Fresh off a big win over USC, the Beavers are back at home to take on the Washington Huskies. We reached out to our friends at UW Dawg Pound to get a sense of how the Huskies are doing this season. Here’s what the Dawg Pound’s John Sayler had to say.
Dylan Morris seemed to struggle early in the season but performed well against California. How do you think he’s doing in his second season?
Morris is a bit frustrating. He has a gunslinger mentality, but also misses opportunities for big plays.
When in rhythm, he has really good chemistry with about 5 different WRs and TEs. He’s been without the majority of these guys up until the last two games, and Morris has gotten better with his top 3 targets available. Receiver and tight end is a position of strength for the Huskies, and UW is only down a couple guys now versus being totally depleted at WR in the Montana and Michigan games.
Overall for Morris, it’s about making better decisions. His arm is good, and his mobility is fine. He just needs to take his time and digest what the defense is showing. He may never get better at that part; using his cadence better, that kind of thing.
Washington’s run defense seems to have been spotty this season, how do you think they’ll plan to contain the Oregon State running game?
The conventional run defense was better than I expected against Cal, but where they really struggled was containing Chase Garbers when he kept the ball. Jimmy Lake has always been reluctant to play a ton of guys in the box to try to stop the run, because he doesn’t want to give up big plays. The Huskies don’t have the same caliber of DTs at this point as they did a few years ago, so this strategy has really exposed UW as a team that can be run against.
Cal was not super successful at it, but I fear Oregon State has a better overall attack and it will cause UW problems.
Oregon State’s secondary gave up some big plays against USC, but also pulled in three interceptions that dramatically shifted momentum. How do you think they’ll match up with Washington’s passing game?
Morris is a risk taker, so INTs are a good possibility. UW figures to throw a lot in this game, whether they are behind or not. It just seems like the best matchup. The Huskies were the most healthy they have been at WR this season against Cal, and even though they figure to be without star TE Cade Otton for a second week (Covid), the WR group is emerging as the strength of this football team. Jalen McMillan is the primary big play threat, but Terrell Bynum and Rome Odunze are dynamic in the passing game as well. The Huskies are going to need lots of points in this one if it goes to script.
Oregon State’s offensive line has been very solid so far this season. Who are the pass rushers Beaver fans should keep an eye on Saturday?
UW has pass rush issues. They do get decent pressure at times, but no one is emerging as that guy who can get home and drag down the QB. Ryan Bowman, Cooper McDonald, Bralen Trice, Savelle Smalls. All these guys get work off the edge and are OK at flushing the QB.
Honestly, the best pass rushers at finishing the job have been the DBs when they blitz. So Nolan will need to watch out for that.
After the loss against Montana Jimmy Lake came under a lot of fire. Are there concerns with Washington’s leadership going forward?
Yeah, sure. Very concerned. Remember how the Jonathan Smith hire felt when the Beavers went 2-10 his first season? I’m sure there are tons of ideas of firing Lake, and hot seat talk, and all that. But he is going to get more of a chance than 7 games to prove he can coach. Chris Petersen is a tough act to follow, but Lake’s assistant hires have not been popular, and the Huskies are struggling to find that post-Petersen identity.
What’s your prediction for the game?
OSU is favored in this game, and they deserve to be (probably by more than the 2.5 points). The Huskies haven’t been able to put together two good halves against good competition. It is Pac-12 after dark.. so it can (and probably will) be wild, but I’ll take OSU 31-27
Oregon State and Washington kick off at 6:00 PM PT on Saturday. You can watch the game on the Pac-12 Networks or get down to Reser and see the team in person.