Todd Husak's Keys to the Arizona Game

Oct. 10, 2008

Todd Husak's Keys to the Arizona Game

Each week during the season, KTRB 860 AM radio analyst and former Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak will offer insightful analysis and breakdown Stanford keys to victory against its opponent. This week, Todd takes a look at Saturday's Stanford-Arizona game.

The Arizona Wildcats head to The Farm this weekend coming off a 34 point victory against the Washington Huskies. Arizona is averaging over 43 points per game, but their schedule has arguably been one of the easiest in the country as their five opponents have a COMBINED 7 wins between them. Here is what Stanford needs to do to stay with the high-powered Wildcat attack...

Be more disruptive on defense
Stanford has struggled to create turnovers and put pressure on opposing quarterback and the result against Notre Dame was a career day by quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The Cardinal front four has been unable to get to the opposing quarterbacks and the secondary has not made many big plays since the opener against Oregon State. More blitz packages and twisting/stunting the defensive line will help confuse offenses, but Stanford has to find ways to get the ball back in the hands of the offense and keep Arizona out of the end zone.

Get Toby Gerhart and Anthony Kimble more touches
The strength of the Stanford offense has been the run game, but the Cardinal need to stay committed to calling run plays. If Gerhart and Kimble can get at least 15 carries each, the team will keep the Arizona offense off the field and control the clock.

Get more consistent play from the quarterback position
Tavita Pritchard has been up in down the last two weeks. He followed what was arguably the best game of his career at Washington with one of his worst outings at Notre Dame, throwing three interceptions. Tavita occasionally locks into receivers and tends to narrow his vision when he decides where he is going to throw it. That tendency has led him to throw the ball into coverage of get his targets blown up because defenders are in the area. Any interceptions are going to be difficult to overcome because the Wildcats can score points in a hurry.

Get a touchdown from the special teams
The return game has been solid this season, but Stanford needs a touchdown and take some of the pressure off of the offense. Jeremy Stewart, Delano Howell, and Doug Baldwin all are capable of busting one and this week it needs to happen.

No big plays on defense
Make Arizona earn their touchdowns with long drives and third down conversions. Running back Nick Grigsby is averaging 109 yards per game and wide receiver Mike Thomas is their big play threat, so the Wildcats can hurt the defense on the ground and in the air. Containing their players and limiting the big plays will frustrate Willie Tuitama and make him force throws later in the game.

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