UW Ready for Deceptive Running Attack

Sept. 2, 2005

It's a rushing attack that hasn't been seen in the Pac-10 since a guy namedTuiasosopo played quarterback at Washington.

The Air Force Falcons bring to town this weekend their own version of the onceelectrifying option offense.

Many Husky glory days were spent watching speedy quarterbacks race down thefield before pitching to a running back and sending them on their way to thepromised lan. However, this attack will be a little different, look a littleless organized and won't be run by the team in purple.

Air Force will show the Huskies the Wing-T, also known as the Triple Option tosome. High school football fans from Seattle might have heard of it beforesince it is run masterfully by the four-time defending State Champion Bellevuefootball team. However, only three Division 1 schools run the offense. And thelast time Qwest Field saw an offense like it was when that Bellevue teamsnapped the 151-game winning streak of De La Salle last fall.

The offense includes two wingbacks, who line up behind tight ends on bothsides, with a fullback directly behind the quarterback. Many different playscan be run out of it, mostly rushing, but some passing, and the main goal is todeceive the other team. This well-organized attack has to be run to militaryprecision and is a far cry from the NFL-like passing attack of the Pac-10.

'We're definitely glad this is our first game,' senior Evan Benjamin said.'We've had a couple weeks to prepare and watch film.'

Every player agreed that the only way to stop the Wing-T is to staydisciplined. There will be players running all over the place, going in motionand pretending they have the ball.

'They try to mess with your mind,' senior Joe Lobendahn said. 'If you miss yourassignment they will take advantage of that and there will be a big play.'

Players have been going over film and practicing the ways to stop the offense.They know that the key to the offense is the quarterback. The quarterback sellsthe play, deciding whether the ball should go to the fullback diving up themiddle, to either of the wingbacks, or whether he should keep the ball and runhimself.

Air Force boasts a quarterback who is projected to pass for 1000 yards and rushfor 1000 yards in sophomore Shaun Carney. Carney earned the starting job in thesummer as coach Fisher DeBerry moved his competition to other positions.

Defensively the Huskies are working on man defense where each man will have anassignment on a specific player. If each players stays with that assignment,such as a linebacker with the quarterback and another linebacker with the pitchman, the defense should be successful. Any breakdown could result in a bigplay.

'We have to read the lineman and the fullback, and keep our eyes on ourresponsibility,' Benjamin said. 'We are working on staying on our assignmentsand watching a lot of film.'

The Wing-T is as flashy an offense as there is in football. Camera men areroutinely fooled, thinking that the fullback has the ball, beforenoticing a wingback sprinting down the sideline with no one within 30 yards of him.

That too is what happens if the defense breaks down. If the defense is run well then there could be a lot of tackles made in the backfield and if Air Force struggles passing the ball, the Huskies could have a good day.

'It's pretty fast,' Benjamin said. 'They take advantage of people second-guessing.'

The last time two times the UW squared off against Air Force was in the 1998 Oahu Bowl and the 1999 regular season, wherethey were overwhelmed by the Falcons rushing attack. The previous two match-upsagainst option offenses were both against Nebraska during the days of HeismanTrophy winner Eric Crouch. The Huskies lost both of those games,too.

Even though they rarely see this type of offense, Husky players are much more confident about their chances this year. Many saw an offense like this in high school and the defense has put in the preparation both on the field and in the film room.

Air Force will likely run its system perfectly and the Huskies know they will have to play great defense. With the work they've put in, no one can say the Huskies are winging it.

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