1. Which Boise State player(s) do you fear most and why?
While I'm tempted to say it's the overall experience on Boise State's depth chart that most concerns me, I'll go with Kamalei Correa. As your top edge rusher (and one whose game bears a strong resemblance to former Husky Hau'oli Kikaha) he's a guy that could make life really difficult for Washington's young tackles and terrorize our QB (whoever that ends up being). The Huskies will get a really good test right off the bat to see if Coleman Shelton and Matt James are up to the task of protecting the QB.
2. What are your team's strengths & weaknesses coming into this game?
The area of obvious strength is the TE group where the Huskies go a legit 4-5 deep. Josh Perkins and Darrell Daniels are former wide receivers that are difficult match-ups for most linebackers. Perkins is the most polished of the bunch, Daniels has game-breaking speed, Drew Sample is the best blocker of the bunch, David Ajamu is big and well-rounded and Connor Griffin - the walk-on former basketball player from Gonzaga - keeps making plays in practices.
There are a number of areas of concern on the team - QB and the WR group have gotten a lot of mention as question marks. The one that's most concerning to me though is the offensive line. While they're not terribly young as a group, they lack starting experience. G Shane Brostek had 3 starts as a true frosh back in 2012, LT Coleman Shelton started 7 games at RT last year in place of the injured Ben Riva and C Sifa Tufunga started 5 games at LG last year. When LG Dexter Charles retired due to chronic knee problems this month, he took with him 30 career starts and forced a re-shuffling of the line that has seen Shelton move from RT to LT and Jake Eldrenkamp from LT to LG. Their ability to open holes in the run game and keep the QB upright is a major unknown and will be critical to the success of the Husky offense in 2015.
3. How's Ol' Pete doin', BTW?
Chris Petersen has looked more relaxed and at ease this year. While he's never going to be one that relishes media attention (as you folks well know), he's almost always courteous and thoughtful in his interactions. But he's also noticeably looser and smiling more this year. That may just be him gaining more of a comfort level with our pool of beat reporters, and I'm sure he's feeling more at home here. He may also be feeling more confident that this team is understanding how he wants to do things, certainly more than last year where they had to start from square one with everyone. He may also like the feeling of being an underdawg with something to prove - he stated in Sunday's press conference he thinks this team can be pretty good.
4. Using Microsoft Paint, illustrate a picture of a situation you envision happening in this game.
5. On a scale of 90's rappers (with Kool Moe Dee being "sweatin' bullets" and Humpty Hump being "supremely"), how would you rate your confidence in winning this game?
I'll say right off the bat that 90's rappers are not really in my wheelhouse. I'll switch it up and put it in 90's grunge terms - I'm feeling "Screaming Trees" about this game. Like the Trees, I think the Huskies are probably being under-rated by outside observers, and they're going to surprise people by how well they play. I'm certainly not absolutely confident ("Soundgarden") in Washington's chances, but I'm also not completely writing them off either ("Candlebox").
Thanks to Kirk DeGrasse of UW Dawg Pound for answering these questions! I sincerely hope the Huskies *win!
*...every game after Sept. 4th.