Five Questions: Oregon

Stephen Lam

De'Anthony Thomas's health, Marcus Mariota's accuracy, Keith Price's thumb, the distractions of the week and cleaning up the GD special teams are some of this week's questions.

1. Does De'Anthony Thomas play? If he does, how effective will he be? As a player whose strengths come from his speed and change of direction ability, a sprained ankle will severely hamper his ability to make an impact. He's claimed he doesn't want to go if he's not 100%, and that's probably wise; a player as slight as he is with limited mobility could get teed off on.

2. Can Marcus Mariota stress UW's secondary? He has been up and down -- relative to the opponents that Oregon has played -- through his first five games, often struggling with accuracy. His receivers have also dropped a ton of balls, which hasn't helped him out. The Husky secondary has shut down every QB they've faced thus far, though this will be their biggest test on the season. If Mariota isn't on his game, he's going to join the likes Joe Southwick, Nathan Scheelhaase, B.J. Denker, and Kevin Hogan as a victim of the Husky pass D.

3. How is Keith Price's thumb? If he's not 100% life is going to be tough for the Huskies. They need Keith to be able to make all the throws in the playbook, and make them accurately. We saw what the Huskies looked like when they couldn't pass the ball like they'd like to when they played Arizona, and it wasn't pretty. Balance is a key to this offense, and if the threat of the pass isn't what it should be, it will allow Oregon to key on Bishop Sankey and likely shut the UW offense down.

4. How do the Huskies handle the week's distractions? Gameday coming into Seattle is nice for the fans and for the program to get some recognition, but it doesn't really serve the players at all. It's a lot of hullabaloo, and something the Dawgs need to be able to tune out. They've been good so far at avoiding any and all distractions, but with Gameday in town, at home, after an emotional loss, in an important inter-divisional rivalry, there's a lot going on outside of the painted lines of Husky Stadium.

5. Can the Huskies cover a kick? The big question coming out of the Stanford loss was special teams. The Duck returners are even more potent than Stanford's, so if the Dawgs haven't cleaned this area up we're all going to be tearing our hair out.

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