Does The “Road Dawgs” Crown Fit?

The Washington Huskies are now five games into their season and are near the halfway point, where trends are starting to become reality.

Heading into the this week’s road matchup against Stanford, the Huskies now have a 4-1 overall record and are 1-1 in Pac-12 Conference play.

With five games already in the books, four of those games have been played at home in the comforts of Husky Stadium and the fan base.

The Dawgs have only traveled on the road once this season, and that was a trip to Provo, Utah a couple of weeks ago against the BYU Cougars.

Historically, the Huskies have had great success playing at home, which can be attributed to the passionate fans that love their Dawgs.

It’s no secret that the team feeds off the emotion of the crowd, which gives them an extra lift and boost..especially in tight ballgames.

But what about when they are on the road?

One important trait to value with this year’s team is that they are very young, and a lot of players are gaining valuable experience each week.

A couple weeks ago when the Huskies embarked on their first road trip of the season, many fans didn’t know what to expect.

Not only were the Huskies taking a young team on their first road experience, but they took them to a hostile environment right out of the gate.

If nerves played a factor with the young Dawgs, it sure didn’t yield itself, as the Huskies passed their first road test with flying colors.

They dominated the surging BYU Cougars from start to finish and came away with a decisive 45-19 victory at a raucous Lavell Edwards Stadium.

In order for the Huskies to achieve their goals and get to where they want to get to…they will need to win consistently on the road.

There is plenty of meat on that bone for the Huskies with playing on the road this season, but they can draw off their first road success of the season.

“Yeah..it’s all mental preparation as far as being on the road and not changing anything on how we do it, so we can approach the game the same way,” defensive line coach Ikaika Malloe told DubLife this week.

With having a young team, consistency and doing things the same way is an important hallmark of the Chris Petersen doctrine that he preaches to his players each day.

There will be plenty of distractions this weekend to test the Huskies’ mental toughness and focus, with playing another game on the road.

The late night 7:30 p.m. kickoff start will indeed be a challenge for the Huskies, especially on the road where you have to wait around all day to play.

“Well, yes. Because you know you’re going to get home really, really late for the kids. The actual sitting around is all the same,” Petersen said about the late start affecting his team.

One would wonder, if the Huskies do anything differently to prepare for late night starts, so they can stay “laser focused” on the field?

“Not really..we just kind of come out here and practice the same way we always practice and just try to get better,” junior tight end Hunter Bryant told DubLife.

If there is any concern with the Huskies tackling the challenge of winning at Stanford for the first time since 2007, it’s the aftermath following the game.

With such a late start, the Huskies will be getting back to Seattle in the early morning hours of Sunday, which can be tough to adjust.

Not only the lack of sleep, but also the schedules with academics, watching film and preparing for next week’s opponent all add up to extra obstacles to conquer.

“I think it has a big effect. I think it has a really big effect. You feel it the next day. You feel it the day after. Kids got to get up and go to school now, practice hard, all those things. They feel it.”

Their first experience on the road was at an environment where the crowd was loud and boisterous, which had its own set of circumstances.

On Saturday night, the Huskies will be playing down on “The Farm” where the atmosphere is shockingly much different than most stadiums.

“It’s the most boring thing that you will ever be in, like..fans don’t cheer, there’s barely any fans..I don’t like it!” junior defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike said.

Stanford is known as an academic university first and then athletics fits in afterwards, as most people know.  This is truly reflected by the energy in the crowd during home games at Stanford Stadium.

So here we are…The Huskies have had one road experience this season in a loud environment, while set to take on a quiet atmosphere at the opposite end of the spectrum.

“Yeah I think every environment is unique and different. I think time of the game is different. I don’t know if that helps or hurts things down there. But for sure it’s different,” Petersen said.

Will the Huskies need to create their own energy and emotion to negate the quiet noise at Stanford Stadium?  After all, this isn’t golf or tennis where you have to be quiet..it’s football!

“Anytime we go on the road it’s going to be different because obviously we are playing in a different place.  I mean..all road games are almost the same mindset for us.  We kind of go in and stay focused, try to get the details right, try to get a win and come home,” Bryant told DubLife.

It’s all about the details when it comes to Chris Petersen and his bunch.  It’s never about anything or anybody else, “it’s always about us” Petersen has said on multiple occasions.

The Huskies will keep their core principles in place when playing on the road this season and it all starts this weekend at Stanford.

After taking on the Cardinal, the Huskies will travel down to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats.  Playing in the desert has not been kind to the Huskies throughout the years.

In the month of November, the Huskies first two games of the month will take place on the road against Oregon State and Colorado.

With four games left on the road, the Huskies will have plenty of time to prove whether or not they are “battle tested” enough to win on the road.

Right now, the Huskies only have one road game under their belt and it is too early to tell how this young team will respond the rest of the season.

Does the “Road Dawgs” crown fit?

We should know more about the Huskies in the next couple of weeks in regards to their permanent road conditions.  This sentiment was echoed by the “head honcho” himself.

“Let’s hope. We’ve only been on the road one time, and that one they played great and all those type of things. But yeah, I can probably answer that better in the next two weeks,” Petersen said.

 

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