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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 24, 2009 at 9:29 PM

Scouting Stanford; and Chris Young update

Less than 48 hours now to the beginning of the rest of UW’s season and when we start to find out just how the Huskies will respond to beating USC.
And in Stanford, the Huskies get one of the Pac-10’s bigger mysteries.
In beating Washington State and San Jose State with ease, the Cardinal looked like what a lot of people expected to see this year — an improved team ready to break into the post-season for the first time since 2001.
But at Wake Forest, Stanford blew an early 17-point lead and lost a game to a Demon Deacon team that is also a hard club to read.
As I hope to make a regular feature on this blog this year, I again talked to a writer who covers the opposing team to get his views. So for this week, I turned to Jon Wilner blogger/writer for the San Jose Mercury News.
“There’s still a lot of mystery about Stanford, just how good are they,” Wilner said. “They’ve played 10 pretty good quarters and had two just horrendous quarters at Wake Forest, which is by far the best team they’ve played and they are still not all that good.”
The biggest problem against Wake was defending the run as the Deacons had 251 yards rushing in wearing down the Cardinal late, something UW would also like to do.
Wilner sums up Stanford’s defense this way: “Their defensive line is pretty good but they’ve had a lot of problems with breakdowns in pass defense. They’ve got those guys who were playing offense last year in the secondary now (WR Richard Sherman now at CB and RB Delano Howell, Dan’s little brother, at SS). And their linebackers are not that fast. So the back seven can be exposed. So that’s going to be the big thing for them defensively.” (By the way, you may remember Sherman as the WR who had a big day for Stanford in the “Suddenly Senior” game in 2006. Among his catches that day was a 74-yard TD).
Wilner thinks the key matchup will be Stanford’s defense against Jake Locker.
“I know he hasn’t been running a whole lot but Stanford is susceptible to that,” he said. “Their linebackers and defensive backs are not the strength of the defense and don’t have a ton of speed and they’ve always been susceptible to mobile quarterbacks and spread offenses. Locker carved them up down here two years ago.
“They have to keep him in the pocket. I think that this would be a good time (for UW) to let him do a little running — if they’ve been kind of keeping that under wraps this might be the game ( to unleash Locker).”
On the other side of the ball, Wilner said he thinks that Stanford “should be able to run the bvall a little bit and open up that play-action game, and they’ve finally got a receiver (Chris Owusu) who is pretty good. Teams are going to have to stop Toby Gerhart from getting 5-6 yards on first down. Stanford is a whole different offense if it’s second-and-seven or eight opposed to second-and-three or four. When you’ve got a freshman QB (Andrew Luck) there’s a big difference between second-and-eight and second-and-four. So that’s the other big thing — how does UW’s line hold up on first down runs and getting Luck into obvious passing situations.”
Wilner sees it as a “swing game” for each team, and that “the winner, you would think, would have a pretty decent chance to get to six (and get a bowl game).
“I think both teams are going to score and it’s going to be 30-28, 34-27, be a lot of points because I don’t think either defense is all that good and both teams have good options for getting the ball moving on the ground.”
CHRIS YOUNG GOES OFF — I also went to the Auburn-Jefferson game tonight — kind of in my neighborhood — to see a high school game and check out UW commit Chris Young (here’s good background on Young).
He’s being recruited to UW to play OLB, but I frankly didn’t get to see him do much of that because Auburn was so dominant and the game became a rout really early.
And the main reason Auburn was so dominant was Young’s play on offense. Since I had a kid in tow, I didn’t keep really exact stats.
But I did write down the five longest runs I saw of Young’s, four of which went for TDs — and those five alone added up to 230 yards.
They included a 79-yard TD run on the first play of the game, a 59-yarder in the third quarter, a 43-yard non-scoring run, and two other TD runs of 29 and 20.
It was 55-7 about three minutes into the third quarter and Young and the rest of the Auburn starters then came out of the game, so I don’t know the final. I’m assuming Young had over 250 yards or so rushing.
Anyway, he was darn impressive as a tailback and it was clearly evident he has Pac-10 athletic ability.

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