Quick Thoughts Going into Utah

Playing in Lincoln, Neb. pretty much prepared the Huskies for a Big, Red, and loud crowd. Only this Saturday it will only be 46,000 fans instead of 85,000. Washington is not the only team in this game with holes in their secondary. Utah is tenth in the conference, giving up an average of 263 passing yards per game. Washington, of course, is last in the conference at 327 yards per game.

Interestingly, Utah has a 6-0 record coming off a bye in this system. Coach Whittingham obviously has a formula that works but I've always felt a bye helps you more in mid to late mid-season simply because it is needed to refresh your team. Utah was on a roll in their last game against BYU, and particularly in the second half. Now that was two weeks ago. It may take them a while to get up to speed again, and Washington could jump to a lead and play from the front.

Depth of roster really helps and Utah benefits from a lot of Mormon kids returning from their church missions who are simply older men than the kids at Washington. I have always thought that it was a BYU advantage, but Utah also has lots of players 23 years of age or older. Anyone playing at 23 for Washington would have already graduated.

Don't be surprised to see a hurry-up offense by the Utes. They also like the slant routes or quick throws to tight ends in seams. They will run a reverse and they have more than one kind. Their quarterback has a strange delivery but he can throw darts to quick hooks, outs, and slants.

Their quarterback doesn't run, or if he does he doesn't do it very well. Bring the blitz on long yardage situations and keep him from standing back there waiting for crossing receivers.

They have two good receivers but lost their right tackle for this game.

They will test the Huskies with their running game and quick passing.

Utah is best in the league in turnover ratio. They are plus-9 but seven came in their game against BYU. That means they're really only getting one per game in their other two. If the Huskies win the turnover battle they could win the game.

They have a good punter but their field goal kicker is struggling. USC blocked a field goal to preserve their victory at the end of the game. A kicking game score would be huge on the road. A punt return by Kasen Williams or a kickoff return by Kevin Smith for a touchdown could be a deciding play. Utah tries to block punts. That can't happen.

UW has to rush the ball effectively and run to win when it counts. Continue to be tough in red-zone defense and just keep yourself ahead or close and win it with an Erik Folk kick in the fourth quarter. Simple formula, Dawgs win another close one. Duh!

Then get on the plane and go home.


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