Tuesday, July 11, 2006

2006 Washington Offensive coaching staff

Tim Lappano has been a fan favorite since he arrived as offensive coordinator, and QB coach. He has a Northwest pedigree, was tutored by the legendary Dennis Erickson, and he has had success everywhere he has gone. His tutelage of Stanback has been tremendous, he seems to be a very good teacher. The goal this year is to get more productivity out of an offense that scored around 20 points per game last year. To win consistently in the Pac Ten you need to score a lot more points, and finding those two extra touchdowns per game this year will be a challenge. Having a senior QB with experience can help if he can get the same type of quantum leap improvement out of Stanback this year.

Tutoring the running backs again this season will be Trent Miles who coached with Ty at Notre Dame, and Stanford. Miles is another guy that knows the West Coast, and he has done a good job recruiting his area so far. Miles is blessed with three Pac Ten quality running backs, two with a lot of experience. He is cursed with a lack of depth behind them since the position is almost depleted. A RB coach is judged by who he puts in the NFL. Rankin, and James have a chance if they stay healthy. I haven't seen enough of Hasty yet, but the coaches love him. I saw improvement in the backs last year, so I would say Trent is doing a good job.

Eric Yarber also returns and this guy is well respected up and down the West Coast. He has done a great job with the receivers since he arrived. Yarber is another Erickson protege who played for him at Idaho and coached with him throughout his career. Yarber is one of the stars of the staff because he recruits, and coaches well. He seems to know everyone in Los Angeles, and that is a very good thing. We got some looks last year from kids we had no business talking to because of Yarber. I could see Yarber getting a head coaching job some day, maybe at his alma mater. The receiving corps have dramatically improved under Eric so lets hope we can keep him here for many more years.

Mike Denbrock has probably the toughest job on the team rebuilding the offensive line. That job wasn't made any easier this Spring when he had to sit out most of the practices because of illness. Hopefully he will have that under control this Fall because there is a significant dropoff when he isn't around. Denbrock is a young coach who was with Ty at Stanford, and Notre Dame where he concentrated mostly on tight ends, this is his first tenure running the offensive line and his performance will mark his future as a coach. Turn this mess around and a lot of doors open up. The kids like Denbrock, and they have responded to him pretty well. The fact this will be his second season in Seattle gives this group the continuity they have lacked. Whiffing on Schilling last year is a major black eye for Denbrock. I am not saying it is his fault, but you hate to lose a Blue Chipper you have had a lot of access to. Denbrock needs to find depth this year, his starters are ok, but the Gilby recruits need to start paying off or we could be in trouble. It takes five years to build an offensive line, and it takes five years to fairly evaluate an OL coach.

Bob Simmons handles Tight Ends and Special Teams. The former head coach at Oklahoma State has alot of experience, and he is an excellent recruiter. He still has ties that he uses from his Colorado days. When a recruit comes to visit Washington from the Colrado, or Texas area it is because of those ties. Simmons is a linebacker coach by trade, but all the positions are filled on that side of the ball. I would have figured he would have moved on, but he must be comfortable working with Ty and being at UW. One interesting thing he did this year was recruit a snapper, and that alone should improve the special teams quite a bit over the next few years.

Overall the offensive staff headed by Lappano for the most part is excellent and proven. What Denbrock is able to do with the offensive line will be important to the future of the program. He is a young coach, and like any young coach taking on more responsibility you hope for the best. The one thing that seperates this group from the past is a little continuity, having the same coaches year after year is one very important thing that builds a solid program.

Going into 2006 there are still a lot of question marks, and a lack of proven depth at many key positions. The staff has to make do till the talent level rises, but getting the most out of that talent will be important if they expect to recuit well.

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