Okay, that's enough. I tried
to make this sound like it could be a game. Like the Trojans would need you at the
Coliseum to help swing momentum and fire up the team to play a gritty team from
The truth is that when the Huskies march… no, limp into the Coliseum on
Saturday, it could present one of, if not the most, lopsided mismatch of a
college football season that has already seen SEC West leader Auburn take on
that football powerhouse of the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Huskies on Offense:
Quarterback - #4 Isaiah Stanback
Isaiah Stanback was the number three quarterback for the Huskies coming
into the season. He was firmly
entrenched behind starter Casey Paus and backup Carl Bonnell until injuries
forced Stanback into last weekend's game against
Running back - #8 Kenny James
Kenny James has emerged as the number one running back for the Huskies in 2004. He's really been their only consistent means of moving the football. He leads the team in all-purpose yards with 504 rushing yards on 105 carries and 27 receiving yards on 6 catches. His five touchdowns (all on the ground) also lead the team. He's not a dominant back, but he is averaging almost five yards per carry and is difficult to bring down in the backfield. He'll need to be quick to get outside on the option against this speedy Trojan defense. His pass blocking skills will also be tested if USC decides to bring pressure against a relatively untested quarterback.
Wide Receivers – A booth will be set up at the Husky pre-game tailgate. They will be asking for volunteers to fill the position for Saturday's game. Those who give strong performances may be asked to stay on for the remainder of the year.
The wide receiver position for the Huskies has been absolutely decimated by injuries. They will face the Trojans without three of their top four pass catchers. The only wide receiver that will pose a threat to the Trojan defensive backfield is sophomore wide-out Sonny Shackelford. He's hauled in 12 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown on the year. However, because of the loss of star receiver Charles Frederick, and impact guys like Quintin Daniels and Corey Williams, and also with the addition of an option quarterback, Shackelford could and should be bottled up by the Trojan pass defense.
Tight End - #83 Joe
Along with the running back position, tight end is one of the two
positions on offense where the Huskies have their number one option going for
them on Saturday.
Offensive Line –
The offensive line is without outstanding senior tackle Khalif Barnes. However, they've played admirably, opening holes for running backs and protecting their quarterbacks. At this point in the season they've only given up 9 sacks. But they've yet to face a defense as good as the one the Trojans will bring. In all probability, the scrambling ability of Stanback will be the only thing keeping the Trojan defensive line in check and that sack total from ballooning up towards 20.
Huskies on Defense
Defensive Line - #94 Jordan White-Frisbee, #7 Greyson Gunheim, #97 Mike Mapuolesega, #56 Manase Hopoi
As with every other position, the defensive line has been hit with
injuries, leaving true freshmen Jordan White-Frisbee and Greyson Gunheim seeing
significant action on the line. The
only positive news for the Huskies comes at this position where Mike Mapulosega
is back from, you guessed it, a leg injury that kept him sidelined for four
games early this year. Manase Hopoi
will be representing one-quarter of the starting seniors for the Huskies and has
played well this year, totaling 5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. However, as a whole, the defensive line
Linebackers - #53 Joe Lobendahn, #27 Evan Benjamin, #4 Scott White
Joe Lobendahn, Evan Benjamin and Scott White rank one, two and three on the team in tackles and are all in the top ten in the Pac-10 in that category. This is partly due to their athleticism and ability to be in the right place at the right time, but mostly due to the fact that they play about 4.5 yards behind the line of scrimmage and the defensive line has been getting knocked around like one of those bottom-heavy clown punching bags. Lobendahn comes into the game with 69 tackles, Benjamin has chipped in with 62 and White has been a force on defense with 53 tackles including four sacks of the quarterback. They've also combined for 22.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. While these linebackers have put up impressive statistics through the first six games, they are the same group of guys that Reggie Bush toyed with last year in catching 5 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. It could be a long day for this group as they'll have to deal with Bush again as a receiver as well as take a pounding from LenDale White on the ground.
Safeties - #8 Dashon Goldson, #1 C.J. Wallace
Dashon Goldson and C.J. Wallace have done a good job against the pass this year for the Husky defense. They've helped limit the opposition to less than 180 passing yards per game, but are allowing a 7.0 yards per pass average. Goldson is a hard hitter who can step up in the running game. He's delivered 32 tackles on the year, picked off a pass and pounced on two fumbles. Wallace has 27 tackles on the year. Goldson and Wallace will be tested against this newfound Trojan passing attack.
Corner backs - #21 Derrick Johnson, #5 Sam Cunningham
Derrick Johnson and Sam Cunningham are two of the four starting seniors for the Huskies. Their experience will be valuable in trying to contain the talented but inexperienced Trojan receivers. Johnson is fourth on the team with 33 tackles including a quarterback sack while Cunningham is responsible for two of the team's six interceptions. Both corners stand at 6'0" so while the height mismatch against Dwayne Jarrett and Chris McFoy isn't huge, it's there. Because of the success teams have been having utilizing the run against Washington, Johnson and Cunningham have yet to prove that they can shut down top-notch receivers. And, with the emergence of Dominique Byrd, as well as the other Trojan tight ends and fullbacks in the passing game, Johnson and Cunningham will probably be left covering the wide receivers one-on-one for most of the game. This match-up will be fun to follow as the experience of the Washington DBs will be up against the youth and exuberance of all of the Trojan receivers.
Huskies on Special Teams
Kicker - #14 Michael Braunstein
Michael Braunstein relieved starting place kicker Evan Knudsen after
Knudsen missed the opening two kicks of the season against
Kick Returner – Whoever the back judge is for Saturday's game.
Who cares who is returning kick-offs for
The Washington Huskies have had a rough go of it this year with their
only win coming against
Erik McKinney is a senior majoring in creative writing. He can be reached at email@example.com