The 2011 season is over. That means report cards are due.
Up next: Washington
Offense: The Huskies ranked seventh in the Pac-12 with 410 yards per game and fourth with 33.4 points per game. The surprising news is those numbers were both substantially better than 2010 — 363 ypg and 22 ppg — with first-year starter Keith Price, a sophomore, than they were with senior Jake Locker, who was picked eighth overall in the 2011 NFL draft. While RB Chris Polk had another strong season, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors, the Huskies were not great running the football — 154.31 ypg — and they surrendered 2.62 sacks per game, which is a likely reason Price was banged up most of the year. And Price was the biggest positive story of the season, ranking seventh in the nation in passing efficiency, completing 67 percent of his passes with 33 TDs and 11 interceptions.
Defense: The Huskies defense struggled mightily — see the Alamo Bowl disaster against Baylor — which is why coordinator Nick Holt was fired at the end of the season. The Huskies ranked 106th in the nation in total defense (453.3 ypg) and 108th in scoring defense (35.9 ppg). They ranked last in the conference in third-down conversion defense, with foes converting 49.1 percent of the time. They were surprisingly mediocre in passing efficiency defense, ranking sixth in the conference, and rushing defense, ranking 6th (142.6 ypg). But the bottom line is the overall numbers, which were bad. Second-team All-Pac-12 LB Cort Dennison was the only Husky to earn All-Conference honors on defense, which showed a number of players regressed from their promise of 2010.
Overall: Last year, the Huskies started slowly and finished strong. This year, it was the opposite: They were 5-1 when they went to Stanford on Oct. 22. That 65-21 beatdown started a run where they won just two of their final seven games. The Huskies were consistently outclassed when they played ranked foes, losing to Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and USC, by at least 13 points, and they lost a late-season game at woeful Oregon State by 17 points. There has been a lot of positive momentum this offseason due to coaching hires, particularly defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi. But the 2011 season slowed down some of the positive momentum created by coach Steve Sarkisian's previously impressive rebuilding project.