Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Interview with Bob Condotta

The Sooners are off to a 1-0 start and face the Washington Huskies this weekend. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times took a moment to inform us on the Huskies and give his views on the game.

My Opinion on Sports: The Huskies are 1-0 for the first time since 2001, how much pressure is on Willingham to win in Norman and go 2-0?

Bob Condotta: He's not so much under pressure to win in Norman – everybody understands that's a real longshot - but he is under pressure to have the team perform a lot better this year. He basically got a pass for last season, but another two or three win season will not go over well. He needs to get the team to at least 5-6 wins and looking like it's headed in the right direction to pacify everybody.

My Opinion on Sports: In their season opener the Huskies ran the ball for 296 yards against San Jose State. Seeing the success that UAB had against the OU defense do you think the Huskies will have similar success this Saturday?

Bob Condotta: I actually think it was 300 yards - that's what the official stats say, anyway. No, I don't think they will have the same success Saturday. They will certainly try, but obviously Oklahoma is a much better defense than San Jose State, which had only two starters returning and was without one of its best D-tackles due to an injury a week or so ago. I think the Huskies would be very happy with 200 yards rushing in this game.

My Opinion on Sports: Quarterback Isaiah Stanback and running back Louis Rankin are two of the stars on offense for the Huskies. Who are some of the other playmakers on offense and defense for Washington?

Bob Condotta: Kenny James is still the starting RB despite Rankin's big day and they expect a lot out of him this season. He scored two TDs Saturday. Corey Williams is maybe the best receiver the team has. He didn't do much Saturday because they didn't try to throw deep much, but he might have the most potential of any of the receivers.

The best defensive player may be DE Greyson Gunheim, but he's coming off a minor knee injury suffered during fall camp and may not be completely 100 percent yet. LB Chris Stevens is often put in the game in obvious pass-rush situations and had two sacks Saturday and three tackles for a loss.

My Opinion on Sports: It seemed as if the Washington defense had a second half collapse on Saturday against San Jose State. Do you think this defense can contain Adrian Peterson? What will their game plan be?

Bob Condotta: The defense did struggle in the second half Saturday. But it was mostly the secondary that struggled as SJS did almost nothing but throw in the second half. UW looks like a pretty good run defending team so this could be a decent matchup for UW in that regard. UW was a much better team against the run last year, as well. Certainly, UW will try to contain Peterson and make the QB beat them. I would imagine every Oklahoma opponent will try to do that this season and it only makes sense for UW given what their defensive strengths and weaknesses appear to be.

My Opinion on Sports: What should we expect to see offensively from the Huskies?

Bob Condotta: I would imagine more of what we saw Saturday, which is a lot of the spread option formation in which Stanback has the option to handoff or run. UW was in that formation about half the time Saturday and Stanback had 17 carries, the most of his career. I would imagine, however, that they may try to throw it deep more than they did a week ago. Pac-10 teams have often had success in non-conference play by throwing the ball.

My Opinion on Sports: In your opinion what do the Huskies have to do to put themselves in a position to win this game?

Bob Condotta: They can't turn the ball over even once. They have to at least contain Peterson. And they have to move it at least a little. I think UW's best chance of winning is to make it a quick game that is relatively low-scoring. If they can stay in it into the third quarter, then the momentum may shift to their side and they can ride that.

My Opinion on Sports: Give us your final score prediction.

Bob Condotta: Hate to beg off here, but I give a final score for our paper every Saturday and I haven't completely figured out what that will be yet, so I can't give it here. I don't want to give two final scores. But I will definitely be picking Oklahoma and probably in the 10-14 point range.

Thanks again for your time Bob. I really appreciate it! We’ll check back on Saturday to see your score prediction. You can read more of Bob’s work at the Seattle Times.