As part of our expanded coverage of Oregon football, this week we also spent the time to ask Adam Jude, who covers the Huskies for the Seattle Times, for his take on a few topics related to this game.
Q: Keith Price is playing pretty inspired ball early this season. Aside from his own health, what is the difference this season?
|Will the defensive line be able to get pressure on QB Keith Price?|
Price looks better than ever now, not unlike Dennis Dixon as a senior in 2007. UW’s new up-tempo offense looks perfectly suited for him. He doesn’t run a ton, but he’s able to scramble effectively and has done a nice job limiting his mistakes this season.
Q: The defense played well throughout the game, but struggled with
Stanford in the Red Zone, what is different about the defense this
A: It's UW’s second season under Justin Wilcox. With the likes of Shaq Thompson at linebacker, the caliber of athlete is generally more talented than UW had two or three years ago, and they have a better understanding of what they’re being asked to do.
It's no secret that UW's defense struggled against spread offenses the past couple years (Oregon and Arizona, specifically), so part of Sarkisian's thinking in switching to a no-huddle offense was to help the UW defense get better conditioned to that style by seeing it every day in practice. You've see how effective that has worked for Nick Aliotti and the Oregon defense. It’s starting to pay off for the Huskies, too.
Q: Ty Montgomery had two big returns, one for a touchdown that was
really the difference, is that a trend or an anamoly for the special
A: That was the difference in the game. UW made a change in kickoff coverage a week ago, trying to free up one of its best special-teams guys, safety Will Shamburger, but it backfired. Sarkisian said Monday that he will now be using more of his "best guys" i.e., defensive starters on special teams against Oregon.
Q: How healthy is Sefarian-Jenkins and how important is he to the Oregon game plan?
A: Seferian-Jenkins says he’s healthy and I would think he’d be a big part of the game plan. It’s maybe a bit puzzling that he hasn't been more involved the past few weeks, but I think defenses are playing particularly close attention to him, too.
Q: Clearly penalties were an issue especially early, is that a problem for Washington this year?
A: Yes. It's been a big problem. UW has been flagged 53 times in five games, more than anyone in the country.
Q: What do you expect this week?
A: I expect the Ducks to have their toughest test yet. I expect Husky Stadium to be rockin'. I expect Price to play well, and I expect the UW defense to put up a much better challenge than it has the past couple years. Will that be enough to end the nine-year streak? We'll see. Should be fun.