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The Huskies only played four games last year as Covid-19 hit them hard. So, this for all practical purposes is the first year of the Coach Jimmy Lake regime. Offensively, they have enough weapons to contend but the defense has significant losses and only return five starters. But, Washington knows success and don’t feel too sorry for them.
Offense: The offensive line looks to be the strength on this side of the ball as all five starters return. They are led by all-conference left tackle Jason Kirkland and center Luke Wattenberg. This group allowed only one sack in the four games last year and Washington averaged 4.5 yards per rush. QB Dylan Morris was sufficient in his first year at the helm and he should improve in year two. A familiar name to Washington fans, Sam Huard, enrolled early and was a 5-star recruit. He will be waiting in the wings. Richard Newton emerged as the running back in the spring and Sean McGrew will be there too. The receiving corps needs some retooling and is led by TE Cade Otton who had 18 catches, 3 of them for touchdowns.
Defense: The Huskies suffered a huge loss in the spring when linebacker/pass rusher Zion Tupuola-Fetui ruptured his Achilles tendon which could cost him the entire 2021 season. Inside linebacker, Edefuan Ulofoshio is back and he averaged 12 tackles per game last year. Their is other quality at that position also. The secondary has Trent McDuffie at corner back and he has shown impressive credentials. They also welcome transfer Brendan Radley-Hines from Oklahoma. He brings a ton of experience and has played a ton of big games but he also is terribly inconsistent and has to make a lot of strides to be of much help.
9/11 at Michigan
9/18 Arkansas State
Obviously, the big game will be in Ann Arbor in Game 2. Michigan is a program that has struggled but they will be ready for this one. If the Huskies can win here that would be huge. The other two games are must-wins.
10/2 at Oregon State
10/22 at Arizona
10/30 at Stanford
11/13 Arizona State
11/20 at Colorado
11/26 Washington State
The conference schedule is reasonable and gives the Huskies a chance to win the Pac-12 North. Home games against California, Washington State, and UCLA are must wins. Then there are the back-to-back games against Oregon and Arizona State. If they win those two games that would be big. Road games at Oregon State and Arizona are games they can’t slip up in and then the games at Colorado and Stanford will figure largely in their quest for the title.
Summary: The Huskies have a shot at winning the North. The loss of Tupuola-Fetui will be hard to overcome but they have other players. The QB has to develop into a reliable playmaker. But, the biggest thing that has to happen is beating Oregon as they are 2-14 in their last 16 meetings. They have them in Seattle and that game could be for all the marbles.
Predicted Finish: 2nd Place in Pac-12 North
Overall Record: 8-4
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