Short week, opponent provide challenges for No. 9 Washington
SEATTLE (AP) — Having a fullback has become noteworthy in college football.
And for Washington coach Chris Petersen, Stanford’s use of one was the focal point for a lesson as the Huskies get set to face the Cardinal on Friday.
“There’s a lot of stuff we haven’t seen anything like that. So we’ve got to be able to get lined up correct. We’ve got to be able to play a fullback. We explained what a fullback is to our defense today. They were very intrigued,” Petersen cracked Monday.
It’s a short week for Washington (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) to prepare for arguably its toughest game to date. After routing Oregon on Saturday night, the Huskies had to rapidly turn around to get ready to face Stanford and star running back Bryce Love.
The Huskies will also have a national audience and a chance to potentially enhance their slim chances of getting back in the College Football Playoff discussion. Of course, that means winning at a place where Washington has not been victorious since 2007 and figuring out a Stanford offense that’s such an outlier.
“That’s probably one thing that is harder to do later in the season, this late in the season is to go do some game planning early,” Petersen said. “When you’re early in the season, the summer time, you can kind of look at those first three games and get some ideas and that, but things change so much during the season. But we’re fine. Both sides will be fine. There’s enough time and both sides will put together good plans.”
In some ways, the situation facing the Huskies playing on a short week is better than last year when they hosted the Cardinal on a Friday night. Washington played at Arizona late on a Saturday and didn’t get back to Seattle until early Sunday morning then almost immediately had to go to work prepping for the Cardinal.
This time, the Huskies at least were able to comfortably sleep in their own beds after beating Oregon before getting started on the Stanford preparations. Petersen said he pointed out to his team that their situation is nothing compared to what the Seattle Seahawks are facing this week with a Thursday game.
“We all want to feel sorry for ourselves and can’t believe we’re having to do this but then I look at the Seahawks and the (Cardinals) and I’m fine. That’s really tough,” Petersen said.
Washington has the top defense in the country in yards allowed at 240.9 per game and is second in scoring defense, allowing 11.1 points. UCLA remains the only team to have topped 20 points against the Huskies this season. The Huskies are also third in passing defense and sixth in rush defense.
Washington has been excelling at making adjustments after the opening possessions. Oregon became the third straight team to take its opening drive downfield and get points against the Huskies. But the Ducks had just 216 yards of offense on its next 11 possessions and went three-and-out on three straight drives in the first half.
“If a team comes out and runs the whole script at us the first drive then everything else is off the book. Then you have to go to what works and as a defense we understand that,” Washington linebacker Keishawn Bierria said. “Our offense scripts us every practice so we know they’re going to throw something at us real fast that we’re going to have to adjust to, something that is going to catch us off balance and we need to make our adjustments.”
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