Ryan Grubb has pad-locked the metaphorical fridge.
Even now, his Huskies are hungry.
On Monday, two days after Washington produced a decisive 39-28 win over No. 11 Michigan State, the first-year UW offensive coordinator stated: “Honestly, when I met with them I said that I felt like we potentially played a team (MSU) where their fridge was full. They weren’t as hungry. We’ve just got to keep the pad lock on that fridge and stay frickin’ hungry, man. That’s going to be important.”
OK, to ask the apparent: if Michigan State’s fridge was certainly full, wouldn’t the Spartans be ravenous? And isn’t that the aim of the pad lock, to make sure UW maintains the identical state?
It’s an imperfect metaphor.
But you get the purpose.
After a 3-0 begin, Washington is all of the sudden the No. 18 crew within the nation — set to host Stanford (1-1) in its Pac-12 opener on Saturday. The final 4 occasions UW was ranked within the AP ballot, the Huskies instantly fell the next week.
Oh, and two of these losses got here to the Cardinal.
In 2019, the No. 15 Huskies pulled off spectacular wins over BYU and USC … solely to give up 189 speeding yards in a 23-13 defeat on “The Farm.” The following fall, UW erased a 21-0 halftime deficit to dramatically down Utah within the closing minute, 24-21. As a consequence, Washington acquired a No. 23 AP rating, whereas 1-2 Stanford was pressured to spend the week in Seattle and observe at an area highschool as a consequence of its county’s covid insurance policies.
You already know what occurred subsequent: Stanford rushed for 191 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-26 win.
The lesson, after all, is that Kalen DeBoer’s crew can’t take Stanford frivolously and anticipate to remain ranked.
DeBoer doesn’t imagine that can be a difficulty.
“This is a totally different staff, a lot of new players,” he stated this week. “To me, what has happened in the past isn’t about now. But I know the fan base and I understand why that’s discussed and talked about. That’s fair. I think it’s about the experiences you’ve been through and how you set it up. We’ve set this (program) up not just for this week, for this moment. We’ve set this up ever since we got here, the 1-0 mindset and just moving forward.
“We’ve set this up to make sure we have a good week. We don’t take anything for granted. All those principles and concepts that we discuss from day one are built into these moments (of handling success) too, not just in the moments where our backs are up against the wall.”
So how will the Huskies deal with success?
And, maybe extra importantly: how will they deal with a Stanford offense that rushed for 221 yards, 4.9 yards per carry and three touchdowns two weeks in the past towards USC?
“You can tell that they are very innovative,” UW co-defensive coordinator William Inge stated of a Stanford assault that has tinkered with RPO ideas this season. “There’s some things that they do that really, really, really stress you. So everyone has to be on guard for being able to play your fundamental technique, and then they also combine that with some RPO scenarios to where they can get guys open.
“The one thing we told our players about here yesterday is, ‘We know we’re going to be playing against a top-tier, elite quarterback.’ (Junior Tanner McKee) can make throws that probably two or three quarterbacks in the country can make, and we have a lot of respect for McKee from what we’ve seen on film.”
The aforementioned McKee has gotten off to considerably of an erratic begin, finishing 67.7% of his passes whereas throwing for 528 yards with 4 complete touchdowns and three interceptions. McKee could also be extra of an emphasis this week, contemplating UW surrendered 71% completions, 323 passing yards and three touchdowns to Michigan State’s Payton Thorne; and Stanford’s beginning operating again, E.J. Smith (206 speeding yards, 6.9 yards per carry, 3 TD), is out for the sport with an harm.
Still, after limiting Michigan State to 42 speeding yards and 1.4 yards per carry (plus an eye-popping -0.5 speeding yards earlier than contact, per ESPN), UW should once more show it could cease the run.
So far, UW’s “stocking stuffers” — considered one of Inge’s favourite phrases — have gotten it accomplished.
“When it came down to what Michigan State was trying to do, run the football? We were pretty locked in and loaded on being where we needed to be, understanding who was going where and how we all needed to play off each other and just being physical when it came down to it,” DeBoer stated. “A lot of gang tackling that I saw, even a back spinning out or trying to fight loose and more guys are there … that’s knowledge of what we’re trying to accomplish and how we do it, but also just effort and desire.
“I thought we really rose to the occasion. I love it, because that’s going to be an important piece of us going through conference play starting this weekend, to be able to stop the run and make teams one-dimensional. I still feel like a huge strength of ours is getting after the quarterback. We’ll be able to do that as we go through the season making teams one-dimensional.”
Opponents have been one-dimensional a season in the past … however in all of the mistaken methods. While Washington ranked first within the nation in passing protection (142.9 yards per sport) and yards per cross try (5.4), opposing offenses merely ran wild as an alternative. UW completed 10th within the Pac-12 in opponent yards per carry (4.76) and 11th in speeding protection (194 yards allowed per sport).
Through three video games this fall, the Huskies lead the Pac-12 in speeding protection (90 yards allowed per sport) and rank second in opponent yards per carry (2.73).
Up entrance, the gamers are the identical.
But not the preparation.
“When you have the opportunity to go through and endure an offseason by one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the country, in coach Ron McKeefery, your mindset, your physical body, everything’s going to change,” Inge stated. “I think there’s some things we’re probably able to do systematically and structurally that put them in position to be successful.
“I don’t know what their preparation level was like a year ago, but I do know seeing the individuals from a preparation standpoint, we can see why they’re playing fairly confident. Because they’re knowing what’s about to occur, they’re understanding what can happen and they’re all applying and playing with good technique.”
That goes for defensive linemen Tuli Letuligasenoa, Faatui Tuitele, Ulumoo Ale, Voi Tunuufi, Jacob Bandes and Kuao Peihopa, in addition to linebackers Alphonzo Tuputala, Cam Bright, Carson Bruener, Kristopher Moll and extra.
In the wake of success, Stanford has wreaked current havoc on the Huskies.
Come Saturday, the UW protection’s fridge higher nonetheless be full.