Wednesday Practice Spotlight

SEATTLE - First the bad news; there was no Sheena at Washington's Wednesday practice. The 300-pound female Bengal Tiger was nowhere to be found, but in talking with UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian he seemed to believe Sheena's presence had the desired effect on his team. So now does he start ramping up the Whammy in Miami talk? Beatdown in Baton Rouge?

Not so fast. As Sarkisian said Wednesday after a spirited practice in the hot September sun, the reason teams like the Whammy team and the '91 team that won at Nebraska played well is because they practiced well and were ready when game time came. So Wednesday's practice had nothing to do with the mental side of things and everything to do with fine-tuning the game plan and making sure all the details of the three phases of the game were taken care of.

Once the details are ironed out and everything is taken care of in terms of on-the-field preparation, then the mental/psychological side of it remains. It remains to be seen if Sark will pull out a highlight reel of the great UW road wins.

Noise causes problems - Instead of Sheena, UW used another distraction they have been known to implement for road games in the past - piped in crowd noise. And they jack up the volume during the service team periods so both sides get a feel for what it's going to be like communicating on Saturday.

The irony with the use of this noise is that it's supposed to affect the offense more but it seemed like the No. 1 defense was all over the place for a number of plays trying to figure out their calls and alignments. Even more ironic is that the defense is used to having to communicate with the crowd going crazy - especially during home games - because they are the ones getting the fans riled up!

Is bigger better?: I posted the Louisiana State Depth Chart for Saturday's clash and one thing is noticeable; the Tiger's offense is huge. From the offensive line to the fullback to the quarterback to the receivers, LSU must believe bigger is always better when it comes to moving the football. Their offensive line averages over 320 pounds and they don't have one offensive lineman in their depth that weighs less than 300.

So how does UW combat that? Well, they did run a 'jumbo' defensive package in their 21-12 win over San Diego State, a formation that included Danny Shelton, Semisi Tokolahi and Lawrence Lagafuaina. That group averages 325 pounds. On Wednesday the Huskies ran a Jumbo group out there with Lagafuaina holding court in the middle, Tokolahi and Shelton flanking him and Josh Shirley on the outside rushing in. There was another group with Connor Cree, Pio Vatuvei, Lagafuaina and Sione Potoae that averages nearly 280 pounds per man. Just to compare that with UW's normal base defensive front - Shelton, Andrew Hudson, Shirley and Talia Crichton - that group averages 265 a man across the board.

Either way, if Justin Wilcox, Tosh Lupoi and Johnny Nansen feel like they have to battle horses with horses up front when it comes to LSU's offensive line - UW can do that if they want. There is some flexibility in the position group.

Comparing Mettenberger - Sarkisian was asked Wednesday if he could compare LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger to anyone, and the closest comparison he could make was Oregon State's Sean Mannion - both big pocket passers who can really get the ball downfield. Mettenberger is 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, so if there was a quarterback with average mobility the Huskies could get after a little bit, it's him. But they have to get past the wall known as the LSU OL first.

Improving Coons - Sarkisian also mentioned that Travis Coons - even though the junior kicker isn't back to 100 percent after producing short kickoffs and a missed a 47-yard field goal Saturday - had his best day kicking Wednesday, with deep kickoffs and a 1/2 effort on field goals, with his lone make coming from 43, a kick that would have been good from 53. Top Stories