After a disappointing loss to BYU, Washington looks to rebound in its home opener against the Syracuse Orange on Saturday at Husky Stadium. Jake Locker looks to get his Heisman hopes back on track against the Orange after a consistent, but not eye-popping, performance against BYU.
Following a promising first half, UW was shut out in the second, allowing Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps to settle in and move the BYU offense. UW had a chance to win the game late, but a fourth-down stop by BYU ended any chance for a comeback.
After struggling on the road again, the Huskies move-on to a very winnable game against Syracuse in the friendly confines of Husky Stadium.
Chris Fetters, of Dawgman.com, passed along an interesting tidbit about the Pac-10 player of the week nominations. Make of it what you will.
Interesting note on the players nominated for Pac-10 players of the week; there was only one school who didn't nominate anyone - Washington.
The amount of true freshmen was apparent on Saturday. The 2010 recruiting class was loaded for Steve Sarkisian and a record number of them are playing right away. According to Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta, a school-record 13 freshmen saw action in the opener, with another -- guard Colin Porter -- expected to play against Syracuse.
The first major change for the Huskies will come on special teams. After a series of miscues, Sarkisian will add another return man to the mix on kickoffs. Instead of having a single return man -- Chris Polk -- UW will add a second deep-man in an effort to cut down on miscues in the return game.
Condotta had the report
"We are going with two guys who are going to be back together, so we don't have the opportunities when guys shank kickoffs or mis-kick kickoffs where the one guy back there has to be the one fielding the ball," Sarkisian said. "We'll have two guys back there to hopefully combat that kind of stuff."
Sarkisian said Polk will remain one of the returners, along with a true freshman - either Jesse Callier or possibly Kevin Smith.
In Syracuse, the Huskies will face a program that's improving, but still not on the same level as Washington. In his weekly press conference, Sarkisian laid out what the Huskies expected to see from the Orange on Saturday. Condotta passed along the notes.
Asked about Syracuse, Sarkisian said that "they are an extremely well-coached football team'' and that they are very similar to UW in terms of offensive scheme. "They have a nice mix of two-back and one-back stuff, their play-action is deadly and defensively they are an active, fast-playing football team. They get after the QB. They are immensely improved on both sides of the ball from last year to this year. I was really, really impressed looking at the Akron game.''
UW takes the field against the Orange Saturday at 4 p.m. on FSN.