It might strike some as odd that while the Huskies were eight-point underdogs last week at unranked Arizona (which obviously proved to be low) they are just five-point underdogs this week against undefeated Oregon State.
A lot of that, of course, is the different in how UW has played at home and on the road. Some of it also may be that the Beavers, while 6-0, have played a lot of close games (though they are 5-1 against the spread, failing to cover only in a 19-6 win over Washington State).
But maybe those looking at it with their money also have noted how the Huskies have played better against teams that run more pro-style offenses (USC, Stanford) than spread offenses (Oregon, Arizona). Every offense, to be sure, has its own nuances, and just a couple games on each side is probably a little faulty to draw huge conclusions.
But it felt like there was enough there to write something about it, so that’s what I did for my story for the Wednesday paper.
UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was asked today if Oregon State’s style might be a better matchup for the Huskies. He didn’t really bite on that, but did say: “They are a very good football team. They (create) matchup problems here and there, too. There’s going to be times in this game where we’re going to have to win some one-on-ones. They are an excellent football team. I think they are extremely well coached and obviously talented at a lot of different positions. In terms of scheme, it’s a little more USC — our offense, that similar pro style — those things are a little different. The quarterback can throw the ball. They haven’t shown as many quarterback runs…I think it’s fair to say that’s the type of offense. It’s not your Arizona or Oregon type.”
Wilcox said the bigger key may be simply how well UW prepares.
“It’s practicing the right way,” he said. “And to be honest with you I thought we practiced well last week and I thought we had a good practice today. But what it boils down to on game day is putting yourself in a state of mind and those situations – we’re going to win ’em. It’s repetition, it’s execution, it’s all those little details – it’s eye control and making sure you’re looking at the right things and not guessing. Those things, if you don’t do ’em, really show up negatively. If you do ’em you’ve got a chance to make the play. It doesn’t mean you’re always going to make it, but you’ve got a chance.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Bud Withers writes about Oregon State’s transformation this season.
— Oregonian columnist John Canzano calls the Huskies the “softest, least resilient” team in the Pac-12. Other than that, he likes the way they play.
— The Corvallis Gazette-Times says the Beavers’ defense wants to pressure the Huskies.
— Lots of Pac-12 links from The Oregonian.
— Here are some Oregon State notes from the school’s official site.
— The SportsChatPlace says to take the Beavers.
— Jon Wilner rates the Huskies eighth in the Pac-12 this week.
— WSU coach Mike Leach has banned his players from using Twitter.
— Wilner also notes how Stanford’s offensive line has been able to stay healthy.
— The AP reviews the races in the Pac-12.
— The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly Pac-12 notebook looks at the good times in the state of Oregon.
— Finally, here’s a couple-minute video of former UW QB Brock Huard and Mike Salk (of the ESPN 710 Seattle Brock and Salk Show) debating whether the Huskies are taking a step back this season:
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