Huskies have problems running

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, September 30, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports


Herald Writer

EUGENE, Ore. – Although the Washington Huskies got away with its four-man rotation in the backfield in their first three games, Oregon’s defensive schemes and energetic play put that to a crashing halt.

Washington gained a season-low 111 yards on the ground in its 23-16 defeat to the Ducks Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Starting tailback Paul Arnold led the Huskies with 38 yards on eight carries. Out of the four tailbacks, Willie Hurst had the next most carried with four. He netted just 8 yards.

And although Washington went into Saturday’s game leading the conference in rushing at better than 190 yards a game, something’s clearly missing.

“I don’t think we’ve run the ball effectively as we’ve wanted at any time this year,” UW coach Rick Neuheisel said. “I think we have to do better and we really need to evaluate it.”

The evaluation starts with the Huskies offensive line, which had problems dealing with the Ducks’ scheme of bringing eight and sometimes nine defenders into the box.

“Oregon did a great job,” UW offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson said. “And we weren’t as physical, knocking off the ball like we’ve been doing.”

Added Neuheisel: “We’ve got to get down to basics. We can’t lean on people. We’ve got to move them.”

Arnold has received much criticism for being tentative and failing to show an ability to break long runs. In the four games this season, Arnold has gained 156 yards on 35 carries.

Neuheisel, however, says the criticism is unfair and that Arnold remains the starter.

“I don’t know why everybody says Paul is struggling,” Neuheisel said. “He made some big plays for us today. Paul Arnold is a sophomore tailback who’s trying his best. Right now, we’ve evaluated that he’s our best tailback.”

The most alarming stat Saturday was time of possession. The Huskies, who led the Pacific-10 Conference in that department last season at 32 minutes, 7 seconds a game, controlled the ball just 24:28 Saturday, more than 11 minutes fewer than Oregon.

While the Ducks have the reputation as a quick-strike team, they had 229 yards of rushing offense and beat the bigger Huskies up front.

“In think our improvement this year has come at the line of scrimmage,” UO coach Mike Bellotti said. “I’ve said many times that the game starts there. Everybody thinks we’re a flash-and-dash team, but we’re not. We’re going to start with the line of scrimmage.”

After Saturday, that’s exactly where the Huskies will start as well.

  • Autzen proves itself: It was deafening, raucous and at times obscene.

    But most of all, the crowd at Autzen Stadium prevented the Huskies from adequately changing plays at the line of scrimmage.

    Quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo checked off twice, and nothing good came of it. The last came midway through the fourth quarter. On third-and-2 on the Oregon 47 and the 46,153 fans screaming, Tuiasosopo made hand signals to his receivers, walked up to each member of the offensive line and yelled and repeated the instructions to his backfield.

    Unfortunately, freshman tailback Rich Alexis ran the wrong way on an option play designed to go left, and Tuiasosopo was thrown for a 6-yard loss.

    “You can’t audible here,” Gilbertson said. “You can’t even try. No one can hear. Forget it.”

  • Oregon’s short field: While Washington was pinned down deep in its own territory for much of the game, Oregon’s circumstance was entirely different.

    While the Huskies started their drives, on average, on its own 17-yard line, Oregon began its drives on its own 47. On seven occasions, the Ducks started in Washington territory.

    Considering that, Washington was fortunate to have given up just 23 points.

    “I thought our defense was valiant in terms of keeping them from getting too many points, considering they started almost every drive inside the 50-yard line” Neuheisel said. “It was just a rough day trying to get things on track.”

  • Short routes: John Anderson’s 38-yard field goal was the first points Oregon had given up in the first quarter. The Ducks have outscored their opponents 40-3 in the opening frame … Washington receiver Terry Tharps’ 22-yard catch in the second quarter was his first grab in a Husky uniform … Maurice Morris’ 152 rushing yards are the most given up by the Huskies to an Oregon back since Bobby Moore (now Ahmad Rashad) gained 191 yards on Oct. 16, 1971. Morris’ day was the second-highest total by a Duck against Washington since UO officials started keeping rushing records in 1948 … In a very physical game, there was just one injury considered serious. Oregon defensive tackle Walker Templeton suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon and will miss the rest of the season.
    Talk to us

    > Give us your news tips.

    > Send us a letter to the editor.

    > More Herald contact information.

  • More in Sports

    Jackson senior and UNLV commit Yanina Sherwood is The Herald’s 2024 Softball Player of the Year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    2024 Softball Player of the Year: Jackson’s Yanina Sherwood

    With both her arm and bat, Sherwood led the Timberwolves to their second-straight state title.

    Kamiak’s Synclair Mawudeku (2) pitches during a 4A softball game between Kamiak and Jackson at Kamiak High School on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. Jackson won, 9-0. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    The Herald’s 2024 All-Area softball team

    Editor’s note: The Player of the Year and All-Area teams were chosen… Continue reading

    Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba catches the game-winning touchdown pass as Eagles cornerback James Bradberry defends in the fourth quarter on Dec. 18. (Yong Kim / Tribune News Service)
    Seahawks look to fully unlock Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s potential

    Seattle is expecting good things from the receiver, who was taken 20th overall in the 2023 draft.

    Everett 8-year-old Ryder Romano was selected to compete in the prestigious Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament. (Photo courtesy of Brittany Walker)
    Everett 8-year-old selected to prestigious hockey tournament

    Ryder Romano will play at the Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament on July 1-7 in Edmonton, Alberta.

    Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) celebrates a stop of Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) during the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Nov. 30, 2023. The Cowboys won, 41-35. (Tom Fox / Tribune News Service)
    Captain of the Seahawks defense? Why it could be Witherspoon

    The talented second-year cornerback brought ‘outrageous energy’ to Seattle’s minicamp.

    Drew Bryson, the new Arlington boys basketball head coach, at Arlington High School on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Arlington taps alum Bryson to continue boys hoops tradition

    The former Eagles star succeeds Nick Brown as Arlington’s head coach.

    The Everett Silvertips remain confident in signing defenseman Landon DuPont, the first-overall selection in this year’s WHL prospects draft, who’s considered a generational talent. (Photo courtesy of Chris Mast)
    Patterson: Have patience Tips fans, offseason news is coming

    Everett is close to hiring a new GM and new coach, and still confident of signing Landon DuPont.

    Dan Parker with the Snohomish High School girls cross country team. (Elizabeth Armstrong / The Herald)
    2024 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame class announced

    Five athletes, one coach, one contributor and one team are being inducted.

    Why Seahawks are joining NFL trend with joint practices

    Seattle will conduct practices with the Tennessee Titans prior to their preseason game.

    Seattle Storm head coach Noelle Quinn on the sidelines June 15, 2023, during a game against the Las Vegas Aces in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal, file)
    As WNBA exposure grows, Storm content to quietly stack wins

    Amid the Caitlin Clark-fueled buzz, Seattle has won seven of its past eight.

    AquaSox second baseman Brock Rodden throws out a runner June 5 during a game against the Vancouver Giants at Funko Field in Everett. Rodden has been the team’s top offensive performer so far this season. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    AquaSox week in review: Keystone capers buoy Everett

    Brock Rodden and Josh Hood have a friendly rivalry that pushes both players.

    Snohomish Summer Smash returns for ninth edition

    Registration is open for the tennis tournament for high schoolers, which takes place July 18-21.

    Support local journalism

    If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.