FOX will televise Saturday’s game for a national broadcast (Channel 13 locally). FOX will also have its “College Saturday Tour” show broadcasting periodic live shots from the E1 parking lot near Husky Stadium. Fans are encouraged to attend the “tour” with sideline reporter Kristina Pink, starting at 10:30 a.m. and leading up to kickoff at 4 p.m.
FOX’s college football lead analyst, Charles Davis, will broadcast the game from the booth with play-by-play partner Gus Johnson. We caught up with Davis after he watched the Huskies’ practice on Thursday.
Seattle Times: You were part of the FOX broadcast team for UW’s victory over Boise State. Did the Huskies’ new offense surprise you?
Charles Davis: I’ve been trying to search for the right word. Surprise is probably a good place to start. I think it was more the curiosity factor for us. We know what you’re trying to get done, we’ve seen this happen at a number of places, (we) like the pieces you have to work with, but not just will it work — but what extent will it work? But are all those pieces primed and ready to go? Keith Price obviously is the natural one because he’s your trigger guy. If you’re going to play NASCAR speed, your crew chief has to be in charge and he is, in a big way. I’ve liked this young man for years. You’re never supposed to root as an announcer, but it’s nice to see him playing to the level you know he’s capable of. That was very nice to see. Bishop Sankey. OK, was that a one-year wonder? He put 161 one them and looks better than ever. (Austin) Seferian-Jenkins doesn’t even play. Jaydon Mickens looks like he’s developing as a receiver much more so, because when I watch him on tape he looks like a running back. But you get it to him in space and he becomes a running back again, and now you’ve got something to work with. Kasen Williams is obviously a big-time talent, but you always wondered, all right, he’s a No. 1 receiver, how’s he going to take to the ball being spread, where he’s not getting it all the time? Well, it looks like he’s handled that quite well. And you’re seeing guys just develop all along the way. And last but not least, the offensive line. I’ll put it to you this way: The best offensive lines I’ve seen around the country — NFL, college — they do walk with a sense of, we know who were are. (The Huskies) know who they are. This group feels good about itself. You see in their movements, you can see in how they respond.
ST: You pulled Sean Parker aside on the field during warmups for the Boise State game.
CD: That’s my guy! I’ve been a big fan of his, because I like the way he plays, not just in terms of his physical abilities, but he plays with a joy — that this is fun. He enjoys being out here. And he plays at a high level, too. You can see it — you can see it on tape, the way he shows up on every play. You know No. 1 is going to be in the picture somehow. And he plays from a variety of spots, from your deep safety, he’ll drop in the box; he’ll tattoo you on one play and he’ll go intercept a pass or knock it away on another. … I got the chance to meet Marcus Peters. I came up here for a day this summer and watched him work, and have gone back and watched him more since then. I think he’s one of the best and more underrated players in this conference. I think as a corner, he’s as good as there is in the conference. I think that’s saying a lot in the Pac-12.
ST: What about this matchup against Arizona.
CD: Get your oxygen tanks out, because Arizona’s not going to back out of running fast. That’s who they are, that’s Coach Rodriguez’s identity. At the rate they’re going, we could put 200 plays (combined on Saturday). It could happen.
ST: What will you be looking at specifically in this matchup?
CD: Obviously, I want to see the two running backs, the two 25s, Sankey and (Ka’Deem) Carey. You know they’re going to press that as much as (they) can. That’s what (they) lean on, especially Arizona. They’ve got to lean that way more. I want to see what Justin Wilcox is going to do defensively. The easy thing to say is, we stack the box. It’s just not just that. It’s, how are you going to play those receivers? Are you going to say, ‘I’m going to hug up on these receivers because I don’t think the quarterback can do much on me and I’m going to take away space from the runner’? I want to see what (Wilcox) decides to do with that because I think for Arizona to win, as we start, if Washington plays it defensively like I think they will, that quarterback, B.J. Denker, has got to make some throws. And I want to see how early in the game Justin Wilcox will say, ‘You’ve got to make throws to beat me today.’
ST: Have you seen enough from the Huskies to think they can compete for the Pac-12 North title?
CD: Yeah, I think so. Here’s where my revelation was: Going into the Boise State game, my question was, ‘Is Washington ready to compete with Boise State?’ Because Boise State’s been competing consistently for these years. Washington’s been trying to find their footing. Boise State has those skins on the wall. They had all that. Now, as that game unfolded, I saw Washington overwhelm Boise State with athleticism. That told me a lot about where Washington is now. That was a big eye-opener for me. Washington clearly had better athletes than Boise State. Washington dictated every turn. … This Pac-12 is as good as it’s been in a long time because, where’s your easy out? Somebody tell me where the easy out is in the Pac-12? I just don’t know where it is.