Mike Denbrock may be the position coach who has done the best under Ty Willingham. Every year since he arrived his units seem to get better, and last year Washington had it's first thousand yard RB in quite some time. Bottom line is the OL continues to improve, and with the majority of the players coming back should continue to get better in 2008.
The biggest question mark going into 2008 is the health of center Juan Garcia. Juan was injured this Spring when he suffered the dreaded Lisfranc injury to his foot. The prognosis at this point is looking pretty good for him, in fact we should have some new information on his health around the fourth of July. No matter how good the information is don't expect him to be ready for Oregon, but there is a good chance he will be available to play after the first bye.
In Juan's absence look for the Huskies to take a hard look at moving Ryan Tolar over from guard. There is nothing wrong with playing Matt Sedillo either, but moving Tolar will open a place for White-Frisbee who has been improving with leaps, and bounds.
Juan obviously as a sixth year senior was the heart and soul of this unit, he gives them experience and a bit of nasty. Whoever does start needs to do a better job of snapping the shotgun, Jake spent too much time reacting to the snap last year.
C Tolar So
C Sedillo So
C Garcia Sr (Neuheisel)
C *Christine So
C Ikehara Fr
Matt Bulyca, Ryan Tolar, and Jordan White Frisbee are your top guards. All these guys are capable of starting and will play quite a bit no matter which way the depth develops this Fall. Behind them you have Rosborough who is a massive 380 pounds, and RS Frosh Scott Shugert who was impressive learning the ropes last Fall. Highly frosh rated Mykena Ikehara, and Allan Carroll join the team this Fall. Ikehara can play center or guard, but the huskies plan to get a look at him first at center.
OG Tolar So
OG Bulyca Sr (Gilbertson)
OG White-Frisbee Sr (Gilbertson)
OG Shugert RS
OG Rosborough Jr
OG Carroll Fr
Ossai and Habben will man the tackle positions after splitting time in the rotation last year. Behind them it gets green with RS's Fancher, and Armelin backing them up. The development of both of these kids is important because if one of the starters goes down there is no experience behind them. UW brings in a couple of big bodies in Terrence Thomas, and Drew Schaeffer to season for the future. Both of these kids are good looking recruits.
OT Habben So
OT Ossai Jr
OT Fancher RS
OT Armelin RS
OT Thomas Fr
OT Schaeffer Fr
This group keeps improving each year but it is far from being great. One thing I noticed last year at the Oregon game was how developed the Oregon offensive linemen were physically. Those kids were scary in comparison to their counterparts at UW. You could tell these kids had worked a lot harder in the weight room during their stay in Eugene than the Husky lineman had. I was just amazed at how developed their lower bodies were in comparison to UW. Remember Todd Turner's remarks that our kids didn't look like their kids. It was just obvious that we didn't have the same level of athletes.
Games are won in the trenches, and you want the guys in the trenches to be physically imposing. UW is improving, but they still have a long way to go till they resemble a top 15 program like Oregon, USC, Cal, Ohio State, and Oklahoma, etc... .
How many games did UW lose in the fourth quarter last season? How many games came down to the last couple of minutes? Remember how tired we looked against UCLA? Put your money on the best conditioned team in the fourth quarter.
A QB like Jake Locker makes every OL look better. Mobile QB's like Jake can scramble out of trouble, create on the fly, and pick up needed first downs on the ground. This year these guys need to protect him better so he can stay in one piece, and deliver the ball down field.
UW is going to be very young and inexperienced at the skill positions this season, the OL needs to help out by blowing defenses off the ball so Locker, and company can make some things happen.
It takes 5 years to rebuild an offensive line, and in year four most of the pieces on the squad have been recruited by Willingham. Only Garcia, White, Frisbee, and Bulyca where recruited by previous regimes, but all three will start at times this season.
UW needs to bring in 3-4 OL this coming season, and I would lean toward bringing in four. You need to have a full set of big guys every year if you are going to build something consistent for the future.
* Denotes Walk On