Dawgbytes - 9/23

It's the opening of Pac-10 play and the casualties continue to mount for the Washington Huskies. Two players had surgery this morning for torn ACL's and another is out indefinitely with lower back problems. But the upside? There are players stepping up to make plays and fill holes.

"Joe (Toledo) saw a specialist this morning and there's no report yet," Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson said Tuesday afternoon. "We're certainly confident with Ben Bandel and Jon Lyon. We felt like we had good depth there. I though Ben played very well on Saturday. I think they'll both be productive."

MIK Joe Lobendahn and OG Rob Meadow had their surgeries today. "In the case of most ACL's, it takes a year before they are back to full speed," Gilbertson said. He added that both are most likely also out for spring football.

There are some walking wounded as well. Manase Hopoi is being held out Tuesday and is expected to be back at full speed Wednesday. Matt Fountaine's hyperextended knee is a day-to-day thing, but there was no damage found after his MRI. Derrick Johnson's ankle is fine and should be 100 percent for Saturday's game with Stanford.

Probably the first memory of the Cardinal for Husky fans is that dismal, wet Saturday in 2000 when Washington pulled off a miracle in Palo Alto. While Marques Tuiasosopo was connecting with Todd Elstrom, Wilbur Hooks, Jr and Justin Robbins for a game-winning drive, Husky safety Curtis Williams was in a battle for his life after trying to tackle Stanford running back Kerry Carter. "Actually, this is the first mention of it to me," Gilbertson said when thinking about the Stanford/C-Dub connection, before sitting back in his chair and thinking about it for a second.

James Sims, Jr. carries on Curtis' spirit by wearing his number 25, something he was pushed to do by his teammates after he was named the 2003 recipient of the Curtis Williams endowed scholarship.

When Gilbertson thinks about the Cardinal, he thinks about what he's seen on film so far this year and what he expects on the field this Saturday. "They are a pretty athletic group, moreso than the one that came here two years ago," he said. "They have nice size and speed at their corners. Stanley Wilson is a guy that we recruited, but he wanted to go to Stanford. Amon Gordon is another guy that we tried to get here, so we know about a lot of these guys."

Stanford's defense is known for taking some chances with a lot of blitz packages. "Every team blitzes a lot nowadays. The key is just to make sure everything checks out and try to get the best matchups you can. I think we have some great matchups with Reggie (Williams), Charles (Frederick) and Justin (Robbins)."

Robbins, with his 4-catch performance against Idaho, has put a stranglehold on the slot, and Isaiah Stanback will also get his share of reps. So where does that leave Quintin Daniels? Sonny Shackelford? Bobby Whithorne? "Quintin is behind Reggie now," Gilbertson said. "Then it's either Sonny or Jordan Slye.

"I want to get a solid rotation of 6 guys and build some passing rapport with those receivers. Right now we're not throwing with the efficiency or consistency I would like to see. And with the running game, you have to be patient. Hopefully the 2-yard run in the first quarter will be a 6-yarder in the fourth."

Gilbertson also talked about the players that have had to step in and pick up some slack - namely MIK Tim Galloway and REB Ty Eriks. "Tim did fine and the thing about him is that he seems to get better the more he does it," Gilbertson said. "And he's also a great punt snapper for us, so he's a quality player.

"Ty (Eriks) made a great play on a reverse (against Idaho). I was happy to see that. He brings quickness and power to the position."

Gilbertson also mentioned that he's hoping for a 'break-out' game from redshirt frosh Dan Milsten soon.

Finally, Juan Garcia has been allowed to practice with the team. "He practiced yesterday and he'll practice today," Gilbertson said of the true frosh from Yakima. Since Garcia was cleared to show up and practice, it initiated a 14-day period in which the NCAA Clearinghouse will render their decision in his eligibility case. As of right now he can still practice and participate pending a decision on his status.

Dawgman.com Top Stories