Husky Lineup Changes That Could Happen at Michigan

Following the uncomfortable opening loss to Montana, the UW likely changes up some of its personnel for the Wolverines.

Lose a college football game like the University of Washington did last weekend against Montana, and most coaches make sure their players feel uncomfortable once they return to practice.

Don James did this. 

So did Jim Lambright. 

Everything racheted up. 

The hitting. The running. The competition.

It was time to turn up the temperature.

These former Husky coaches felt they had no alternative but to send a message to get their players' attention following a bad loss and make them respond in kind. 

Usually a handful of new starters turns up in the lineup in a situation like this.

Asked if he subscribed to this particular message-sending approach, Jimmy Lake insisted the job competition for his team couldn't get any more intense than it is now as the UW readies for Saturday night's game at Michigan at the Big House. 

That said, the school won't be releasing any two-deep lineups this week. The reason given: Michigan isn't doing it, so why should we? 

Considering all of this tap dancing going on, no one would really be surprised if Lake ends up choosing a bunch of new Husky starters to go to battle against the Big Ten team in the Big House. 

Not to continue to cast blame on anyone for last weekend's loss to Montana, but just to wake everyone up to the weighty task at hand.

With nothing else to go on, we try to anticipate the coach's next chess moves, try to guess what sort of changes he might make. 

See if you approve or disagree with these proposed first-time-out first-teamers for the Michigan game. 

We'll see if Lake makes any changes at all.

Nate Kalepo and Ulumoo Ale

The offensive line proved so ineffective in the 13-7 loss to Montana, Lake might feel compelled to replace both of his offensive guards for this one. Out would be Julius Buelow and Henry Bainivalu. In is Kalepo, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound sophomore, who hasn't started as a Husky before but took over for Bainivalu on the right side in the second half of last Saturday's game and there could be carryover. Also in is Ale, a 6-foot-6, 355-pound sophomore, who started all four games last season at left guard before losing his job to Buelow for the opener. He might be highly motivated to reclaim what was once his.

Rome Odunze

The receiver-razor-thin Huskies could use some help for Saturday's game after Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, Terrell Bynum and Ja'Lynn Polk either missed the entire Montana game or, as in Polk's case, all but one play. Polk and McMillan, for sure, won't play against Michigan after having surgery. Bynum hadn't practiced in a couple of weeks going into the opener. 

Odunze, however, was in uniform last Saturday and the UW no doubt will try to fast-track him back into the lineup for this showcase game. If Odunze still isn't ready, look for Bynum to be available. Michigan transfer Giles Jackson is an option for extended duty, too.

Kuao Peihopa 

This freshman defensive tackle will play meaningful minutes soon enough. Peihopa made his college debut against Montana, got driven 10 yards down the field and pancaked by a double-team, but came back on the very next play to beat a lone blocker and rattle the passer. He would step in for sophomore Taki Taimani, who has plenty of size and agility but is a work in progress, not yet making a lot of tackles. 

Taimani had three players spell him against Montana in Jacob Bandes, Voi Tunuufi and Peihopa. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Peihopa has star quality written all over him. It's hard not to see that.

Cam Williams

Williams hasn't started at free safety since the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl when he was a true freshman, receiving one of his seven game-opening assignments that season. Against Montana, he pulled significant fourth-quarter snaps and made a couple of tackles. 

He could replace fellow sophomore Julius Irvin, who started for the first time against the Big Sky team and didn't make any entries the stat sheet, whether it was pass defense or tackles.

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