Coach's Corner – USC special

Had it not been for their convincing victory over Oregon State, the Huskies would likely have been three touchdown underdogs while playing at home this Saturday against USC. That is almost unheard of by modern Husky standards.

Nobody comes into Montlake favored to beat the Dawgs by 20 points or better.

Does anyone remember some of the fairly recent classic UW home victories over USC?

- The infamous circling garbage bags of ‘81 (13-3, RIP Fred Small)
- The 24-0 shutout in 1983
- "All I saw was purple", a 31-0 shutout in 1990
- Another shutout in 1997 (27-0)
- The squeaker, tough fought win in 1992 (17-10)
- John Anderson's clutch boot at the bell in 2001 (27-24)

Washington has had some recent success against the Trojans. In fact, it is Washington, not USC, that has been the more dominant team in the west since 1980. It is Washington that is playing at home, and this is one game that I am positive the crowd will play a factor.

The Huskies need to keep the balance and continue to run the ball enough to keep USC's offense off of the field. Winning the time of possession and eliminating turnovers usually play big roles in the winning effort. That is why we have the "Dawgtracker" feature this year on

Next, the Huskies have to continue to stack against the run. The safeties will again need to have big games as the Trojans operate out of two back sets, where the Beavers were almost exclusively one back. This means the added blocker at the point of attack that could tie up the linebackers. Hence, the need by the safeties to roll up and stuff the point of attack.

It is a two-way street, though. The safeties also need to be ready to help on the Trojans two great wide receivers. Mike Williams and Keary Colbert is clearly the best tandem the Huskies will face this season. They will both play on Sundays. Newell and Benjamin will be asked to help the corners in bracketing and man-free schemes, depending on down and distance.

With the crowd's assistance, the Huskies can then use their pressure package to take hits on the young quarterback.

It will be crucial for Washington to keep it a game early, in order to keep the crowd in it as well. This is a great game for noise-caused mistakes. If the crowd is on, USC will not be able to audible out of plays that the Huskies are expecting. It needs to be loud on all defensive downs, but obviously on 3rd and 4th downs.

Even if USC picks up some early first downs, as long as the Dawgs stay in the game, the crowd should as well. The longer this happens, the more electric the stadium will become.

This is a call to arms. The biggest advantage the Huskies have is that they are playing at home. It has to be the biggest game of the year for the fans. This USC team is no fluke, they are every bit deserving of their lofty national rank.

Offensively, it will be interesting to see what the Huskies can do, and will try to do against that awesome front four. Mike Patterson is as good of an inside guy as you'll see, and he's not even the best one on his own team, Shaun Cody is. Then you've got Udeze, who killed us last year, and Nazel on the other side. Those guys get your attention when you turn on the VCR.

I would like to see a little more play action passes on early downs, keep them on their heels early with screens, draws, dumps, and check routes to the backs and tight ends. Although USC doesn't normally shade to either side (they are talented enough to just play their base), they will now have to balance up after ET's big game last week.

Wouldn't it be great to see Reggie win the Williams battle?

Last but certainly not least, the kicking game must perform at its highest level for the Huskies to win. It clicked last weekend, kudos to Coach Scott Pelluer for that.

But isn't it about time for a Husky block? They are due, and ET hopefully can remain in a hot zone on his returns. It is also crucial to not give up another punt block this Saturday.

Sean Douglas has the leg strength to put his kickoffs thru the end zone, and should do it at every opportunity. Don't mess with USC's speed, because it's very real. Washington really needs to win the kicking game decisively to win this game, in my opinion.

There it is - How to beat the Trojans, by Dick Baird. It's not rocket science, and it's also not out of the realm.

It has been done before. And Husky Stadium can be a very special place when the crowd gets going. How about it?
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