BY Todd Dybas 07:33AM 09/18/2010

Huskies about to find out if they belong

Saturday’s game with Nebraska will define UW on multiple levels

Does the Washington offense have enough to counter a defense naturally schemed to stop it? We'll find out on Saturday afternoon in Husky Stadium. (Drew Sellers/Sports Press Northwest)

In a shameful moment, a Tyee club member admitted selling his tickets to the Washington/Nebraska game. To Nebraska fans.

Said fan posted his tickets on Craig’s List. He stated Huskies Fans Only. He couldn’t find a buyer. So, Friday he pulled a baseball cap low, dressed in all black, and took the Midwestern money. At least he was paid $300 for $150 face-value tickets.

The conjuring of the attire is literary license, but the exchange is not. The seller had a moderate time conflict. The game lost out.

Pure evidence the Washington football program is not among the countrywide monsters as of yet. Not one of the Nebraska’s. Husker red could be seen all around downtown Seattle on Friday, posing in front of the original Starbucks or trying to manage a map.

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian talks like the Huskies belong. They have made furious progress under the new coach. Saturday will loom as an instant examination of how much.

The Huskers have a trend-setting defensive scheme they call the Peso. More important, they have a flurry of high-end athletes to execute it.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara is one of the best overall players in the country. He has graded out higher than Washington quarterback Jake Locker according to the pontificators at the National Scouting Service.

Alfnozo Dennard is the other Huskers corner. Dennard is the slacker He’s a junior with slightly less size and talent than his counterpart, and isn’t expected to be drafted until the second or third round.

On the line are two massive, athletic tackles. Jared Crick, 6-foot-6, 285 pounds, is the bigshot. Baker Steinkuhler is a 6-6, 290-pound homegrown talent from Lincoln.

The beat goes on for a defense that maxed out with 31 points allowed last season (Texas Tech). The highest total in the nine games since that midseason loss is 20.

So, here is Washington’s chance. It’s moment to shine. More than half of the country will be watching it play on Saturday thanks to ABC beaming from Husky Stadium. If Locker wants to convince those who have not seen him play, Saturday is the day. If Jermaine Kearse wants to make the claim of being one of the best in the country, Saturday is the day.

Saturday is the day Washington’s spread option offense will stare at a set naturally inclined to stopping it. Nebraska will have up to six cornerbacks on the field at once. The middle will be plugged by the tackles who are instructed to shed and go opposite.

Quick posts, bubble screens, throws in the flat worked against a flat-footed Syracuse defense last week. Won’t happen on Saturday.

Washington’s offensive strength, its skill players on offense, will be countered by hybrid defensive players. Think swifter Victor Aiyewa’s all over the field. Nebraska already has five players with an interception after two games. They DBs would be fine on their own, but Crick and Steinkuhler continue to make things easier since Nebraska’s defensive coaches don’t have to give them any help.

This throws the spotlight back to Sarkisian’s play-calling. Amid instantaneous shifts in perception which define our current culture, Sarkisian has been boosted and battered for his play-calling ability. What does he have in the bag for Saturday?

Voting season is just around the corner. Washington’s program can make its stump speech claiming it’s back starting on Saturday. A win would be nothing short of change everyone can believe in.


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