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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 5, 2006 at 4:08 PM

Thursday practice update

Tyrone Willingham just finished meeting the media for the final time before Saturday’s showdown at USC and not much has changed with the team.
The injury situation appears status quo with Willingham saying that TE Robert Lewis, out since the first game with a broken hand, will play Saturday. He also said WR Anthony Russo (concussion) has recovered enough to play. Lewis’ return should help the Huskies run a lot more two-tight end stuff, and UW will need to give the Trojans as many different looks as they can to get something going this week.
For all the talk of the inevitable slippage in USC’s offense this year without Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, etc., the Trojans’ defense looks a lot better. It has allowed just five touchdowns in four games, three of which were on the road. And as good as the Huskies have looked at times, I’m not ready to say they have a better offense yet than either Nebraska (which scored 10 points on USC) or Washington State (22).
I’ll go into this in more detail tomorrow when I break down the game, but the Cougars’ performance is obviously the one that gives the Huskies hope. WSU was able to pass the ball on a USC secondary that now starts a junior, two sophomores and true freshman Taylor Mays. So the uptick in UW’s own passing game is coming at a good time.
As for other notes:
— Michael Ko of our staff covered practice today and reported that Willingham said PK Michael Braunstein has had a good week of practice. Braunstein missed FGs of 22 and 39 yards last week, though Willingham said the latter kick was mostly the result of poor timing with the entire unit.
— Willingham also said he has liked his team’s effort in practice this week but not the execution. He said players have had to cope with the distraction of additional media demands this week due to the early success — several were interviewed by a crew for ESPN’s “Gameday” show Saturday. He also said it has been difficult to replicate USC’s speed in practice. The media demands are part of the price of success, and it will be interesting to see how the team reacts.
— Coaches have been blasting music into practice this week in an attempt to ready the team for the noise at the Coliseum. Among Thursday’s selections was “Tribute to Troy,” the song the USC band seems to play about 1 million times per game. It’s actually the song the band plays after defensive stops.
Also, one reader asked this week about the progress of the team’s three true freshmen defensive linemen, all of whom are redshirting this season — Cameron Elisara, De’Shon Matthews and Derek Kosub.
DL coach Randy Hart said “all are doing good right now.” Hart characterized Matthews as more of an outside player (end), and Elisara and Kosub more as inside players, or tackles. Hart said the best thing is that all three players will be able to redshirt this season. In recent seasons, most players, such as DE Ceasar Rayford, were forced to see action before they were ready.

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