Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Puppy Chow

Now that the public scrimmage is out of the way the Huskies are almost ready to begin preparing for Syracuse. UW play's Syracuse on a Friday night before a national TV audience. With that weird quirk in the schedule Washington will begin it's game week preparations on Friday of this week.

The Huskies have two more set's of doubles coming up, one Monday, and the last one on Wednesday. Thursday the team will have it's last pre season scrimmage of the year, and hopefully they will have more of the kinks worked out by then.

One thing that is working in Washington's favor is the weather. After some brutally hot days in August the weather in the Northeast, and Midwest is beginning to feel a little like Fall.

Temperatures in the Syracuse area have been in the 50's early this week. It should heat up by the time UW gets back there, but expect temperatures to be in the low 70's at game time with moderate humidity. The last thing this team needed was a hot, and humid Carrier Dome to start the season.

The team will not practice in Dempsey at all as a means of trying to simulate the Carrier Dome because Willingham feels that what they'll see in Syracuse can't be replicated by what they have, and when asked about replicating noise, he said they can do that outside just as easily. The cooler weather expected back East is a big factor in that decision.

I have been following the Syracuse reports pretty closely, and like Washington, the Orange seem to be a work in progress that is at least a step and a half behind UW at this point. If UW can play some mistake free football they should be in good shape to pick up their first win of the season on the road.

Washington coaches and players spent most of Sunday breaking down film of Saturday's scrimmage. The coaches are getting pretty close to determining the starting line ups for the opening game. One thing that has been interesting so far is that the Tolar, and Habben have been holding onto their starting spots on the offensive line. Matt Sedillo is right in the mix too, but has been a little banged up the last few days. If the older guys are going to make a final move this is the week to get it done. Thursday's scrimmage is going to be very important as far as future playing time is concerned. Count on the Huskies rotating players this year quite a bit rather than going with the iron man routine of last season.

Nothing is decided yet in the kicking game. Ballman, and Perkins have been about even in the ounting department, and walk on Kyle Rasp has fallen a bit behind them. Same thing as far as place kicking goes, but expect Falk to win the job if he can stay healthy over the next eleven days. Falk's leg is pretty strong, so he looks like an excellent pick up at this point.

The return game is just as big a question mark. We really don't have much of a clue who is going to handle the punt returns since Russo has a broken finger. On kickoff Rankin, and Shaw have a bit of an edge at this point. Look for special teams to get a lot of attention up until game time.

As of Monday morning Wilson Afoa, Donald Butler, Matt Sedillo and Caesar Rayford all were able to practice. It's nice to see Wilson Afoa back out there again. Anthony Russo participated around 95% of the practice so it looks like he will be good to go for Syracuse. Byron Davenport is still a question mark at this point.

Late Opponent Notes

Syracuse lost a potential standout over the weekend when middle linebacker Jermaine Pierce was ruled out of football with a blood-clotting issue. Pierce, of Norristown, Pa., had attended prep school and was considered the Orange's best recruit. Tough break for the Orange.

The enthusiasm is tempered by a wait-and-see approach, but it is clearly present. For the first time since Dwight Freeney last donned a Syracuse University football helmet in 2001, Orange coaches and players are quietly excited about the defensive line.

ESPN's Ivan Maisel writes that Boise State's win streak will not survive September. The Broncos return only 11 starters, and senior quarterback Taylor Tharp has inched ahead in the race to replace Jared Zabransky because he has made the fewest mistakes, not because he has made plays. Early games at Washington (Sept. 8) and at home against Southern Mississippi (Sept. 27) mean Boise State has to be ready earlier than it can be.

Cal Looking for Revenge

Bob Condotta of the Times has an update on Cal as they get ready for their opener.

California coach Jeff Tedford has a ready-made answer for the constant questions about his team's opener against Tennessee."It's not about revenge but about redemption," he said.
Indeed, while Cal went 10-3 in 2006 and won the Holiday Bowl — a season that pre-Tedford would have generated the kind of excitement usually reserved for tree-sitters — many Bears fans could never get past the opening loss to Tennessee.

USC Suffers some Attrition

At most schools losing a couple athletes like Moody, and Holland would be cause for great concern, but at USC these two former HS All American's are just part of the extended depth.

Jamere Holland, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound wide receiver from Pacoima, Calif., was listed as a third stringer on the USC depth chart entering fall camp. “We dismissed Holland last night,” Carroll said after practice. “Not a whole lot to share with you. It was just the thing to do and he understood. “I’m not sure what he’s going to do. He’s looking for another school. We’re going to help him in that process when we can.”

Emmanuel Moody, the second-leading rusher for Southern California last season as a freshman who is caught in a glut of highly regarded tailbacks, has decided to transfer. Emmanuel Moody bruised his knee during a team scrimmage last week and has since struggled to regain his form. "We've talked about it for a couple days. It was not a snap decision," Trojans coach Pete Carroll said after practice Thursday. "He's of the mind that he needs to move on. He's looking for an opportunity where he can be a featured guy.

No comments: