After a crushing loss to Auburn on Saturday, University of Washington football fans can come down off the ledge. The situation isn’t as bleak as it might appear.
In the current college football landscape, every game is important. Even more so for teams that want to compete for one of the four coveted playoff spots. Wins are at a premium and losses can be devastating. Fortunately for the Huskies, not every loss is the same.
The playoff selection committee voters know the difference. Losing in an opener to a top 10 team by five points in what is essentially a home game for the opponent may hurt a bit now, but won’t derail the Huskies championship hopes. As a matter of fact, even the non-Championship Committee voters aren’t docking UW very much.
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This week’s AP Top 25 poll has Washington dropping from number six to number nine. The high ranking shows Washington can come back from this defeat and be better for it. They have to start with the “Three R’s.”
Recap, Regroup, Restart
First and foremost the Huskies need to learn from Saturday. As painful as it might be to watch, every frame of the game film must be dissected and analyzed. What worked? What didn’t? Where can we improve? Those are all questions the coaching staff and players have to ask themselves.
Film room study will be especially important for quarterback Jake Browning. He had a good game (18/32, 296 yards) considering he was sacked five times and pressured many others. The signal-caller will need to go over his reads and route progressions. Additionally, he may have to work on his audibles, when he reads a blitz.
The offensive line can use some study time as well. Granted they are just coming together as a group, but another performance like Saturday’s can sink the Huskies season. Making calls at the line for blocking adjustments isn’t easy. It comes through practice and repetition. Watching the Auburn game again can only help them with their adjustments.
Browning and his line aren’t the only ones who need to learn from Saturday. They are however the people who will benefit the most. The defense, as well as the coaching staff, also have some “teachable moments” to go over that will benefit them going forward. In a one-score game, there are many instances where one series or one play could have changed the tide. No one man or one group is solely responsible.
In sports, they say an athlete must have both a long and short memory. After game review, the team as a whole must come together and shake off the sting and embarrassment of the loss. It’s not that easy, but they have to try. In other words, forget the past and move on.
At the same time, they can’t forget what happened. The Auburn loss should be like a nagging thought in the back of everyone’s minds. Don’t let it happen again. Additionally, the team now knows that they proved themselves capable of sticking with the best in the country, in enemy territory.
Auburn was last week.
All this week, the message from Chris Petersen and his staff is that the North Dakota game is opening day 2.0. From here on out, the Huskies play like the champions they can be, there is no room for a bad day.
The 2018 season starts anew on Saturday, September, 8.