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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 23, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Bye week questions-answers, volume two

Questions about tight ends, James Johnson and bowl game hopes in this edition. …
Q: If Kavario Middleton was such a big loss to the Huskies, then why didn’t he catch a single pass in Montana’s big loss at Eastern Washington last Saturday?
A: I think Middleton is finding out the same thing Jeremiah Masoli is in Mississippi — it’s not that easy to just plop into a new situation a few weeks before the season starts and pick up where you left off at your old school. And in Middleton’s case, it was just a few days prior to the season. In no sport does knowing the system and practice time mean more than in football. That said, I haven’t seen more than a couple plays of Montana football this season so I can’t really speak to what’s going on with Middleton there (send all your local Montana football questions to Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune, who is pretty much the Softy of Grizzlies football).
But the Middleton that the Huskies are missing is the one who had the most catches (26) for any UW tight end last season since 2002. The one who might have made the most underrated play of the season, the leaping TD grab late in the game against Arizona, without which the Mason Foster miracle interception never happens. The one who had five catches against LSU and four at Notre Dame, and was always at least someone the opponent had to pay some real attention to. Think what you want of Middleton, but UW hasn’t replaced that yet this season.
Q: If James Johnson doesn’t heal in time to play vs USC, any chance he’s
headed for a medical RS?

A: No. From watching practice this week, it appears Johnson will be ready for USC. And UW needs him. Another thing I think is underrated is the fact that Jake Locker hasn’t exactly had the receiving corps to throw to this year that he thought he would in the spring. Johnson had 39 catches this season, Middleton 26 —- making them the third- and fourth-leading receivers of last season. But obviously Middleton is gone for good, and Johnson hasn’t been out there for any meaningful snaps. Cody Bruns had a good camp and a nice first game, and hopefully he continues to get some chances. But the Huskies, and Locker, have missed Johnson and his return couuld make a significant impact.
Q: Do you think the Huskies will be good enough by year’s end to be in the Top 25 and make a bowl game?
A: Top 25 will be hard to do short of going 7-2 or so the rest of the way. The BYU and Nebraska losses would weigh heavily in the minds of voters and I think UW would really have to go on a big streak here to get into the top 25. But luckily they don’t have to get close to that to get to a bowl game. Remember, 70 of the 120 teams will get to bowl games this year (with the NCAA holding out the option that losing teams can get invites if needed to fill out all the slots). A 6-6 record would probably get UW in (just as it did UCLA last season). And while I know frustration is mounting and disappointment setting in over the start of the season, I still think at least a 6-6 record and a bowl game is possible this year — and considering all this program has been through, that alone would still be a significant breakthrough.
More later.

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