After analyzing the Washington Huskies, I feel positive about the Buckeyes' chances out West. The Huskies' offense has been much more productive than in the last few years. Their offensive line is big but not athletic.
OSU's agile and mobile defense should fare well as long as it contains Washington's quarterback. The Huskies' defense is physical up front but questionable in the secondary. Washington will be very sound in special teams but not spectacular. Washington is a well-coached team but the Buckeyes have better talent. Expect a Buckeyes victory if they can handle the hostile environment in Seattle.
My six points to victory over the Huskies are as follows:
1. Lock Up Locker
Contain Huskies signal caller Jake Locker. He is an extremely active quarterback who is very effective moving the ball. He takes the ball outside, runs the quarterback power play, option and sprint-out pass action. Locker has good speed and often makes yardage on a broken plays. Even though he doesn't throw a great long ball, he is a good ball-control quarterback. The Buckeye defense must account for Locker on every play.
2. Run to Rankin
Louis Rankin is a very quick running back. He is truly a scatback, meaning he is hard to tackle and can slip away from the defender at the last second. He is excellent at changing direction and has tremendous acceleration. Even though Rankin is an outstanding outside runner, he still is shifty between the tackles. It's very important that the Silver Bullets fly to the football because the first man may miss the slippery tailback. His one weakness is he carries the ball loosely. There's an excellent chance to make him fumble the pigskin.
3. Alert to the Reverse
Washington can get the defense going one way and come back with a reverse or trick play. They have also run a tailback pass for a touchdown. The aggressive Buckeye defense must be very alert to trick plays. It wouldn't surprise me to see a throwback to Locker. The Huskies are more likely to try trickery at home than on the road.
4. Ball Security
Every team guards against turnovers and one of the main goals is to have a positive turnover margin. In other words, you want your defense to force more fumbles and interceptions than you give up on offense. It's ever more crucial to accomplish this on the road. The Huskies are talented enough offensively to take advantage of miscues by the opposition. They can mount long drives and keep the clock moving. It's very important not to put the ball on the ground or throw picks in Seattle. The Huskies are hungry to reach a bowl game for the first time since 2002.
5. Attack Corners
One of the glaring weaknesses of the Washington defense is the play of the cornerbacks. They have a tendency to lose outside contain on the runs and have trouble getting off blocks. They also have trouble playing man coverage. I really question their speed and athleticism. Ohio State needs to go right at the corners with both the run and the pass.
6. Go Deep
Todd Boeckman has a chance to hit the home run ball against the Huskies. OSU definitely has the speed and talent to get past the Huskies safeties and beat their secondary in man situations. The key is getting great pass protection by the offensive line. The Huskies' front four is the strength of their defense. They are big, physical, and give great effort every play. If the Buckeyes can keep these dogs off Boeckman, look for OSU to beat Washington with the deep pass.
Coach Conley's Six Points To Victory: UW
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