I thought I’d add a little segment to our Husky game previews about 5 things I will be watching closely on each game. Five seems like a good, solid number. Quick, name your favorite athlete that wears the number 5! It’s harder than it should be for current athletes but Joe DiMaggio wins this game easily. Okay, here we go!
1. Jake Locker
Obviously, this is one thing to always watch if you’re a Husky fan. The team goes as Jake goes and they’re going to need him to get going on Saturday. This week is a little more intriguing though because he’s coming off the worst performance of his college career (actually, I imagine it’s his worst performance he’s ever had in any sporting event. Really). His draft stock has fallen and his team is on the brink of falling into the same terrible seasons they’ve grown accustomed to. If anyone has the talent to turn this season around in one game, it’s Jake. I’m hoping that Locker shows up and has a game we all remember, if he does the Huskies will be in good shape.
2. UW receivers vs. USC secondary
Coming into the season UW supposedly had one of the best receiving corps in the Pac-10. Through the first 3 games, that hasn’t been the case. Sure, Jermaine Kearse had a great day against Syracuse, but there hasn’t been separation downfield and they were simply awful against Nebraska. This week they play a secondary that is not near as good but still has talent. The Huskies will surely test that secondary. I’m sure the USC secondary is ready to prove themselves. Let’s hope that the Dawgs’ receivers are the ones who prove something.
3. The Special Teams
The Huskies face the best special teams unit they have faced all season and will need to show a ton of improvement. UW has been absolutely terrible on special teams. The kicker and punter have been okay. There isn’t much of a return game to speak of and the coverage units have been just about the worst in the nation. The hope is that this has improved in the bye week. If it hasn’t, the Huskies don’t stand a chance.
4. Erik Kohler
Kohler has been a bright spot in this early season so far. The true freshman has played pretty well in the last 2 games and I look forward to taking a closer look at him on TV. He’s going up against one of the better defensive lines in the country and will be matched up against Jurrell Casey, who was a pre-season All-American in some circles. This is the second time in as many games our true freshman has been matched up against an All-American candidate. I hope he holds his own and makes a little room for Chris Polk to run.
5. The Coaches
The first match-up between Lane Kiffen and Sark provides another interesting aspect to the game. Sark knows USC’s scheme and players pretty well. Does that matter? I don’t know. It might have a tiny bit last year but it wasn’t what won the Huskies the game. Both teams are close to the same schematically and there will be some mind games going on between coaching staffs. Hopefully, the Dawgs win and then Kiffen says something stupid, because you know he would. That guy drives me crazy.