Scouting the Huskies

Both Arizona and Washington are coming off of crushing defeats last week. The only difference is that for the Huskies their loss came to a top-10 team and was their first setback of the year. Arizona in turn lost to a one win club and have now dropped three straight.

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Both teams have had their share of injuries, but the Dawgs have fared better. Washington has lost a starting quarterback, tailback and tight end among others, but has found a way to win. The Wildcats in turn have lost a host of defensive players and the depleted defense is struggling.

The quarterback position is up in the air. Starting quarterback Cody Pickett may or may not play against the Cats. Even if he plays it's not the most sound position for UW. In 3 ½ games he has only thrown for 718 yards, but he is 4-0 as a starter, Back-up Taylor Barton managed to throw for 316 yards, but threw an interception and lost two fumbles in last week's loss to UCLA. A great Bruin pass rush hurried Barton and was a major factor in the quarterback's struggle. With the Wildcats depleted defensive line, Barton should have more time to pass than he did against UCLA.

The running game struggled against UCLA, and hasn't put up the numbers you'd expect from talented runners like Willie Hurst and Rich Alexis. Both backs are under 300 yards rushing for the year. Alexis leads the team with 204 yards on 68 carries, while Hurst has only picked up 143 yards on 40 carries.

The receiving corps is lead by a true freshman, Reggie Williams. Williams is averaging over 20 yards a grab, and appears on his way to 1000 yards. Paul Arnold and Todd Elstrom are also very solid receivers.

The defense is the Husky's strength. Except for the UCLA game the unit has given up 18.3 points a game. Larry Tripplett is an absolute stud and could give the Wildcats nightmares. If the Wildcats have to double team Tripplett, that opens up opportunities for the other defensive linemen and the stellar linebacking corps.

The Huskies deploy a 3-4 defense, so linebacking is vital and the Dawgs have got players. Zach Tuiasasopo and Ben Mahdavi lead the group.

The defensive backs are good as well. Omare Lowe is shaping up as one of the conference's top corners, while Greg Carothers and Chris Massey are good as well.

OUTLOOK: If the Cats were at full strength we could talk about upset possibilities. They aren't and we shouldn't. Washington isn't the best team in the Pac-10. They have some holes, but Arizona's holes balance things out. If Arizona can't get pressure on whoever plays quarterback, then the Husky offense could get on track. The Husky defense could make it a long night for Jason Johnson and the Wildcat offense. The Huskies should win going away.

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