Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Battle for the line of scrimmage

The one thing that scares me about Oregon State is how physical they play on both sides of the ball. Don't judge the Beavers by the play of quarterback Sean Canfield who likely will miss Saturday's game. Judge the Beavers on their ability to shut down the run on defense, and open holes for their running back on offense. What that is called is dominating the line of scrimmage, and it is the main reason the Beavers are competitive in a season where they haven't been able to pass the ball well.

The main thing Washington hasn't done much of this season is dominate the line of scrimmage. Let see, they did it against Syracuse, they did it against Boise St in the first half, then they put together a complete game against Stanford last weekend. Even though they played a close game against now #1 Ohio State it was obvious from the onset who was in charge. Same thing can be said for UCLA, USC, Arizona State, and especially Oregon. We did a good job on offense against Arizona, but once again the defense couldn't get to a immobile QB which led to that upset loss which still has the program reeling in recovery.

Ted Miller of the PI brought up the Huskies "Anger" factor in almost mocking fashion in his column today. He thinks anger simply isn't going to do it against the Beavers because they simply have better players than Washington.

What's physical? It's a defense that nearly matches USC's collection of future NFL Pro Bowlers. The Beavers own the nation's fifth-best run defense, are second in the nation in sacks and join the Trojans as the conference's only other defense surrendering less than 300 total yards per game. No other conference team has forced more turnovers than the Beavers (22), and one could reasonably conjecture that the defense would look even better if its hapless offensive counterparts hadn't given the ball back an astounding 25 times. The Huskies, meanwhile, own the Pac-10's worst run defense, have forced the fewest turnovers in the conference and are surrendering 31 points a game.

In one paragraph Ted was able to summarize why the Huskies shouldn't win this football game on Saturday. OSU doesn't let a lot of stuff get outside them on defense. The Beavers have no problem stacking the line with eight players all night to funnel everything inside where their excellent linebackers can lean up the play.

Washington is going to have to do some things to take them out of that. One example would be the 98 yard TD pass the Huskies completed against Arizona. The Wildcats were stacking the line and Marcel Reese got behind them and took the the Jake Locker pass to the house. Doing things like that opens it up for you because the defense can no longer cheat. Now it doesn't always work like that, last week Washington wasn't able to complete the long pass even though Jake was on target most of the night. The receivers need to do a much better job catching the ball if Washington wants to win this one.

On offense no matter who the quarterback is the Beavers are going to run all night until Washington shows they can stop them. Bernard is banged up with a bruised shoulder so it is imperative that Washington gets some clean hits on him at the line of scrimmage. Important not to our linebackers, and safeties, arm tackles are not going to work on Bernard, or any Beaver running back. If the Huskies arm tackle OSU is going to rack up some big yards on the ground.

Nathan Ware and I discuss the upcoming game in his PI blog. I asked him how many yards he expected the Beavers to put up on the ground this weekend.

Nathan: Yeah, let's see, in 2005, the Beavers ran for 127 yards against the Dawgs. In 2006, the Beavs ran for 180 yards against UW. This year, they are averaging 149 yards per game on the ground. I'd say they get around 200 yards this weekend.

Holding the Beavers to 200 yards or less may be a pretty good game for the Husky defense if they can control the Beavers through the air. The air by the way hasn't been friendly to the Beavers at all this year. Sean Canfield who may be out has been pretty much atrocious all year, the kid has been a turnover machine. force the Beavers into throwing the ball on Saturday and we just may come away with a victory.


pl said...

Will be making my first visit to Husky Stadium, buying ticets online - please can you tell me where the best seats are, sections, rows. Can't make out from seat charts which seats are low enough and covered

pl said...

Will be making my first visit to Husky Stadium, buying ticets online - please can you tell me where the best seats are, sections, rows. Can't make out from seat charts which seats are low enough and covered

prrbrr said...

Gohuskies.com is UW athletic site, they have stadium chart. If you avoid row double letters CA,BB,esp CZ you won't be too far up, although you will be covered. Also avoid bottom8 rows in Husky stadium, they are view restricted by the teams. Anything in East or west end zones are obviously not covered.