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Opponent Preview: Washington part 2

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Opponent Preview - Washington Pt. 2

Our friends at UW Dawg Pound stop by to answer some questions about what we’ll see from Washington in the opener!

Jack Condon

On Tuesday we took a cursory look at the Washington Huskies and what they’ll bring to the table on September 1st when they head into the Benz to square off with Auburn. We’re obviously not experts on the Huskies, but we know someone who is, and John Sayler over at uwdawgpound.com was kind enough to answer some of our questions.

What are your thoughts on last season as a whole after starting 6-0 and going 4-3 down the stretch? Is there a need to start strong in 2018 after finishing on a bit of a downswing in 2017?

Last season was a bit underwhelming for UW fans. 10 wins was fine and beating the s*** out of rivals Oregon and Washington State was fun, but the Pac-12 losses to Arizona State and Stanford really stung considering that the team kind of laid an egg against two very beatable teams. I didn’t really feel like the Huskies had a good enough season to warrant a NY6 bowl, yet they were chosen for the Fiesta Bowl. Penn State was clearly the better team, and that bowl game was disheartening even though Washington only ended up losing by a single touchdown.

Yes, starting strong is a must in 2018. The Huskies don’t really have any choice since the first game is Auburn and they travel to Utah for the Pac-12 opener two weeks later. They cannot afford to lose both of those games.

Jake Browning lost another great wideout in Dante Pettis... what’s the passing game going to look like and who’s going to get the bulk of the targets?

In 2017, Dante Pettis was one of the only receiving options that wasn’t hurt. He is gone, but four experienced juniors return as well as some promising freshmen whom mostly redshirted. If they can avoid the injury bug that plagued the pass-catchers a year ago, I really like this group.

Aaron Fuller was the only other receiver that managed to stay healthy all season, and he is looking like the most likely player to take on the #1 role. Receiving tight end Hunter Bryant was on his way to freshman All-American honors before injuring his knee halfway through the season. Bryant may end up being the team’s leading receiver.

As for Browning, where does he stand in the Pac-12 quarterback rankings heading into the season?

With Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Luke Falk all gone to the NFL, I’d say Browning ranks near the top. His resume certainly makes him the number one returning QB is the Pac-12, but most will argue that he isn’t the most talented QB in the conference. NFL scouts would certainly rank him well below Oregon’s Justin Herbert, and Arizona’s Khalil Tate was one of the most exciting players in the country last season.

But a lot of people don’t recognize (or care) what Jake Browning does. First off, he takes care of the football. Last year he had more rushing touchdowns (7) than total turnovers (5). He just doesn’t do stupid things like throw the ball late over the middle, or hold the ball in one hand when the pocket collapses. Browning will never run the called play if the defensive alignment is a bad fit for the call. He is pretty much a coach on the field and even though he audibles as much as anyone in college football, he never has to look to the sideline for a new play. He doesn’t have strong arm or great measurables, which annoys a lot of fans, but the Husky coaching staff loves him for his accuracy and decision making. But if he is not getting decent protection or his receivers aren’t getting open, he can look pretty bad.

Auburn doesn’t really have a set running back and will likely depend on the passing game to begin the year. You guys are the opposite with Myles Gaskinreturning. Will we see him play a larger role to start the season while the passing attack gets going?

Chris Petersen’s offenses have always used the passing game to set up the run, and this game will be no different. Browning will hit some quick downfield passes outside and possibly take a deep shot early.

Auburn looks to have an impressive front seven, so running the ball won’t be easy. Gaskin is a terrific back, but just like all good running backs, he needs push from his line and running lanes to work with. I expect Gaskin to have a significant role in the passing game. He has 37 receptions and 4 receiving TDs the past two seasons, and saw his yards per catch increase from 7 YPC in 2016 to almost 13 per reception last year. He was targeted downfield and split out wide a lot more last season, and that should continue to be a way they use him.

On defense, who replaces Vita Vea and the other departures in the front seven?

No one replaces Vita Vea. That guy destroyed double teams and allowed the Huskies to use a 2 & 3 man front and still get pressure on the QB. The player they paired with Vea in many of those two-man D-line configurations was Greg Gaines, and Husky fans are delighted that Gaines decided to return for his senior season. Gaines is 320 pounds of wrecking ball and will be counted on to be “the man” on the UW defensive line. Senior Jaylen Johnson has flashed in his Husky career, playing a particularly terrific game against Alabama in the Peach Bowlas a sophomore after missing much of that season due to injury. He’s another 300-pounder with an NFL future. Interestingly, the two linebackers the Huskies lost to the NFL draft (Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria) saw their playing time decrease last season with the emergence of players like Ben Burr-Kirvin and DJ Beavers (Victor was eventually dismissed from the team entirely). Bierria was an emotional leader and someone will need to step up in that regard.

Who’s someone that Auburn fans don’t know now but will definitely hear about come September 1st?

I’ll give you one on each side of the ball.

The Husky secondary is really good. Last season they had to replace three players who were drafted in the first 43 picks of the draft, and even though they lost both starting cornerbacks for a combined 13 games, the pass defense played well enough to finish 10th in the country in opponent yards per attempt. However, they did break down in a couple games, especially when both starting CBs were down at the same time. Nearly everyone in the secondary returns, and Taylor Rapp is as good a free safety as there is in the Pac-12; possibly the entire country. He was the Pac-12 defensive freshman of the year in 2016, and a first team All-Pac 12 selection last season. He’s a really smart player with terrific agility, great balls skills, and incredible instincts.The entire secondary just doesn’t miss tackles, and that has been the case since Jimmy Lake has been the DB coach.

On offense, RB Salvon Ahmed can fly. He is the heir apparent to Gaskin, but he saw a lot of action as a true freshman last year. They used him more as a receiver last season, but with Lavon Coleman gone Ahmed will be the #2 running back. He’s still learning how to set up his blocks and get skinny in the hole, but his improvement in that area was noticeable as the season wore on. No one else on the Huskies has his straightaway football speed. UW will need him to make some big plays against Auburn.

How well do you think your fans will travel to Atlanta? The game will be played in Auburn’s backyard and there should be a ton of Tiger fans in attendance. 

Weather wise, Labor Day weekend is one of the best times to be in the Pacific Northwest, so if you have been dying to go to Atlanta, there are a lot better times to do it (I’m guessing it’s probably what-- 90 and humid?). Also, the Huskies played in Atlanta two years ago for the Peach Bowl. Husky fans travel well in general but you can bank on a HUGE home field advantage. Thankfully the game is in the climate controlled Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it’s still a long trip for the team. Yes I am already making excuses.

Finally, how have you kept the fact that your campus/stadium might be the best-looking in America a secret for so long?

As most SEC fans are aware, Seattle is located somewhere between Naknek, Alaska and the planet Neptune, so if it wasn’t for ESPN putting games on at 11pm EST for insomniac football die-hards to watch, it would still be a secret.

Seriously though, I grew up going to UW football games and just took it for granted that people sailed their boats to the stadium and enjoyed a gorgeous view between plays. I didn’t realize until later that most college football games are played in a giant rectangle inside a huge parking lot. I do like Jordan-Hare though.. looks really nice. Right on campus just like Husky Stadium.

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Interesting comments about Browning dealing with pressure. I think we rattle him early. I just hope that we keep him under duress all game or most of the game. Here's video of him against bammer's defense. 

 

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More rushing TDs than overall turnovers for a pocket passing QB is damn impressive.

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2 hours ago, WFE12 said:

The Huskies don’t really have any choice since the first game is Auburn and they travel to Utah for the Pac-12 opener two weeks later.

I know it's not what is being said but don't lump us in with Utah... :no:

2 hours ago, WFE12 said:

But if he is not getting decent protection or his receivers aren’t getting open, he can look pretty bad

I think we can handle that first part

2 hours ago, WFE12 said:

I expect Gaskin to have a significant role in the passing game.

Hopefully we improve on this area. We haven't done super well at covering backs in the passing game.

2 hours ago, WFE12 said:

you can bank on a HUGE home field advantage.

Not at that stadium...The fans might counter out our negative luck there so far.

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2 hours ago, WFE12 said:

Interesting comments about Browning dealing with pressure. I think we rattle him early. I just hope that we keep him under duress all game or most of the game. Here's video of him against bammer's defense. 

 

A few things in this video:

1. Dear God Alabama gets away with pass interference.

2. Alabama for years has the easiest Pick-6's I've ever seen. Odd how often it happens for them; likely a product of their pass rush.

3. Dear lord that Offensive Line struggled.

4. Super quick release but the ball floats in the air for a bit. Browning looks bad under pressure.

5. I do wish that an Auburn QB would learn when to throw the ball away like Browning.

 

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6 minutes ago, Zeek said:

A few things in this video:

1. Dear God Alabama gets away with pass interference.

2. Alabama for years has the easiest Pick-6's I've ever seen. Odd how often it happens for them; likely a product of their pass rush.

3. Dear lord that Offensive Line struggled.

4. Super quick release but the ball floats in the air for a bit. Browning looks bad under pressure.

5. I do wish that an Auburn QB would learn when to throw the ball away like Browning.

 

Another thing to consider. This was two years ago.

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Anyone know of an avenue of ticket purchase for this game that doesn't involve the $145 per ticket for crap seats Stub-Hub racket? I can't find anything through the Auburntigers.com site as of yet. 

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1 minute ago, madkat7 said:

Anyone know of an avenue of ticket purchase for this game that doesn't involve the $145 per ticket for crap seats Stub-Hub racket? I can't find anything through the Auburntigers.com site as of yet. 

Try Washington's website. I got my 2013 SECCG tickets through Mizzou's website. 

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3 minutes ago, madkat7 said:

Anyone know of an avenue of ticket purchase for this game that doesn't involve the $145 per ticket for crap seats Stub-Hub racket? I can't find anything through the Auburntigers.com site as of yet. 

Anything at Mercedes Benz isn't cheap unfortunately.  They might drop a little, but you should expect to pay at least $145.

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53 minutes ago, madkat7 said:

Anyone know of an avenue of ticket purchase for this game that doesn't involve the $145 per ticket for crap seats Stub-Hub racket? I can't find anything through the Auburntigers.com site as of yet. 

Do you have any friends that are season ticket holders?  AU season ticket holders have until the end of the month to submit a request to purchase tickets for the kickoff game.  $100 for upper deck, $225 for lower level.

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1 hour ago, Zeek said:

A few things in this video:

2. Alabama for years has the easiest Pick-6's I've ever seen. Odd how often it happens for them; likely a product of their pass rush.

It's there pattern matching scheme that allows them to peal off and slide into the passing lanes.

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49 minutes ago, bigbird said:

It's there pattern matching scheme that allows them to peal off and slide into the passing lanes.

No damn it they cheat.......................................

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3 hours ago, atl-tiger said:

Anything at Mercedes Benz isn't cheap unfortunately.  They might drop a little, but you should expect to pay at least $145.

Ain't that the truth. Me and the wife really want to see a game there so we thought maybe we'd go watch the Falcons play someone crappy but it was still too high for bad seats.

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23 hours ago, Zeek said:

A few things in this video:

1. Dear God Alabama gets away with pass interference.

2. Alabama for years has the easiest Pick-6's I've ever seen. Odd how often it happens for them; likely a product of their pass rush.

3. Dear lord that Offensive Line struggled.

4. Super quick release but the ball floats in the air for a bit. Browning looks bad under pressure.

5. I do wish that an Auburn QB would learn when to throw the ball away like Browning.

 

Great film - Steele will know how to make that QB uncomfortable as hell.

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I will say this ..I am glad this o-line doesn't have to face Vita Vea and the return defense Dante Pettis.

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Listening to xm 84 this morning and this game is already getting major hype relative to what it will indicate about the pac 12, etc. being called one of the most important week 1 games.  

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One good thing about this game though is that, if the last few seasons have indicated anything, no matter how excruciatingly bad we look in week 1, we can still position ourselves to play for something come November.

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On 5/3/2018 at 2:23 PM, madkat7 said:

Anyone know of an avenue of ticket purchase for this game that doesn't involve the $145 per ticket for crap seats Stub-Hub racket? I can't find anything through the Auburntigers.com site as of yet. 

 

On 5/3/2018 at 2:25 PM, McLoofus said:

Try Washington's website. I got my 2013 SECCG tickets through Mizzou's website. 

“Tickets to Washington’s opening football game in 2018, the Chick-Fil-A-Kickoff game in Atlanta, will go on sale to the general public Tuesday through www.gohuskies.com.

The deposit price will be between $225 and $250 for the Huskies’ game against Auburn in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The seats will be allocated to the general public starting May 18, so the earlier fans purchase the tickets the better their seat selection. All seats on sale are located in the lower bowl of the stadium and will be in the Huskies’ section.”

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-husky-football/tickets-to-washingtons-game-against-auburn-go-on-sale-tuesday-to-general-public/

 

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Last year our defense showed up prepared to handle the challenge of Clemson. I feel good about them being ready this year. I'm hoping that a second year into the system with Lindsey will have Auburn better situated offensively than they were last year. I think Grimes helps as well. That said, I won't have a bit of faith in our offense coming to play on game one until I actually see it. Our running game will be fierce. Count on it. The guy stated Auburn will have to rely on the passing game. Uhmm, has he watched an Auburn game. Doubtful that will be the approach we take.

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Good news...tickets available....BUT...$225 and in the U of W section.....:no:

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5 minutes ago, AU64 said:

Good news...tickets available....BUT...$225 and in the U of W section.....:no:

For $125 I'll let you sit on my couch to watch the game.  I'll even share my beer.. :cheers:

You save not only $100 on the ticket but probably $8 per beer.  Plus I have 2 full bathrooms and only 2 nine year olds to bug you.

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11 minutes ago, AUsince72 said:

For $125 I'll let you sit on my couch to watch the game.  I'll even share my beer.. :cheers:

You save not only $100 on the ticket but probably $8 per beer.  Plus I have 2 full bathrooms and only 2 nine year olds to bug you.

Thanks...but have my own couch and refreshments . And.....NO nine year olds.?

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3 minutes ago, AU64 said:

Thanks...but have my own couch and refreshments . And.....NO nine year olds.?

I certainly understand...

They can often be louder than JHS, LOL!

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1 hour ago, AUsince72 said:

I certainly understand...

They can often be louder than JHS, LOL!

They are fun but are meant for younger adults....even my grands are older than that.....hope you are training them well.

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