Friday, June 30, 2006

The 2006 UW Offensive Tackles

If there is a single area where the balance of the season will fall upon it is the 2006 UW offensive line. Believe it or not the below average seniors who moved on last year might not be succeeded by better players in 2006. Toledo, and Meadow average? Well both had diminished career's at UW because of injuries. Both toughed it out, but neither reached thier potential despite still having an opportunity to play on Sunday.

The UW offensive line is still a total question mark factory going into 2006. The offensive tackle position is where some of the biggest question marks lie. Let's start with the best offensive lineman not on the team yet, Brandon Jefferson. This guy has NFL talent, and immediately would be the best OL on the team, but the JC recruit is a long shot to be eligible by August. Add this guy to the lineup and it changes the dimensions of what this offensive can do.

Well, lets get back to reality and deal with what we actually have.

The tackles most likely will be Ossai, Macklin, and Flowers, not a lot of depth here. Now White- Frisbee could move over here, the debate on that isn't over. Sir Mason joins the team, but like Atkin's he is a guy that is a redshirt candidate. He needs to put on weight to be a Pac Ten talent, but observers feel that he could play on Sunday's. Rosborough is another guy that has a future, he still needs another year of conditioning, but he is going to get some rep's this year. Erik Berglund is a dark horse to see considerable time this year. Sure he took a year and a half off, but Ty feels he can contribute this year. Like Shelton Sampson, having this guy back in the program is a plus just because it is another experienced body to practice against, and that can't be discounted. You can easily see that the absence of Jefferson will hurt this part of the team even though Ossai could be almost ready, bottom line is a redshirt frosh shouldn't be starting at OL in the Pac Ten.

Habben, and Tolar are the local recuits, the Huskies missed out on Schilling which hurts, but Lorenzo didn't close all the top guys right away, Ty will do better this year in state, it takes time to rebuild the base, and the trust, but I see it happening.

How will they play together?

Well, another year in Mike Denbrock's system should benefit all the lineman who haven't had that type of continuity in their college careers. Unfortunately Mike missed most of the Spring due to illness, and that can't be viewed as a positive. It was obvious that they struggled in his absence despite of the help of Kyle Benn. Macklin isn't a superstar, but he is a good fundemental OL with an upside. Ossai, and Flowers will battle for the other spot, but Flowers is actually more suited for inside. I frankly have expected more out of Flowers, I didn't expect Ossai to beat him out. If Jefferson make's it in, Flowers could move inside. Rosborough is going to get some reps, but conditioning will limit his contribution. Going into the season I would have to say this position is the weakest on the squad. Bowl eligibility hinges on growth and health at this position. Keep an eye on Erik Berglund, he could get meaningful minutes.

The consensus is if you add Jefferson to this group it changes the reality of everything, without him you have a very large learning curve, and unfortunately a likely fall off from last years performace is expected unless Ossai plays beyond his years. Not only will you have less talent and experience, you have less depth. The early prediction is an early fall of production from last years starters that should even out later in the season s more experience is gained.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Look at the 2006 UW Interior Defensive Line

There is a lot of excitement about the defense for this upcoming year. That excitement starts with the depth at defensive tackle. Only a few years ago we were beefing up LB's like Spencer Marona to play here because of recruiting problems, but it seems like we have been doing just fine recruiting this position despite the chaos of the last few years.

Duke Mateaki returns for his senior year. He really came on last year, and he will be moved around a bit depending on what the situation dictates. He is able to play from the end or the middle which gives the coaches a lot of flexibility when the situation arises. Wilson Afoa who was an unhearalded recruit from Hawaii has come in and passed up a lot of higher rated recruits in entrenching himself as the starter last year. White Frisbee should be ready to go this Fall after sitting out for what seemed to be a year with a broken foot. The Friz was a force in the middle his frosh year, and there were a few mild comparisons to Emtman.
The coaching staff has toyed with switching him to OT, and that is still a possibility. With Mateaki, Afoa, and White Frisbee you have a nice rotation inside. The depth doesn't stop there Reffert, and Lobos who both played considerably in the past return to provide some solid depth. Jovan O'Connor moved over form the OL last year, no report on if he is ready to make a move for playing time. On the recruiting front we brought in a couple of excellent recruits in Elisara, and Kosub. Elisara was among the top HS DL's in the country, and he could be ready to play this year if needed. Kosub was player of the year in Nevada, insiders say that Washington got a steal with this former Seattle resident. His HS coach says he has an unlimited ceiling, we shall see.

How well will they play together?

Mateaki has a lot of experience and a body made for Sunday. Still he has to have one heckuva of a year to get drafted, expect him to arrive ready to compete and move up the draft charts. Afoa has been really solid, he is a guy that improves each game, even if JWF is healthy, it will be tough to keep this guy on the bench.

I think Washington ends up having the best interior line in the conference in 2006. I think it will be tough to run on Washington, and with improved speed at LB, and in the DB ranks UW could have one of the top three defenses in the conference, and that should be good enough to get you to a bowl if your offense is any good.

On the recruiting front they have already recieved a verbal from Imeka Iweka the DL in Washington. This could could eventually end up at OT, but it just shows what a fine job Randy Hart has done to rebuild depth and experience in the trenches. the future is bright for the UW Defensive Line.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A look at 2006 UW Defensive End's

Defensive End is a key area where we need some improvement. I guess I could say that about every position on the team. Youth has been served over the last few years and now some experience has been built at a once very shallow position.

Washington has a potentially great defensive end in development right now in Greyson Gunheim. He played early as a frosh and burned the redshirt, in hindsight that wasn't a great idea. He started last year and grew into the position. I kept an eye on him throughout the year, he got his footwork down by about mid year, and he improved each game as much as anyone on the team. Coming into his true Junior year he will compete for Pac Ten honors. Gunheim is solid, but who exactly is going to play on the other side, and what kind of player do they want for the other side?

Senior Brandon Ala is a candidate, but the highly touted prepster has been a non factor most of his time while being a part time starter. Ala looks the part, and perhaps he can put it together for his final year like so many players have.

Walter Winter, and Ceasar Rayford are candidates, along with JC Anthony Atkins who may redshirt. Winter has played a bit, but he hasn't exactly made a smooth transistion from LB to DE. Walter saw the field last year, and could be improved come Fall. Rayford just hasn't put on the weight to match his speed, so mark him down as a tweener. We saw where Atkin's was this Spring, and he has a lot of work to do to be ready to play this year. He is trying to get down from 290 to 265 and pick up some speed.

I think the guy that will emerge outside will be RS Daniel Te'o Neshiem. He was a terror on scout teams and could give the team some needed spark on the outside. Donnie Mateaki has moved inside and outside his entire career and could see some situational time outside. MAtekai is a cog, and will be shifting around depending on the situation, but will play mostly inside. Jones should be making the move over from ILB where he played as a Frosh last year, he will contribute, and has good size and speed. Watch this kids progress because he could grow into a monster.

The Huskies had a great recruiting year on the D-line. Matthews, who will start out at DE was very highly touted coming out of HS, but he could easily grow into a tackle.

How will they play together?

Greyson Gunheim's tough two year apprenticeship will be rewarded by solid play this year. As for who plays next to him it will be situational. I think you are going to see Hart do a lot more things to generate a pass rush, and yes, you might still see Chris Steven's lining up there on certain passing downs. The key to the position is increasing the sack totals. Bringing the rush is key component of success.

I think Washington will end up being solid this year on the ends, still we need a speed pass rusher to emerge from the group. Having a disruptor on the outside is a big factor in getting back to bowl elgibility. That rusher could be Savannah, or Stevens stepping up in different situations from OLB.

On defense you will see more of what Ken Baer brings to the table. Personel and numbers limited his options last year. Just having more options to work with will make the overall unit better this year.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A look at the 2006 Linebackers

I think the key to the defensive unit will be the play of the linebackers. If you are going to run an agressive defense these guys need to be able to hold their positions a lot better than last years group.

Benjamin, and Lobendahn will be missed, they both had a lot of experience. The problem was that while Joe had the heart of a lion, he was undersized and slow. The knee injuries took away whatever speed he once had. Benjamin was a guy who played well at times, especially later in the season, but he isn't a hall of fame candidate either. So the falloff isn't going to be great, but it would be better if there was improvement, especially in sideline, to sideline speed. We get more of that this year minus the experience.

Scott White comes back for his senior year as the undisputed leader of the unit. Even though he is the leader he is going to be pushed Howell again who has been an able back up. White isn't an All American, but he is a vocal leader. Inside Taj Bomar did a credible job filling in for Lobo the last few games of the season, in fact it was good to see a little more mobility on the inside.

Trenton Tuiasosopo get his first real chance to compete for the position after injuries knocked him out since he first arrived. He needs some time to knock the rust off. Jones played early, but wore down physically just as early, and wasn't a factor later in the year. He could be spending more time DE, or once again compete for the job in the middle. Stevens, who played behind Benjamin last year is the starter on the outside going into the Fall. The return of EJ Savannah to health is a big deal, here is a guy who is going to play al ot even if he doesn't start, if he can stay healthy. Trew is still around hasn't been moved to FB yet, but still hasn't made a move to get into the rotation.

On the recruiting front Tormey wasn't able to attract a can't miss kind of guy. Houston is a guy the DM guys say that can play early. Butler was everyone's favorite recruit, who could forget the hand written letter to Willingham accepting the offer to become a Husky. What these two kids have in common is that they are workers who will get it done over the next 4-5 years. The best LB recruited will start out at FB. In Omaha, Paul Homer is a legend, they say just knock the snot out of people and they are surprised we aren't giving him a look at LB. Jake Merrill could move down here eventually from safety.

Anthony Atkin's is a possible wildcard on the inside. He put on a bunch of weight and looked lost at DE this Spring. Last I heard he was trying to get down to 265. He could end up redshirting, it will be interesting to see how he looks in August.

How will they play together?

They key to this years defensive unit is going to be linebackers. We need some serious improvement here if we are going to be playing football somewhere in December.

Bomar, and White are serviceable Pac Ten guys will alot of experience. In baseball we would call these two guys replacement level players. We have seen worse, but we have also seen better judged on past performance. These guys really need to break through to next level.

EJ is going to end up starting, maybe not right away, but he is going to get a lot of reps. Chris Stevens looked pretty good last year and has good speed even though he gives away some size. In an ideal world Tui, and EJ shake off the rust and earn starting jobs this August, but I think it may take 4-5 games for these guys to be fully back in the swing where their talent overcomes the guy's ahead of them's experience. Both are capable of the all star level if healthy, but both are coming off injuries that were considered career threatening.

My prediction is that at the start of the season the tandem of White/Howel, Bomar/Tui, and Stevens/Savannah will be the equal of last years unit. I think by midseason they will be better than last years group at their peak. Overall though unless some young player's emerge this will be a very middle of the road unit.

Long range this is a position that needs some more speed, and talent. As far as that goes I believe Willingham will do well in the recruiting wars this year with a few more victories under his belt, so we have to be patient till the talent arrives.

A look at the 2006 Defensive backfield

It seems ever since we played Texas under Neuheisel in the Sun Bowl, and lost in a down to the wire high scoring shootout the Husky defensive backfield has been a pretty maligned entity around the Montlake campus. Injuries, lack of depth, transfers failing to get in, poor pass rush, and simply a lack of talent have all been factors, but this year there is the reasonable expectation that it has begun to swing the other direction.

At Safety C.J. Wallace is a potential AA candidate, and he showed a lot of that last year becoming the toughest hitter in the backfield. JC transfer Ashley Palmer will slide in next to him in the backfield replacing Dashon Goldson who made a succesful switch to CB in the Spring. Meshphin Forrester made a move this Spring leaping past Chris Hemphill to be the other starter till Palmer arrives on campus and proves he can take over the job. Darrin Harris, also gained a lot of experience last year. Jason Wells a talented transfer who comes in with 3 to play 4, rounds out the depth. Jake Merrill will start his career at Safety but could be a LB before it is all said and done. You could easily see Myers over here some day too, but he will start at RB. Three deep, experience, and health at the Safety position hasn't happened in a long time, it bodes well.

At Cornerback it all starts with Goldson who feels this position change could be his ticket to the pro's. We all have to admit that we expected more out of Goldson at Safety, but his coaches feel that he may be ideal at CB. At the very least you are getting the best players on the field at the same time with this move. Fountaine and Lewis are the experienced guys that will play opposite Dashon. Don't forget Shelton Sampson who has made the move to CB and rejoined the team, he is going to get a shot at playing time, and he also is a nice insurance policy if injuries start chipping at a shallow Husky TB position. Durrell Moss has bounced between a few positions and managed to play quite a bit after being one of the few guys who can make a move from FB to CB. Jordan Murchison is a guy who could compete this year, but if the depth holds out he could easily redhirt. Don't count out Frosh Matt Mosley, he is going to get looks at RB, and WR, but he may be best suited for CB.

How will these guys play together?

Well first of all I think it will be a much more physical group. Ashley, Wallace, and Goldson are all potential Sunday players. The key is who will be the 4th guy? I wouldn't mind it being Shelton Sampson, you are talking a lot of speed here. The depth and experience is going to allow the coaching staff to really mix it up compared to last year. They simply ran out of personel last year. The last minutes of the UCLA game was a great example of that.

Another advantage this group has is it will be playing behind what should be a pretty good defensive line. Pass rush always makes your DB's look a lot better. Having three safety sized players back there also allows you to stunt a lot more. I think the talent in the backfield will allow us to become a more aggressive and attacking team.

Anyway guys, in a blog you just chip in and comment on the topic and throw your own two cents into the ring. During the Summer we are going to try to cover all the positions on the team, the state of the program, and whatever pops up. This site isn't meant to take away from any other site, and it is certainly not for covering recruiting. We will discuss it, but this won't be a source for recruiting news.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Washington Husky Football Blog is Open!

This is the first post for the Washington Husky Football Blog. This blog is for all things purple! I hope some of my friends will come visit from the other UW sites such as .
We can talk recruiting, bitch about the coaches, and of course ban people from Notre Dame unless we feel the Blog is in need of a villian. You are also free to villify who you choose, hopefully I will escape your scorn if the losses continue to pile up during the season.

Pretty much everyday you can expect a new post on something about the team. This isn't a news or recruiting site, so anything you hear from this blog will only be hearsay reported from elsewhere.

If you are a creative and knowledgable poster we will also make it possible to post your views for discussion. For all you of you not familiar with blog's, they aren't message boards, that means you can only comment on the topic the host chooses everyday. So hopefully we will pick more than one host if there is any interest in the blog.

Go Dawg's!