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Too Early Preview: Ducks vs. Washington

University of Washington Huskies

Location:  Seattle, Washington

Enrollment:  42,974

Coach:  Tyrone Willingham (11-25 @ UW, 76-76-1 overall)

2007 Record:  4-9 (2-7 Pac-10)


Allow me to make a list of things I hate more than the Washington Huskies:


1.  Certain political figures who shall not be named

2.  Wal-Mart


That’s about it.  Any longtime readers know my hatred everything purple and gold.  So their struggles over the last few years leave me with little sympathy for the Puppies.  I’ve often wondered how a team in such a great city of wealth could fall so far, but you’d better believe I revel in it.  Since their Rose Bowl appearance in 2000, Washington’s spiral to irrelevance has been met with these records:


2001:  7-4

2002:  7-6

2003:  6-6

2004:  1-10

2005:  2-9

2006:  5-7

2007:  4-9


That’s a whole lot of bad, only made worse by the truth that this team has no future, either.  Outside of Jake Locker, this team has no talent.  They finished 60th in the nation in total offense last year (394.2 ypg), and an abysmal 104th in total defense last year.  Ty Willingham is on the hottest seat in the nation, and his ass is sure to be shitcanned at the end of the year.


Lets take a look at Satan’s minions:


When Oregon has the ball:


Did I mention that Washington’s defense is somewhere beyond bad?  They were 89th against the run and 104th against the pass last year, so equally bad against both.  And, you remember running for four hundred sixty something yards against them last year.  Washington does return six starters, but are still plagued by a fundamental lack of talent on the defensive end.  A new defensive coordinator is sure to help, but how much?


E.J. Savannah had 111 tackles at outside linebacker last year, and is probably the only player on that end worth mentioning by name—though his eligibility remains in question.  The others are a mix defensive linemen with little experience, uninspiring linebackers, and a senior laden defensive backfield that has roughly as much skill as my one year old son.


As I’ve said, though, this defense is equally bad on both sides of the ball.  I’d expect Bellotti to break Costa in easy, with a heavy dose of JJ and Blount in this game.  Those guys should be able to keep each other fresh the whole game long, which should lead to big rushing numbers by the end of the game.  Costa will have a lot of safe passes early on (flats, bubble screens, etc.) until we can take a couple score lead.  I think at that point, Bellotti will let him take a couple of chances to get comfortable.  Costa will get somewhere around 150 yards thorough the air, but we could get over 300 yards rushing.  I’d be extremely disappointed if we didn’t have around 40 points.


When Washington has the ball:


There’s been some bagging on Jake Locker but he’s not overrated—he’s the real deal.  We know he runs like a beast.  And, while he need major improvement as far as passing accuracy goes, we saw last year what can happen if he’s able to find his touch on the deep ball.  Locker does have a bit of a hamstring issue, but its not expected to keep him out of the game.


Let me begin by making one thing crystal clear—Locker’s not going to be gift wrapped two deep blown coverages by the secondary this time.  It was that group’s worst performance of the year in that game, and its not going to happen again.  At least not against this opponent.  Every Washington receiver of not is no longer with the team.  However, one man to keep an eye on is freshman Chris Polk, who is expected kind of like James Rodgers.  Watch the fly sweep.  Louis Rankin is gone, but Brandon Johnson, a serviceable back, will step into the starting job.  The offensive line is very good, and starters return at fullback and tight end.


This unit is okay, but it is very unknown at the skill positions besides Locker.


Special Teams:


The Huskies are very good at punter and kicker.


Final Outlook:


The offense is a mystery, but I expect them to be pretty good.  Look for them to get up about 24 points as our defensive line and linebackers work out some kinks.  However, their defense is something terrible.  We saw a record running performance against them last year, and I expect the same this time around.  Tons of yards for JJ and Blount, and a 42-24 opening day win for Oregon.  Puppies go home licking their wounds, and all is good in the world.