The Washington Huskies started their Pac-12 gauntlet last week, knocking off Stanford in a big upset victory in Seattle on the big stage. This week, they do it again in primetime, against the Oregon Ducks. The Dawgs will be traveling to Eugene to take on our arch nemesis, the Pondsquatters in the second of three brutal games to start off their conference schedule.
Fans of Washington saw a whole different team last week then we were used to seeing and would like them to come out this week the same way.
This year’s Ducks team is not like what we have seen in the recent past. They still have the big play offense and explosive capability, but they look more beatable then years past.
It’s going to take some big plays and composure from the Huskies, but if players step up like they did last week, the Huskies can compete in and win this game.
Here are 5 Huskies who need to impress in order to help defeat Oregon.
Whether his offensive line blocks for him or not, Keith Price is going to have to deliver one of his greatest performances yet. This Oregon defense is fast and he will need to release the ball very quickly in order to avoid sacks and being hit. He’s going to need to look to Kasen Williamsa lot in quick out situations in order to beat the fast defensive rush.
We know Price can do it, but can his teammates step up to help him?
Last week, Price didn’t look in the direction of Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins very much and will need to do so this week.
Quick thinking, quick and accurate passes…those are the keys for Price in this game.
Bishop Sankey had a breakout performance against a Stanford team that nobody thought the Huskies could run on. 100+ yards and a win later, the Huskies may have found the running game again. Sankey will have to find the holes in the quicker instead of trying to hit the edges and taking off. The Oregon defense is too quick and will catch him if he tries to get that edge on them.
Not only will he need to just eat away yardage, but he will need to make a big play like his big run against Stanford. It not only puts points on the board, but it hypes the team up to levels never seen before. If the Huskies play their cards right, they could rip of a big play or two using Sankey as a receiver out of the backfield ala Chris Polk.
Regardless, Sankey will have to make his own yards and will have to run out of his mind once again this week.
John Timu & Thomas Tutogi
If I gave each of these guys their own section, they would say the same thing so I condensed them. First of all, Thomas Tutogi is leading this Husky team in tackles…off the bench. That says something in how big of a help he has been, especially last week. Both Tutogi and John Timu played a huge part in stifling Stepfan Taylor and the Stanford ground attack.
They’re going to have to do it again this week. The only problem is, they’re not dealing with bruisers like Taylor this week. They’re dealing with quick, agile, finesse runners like DeAnthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner.
These 2 linebackers are going to need to help cover the edges if the Oregon runners try to go outside with the ball. Conversely, they are also going to need to be versatile enough to crowd the line and close any holes that may open up for the Ducks running backs.
It’s not going to be an easy task at all, but after last week…anything is possible.
Shaq Thompson came onto the scene immediately after his arrival at Washington as a true freshman this year. He has been hands down one of the best defenders on the team this season and has displayed some serious tenacity. He will need to step his game up even more this week heading to Oregon.
Oregon’s offensive attack is fast paced and explosive and will likely try to key in on Thompson being a true freshman starter. Thompson has to be ready for the challenge and attack it head on.
The offensive onslaught will come in all aspects so Shaq will need to have his head on a swivel and be ready to chase down slippery running backs and to come up on the line to make key stops.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins & Kasen Williams
I mentioned both Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kasen Williasm earlier, but more needs to be said. These two are the 2 biggest offensive weapons on this Husky team. Last week, Williams played a big part in the win over Stanford while ASJ was almost a non-factor. They both need to be heavily involved this week.
Like I said, Price is going to be under fire all game long and will need to throw some quick outs and slants to his receivers. Williams will need to be ready to make some plays and get some serious YAC with these types of passes.
ASJ will need to find a way to expose the middle of the field so that Price can open up the deep pass and the run game.
He will also need to have some big blocks for Sankey rushes or those quick outs to Williams.
Basically, the Huskies are going to need an all out performance for the whole game again like last week. Oregon is probably the quickest team Washington will face this season and will need to keep their composure and not tire quickly against a seemingly never ending onslaught.