Grading the Huskies: A quick response to Bob Condotta…

Nov 30, 2010, 8:56 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

By Mike Salk

As you may have seen, Seattle Times Husky reporter Bob Condotta wrote his weekly report card. I couldn’t help but notice that of the nine positions he graded, eight of them received some for of an A and the other two received B’s. It just struck me as odd considering how awful the first 55 minutes of the game were.

When I good-naturedly pointed that out to Bob via Twitter, he challenged me to write a rebuttal. Given that (at least for the offense)this game changed so dramatically in the final few minutes, I decided to give two grades to each group. Here it is!

Quarterback

Condotta Grade: B

To be honest, I thought Locker was awful for most of the game. He was generally inaccurate, he was picked off once and easily could have thrown another interception. It was Locker’s fifth lost fumble of the season that led to Cal’s only touchdown. Even his 80 yard TD throw wasn’t much more than a heave up for grabs! Take away that catch by Goodwin, and Jake would have thrown for just 104 yards in the first 55 minutes!

All that said, he was masterful in the clutch which is what we ask of our QB’s.

First 55: C- Final 5: A Avg: B-

Running Back

Condotta Grade: A-

I think the running backs are the best part of this team. Chris Polk makes good decisions with the football in his hands and runs hard every time. There weren’t too many holes for him in this one, and yet he averaged nearly five yards per carry. That powerful running style also wears down opponents. That said, as much as I love Callier, that fumble was atrocious. He was untouched when he gave it up and it likely cost his team points. He was also ineffective on the fly sweep.

Huge props to Polk for the final touchdown run. He also had another first down run on that drive.

First 55: C+ Final: A+ Avg: B+

 

Receivers

Condotta Grade: A

This is a hard one to grade. Two of the three biggest plays of the game were made by Goodwin and Kearse. Both made incredible efforts to adjust to the ball in midair. That said, those two plays were virtually the only positive things they did in the game. Kearse was largely ineffective. Yes, he caught six passes, but a few of them were bubble screens that went nowhere. Take away the final drive and his 46 yard diving reception, and he would have had just 25 yards on four catches. Aguilar was almost invisible throughout.

First 55: B- Last 5: A- Avg: B

Offensive Line

Condotta Grade: B

More than an other grade, I think this was effected by the final play of the game. Right until then, I thought the O-line had another terrible game. In fact, they might have been the story had the Huskies not come back to win. Remember the consecutive plays in the third quarter when center Drew Schaefer first held on a big running play to negate a first down and then had an errant snap to lead to an easy sack? Remember the Locker fumble that came as a result of the line’s inability to block four men with seven? Heck, remember the second to last play of the game when they got no push off the line and forced the team to go for it on fourth down? Yes, there is hope for this unit, but they did NOT have a good day on Saturday.

First 55: D+ Last 5: B+ Avg: C+

Defensive Line

Condotta Grade: A-

Pretty good game for the D-line, for the most part. Shane Vereen is an excellent, explosive back and they managed to keep him out of the endzone. That’s not to say he was ineffective either and that’s why I couldn’t give an A to this group. Vereen still averaged 4.6 yards per carry and the Bears ran for nearly 200 yards overall – many coming on big plays. The Huskies didn’t allow Cal into the red zone despite some decent drives. Not bad considering some of the problems they’ve had this year.

Grade: B

Linebackers

Condotta Grade: A-

This is the heart and soul of this defense and Mason Foster continues to impress. This group tackled well throughout. They did get some help from the secondary though, as that group could monitor the running game without too much fear of being beaten deep.

Grade: B+

Secondary

Condotta Grade: A

I’m with Bob on this one too. This group defended the pass incredibly well, although it has to be easier to defend the pass when the passer isn’t good enough to threaten you. Brock Mansion reminded me of Aaron Corp and the duo run out by UCLA last week. That is to say, he did not belong on a Pac-10 field at this stage in his career. Huge credit goes to Quinton Richardson who has turned himself from a liability to a solid defender.

Grade: A

Special Teams

Condotta Grade: A

I don’t know, but I somehow just can’t give this group an A. Maybe I’m jaded by some of the awful performances earlier in the year (I can admit that!), but it has made me critical. As Bob noted, Callier helped change he momentum with a nice runback after the Cal touchdown, but he was largely bottled up other than that. The return team gave up their usual one big kickoff return but it was helped by an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Bears. Cody Bruns gets points for helping out as the emergency punter, but he has yet to provide much explosiveness as a returner.

Grade: B+

Coaching

Condotta Grade: B+

This was another tough one to grade because the final play of the game was SO enormous (and so gutsy) that it eclipses everything that came before it. That said, I wasn’t wild about the game plan in this game. I think the Huskies are most effective when they put pressure on the edge with the threat of the fly sweep. With Jake either hurting or ineffective, they needed to find other ways to get the ball to the playmakers (Kearse, Polk and Callier) in space and that didn’t happen for most of 55 minutes. The team was forced to take two timeouts early in the first half and gave away three points by mismanaging the clock at the end of the half.

That said, the final five minutes was perfect and I love the decision to go for the touchdown whether it had worked or not. This team needed to that shot of confidence and Sark provided it. Not only that, but he went about it the right way: gathering his team around him and turning it into a bonding moment.

First 55: C Last 5: A+ Avg: B

Well, Bob gave seven A’s and two B’s. I ended up with seven B’s, an A and a C. I guess we weren’t reall that far off!

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Grading the Huskies: A quick response to Bob Condotta…