(2) Does the Washington offense have any tricks up its sleeve?
When Washington travelled to Arizona State and Stanford last season, they prepared their offensive game plan. Unfortunately, they failed to change that plan when the defense appeared fully prepared to counter what they wanted to do when they had the ball. This season, Auburn will likely be a fully prepared defense as well.
So if Auburn wins the opening possession, and forces Washington into consecutive three-and-outs? What then?
I think things begin to transition rather quickly. If Auburn shuts down Gaskin, they will accelerate rotating in running back Salvon Ahmed. If Auburn shuts down the passing game, I hope Washington will transition to some run-pass-option (RPO) plays and opt to run the ball. Last season, Washington’s offense had almost zero ability to adapt mid-game to what the defense gave them.
Now the team has a chance to pull a mulligan. I cannot believe a Chris Petersen coached team does not learn from its mistakes. This year, I truly expect a multi tiered offensive game plan for each game. As the defense learns to stop one tier, the Huskies simply shift to a new offensive strategy.
As far as tricks? Not likely. But that does not mean Washington will be vanilla either. Look for a complex offensive game plan in the opener.