Dawgbytes - 10/16

With players going down left and right, it appears the Washington Huskies are in need of their leaders stepping up and tackling the challenges ahead of them - namely the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis.

Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson announced Thursday that Roc Alexander most likely would not start against the Beavers. The senior from Colorado Springs, Colorado is suffering from shoulder stingers.

"I'm not optimistic about Roc," Gilbertson said. He did add, on a brighter note, that there's a chance Tusi Sa'au could start after being out with lower back problems. "He's practiced well and it would be nice to get him in there and keep him going."

Derrick Johnson and Chris Massey are expected to start in Alexander's absence, with Matt Fountaine, Sam Cunningham and 'Dre Simpson also traveling. Massey is still dealing with a sore groin.

"With 48 hours still ahead, some of these decisions could be game-time decisions," Gilbertson said.

Also, Gilbertson said that there's still a chance Michael Braunstein might travel, as the kicking job is still in competition. He added that current starter Evan Knudson has done nothing so far to indicate he's lost the starting nod.

Is Gilbertson concerned about a possible lack of leadership in the ranks heading into another tough road contest? One thing he's not interested in - the yelling on the sidelines that permeated through the ranks during the loss to UCLA.

"To me, being a leader is not a matter of being vocal," he said. "You go, practice hard and maybe some of the younger kids below you see what you're doing and you learn that way. You lead by example. I'm more interested in that."

Is he satisfied with the leadership of his two offensive stars - Cody Pickett and Reggie Williams? Apparently so.

"Cody is already a pretty determined guy in whatever he's doing," Gilbertson said of his senior QB. "He doesn't need me adding onto that. I know how hard he competes and tries. And he's taken ownership and responsibility for the things that have happened. When people do that, it's a great trait and I applaud it.

"With Reggie, he's a guy that will ask to be on the kickoff return team, the punt blocking team, the punt return team. He's just into playing the game. He's a wonderful young guy to coach."

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