The vote this week was pretty split, but by a narrow margin the consensus predicted UW would run for over 190 yards per game next season. I agree, and I also picked the Huskies to dramatically improve on the ground next year.
Why the optimism, have I lost my objectivity?
I think Jake Locker will actually be more of a threat than Stanback because I believe he will make better decisions, and handle the ball better from the onset of his career. IS never knew when to run even though he started catching on last year, Locker on the other hand is a beast, and he will run as well, or better than IS. IS averaged around 44 yards per game last season, and I am putting Locker down for the same.
What about Carl Bonnell? He is going to get a chance to hold on to the starting job, and when healthy does a credible job, but I think the better, more durable athlete wins the starting job, but Carl will see quality time.
Rankin averaged 55 yards a game last year, and his counterpart Kenny James averaged 41 while being banged up most of the year. Rankin returns, and is good for about the same based on his past history. I however think we go with a rotation of 3 backs this year to keep him from wearing down which has been a problem the last two years.
IS didn't run the option well at all, so Locker is an upgrade in that department which means the RB's get a little more help on the outside turning the corner. Hasty to me is an enigma....he started out great on the Scout Team, and they almost played him as a true freshman, then he arrived for Spring Football weighing too much, and became a credits casualty in the Fall. I am looking forward to seeing what he looks like in the Spring.
Another reason I am optimistic is because I think the frosh are good enough to play right away. They better be, because Michael Houston is transferring. Shaw, Johnson, and Griffin make up an impressive class. All three are going to get a chance to play early, and earn time in the rotation next year. Williams, and Yakaboski will start off at TB too, but I think after a quick look they will migrate to other positions.
Our Fullbacks weren't a factor last year, but I think Homer is ready to get 4-5 carries per game, and that is worth at least 15 yards. Homer was special teams beast as a true freshman. A year to get stronger and quicker should help him as he moves into the starting position.
The horses up front are in year three under Mike Denbrock and while they need to replace two guys inside they should be able to do it with guys who have a higher ceiling than Daniels, and Walker who didn't really get better each year. Ben Ossai had a tough first year as a starter, but a year of experience, and another year in the weight room should yield marked improvement.
Shaw, Johnson, or Griffin 25 (Combined)
You add that all together, and you get 195 yards per game. 195 yards per game would have led the conference last season. In most season's it will put you at least in the top three, and that is where you need to be if you are going anywhere in the post season.
So anyway lets file this one away for Fall and see how well the prediction works out.
This Weeks Poll Question
This weeks poll question is how many yards of total offense do you predict the Huskies will have next season per game?
Here is a little background information for comparison, so you can gauge it by what we did last year, and how our competition did this past season, and in the past.
Oregon led the conference last year with an average of 423 yards of total offense per game. Cal followed at 415, and conference champion USC rang up 391, which was down considerably from their conference record of 560 yards of offense in 2005....wow.
Washington finished with an average of 321 total yards per game last year which was good for eight in the conference. Arizona, and Stanford were the worst, chiming in at 252, and 231 respectively, so it could have been worse.
For the record in 2006 the Huskies rushed for 127 ypg, and passed for 193, totaling 321.
Where do you think they will end up in 2008?