Q&A with Husky Haul: USC vs. Washington


In the spirit of the USC/U-Dub game Saturday, Mark Knight from The Husky Haul and I decided to do a little Q&A about both these teams. We looked at both teams’ strengths and weaknesses, recent history, and a little bit of drama between the coaches.

Here are Knights’ answers to my questions, and you can find mine over on his blog, The Husky Haul:

1. Who/what is U-Dub’s biggest offensive threat?– -This is a loaded question which requires a loaded answer. The most talented offensive player is Chris Polk, he is rated as the number 2 NFL running-back prospect in the nation. He can run through people, around people, and over people. However, at the same time Keith Price has had an amazing season and Coach Sark has referred to “Keith Price Football” as what happens when UW is succeeding and winning games.

2. Who/what is U-Dub’s biggest defensive threat?—Alameda Ta’amu is a force on the defensive line and completely controls the run game up the middle. If he has a good game there won’t be many yards to gain between the tackles. He is big and strong and anchors the defensive line.

3. How does Coach Sark having worked with both Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffin give him an advantage over other Pac 12 opponents?–Coach Sark knows USC football, he knows how the offense ticks and how the defense operates. Coach Sark is looking for a 3-peat.

4. U-Dub is coming off a big loss to Oregon, are they mentally ready to bounce back against SC?–The Oregon loss was more disappointing than the Stanford loss because of the fact that UW felt like they could have beat the Ducks. They had a few key turnovers, they weren’t able to take advantage of momentum, and just all-around had a lousy day. If they can stay focused and stick to the game-plan they will be ready to have a cut-throat matchup against USC.

5. Should the Huskies be worried about the newfound atmosphere change in the Coliseum? As we saw against Stanford, the crowd was a huge factor in that game.–Of course, crowds play a big part in football games. A crowd can and should create momentum for their team. However, Coach Sark has been preparing his team this entire week for the Coliseum crowd. They will be expecting this noise but at the same time the noise can still be effective.

6. U Dub has bested USC the past 2 times. Do these two teams have the makings of a North/South rivalry?— This is the third matchup since Coach Sark has had the reigns as the UW coach. He is looking for a 3-peat and there is no doubting that a rivalry is brewing. USC players are tweeting that they “want to beat UW really bad!” and UW players are excited at another opportunity to win in the Coliseum. A weird North/South rivalry is birthing but has not completely taken form yet.

7. How will U Dub contain Robert Woods and/or Curtis McNeal?–I am not sure they can at a consistent level. However, in spurts look for them to try and create turnovers and play physical against USC. This includes McNeal and Woods.

8. Have you seen a difference in this USC team between the way the played pre-Notre Dame and how they are playing now?–Honestly, they started the year as if they didn’t care about this season, maybe due to being out of bowl eligibility. But as the season progressed and USC realized they are clearly one of the most talented teams in the Pac-12 and they dominate the Pac-12 south they have played with renewed passion and desire to win.

9. What is your prediction for the final score?

–37-34 UW.