The 2014 Apple Cup will be Washington head coach Chris Peterson’s first crack at the rivalry game, while it will be Washington State head coach Mike Leach’s third. Washington State won Mike Leach’s first Apple Cup, in Pullman, thanks to a crazy comeback in 2012; the Huskies won the 2013 Apple Cup in Seattle.
We reached out to Connor Fredrickson, managing editor of Emerald City Fandom, to see if he would sit down and answer some question we had about the 2014 Washington Huskies. He graciously accepted, and you can find his answers to our questions below.
SwN: What has Cyler Miles struggled with most on the offense? And how has that impacted the offensive performance?
CF: The passing game has definitely been the biggest concern for UW’s offense. At the center of it is timing and progressions, and much of that falls back on the quarterback. Cyler Miles has shown flashes of his potential, but he’s also had long periods of poor play and, as a result, the offense has sputtered. Miles’ biggest problem is that he’s too slow going through his reads. Additionally, he tends to tuck the ball and run too quickly at times instead of letting the play develop. All of this comes back to the fact that he didn’t get a chance to become comfortable with Chris Petersen’s system in the spring, so he’s learning on the fly at times.
SwN: What is the weakest unit in Washington’s defense?
CF: With Danny Shelton, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Shaq Thompson leading the charge, Washington’s front seven is one of the better front sevens in all of college football. However, the secondary has often been the issue when the defense has struggled this season. There’s a lot of young talent in the secondary, but very little experience. True freshmen starters Budda Baker (safety) and Sidney Jones (cornerback) have been impressive at times but their youth shows at other times. Both of them will eventually be great players. The other two starters in the secondary are sophomores Kevin King (safety) and John Ross III (cornerback), who was just recently moved to the defensive side. UW’s defense is the strength of this team, but if there’s anywhere a team can beat them, it’s certainly in the secondary.
SwN: How will the Husky defense attempt to stop the Air Raid?
CF: As stated before, the secondary is the weakest part of UW’s defense and they will have their hands full going up against Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. This offense relies heavily upon the timing of the passing game. The best way for the Huskies to combat a potent passing attack is to get pressure on the quarterback, which is something they have done well for the most part this year. UW will be leaning on their defensive front to put redshirt freshman Luke Falk under duress and rush his timing with his receivers. He’s a talented young quarterback, but he also lacks experience and the Huskies will be trying to force him rush his decisions. If they are able to get to Falk early and often, it will go a long way towards keeping the Air Raid in check. If not, it could be a long day for the Huskies’ young secondary.
You can check out my answers to his three questions about the Cougs by clicking on this link.