John Berkowitz of SB Nation's Washington blog, UW Dawg Pound, was kind enough to answer some questions about the Huskies leading up to Saturday's game.
1. Stanford is averaging more than 42 points per game. If you were Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt, how would you try to slow the Cardinal offense?
If I was Nick I would spend 2-3 years recruiting some better players. Seriously Washington is challenged on defense and they will be starting two true frosh on the defensive line. The Huskies need to concentrate on stopping the run forcing Stanford into 3rd and long situations. When that happens they need to pin back their ears and go after Andrew Luck. It gets loud in Husky Stadium and the weather is going to suck. So stopping the Stanford running game is where it all starts.
2. Jake Locker has had some brilliant games this year, but his senior season as a whole has seemed underwhelming. What's kept him out of the Heisman conversation? Injuries? An inexperienced and shuffling offensive line?
I think nagging injuries has been the biggest part of it. When Jake isn’t mobile he just isn’t Jake. When he is healthy enough to throw from a mobile pocket he is tough to stop. When Washington drops him straight back he doesn’t do as well because of the pressure coming at him.
3. Jermaine Kearse has put together some impressive numbers this season. What makes him so good?
He has a lot of experience. This is his third year as a starter. He runs good routes and while he isn’t a burner like Owusu he can burn teams deep by turning DB’s around. I really think that a big part of Washington’s game plan is to try to stretch the Stanford secondary early. If Washington can be successful doing that it will be a pretty close game.
4. Is there an offensive player who has flown under the radar who you think could be due for a breakout performance against Stanford?
WR Devin Aguilar returns after being out three weeks with an injury. We have really missed him because he is just as good as Kearse is. The kids that filled in did a great job but Aguilar is one of the better receivers in the country so it is great to get him back. OT Erik Kohler is another guy that is returning to the lineup after bring out for two weeks with mono. Even though he is a true frosh he is a big time talent. This weeks OL combination for UW is probably the best they have opened with this season.
5. The Huskies haven't exactly lived up to preseason expectations. What's your assessment of Steve Sarkisian's second year at the helm and the overall future of the program?
I think it is very similar to Jim Harbaugh’s second year at Stanford. You can see the progress but we are still a couple of recruiting classes away from challenging for a championship. Sark has gone 8-11 at Washington heading into Saturday’s game. That sounds mediocre until you consider that he took over a team that went 0-12 the previous season. I think Sark is on the right track and we still have a shot at going to a bowl game this season. An upset win this Saturday at home over the Tree would help matters quite a bit.