At the start of the season our own Tom Daniels did a preview of each game on the Trojan schedule and we thought it would be good to go back and look at what was written for the Washington game and to see how things have transpired so far this season:
by Tom Daniels
OCTOBER 6 - UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
Okay, call me crazy, but I just don't see much in the Huskies for 2001. The toughest aspects of playing UW is that we haven't in three seasons and then that we must travel north to do so.
It is impossible to measure the value of Marques Tuisasosopo. In college football having a quarterback who's played in over 30 games and become a team leader is one of the greatest advantages a team can have. Playing time is key to victory and the 2001 Huskies return only 10 players that can say they've had much, if any, of that.
Two players will carry UW through 2001, Larry Tripplett and Rich Alexis. Although Alexis is not listed as a returning starter, he managed 738 yards as a freshman. Tripplett, arguably one of the best defensive tackles in the Pac is their most decorated defensive star. Although players have looked good in recent scrimmages, Washington is not flush with experience. Thinning their ranks even further are the loss of Chris Juergens (knee) and Francisco Tipoti (grades). Juergens, although not a starter, was one of the few wideouts with any playing time and Tipoti was already slated in at first string on the Huskie offensive line.
Special teams could prove a strength for the Huskies with kicker John Anderson back for his third season.
The turf of Huskie stadium is never fun to play on, but it is this turf that could give SC it's biggest edge. Again, the speed of our skill positions will be tough to contain and if our offense can spread the field out, it will bring the Huskie secondary up to cover. When this occurs look for streaks and posts to follow.
Washington has two early tests with Michigan and Miami. They came up big against the Hurricanes in 2000, but a repeat seems less likely. Playing in big games such as this could also prove debilitating with regard to injury and the Huskies are not deep enough to withstand much in this realm.
Home field is a major advantage, but not enough.
SC by 3.
Well, right now it's safe to say that Washington is sitting in a position that the Trojans would like to be in with a record of 3-0, ranked as high as #10 in the country with a reputation for pulling out victories late in the game. The Huskies are on a roll as they have won 11 in a row, 8 in a row in conference play, while the Trojans are reeling with a 3-10 record in their last 13 games and a confidence level that is staggered to say the least.
The Husky offense is doing fine without Tui so far, they are ranked nationally among the top 20 in scoring and pass efficiency, and replacement QB Cody Pickett has performed solidly. Freshman wide receiver Reggie Williams has been the playmaker most predicted when he was highly recruited coming out of high school and he took a long look at the Trojans before choosing Washington. Akey factor for this game will be turnovers, so far this season the Husky offense has only committed two turnovers and that is a sharp contrast to a USC team that cannot afford mistakes in a hostile road environment.
As far as the Trojan offense, one comment made by Daniels in the prediction was "If our offense can spread field out" then other good things should happen but, unfortunately for USC, this hasn't happened yet. The execution of the offense is a reflection of the problems with the Trojan team at this point in the season and we need to get on track. If we come to play as a team on offense, we win. That has been the case with every game so far this season and it holds true on Saturday. Washington has not given up a rushing TD, they are still led by the monster in the middle with Larry Triplett, while the Trojans are last in the conference in rushing offense so it doesn't take a genius to figure out what USC needs to do.
Once again the Trojans will also have their hands full with special teams as Washington has scored 4 touchdowns this season via special teams and they are ranked 1st in the nation for kickoff returns, 3rd for punt returns.
It has been three years since the teams met in what was the first start for then freshman QB Carson Palmer. Washington threw 68 passes in that meeting, a 33-10 USC win, but both teams were under the direction of different coaching staffs and have headed in different directions. It hasn't taken Rick Neuheisel long to make the adjustment and turn around a Washington program that was having similar problems to what is facing USC right now but we need for this game to be the start of turning around a program of our own.