On the season, Washington has lost to both Bay Area schools in California and Stanford, during the late hours of the night.
The Huskies played one of their “flattest” games in recent memory against the Cardinal, and were never in sync the entire game.
Defensively, the Huskies struggled to adjust to Stanford’s “slow down” scheme, which resulted in being on the field too long.
On offense, the amount of plays the Huskies ran were very minimal, as a result of the Stanford offense controlling the clock.
The Arizona Wildcats are currently 4-1 (2-0) on the season, and last week they traveled to Boulder, Colorado and pulled out a 35-30 win.
After suffering a season opening loss to Hawaii, the Wildcats are rolling right now, as they sit atop the Pac-12 South Division.
“I mean, he is something else. He really is. He can run like nobody I’ve seen in quite a long time playing quarterback. He creates a lot of issues with his feet and has a really strong arm. Washington head coach Chris Petersen said about Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate.
The Wildcats are entering this game with a lot of confidence and momentum, which is evidenced by their four game winning streak.
Here are some keys to the game, the Huskies must do to put themselves in a good position to win this game…..
Avoid The “Hangover”
After last weekend’s clunker against the Stanford Cardinal, nobody knows the pulse of the team except the players and the coaches themselves. While the team is saying all the right things in interviews this week, there is no doubt that the defeat had a significant impact on the team. The Huskies must avoid the classic “hangover” effect from the loss and put it behind them. A similar type of challenge awaits the Huskies this weekend with a late night kickoff time on the road. There is absolutely no time to wallow around after a loss in this league, and the Wildcats are in first place in their division. Getting up off the canvas and putting their best effort of the season will be vastly important! There is no margin for error anymore for the Huskies – they need to get back up on the horse!
Contain Quarterback Khalil Tate
One of the most electric and athletic talents in the nation at any position, is what awaits the Husky defense this coming weekend. Senior quarterback Khalil Tate is about as electric as they come as a true “dual threat” quarterback. He can beat you down the field with his arm, and can extend plays with his legs. Explosive plays are always within arms reach when Tate is at the controls and now he is full healthy after an injury earlier this season. The defense must try to keep him collapsed in the pocket and not let him break contain with his legs. Also, seal off the edges, so he feels squeezed in the pocket and pressured to make bad decisions in the passing game. Easier said than done, but if the Huskies don’t contain Tate, it will be a long night! Deploying a spy comes to mind here.
Don’t Abandon The Run
In examining last week’s performance against Stanford, Washington head coach Chris Petersen himself said they should have ran the ball more. The Husky offense is so much more effective when they establish a consistent run game earlier on. The success of the Husky passing game works a whole lot better when the passing lanes are open, after a dose of the “ground and pound”. The tendency is when the Huskies get down on the scoreboard, they like to huck it all around the field to catch up. The Huskies must not fall into that mindset and trap for a second consecutive week. Regardless of the score, the Huskies need to run the football as their offensive rhythm depends on it. They most likely will have to do that without redshirt freshman Richard Newton‘s services this week.
Up until the Stanford game, the Husky defense had come away with 8 total turnovers in it’s last 3 games. Last week, the Huskies didn’t create a single turnover, which made a huge impact on the game. It’s no secret that the Husky offense has been a mixed bag each week, and especially against Pac-12 defenses. The best way to turn the tide of a game on the road and gain a huge advantage with momentum, is with a timely turnover. The Huskies seemed to lack some emotion last week, and when they are coming away with turnovers, it completely energizes the entire team and sideline. The Wildcats put up around 539.2 yards per game and in order to negate that kind of production, the Husky defense will have to play light’s out and get the ball back to the offense.
Overcome The “Late Night Kickoff” Mystery
A common trend and theme this year in both Husky losses, is the fact that they have happened during late night 7:30 p.m. kickoffs. One loss was at home and one loss occurred on the road, so the real issue is the late night starts. The coaches are insisting this week that the late starts have had no effect on the team whatsoever. They feel that it’s just another excuse, and no matter what time they play, they are ready to go. In the two losses, the Huskies have appeared emotionless and lethargic, which points to a bigger mystery? This weekend in Tucson, the Huskies will start at their latest kickoff of the season so far at 8:00 p.m. PT. They will need to solve this equation immediately and find a way to come out with fire, passion and a sense of urgency without fading into the night..again!
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