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Three downs: Semi-final preview edition

Note: Pre-game live blog starts around 9:00am today and runs until noonish.
First down: what do the Huskies need to do on offense this weekend to win?
Dallas: They need to keep the winning formula intact. That is, run to set up the pass and pass to set up the run. The Huskies are much more successful when they’re able to roll out a balanced attack, as we’ve seen each of the past five weeks, and I expect to see more of the same this weekend.
Dog Whisperer: The Huskies need to continue to build on the last 5 victories. They need to start fast, operate efficiently and finish drives. They also need to protect the football. We cannot afford to turn the football over against anyone in the playoffs so ball protection is critical. Execute the game plan with the precision of a surgeon while playing smash-mouth football.
Tom: On offense, I completely with Dog Whisperer. Let’s get off to a quick start and take care of the ball.
Jon: They need to continue to mix the run with the pass as they’ve done in the past few weeks during their winning streak. Ben Coakwell and Dathan Thomas have in the first quarter of each of the past 5 games established a ground game so that opposing defenses get worn down and aren’t ready for the Huskies potent passing attack.  They need another 100 yard game from one of their RB’s to go along with their usual good numbers in the air and it should be another big day on offense.
Second Down: What do the Huskies need to do on defense this weekend to win?
Dog Whisperer: The Huskies D needs to continue their focus on making teams one dimensional. The front seven need to remain stout and play disciplined football. We haven’t done a great job of sacking the quarterback but we have pushed the pocket and contained the running QB’s not allowing a lot of broken plays to hurt us. We have stopped the run and forced teams to beat us in the air. The confidence of our DB’s needs to continue to grow so that they can make aggressive breaks on the ball and create turnovers.
Jon: They need to be weary of overconfidence creeping into their game.  The defense hasn’t given up very many big plays this year, and with that comes a great deal of confidence.  With that confidence could come a tendency to take risks and go for that big play when it is unnecessary.  Having said that, I think that they’ll come in with good focus and  will be well prepared to play a sound game of football, so I can’t see this being a big issue.
Dallas: Again, more of the same. Keep flying to the ball, fill the gaps, push the pocket and put the rush on the quarterback. The Huskies front seven was key in the last game against Alberta, keeping Julian Marchand on the run and Matt Jarvis in check, and I expect them to play the same role in Saturday’s game.
Tom: On defense, let’s stop the run and make Marchand throw the ball.

Third Down: Who is your Huskies MVP for the regular season?
Jon: From Day 1, Laurence Nixon has been the undisputed leader of this football team and his steady and consistent play has proven why he has taken on that role.  He’s in the midst of carrying a team which has had very high expectations from the beginning and you wouldn’t know it by the way he’s gone out and coolly and calmly taken control.  In each of the last two years the Huskies have gotten off to slow starts, but in both of those years and especially in 2010, they’ve bounced back to have a string of dominant performances.  This is in large part due to Nixon taking it upon himself to raise his game.  When he takes his game to a whole a new level, his teammates follow suit.  That leadership cannot be undervalued and is a major reason why I think Nixon is easily the Huskies MVP of 2010.
Dog Whisperer: I have to go with Laurence Nixon. His steady hand and efficiency has broken the spirit of so many opponents this year. There have been several outstanding players on both sides of the ball this year including a few breakout seasons but the 5th year pivot has been in complete command the last 5 games and earns my MVP nod.
Dallas: I have to go with Laurence Nixon as well. His play has been phenomenal, but his leadership has made all the difference for the Huskies this season.
Tom: In my opinion Laurence Nixon is the Canada West MVP, and not just the Huskies’ team. I think he will be named an All Canadian, along with at least one or two other Huskies.

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