By Derek Johnson
During the recent off-season, the prevailing talk was how Washington lost four high draft choices on defense and losing them would deplete the team's competitive chances this season.
I stated on our message boards that if Chris Petersen was the coach we think he is, then we'd see improvement in surprising areas. It stood to reason the Huskies could be a 7-5 team with very young players being taught by good coaches.
Three games into the '15 campaign, we're seeing it. Pure freshman Jake Browning looked like a stud in today's 31-17 win over Utah State. He possessed great field awareness and excellent touch on his passes. Several players are emerging too, like Keishawn Bierria, Myles Gaskin, Azeem Victor, Trey Adams and others. A rippling roster of talented underclassmen bodes well for the future. That defense sometimes looks so athletic and aggressive that echoes of the old days are there.
For years now, the Husky Half Brains have joked about the famous Kim Grinolds Eye Test. And we've joked about the possibly apocryphal "They look like Ohio State, Groz", utterance by Hugh Millen to Dave Grosby on KJR just prior to the 0-12 season of 2008*.
But damn it anyway, this year's Huskies really do pass the eye test. Players look more physical, solid, quicker and faster than this team has looked in years.
The Pac-12 schedule will present many pitfalls. Today's non-existent running game against Utah State signals a red flag for difficult times ahead. And when (not if, but when) the time comes that a battered Jake Browning is pulled from a game to be replaced by Magna-Carta or The Wild Swede, all bets are off. Dennis DeYoung will be on suicide watch on the Hardcore Husky OFFICIAL Game Thread.
But the Huskies are finally in good hands with Chris Petersen. He can recruit with the big boys, he can build a team properly starting with the lines, and he brooks no bullshit with the media.
Will the Huskies be able to knock off Sark's USC Trojans? I'm suddenly looking forward to that early October game in LA.
* Flagged for listening to KJR