UW Huskies Insider

Know your enemy: Utes defense trying to find ways to stop Husky offense

Post by Ryan Divish on Sep. 29, 2011 at 11:00 am with No Comments »
September 29, 2011 11:15 am

AP photo

AUDIO: Kyle Whittingham talks about the Huskies following a practice this week with KFAN. …. Linebacker Brian  Blechen also talks post practice.

The Utah defense which is one of the best in the Pac 12 — at least stastistically – now must try and slow down a Husky offense that has been very efficient this season. The offense is so multiple in its looks, personnel groupings, formations and motions can be a nightmare to prepare for.

Preparing for that variety is proving to be the Utes’ biggest challenge, coach Kyle Whittingham said.

“They may have more formations than any team I have ever prepared for,” Whittingham said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Whittingham said Utah’s defense must pay particular attention to the shifts the Huskies make.

“The biggest problem it presents when you’re playing a team like that is to make sure you are aligned properly,” Whittingham said. “They do new formations each week and do a nice job gaining advantages with their formations.”

The Tribune also writes about Keith Price and his stellar season. The Utes actually recruited Price a little out of St. John’s Bosco.

That’s not possible anymore. Price has led the resurgent Huskies to a 3-1 start and an early tie for the Pac-12’s North Division lead. He has completed 75 of 112 passes for 983 yards, including a 19-of-25 outing for 292 yards and 3 TDs last Saturday during Washington’s 31-23 comeback victory against California.

“He’s really improved from Year One to Year Two,” Sarkisian said. “Did I think he would be leading the country in touchdown passes after four games? Probably not. But I also did think he’d play well. I don’t think we would have made him our starter if we didn’t think he was going to play well.”

Price has performed at such a high level, in fact, that he’s making waves on two fronts. The QB that national recruiting systems severely undersold is teaming with Huskies running back Chris Polk — who has recorded two consecutive seasons of more than 1,100 rushing yards — to form the new face of Washington’s revamped football program. Moreover, Price has turned college coaches’ ambivalence into a trampoline, bouncing himself into a tradition-rich line of Husky quarterbacks that includes Warren Moon, Mark Brunell, Damon Huard and Jake Locker — players that eventually traded their purple-and-gold uniforms for NFL paychecks.

“People ask me all the time, ‘Are you surprised with how he’s doing?’ And to be honest with you, I’m not one bit surprised,” said Washington senior linebacker Cort Dennison, who starred at Judge Memorial High School. “I knew all along how good Keith Price was going to be, so I’m not surprised by anything. The kid’s just a great quarterback, great football player and a great person.”

The Huskies will be playing in a sold-out Rice-Eccles Stadium. And believe me, it will be loud. It won’t be quite as loud as loud or obnoxious as Autzen, but it will be tough to hear on the field.

Here’s the Trib’s weekly Pac 12 picks, they take the Utes 27-20

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