Welcome to the first Bow Down SitRep. For those who never served in the military or haven't watched Blackhawk Down 17 times, a SitRep (or Situation Report) is a status report that provides readers a clear, concise understanding of the situation—focusing on meaning or context, in addition to the facts.
QB Competition Postmortem
With the whole QB competition in the rear view mirror, a few things are clear. First, the approach Chris Petersen and OC/QB Coach Bush Hamdan took backfired. They wanted to pick the best QB, utilize the competition to make sure the QB position was as well-prepared as possible, and preserve depth. While we (and they) believe they succeeded on the first item, they failed on the other two. While everybody involved was polite in public about Jake Haener's departure, our understanding is that in private Petersen feels burned and is quite unhappy with Haener.
Tight End: Tight
We understand Junior TE Jacob Kizer has returned to practice, after missing essentially all of Fall camp with back issues. This is good news for the beleaguered Tight End position, where past recruiting failures and injuries had left the Dawgs perilously thin. We know that TE Coach Jordan Paopao is feeling the heat; his last contract renewal was for a single year only (versus the more typical 2-3 year assistant's contract) and it didn't take too much reading between the lines to sense displeasure with his recruiting performance during Petersen's press conference yesterday.
Party Like it is 1990?
We heard that somebody close to the program who has a good perspective on such things said that this season reminds him of 1990, with a new QB taking over and an infusion of young talent. For youngsters out there, that's a pretty positive comparison.
An Actual Social Media Presence: the New Normal?
Suddenly, as if by magic, the video content that the football program has been putting out is absolutely top notch, both in terms of production values and messaging. We have also noticed that the other content the official Twitter account sends out has been much more on-point. And even Petersen is using Twitter for more than the periodic "WOOF" post. We had heard that Athletic Director Jen Cohen has been pushing Petersen to make the program more accessible. Whether the enhanced social media presence is a result of that pressure from Cohen, the new relationship with Adidas, or the realization that it is necessary to compete in recruiting at the elite level is unclear.
That true Freshman Safety Cam Williams can come in and secure a starting spot on one of the best defenses in the country, while guys like WRs Puka Nacua (Freshman) and Austin Osborne (RS-Freshman) aren't even on the depth chart for a bad offense (#88 in points/game last season) is disconcerting. We are not worried about new WR Coach Junior Adams (yet). We are concerned that it indicates no real change in mindset or approach on the offensive side of the ball. Petersen's comments on the WR position during his press conference yesterday didn't make us feel any better.
Depth Chart Reactions
The same informed observer that made the 1990 comparison believes that Nacua, ILB Jackson Sirmon, and BUCK Laiatu Latu are all better than the guys in front of them right now.
True Freshman Safety Asa Turner appearing on the initial depth chart indicated a couple things: defensive back is one position group where young talent seems to be allowed to rise to the top very quickly and Turner made the right choice in coming to the UW over going to Notre Dame, which had him slotted as a future Linebacker.
Sophomore Offensive Tackle Henry Bainivalu didn't appear on the depth chart at all, which is a change from the Spring when he was running with the second unit at Right Tackle. We have heard that Bainivalu is considered by his peers to be the most naturally gifted of all of the OLs on campus, but for some reason he has not distinguished himself enough to earn a meaningful role yet.
Although he didn't appear on the Two-Deep, we are told RS-Freshman Running Back Richard Newton has earned a lot of trust and that we should expect to see quite a bit of him.
2020 Recruiting Class Update
In just a few months the 2020 recruiting class has gone from mostly empty to pretty close to wrapped up. As we see it, there are three key remaining recruits on the board, all on the defensive front: Kennedy's Sav'ell Smalls, Narbonne's Jordan Banks, and Draper (UT) defensive lineman Xavier Carlton. We believe the recruitment of Smalls is in a good place right now. We also are feeling increasingly confident that Banks can be closed out on his official visit for the USC game. We know far less about the state of play with Carlton, though we understand the staff is fairly focused on him. There are other guys the staff is still recruiting (including the usual "mystery recruit" rumors), but those three are our focus.
2021 Recruiting Class Update
With the 2020 class nearing completion, Twitter follow analysis makes it pretty clear that UW is starting to take serious stock of its 2021 target list. This is typical for top recruiting teams throughout the country (Miami has 12 commitments, Texas 7, etc). With 5 in-state offers already out (and at least 1-2 more on the way – O’Dea’s OL Owen Prenctice being at the top of list), the 2021 cycle will likely be the fastest ever for the Huskies. We expect the Dawgs to have more 2021 commits at this time next year than the 19 UW currently has for 2020.