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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 1, 2009 at 10:08 PM

Five Huskies to watch Saturday

I didn’t really get to the Notre Dame scouting report this week, though I think I passed along plenty of stuff that should have you pretty up to speed on the Irish.
But in lieu of that, I thought I’d do something different — five Huskies to watch in Saturday’s game:
1, Cort Dennison. I wrote about Dennison for my story for tomorrow’s paper. He’s a backup weakside linebacker who will get his first start with E.J. Savannah almost certainly out for the game with a foot injury. The story hopefully explains much of why Dennison has risen to where he has on the depth chart. Obviously, taking over for one of the team’s more experienced defenders, Dennison will have some big shoes to fill, though he has done well in limited time this season. But Notre Dame will stress UW’s linebackers in a number of ways. The Irish have a veteran O-line that is playing well so far this season and Notre Dame is sure to test UW’s run defense. Notre Dame has also taken to doing some of the Wildcat, snapping the ball back to receiver Golden Tate. And that’s a formation that will put even more pressure on UW’s LBs, such as Dennison, to read, react and tackle well.
2, Jake Locker. This one is so obvious it probably hardly needs mentioning. But for all the acclaim that he got for his performance against USC, there will be even more eyes on him against Notre Dame. The best way to really make a name for yourself in college football is to play well against Notre Dame, especially there. And after a so-so outing against Stanford, he needs to get back to the 60 percent completion ratio of the first three games. And while Steve Sarkisian says Locker won’t start running more, it wouldn’t surprise me if in this game, he did run a couple extra times.
3, Demitrius Bronson. Just have a hunch, based on practice rotations and what Sarkisian said a couple of times this week, that Bronson will get some carries this weekend. He appears to have the potential to be as good a runner between the tackles as anyone else on the roster, something the Huskies definitely could use
4, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. The Huskies really need to find a way to mount a pass rush Saturday, and Te’o-Nesheim, as the team’s best defensive end, is the most logical candidate. Of course, opponents know that so they are concentrating their efforts on stopping him, meaning someone else also has to step up. But as a way of highlighting the issue, I’ll list Te’o-Nesheim as the player to watch when it comes to sacks. UW has just four sacks this season, three coming against Idaho. That’s actually two more than Oregon State and Arizona State (the latter really hard to believ) but still an unacceptable number. It is worth noting that the Huskies have had the fewest average passes attempted against them of any Pac-10 team (24 per game) as LSU, USC and Stanford all emphasized the run. Notre Dame might do that, as well, though given their history, it’s safe to assume they’ll throw a lot, too. And they like to throw deep, which means the QB standing back in the pocket for a while. UW has to find a way to get pressure.
5, Jermaine Kearse. Some found it curious how little Kearse appeared to play in the second half last week against Stanford — he was on the field for about half of the mere 21 offensive plays UW ran in the second half and didn’t have a pass thrown his way. But given that Sarkisian said this week that Jordan Polk’s role may be streamlined, it seems safe to assume that won’t happen again — Kearse would be the most likely beneficiary of Polk getting fewer plays (and it also looks like Devin Aguilar may not be able to do much again, as well, further shortening the rotation). And given Notre Dame’s issues with its pass defense, there should be some opportunities there for big plays. It will be up to Kearse (and James Johnson and D’Andre Goodwin) to make the most of those chances.
BLOUNT BACK? — I see a few of you have already seen the stories that Oregon is apparently considering reinistating LeGarrette Blount. I’ll wait to comment until I hear what the plan is, though the one thing I would say is that the Pac-10 has to have been consulted on whatever it is given the vigorous nature in which the conference backed Oregon’s initial penalty.
Oregon plays at UW on Oct. 24.

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