One of the obvious stars of the Holiday Bowl was UW defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, a topic I wrote about for our story for today’s paper. Ta’amu (pictured right in a Dean Rutz photo) helped the UW defensive line dominate much of the game and shut down Nebraska’s running attack — the the Cornhuskers couldn’t counter with any sort of passing attack.
As noted in the story, Ta’amu knows he has the attention of the Cornhuskers now. The good news for UW is that it has basically its entire defensive line back from that game (De’Shon Matthews, who actually got the start at one end spot, and Kalani Aldrich are the only two linemen who played in the Holiday Bowl who are no longer on the team).
Defensive line coach Johnny Nansen said one problem UW had in the first meeting last year against Nebraska was that it didn’t rotate enough up front to keep everyone fresh. He said the Huskies did that better in the Holiday Bowl and also plan to continue that Saturday.
“There is no doubt we are going to see more of Danny Shelton,” he said. “Lawrence (Lagafuaina) is going to play more, Sione (Potoa’e) is going to play more. Josh Shirley, we’ve got to bring him along — we need his pass rush. So you are going to see more guys on the field just to help Everrette (Thompson) and help Hau’oli (Jamora) since he is playing some special teams now, so take a little bit of some of those reps so we can keep those guys fresh.”
Big Red Today has a note today with Nebraska offensive line coach Ben Cotton saying that UW simplified its plan up front in the Holiday Bowl and also says of Ta’amu that “he was more than a big factor” in the Holiday Bowl.
The Huskies obviously hope he will be again Saturday.
IN OTHER WASHINGTON NEWS. …
— One of the big questions on the Nebraska side is whether cornerback Alfonzo Dennard will play. UW coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday he expects Dennard to play, and this HuskerExtra story says there’s increasing hope that he will. However, he has been sidelined with a pulled muscle and has not played the first two games and did not practice on Tuesday.
— Big Red Today notes that Nebraska is still having trouble with fumbles.
— The SportsMemo offers some thoughts on the game.
— Opposing Views also has a preview.
— The Huskies will have to contain the returning of Ameer Abdullah, who turned down Auburn to sign with Nebraska.
— Big Red Today is hosting a live chat this morning.
AROUND THE PAC-12/COLLEGE FOOTBALL. …
— Bud Withers, meanwhile, notes that defenses everywhere are struggling to contain the pass — which also means quarterbacks everywhere are completing passes in droves.
— Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune’s Pac-12 notebook.
— And here’s the Associated Press’s Pac-12 notebook.
— Jon Wilner looks at what might have to happen to create divisions if the Pac-12 adds two teams.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller looks at what’s hot and what’s not around the Pac-12.
— Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com says the WAC should serve as a cautionary tale for conferences that want to expand to 16 teams.
HUSKIES IN THE NFL. …
— UW may just have nine players in the NFL, but one of them — Oakland’s Marcel Reece — made an impression receiving and blocking on Monday night against Denver.