 17 yards. On the first drive Lynch was featured while after that the Seahawks went away from Lynch which was puzzling to me. Lynch didn't receive a rushing attempt the next two series after scoring the touchdown on the opening drive. I felt the Seahawks should have featured Lynch more especially coming off Hasselbeck's disasterous game last week.

- World Series champion and two time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum raised the 12th man flag. Lincecum who was national pitcher of the year while at the University of Washington is from Renton, Washington. As we all know the Seattle Mariners had a chance to draft Lincecum but chose to go a different route. Lincecum has left plenty of Mariners fans asking what if?

Well this week should be interesting who Pete Carroll picks as the starting quarterback. I feel like the quarterback play is excusing a ton of poor play lately. The defense isn't getting enough stops on third downs which is putting the offense behind almost every game. The Seahawks offensive line still isn't protecting the quarterback or giving the running game enough holes to make for big runs. The Seahawks are tied for first place and have a game with the St.Louis Rams in two weeks. The solution to the playoffs is pretty simple for the Seahawks just win and you are in the playoffs. They play at Tampa Bay next week who just lost at home to Detroit today then play the Rams at home who haven't won at Qwest Field since 2004. The Seahawks have two winnable games and must find a way to take care of the ball. Remember who ever Carroll decides is the starting quarterback the other players need to step their game up as well or it won't matter who the quarterback is.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Huskies twin towers lead 80-52 win over San Francisco Dons



By Kshell

The Washington Huskies(7-3) debut a new starting lineup in their 80-52 victory over the University of San Francisco Dons(4-6). The Huskies coming off a one point loss to Texas A & M were dominated on the boards. This game Lorenzo Romar made an adjustment in his starting lineup. Just like last time when the Huskies were coming off a loss Romar had a new starting lineup when he replaced Darnell Gant for Matthew Bryan-Amaning. Gant has improved his three point shot and scoring this season but he isn't doing the little things that brought him into the starting lineup in the first place. Gant is no longer rebounding and playing inside like a power forward should so Romar made the switch to Bryan-Amaning. That switch paid off as Aziz N'Diaye had his best game as a starter.

The Huskies despite shooting just 2-14 from three point range in the first half and 17 of 40(42.5%) from the field found themselves ahead 39-23 at the half. The Huskies led at halftime because of the rebounding with 11 offensive rebounds. The Huskies also were taking care of the ball with just three turnovers. N'Diaye led all scorers at halftime with nine points including two dunks. Scott Suggs came off the bench and was three for three shooting with eight points. Abdul Gaddy also added six points.



In the second half the Huskies put the game away early. The Huskies extended their lead to 51-24 as they put the Dons away. Isaiah Thomas who had just two points in the first half scored ten in the second half including eight in a row to give him 12 for the game. The Huskies would cruise to a 80-52 win over the Dons led by their new big man lineup. N'Diaye would finish with nine points, five rebounds and four blocks while Bryan-Amaning would finish with 10 points and nine rebounds including seven offensive rebounds. The Huskies would outrebound the Dons 37-30 and would grab 15 offensive rebounds. The Huskies would also have 21 assists to just four turnovers. Other than the poor three point shooting 6-26(23.1%) the Huskies had a great bounce back game.

The Huskies had good all around games from several players today. The Huskies saw 11 guys score and ten guys play over ten minutes. The guards played well with Thomas scoring 12 points and dishing out five assists. Gaddy finished with 10 points and seven assists while Venoy Overton only had two points but contributed with six rebounds and seven assists. The Huskies three guards combined had 19 assists to just one turnover. Justin Holiday had another slow game with eight points but did add three steals. Scott Suggs shot six for seven on the game including three for three on three point shots. Suggs led the team with 15 points and added five rebounds.

The Huskies took care of business at home in a game that really didn't say much. The Huskies so far have blown out all the opponents they should beat and have dropped all three games that were up for grabs. The Huskies have proven they can run bad teams out of the gym but we won't find out if they can beat a quality opponent until December 29th down at USC. The Huskies with this new starting lineup can control the rebounds which has hurt them in all three losses this year. As long as Aziz N'Diaye can stay healthy and Gaddy continues to grow as a basketball player this team should still win the Pac-10.

Observations:


- It was nice to see Aziz N'Diaye step up with the big game like he did. He has always been terrific this year with rebounding but today he actually scored some. He may have blown a few easy buckets but he was battling in the middle. I think having another big man like Matthew Bryan-Amaning by his side really helped things out. Now you have to bangers down in the paint so no double teams plus another guy to help with rebounding. N'Diaye also played 22 minutes while Bryan-Amaning played 26 minutes. Those two combined shot 9-15(60.0%) with 19 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. Darnell Gant appears to be odd man out he only played just 10 minutes scoring three points and grabbing just two rebounds.

- The wing battle between Scotts Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross has taken another turn. For the second straight game after being mr.automatic Wilcox struggled. In 11 minutes Wilcox played just 11 minutes shot one for five and had just two points. Ross played just 13 minutes scoring five points. Suggs on the other hand in 15 minutes shot six for seven and led the team with 15 points. Suggs had shown he can knock down three pointers and plays better defense than Wilcox. On the other hand in the past Suggs has shown he tends to disappear in close games which he needs to break that habit or Wilcox will take back those minutes.



- The progress of Abdul Gaddy has been great to watch this season. Gaddy shot five for nine scoring 10 points while dishing out seven assists. He also committed zero turnovers. Gaddy is living up to the hype he received when he arrived at Washington. Gaddy remember should be a freshman this season. He plays so smooth and reminds me of Brandon Roy as a Sophomore and Junior. Like Roy early Gaddy has no particular strengths but he has no weaknesses. He is a good shooter who is smooth with the ball and rarely makes mistakes. He is a tall guard who is taking a back seat to an undersized guard(Thomas) like Roy did with Nate Robinson.

- Congrats to Isaiah Thomas who passed Nate Robinson on the Huskies scoring list. Robinson while at Washington was a three year starter who also started in football as a freshman. Robinson was first team all pac-10 as a sophomore and junior which is what Thomas will probably be. Thomas hasn't been scoring big yet and hoepfully come Pac-10 play he will find that scoring touch. The Huskies were hoping Thomas would take that next step in his game mainly improving his outside shot but as we witnessed today he shot two for seven from three point range he hasn't really improved on his three point shot.

All in all the Huskies have one more non conference game left against the Nevada Wolfpack on December 22nd. Then the Huskies will travel down to Los Angeles to open up Pac-10 play. The Huskies in the last four years are 1-7 down in Los Angeles and must find a way to beat a good opponent this year. The Huskies can't rely on the three point shooting but go back to Romar ball. People talk about how Romar's teams score a ton of points but they also rebound the ball and create turnovers. This year the Huskies have struggled rebounding the ball but with Bryan-Amaning and N'Diaye starting together that shouldn't be a problem. Romar made another adjustment to the starting lineup and so far the results look pretty good. Hopefully this lineup can last for a while.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Colorado Rapids select Tyrone Marshall. Sounders select keeper Chris Seitz, then Trade him to FC Dallas.

By Money Mike


The 2nd stage of this years MLS Re-Entry draft took place earlier today with 11 players selected. The Colorado Rapids selected defender Tyrone Marshall who was the only Sounder available for the Re-Entry draft. Seattle selected goalkeeper Chris Seitz from the Philadelphia Union and later traded him to FC Dallas for a 4th Round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Other selections made today were Josh Wolff to D.C. United, Jimmy Conrad to Chivas USA, Ryan Cochrane to the New England Revolution, Juan Pablo Angel to the LA Galaxy, Cory Gibbs to the Chicago Fire, Frankie Hejduk to Sporting Kansas City (later traded to LA for Luke Sassano), Jeff Cunningham to the Columbus Crew, Luke Sassano to the LA Galaxy (later traded to Sporting KC for Frankie Hejduk) and Fred to the New England Revolution.



In his two seasons with the Sounders, Marshall made 46 appearances for the Rave Green and scored 3 goals. He was aquired for Toronto FC on February 10, 2009, was partnered up at center back with Jhon Kennedy Hurtado all the way through the first half of the 2010 season. After Jeff Parke signed with the club and Hurtado missed the rest the 2010 season, Marshall was dropped to the bench which paired Jeff Parke with Patrick Ianni for the last half of the season. Marshall's final appearance for the Sounders came on November 6th in a playoff defeat to his former team, the LA Galaxy.









One of the biggest selections made in the Re-Entry draft was Juan Pablo Angel who was of course, selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Angel began his career with Athletico Nacional in Colombia in 1993 where he played 5 seasons and 45 goals for the club in 158 matches. He then moved to Argentina and spent 3 seasons with River Plate scoring 46 goals in 96 matches. He also played in the English Premier League for Aston Villa before spending the last 4 seasons with the New York Red Bulls as their designated player. A couple other big names in the Re-Entry draft were, Jeff Cunningham who was taken by the Crew and Fred who was taken by New England. After the draft, as I said earlier, LA traded Luke Sassano to Sporting KC for Frankie Hejduk and also traded Tristan Bowen to rivals Chivas USA. This is the first time that a homegrown player was traded since the deal came into place. And of course, the Sounders traded Seitz to Dallas. If a player is not under contract, the drafting club will be required to make a genuine offer to the player within a week.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hasselbeck turns ball over five times as 49ers crush Seahawks 40-21



By Kshell

The Seattle Seahawks(6-7) were humilated by the San Francisco 49ers(5-8) 40-21 in a game which saw the 49ers at one point lead 40-7. The Seahawks failed to take advantage of a great opportunity to seize the division lead. Had the Seahawks defeated the 49ers that would have eliminated the 49ers from playoff contention. Instead the 49ers are now just a game back of the division race despite losing Frank Gore for the season. This was a complete 180 degree turn from the season opener which saw the Seahawks win 31-6. Matt Hasselbeck had outplayed Alex Smith that day in the win in fact here is what I said in my blog post after the Seahawks win.

"Matt Hasselbeck when given time is still the best quarterback in the division. Alex Smith is not ready to take that from him. In fact that was the difference in the game. Both teams stopped the run and it was up to which quarterback could lead his team down the field. Hasselbeck in the redzone threw for two touchdowns and ran for one. Alex Smith threw one interception that led to a touchdown, another that was ran back for a touchdown and overthrew a fullback who was wide open near the goal line."

Today that simply wasn't the case as Alex Smith making his first start in five games had out played Matt Hasselbeck. Alex Smith started the game off being booed by his home fans and by the end of the game it was Seahawks fans who were left wondering what to do with their quarterback.



The 49ers got on the board first when Smith hit the very talented tight end Vernon Davis who broke coverage for a 42 touchdown catch to give the 49ers a quick 7-0 lead. After the Seahawks tied the score up when Matt Hasselbeck hit Ruvell Martin for an 11 yard touchdown reception which was Martin's first career touchdown. San Francisco would add a field goal to give them a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. That is when Hasselbeck and Seahawks self destructed.

The Seahawks were at midfield when Hasselbeck hit fullback Michael Robinson with a pass but the ball bounced off Robinson for an interception. The 49ers would settle for a field goal to take a 13-7 lead. On the next possession in a key play Hasselbeck was scrambling and had the first down but slid two yards short which set up a third and two. Hasselbeck rolling to his right was stripped sack of the ball giving the 49ers the ball in Seahawks territory. Smith would hit Josh Morgan for a 15 yard touchdown to give the 49ers a 20-7 lead. The game was slipping away from the Seahawks.

The Seahawks had one final chance in the first half. The Seahawks were on the 49ers 36 yard line and on fourth and two decided to call a fade pattern. The fade pattern like all year long was incomplete even though on the other side of the ball Brandon Stockley appeared open. Smith then hit Brian Westbrook for a 62 yard touchdown where he looked like Westbrook of 2005 not 2010 to give the 49ers a 27-7 lead. Then Hasselbeck threw another interception which lead to a 49ers field to give the 49ers a 30-7 lead at halftime. The 49ers had scored 20 points in the second quarter to the Seahawks zero.

The Seahawks began the second half with more disaster. Hasselbeck was picked off by former Washington Huskies safety Dashon Goldson who ran back in the interception 39 yards to give the 49ers a 37-7 lead. The Seahawks would drive down the field in the redzone only to have Hasselbeck throw his fourth interception of the game. The 49ers would drive down the field and take a commanding 40-7 lead.

The Seahawks would get two cheap scores although one score was costly. First Leon Washington would run the kickoff back 92 yards for a touchdown. Washington is now second all-time in NFL history for kickoff return touchdowns. The Seahawks would add another score when Hasselbeck hit Deon Butler for a two yard touchdown unfortunately Butler broke his leg on the play. When it was all said and done the Seahawks lost 40-21.



The quarterback play decided the story just like in the season opener. Only Alex Smith had his career best quarterback rating. Alex Smith who started the game off being booed by his home fans ended the game with cheers. He finished 17 of 27 passing for 255 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 130.9. Matt Hasselbeck finished completing 27 of 42 passes for 285 yards with two touchdowns but had four costly interceptions and one fumble. The Seahawks once again had no running game as Marshawn Lynch ran for 29 yards on 10 carries. Lynch did have seven receptions for 37 yards though.

All in all the Seahawks are lucky to be in the NFC West. The Seahawks despite having a losing record after 13 games are still tied for first place. Pete Carroll is known for being positive and hopefully he can spin this blowout loss into something positive. The Seahawks have now lost five of seven and finish the season playing three tough teams. The Seahawks need to find a way to help Hasselbeck out or else their season will end on January 2nd when they host the Rams.

Observations:

- The Seahawks have a tough decision to make at quarterback in the offseason. Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent in the offseason. He has a QB rating of 75.2 and has thrown 12 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. He has two touchdowns to six interceptions the last two weeks. Charlie Whitehurst I think it's safe to say isn't the guy and Hasselbecks numbers aren't very good. Hasselbeck though when he had a healthy Mike Williams was pretty productive. It doesn't matter who the quarterback is without a running game which the Seahawks haven't had since 2005 the year they reached the Super Bowl makes it extremely tough on the quarterback week in and week out.

- Leon Washington has been a great addition to the Seahawks. He ran back his third kickoff return of the season. I wish Washington would get more carries or even more so have more receptions. He is good out of the backfield and instead of throwing fourth and two passes to Michael Robinson throw passes to Washington instead. Washington gives the Seahawks an edge teams have to account for which could maybe steal them a game.

- Chris Clemons added another sack. Clemons has been another good acquisition and should make the pro bowl. Clemons now has 9.5 sacks on the season and he is the only defensive lineman who puts any pressure on the quarterback.

- Turnovers was the story. The Seahawks despite having a 2:1 ratio in first downs with 20 first downs to the 49ers 10 that didn't matter. The Seahawks turned the ball over five times while the 49ers had zero turnovers. Hasselbeck up until the last two weeks had done a great job of hanging onto the ball but he has had seven turnovers the last two weeks. My fear is him falling apart like he did last year in the final four games of the year. In the final four games Hasselbeck threw four touchdowns to 10 interceptions as the team dropped all four games.

At the end of the day the sooner the Seahawks forget about this game the better. Carroll needs to regroup his team this week as they take on the NFC's best team in the Atlanta Falcons at home. Hasselbeck who just lost Butler desperately needs Mike Williams to return. With no running game, offensive line or healthy receivers that really makes it tough on Hasselbeck. The Seahawks defense needs to get back to stopping the run on a consistent basis so they can rush the quarterback on the third and long. The Seahawks are still tied for the division lead with three games left in the season. Someone has to win this division so might as well be the Seahawks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#21 Huskies fail test lose to Aggies 63-62



By Kshell

The #21 Washington Huskies(6-3) dropped another close out of conference road game 63-62 Texas A & M Aggies(9-1). The Huskies once again on the road couldn't find their three point shot shooting 6-22(27.3%), take care of the ball(20 turnovers), not rebound the ball(outrebounded 35-28, gave up 15 offensive rebounds) and despite all of that the Huskies still had two separate chances to win the game with under 30 seconds to go. The Huskies once again failed to win the close games. For whatever the reason is the Huskies simply can't pull off these close games.

With 30 seconds to go in the game after the Huskies grabbed an offensive rebound, head coach Lorenzo Romar called timeout. The Huskies were trailing 63-62 at the time and were looking to get that signature out of conference road win for this season. After dribbling around Abdul Gaddy threw a pass to Isaiah Thomas who after Darnell Gant set a screen, Thomas passed it to C.J.Wilcox the teams best three point shooter who was wide open from three point range. Wilcox missed the shot with 12 seconds left in the game, the Huskies fought for the rebound and the ball went out of bounds to the Aggies.

After the Aggies inbounded the ball the Huskies could commit a foul to stop the clock Thomas stole the pass with five seconds left in the game. Thomas then charged towards the Aggies three point line and instead of passing to open teammates he found himself stuck so he tried to force up an off balance shot which was blocked to end the game. The Huskies lost 63-62 and once again couldn't get the job done against an NCAA tournament like opponent. Unless the Huskies work on boxing out and running an actual offense expect games like today to occur come March.

In the first half the Huskies couldn't get any offense going at all. The Huskies missed their first eight three point attempts and shot just 2 for 14(14.3%) in the first half from three pointers. The Huskies best player Justin Holiday sat most of the first half with three fouls and Isaiah Thomas led the team with eight points despite 1-4 shooting(6-6 FT's). Despite all that the Huskies were actually up 32-29 scoring a first half low in points.



In the second half the Aggies started to crash the glass on the Huskies. Many times down the court the Aggies would get easy putbacks on misses as they would have 15 offensive rebounds on the game. The Aggies then stretched the lead to 61-51 with over six minutes left in the game. Venoy Overton quickly drove the lane and scored an easy layup then after a three pointer by Darnell Gant(1-7 overall shooting) the Huskies had cut the lead to 61-56. When the Aggies stretched the lead to 63-56 Romar made a risky move that paid off. That is when Justin Holiday fould out on a horrible call that shouldn't have been called. The Huskies were trailing by seven points at that point.

The risky move Romar made was by benching Isaiah Thomas. He went with a weird lineup of Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox, Darnell Gant and Matthew Bryan-Amaning. With that lineup the Huskies cut the seven point deficit down to just one point after Gaddy made a terrific transition pass to Bryan-Amaning for the dunk, then Gaddy hit two free throws to cut the lead down to one. With 35 seconds left in the game Romar finally put Thomas in the game. As I noted earlier the Huskies would miss an open shot by Wilcox and then Thomas tried to win the game by himself instead of trusting his teamates. The Huskies lose another tough game away from home.

The Huskies couldn't generate much offense. Isaiah Thomas led the team in scoring with just 13 points making 2-7 from the field but hit 8-8 from the foul line while turning the ball over six times. The only other guy to score in double figures was Abdul Gaddy who scored 10 points on three for four shooting. Wilcox added nine points but on 3-10 shooting and Bryan-Amaning scored eight points while turning the ball over four times. Justin Holiday was in foul trouble and had just four points in 15 minutes on two for four shooting.

All in all, this loss isn't the end of the world but this loss has plenty of red flags. When teams slow the game down against the Huskies they tend to struggle like they did when playing Kentucky and Michigan State. The Huskies also need to find a go to scorer at the end of games. Thomas obviously isn't that player as he is undersized, makes bad decisions and isn't a great shooter. I hope the Huskies can find that go to player down the stretch or expect a ton of close losses for the rest of the season. The Huskies have two more home games left then Pac-10 plays begins on the road down at USC then at UCLA. The Huskies must figure out a way to win away from home.

Observations:

- Where are all these great three point shooters gone? The Huskies shot 6-22 from three point range(27.3%). Thomas shot 1-4(25%) when he normally shoots 35.7% while making 1.2 threes a game. Gaddy, Holiday and Suggs were individually each 0-1 from three point land. Gaddy going into today was 60% making 1.5 threes a game, Holiday 53.8% making 1.8 and Suggs 40.0% making 1.4 threes a game. Gant was 1-3(33%) when he was 70% on the year with 0.9 made threes a game, Ross was 0-2 when he normally makes a full three a game shooting 38%. The best three pointer shooter C.J.Wilcox missed several open threes including the potential game winner as he shot 3-8(37.5%) when he was 57.9% with 2.8 threes a game.

I figured this year with eight guys who are capable of making three point shots that this wouldn't happen. The odds of all eight being cold in the same game wasn't likely but for the third time this year it has happened. Against Kentucky the Huskies shot 3-13(23.1%) and Michigan State 6-15(40%). So in the three losses the Huskies are 15-50(30.0%) from three point range. Which is an average of just five three pointers made. While in the wins against lesser competition the Huskies are shooting 78-155(50.3%) from three point range and making an average of 13 three pointers a game.

It appears when the game is going right everyone can hit a three pointer. This team has proven they can hit three pointers with the best of them. When they play a good defense though and when the game is tight those shots aren't falling. I don't know if that is because they are playing tight or what. This three point problem needs to be solved by Pac-10 play. That is a full eight three pointers a game(24 points) difference between wins and losses and a full 20%(1-5 more).



- Lorenzo Romar is the Huskies greatest coach in the modern era. He is great at recruiting and developing players over the years. His teams also tend to lose these games especially non conference. In fact since Brandon Roy has graduated in the 2006-07 season the Huskies are 2-13(13.3%) away from Hec Ed against non conference opponents. .If the Huskies wish to ever be big time nationally they have to walk into another tough opponents house and come away with a win. Go into a preseason tournament and coming away with wins. No longer are close losses acceptable for this program especially with seven guys back.

- Free throw shooting almost always kills the Huskies in close games like today. Today wasn't the case though as the Huskies shot 16-16(100%) from free throws including Thomas shooting 8-8 after being just 61% heading into the game. That was nice to see the Huskies knocking down their free throws and hopefully they continue to do that.

- The rebounding was terrible. The Huskies allowed 15 offensive rebounds on the day. I don't get why when you are getting outrebounded that badly that Aziz N'Diaye played just 13 minutes when he had seven rebounds. I know N'Diaye is an offensive liability and no longer blocks shots and picks up fouls but I was hoping to see him and Matthew Bryan-Amaning on the floor at the same time. Gant was struggling to hit three point shots and grabbed just two rebounds in 26 minutes. The Huskies needed a rebounder in there especially with Holiday fouling out in just 15 minutes.

The Huskies failed all three tests in their non conference schedule. Come NCAA tournament time this team won't receive a great seed because of games like today. The Huskies fall to 0-3 against teams who are NCAA tournament calibar. All three games the game was in doubt with under two minutes to go and twice the Huskies trailed by one or two points with the ball less than 30 seconds to go. Yet every time the Huskies came up short. This was supposed to be the year the Huskies finally break through but after seeing them this non conference season I disagree. I see the same team I've seen the last two years which is a good Pac-10 team but come NCAA tournament time another disappointing end.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My sitdown with former Washington Husky and Kelso Hilander David Richie



By Kshell

The other day I had a nice football related talk at the local Starbucks here in my hometown. This wasn't your normal football talk about Washington Husky football as this conversation involved somebody who has actually worn the purple and gold. This guy had also went to a Rose Bowl, won a Super Bowl and even won an XFL championship. This football chat was with hometown legend David Richie who played for the Huskies from 1992-1996 where he was honorable mention all Pac-10 in 1995 and second team all Pac-10 in 1996. In this following story I'll talk about Richie's playing career at Washington, how he owes everything to a single coach who he still respects very much, and his current coaching job at a High School in Portland, Oregon.

When Richie was growing up he came from a small city in Southwest Washington which was Kelso High School. He played for the Hilanders from 1989-1991 while at Kelso he dominated as a three sport athlete who played football, basketball and did track. Richie due to his athletic ability and size was getting some looks from colleges. In particular he was being recruited by a school that was in the process of winning back to back Rose Bowls and a National Championship in 1991.

"I remember taking an amtrack train up there from 1989-91'. People locally would make sure I would get on that train. I missed a total of two homes games at Husky Stadium in those three years. Sometimes I'd crash on Steve Emtmans couch, it was a blast going to those games," recalled Richie.



Richie came to Washington primarily because of one coach. No the coach wasn't Don James although Richie has the upmost respect for James. Instead Richie came to Washington because of long time defensive line coach and current Stanford defensive line coach Randy Hart.

"Randy Hart is the greatest man I've ever known. I have known Randy for the last 22 years(since I was 15 years old). He was hard on you but he knew how to coach you up and bring the best out of you. He was a great father figure to those like myself who grew up in a single mother household," says Richie.

"Randy taught us everything from how to be a good husband to how to be a good father. He always stressed about staying on the right path and never going off that path. If you went off the path Randy would put you back on the right path real quick. He had a system going of succession from John Cook to Travis Richardson to Steve Emtman to Tyrone Rodgers to D'Marco Farr to Deke Devers then to myself. That is how it was back then everyone fell in place and was ready to take over when it was their time," as Richie remembers fondly.

As the years go by Richie has still stayed in touch with Randy Hart. When I asked him where he would go today if he was in high school he smiled and said Stanford. He said he would go wherever Hart was at. After Richie went on a recruiting trip to the University of Oregon that night he immediately called up Hart at 9:30 p.m. and told him he was going to Washington because of Hart.

Thankfully for the Huskies back then Hart was still their coach as the "redneck" from the little town of Kelso, Washington would become a household name while at the University of Washington. While redshirting at Washington Richie got to play under one of college football's legendary head coaches in Don James.

He also recalls one practice when he felt that he finally "arrived". "I was going through one of those rough stretches that every freshman goes through. I was having a bad week and it was USC week so that was always big. I remember one play I blew up fullback Leif Johnson, then very next play blew up fullback Matt Jones and on the following play I blew up fullback Darius Turner. That is when I heard whistles blowing and Don James screaming "will somebody block that #97!". That was a great feeling getting recognition from James all the way up in the tower," recalls Richie.

Unfortunately for Richie and the rest of his teammates playing under James wouldn't last very long. On August of 1993 college football would be rocked around the nation. The Washington Huskies were given a two year bowl ban and then head coach Don James resigned that day. Defensive coordinator Jim Lambright would take over as head coach.

"I remember when he would have you sit on his couch for his meetings, I had six of those in fact. He had me diagnosed with my mental disabilities, ADHD and dyslexia, got me tutors and made school life much easier to manage. DJ was a great man and I personally felt like all that work went down the drain and a little why did you leave us?" recalls David. "P.A. Emerson stood up first and threw his keys on the ground and that's when things went to hell in a hand basket. His last words were (talking through tears) "I am handing you over to Jim Lambright I am so sorry" and we watched him walk out the door with tears in his eyes.
BOOM!"- Richie remembers sadly.



The transition was rough but fortunately for Richie his defensive coordinator in Lambright was now the head coach and his defensive line coach Randy Hart was his defensive coordinator. In 1993 and 1994 Richie primarily played special teams but in 1995 he got his big break. He was going to start for the Huskies in the 1995 season at defensive tackle. As he said before this was finally his turn.

During the 1995 season Richie led the Huskies in sacks and scored his only career touchdown down at Arizona on a 32 yard fumble recovery. He was honorable mention all Pac-10 that year on the Huskies who finished tied for first place in the Pac-10. Richie also won John P. Angel award which is rewarded to the top offensive lineman and defensive lineman. Andy Mason from Mark Morris High School won that award in 1992 as did other greats like Steve Emtman in 1991, Reggie Rogers in 1985 and 1986, Ron Holmes in 1984 and plenty of other greats. Unfortunately for Richie his season was cut short as he was hurt in the 33-30 win over the Cougars in the Apple Cup. He also had to miss the 38-18 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Sun Bowl.

During his Senior campaign Richie started the year off with a bang. In the home opener and second game of the season him and Jason Chorak chased BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian around all game long. Sarkisian was hyped up going into the game and would end the season 14-1 but on that day by those two was sacked and hit early and often. The Huskies would win 29-17 led by the great defensive performance of Richie and Chorak. Chorak would finish with three sacks while Richie would have two sacks on the day.

Later in the 1996 season Richie and the defense would beat the USC Trojans down in the L.A. Coliseum 21-10. The win was huge because it was the first time ever that a USC team had been held to negative rushing yardage. That defense that year went five straight games of holding opponents to 14 points or less going into the Apple Cup. The Huskies who would blow a 24-0 lead would hang on to win 31-24 in overtime. Richie had 11 tackles that day and three sacks while being Pac-10 defensive player of the week. Richie would end his Senior season as second team all Pac-10 defensive tackle and once again winning the John P. Angel award. Richie was the first Husky to win that award back to back years since Travis Richardson did in 1988 and 1989. His teammate Jason Chorak was Pac-10 defensive player of the year.



After dealing with the frustrations of not being drafted Richie would find himself on the Denver Broncos. He recalls as a rookie when Neil Smith picked him and gave him a ride to practice. Six years earlier he was walking the halls of Kelso High School to now he was getting lifts to practice from Neil Smith. Later that year the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl over the Green Bay Packers 31-24. Richie just like in college where he tasted a Rose Bowl his first season would win a Super Bowl his first year in the NFL. From Kelso to University of Washington all the way to the White House.



Richie would bounce around the league which saw him play for the San Francisco 49ers where in a preseason game against the Seahawks he had the best game of his life he describe. He had 11 tackles, four tackles for lost, two sacks, six quarterback hurries and he also picked off former teammate Brock Huard and ran back a touchdown for the game winning touchdown. He also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Green Bay Packers. He ended his career playing for the L.A.Xtreme during the 2001 season and won an XFL championship which featured Tommy Maddox. Unfortunately due to injuries on his neck he couldn't play no longer. He had a nice deal on the table from the New York Jets as well.



Now David is coaching High School football. He began coaching his old High School Kelso in 2002 which beat my R.A.Long Lumberjacks 35-28 in overtime. Thankfully he didn't rub that one in on me. He then moved on to helping University of Washington football players to now coaching at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon.

Under the head coach of Steve Pyne, Richie is teamed up with Toots Kahauni in building the culture up in this program. Central Catholic High School has dominated league play the past decade but can't seem to get over that second round hump. Both Richie and Kahauni coach the defensive line on varsity and on J.V. His defensive line features Alex Balducci who is a defensive end and is also a three star recruit which Washington and other Northwest schools is looking at along with Randy Hart and Stanford. Another defensive lineman he has is Jacob Nall who was the leagues defensive player of the year. Nall isn't ranked yet but by this time next year you'll see his name on rankings. Like Balducci Washington and other Northwest schools along with Hart are also looking at. He also features a strong nose guard Tyler Nagee who figures to have a big year next season.

The Central Catholic Rams won the league title in varisty, J.V. and freshman football. They finished the year 8-3 but due to some injuries lost in the second round. The Rams will return plenty of good players as most likely they'll have 12 all-league calibar players back, only losing three Senior starters on defense and five overall. The defense they run is the "Grizzly" which is a 5-3-3 defense. What makes their defense unique is that you have two defensive ends, one nose guard and your two other defensive tackles stand up something that you would see Bill Bellicheck and the Patriots use.

Whether it's coaching football or living life David is using the Randy Hart philosphy. He hopes to spread the great coaching he received from James, Lambright and Hart down to his current group of High School kids. Richie has came a long ways from being the hick in a hick town like Kelso. He has been to a Rose Bowl, won a Super Bowl, won an XFL championship and now he is helping kids reach the next level like he did. Overall it was nice catching up with a good Husky like David Richie. This will be the first of many football chats I have with him. I wish David plenty of success down the road.