Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wide Receiver and Slot Back

I have been saying all Winter that this will be prove to be one of the more athletic receiving groups that UW has had in the last decade. I have also said the WR is a place where a true freshman can come in and make an immediate impact. That is a good thing if it proves true because we will have plenty of frosh in the depth this year trying to do exactly that.

From what I saw this Spring, D'Andre Goodwin is the only guy that is ready right now to make an immediate impact. I think there is a lot of talent on the roster, and a lot coming in when camp opens, but Goodwin seems to be the guy most ready for prime time.

WR Goodwin So
WR Logan RS
WR Aguilar Fr
WR Hawkins Sr
WR Boyles Fr
WR Bruns Fr
WR Kearse Fr
WR J. Polk Fr

If you were an observer of Spring practice, or the Spring game, you had to come away with the feeling that D'Andre Goodwin will be UW's go to receiver in 2008. He isn't a big guy, but he has great speed and can go the ball. I think he may have been the most improved player on the roster this Spring. He does have a weakness that UW will need to offset, because of his size opposing defensive safeties are going to "T" off on him from the get go. UW is going to have to find a way to make a defense pay for doing that. Look for opposing teams to try to take him out of the game in the first series.

Who is lining up beside him is going to be any one's guess. Aguilar, Logan, Boyles, and Hawkins all come to mind since they were here this Spring. Logan is very a tough guy, he is going to develop into a good blocker, and he has the ability to make the catch. He brings a great potential physical presence. Aguilar and Boyles both need a lot of work this summer with Locker to get ready. I would say Aguilar is way ahead of Boyles at this point.

Bruns, and Kearse arrive this August, and they may be the most complete packages UW have to pair with Goodwin. Bruns runs incredible routes, he is disciplined, and you can definitely put him in the Paul Skansi type category. Kearse was one of UW's most honored signee's, and his body will allow him to compete for a spot immediately. Oregon sprint champ Jordan Polk had one heckuva of a highlight film, you can't count him out either.

I think Bruns and Kearse will move to the top of the lineup this Fall.

Washington wants to redshirt two WR's this year. Who gets redshirted depends of course on who is ready to play, and who stays healthy as the season starts. Based on Spring I would redshirt Boyles at this point because he needs more muscle, and less mouth. Of the kids coming in this August I really think they can all help, but maybe you let a guy like Jordan Polk beef up for a year even though he has great speed.

Slot Back

What is a slot back exactly?

A slot back is a receiver or running back that lines up between the offensive tackle on the end of the line and a wide receiver on the same end of the line. That area between the tackle and receiver is called the 'slot', so the player that lines up in that area is called the 'slot back'. The term slot back does not refer to a specific player on every play, like a halfback or fullback, but to a player that lines up in a specific area on a specific play. There may be a slot back on one play and no slot back on another.

He can be your third WR, he can be a second or third RB depending on how you line up. He can even be a TE/FB type of guy in some offenses. Washington has a couple of speed kids that fit the profile well. If UW is going to improve this year look for production from this position.

SB Chris Polk
SB Curtis Shaw

Polk was the best of the bunch as far as the new frosh go this Spring. He can play TB, SB, or WR. You just line him up to create imbalance and let his athletic ability do the rest. Shaw showed lots of promise last year as a receiver after starting off at RB. Expect both of these kids to see action at RB, and receiver this Fall.

Chris Polk is billed as the next Reggie Bush, or Napoleon Kauffman, those are pretty high standards for a kid to live up to, but he has the tools, and most importantly the mindset to do exactly that. Curtis Shaw may be the fastest kid on the squad, plus he has a year under his belt at a couple of positions. Look for him to find a place among the starting eleven.

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