Well, as of writing this there is still going to be a football contest between the Oregon State Beavers and the Washington Huskies tomorrow, so I talked to John Sayler from our friends at UW Dawg Pound about what’s going on up in Seattle.
So, uh, what did y’all end up doing with your Saturday off last week? Cause my Saturday was ruined by sad late night football.
Now that you mention it, I guess my Saturday was a lot more relaxing not having to wait until 7:30 pm to watch the Huskies slog one out with Cal into the wee hours. And when Washington loses a game late at night, I don’t really sleep very well, so I feel your pain from last week for sure.
What’s the vibe in Seattle regarding the Jimmy Lake era?
Lake has a high approval rating from Husky fans in general, because the defense has been so good during his time at UW. Couple that with the fact that he has never lost a single game as a head coach. Then you apply the optimistic fan “This guy is amazing and has never let me down…the sky is the limit…we want Bama” quotient, and the vibe is all positive (for now).
His recruiting and development of defensive players, especially in the defensive backfield, has been impressive. He has also proven excellent at scheming and gameplan execution on defense. What remains to be seen is how he transitions to being the captain of the entire ship. Let the second guessing begin Saturday night.
Give a quick breakdown of what Beav Fans should expect from the Husky offense and which players to watch out for.
In case you haven’t heard, we don’t know who the Husky starting QB will be. That’s pretty fun (not really), and reminiscent of 2015 when Jake Browning ran out with the offense to begin the first series of the first game; the very first time we learned he was the #1 quarterback.
A popular media choice (guess) is the grad transfer dual-threat QB Kevin Thomson, because he has the only starting experience at any college level. Jacob Sirmon is the current #1 in a theoretical pecking order, since he finished last season as the backup to Jacob Eason.
Ethan Garbers has the ideal size (Sirmon is almost TOO big at 6-5, 240), and honestly, the best high school tape. Lake seems like the kind of coach who would roll the dice on a true freshman, if it’s the best QB he has. Dylan Morris is the 4th option, a 6’0” redshirt frosh who is mobile in the pocket and accurate.
Washington wants to run the football, and there will be a few running backs getting carries. This team boasts the biggest O-Line in UW history (averaging around 320 lbs per man), so the Huskies seem poised to at least try to be a running football team.
Richard Newton (#6) is the most explosive runner, but also look for the smooth stylings of Sean McGrew (#5) to be showcased. 5th year senior Kamari Pleasant (#24) is listed at #1 on the depth chart (surprising). He’s a bigger back who has never really broken through in his three seasons. I expect it to be primarily Newton and McGrew, but we won’t really know until Saturday night.
The Huskies have some nice playmakers in the receiving game as well, with physical wideouts Tyrell Bynum (#4) and Puka Nacua (#12) expected to lead the way. Tight end Cade Otton (#87) is arguably the best all-around player on the offense.
Same question, but for defense.
Nickle DB Elijah Molden (#3) could have gone pro. Maybe he should have gone pro. But instead he is back for his true senior season. He is just one of those annoying guys that pops up everywhere making plays. He’s on most of the pre-season All-America teams, several as a first-team selection.
The defense was hit harder with Covid-19 opt outs than the offense. OLB Joe Tryon & DT Levi Onwuzurike were All-Conference players, and Husky fans were really pumped they decided to come back for 2020; until the pandemic hit, when they both declared for the draft. The Huskies are pretty deep along the D-Line, so the Tryon loss hits harder.
The UW pass rush has been an issue the past few seasons. In 2019, Tryon emerged as a legit edge rusher with eight sacks. Laiatu Latu (#13) is expected to step into Tryon’s role. Latu is a world-class rugby player, who brings tremendous athleticism to the position.
Look for the Huskies to employ five DBs on regular downs, and six or even seven on passing downs. UW will try to contain Jermar Jefferson and the OSU running game with a lighter front, daring the Beavers to run and relying on their good-tackling secondary to keep the gains minimal. If this proves ineffective, and UW needs to sub in more linebackers, it bodes well for the Beaver offense.
Prediction for Saturday’s Chris Peterson disciple bowl... wait no. Discipowl... Discibowl? whatever it worked in my head.
The Beavers didn’t look great in the first half last week against WSU, but played better as the game went on. Still, if they allowed over 220 yards on the ground to the Cougs, it’s hard to imagine them slowing down the UW running game. In fairness to Oregon State, when you prepare for Wazzu, you don’t expect a downhill runner like Deon McIntosh to come at you all night. The defensive gameplan will be vastly different this week; OSU will know the run is coming and be prepared to deal with it.
Washington’s mystery QB will need to stretch the field early, and move the chains in the passing game to loosen things up. Since we don’t know anything about the Huskies so far (especially the QB situation), it’s difficult to predict what we will see from UW on either side of the ball.
Let’s call it a “slog it out” 31-13 win for Washington.
Be sure to check out the other end of our conversation over at UW Dawg Pound