Dawgbytes - 10/1

There's a sense of purpose hanging over Montlake these days. Quiet purpose. Practices go on without fanfare, players are getting their work in without media scrutiny, but the questions persist - what Washington team will fans see Saturday against UCLA? Will they see the first-half team that appears to feel their way into things, or will they see the second-half team that takes the game by the throat and takes no prisoners?

"If there's one thing we're really working on, it's trying to get the passing game going on all cylinders," Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson said Wednesday. "That's been our emphasis. There's a lot of new faces at receiver, and if Jon Lyon starts at tight end that will be the thrid tight end to start for us in 5 games.

"We've got Justin (Robbins) back, but Reggie (Williams) misses half a game and Charles (Frederick) misses the second half of last-week's game because he was suffering a little bit from the flu."

Getting Cody Pickett and the true freshmen receivers appears to be the biggest stumbling block. "I know about the passing game, because it's been a big part of my life," Gilbertson said. "And I know that sometimes when there's a pass called the quarterback might eliminate a certain guy even before he ever goes through the progressions just because he's not sure of what that guy can do.

"We were running and gunning last year, and that was good for the group of guys that we had. But our style is different this year, more balanced."

Gilbertson praised the backup QB's, Casey Paus and Isaiah Stanback, for their progress so far this year. "Isaiah is farther along at quarterback than I thought he would be," he said. "And Casey has improved 100 percent. The past two weeks he has been on the money."

Stanback will be performing double-duty in the Rose Bowl once again. "He'll be our sixth receiver, meaning he's our backup at the slot," Gilbertson said. Williams, Frederick, Robbins, Stanback, Quintin Daniels and Sonny Shackelford are the receivers that will travel on Washington's 60-man roster to UCLA.

With that move, it's almost assured that the rest of the receivers will redshirt, including Bobby Whithorne and Corey Williams.

It's common for Williams to get the opposition's best DB, and in this case it's Bruin standout Matt Ware. Will Ware cover Williams exclusively? Gilbertson doesn't think so.

"They'll probably have a different plan inside the scoring territory because we like to throw the fade to Reggie and they probably want a bigger guy on him, but from what we've seen of their defensive scheme they like to roll up their corners with safeties over the top," Gilbertson said. "So by doing that, there's no reason for a specific one-on-one matchup."

Ben Bandel is practicing today, but the big tight end will still be held back a little bit from what Gilbertson called 'the bangs'. "He'll go today, but we'll limit his contact," Gilbertson said." Jon Lyon will back him up.

Defensively, Tyler Krambrink brought some fire and energy to the Husky D against Stanford, and Gilbertson expects to use more of the senior from Eatonville. "He missed a lot of work because of his fractured hand, so we used him sporadically, if at all, early on," said Gilbertson. "We wanted to limit his hits in the game. And he's also got an ankle thing, so I'm not sure if he's even 100 percent now, but he can play both outside linebacker positions for us."

The backup safeties should also expect to be rotated with more frequency. "I want to get James Sims and Owen Biddle more snaps," Gilbertson said. "We only went 70 snaps last week, so we didn't have to play a lot of snaps, but I'd still like to see more rotation.

"And I'm also anxious to see C.J. Wallace get into a football game."

But Gilbertson also added what a calming presence starting FS Jimmy Newell is. "He's a bright guy who knows how to get guys lined up and knows where the ball is at all times."

Wallace, Tahj Bomar and Clarence 'Dre' Simpson will all travel to Pasadena.

Kicking-wise, Sean Douglas, Evan Knudson and Garth Erickson are the only kickers Gilbertson knows 'for sure' will be traveling.

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