Washington Football: What Huskies Need to Do to Survive Daunting Road Schedule
A team that averaged 33.4 points per game last season, the Huskies rely on their high-octane offense to put them in a position to win.
It will take a team effort on both sides of the ball if the Huskies have any chance of passing their challenging road tests.
Here are the keys for Washington to survive its daunting road schedule.
Big Games from Keith Price
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Washington really needs quarterback Keith Price to come into his own in his junior season.
As the former Ducks' quarterback, Thomas used great field vision and quick legs to lead Oregon's lethal offense to the BCS National Championship two seasons ago and a Rose Bowl victory last season.
Price already has a better arm than Thomas.
Last season, the Compton product threw for almost 300 more yards than his Oregon counterpart (3063 to 2761) and finished 2011 with a slightly better completion percentage (66.9 percent to 62.2 percent).
Yet where Thomas bested Price was in his versatility.
Thomas rushed for a whopping 206 yards and three rushing touchdowns, severely beating out Price's pedestrian 10 total rushing yards.
Price will need to pass and run the ball at an elevated level if the Huskies have any chance of upsetting the Tigers or the Ducks on the road next season.
Pick Up the Run
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Averaging 154.3 rushing yards per game last season, the Huskies will need to improve their running game if they are to win in hostile environments.
Tailback Jesse Callier was the team's second leading rusher but finished with over 1,000 less rushing yards than Polk (1,341 to 264).
Overall, he was much more effective as a return man than he was as a tailback.
Whether it is Callier or someone else, the Huskies will need a consistent running back who can effectively break down opposing defenses.
Dominate at Home
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In what may be a disappointing away record, Washington could offset some of its road losses with home dominance in 2012.
The Huskies' home and road records spoke volumes about the team in 2011.
Washington dropped four of five on the road but posted a solid 6-1 record at Husky Stadium.
The offense was also humming in Seattle. In every home game in 2011, the Huskies scored over 30 points.
If the Huskies can manage a 5-1 or a 4-2 home record in 2012, then they should still be in a position to make a competitive bowl game.
Score the Ball Early and Often
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The Huskies lived and died with their offensive success last season.
In wins in 2011, Price and Co. averaged 37.7 points per game. Conversely, in losses, they put up just 22.8 points per contest.
Simply, the defense was atrocious in losing efforts.
In five regular-season losses, the Huskies gave up a minimum of 34 points.
Throw in their Alamo Bowl loss to Baylor, and the Huskies gave up 40 points or more four times and conceded 60 points twice last season.
This is a team that requires incredible offensive efficiency to defeat formidable opponents.
If Price and the Huskies can perform at a high level early in the game, then they could hang around long enough to compete with a team as good as LSU or Oregon.