Huskies look for bounce back win against unbeaten Cal
By Bill Swartz
Washington’s James Johnson, center, celebrates with teammates Drew Schaefer (73) and Senio Kelemete (56) after he scored a touchdown against Nebraska, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. (AP Photo)
The 51-38 loss at Nebraska took a physical and mental toll on the Washington Huskies. The perfect way to feel better is to beat visiting California in Saturday’s Pac-12 opener at Husky Stadium.
Washington’s defense chased Cornhusker quarterback Taylor Martinez last Saturday. This time the target is Golden Bears quick, athletic quarterback Zach Maynard. He’s thrown for 724 yards and nine touchdowns in Cal’s three games. One of the passes was an overtime winner at Colorado.
Husky corner Desmond Trufant is wary of California’s receivers and Maynard’s ability to pull the ball down and run.
“We’ve just got to come in this game ready for anything,” Trufant explained.
“We know they run a pro style offense, so we have to be ready for the run and the pass.”
Having faced pass-happy, run-and-shoot offenses in the first three games, Trufant is more than eager to see something more familiar.
“Facing a pro style offense in practice is something we’re accustomed to seeing. Cal’s definitely going to be more of a one gap type of thing rather than the option. It’s just going to be more straight up football, so I think we should be better.”
For the second week in a row, Justin Glenn will start at free safety. The junior from Mukilteo filled in nicely for Nate Fellner, who’s still recovering from a hamstring injury, and available for this game.
“When an opportunity comes up like last week, I want to make the most of it,” Glenn told me. “I think I did a decent job of that. I’ve got to keep learning and get better through the season. I want the coaches to have confidence in me and know when I’m out there I’ll do my job to the best of my ability.”
Huskies quarterback Keith Price will wear a brace on his sore knee again, but has looked more comfortable in practice. Jesse Callier’s hamstring injury has improved, and according to coach Steve Sarkisian, he’ll be available at running back and kick returns.
California no doubt will recall what happened last year in Berkley. Washington kept its bowl hopes alive when Chris Polk scored a touchdown on the final play of the game for a 16-13 victory. I’m looking for a much higher scoring contest Saturday in Seattle.
It’s a 12:30 kickoff on ROOT Sports television.