Greetings. Just landed in Phoenix. Very relaxing. Won't get too hot here Saturday.
On the plane ride down, I reviewed the times when I think opposing offenses really hurt the UW. And with Matt Scott getting the nod for Arizona at quarterback, I suspect the Wildcats will scale back some of the playbook.
That might hurt the Huskies, in fact.
Arizona has talented running backs, yet rank dead last in the Pacific-10 Conference in rushing attempts. I bet the Wildcats lean on Nic Grigsby and company this weekend, and let Scott run, too.
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When Scott passes, I think it likely will be intermediate stuff - passes in front of the safeties - forcing the Huskies to make tackles and stop short-gainers from being long-gainers.
Can they do that? Yes. Enough to win. Arizona in a close one.
Here you go:
Washington (3-3, 2-1 Pac-10) at No. 15 Arizona (5-1, 2-1)
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m., Arizona Stadium, Tucson
TV: ESPN. Radio: 950-AM.
The series: UW leads, 17-8-1, and has won 10 of the past 15 games, including a 36-33 triumph last season in Seattle. The Huskies have won in two of their past three trips to Tucson – 38-14 win in 2005 and 21-10 victory in 2006.
What to watch: How will the Huskies deal with Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed, Arizona’s pass-rushing fiends? In last week’s offensive line reshuffle, one of the aims was getting more athletic blockers on the outside to take on quality defensive ends, and now Drew Schaefer is out at right tackle instead of center. … How is Matt Scott different from the injured Nick Foles at quarterback for the Wildcats? Scott is a stronger runner whereas Foles can make any deep throw. The area in which Scott is vastly underrated is his accuracy in the short passing game, which has been a troublesome spot for the UW. … Will Jake Locker (leg bruise, overall soreness) be limited tonight? He limped through various practice this week, but was very sharp Thursday. He is ready to go.
What’s at stake: The last time the Huskies beat three ranked opponents in one season was 2001 (wins over No. 11 Michigan, No. 10 Stanford and No. 9 Washington State). They can match that with a win tonight. More importantly, they would stay in second place chasing Oregon – with a matchup against the Ducks in a few weeks looming.
TNT pick: Wildcats, 32-28.
PRIME NUMBERSWashingtonNo. Name (position) Ht./Wt.Year01 Chris Polk (RB) 5-11/214 SophomoreSo explosive, he’s capable of putting up 100 yards on any Pac-10 defense.06 Desmond Trufant (CB) 6-0/177 SophomoreJuron Criner best among Arizona’s good receiving corps. Yes, Tru knows. 15 Jermaine Kearse (WR) 6-2/205 JuniorIf Jake Locker can escape Arizona’s front four, he’ll be targeted – a lot.40 Mason Foster (OLB) 6-2/242 SeniorHis 72 tackles is 17 more than next-best in Pac-10 – teammate Nate Williams.52 Hau’oli Jamora (DE) 6-3/238 FreshmanTeammates rave about his motor, his time arriving sooner than later.
ArizonaNo. Name (position) Ht./Wt. Year04 Matt Scott (QB) 6-3/195 JuniorDirected wins against Central Michigan and Northern Arizona last season.05 Nic Grigsby (RB) 5-10/190 SeniorShifty runner; his 2,764 career rushing yards are 14th among active tailbacks.06 Travis Cobb (KR) 6-0/180 SeniorSomebody is going to bust a long return against UW, why not this speedster?43 Justin Washington (DT) 6-2/275 FreshmanForgotten man on the defensive line, his 81/2 tackles for loss lead Wildcats.78 Adam Grant (LT) 6-6/325 SeniorSixth-year senior from Puyallup moved over in offseason from right side.