By Derek Johnson
Aside from a stadium scoreboard tribute to my late sister Jennifer, the Portland State game told us nothing about our Dawgs. A third straight, third-rate opponent that has rendered this month meaningless.
Two posters from our message boards made good points this weekend. The topic was UW quarterback Jake Browning. WhatshouldIcareabout broke down Brownings’ performance through three games. He listed his stats as follows:
0.0% completion percentage
0 QB Rating
In other words, it matters not that the sophomore has thrown for 12 touchdowns and 1 interception against patty cake defenses. When you’re playing in front of a half empty stadium, against a team that’s only there for the payday, the pressure is off.
In short, we need to hold off on anointing Browning as a great quarterback until he has faced tough competition.
Another poster, Dennis_DeYoung, broke it down even further. I’ll paraphrase it here. When it’s third and long in a tense situation, can Browning stand strong in the pocket and deliver a dime to the target? When pass protection is breaking down, can he buy time and find the open guy and deliver? When the running game’s getting stymied, and it’s late fourth quarter and the Dawgs are facing defeat, can Browning put the team on his back and will them to victory?
As Dennis_DeYoung pointed out, Browning hasn’t done these things yet. The USC win from last year was due to Myles Gaskin taking control, and opportunistic defense.
It isn’t always about stats. One of the biggest legends in Husky Football history was Marques Tuiasosopo. At no time did Tui have a TD-to-interception ratio of 12:1. And as Dennis said, “He did a lot of stupid shit.”
But Tui’s a legend because when it was crunch time he always came through. He teammates revered him. When they huddled, they saw that look in his eyes and they were the first to know: Tuiasosopo would not let this game end in a loss.
As James Allen wrote, “circumstances don’t make a man, they reveal him.”
Browning will be revealed, for better or worse, in the coming weeks against Arizona, Stanford and Oregon.