Sep 14, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini tight end Jon Davis (3) makes a catch against Washington Huskies linebacker Thomas Tutogi (50) during the second half at Soldier Field. Washington defeats Illinois 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Huskies Football: Pay Attention To The Backups vs. Idaho State


Sep 14, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Huskies running back Dwayne Washington (12) rushes the ball against Illinois Fighting Illini defensive lineman Austin Teitsma (44) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Huskies are probably going to win on Saturday. It’s probably going to be by a wide margin. So why even watch the game?

Even in the least competitive of games, there are key things to look out for. Against Idaho State, we may not learn much about the Huskies that we don’t already know. But there’s the opportunity to learn about players we don’t already know.

If everything goes accordingly, most of the starters won’t see the field in the second half. In reality, it should go accordingly. The Bengals aren’t even one of the top FCS teams, let alone a competitive FBS one. They didn’t receive a single vote in last week’s FCS coaches poll. For a 53-point spread, there’s a good chance the Huskies cover it.

Depth will be the defining factor in the game. Not what determines who wins, but by how convincingly the Huskies do. Depth is what has separated teams like Oregon, Stanford and USC from the rest of the Pac-12. Washington has had the top-level talent in years past, and this season is no different. Most still aren’t giving the Huskies a chance, but the few who are can see further than Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Bishop Sankey.

For years, the offensive line has struggled with both a lack of talent and lack of health. The health immediately affects the depth along the line. This season, the line is healthy and, due to previous injuries, exceptionally experienced. This game will offer playing time to those who haven’t already gotten some, while also serving as an opportunity for anyone beaten out for a starting role to get on field and possibly impress the coaching staff.

The Huskies are overflowing with talent at linebacker. Arguably last year’s best linebacker, Travis Feeney, isn’t even starting this year with the emergence of Princeton Fuimaono. Jamal Kearse and Thomas Tutogi have been exceptional backups, and they’ll get the opportunity to see the field for an extended period of time against Idaho State.

John Ross had made the biggest impact out of all the freshmen thus far. There’s nothing to indicate that will change going forward, but the Idaho State game is the perfect opportunity to get others experience in real game action. The two other highly touted freshman receivers, Damore’ea Stringfellow and Darrell Daniels, haven’t gotten many touches. Expect that to change against Idaho State now that neither can redshirt.

The game should serve as a chance to prove last week was an enigma for Dwayne Washington. The redshirt freshman fumbled twice against Illinois, while Jesse Callier rushed for 66 yards. The two are now entrenched in a battle to back up Bishop Sankey. Both should see double-digit carries as the Huskies try to wind down the clock in the second half. Whoever performs best may win the role for the Arizona game.

This game will indicate where the Huskies are going forward. As odd as that is to read, this game should show off what kind of depth the Huskies truly have this season. If they can play as dominantly in the second half as they’re expected to in the first, that’s a great sign of depth.

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