Stanford’s daunting line no longer haunting UW

UW FOOTBALL: Losing trench war last year has steeled Huskies for Cardinal’s strength

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comSeptember 24, 2012 

SEATTLE – A year later, Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton thinks he’s learned his lesson about facing Stanford’s run-first offense.

As a freshman, Shelton was part of a Washington defensive line that Stanford spent 60 minutes pounding last season for 446 yards.

He called the Cardinal’s line one of the toughest he’s faced.

“That was just a freshman perspective, going against two great offensive linemen. I feel like they made it real tough on me,” Shelton said. “But after a year of experience, I’ll be ready for this game, and I definitely think our line will be ready to go against this offensive line.”

The two linemen Shelton referenced were NFL picks David DeCastro (24th to the Pittsburgh Steelers) and Jonathan Martin (42nd to the Miami Dolphins), whose departure left this season’s Stanford line with new faces. But, the Cardinal hasn’t altered its philosophy of running straight at teams. Which means Shelton, and powerful middle linebacker Thomas Tutogi, will be in critical positions to stuff the point of attack.

“We’ve got to stop their offensive linemen,” Tutogi said. “Their pulling guards, that’s who (running back) Stepfan Taylor follows.”

So, does that mean linebackers will try to follow them or get to the spot first?

“No,” Tutogi said. “Run right through him.”

Easier said than done.

“They have a cohesive approach to the game,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Play really good, sound defense against the run, then have the ability to run the football offensively, then utilize play-action pass when you get the lead and teams are really selling out to stop the run. They do a good job of keeping those things together.

“The challenge for everybody that plays them, and us this week, is how do you get them out of that cohesive game plan?”

Washington wasn’t able to last season, resulting in a 65-21 loss.

NEWCOMER FOR HUSKIES

Washington announced that freshman wide receiver Dwayne Washington has been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse and joined the football team.

Washington, a freshman from Lakewood, Calif., will start school today with the rest of the student body. Washington had yet to report to the school while awaiting clearance, according to a press release.

Washington is from Gahr High School in Cerritos, Calif., where he had 100 yards receiving in nine of his 10 games his senior year and was also a sprinter and long jumper on the track team.

APPLES AND ORANGES

When asked if there were any lessons learned from the 41-3 loss to LSU that could be applied to the Stanford game, Sarkisian said, “Not necessarily. That was a different ballgame, a different team.”

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @Todd_Dybas

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