Visiting offensive lines have this shared experience in Husky Stadium, home of the University of Washington football team.
It’s loud, over 70,000 fans are screaming at 133.6 decibel level. You can’t hear anything your coach is saying. Along with your teammates, you jog onto the field. After getting lined up in your spot, across the line of scrimmage your opponents look at you and put their hand in the ground, the traditional three – point stance.
Its you and your fellow lineman’s job to act like a wall. The opponent is looking for wholes in the wall to break through. No one is allowed to touch the ball carrier, that is the rule you must enforce. Now there are five of you and only four of them.
You know what is going to happen, there is no blitz from a linebacker coming, it’s still five on four. The guy who is lined up in front of you is coming straight ahead, he is going to try and make a whole where you are standing. It’s raining.
The ref blows his whistle, the ball is hiked and then you get knocked back on your ass. A teammate of yours grabs you by the hand and helps you stand to your feet. That’s when it dawns on you, this is how you will spend your Saturday afternoon.
The Washington Huskies are 6-0 and a big reason for that is the play of the defensive line unit. The play of Greg Gaines, Vita Vea, Elijah Qualls, Joe Mathis has been spectacular this season. Especially against the Stanford Cardinals on Sept 30 where the unit got four sacks. Even though the Cardinals have played disappointing this season, the dominance displayed by Gaines and company was astonishing.
Combine that with an effective offense, Washington looks like a real contender for the College Football Playoffs. Last week the Huskies scored 70 points against Oregon. Right now the Huskies are ranked fifth in the Associated Press and Coaches Poll.
Ohio State and Michigan currently are ranked second and third respectively, but will play each on Nov. 26. So if the Huskies can win out or limit themselves to one loss they can get into that fourth spot and enter the playoffs spot as PAC 12 champions.
Looking ahead the Huskies have a relatively easy schedule, the only foreseeable obstacle being Utah on Oct. 29. So the path to the playoffs is wide open for Washington.
Another key to the Husky success has been the play of sophomore quarterback Jake Browning. Browning has thrown 23 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions. Browning has run the offense to perfection. Head coach Chris Petersen is known for tricky play calling that keeps opposing defenses off balance. This style of play calling seems to be a perfect match for Browning’s skill set.
Petersen was the former head coach at Boise State from 2006 – 2013. The program went undefeated three times during his tenure, but was routinely shunned from the BCS championship games. Now Petersen might be able to get exactly what he deserves, a shot at the national championship.
It’s a little puzzling that Petersen is even coaching at Washington. Petersen has 113 wins as a head coach with only 24 losses. As the head coach of Boise State he was 92-12, with a victory in the Fiesta Bowl.
I wonder what has kept him out of the NFL and for that matter the Southeastern Conference. Will Muschamp has had two SEC head coaching jobs since 20011, his record is 30-25.
Petersen could be on the verge of defining his legacy as the greatest coach in college football not named Nick Saban or Urban Meyer. Even without ever getting a coaching job in the SEC.
The only unfortunate thing for Washington is they don’t have the opportunity to play that potential playoff game at Husky Stadium, when its twelve on eleven.