Thought on the season

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    • #52441

      Ute Fan

      Now that the season is sadly over and we’re stuck with 8 months of “what ifs” and “what nexts” I thought I’d share my thoughts on starting Tyler Huntley instead of Troy Williams. I think we got enough of a sample size with both QBs to see that Tyler Huntley is clearly the superior athlete but I think Troy Williams is a better game manager and better suited for the kind of offense that we’re trying to get with Taylor at OC and Harding as O-line/assistant coach.

      I think the team would have been a lot of fun to watch with Troy under center. He certainly doesn’t have the it-factor of Tyler but he does bring solid leadership, good work ethic, and an ability to facilitate the run and pass game. I think Moss would have had an even bigger year with less RPOs and knowing when he gets the ball so he can start running North/South instead of dancing in the backfield with TH. Also (without looking at any numbers so correct me if I’m wrong) my own eye test told me that Troy Williams was willing to throw the deep ball and push for the big play earlier in the season than Tyler was. I think this is an important element of Troy Taylor’s offense because it opens up those short slants, tunnel screens, and wide receiver screens. 

      I think starting Huntley instead of Williams cost us 2-3 games this year but should have bought us 1-2 wins in the future.

      My reasoning:

      I’m very confident that a Troy Williams led team would have started 3-0 against our VERY weak OOC opponents and I think I could have started against UCLA and given us a legitimate shot at a win. We know what Troy was able to do against Colorado and Arizona. That’s 6 wins, equal to this year. My reasoning is that four games and Fall camp under center gives Williams more confidence and poise and timing with receivers (read: Carrington) and we are able to pull off a win against Stanford or USC (probably not both). Williams made some ill advised decisions in both of those games that cost us points. The dumb int. he threw late against Stanford stands out and the two point conversion at USC is low hanging fruit. Maybe he makes one better decision or maybe he facilitates a little better in either game and it doesn’t come down to the wire.

      I think most of us agree that Tyler came back too early against Arizona State and that the two demoralizing losses leading up to ASU and Oregon kind of took it out of the entire team. Maybe with a healthy QB or another win in our pocket the team plays better or we get better/healthier QB play and we win one of those two games.

      I think we game planned very well for the Wazzu and Washington games. I honestly couldn’t expect much more out of either of those games. Sure, limiting turnovers against WSU and some solid late game defense against Wash could have sealed either game but sometimes that stuff happens so we’ll call it a wash.

      Maybe the team picks up one more lucky win against USC/Stanford or beats ASU and Oregon or even gets lucky against WSU or Washington. 2-3 more wins means we are 8-4 or 9-3 at the end of the year. We still don’t win the South, just a game or two back like usual. We’re ranked by the committee every week again to keep the streak alive. Honestly, we probably end up with a worse bowl game (thanks P12 bowl tie ins) and we end the season in a similar position as the last few years and our starting QB is graduating and we’re starting a true Junior next year with little game time experience.

      The other side is that Tyler Huntley’s learned a lot this year: he’s gotten a couple multi-int games out of the way and made some dumb fumbles trying to push too far. He’s gotten banged up going for the extra yard and learned to give himself up earlier and (hopefully) seen that he needs to work on the mesh point with Moss and decide to hadn it off a little bit more often. Hopefully he learned a lot from Troy too. A lot of Troy’s strengths are things that he could pick up with more experience and make him elite. 

      My question for the collective is: do you agree that we would have won a couple more games this year with Williams? Hindsight is 20/20 so this is in no way criticism of the coaching staff. 

      Also: if true would you give up 2-3 wins this year for 1-2 wins next year? Would you rather be 8-4 then 9-3 or 6-6 then 10-2? I think for a team that always comes up a win or two short of the south maybe this is the best way to get a legit shot at a division title. Is it worth it to be mediocre for one year to be pretty good for two years after that?

      I’m very torn on this idea. I like winning every year. I liked being ranked every year. I’d rather be good for three years than ever be mediocre. But I want to win the South and play in the Pac-12 championship, I want to see us in the Rose Bowl and I want to know what an 11 or 12 win season and a NY6 Bowl would do for recruiting. 

      This wasn’t supposed to be so long but I’d love to hear what you all think. 

    • #52442

      Tony (admin)

      Thanks for the great post. It is all speculation. We don’t really know that starting Troy would mean that we would have won all the games we did first of all.  Maybe he has a bad game in one of those.  We also don’t know if he would make it through the season without getting injured. I also think that having Tyler means we win a couple that we might not with Troy, or are more competitive in games we lost.  A bit redundant I guess but anyway.  The effects of that on morale are unknown but if we get blown out by Stanford, USC and the Washington schools who knows that happens to the team, vs being within a score of tying or winning.

      Regarding making moves this year in hopes it pays off next year, I’m not sure the coaches do that or not. I think you try to put your best team together for the next game and try to win now. If we win a couple more and Darnold goes down or something else weird happens, there is a possibility of winning the south.

      • #52445

        Ute Fan

        That’s true. Maybe Troy tears his ACL first series against North Dakota, Tyler comes in and plays well but still gets hurt against Arizona, and Cooper Bateman comes in ala Cardale Jones and we’re sitting here discussing how we’ll do against Clemson this weekend haha. The possibilities are endless.
        And you bring up a great point- Tyler played out of his mind against Washington. Played well enough to win it and that’s gotta be a huge boost to the team in the future. He’s a great competitor and I’m glad he’s a Ute. I also really appreciate what Troy Williams did for us. I think he proved himself to be a good player and a great teammate and captain.
        I agree that the coaches didn’t sit down and decide to sacrifice wins now for future relevance but I do think they saw two guys with different strengths that were even enough that they took a gamble on the long term payoff. If Tyler sticks around and stays healthy then his experience this year could get us more than a few extra wins in the future.

    • #52444

      Ute Fan

      I’d say maybe we win ASU. BUT, I don’t think we play Washington as close as we did with Troy. 

      I disagree about starting Troy. Huntley is the better QB, period. He was third in the PAC-12 is yards/game. He’s a better passer by a long shot. 

      I think he probably should have sat vs ASU. Had he rested another week, we maybe win ASU and maybe Oregon. Maybe not. 

      • #52448

        Ute Fan

        Tylers main weakness is knowing when to let go of the grip on the ball in RPO handoff. He needs to trust that the run will set up the pass….not Tyler’s running of the ball, but a true run blocking scheme to feature a downhill running back. A solid downhill running game with old fashioned smash mouth Ute blocking will do wonders for the passing game, even when we’re not picking up more than 2-3 yards…the threat of it will open the pass game.    I’d be more interested in seeing Tyler running after not seeing the pass open, than seeing him run after not thinking Zack Moss has yards.

    • #52474

      Ute Fan

      These are just a few thoughts on the Huntley versus Williams discussion. I don’t suggest one QB over the other but merely make some observations about our QB situation this year.
      1. With our porous offensive line, it was probably better to have Huntley at QB rather than Williams. Huntley was more mobile and it seemed as though Williams sat in the pocket too long and took the sack or threw up the ball up for grabs. The porous offensive line also created pressure that Williams couldn’t handle as well.
      2. Huntley has got to learn to RPO to Moss rather than play “hero” ball and run it. It makes him vulnerable to hits and injuries. I understand QB designed runs are part of the Troy Taylor offensive scheme but the RPO adds more runs to Huntley’s snaps and potential injury.
      3. The one thing that Williams couldn’t do on a consistent basis is “keep his eyes downfield. (remember USC on the 2 point conversion)” That’s one thing that Huntley could do after scrambling. It meant additional yards, crucial first downs and continued offensive flow (there were too many times when we couldn’t keep the defense off the field because the offense sputtered. Our defense tired.)
      4. The reason Tyler Huntley beat out Troy Williams despite Troy’s experience was that Huntley better fit Taylor’s offensive system, especially with the dual threat concept. I don’t know if Taylor is flexible enough to fit his personnel into his system rather than the other way around.
      5. Finally, I wish Taylor could incorporate a traditional screen pass into our playbook. It would take pressure off of the quarterback and especially on third down, as was the case against West Virginia.

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