October 21, 2008

Young Offense Has it's Struggles but Continues to Improve

Washington Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano addressed the media Tuesday to discuss last week's game against Oregon State and this week's match-up against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Lappano opened up by discussing Notre Dame's defense.

"They're a good defense. This is going to be a fire zone clinic. They're 50 percent blitz. A little bit of pressure with their inside backers, but mainly outside pressure. They play a lot of single safety looks and they run to the football pretty good. They're a quality defense."

Notre Dame's blitz will be nothing new for the Huskies, but Lappano knows there is work to be done for the offense in terms of picking up the blitz.

"We got a ton of blitz work in two-a-days and we had a ton of blitz last week. Our plan against Oregon State was to double on their ends. They started firing their linebackers to single up our tackles. That was a good move by them because our backs had to go get them. When they didn't get them, that gave their ends a match-up one-on-one on our tackles. That was their whole scheme, and that was a good move by them because it got their ends singled up on our tackles. We've had a ton of blitz. Everybody's blitzed us. We've got a young quarterback and young receivers. It's nothing we haven't seen. This will be another week of people bringing the heat on us."

Who's job is it to pick up the blitz?

"It's a combination of our quarterback being on the same page and making calls. We missed two of them in the first half, but we were pretty good in the second half. When we got beat, it was a physical thing. It wasn't somebody not knowing what they were doing. That happened early in the game and we got that corrected at halftime. Then it becomes a physical thing. Are you good enough to hold up all the time?"

When asked if he feels the offense will have to score a lot of points to beat the Fighting Irish, Lappano had this to say.

"We always want to try to score a lot of points. That's why we threw the football over the top of Oregon State's defense as many times as we did. I really don't want to expose Ronnie [Fouch] like that, but we felt to win the football game, we're going to have to score a lot of points, and that's what they gave us. We had it nine times over the top of them. Did we convert all those into points? No. But we hit some, they interfered a couple of times and we missed some. I don't see that being the case against Notre Dame. I think our plan is going to be a little bit different. We felt we had to do that against Oregon State's defense."

In his first career start, true freshman Terrance Dailey became the first Husky this season to rush for at least 100-yards in a game, while also scoring a touchdown on a 59-yard scamper.

"I thought he played pretty good. He got jacked up big time on that hit down the sideline by number nine, [Al] Afalava. It was a physical, hard hit - that's the way the game is supposed to be played. They [the Oregon State players] told him he wasn't going to get back into the game. He told them differently, and he made them pay with that 59-yard run. I think anytime you put up 100 yards against that defense - they're playing pretty good right now, they're a real good defense - to have 100 yards in your second game, it's a pretty good effort. He had some nice runs in there besides the long one, where he slammed it up inside, slid off of a couple of tackles, finished the run and gained a couple of extra yards. I thought he played pretty well."

Lappano further discussed Dailey.

"He's patient, and the other thing that he has, he's got speed. He ran a 10.7 in high school. Nobody sucked him up in the end there and he went 59-yards. He gives us that home run threat like Louis [Rankin] did last year, and that's important. We played him against Arizona because we thought he could give us that spark, and he did give us a spark. I haven't heard that stadium that loud in a long time because they saw something they hadn't seen all year. He's got swagger. He was bleeding from his mouth, and told them he'd be back. He was in my hip pocket, immediately demanding to get back in the game, and I love that."

Why didn't Dailey emerge earlier in the season?

"The playbook was very difficult. The amount of protections and pass scheme was a lot different from what he did in high school. He was a little bit horizontal running, and we worked really hard on that. He's very coachable. He's the first guy in Sunday to watch film. He got better all of the time. When we had those three rookie scrimmages during our first bye week, he went off. Everybody on the team, all of the players, the coaches, everybody knew this kid was pretty good. We decided for the Arizona game - let's go. At that time, we had seven games left - let's play this kid. He's going to give us something in the run game that we have to have. With Jake [Locker] gone now, we've got to have somebody that can take the ball the distance and make a big play. He certainly proved us right in the Oregon State game."

It appears fellow true freshman David Freeman will be cleared to practice this week after recovering from an ankle injury the past weeks - something that excites Lappano.

"We're going to get David Freeman back today, so that's going to be fun, that's going to be good. Freeman was doing some good things before he went out. He made some nice runs against Oklahoma, BYU - some pretty good teams. I cross my fingers that he can stay healthy and make it through practice, because that gives us some depth, that gives us two of them."

True freshman Cody Bruns did not play against Oregon State after having his redshirt burned against Arizona - a move that drew criticism from the media and fans a like. But Lappano stressed that Bruns will play against Notre Dame if healthy enough.

"He's got to go. He's going to go. Hopefully that thing will hold up, but he will go this week. I've talked to him and he wants to give it a go. Whatever happens, happens. If he pulls that thing, then he pulls it, and he's going to miss more time. But hopefully that thing will hold together. That's kind of why we didn't want to play him Saturday, because he just pulled that thing on Wednesday and he didn't feel good about going in on Friday. if you put him in there and he pulls it again, we're going to lose him for four or five weeks. Now it's too bad for the kid. Trust me, he's a great kid and the last thing we want to do is mess with that kid, that's not the idea. The idea was to put it on ice this weekend and get the rest of the season out of him. Hopefully he has a good day today and that thing doesn't blow up."

Lappano discussed the false start penalty against Washington on the very first play of the game. In fact, Lappano brought the issue up without any media member discussing it.

"I'll take full responsibility. That's Ronnie's and my job. Number one, we script the first 15 plays of every game. We rehearse them on Friday night. We had everybody on the sideline, and as soon as they kicked the ball off, we gave the play on the sideline and went out. Now it's my job, all of the coaches jobs - if they're not getting up to the line fast enough, we've got to see that and yell at them. Ronnie's got to see the clock. I'll take all responsibility for that. We had the right people there. We haven't had a lot of delay of game penalties in three years here."

Despite having a 1st-and-goal on the one-yard line late in the game, the Huskies were stuffed on four consecutive plays, and came away with no points. Lappano discussed what happened.

"The worst call I made there - quarterback sneak. Ronnie wanted to go over the top when he needs to burrow down in there, get his shoulder down and run his feet. Then on the naked, Kavario [Middleton] was wide open and that showed up big time [on film]. What happened there, was Ronnie got away with pulling the ball down in practice against our show team defense. The same thing presented itself. There was a crease, and against the show team it stayed open and he pulled it down. Against Oregon State, it shut down fast and he got shot. On the last play, that was a stretch play that we need to keep outside. We had the edge sealed and Paul [Homer] had the corner - four yards knocked off in the middle of the endzone. That ball's got to stay outside. You've got to get the ball in there when it's on the one-yard line. If you've got to run somebody over, you've got to run somebody over. A lot of times on the goal line, you're going to have to run somebody over, because one of the safeties is going to be free. That was awful, it was terrible."

But Lappano stressed that the team must move past what happened and not dwell on negative things in general.

"We put it to rest, today is a new day. Sunday, did I like it? No. Was I in a very good mood Sunday? No. But it's a whole new week. We've got to put all of that stuff away. Just like the very first play of the [Oregon State] game, you've got to put that away. It's just like a golfer hitting the first shot out of bounds. We put it away and made 51-yards on the third play of the game that should have put us in the middle of the field, but we had the holding penalty. We can't sit there and dwell on things like that. We've got to go to work. We can't go out there today moaning about the goal line stand they made against us, because we've got to go out and play Notre Dame right now. Learn from it? Yes. But dwell on it today, tomorrow and Thursday? That's the worst thing we can do. We have no chance if we go out there and dwell on what could of, should of, would of happened."

Redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch threw three interceptions, but considering the pressure he was under the entire game, Fouch played relatively well, completing 17-of-32 passes for 276 yards.

"I think he payed pretty good. I think I know what he likes. Obviously he likes to throw it down the field. We're building our game plan against what the defense presents to us. I thought Ronnie played better after I watched the game three times on Sunday. He got hit 13 times, and he stayed in there better than I thought he did Saturday night. Now there were two times when he got out, where I wanted him to step in there, but he got hit 13 times and made some damn good throws. I think he played pretty good and he's tough. He was really impressive when you watch that tape. He got sacked one time, but he got hit 13 times. He stayed in there and let a couple go with people right in his face. The wheel route to Jordan Polk down the sideline was unbelievable. He knew he was going to get hit, but he stepped into it, let it go - boom! He's doing really well - Ronnie can throw the football."

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