Dawgman.com Diary - 10/28

So you win a few, you lose a few. After a good win against Oregon State, everything evened out once again with the loss to USC. A loss to the highly-ranked Trojans should not have shocked anybody. With the level of talent they have stockpiled for the future makes them look like the so-called "Florida State of the West." In fact, I'll go one better. They may be the "Miami of the West." But as the old cliché says, there is no use crying over spilt milk.

Hopefully the Huskies learned a thing or two after the Trojans put on a football clinic last weekend. With the best-dressed team in college football coming to Seattle this week, Washington will obviously have to look their best as they attempt to keep their collective heads above water.

With their second game against northwest teams coming up this weekend, Washington should take comfort in knowing that history is at least on their side. The Huskies have won five straight games against their northwest cousins dating back to 2001 and 11-2 in their last 13 games. Against Oregon alone, Washington is 57-33-5 all time. But we all know history does not matter on game day.

The Don James Center at noon on Mondays is where the Huskies meet up to face the media. However, this past Monday, it seemed a little less crowded. In reality, a lot of the players were attending treatment that time. Who could blame them? The Huskies have been frequent visitors to the doctor's office recently (and we're not talking about "Dr. Feelgood").

Rich Alexis will be back this weekend and that is obviously good news. After sustaining a thigh injury against Oregon State two weeks ago, Alexis was in pads for the USC game but stayed on the sidelines. In his place, Kenny James and Shelton Sampson split carries and combined to rush for 80 yards and a touchdown.

"They played great," Alexis said of his freshmen proteges. "Kenny had a nice run for touchdown and showed just what he could do. I like how Shelton got in there and mixed it up a little bit."

Even with the week off, Alexis is still third in the Pac-10 with 566 yards rushing. Personally, Alexis said that he felt fine and that he was ready to go full speed against the Ducks this week.

"I feel pretty good and strong," he said. "The week off really did not do anything to slow me down. It gave me a chance to make my legs stronger and I think I'll be able to pick up where I left off before the setback."

But I had to wonder. Was Alexis rushing back from his injury because he did not want to miss his last game against Oregon? After all, his injury seemed so sever that some people thought that he had fractured his leg two weeks ago.

"It's an intense rivalry and nothing more,' said the senior tailback. "It's not that we play them harder or anything. It is nothing special."

Alexis also knows about the hatred coming from Eugene that exists and noted that the "feeling was mutual," but made the point that hatred does not mean disrespect.

"It doesn't mean we disrespect the program," he said. "Oregon is a good team and one of our biggest rivals. We may not like them, but we certainly don't disrespect them."

And what about their uniforms? There is word that the infamous "lightning yellow" uniforms that haven't been seen since the Ducks' season opener were damaged when they were washed and the colors bled through. There are reports that Oregon will be wearing something fancy for the nationally televised game this week.

"That's Oregon," said Alexis. "They can do whatever they want to do."

Another senior that has seen his share of Oregon is Greg Carothers. Before sharing his thoughts about the Ducks, Carothers gave a lot of credit to USC.

"USC had a great team and great coaches," said Carothers. "They clearly clicked on all cylinders Saturday and talent wise, they are one of the deepest teams in the nation."

Against the Ducks, Carothers and the defense will have their work cut out for them scheming against a two-headed quarterbacking monster. It is more than a forgone conclusion that the Huskies will see plenty of both Kellen Clemens and Jason Fife. Both saw action against the Huskies last season and both will surely want to erase their inconsistent performance in 2002.

"It's different this season," Carothers said. "Both now have significant experience. We haven't seen film yet, but we are going get a good look at both of them. It is better to study the entire offense to be able to consistently defend their schemes and systems."

Carothers also knows about the "friendly" rivalry between these two teams. Also, this will be the first and only time Carothers plays Oregon at home with the Ducks last visit to Husky Stadium coming nearly four years ago.

"The rivalry is legit," he said. "It is a big rivalry. I would not say its necessarily hatred that fuels the two teams, but just knowing that it is an important conference game will bring out the best in you."

And Carothers will be looking forward to seeing Oregon's style as well.

"Green-yellow, yellow-green, or lightning yellow; honestly, I don't know what to expect. Just looking to coming out and playing a solid game and helping the team come out on top."

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