Washington meets Idaho in a matchup between two of the worst teams in the country in 2008. Both teams are improved in 2009 and the Vandals are sky high after winning its opener against New Mexico State on the road last weekend.
Washiington gave LSU all it could handle last week keeping with the Tigers late into the fourth quarter till the game was ultimately decided by a long LSU drive.
Washington is a 21 point favorite and as you can see below are superior on paper in every area to Idaho. As we saw last week paper is one thing and the playing field is quite another if you don't take your opponent seriously.
Position Match Ups
Quarterback - Washington...Both QB's have comparable experience but Locker is the superior athlete in about every possible way.
Tailbacks - Washington...UW's stable of running backs will have little trouble wearing down the Idaho defense. Think SJSU vs USC. Idaho has some good backs but the UW interior is going to neutralize them
Fullback - Washington...Paul Homer had mostly blocking duties against LSU but we should see him unveiled over the middle against Idaho.
Wide Receivers - Washington...James Johnson just may end up being the Pac 10 freshman of the year
Tight Ends - Washington...Kavario Middleton showed you waht he is capable of by outplaying an all SEC TE last weekend.
Offensive Line - Washington...Idaho had to rebuild their offensive line. Washington's surprised last week against a national power by helping the offense gain almost 500 yards of total offense.
Defensive Tackle...Washington...Alameda Ta'amu is a budding star. Cameron Elisara showed why the coaches think he is one of the most improved players on the team.
Defensive End...Washington...Danie Teo Neshiem is going to have a field day against Idaho. Darion Jones has a bruised knee but should be back. Kelani Aldrich had a very good game filling in for Jones.
Linebacker...Washington...Idaho doesn't have athletes on the roster that compares to Washington's starting three.
Cornerback...Washington...Desmond Trufant and David Batts are going to play quite a bit on Saturday to get them prepared for USC and the conference schedule. Washington wants physical size at the corners.
Safety...Washington...Idaho has a couple of good safeties. Washington obviously has better athletes but somebody needs to emerge beside Nate Williams.
Special Teams...Washington...We didn't see much from the return game against LSU. Folk is a work in progress at PK. Mahan is on the way to being special. Nansen was beilliant last week in the way he negated the LSU return game.
Washington running game versus the Idaho defense
Washington put up good running numbers against a very good LSU defense even though they tired a bit in the second half. That won't happen against Idaho because Washington has the superior talent going into this one. I looke for the Huskies to be able to rush for over 200 yards against the Vandals without relying much on Jake Locker.
Washington Passing Game versus the Idaho defense
Jake Locker looked like a different player against LSU. He played within himself most of the game and the coaching he has received since Sark and company arrived was obvious. Idaho's defense isn't exactly a pushover but Washington should be able to physically dominate these guys in about every phase.
Idaho rushing game versus the Washington defense
Idaho lives by the running game and they have three good running backs. Washington was able to contain LSU last week and because of that they are going to be able to shut down the Vandals and force them into third and long situations for most of the game. Take away the Vandal running game and you beat the Vandals,
Idaho passing game versus the Washington Defense
Nathan Enderle is an experienced QB who has an average arm and less than average mobility. If he gets support from the running game he can be adequate as he was last weekend against New Mexico State. Washington is capable of shutting down the Vandal ruch and that means everything wil be on enderle's shoulders which is bad news for Idaho. Even with Washington's secondary in progress the Idaho receivers will have a problem getting to the ball because they simply aren't even close to being the type of athletes that the LSU group was.
The special teams battle
The player of the week last weekend for Washington special teams was coach Johnny Nansen. With sleight of hand he took away the LSU return game. Washington will get a chance to show its wheels in the return game this week and the results are going to be promising. Will Mahan is only going to get better every week. Keep an eye on Erik Folk this weekend. His improvement will be crucial as the season continues. The more confidence he develops the better.
The big intangible in this one is Washington's ability to come out with the same intensity they had against LSU. Washington isn't a great football team. UW is headed in the right direction but they need to be up for every game and every play. Washington's coaching staff is very aware of this and you can count on the fact that they are hammering it home this week.
Every player on the Idaho roster wanted to play for a Pac 10 team. Idaho is going to have no problem getting up for this one. Washington is Idaho's LSU!
Idaho is a scrappy team with a lot of life in them after opening the season with a win. Keep an eye on the Vandal safeties who were impressiv elast weekend. They had to be because the corners have a lot of work to do.
Idaho won its first opener in a decade last week and it was the Vandals first road win since 2006.
The Huskies are 34-2-2 all-time against Idaho, the last loss coming in 1905. Idaho was once a member of what is currently the Pac 10. The two teams last tied in 1938. In other words, this matchup has been all Washington in modern days, including wins of 34-6, 53-3 and 44-20 this decade.
Husky assistants Johnny Nansen, Joel Thomas, Doug Nussmeier, Mike Anderson, Nick Holt, Jeff Mills and Dan Cozzetto all have played or coached at Idaho.
Idaho WR coach Luther Carr Jr. was on Rick Neuheisel's staff at UW. His father Luther Sr. played at UW in the late 1950's. His Uncle David was an all Pac 10 performer in basketball in the 1960's. His other Uncle...Gary Carr was a top defensive back in the 1960's. The Carr family may have one of the largest sports legacies in the Pacific Northwest since so many of Luther's cousins on his fathers side have received athletic scholarships. UW CB Matt Mosley is the latest member of the Carr family to attend UW on scholarship. Luther Jr. told me that while his father's families athletic achivements are impressive his mother's extended family might even be better. Luther played football at Easter Washington but his blood has always been purple.
Idaho punter Bobby Cowan was named WAC special teams player of the week after averaging 49 yards per boot against NMSU.
With one game under their belts, Husky newcomers like wide receiver James Johnson, cornerback Desmond Trufant, punter Will Mahan and tight end Dorson Boyce are fair game for interviews beginning this week.
Sarkisian said that he wants to get wide receiver Jermaine Kearse on the field more, even if that means using him as a slot receiver.
“I don’t know,” Victor Aiyewa said when asked whether he expects to start against Idaho. “The coaches have a reason for whatever they want to do. When the coaches say go, I go!”
Washington's roster includes only one player from Idaho: offensive lineman Terance Thomas.
According to research conducted by Utah State's sports information department, Washington is one of only two Division I FBS schools this year with an entirely new staff, including GAs (Utah State is the other).