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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 23, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Sunday night notes

Monday will mark the beginning of a new work week for the Washington Huskies, preparation getting officially underway for an Arizona team that is obviously more than dangerous.

Not that it will be all that easy to set aside what happened against Stanford Saturday, especially with the defense. The challenge is so different this week, though, going from a power running team to one that throws it more than 62 percent of the time (Arizona has attempted 331 passes, by far the most in the Pac-12, in 528 plays) that the whole idea of spending much time fixing what went wrong against the Cardinal may not be as relevant as getting ready to play the Wildcats.

And the hope will also be that maybe Stanford is just that good.

Certainly, the Cardinal has been a bad matchup for UW the last three years, the team that has proven the most vexing (along with Oregon) since Steve Sarkisian has taken over.

Stanford’s 446 yards Saturday was in keeping with how the Cardinal has beaten UW the last two years, as well. Stanford had 321 yards rushing against UW in 2009 and 278 in 2010, making for a three-year total of 1,045 yards (348 per game), and an average of 7.4 per attempt.

Those stand as three of the top seven rushing games against UW during the Sarkisian era along with the 383 of Nebraska last year, the 309 of Nebraska this year, the 298 of USC a year ago, and the 279 of Oregon last season.

All of those teams run the ball in such different fashions, though, that it’s probably hard to find a lot of common threads, other than the obvious of fundamentals such as getting off blocks, tackling and play recognition.

But as noted above, the task is a lot different this week, and UW has struggled with Arizona, as well, the past two years. The Wildcats had 461 yards in 2009 when UW rallied to beat them in rather miraculous fashion on Mason Foster’s interception. Arizona had 467 last year in beating the Huskies 44-14 in Tucson.

The good news for UW is that Arizona’s defense is so much worse statistically than it has been the past few years and will be playing short-handed, without four defensive backs for either all or half of Saturday’s game due to the fight against UCLA, notably starting cornerback Shaquille Richardson.

And as I wrote in a story for Monday’s paper, Sarkisian said that the Stanford loss won’t detail what had been a promising start to the season, a theme he’s likely to echo when he meets the media on Monday at noon which you can hear on KJR-AM and watch on UWTV.

IN OTHER NEWS. …

— As always, I’ll be on the Husky Roundtable on KJR-AM around 8:20 a.m. Monday along with host Mitch Levy and former Huskies Hugh Millen and Chuck Nelson.

Bud Withers says the Huskies and Cougars may each just need a little more maturity.

— Withers also looks at the weekend that was in the Pac-12.

— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller now sees UW going to the Holiday Bowl, moving up a spot as he now sees both Stanford and Oregon in the BCS. He also lists what was learned in the Pac-12 this weekend.

— ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Brad Edwards also have UW going to the Holiday.

— UW is 39th in the Sagarin Ratings this week. And put whatever stock you want into computer ratings, but there’s a pretty clear pattern here of how the teams UW has played are ranked this week and how UW fared against those teams. The teams that beat UW are ranked 10th (Stanford) and 23rd (Nebraska). The teams UW beat are ranked 45th (Cal), 51st (Utah), 81st (Hawaii), 120th (Colorado) and 128th (Eastern).

— The Billingsley Report — which is used in computing the BCS — likes UW a little more than Sagarin, ranking at 19th this week.

Jim Moore sees the end of the line for Paul Wulff.

— The Wall Street Journal with a light-hearted look at the college football weekend.

In wrapping up news of Huskies in the NFL:

Jake Locker completed the first pass of his NFL career for 12 yards in what was an otherwise dismal 41-7 loss for the Titans.

Donald Butler returned a fumble for a touchdown and also had a team-high nine tackles, but the Chargers lost to the Jets.

Mason Foster aggravated an ankle injury early in Tampa Bay’s loss.

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