For Washington’s football season, you can get game previews pretty much anywhere — The Seattle Times, Bleacher Report, Scout, Cooking Light, your drunk neighbor Dave’s porch. You get the picture. So instead of providing you with something you have complete access to elsewhere, here at Armchair we’ll be previewing each Husky game by asking the question “What can we learn from this week’s game?” This week that means the fury of Bryce Love and a wounded but never down Stanford defense.
How do the Dawgs match up against power running?
We know Washington is one of the best run defenses in the country, but so far they haven’t played against any power-heavy teams. Then in comes Stanford who, with Bryce Love, is pretty much the epitome of that.
While the Huskies’ defense has shown over and over again to be able to handle pretty much anything, none of the offenses they’ve gone up against so far have been so based on a power running game.
Defending against Oregon‘s zone read and option runs took a lot of spacial discipline, but it’ll be a completely different animal with Bryce Love and his multitude of 1,000 lb blockers. On one hand, the Dawgs are physical up front and play fundamentally sound defense. However, their starters tasked with setting the edge are not the biggest people given the Huskies’ base nickel defense and propensity for only two down linemen.
Their defense has been more diverse this year than last; it’s not unreasonable to expect more three or four down linemen, but it would be a waste to not utilize Ryan Bowman and Tevis Bartlett’s versatility and quickness, even if they are on the smaller side for people on(ish) the line.
How much of an issue is Jake Browning’s decisiveness?
It’s not like the Huskies are gonna burn Stanford through the air. The Cardinal’s secondary will make any quarterback pay for throwing it into tight coverage.
Last week, Browning made some great throws against an Oregon secondary that’s talented yet flawed. Coming up this week, however, is a Stanford defensive secondary that’s talented and actually a strength of the defense. For much of the season, Browning’s looked a bit like he trusts neither his offensive line nor his receivers, and with fair reason. That shell shock seems to have left a negative effect on him even on the occasions where he has a clean pocket and half-open receivers.
Any residual paralysis-by-analysis against Stanford’s strong secondary will be a headache for the Dawgs.
How much can the Huskies milk the running game?
With the aforementioned on-again off-again passing issues, plus how well the run game has been doing, plus Stanford’s defensive weakness being up front, we all know the Dawgs are gonna feed Myles Gaskin, Lavon Coleman, and Salvon Ahmed the ball a lot.
At a certain point, the Cardinal know exactly what’s coming. When that point hits, and it comes down to just who can out-physical and out-execute the other, who wins and by how much? Are the Huskies’ running strengths and Stanford’s running weakness so pronounced that they can power it through completely? How much ground game against this defense is Washington’s version of a balanced attack?
That’s it for this week. Do good things, don’t do bad things, and bow down to Washington.
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