Dawgbytes - 9/4

Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson had a plan in mind when he moved Thursday's practice to 1PM. Since the Huskies haven't played an afternoon game yet, today will allow them to get them back in the mode of playing in the middle of the day.

When asked specifically about Indiana, the team Washington faces this Saturday, Gilbertson wouldn't reveal any pertinent facts.

"We just need to go out and play hard," he said. "(Matt) Lo Vecchio is a good player, and Connecticut looked like a good team. Also, their defense has changed since last year."

Gilbertson has never met Hoosiers' head coach Gerry DiNardo, but is good friends with DiNardo's offensive coordinator, Al Borges.

The biggest movement from game one to game two for the Huskies will be on the offensive line, where Todd Bachert will start at center, backed up by Brad Vanneman.

Rob Meadow and Dan Dicks are anticipated to start at guards in place of Clay Walker and Tusi Sa'au, with Khalif Barnes and Nick Newton getting the nod at tackle for the second-straight game.

The middle three have been turned completely upside-down from last Saturday. What will they need to improve on this weekend? "Besides blocking?" quipped Gilbertson. "We have just gotta block better and we all know it. Todd Bachert is back at center and he's really in the flow now. For missing the last two offseasons and his injuries, he looks to be by all of that now.

"And that's where he wants to play. Nick (Newton) wants to play at tackle and Bachert wants to be at center, so we're really back to where we were at the beginning of camp."

Reinstated fullback Zach Tuiasosopo will play on Saturday, but he hasn't progressed enough for Gilbertson to give him the starting nod yet. "He looked a lot better yesterday than Tuesday," Gilbertson said. "He's the best blocking fullback we have, no question about it."

Everybody that traveled to Columbus last weekend is 100 percent healthy and ready to go Saturday, minus Tui Alailefaleula, who still seems to be hampered by an ankle injury. It doesn't sound as if the ankle will stop Tui from being available against the Hoosiers, however.

With competitions still being waged at fullback, defensive end, tight end, placekicker and punter, Gilbertson is looking for guys to step up. "We're looking for better play everywhere," he said. "We want better concentration and improved performance."

Special teams is still a focal point for improvement, and while Garth Erickson earned his stripes at Ohio State Gilbertson would love to give true frosh Sean Douglas some snaps too.

"We're going to play that by ear," he said. "On one kick he can go 65 yards and then the next he can put it in lane 4 (on the track). His drops aren't as consistent as we would like them to be either."

Douglas will start out at kickoffs, although Gilbertson was also quick to praise another true frosh, Michael Braunstein, for his efforts so far this week. "Braunstein kicked really well with the PAT's and field goals yesterday and had better range than Evan (Knudson) did," Gilbertson said. "But right now, 45 yards seems to be the range where we feel they can make it every time."

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