The Washington Huskies had a first down on Utah’s 16-yard line with just inside two minutes remaining in the first half holding a 14-7 lead. Kyle Whittingham decides to bring pressure on first down, and it works. Utah brings a blitz again on second down. Again, it works as Jake Browning retreats, stiff-arms the DT, and dumps the ball at the feet of Myles Gaskin while having his body driven into the turf. Third and 26, the Utes only rush four, but Utah doesn’t care if its a screen pass; their #1 priority is to get to Browning as quickly as possible. The screen pass timing is horribly disrupted as the defensive end beats Jared Hilbers, causing Browning to hold the ball until a passing lane opens up. The free rusher pounds Browning again.
It’s coming, people; it’s coming this week and next week and again and again until the Huskies show that they can beat the blitz.
Well, it starts with better play from the offensive line. Sure, on a screen pass rushers are allowed to think they are getting to the QB while offensive linemen release to block downfield for the running back. But the guys who are supposed to block need to actually get a hand (preferably more) on the rushers. Correctly identifying who to block has been a major problem.
Jake Browning has made some really lousy plays against pressure, and that will not go unnoticed by opponents. Retreating a step to buy some time? Fine. The play below basically iced the game, giving the Dawgs a first down and allowing them to milk the clock below three minutes and deplete Utah of all their timeouts:
The blitz is picked up momentarily by Gaskin, and Henry Bainivalu does manage to get a hand (but not much more) on one of the rushers. This is not pretty by Browning, but effective. He originally wants Drew Sample, and as the rush approaches he sees Aaron Fuller about to come free behind the linebacker. The two-step retreat is the only way he gets the time to complete this pass.
The problem is that if Fuller is not coming open, Browning probably does the retreat anyway. Hilbers does his job against the rush end, forcing him behind the pocket, but that would be right into a backpedaling Jake Browning. Hopefully Browning just takes that sack instead of trying to make something happen, which is what he was doing last season. It’s what he needs to do going forward when the line breaks down and no one is open.
What’s the plan for beating these blitzes?
How does the Husky offense deal with opponents who are bringing extra rushers regularly?
Better blocking/recognition from the offensive line.
Better/quicker decisions from Jake Browning
More hot routes as safety valves
All of the Above
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