Quick Preview Of The Huskies

We have some observations from the OSU camp already on what the Buckeyes will see in Saturday night's season opener with Washington.

As the Buckeyes wound down preseason camp this past week, reporters were already asking about OSU's opponent for the season opener, Washington, which invades Ohio Stadium Saturday night (8 p.m., ABC split-national coverage).

Running backs coach Tim Spencer shared his views on the UW defense, which returns seven starters from last year's unit that ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in total defense.

"They run fast and they run to the ball," Spencer said. "They will move around. They play a 3-4 front, but they will play a Bear defense at times. The corners like to press. They'll put a lot of guys in the box and get after it."

Spencer discussed several of the key UW defenders.

"They have one young man, No. 99 (6-4, 285-pound senior defensive tackle Terry Johnson), he is a player," Spencer said. "He could play for anybody in the country. His motor is always going.

"They have a linebacker, No. 88 (6-4, 215-pound senior Marquis Cooper). He's a tall guy. He kind of reminds you of the guy we had, Na'il Diggs.

"And they have a corner, No. 3, Roc Alexander. He is tall and lanky like Chris Gamble. They have some players."

OSU junior cornerback Dustin Fox talked about going up against the UW offense, which features a pair of preseason All-American picks by The Sporting News in quarterback Cody Pickett and wide receiver Reggie Williams (6-4, 220).

"Reggie Williams will obviously be a great challenge for us," Fox said. "He is a tall, big guy with great hands. He would be their go-to guy.

"Cody Pickett is obviously a great quarterback. He is a Heisman Trophy candidate. We have faced Heisman Trophy candidates in the past. Our defense will be prepared, but we know he can throw the rock.

"They have an amazing receiver and quarterback. But we will prepare for what we've seen on film and what we expect them to do."

Spencer said the season opener, regardless of the opponent, is always a cause for anxiety for the coaches.

"You don't really know what they're going to throw at you," Spencer said. "You obviously want to start the season on the right foot. But this is a good team and we have our work cut out for us. We're wearing a bulls-eye and we know that."

Spencer said he even unveiled tapes of old OSU-Washington games, including the 1995 game where Eddie George went for over 200 yards in his team's 30-20 win in Columbus.

"Our guys I think enjoyed watching Eddie and seeing Orlando (Pace) and Nicky Sualua knock people out," Spencer said. "Really, they are running the same stuff today that they ran then.

"When our guys see Nicky Sualua and Orlando Pace blow out the right side, I say, `That's what I'm looking for,' " Spencer said with a laugh.

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