First down: What is the biggest surprise for the Huskies so far in 2012?
Dog Whisperer: The rapid emergence of Drew Burko as a composed and precise passer with ice water in his veins is not what one expects from a redshirt freshman. Burko has obviously proven that he was worth the wait and also worthy of all the accolades he gained coming out of High School.
Dallas: The biggest surprise to me, so far, has been the play of Drew Burko. He has exceeded my expectations and the expectations of most with his grasp of the offense, his pocket presence and his ability to run this offense and drive the ball down the field.
Tom: Drew Burko has been the most pleasant surprise I’m 2012. He has tremendous poise for a redshirt freshman. A second surprise has to be the troubles of the defense through the first five weeks of the season. I’m hoping that the D–the unit most of us expected to lead the way for the Huskies in 2012–turns things around and has a strong final three weeks to the regular season.
Ryan: When I look back to spring camp and the coached decided to make Drew Burko their starter, I thought the team would experience some bumps along the way. With Burko on the field, the Huskies are able to compete with any team in CanadaWest. Burko is gaining valuable experience and gets better every week. The Huskies will be a team that contends every season with him at the helm. He has far exceeded my expectations.
Second down: What do the Huskies need to do to improve their playoff positioning over the last three games?
Dallas: Win. Simple as that. The biggest tests will be the two remaining home games against Manitoba and UBC, and they will need to be vastly improved in all areas of the game to beat two hungry opponents in the Bisons and Thunderbirds who would love nothing more than to beat the Huskies on their own field.
Ryan: I agree with Dallas, the Huskies need to win on the field. Off the field, it would be nice to see some of the injured guys return to the line-up. The offense needs to be more consistent and the defense needs to be more aggressive. Special teams needs to return to weeks one to four mode.
Tom: Right now my concern is more about how well the Huskies perform these next 3 weeks rather than what playoff position they hold. If the Dogs can kick it into gear, they will be a dangerous team come playoff time.
Dog Whisperer: Well let’s not jump to any conclusions here. In my mind the Huskies are no shoe-in for a playoff spot. The team needs to re-focus on playing hard nosed, physical, relentless football and win AT LEAST two more games if they want to make the playoffs. My opinion is that beating Manitoba in the Blackout game is critical to them regaining momentum and confidence.
Third down: Which player has improved the most from last season?
Tom: Kit Hillis is having an outstanding season and has taken his game to a new level. I’m anxious to see which other Huskies step up in the coming weeks.
Dallas: The player I keep noticing every game is Levi Steinhauer. He is playing with more confidence and he is difficult for offensive lines to tackle. He has 15 tackles and two sacks so far and he may end up doubling those numbers in the last three games of the season.
Dog Whisperer: Boy, most improved is a tough question considering the fact that injuries have marred so many players seasons. Two players stand out for me. David Rybinski has upped his pass rush in a big way. Always an accomplished run stuffer, he now is a constant threat to get to the QB with thunderous impact. A consummate team player that he is, he would credit the others on the D-Line but David has improved his pass rush. On offense it is difficult not to notice the emergence of Kit Hillis this season so far. Hillis can be a reliable possession receiver and a deep threat. Statistics are for losers so let’s not talk about them lets talk about IMPACT and Hillis has proven that he can stretch the field and be a much needed deep threat.
Ryan: I have to agree with all of you guys here. Kit Hillis missed last week’s game and is still leads the conference in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Hillis was injured for part of last season and his emergence this season is a major story in CanadaWest. Dog Whisperer mentioned “Rybber” and I have to give him a shoutout too as he is a pleasure to watch and is having his best season with the Huskies.