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Paus-A versus Paus-B
Casey Paus' identity crisis
Posted 6 April 2005

In reply to his readers' questions, Malamute opens his mailbag and addresses issues relating to the probable starting quarterback, to the parallel universes surrounding Coach Tyrone Willingham and former Coach Jim Owens, and to the Arizona benchmark.

Who will the starter at quarterback be?

The answer to that question most likely depends on the type of offense that Tyrone Willingham and his offensive coordinator, Jim Lappano, install.

The potential candidates for starting quarterback are Isaiah Stanback, Carl Bonnell, Casey Paus and Johnny DuRoucher.

Isaiah Stanback (Junior, 6'-3", 205) is the most athletic of the four quarterbacks and is one of the few potential game breakers on the team. He needs to be on the field on almost every play. His speed and quick feet make him a natural for an option attack; he looked good against WSU last season, playing in a catch-up role, and would have been the starting quarterback had the Dawgs played an ensuing bowl game. His decision making is still a question.

Stanback played in 5 games last season, started one, and threw for 389 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, these numbers coming on 68 attempts and 23 completions (33.8%).  His pass efficiency was 87.61, where the number 100 is considered average.

Carl Bonnell (Sophomore, 6'-3", 200) has the footwork necessary for a QB in the West Coast offense. He gets rid of the ball quickly, with timing, tempo and rhythm being a strong ally on the battle field. If Willingham and Lappano want to install a West Coast offense, say, the dink and dunk variety, then they probably will give Bonnell a hard look; Bonnell is an ideal fit for that type of offense. 

Bonnell knows he’s good, but without swagger; he exudes confidence and, yet, he is humble. I wonder about his durability.

Bonnell appeared in 4 games last season, started 2, and threw for 228 yards, no touchdowns and 4 interceptions, these numbers accumulated on 54 attempts and 20 completions (37.04%). His pass efficiency was 57.69.

Casey Paus, now a fifth-year senior, brings the experience, leadership and dedication to duty that gives a Pac-10 coach a head start on his opposition. Trying to change his sidearm throwing motion would ruin him as a QB. That’s why it hasn’t been done in the past. Don’t blame the coaches, blame muscle memory. His footwork would be a question should he lead a West Coast offense. He needs a solid offensive line in front of him, one that can create throwing lanes.

At 6-feet-5, 220 pounds, Paus is the biggest of the UW quarterbacks; he is best suited for a Pro Set, pocket-passing team.

He played injury free last season; whereas, Bonnell and Stanback suffered injuries.

Paus played in 11 games last season, starting 8. He threw for 1476 yards, completing 42.3% of his passes (116 completions on 274 attempts). His touchdown to interception ratio (5 touchdowns to 17 picks) takes 12 points off his pass efficiency rating, which was 81.2.

I’ve never seen Johnny DuRoucher, so I can’t comment on him. But if I were a coach I’d be loath to start a redshirt freshman that has never worn the Purple and the Gold in battle, especially before a large crowd in Husky Stadium.

However, DuRoucher (6'-4", 205) seemingly has the credentials. During his three-season career at Bethel High School, Spanaway, Washington, DuRocher threw for 6,781 yards and 67 touchdowns while leading the Braves to a 34-5 record and three SPSL South titles. He enrolled at Oregon in 2003 and transferred out in the Fall of 2004 due to, what has been reported as, philosophical differences with the coaching staff. The Tacoma News Tribune named him the Player of the Year in 2002.

During my last two visits to Evergreen State College, I've watched Paus, Bonnell and Stanback in practice; let it be said, they all look about the same in drills and scrimmages. The one exception to this being that Paus executed the two-minute drill at Evergreen State College last year far better than Bonnell and Stanback.

Their parity in practice-field ability being a constant -- throw in DuRoucher as well -- gives Coach Lappano a pleasant conundrum to solve. Undoubtedly, the proverbial intangibles -- such as leadership, pocket presence, command of the huddle and offense, and play-action facileness -- will affect his decision.

The important thing is to go with one QB and stick with him as long as he lasts. The second-guessing that occurred at Evergreen last summer arguably cost the Dawgs their first game against Fresno State -- which is as important a reason as any to keep the media at bay.

If the receivers, running backs and offensive line do their job, then the quarterback should have a good season.

What's wrong with Casey Paus?

Nothing.

Seemingly, Casey Paus has an identity crisis, the Paus who played in 2003 morphed with the one who played in the first 5 Husky games of 2004 versus the Paus who played in the last 6 games of 2004. Call them Paus-A and Paus-B. (See Table 1 below).

Paus, version A, has a pass efficiency rating of 101.23, while Paus, version B, has a rating of 59.08. In the world of golf, that's like going from a 15 handicap to a 25. Paus threw about the same number of passes in each period of comparison.

In 2003, Paus played in 6 games and threw for 151 yards on 23 attempts, completing 10 passes, with 2 touchdowns and 1 pick. His pass efficiency was 118.63 on the season. With his team down 10-7 at half, Paus replaced the injured Cody Pickett and led the Huskies to 35 unanswered points in the second half to beat Oregon 42-10.

Because of his performance against Oregon in 2003, many fans thought he should have played in more games that season, a season ending in a 6-6, kid-sister-kissing downer.

In the Huskies' first 5 games in 2004, Paus completed 54 out of 116 passes for 661 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His PE was 97.78 at that point, as contrasted with his final PE of 81.2. Adding his 2003 stats to the stats from the first 5 games of 2004 gives him a rating of 101.23, this over the course of 11 games (6 in 2003 and the first 5 in 2004).

In his last 6 games of 2004, Paus's PE was 59.08. During those 6 games, he passed for 2 touchdowns and surrendered 14 picks. He completed 62 of 158 passes (39.24%) for 628 yards.

So, why was Mr. Hyde so much worse than Dr. Jeckyl?

In the main, injuries to the team, starting with the Notre Dame game last season, most likely affected Paus' performance more than any other factor. In other words, he didn't get the support he needed from his teammates, both offensively and defensively.

Table 1. Casey Paus' stats: 11 games (6 games of 2003 plus first 5 games 2004) versus the last 6 games of 2004.

Games Comp Att Yards Tds Int PE
Paus-A 64 139 812 5 4 101.23
Paus-B 62 158 628 2 14 59.08

Is Tryone Willingham bringing back Jim Owens’ Death March?

I doubt if Tyrone Willingham will reinstall the Death March at Washington, the military approach used by Jim Owens to condition his troops in 1957. Owens brought the Montlake Boys to Seattle by way of his stint under "Bear" Bryant at Junction, Texas.  Interestingly enough, however, both Owens and Willingham share some similarities.

Willingham grew up in a military town, Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is in close proximity to the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base. Owens served 4 years in the Navy during WWII.

In his early years, Owens wanted to be a lawyer. Willingham’s brother is a lawyer.

Currently, a gambling imbroglio, two big-brother investigations (the NCAA's and Pac-10's) and the firing of the three head football coaches parallel the events of the ‘50s. Former Ads Harvey Cassill and Barbara Hedges couldn’t stand the heat and had to leave the kitchen. Former coach John Cherberg (10-18, 1953-1955) exposed the slush fund run by Torchy Torrance. Rick Neuheisel (1999-2002), who sued and won his cases against the UW and the NCAA, exposed the infamous memo. Darrell Royal (1956) stayed one season, Keith Gilbertson (2003/04) two seasons.

In the ‘50s along came Owens and almost fifty years later here comes Willingham bearing the confident look of the early Owens. Owens inherited a team of malcontents; Willingham inherits a team, some of whose members failed to give 100% in a few notable games.

There is no reason Tyrone Willingham can’t perform another “miracle” at Montlake. The Big Fella did; the Little Fella can too – for the best presents come in small packages.

Why do you say that Arizona is the benchmark for the UW in the Pac-10?

Because the Arizona football team is pretty much of a constant in the conference – it has remained consistently bad during the past five years, wining just 9 of its 40 conference games. In the 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons the Huskies beat Arizona by a total margin of just 10 points (3, 3, and 4, respectively). Arizona has beaten the Huskies the last two times out, 27-22 and 23-13. 

As it turns out the Arizona benchmark would have been a good prognosticator for Washington’s finish last season, 0-8 in conference play.

Until Willingham is able to recruit some 4-and-5-star offensive and defensive linemen, the Arizona predictor will be as good as any in predicting the Huskies' future fortunes in conference play.

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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