Big Red Report's Washington at #10 Nebraska Preview

BY: Josh Harvey and Bryan Munson – Staff
September 16th, 2011



Will we see improvement up front this week?


GAME PREVIEWS:

AP Preview: CLICK HERE

CFN's: CLICK HERE

(Nebraska) The Sports Xchange: CLICK HERE



Coach Pelini's Presser


Tim Beck Offensive Report


Carl Pelini Defensive Report


Rex Burkhead Presser


Taylor Martinez Presserk


Ameer Abdullah Washington Week



Brandon Kinnie Washington Week

Game Headlines:

* Both Huskers and Huskies look to improve to 3-0

* Meeting between the two schools is the third in the last 12 months.

* Saturday's game will be for a national audience on ABC


Publisher's Message: It's time for Nebraska to flex it's muscle. The Huskers have struggled, no doubt about it. But I'm not ready to call them mediocre just yet. This team has way too much talent and a hard nose coach.

I think they will get better.

It's amazing how a message board can be silent after a normal win and on fire after escaping with a victory. I think that might be what has been lost in last night's contest – it was a win. It will show up just the same in the record column.

We have to remember, this offensive unit is definitely still a work in progress – they haven't been running this offense very long. In addition, getting the young freshman more reps and experience will only make this team more electric.

In closing, check out KLKN ABC Channel 8 tonight at 6 P.M. I will be on live with sports director Brett Edwards at the Embassy Suites in downtown. Also tomorrow at 12:30, tune into 93.7 The Ticket for the Nebraska/Washington pre-game show. I will be making an appearance on it as well.

- Josh Harvey


Overview:

Washington (2-0)

Head Coach: Pat Hill (15th year) 108-71
2010 Record: 7-6
Bowl Game: Holiday (W, against Nebraska 19-7)
Starters Returning: Offense 7, Defense 8

Opponent Analysis: Things appear to be on the way up for the Huskies under the direction of Steve Sarkisian, who led the Washington to their first bowl game since 2002 last year. But, there are still plenty of question marks going into 2011. How good is Keith Price? The talented quarterback has looked good so far replacing Jake Locker, but he played Eastern Washington and Hawaii. He hasn't seen an atmosphere or a defense like Nebraska yet. The Huskies also expect to use a large dose of Chris Polk. The senior running back carved up NU in the Holiday Bowl and they will look to establish the run again.

Keys to the Game: If there is one game circled for Nebraska in the non-conference, it has to be Washington. After destroying them 56-21 in the regular season last year, an unmotivated and what seemed to be defeated Nebraska team laid an egg against the Huskies in the Holiday Bowl. It's not the way guys like Jared Crick, Lavonte David, or Alfonzo Dennard want to be remembered. Expect the Huskers defense to get after it. "When we lost that last game, it put everybody off us going into this season," said the senior Dennard. "I felt so bad afterwards. We weren't all there." Expect an all-out effort this time around.

Big Red Report Prediction:
Nebraska 35...Washington 24 (Harvey)

Nebraska 35...Fresno State 21 (Munson)


Roundtable with Chris Fetters, Scott Eklund, and Kim Grinolds of Dawgman.com


Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian's Thursday morning quotes

On this week’s practice: : "I thought it was really good. I thought it was an intense week again. I thought our players responded to some of the challenges that we posed to them to get better. I thought we executed well. This is an interesting week; when you’re playing an option football team, defensively there are a lot of assignments and different things you have to go through so it’s challenging mentally. Then offensively it’s challenging mentally going up against this defense because they pose different threats, not only in their coverage, but in their pressure and what they do up front."



Keith Price has the Huskies going in the right direction so far

On how he expresses the history of Nebraska to his team:
"Well we haven’t had to do it as much because this is the third time in a year so they have a pretty good idea of what the history is about, but going to this stadium and understanding the great games that have been played there before and that history and tradition is something we’re talking more about. Just the overall tradition of Nebraska, these guys are well aware."

On using a bigger defensive line:
"It’s one of the beauties of having the depth that we have on the defensive line that we can move guys around and Everrette is unique in that he can play inside and outside and that’s why if you remember in training camp we did a lot of that. We worked him there certain weeks where one week he was inside the next week he was outside to get him those reps and we’re taking advantage of that this week."

On embracing this opportunity:
"It’s awesome, it’s great. It’s why we do what we do for these opportunities and we totally embrace them. It’s a great challenge for us believe me. It’s a tough challenge, it’s a tough place to play, but man we love the opportunity and I think our kids have improved and they respect Nebraska to the fullest. But they feel like they have an opportunity to go there and win and that’s what we’re going to try and do."

On Price saying he prepares for this like another game:
"Realistically as a coach you try to hopefully find the consistency in your preparation that each week it is the same that these are guys aren’t getting up for one team and not as much for another, that’s how you get beat. Keith is right to that point and he is also right when you’re playing a team for the third time this isn’t unique in the sense where this is the only time we’re going to play them – for a bowl game. We’re accustomed to watching them on film and all that. The reality is the juices will get flowing and it will be an intense environment and I think Keith is right in saying he’d like to not get too hyped up, but being even-keeled is important as a quarterback and I think he’s on it."

On the difference between pushing them to believe they can beat Nebraska now vs in 2009 against USC:
"I think there is a much bigger belief in our locker room. These guys expect to win, they expect to go out and play well and you get to that point by earning it and doing it and we’ve had some great wins here the last couple years. This is another opportunity for us to go out and show what we’re capable of, but at the end of the day we still have to go play, it’s not always about what we’re saying before the game, you got to play in between the lines on Saturday."


Ask the staff:

Biggest area of improvement you are looking for this week?

Nebraska was able to go out to Seattle last year and really dictate the game by how physical they wanted to play up front on the offensive line. Nebraska needs to show the greatest improvement on the offensive side of the ball along the offensive line from last week to this week and particularly between the tackles. I would look for players like Seung Hoon Choi and Jake Cotton to get a look at the guard spots to try and really pound the rock this weekend against Washington. - Munson

Last week I said it was between the offensive line and Taylor Martinez. I could say the same thing again this week, but this time I'm going with the offensive line. The evaluation period is coming to an end, the Huskers have to settle some issues and spots up there before confernece play roles around. It is hard to imagine two walk-ons starting up front (S. Long & S. Choi), but it could happen this weekend. - Harvey



Rex Burkhead (Picture By: Josh Harvey)

Prediction on star of the game?

It's going to have to be Rex Burkhead this week as my star of the game. I feel like Nebraska has had this game circled on the calendar since January given the Jeckyl and Hyde performances that Nebraska had last year against Washington at Washington and then at the Holiday Bowl. Don't think that this game is a big deal? Go watch the video of Steve Sarkisian addressing his team in the locker room about dealing out the punishment at the Holiday Bowl. Nothing he said was false. It would just get a team fired up to have another round against them.- Munson

This is the game Jamal Turner makes Husker fans really excited. Quitely, he led the team in receptions last week. Taylor Martinez is going to be force to throw and Turner is going to have 1-on-1 coverages against the nation's worst passing defense. After this game, the passing offense might look fixed.- Harvey


Quote of the week:

""I think every now and then, you have to get smacked in the face and have a wake up call." - Bo Pelini on last week's game against Fresno State