To learn more about Colorado's upcoming opponent, we caught up with TheDawgReport.com publisher Lars Hanson and asked five questions about the Huskies.
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Washington has started the season 3-0 and enters conference play on the road this weekend. Have the Huskies impressed you through three games this season? Are they living up to the preseason hype?
Lars Hanson: "I think it’s truly hard to judge Washington based off its non-conference schedule, just because the level of competition and talent aren’t close to matching. That being said, what has stood out most to me is how UW has used Dante Pettis in replace of John Ross. Pettis and Ross have a significantly different style of play they bring, but Pettis’ route running ability makes up for any lack of speed. I still believe UW is a CFB Playoff caliber team and they should run the table heading into the Pac-12 Championship Game, and nothing from the first three weeks has given any reason to think otherwise."
How is Washington at the offensive and defensive skill positions with the loss of guys like John Ross, Budda Baker, and Budda Baker off to the NFL?
LH: "UW is thinner at receiver than at defensive back, but that’s due more in part to the recruiting success of co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake compared to former WR coach Brent Pease. The Huskies still have some experience in the secondary with safety JoJo McIntosh and cornerback Jordan Miller. Three true freshmen have already seen a significant amount of playing time; Keith Taylor and Elijah Molden (cornerbacks) and Brandon McKinney (safety). Lastly, former four-star recruit Byron Murphy has already made his impact with two interceptions vs Rutgers in week one, one of just four players to record an INT in the first three games."
Just how good is Jake Browning? Where do you rank him amongst the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12?
LH: "Browning is great for what Chris Petersen needed in his first elite quarterback recruit. He is a great college player, has good mobility while still being a throw-first QB, but wouldn’t be the best in the conference. He would be in my top three, in between Sam Darnold at USC and Josh Rosen at UCLA, but still ahead of Luke Falk and a toss up at No. 5. He throws one of the better deep balls in the conference and spreads the ball around more than I think he gets credit for."
Who are some offensive and defensive players that Colorado fans should familiarize themselves with that they might not already know about?
LH: "Outside of Browning, Gaskin, Pettis on offense and Vita Vea, Keishawn Bierria and Azeem Victor on defense as household names, five players come to mind. Ben Burr-Kirven at MIKE linebacker has seen a fair share of playing time already this season and currently leads the team with 27 tackles. Myles Bryant at CB is another player to watch along with Savon Ahmed and Lavon Coleman at RB and Hunter Bryant at TE."
What is your score prediction and why?
LH: "On the road, UW should still be able to lean on its defense early and allow its offense to find rhythm. If that happens, I think the Huskies will have an easier time controlling the game and holding the Buffs offense at bay. However, I think UW will take a little more time to establish itself on offense, but I believe they will find midway through the second quarter and not look back."
Washington 38, Colorado 17