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Bruener Says 'We Have Confidence to Beat Every Single Team in Country'

The sophomore linebacker likes the mindset of this year's Huskies.
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Carson Bruener doesn't complain. The University of Washington sophomore linebacker could pick apart the previous coaching staff, but he won't do it. He could argue that he still should be starting, but he won't go there.

No, he's caught up in the newfound momentum surrounding the Kalen DeBoer-coached Huskies, playing when he's called on and enjoying the ride. 

"This year, it just feels different because we have the confidence in ourselves to go out there and beat every single team in the country," Bruener said.

On Friday night, the Huskies (4-0 overall, 1-0 Pac-12) go on the road for the first time to Southern California, where they face the UCLA Bruins (4-0, 1-0) in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN from the Rose Bowl. 

Bruener and his UW teammates will be asked to keep highly mobile UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson in check, something that didn't happen in last year's 24-17 defeat to the Bruins at Husky Stadium. 

Carson Bruener zeroes in on Stanford's Casey Filkins.

Carson Bruener prepares to put a big hit on Stanford returner Casey Filkins.

The fifth-year senior known as DTR threw for 183 yards and 2 scores, including a game-winning 9-yard touchdown pass to Greg Dulcich with 8:19 remaining to play, and rushed for 87 yards and another score.

To prepare for another challenging outing, the Huskies have turned creative with the scout team this week. Not only do they have to stop DTR, they have to slow down running back Zach Charbonnet, who rushed for 131 yards on 21 carries in last year's game.

Portraying Thompson-Robinson and Charbonnet are the UW's Jabez Tinae and Jay'Veon Sunday. Sunday makes sense, considering the redshirt freshman from Waco, Texas, is a power back, same as the Bruins runner.

Tinae? Isn't he a wide receiver?

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"He's shifty and fast and can also throw it," Bruener said of the redshirt freshman pass-catcher from Seattle. "We're getting that look in practice that is going to help prepare us."

The 6-foot, 203-pound Sunday likewise is doing his best to give his teammates an honest portrayal of Charbonnet. 

"All Jay'Veon wants to do, even if it's a walk-through, is he wants to hit you, he wants to run you over," Bruener said. "We're getting a great look for our defense."

Carson Bruener brings down Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee.

Carson Bruener brings down Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee. 

Bruener, who started five games last season but plays behind Alphonzo Tuputala now, has collected 14 tackles, with a couple coming on kickoffs, where he's provided riveting hits.

He's a proven player who was named All-Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week against Stanford in 2021 for a 16-tackle outing. Yet he won't let his ego get in the way of what's happening now. He likes winning.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's whatever role they give me," Bruener said. "All I want to do is be part of this team and be out there when they give me the opportunity and know they have faith and trust in me to go out there and do my job. And that's all I ask for."

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