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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 16, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Tuesday links — Huskies hope to defuse the Pistol

It’s no secret that one of the real keys for Washington in Thursday night’s game against UCLA is stopping (or containing) UCLA’s Pistol offense. I wrote about that topic for my story for today’s paper.
I also thought I’d pass along a few links that serve as something of a primer on the offense. Here’s one from Dr. Saturday and another from Smart Football.
The Huskies have obviously not really fared that well the last few years against offenses in which the QB has the option to run, notably this year the Nebraska, Arizona and Oregon games. But each of those teams did their running out of the Zone Read primarily. UW coaches and players said the offenses are different enough that there isn’t necessarily a lot of carryover.
As is the case with any option-oriented offense (this is technically just a form of option since the QB has an option on every play whether to run, hand off or throw), UW defensive players say what’s important is “being in tune with your keys,” as Cort Dennison put it. In his particular case, he said his main key is the guards, trying to read from what they are doing where the ball is going.
UCLA, however, has kept some of its other offensive looks, as well, as Dennison said that one of the challenges is that “they have a bunch of different formations they can throw at you — unbalanced stuff, spread it out. So the biggest thing is we just haven’t seen anything like it before so we have to get used to it.”
UW will be getting UCLA at a time when its quarterback, Richard Brehaut, appears to be getting more comfortable operating the offense. He ran 18 times for 61 yards (with a gross of 86 before losses due to sacks), showing an increased ability to run out of the Pistol. Running back Jonathan Franklin also had exactly 100 yards rushing against the Beavers as the two led an offense that held the ball for 35:26 against the Beavers — this is one offense where time of possession is regarded as an important stat.
As noted in the story, UW’s run defense is now last in the Pac-10 and 118th in the nation (with WSU vaulting past them with its performance against Oregon State Saturday) allowing 219.6 yards per game. UCLA, meanwhile, is fourth in the Pac-10 in rushing at 194.4.
UW has played each of the top three teams in the Pac-10 in rushing, and each basically got or bettered what is its current average against the Huskies — Oregon (averaging 291, got 279 against UW), Stanford (averaging 213, got 278 against UW) and USC (averaging 199, got 298 against UW).
That’s a trend UW figures to have to break to get the win Thursday night.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel says he’s certain that Jake Locker will play and that it will rain in Seattle Thursday night.
— The LA Daily News notes that Neuheisel can now joke about coming back to Seattle.
— The Daily News also has an injury upate for the Bruins.
— So does The LA Times, noting that WR Nelson Rosario is closer to 100 percent. He had a big game against UW last year with seven catches for 111 yards.
— The Orange County Register has a feature on a true freshman starting at middle linebacker for UCLA. That’s inexperience you figure UW will try to exploit Thursday night.
— ESPN.com has its First Look at some keys to the game.
— The Oregonian’s Ken Goe has lots of links around the conference.
— Too early to start thinking about the Apple Cup? ESPN.com’s Ted Miller writes about WSU’s growth this season.
— The Eugene Register-Guard looks at the Pac-10’s precarious bowl situation and ranks UW eighth in the Pac-10 this week.
All for now.

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