Dan Raley, who covers Washington football at Husky Maven, isn’t convinced the Huskies turned their season around with their 52-3 win over Arkansas State on Saturday.
Washington and Cal didn’t face each other last year, but the Bears have upset the Huskies the previous two seasons, including the 2019 game which didn’t end until around 2 a.m.
We chatted about the 2021 Huskies with Raley, who answered five questions about Washington ahead of Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. game against Cal in Seattle. The Huskies were ranked No. 20 in the pre-season AP poll, but they lost their season opener 10-7 to Montana, an FCS team, and they are 1-2 heading into the game. opening of this week’s Pac-12 for both teams.
Question n Â° 1: Did Saturday’s rash in Arkansas State mean Washington had turned their season around, or were the Huskies overrated in the preseason?
âI think they were overrated,â Raley said in the video at the top of this story. “They had two easy of the top three to start and lost one to Montana, and they did what they should have done to Arkansas State.”
Question n Â° 2: How has quarterback Dylan Morris fared and does rookie Sam Huard have a chance to take over at some point this season?
“[Morris] is actually the shortest quarterback Washington has had in 40 years since Tim Cowan in 1981, âsaid Raley. âHe doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but he doesn’t delight the whole fan base because he’s just the average guy. He’s not the big, big quarterback they’ve had in the past. “
Freshman Huard is a tall, tall quarterback with a big arm, but he might not be ready.
âUnless they lose a few more, I don’t think they’re going to give him a really big role,â Raley said. âI think they should do it. I think they should place it like in the second quarter, whether they win or lose.
“You watch him throw the soccer ball, he’s a great player.”
Question n Â° 3 How are Washington fans reacting to the Huskies’ disappointing start and are the jobs of head coach Jimmy Lake and offensive coordinator John Donovan in jeopardy?
âFans were outraged after the Montana loss,â Raley said.
But what was more interesting was that attendance at Husky Stadium for both home games dropped significantly. Raley believes this is partly because of the demands for fans to enter the stadium amid the pandemic and partly because of the team’s slow start.
Question n Â° 4: Cal has beaten the Favorite Huskies the last two times the teams have met. What went wrong for Washington in these games?
“I think the Bears and the Huskies were comparable teams,” said Raley, “but I think the Bears wanted more.”
Raley remembers the 2018 game at Berkeley, when Washington, who was ranked 15th in the country, lost 12-10 to Cal. This game was known for the inexplicable decision by Huskies head coach Chris Petersen, who benched four-year-old starter Jake Browning and replaced him with rookie Jake Haener with 1:56 left in the third quarter. . Washington was leading 7-6 at the time and the Huskies took over on their own 11-yard line when Haener entered the game. Haener’s second pass was intercepted by Evan Weaver, who sent it back for the winning touchdown.
Haener was eventually transferred to Fresno state and led the Bulldogs to a UCLA upset last Saturday.
Washington and Cal did not face each other last year, when their meeting was called off.
Question n Â° 5: Who have been Washington’s best players this year, and who have been its most disappointing players? Zion Tupuola-Fetui won’t be back this week, is he?
The most disappointing aspect of this Huskies team has been their offensive line, says Raley. It was meant to be the strength of the team and it wasn’t.
He’s high on the Huskies’ two cornerbacks.
âYou might not find a better pair in the entire Pac-12 with Trent McDuffie and Kyler Gordon,â Raley said. âThey’re both fast. McDuffie is supposed to be a top draft pick. So you don’t want to pounce on these guys. The safeties are questionable. They’ve already replaced them both since the start of the season. season.”
The Huskies were deprived of their top defensive player, Tupuola-Fetui, who suffered an Achilles tendon tear during the offseason. Raley expects him to return in mid-October, but not this week against Cal. Tupuola-Fetui was an all-conference first-team selection last year when he led the Pac-12 with seven sacks in just four games.
Dylan Morris cover photo is by Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY Sports