It's gameday everybody! I'm up early watching ESPN just because I feel like it's an early Christmas. Problem is that the UW game isn't until 7:30 tonight PST.
Since it is the gameday, it's time to do a little list on the keys for the Huskies against LSU.
Running the Football
This will be the most important key for the Husky offense tonight. They need to get the running game going for two reasons.
An effective running game will take a lot of pressure off of Jake Locker and the passing game.
With an effective run attack Locker won't feel compelled to take the team on his shoulders. He will have the time to focus on putting that touch that he needs on his passes.
The second reason comes down to controlling the time of possession and keeping the LSU offense off of the field.
The Husky defense is, in a word, not very good. So it is imperative they don't have to do as much during the game to keep them fresh.
It may be a lot to ask with questions still existing on the offensive line for the Huskies. They will most likely get bossed around by the talented LSU defensive line.
It will be up to the running backs, Chris Polk and Johri Fogerson, to make a lot of plays in spite of the offensive line.
Pressure the LSU QB
Jordan Jefferson is coming back for LSU after a highly successful bowl appearance. The Tigers struggled at quarterback last season, but they think they have found the answer.
The addition of true freshman Russell Sheppard also adds an interesting dynamic.
However, this also makes them slightly vulnerable, neither has a ton of game experience so if the Huskies can put some hits on the quarterback's then they could potentially force some turnovers.
Sarkisian has made the turnover margin one of the main focuses for the defense this year.
Unfortunately, the Husky defensive line has not had very much success over the last year in getting to the quarterback or stopping the run, but they will need to step up.
They are returning all their starters and have benefited from an extra year of maturation and conditioning.
With Daniel T'eo-nesheim on the line too, there is always a chance to make an impact.
Don't Give Up the Big Play
The Huskies, over the last two years, have had the worrying tendency to give up deflating big plays. Notice some of the shootouts from two years ago.
Nick Holt will have his hands full in trying to mitigate some of the big play ability that LSU has.
It will come down to guys like EJ Savannah bolstering the run defense. Savannah's return adds a proven tackler and playmaker in an already strong linebacker unit.
The secondary as well needs to make plays on the ball and play their coverages well.
Let Locker Be Locker
As much as Sarkisian wants to install his pro-style offense, he needs to be careful not to stifle the dual threat ability Locker has.
It's a double edge sword, because Locker shouldn't need to run all the time to avoid injury.
However, it's that running ability that gives the Huskies an outside chance in every game, he can make the plays to keep the ball moving.
It will be interesting this year to see how Sarkisian uses Locker, his accuracy has improved over spring and fall.
Sarkisian has wanted to train Locker up to be a more NFL-style quarterback. He has the arm, but has been missing the touch.
It will help the team if he does discover that touch.