Washington Defense (^ indicates fifth-year senior)
Probable Starters vs. USC:
DE 66 Daniel Te’o-Nesheim 6-4 245 Jr.
DT 95 Jordan Reffett 6-6 295 ^Sr.
DT 74 Wilson Afoa 6-3 290 ^Sr.
DE 7 Greyson Gunheim 6-5 265 Sr.
OLB 34 Dan Howell 6-1 225 Sr.
ILB 57 Trenton Tuiasosopo 6-2 240 Sr. -- OR --
9 Donald Butler 6-1 240 So.
OLB 22 E.J. Savannah 6-2 228 Jr.
FS 26 Jason Wells 6-2 210 Jr.
SS 23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 Sr.
CB 6 Vonzell McDowell, Jr. 5-9 176 Fr. -- OR --
18 Byron Davenport 5-11 195 Jr. -- OR --
19 Matt Mosley 5-11 190 So.
CB 28 Roy Lewis 5-11 187 ^Sr.
Best Defensive Player: Defensive Line Unit (All 4 starters returning) has registered 9 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 4 pass breakups, and an INT.
Defensive Line -- The strength of the Huskies' defense is the d-line. These guys are disruptive, as seen by their numbers above, but they have given up some yards this season. The Huskies are allowing 403 yards per game, 175 of those on the ground. Their smallest starting lineman weighs in at 245, so they can be overpowered in the running game. The key will be for them to generate pressure to better help their inexperienced secondary. Ends Te'o-Nesheim (3 sacks, 3 TFL) and Gunheim (2.5 sacks, 2 TFL) lead the way up front.
Linebackers -- The LB's, led by junior weak-side LB E.J. Savannah (team-high 42 tackles) are inexeperienced, but very athletic. They have great speed, fly to the ball carrier, and are good in pass coverage. Senior strong-side LB Dan Howell (13 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 INT) is the veteran of the group, having started 10 games last season. Savannah and middle LB's Trenton Tuiasosopo and Donald Butler had never started a game before this season.
Defensive Backs -- The pass defense continues to be a weakness for the Huskies, ranking among the nation's worst during each of Ty Willingham's first two seasons. This year the problem apparently hasn't subsided after seeing what Ohio State did to them a couple weeks ago. They are replacing two starters from last year and lack size at the cornerback position. So far this season, CB Roy Lewis and SS Mesphin Forrester rank 2nd and 3rd on team in tackles with 31 and 28, respectively. Lewis and fellow CB Vonzell McDowell, a true freshman, have each recorded and INT. They allow too many big plays in the secondary and don't create enough turnovers. Of the Huskies 4 defensive INT's, only 2 have come from the secondary.
Still to come Friday:
(1) Key Matchups
(2) What to Expect / Game Plan