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Three Downs: Huskies at Bears

The Dogs will have their second game of the season against the Bears, following the “Support Our Troops” game which opened the CanWest season (photo Derek Mortenson for Electric Umbrella)

The Dogs arrived in Edmonton, earlier today, for tomorrow afternoon’s matchup with the Bears. The Outsider crew has a few things they’ll be looking for, and we discuss it in another edition of “Three Downs.”

1st down: What will you be watching on offence and defence?

Ryan: I will be watching the defence to see if they can hold an opponent to under 30 points. They did it against Alberta to start the season, when the Huskies shut them out. Since then there have been five straight games of allowing 30-plus points. The Huskie defence needs to improve to ensure the offense has a chance for the Dogs to win the game.

Dallas: I’ll be watching for a continuation of the last game on offence, with big games from Bradshaw, Hillis and Buchanan, among others. It would be nice to see slotbacks like Charlie Power and Brydon Ozmun with greater roles. On defence, I expect to see a near dominant game with several players recording quarterback sacks.

Dog Whisperer: I will be watching to see if we are improving on finishing our drives on offence. Obviously, we will need to have the confidence that we can sustain drives, and finish them off with touchdowns and not field goal attempts, if we want to continue to win games to finish the regular season out. On defence, I am interested in seeing if we can step up the physical play and start to take the ball away more often.

Tom: On offence, I want to see us get off to a quick start and finish off some early drives with TD’s. Our defence played well last week – I would’ve said very well except they allowed a couple of big plays, which is something that has dogged them all season. Not tomorrow…I hope.

2nd Down: What will you be paying attention to on special teams?

Dallas: On special teams, I hope to see improvement in all phases, including punting, placekicking, returns and coverage. Placekicking is the area of greatest need and it has to be much more consistent prior to the playoffs, or these misses will end up costing the team its season.

Dog Whisperer: I will be watching two things specifically. One: can we return to our past form as one of the best return teams in CanWest? Two: If we can tighten up the cover teams and pin teams deep.

Tom: It was only three games ago that I thought our kicking game was the most solid in the conference. I’m not sure what has happened to cause a tailspin over these last 3 weeks – last week in particular – but as Dallas has said, we need to return to our earlier ways or it may cost the Huskies their season. I’m sure that the kickers expect much better from themselves, and I suspect the play during the remainder of the season to reflect that.

Ryan: The return game. Having Luke Thiel and Travoy Martinez back in the lineup last week helped create better field position. The Huskies will win the game if they get some big returns.

3rd down: Make a statistical prediction for this game.

Dog Whisperer: I believe that we will in fact take the ball away 3 times, run for
150 yards, and pass for 350.

Tom: Admittedly, I’ve been the worst performer at these statistical predictions. To address this, I’m going to take a page from George Costanza’s playbook (he of Seinfeld fame), and expect good things to happen when I predict the opposite of what I wish to occur. So here goes: 1) The Huskies will be shut out in the 3rd quarter. 2) The defence will allow 35 points. 3) The Dogs will send another kickoff out of bounds. 4) The Bears will draw over 3000 fans.

Ryan: I predict that Alberta will have less than 20 points on Saturday. Kit Hillis will have double-digit receptions again.

Dallas: I predict five sacks on defence and over 500 yards of total offence.