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Know the Enemy 2022: Washington Huskies Football
It's never a simple game.
We asked our friends over at UW Dawg Pound to answer some questions about the Huskies for us. John Sayler graciously answered the call to be our interviewee!
How much more lively does the program feel under Kalen DeBoer compared to Jimmy Lake?
Things are a lot more fun with DeBoer in charge. He is as transparent as a head coach can be, and he installed a great offense that puts points on the board. Fans love creative offense that works, so that has made him very popular in the early going. Defensively, the team kind of sucks, so the honeymoon could be over soon if that doesn’t improve.
Still, Jimmy Lake was an impossible guy to like, just from a personality standpoint.
Without a doubt the offense is the star of the show but would you say the defense ultimately determines the ceiling of this team? How do you think the defense is meeting that challenge if so?
To be fair, they have been absolutely decimated in the secondary with injuries. Both starting CB’s were lost in the opening weeks, and their backups have gotten hurt as well. UW has been down to its #5 & #6 corners the majority of the season. Starter Jordan Perryman has played the past two weeks, but it’s clear that he is still hurt. Starting safety Asa Turner missed a few games as well, and now Dominique Hampton –a safety/LB hybrid- is out.
Besides that, the inside linebackers have looked lost at times in coverage, making the Huskies a very easy team to throw the ball against. The pass rush is quite good, but opposing QBs have not needed much time to find open receivers.
The Huskies will be a pretty average team until they can stop opponents from easily going up and down the field.
What are the 1, 3, and 5 year expectations for the UW program? Assuming you go to Big10 when do you think you'll be contending?
This season, the goal has to be to get better on defense. The offense –Led by Michael Penix, Jr,-- is going to score points, and even when he leaves and a new QB comes in, there is faith that DeBoer and OC Ryan Grubb can groom the next guy to be successful.
By year three, we want to see a solid defensive team, and the same goes for the 5-year plan. The Big Ten is not something I give any thought to. UW needs to be able to beat the teams in the Pac before we start thinking BIGger.
Which player on offense should Cal fans know about?
WR Rome Odunze (#1) has been a monster this season. He is physical, has great ability to track the football, and like the rest of the UW receivers, is a very good blocker on the outside. Odunze is coming off his 4th consecutive 100 yard game, and he is someone that the defense needs to focus on. What makes that so difficult is that UW has other weapons in the passing game that can beat single coverage pretty easily.
Which player on defense should Cal fans know about?
DT Tuli Letuligasenoa (#91) has been banged up and his snaps have been limited that past two weeks, but he is clearly the Huskies best defensive lineman (possibly the best player on the defense). He is a disruptor in the running game, and also can generate pressure up the middle in the passing game. If Tuli is back to full strength, he makes the Huskies a much harder team to run the ball against.
Who’s one under-the-radar or X-factor player who could swing this game for you?
TE Jack Westover is an important cog in the Husky offense. With so much attention paid to the WRs on the outside, he finds himself wide open in the flat on a consistent basis. Westover is also used as a decoy for Penix, who loves to look to one side of the field, give a subtle pump fake, then attack the area the safety just vacated.
What does UW need to do to win the game?
UW has lost both it’s games on the road this season, and it’s happened with a poor showing early. The Huskies have scored a TD on their opening drive in each of the team’s seven games, but the difference has been what happens after that. They need to avoid early mistakes that put the team in chase mode. When a team with a bad defense falls behind, it makes it hard to catch up no matter how well the offense performs. It’s almost like they need to score on every possession or they run the risk of falling behind.
What does Cal need to do to win the game?
Score. And score touchdowns. They need to protect Plummer well enough to let him get the ball out, and if they can find success in the running game, that will bode well for the Bears. Defensively, it’s been hard to stop UW on a consistent basis, but if you can bait Penix into thinking you have gone for his fakes, then recover, you can get him to throw you a pick.
How do you see the game going?
I haven’t picked UW to win on the road yet, and these games at Berkeley can be kind of crazy. But ultimately I think the Huskies will get the one or two stops they need to outscore Cal.
UW 41, Cal 38
Whom do you most want to punch in the face?
I’ve gone with Evan Weaver the past two or three times we’ve done this, and was inclined to stick with him. But Aaron Rodgers has been looking (and acting) extra-punchable lately, so I will revert to Aye-Aye Ron.