Washington football looked exceptionally good in the season opener against Eastern Washington, now they open Pac-12 play against Cal, what can give them the upper hand?
Washington football played an all-around great game against Eastern Washington, but now the tone changes, as they open Pac-12 play with Cal, a team that handed them one of their four losses last season. Let’s also mention that Cal’s All-American linebacker (and notable Gonzaga Prep alum) Evan Weaver has done a ton of talking, saying, “We’ll fly up there and we’ll beat ’em Saturday. It’s what we do. We win games.” Weaver is remembered by Husky fans as the guy who returned Jake Haener‘s pick six last year when the Huskies had to travel down to Berkley.
This year the circumstances have changed, and Weaver’s Golden Bears have to travel to Seattle, where the Huskies haven’t lost since 2016. One thing that remains consistent though, is that Cal has an excellent group of defensive backs, who play as strong and as physical as the Washington DB’s.
Receivers need to step up
From everything that came out of the last open scrimmage, the Husky receivers were dominated by the bigger and more physical defensive backs. Andre Baccellia and Chico McClatcher are undersized guys who rely mainly on their speed and short area quickness to win routes. Cal’s defensive backs are big, long, and very aggressive. There are two ways the Huskies can win their matchups consistently in the passing game.
Utilize the tight ends
Hunter Bryant didn’t play the last time the Huskies faced off with Cal, and the former freshman All-American will surely want to make his mark, like he did his freshman year when he torched Cal for nine catches, 121 yards and a touchdown. Granted, Weaver is a great coverage linebacker, so Bryant might have his hands full, but that’ll give Cade Otton a great opportunity to get free. The 6’6, 245 tight end is a coverage nightmare, so he might be able to run free all over the Cal defenders.
The Huskies will most likely use a big rotation of wide receivers to keep everyone fresh, and try to create mismatches. Expect to see Austin Osborne, Puka Nacua, and maybe even Marquis Spiker, just to get some bigger bodies on the field. We should still see a steady diet of the starters, especially the contested catch king Aaron Fuller, and with a quarterback with elite arm talent like Jacob Eason, the Huskies should still find ways to succeed in the passing game.