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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 1, 2006 at 6:14 PM

The pick – Huskies

OK, going out on a limb to pick a 19-point favorite to win a home game, I know.
But we’re not only picking UW to win the game Saturday but to cover the spread — the official pick in The Times on Saturday will read Washington 28, San Jose State 7.
That score indicates my belief that the Husky defense will dominate this game. And that while the offense may take a while to get going, and may need to be set up a bit by the defense and special teams, it will eventually score enough to make the game a relative breather.
I expect the offense to be a little sluggish at times mostly because the Huskies are breaking in an offensive line that features two players who have never played a down of Division I football (Juan Garcia, Ben Ossai) and another who has relatively little experience (Chad Macklin). San Jose State uses the double-eagle flex defense that can confuse even the most veteran of lines, so it figures UW could struggle with it for a while.
Of course, the Huskies will throw out some new wrinkles of their own that could alternately catch San Jose State a little off guard, particularly the running of Isaiah Stanback.
Expect to see the Huskies use a shotgun formation that gives Stanback the option to run quite a bit.
Also expect Stanback to throw a few deep passes early against a Spartans secondary that is often left in man-to-man coverage. Hit one or two of those, and UW could put up a few more points than I am calling for.
San Jose State does have a veteran offensive line that helped the Spartans average more than 200 yards rushing over the final five games last season. That included 211 against Fresno State. Still, I think the UW defensive line will have the upper hand in that matchup
The key to the Huskies’ defensive effort could be how well the linebacking corps holds up. Dan Howell is a new starter, and Scott White is at a new position, and it’s common in any opener to have a few missed assignments. The Huskies have to make sure those don’t turn into big plays. The same holds in the secondary, where FS Jason Wells looks like the real deal but has to be expected to make a few mistakes in what will be the first start of his D-I career.
Having gone 3-19 the past two years, the Huskies will take any kind of win Saturday. Still, I think anything less than a fairly comfortable win has to be considered at least a slight disappointment, and also slightly alarming.

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