One matchup to watch on Saturday will be in the trenches where Washington's steadily-improving offensive line will go up against the Cal defensive line led by Redmond grad Trevor Guyton and featuring Garfield standout DeAndre Coleman as a contributor.
Here's a story in the SF Chronicle about the two local kids returning to Seattle.
In the season-opener against Fresno State, Guyton returned a fumble 19 yards for the first touchdown of his life, on any level. A week later at Colorado, Guyton made two important stops on running plays in overtime that forced the Buffaloes to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown in what turned out to be an emotional 36-33 victory for Cal.
"He's been playing solid for us. He's been our production leader up front," defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi said. "He's made the most plays, whether that's been against the pass or the run. Those guys get graded on a daily basis. He's had the most production after the first two weeks."But it's not just two players, Cal has depth and talent on the defensive line, and they will rotate in eight different players. Sounds kind of like what UW wanted to do this season, but hasn't.
UW coaches should be more than familiar with the defensive line since they recruited Guyton, Coleman, Mustafa Jalil and Ernest Owusu.
"Physical, physical, man, geez," head coach Steve Sarkisian said. "Looking at our conference, I’d say them and USC are the most physically dominant-looking team on film … in their front seven. They are long. They come off the football with good pad level. They use their hands extremely well. And there are a lot of them – it just isn’t a couple of guys. They are deep."
A few weeks ago, Cal limited to Fresno State to just 218 yards of total offense, including 68 yards rushing. The same FSU team racked up 444 yards of total offense against Nebraska, including 190 yards rushing a week later. Head coach Pat Hill raved about the Cal defense, saying it was one of the most physical his team has ever played against.
Of course, Cal then gave up a gajillion yards passing to Colorado the following weekend with Buffs receiver Paul Richardson going for 282 yards. But the Buffs were smart using a bunch of three step drops and quick routes to negate the pass rush. And Richardson made a couple of nice plays for monster gains.
So which performance is more indicative of the Cal defense.
"They are a real physical group up front," Sarkisian said. "They have a tremendous front seven and they are aggressive in the secondary. They rely on their corners to play one-on-one coverage and they are able to do that --- a couple big plays against Colorado. But the reality is they are a good defensive football team and they really were last year, too, so it poses a great challenge for us offensively.''