During his Weekly Press Conference with the media, Husky head coach fell on the sword like every good is supposed to after an unexpected catastrophic loss. Every coach has had that “ waterloo” moment. The trick is to learn from it and by any means do not have multiple instances. A loss yes, a soul-searching mirror-looking catastrophic loss should happen once in a lifetime.
So, the question is how will Lake and his coaching staff respond on Saturday when the team travels to Ann Arbor for the first time in 19 years to face the Michigan Wolverines. Will it be wholesale changes up and done the starting line up? Going into the season the Huskies offensive line was ranked in the top ten nationally. In Saturday’s loss, the Huskies averaged just 2.4 yards per rushing and 4.9 yards per completion. How do you change those stats against a Michigan team that steam-rolled Western Michigan 47-14?
“Yeah, there’s no question. We did not expect that result at all. I think what we more expected is what happened on that first drive – not that the whole first drive was perfect either, or it’s never going to be perfect. But I think we were expecting more of the same. And for that not to happen was unfortunate. That’s what we’re doing here to fix. It starts with coaches. We’ve got to coach better. And once we coach better our players have to play better. But it starts with me first. We’ve got to give these guys a good plan to go out there and execute. We know guys are going to change it up, and when they change it up, we’ve got to be ready to have that next response ready to go.”
SOLID FOOTBALL FROM ALL THREE PHASES OF THE GAME
If the Huskies are to have any chance against the Wolverines, they will need to play sound fundamental football on all three phases of the game. A tried-and-true formula for success for any football team. After evaluating the film Lake admitted that the special teams were not so special.
“I think special teams were solid except for the return game. We gave up two punt returns that we typically have not given up around here. That’s something we need to clean up. We knew they had a good returner, and we missed a couple tackles in the return game. The other part I can think of with special teams is of course we’d like to make that long field goal. We were close. It almost went in, but almost doesn’t count.”
The return game should show a marked improvement on Saturday against Michigan. The Huskies have speed on their roster and a week is plenty of time to make scheme adjustments.
DECENT DEFENSIVE EFFORT ?
When asked about his team’s defensive effort Lake believed the unit put the team in a position to win.
“Defensively, a lot of positives, holding the team down to three points until deep into the fourth quarter. Still some things to clean up. Did not play perfectly at all. But I thought we did play well on third down. We didn’t get the sacks that we wanted, but we also forced three holding penalties by their offensive line, which almost results in sacks when they’re going back to second-and-20 and third-and-20. But we still want to get some more pass rush. And then we didn’t get any turnovers.”
The Wolverines offense racked up 550 yards in total offense 334 of which were on the ground in Saturday win over Western Michigan. Three different running backs rushed for over 70 yards and scored a touchdown. Quarterback Cade McNamara completed nine of 11 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns and exit the game in the third quarter. Against Montana, the Huskies officially had one sack for zero yards. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory will have to find a way to create pressure against the Wolverines.
The question is how will he do this? Stacking the box and risk the chance of getting beat deep? Disguise blitzes from the end, middle linebackers, and safeties which will make the unit vulnerable to the run? It will probably take a little bit of all the above.