UW Huskies Insider

Category: Know your enemy


Q-and-A with Andrew Greif, Oregon beat writer for the Oregonian

Our guest for this week’s Q-and-A with the opponent’s beat writer is Andrew Greif, who covers the Oregon Ducks for the Oregonian. He was kind enough to answer five questions about the Ducks ahead of Saturday’s game.

1. How much did the return of Jake Fisher help Oregon’s offensive line against UCLA?

Greif: “I’d say it was immeasurable but there is, in fact, a metric for it: Zero sacks. After allowing a combined 12 in its two previous games and becoming arguably the biggest reason to doubt Oregon’s place in the College Football Playoff discussion, the Ducks’ offensive line rebounded tremendously with Fisher in at left tackle. What he gives is an “attitude,” his teammates say, as well as tremendous skill and experience as a senior. Having him at left tackle caused a ripple effect for his linemen. In previous weeks they were trying to do too much, and overcompensating for a freshman left tackle in Tyrell Crosby and walk-on right tackle in Matt Pierson. There were still occasional breakdowns, of course, but when Fisher was able to do his job, it meant everyone else was able to focus on their own. The result? Zero sacks and only one penalty on the o-line.” Read more »


Q-and-A with Mike Vernon, California beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle

For this week’s Q-and-A with the opposing team’s beat writer, we turn to Mike Vernon, who is in his first year covering California for the San Francisco Chronicle. He was kind enough to answer five questions for us about Saturday’s matchup.

1. In what area has California most improved since its 1-11 finish in 2013? And how important has health been this season?

Vernon: “This is hard for me to say because I wasn’t here last year. But really, I think Cal’s ability to finish off drives has been the biggest reason for its success this year. The Bears’ red zone offense ranked 107th in the country last year. They averaged 453 yards of offense but only 23 points per game last year. That’s a staggering inability to score. Read more »


Scouting Stanford: Q-and-A with Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News

Our opponent Q-and-A this week comes from Elliott Almond, who helps cover Stanford and several other teams for the San Jose Mercury News. Elliott was kind enough to answer five questions for us. Here they are.

1. Could you tell us about how Stanford has replaced the four offensive line starters it lost from 2013?

Almond: “Every time it seems the O-line is decimated because of graduation losses, the next generation of behemoths surface. Just before the season started, coaches privately raved about the current group, hinting it might be the most talented to date. Left tackle Andrus Peat (6-foot-7, 316 pounds) obviously is the leftover from last year’s starting unit. His presence is huge in helping anchor the newcomers: left guard Joshua Garnett, center Graham Shuler, right guard Johnny Caspers and right tackle Kyle Murphy. Individually, they are fantastic. But Stanford coaches say they are growing as a unit, and their individual skills are secondary to collective strength. The Cardinal power running game has not been as impressive as previous seasons. Observers wonder if that is a byproduct of an inexperienced line. Coach David Shaw seems to agree, telling reporters this week, ‘This is the next step’ for the offensive line. ‘This is a very loud environment. This is going to be a tough test. The defense will try to confuse them. We have to have really good rules so the guys can play hard and play fast. They all have to be on the same page every single play. That is what growing together does. Every game is a little bit better than before.’” Read more »


Q-and-A with Doug Roberson, Georgia State beat writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Our weekly Q-and-A session with a beat writer covering the Huskies’ opponent features Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC), who covers Georgia State football for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Doug answered five questions for us. Here they are.

1. For fans out here who don’t know much about Georgia State, could you give us a little background on their transition to FBS and the kind of resources/budget they’re working with?

Roberson: “The program is in its fifth year of football. It had planned on being an FCS-level team, but as the landscape began to change a few years ago they were approached by the Sun Belt Conference about joining as a full member, which would necessitate playing football on the FBS level. It wasn’t in the original plan, so the program overall is a bit behind in terms of balancing the classes by year in football and in some of the important ancillary things like a strength and conditioning facility. But it has plans put together to improve in those areas.” Read more »


Q-and-A with Champaign News-Gazette Illinois beat writer Bob Asmussen

Illinois coach Tim Beckman greets defensive back Taylor Barton (3) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Western Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)
Illinois coach Tim Beckman greets defensive back Taylor Barton (3) during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Western Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb)

To gain a little more insight into the Illinois Fighting Illini, we asked five questions of Bob Asmussen (Twitter: @BobAsmussen), who covers the team for the Champaign News-Gazette. He was kind enough to provide some answers.

1. In light of the 475 yards and 7 TDs the Huskies allowed to Vernon Adams and Eastern Washington last week, can you tell us a little about Illinois QB Wes Lunt, and what kind of threat he poses as a passer?

Asmussen: “The comparison you hear most often is to Jeff George because both have a quick release. It’s weird, because Jeff George Jr. is on the team and will go on scholarship in the spring, competing with Lunt. Illinois hasn’t had a classic drop-back quarterback for years. Lunt makes mostly good decisions, though he had a couple potential interceptions dropped the first two games. To his credit, after slow starts, he kept trying and got better as the game went on. He is very comfortable with Bill Cubit as his offensive coordinator. It is a great fit. He will complete passes. Maybe not 7 TDs. But some.” Read more »


Q-and-A with Spokesman-Review beat writer Jim Allen

Jim Allen, a former colleague of mine who covers Eastern Washington for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, was gracious enough to answer five questions about the Washington-EWU game (12 p.m. Saturday, Pac-12 Networks). You can follow him on Twitter @srjimallen.

1. Does Eastern’s offense appear capable of putting up the kind of numbers it did in 2013?

Allen: “Yes, provided the major players remain healthy. Adams will continue to confound defenses with his ability to extend plays, the receivers are a diverse, talented group, and the running back corps is deeper than ever. The biggest question is in the interior line, which lost two FCS all-Americans to graduation. And apart from this week’s game, the schedule lends itself to some big numbers. Read more »


Q-and-A with Honolulu Star-Advertiser beat writer Stephen Tsai

Sometimes, the most honest insight into a team and its personnel comes from the local beat writers who cover them (and, yes, that is a completely biased opinion).

So to give you a look into Hawaii’s program as the Huskies prepare for their season opener against the Rainbow Warriors, we sent five questions over to Stephen Tsai (@StephenTsai on Twitter), who covers Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He was gracious enough to answer them. Read more »