Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UW Analysis - Defensive Line

If you want to pick an area that has been really disappointing since 2002 it has been the defensive line. The numbers and depth have been there, but the production has steadily fallen every single year. That fall off in production resulted in the termination of DC Kent Baer a few weeks ago, and the attrition in the coaching staff may not be over as the new DC may want to bring in his own coaches to work with.

The DL was supposed to be a strength last season. We had seniors Wilson Afoa, and Jordan Reffett in the middle flanked by Teo' Nesheim, and Greyson Gunheim on the outside. I don't know if it was the scheme, or if it was the talent, or a combo of both but these guys wore down as the game went on, and they were as ineffective stopping the run as they were developing a pass rush.

With all the graduations this year it is going to be even more of a challenge.

The positives are that UW should be fine at the ends with Daniel Teo' Nesheim returning. Darrion Jones, De' Shon Matthews, and Kalani Aldrich will battle it out to start at the other side. Johnnie Kirton could also find himself in the mix if he moves over from TE. I am not sure that Kirton would make that big of an impact this late in his career.

The interior is where the biggest question marks lie since the Huskies return almost zero experience at these crucial spots. Cameron Elisara came to UW as a very highly recruited specimen from Spokane, but despite a good work ethic he didn't have a break through last season and played sparingly. Jovan O'Connor is the lone senior and he hasn't played a lick so far in his four seasons at UW.

The youth is where hope lies in this unit. Tyrone Duncan, and Nick Wood who red shirted last season with injuries will get their first good looks this Spring. Duncan had shoulder surgery, and Wood had wrist surgery in the fall. Hopefully these two kids are ready contribute and press for playing time. True Freshmen Senio Kelemente, Craig Noble, and Almaeda Ta'Amu will get an immediate shot at playing time. Everette Thompson is a bigtime recruit at DE who will likely redshirt to put on some muscle. You hate to play frosh lineman, so you have to hope that Duncan, and Wood are making progress.

The rumors of Washington running a 4-3 next season is just that, a rumor. Nothing is going to be set until a defensive coordinator is brought in here later this month. Personel wise UW has recruited to run a 3-4 so my bet is that alignment continues.


The consensus is that Washington will struggle this season on the defensive line unless some miracles happen and the young players are ready for Pac Ten competition. Like the offensive line you can't expect players from HS to come in and fill spots and have any success. Noble just could be the exception to that rule, same with Kelemente on either outside or inside. I have been hearing some rumblings about moving Teo Neshiem inside which makes no sense since he only weighs in at 265. Ta'Amu is a tailor made nose tackle, but can a true frosh handle Pac Ten double teams when he had trouble doing that in Metro?

Pray that Duncan, and Wood are healed, and ready to go this Spring. If those two could emerge and play well during Spring drills I will feel a lot better about the position.


bigdave967 said...

I agree with you that D-Line, as well as, O-Line players need time to develope. I think the best thing for the Def is that they get a whole spring to play againist the UW experienced O-Line. Hopefully they work hand in hand to better themselves down the line.

I am disappointed that they are taking so long to hire a DC. I know that these things take time but I believe that they are losing out on very valuable time. I was hoping that Ty would leave the Coaches Conference with one but obviously not. Fingers crossed for a good one.

earl said...

Can we get a report on how the scout team players progressed or digreesed this season as that is usually a good barometer of players that are on the move.

t9odawg said...

I've never seen Ty exhibit a sense of urgency in anything so I'm not surprised there is no DC yet. When he was hired at UW he didn't make a big recruiting push for the two months he had nor did he get coaches in place quickly, in fact, it was well after LOI day before the staff was complete. He came in with the attitude... "Tyrone is in charge"...."Tyrone does things his way" and he's only made changes to save his butt

The young D line coming in, can they preform any worse than the "experienced" line that was supposed to be a strength heading into last season?

bigdave967 said...

Norm Chow is now available...what do we think about him coming to UW next year or this year as O-Coordinator...could really help Jake develope...wait and see.

t9odawg said...

Jake needs a real QB tutor like Greg Barton. I've heard he is getting very little, if any, coaching on throwing the ball from someone closer to the situation than I. I think Chow would be great hire but would Lapanno step down if asked and is Chow a QB coach? Lappano has coached running backs with other teams. There were times when the offensive play calling was very predictable. How about co-coordinators?

John Berkowitz said...

Dave- the DC thing is pretty understandable when you have a lame duck coach, and of course the national publicity circulating from the seattle Times article.

Earl- I will look into that for you.

T-90 - Sense of urgency has never been his strong pint. He had a great chance to hire Ron English but passed when he full court pressed Walker.

Norm Chow...I don't see him coming to Seattle. He has absolutely no ties to Ty, or anyone on the UW staff. I agree, we could really use a QB coach. Jim Zorn really comes to mind, he is one of the best, but UW has never solicited him.

Greg Barton would be a good choice, but they have a bigtime family business with there camps and clinics going.

bigdave967 said...

The Norm Chow thing was something I saw on SI.com that he got canned from the Titans and I know that he has Pac-10 ties...He has coached some very good QB's at USC and Locker could use some help. Also, there was some speculation that there could be more firing and hiring in the future. I know it was a long shot but hey a man can hope.

bigdave967 said...

SI is now reporting that Slick Rick is going after Chow...That could end up being one heck of a coaching staff...