The Washington Huskies are looking to improve on a sloppy win in week 1 over the San Diego State Aztecs. They couldn’t have asked for a bigger challenge, though, as they head down south to Baton Rouge to take on the defending SEC champion LSU Tigers. The Dawgs have said they’re ready for Death Valley, but they really have no idea.
The Huskies have three coaches with experience playing a road game against LSU. Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and linebackers coach Peter Sirmon went there in 2010 when both were with the Tennessee Volunteers. Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau has also been to Death Valley as a wide receivers coach with the Utah State Aggies in 2001. That experience has prompted Kiesau to tell reporters “we know what we’re doing.”
That confidence has trickled down to the players as well. Quarterback Keith Price, coming off a disappointing performance in week 1, defiantly announced that the Huskies would bring their “A-game” to LSU and were going to surprise some people.
The Huskies have implemented hand signals to combat crowd noise and even rolled out a live tiger to the practice field to help the team prepare. They’ve undoubtedly broken down hours of tape and located possible areas of weakness in a stout Tiger team that looks ready to defend its SEC crown.
But none of that will help. Nothing that Washington has done or experienced has prepared them for the atmosphere waiting for them in Baton Rouge. The stories of wild Tiger fans are legendary, but they may not do them justice. Just this week, two Tiger fans branded themselves while tailgating with homemade brands made of coat hangers. That might be the least intense thing that the Huskies face from the crowd all game.
Then there is the product on the field they need to deal with. LSU returns one of the best defenses in the country with elite speed at every spot. Head coach Les Miles knows how to get his team ready to take care of business because he’s never lost a home non-conference game. In fact, the only losses LSU has suffered at home under Miles have come against Top-10 teams.
Washington is a good Pac 12 team, but they aren’t that good. They still have huge question marks across the offensive line, which gave up three sacks last week against the Aztecs. Price was running for his life most of the day and that’s only going to get worse. The Tigers defense is going to present a much tougher test than that and will punish the inexperienced tackles of Washington and prevent Price from taking advantage of any possible Husky matchup.
The Huskies have talked about taking the next step and they played LSU tough the last time they matched up in head coach Steve Sarkisian‘s first season in Seattle. That game and the experience of their coaching staff has given the Dawgs a belief that they’re prepared to handle the pressures of Baton Rouge.
We’ll see once the game kicks off tonight, but don’t expect the Huskies to hang for long with the fantastic LSU Tigers.
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