In turning the page from No. 1 Alabama to No. 6 Washington, the Fresno State defense is preparing for a Huskies offense that can be every bit as overpowering as the Crimson Tide and may be more of a pre-snap mental test given the number of shifts and motions designed to knock a defense out of whack.
“It’s going to be ending in formations that they line up in anyway, so it’s a matter of us making sure our eyes are where they’re supposed to be and not getting fooled by a bunch of stuff going on in front of us,” coach Jeff Tedford said.
“They do a really nice job of mixing things up and game-planning and switching things and stuff like that. Once they stop shifting and motioning we have to make sure our eyes are right both up front and in the secondary so we don’t blow something.”
Lining up another challenge – The Bulldogs’ offensive line had a solid game at Alabama, allowing three tackles for loss against a defense that has ranked in the top three in the Southeastern Conference the past three seasons and opened with nine in a victory over Florida State.
The Huskies, though, might be a more difficult challenge, and not just because of the size and power of tackles Vita Vea (6-5, 340) and Greg Gaines (6-2, 322).
“I think it’s going to be a really good test,” offensive line coach Ryan Grubb said. “They’re an extremely well-coached defensive line and defense. I think they’re smart. They’re looking at stances, reads in the backfield, everything.
“Not that Alabama wasn’t that, but they’re a little different in how they played. They just locked you out and tried to make a play from there.”
Muti matchup again one to watch – In the loss at Alabama, redshirt freshman guard Netani Muti matched up against Da’Ron Payne, a 6-foot-2, 308-pound defensive tackle who in the spring put up a 545-pound bench press and a 635-pound squat.
This week he will see quite a bit of Vea, who is projected as a first-round NFL Draft pick.
“He’s the best D-tackle in the country,” Grubb said. “He’s amazing. He can run sideline to sideline. That will be an interesting match up.”
Sign of trouble – In its two games, Washington has allowed an average of 3.4 yards per play, ranking first in the Pac-12 and ninth in the nation.
Huskies opponents – albeit downy matchups against Rutgers and FCS Montana – have rushed for 2.2 yards per play and averaged 4.7 yards per pass play.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE AT NO. 6 WASHINGTON
- Saturday: 6:30 p.m. in Seattle
- Records: Bulldogs 1-1, Huskies 2-0
- TV/radio: Pac-12 Network/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Of note: After the Bulldogs lost 41-10 at No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, the Huskies routed FCS school Montana 63-7 in their home opener. … Washington rose one spot to No. 6 in this weeks Top 25 poll of The Associated Press.