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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 10, 2010 at 4:40 PM

The pick. …

Okay, it’s time for the pick, being written as I listen to the Presidents of the United States of America while attending the KJR Cares-a-thon.
But first, a quick digression to ask the question — did the media help portray a too rosy take on the Huskies this season?
I’ve been accused of that a few times this week, including a reader who said: “Come on, you can still do a couple more articles on (Jake) Locker’s Heisman campaign. You’ve served up more puff pieces than the Starbucks pastry group.”
First thought — I’d be making a heck of a lot more money if I switched jobs with the Starbucks guy in question so maybe I should keep going in that direction.
Second thought — Media coverage inevitably reflects the overall mood of the team.
I think all the relevant questions about this team were properly covered — namely, the questions of where a pass rush would come from, wondering if the offensive line had improved from last season, and whether the team was indeed ready to win again on the road.
But coaches painted an optimistic picture throughout camp of where they thought the team was headed, no one more so than Steve Sarkisian, who said “I love where we’re at” about a week before camp ended, and insisted that UW either had answers to the most pressing questions facing it, or would be able to work around them. And the coverage inevitably reflected that. (Sarkisian, by the way, hasn’t backed down from that at all, as I wrote in my preview for Saturday’s paper).
I also think one game is a bit too early for sweeping judgments (a sentiment I’m sure will be scoffed at in some quarters, as well). Where we wrong about the Huskies? I still think we need to wait and see. I’ve said consistently I thought UW could go 7-5 this year and make a bowl, and picked them fourth in the Pac-10 this season.
I still think all of that is possible, though obviously, some of what happened last week raises more of a question mark — especially the issues with the lines (and especially the pass rush).
But for now, I’m sticking with what I thought, though admittedly, I’ll feel a lot better with that pick if the Huskies get a big win tomorrow — if Locker looks more like a Heisman candidate, if the special teams cleans things up, if the offensive line plows a few holes, if the defense doesn’t have a critical breakdown.
Due to some things that had me out of town for some of the week, I didn’t do as much work on breaking this game down as I do (or try to).
But reading Scouting Syracuse entry made me think this games boils down to a couple key areas:
— Get the running game going well enough to set up some one-on-one matchups for Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar;
— And keep Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, making his second career road start, from getting too comfortable. Because Nassib is making his first start, SU is likely to try to get RB Delone Carter going, and UW needs to keep him in check, as well.
And obviously, there are a few other keys — create some turnovers (which would be more likely with a little more of a pass rush to force some hurried passes, etc.), play better on special teams, simply make fewer mistakes.
UW is a 13-point favorite, but I think that may make some people think this game will be a breather. It won’t be that. This isn’t Idaho State.
But it should be a victory, one that should soothe the frustration of last week a little bit. Call it UW, 28-17.

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