SEATTLE -- Here are five storylines as Washington prepares to play No. 11 USC at 4 p.m. Saturday at CenturyLink Field:
No. 1 Price needs to play, not work: During the weekly Pac-12 conference call Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said quarterback Keith Price needs to find the fun in football again.
“Right now he’s working football, and working is not fun, as we all know,” Sarkisian said.
One day earlier, during the Huskies’ weekly press conference, Price echoed the same sentiment. He talked about trying to do too much, spending too much time trying to help his teammates, instead of focusing on what he can control. This week against USC, he said he plans to leave the coaching to the coaches and get back to the mindset that made him so successful as a sophomore.
No. 2 Secondary faces tough task: Through five games this season, USC receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods have combined for 83 catches, covering 921 yards. They have scored a total of 12 touchdowns. That is the challenge facing Washington’s secondary this week.
The Huskies will need a big game from senior cornerback Desmond Trufant and can’t afford the coverage miscues that hampered them, at times, against Oregon last week.
No. 3 Offensive line coming together: After piling up 208 yards on the ground against the Ducks, the Huskies are seeing progress on their offensive line. Sarkisian pointed to left tackle Micah Hatchie, left guard Dexter Charles and true freshman right guard Shane Brostek as players who have shown signs of improvement.
The continued growth of this unit will go a long way toward determining Washington’s success against USC and the rest of the season.
No. 4 Another game, another ranked team: Saturday’s matchup with the Trojans will be the Huskies’ fourth game against a ranked opponent in five outings. The first three were ranked in the top 10, while the Trojans sit at No. 11.
No. 5 Fighting frustration: When talking about Washington’s 52-21 loss at Oregon last week, Sarkisian frequently used the word “frustration.” The performance was not the way the Huskies wanted to follow up their impressive upset win over Stanford.
However, Washington gets a chance to channel that frustration into motivation this week with the Trojans traveling to Seattle.