Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A look at the 2006 UW Interior Offensive Line

On paper this part of the team looks strong at first because this is where a lot of the experience is returning at first glance.

Daniel's, Garcia, and Walker are going to be counted upon to give this team some push on the inside. Walker, and Garcia traded off at Center this Spring, and both are capable of playing the position as well as Guard. Stanley Daniels returns for his senior season after providing a lot of minutes over the past three years at guard. Like most positions on the team these three guys are going to be counted on to stay healthy the entire year, or serious problems will develop. It's crucial that Garcia stays healthy for the line as a whole to be able to improve this year. The kid has been hurt since he has been at Montlake, but has done an admirable job fighting back from injury to earn a starting job this year.

Backing those three up are three guys who haven't played much, have had some injury problems of their own, and unfortunately may not be ready to play at this level. Willie Kava returned after a two year mission and is rounding back into shape after gaining size back last year. Most people over at DM have written him off, but he did play as a true frosh under Neuheisel. Bulyca was highly touted out of HS but injuries have hindered his development. If you can't practice and lift weights you don't become a better OL. Bush from Puyallup was heralded as a ready made center, he has actually gotten a few reps, but he hasn't made a move yet. Flowers will play a pivotal role backing up the tackles, and the guards this year. The coaches prefer him inside, but depth concerns will have him moving around as needed. Once again the probable absense of Brandon Jefferson, and the lack of a Steve Schilling will hurt all along this unit. Add those two and you have a lot more options up and down the line.

On the recruiting front Sedillo, and Tolar arrive but are probably a couple of years away from realistically contributing. Both are big kids, Tolar looks to be more of a tackle than a guard at this point, while Sedillo seems to be a guard, or center type. JC recruit Sir Mason is slated to start out at tackle, but he may have to redshirt if he didn't succeed in adding solid weight this Summer without it affecting his mobility.

How will they play together?

If the three starters are capable of playing 60 minutes a game we are in good shape, they match up well when healthy with what the rest of the conference has to offer. Realistically of course, no OL plays that much, they all need breathers, and they get banged up from time to time. If the depth doesn't develop, and some unsung guys don't step up the offense will take a step backwards this season.

The OL is the most time consuming part of a team to develop, it takes a full five years for any coach to develop a strong one. In Ty's case his first two years have been dissapointing from a recruiting standpoint since he missed on Schilling, and Jefferson most likely won't get in. Subtract two ready to play NFL bodies and it hurts. Gilbertson had one good OL recruiting year on paper, but Flowers is the only guy to emerge from what has become a dissapointing class. Ty never had a chance his first year at UW to add much to the equation, so last years failures are magnified.

Imeka Eweka will arrive next year, and that is a good start if he starts out on offense. His growth patterns suggest that he may grow into a Khalif Barnes type. The Dawg's need to bring 3-4 other guys to get some depth developing, and may have to dip into the JC ranks to find someone ready to play since Daniels and Walker graduate after this season. The top HS linemen on the West Coast and in Washington are signing earlier than usual this year. The instate group seems shallower than usual.

I predicted it would take Ty, or any head coach at least five years to turn around the program. You can find RB's aand WR's that are ready to contribute from the get go, but it takes a lot of time to build an offensive line. Two years under Ty and it appears that it may take even longer to accomplish it after three lackluster recruiting years in a row (two that can be attributed completely to Gilbertson.)

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