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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 31, 2007 at 12:14 PM

Keys to the game

As the title suggests, here are some keys to tonight’s game (not necessarily in order of importance, just in order of how I thought them up):
1, Turnovers. Get some, and don’t give any away. The latter part of that may be most critical with Jake Locker getting his first start, in case you haven’t heard. The UW offense will feature some new wrinkles taken from the offenses of the likes of West Virginia and Florida, and you’ll likely see some option plays. That, obviously, means the ball will be flying around a little bit. UW has to make sure it takes care of the ball. It’ll be fun to finally see the whole offense as Husky coaches have gone to great pains to shield it from the public — trust me, you didn’t see any of the new stuff in either the Spring Game or the one scrimmage that was open to the public. You’ll see some quite different looks tonight.
2, Paul Homer. Was talking to someone who knows a lot more football than he did and he said Homer’s potential value to the Huskies can’t be overstated, calling him the best blocking fullback UW has had in a decade or so (since Pat Conniff, at least). Homer’s blocking will be especially critical on those option plays. Figure the Huskies to be in two-back sets quite a bit, sometimes with no tight ends, to utilize Homer’s blocking skill (Luke Kravitz will also get his share of playing time but he’s regarded as more of a running fullback with Homer the better blocker).
3, Don’t let Jameel McClain get any free shots on Locker. The Orange surely knows all about Locker and how important he is to the new-look offense. UW has to keep Locker upright. Syracuse is sure to try to put McClain in positions to take advantage of UW’s young left side of the offensive line.
4, Don’t give up big plays. This especially pertains to the inexperienced secondary. Syracuse’s offense will likely feature a lot of short passing routes (a staple of the West Coast offense and also said to be a good fit for QB Andrew Robinson who is said to be more of an accurate-type thrower than a deep bomber). The Huskies need to play those routes correctly and make the tackle when it is there and not let short gains turn into long ones.
5, Win the special teams battle. Both teams have some issues on special teams, and obviously we know all about UW’s two new kickers. The Huskies can’t give up free yards in the punting and kickoff games and have to convert FGs when they are there. Also, there are likely to be quite a few young players on the special teams (walk-on Fred Wiggs will apparently be on some of the teams as well), so again, sure tackling will be important.
6, Stay calm. Syracuse is sure to make a few plays at times that will get the crowd riled up. The Huskies, especially the younger players, will have to weather the storm. It’s worth pointing out that the Huskies actually did this real well last season, when they were almost a better road team than they were at home.

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