Washington Preview 2006 - Offense
Washington Huskies
Posted Aug 8, 2006

Washington Huskies Preview 2006 - Washington Offense

What you need to know ... There are way too many question marks going into the season. Can last year's average offensive line actually improve after losing four starters? Is there a quarterback on the roster who can put points on the board and come up with wins? Who will the deep threat be to replace Craig Chambers? It takes lots and lots of points to keep up in the Pac 10, and with the defense UW has coming into this season, this offense will have to be used to playing in some track meets. Does it have the firepower? There's experience and plenty of options, but the jury is still out on whether or not this can be the 30-point-per-game attack it needs to be.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Isaiah Stanback
143-264, 2,136 yds, 9 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Louis Rankin
104 carries, 485 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Sonny Shackelford
41 catches, 592 yds, 2 TD

Star of the offense: Senior WR Sonny Shackelford
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior WR Anthony Russo
Unsung star on the rise:
Sophomore OT
Nathan Flowers
Best pro prospect: Redshirt freshman RB J.R. Hasty (academically ineligible)
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Shackelford, 2) TE Robert Lewis, 3) QB Isaiah Stanback
Strength of the offense: Running back
Weakness of the offense:
Deep threat receivers

The overall quarterback play improved by leaps and bounds after a rough 2004, and now someone has to prove he can lead the team to wins. Isaiah Stanback is the starter based on the improvements made throughout last season with the hope that he'll take another step up in his development. Johnny DuRocher and Carl Bonnell have been around long enough to know what they're doing, and they have to start playing like it. Incoming freshman Jake Locker is considered the future of the program.
The key to the unit: Find someone who can keep the offense moving, come through in the clutch, and get wins. Isaiah Stanback has to throw it downfield as effectively as he did this spring.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5

Projected Starter
- Isaiah Stanback, Sr. - 143-264, 54.2%, 2,136 yds, 9 TD, 6, INT, 100 carries, 33 yds, 3.5 ypc, 5 TD
He hasn't received the 100% full endorsement as the starter despite being the only true option to start the season. He went from being a tremendous athlete who happened to play quarterback to a solid all-around playmaker who became a more confident passer as well as a strong runner. Now he has to take another step up and become a winner. He has to be more accurate and he has to prove that he can be the reason the team wins. If the team doesn't get off to a strong start and the season starts to go downhill, Stanback will likely get pulled just to get some of the younger options a shot.

Top Backups
- Johnny DuRocher, Jr. - 24-54, 44%, 247 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
DuRocher got plenty of chances to show what he could do last year, but he wasn't sharp and ended up breaking his wrist against Oregon State getting knocked out for the year. He has a strong arm and can be the good deep passer the team needs, now he has to show a better command of the offense. 
- Carl Bonnell, Jr.
He saw a little bit of time getting two starts in 2004 before getting hurt, He has the talent to be an interesting prospect with size, speed and a great arm, now he has to show in practice that he deserves a longer look.
- Jake Locker, Fr.
He won't get any sort of a shot at the starting job, but he just might be the team's best quarterback ... next year. He's an athletic passer with an accurate arm and good leadership taking his team to the Washington state title last season. He was a Parade All-American who was a big get for Ty Willingham. A fantastic baseball player, he chose to play football rather than try his hand as a major leaguer.

Running Backs
It'll be a shock if this isn't the team's strength. The coaching staff has done everything possible to praise last year's starter Louis Rankin and senior Kenny James, and they'll get a year to hold off academically ineligible star-in-waiting J.R. Hasty takes over the offense with his combination of skills and speed. He's the special back the offense has been missing over the last few years. That's not to say Rankin and James can't play, they'll likely start the season on the top of the depth chart, they're just not quite as special as Hasty.
The key to the unit: Make sure all the backs are happy and productive while maximizing all of the available talents.
Running Back Rating: 7.5

Projected Starters
- Kenny James, Sr. - 29 carries, 103 yds, 3.6 ypc, 1 TD
The unsung back in the mix, James is a good 215-pound back who didn't do much last year thanks to health problems and the emergence of Louis Rankin. The coaching staff is expecting a bounceback season and a push for starting time early on, but this could change in a hurry if J.R. Hasty comes on later this summer.

- Fullback Mark Palaita, Sr. - 3 carries, 4 yards
The 240-pound back got two starts last season and has been a regular on special teams. The former walk-on will rarely, if ever, see the ball getting used  mostly as a power blocking back.

Top Backups
- J.R. Hasty, RFr.
Seen as the hope for the future of Washington football, the superstar recruit and Washington high school legend is the team's best back with power, speed, and a résumé with 5,493 career yards and 92 touchdowns. He scored a state-record 50 touchdowns and ran for 2,519 yards as a senior, but the redshirt tag stayed on last year. Husky fans will have to wait another year as he was declared academically ineligible late this summer.
- Louis Rankin, Jr. - 104 carries, 485 yds, 4.7 ypc, 1 TD, 6 catches, 54 yds
The veteran finished second on the team in rushing despite suffering a toe injury with four games to play. He's a speedy back with a great burst around the edge and the ability to carry the workload when needed. However, he's not a special back and doesn't make the big plays he should considering his wheels. Even so, he has the experience and the respect of the coaching staff to likely get the call on opening day.

- Shelton Sampson, Sr. - 4 carries, 20 yds
Sampson is a speed back who could end up at corner or even receiver as long as he's accepted back on the team with open arms. He cranked out 131 yards and three touchdowns against Oregon as a freshman, but hasn't been able to make much noise since.
- Fullback Luke Kravitz, Soph.
A smaller fullback option than Mark Palaita, the 230-pound sophomore is more of a runner and will see a few carries in short yardage situations.

It's not like Craig Chambers was another Randy Moss, but he was the team's most talented deep threat before he transferred to Montana and now the rest of the receiving corps will be trying to find a replacement for his 18.1 yards per catch. Sonny Shackelford is a solid, but limited number one receiver and while he wants to be the go-to guy on deep passes, someone else has to step up and take over the job. Anthony Russo has the potential as the number two man in the mix, while speedy Corey Williams, Duke transfer Chancellor Young and huge JUCO transfer Marcel Reese have to become major factors right off the bat. Robert Lewis is a solid tight end, but a foot injury to 280-pound Johnie Kirton could be an issue.
The key to the unit: Finding a few reliable deep targets to open things up for the rest of the attack.
Receiver Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- Sonny Shackelford, Sr. - 41 catches, 592 yds, 14.4 ypc, 2 TD
Shackelford isn't an elite target, especially by Pac 10 standards, but he was the team's top receiver last year with ten more catches than the number two man. He was consistent and came up with some big plays despite not having top end speed or athleticism. Now he'll have to maintain his role as one of the team's steadier performers while getting into the end zone more.

- Anthony Russo, Jr. - 30 catches, 487 yds, 16.2 ypc, 1 TD
Russo showed off the speed to be a solid deep threat with a good average and consistent play. Now he'll have to try to make up for the loss of Craig Chambers and be the team's man long distance man. He's not huge at 5-11 and 185 pounds, but he's big enough to be a strong number two receiver to Sonny Shackelford.

- Tight end Michael Gottlieb, Soph.
One of the stunners of spring ball, the former walk-on turned out to be the best tight end looking ready to be more than a special teamer. He's a good-sized target with nice hands and great athleticism.

Top Backups
- Corey Williams, Jr. - 6 catches, 91 yds, 15.2 ypc
Williams has the athleticism and the speed to grow into a tremendous playmaker for the offense. Now he has to push for time behind Sonny Shackelford and make more big plays after not doing much of anything over the final ten games of last year.
- Cody Ellis, Soph. - 8 catches, 154 yds, 19.2 ypc, 1 TD
Ellis caught a touchdown pass in the opener against Air Force and then never saw too many other passes outside of garbage time. Speed isn't an issue, getting enough work is.
- Chancellor Young, Jr.
The Duke transfer is a big 6-2, 210-pound talent who'll try to carve a niche for himself as a deep threat next year after being declared academically ineligible. All he needs is more playing time after catching just two passes for 15 yards for the Blue Devils.
- Marcel Reese, Jr. 
The JUCO transfer will be a tough option to keep off the field after he caught 47 passes for 1,286 yards and 13 touchdowns last season for El Camino CC. He's 6-3 and 235 pounds adding a physical presence the corps could use.
- Tight end Robert Lewis, Jr. - 14 catches, 162 yds, 11.6 ypc, 1 TD
Lewis started his career as a linebacker and went from a part timer and special teamer to a decent receiver finishing fourth on the team last year. While he won't make too many field-stretching plays, he'll be a good midrange route runner and a physical blocker.
- Tight end Johnie Kirton, Soph. - 14 catches, 152 yds, 10.9 ypc, 1 TD
A great looking young prospect, the 6-3, 280-pound sophomore returns after tying starting tight end Robert Lewis for fourth on the team in catches. He has the size and athleticism to grow into a great offensive weapon if he can come back healthy from a foot injury. 

Offensive Linemen
Only one starter returns even though there are several players with starting experience. Stanley Daniels is a solid guard and Clay Walker, if he doesn't move to center, should be fine on the other side, while Nathan Flowers is promising at left tackle. That's about where the certainty stops with the depth chart likely to be changed around 25 different ways until the opening day. There are plenty of good prospects to play around with among the reserves, but few veterans. Better pass protection will be the key early on, while the running game could use more of a push that it isn't going to get right away.
The key to the unit: Find the right combination immediately and let it have time to jell.
Offensive Line Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- OT Ben Ossai, RFr.
A potential option at left tackle, the 6-6 Ossai is taller than possible starter Nathan Flowers, but not nearly as big. With no one looking great this spring at the spot, Ossai will likely get the first chance this fall unless Flowers becomes more consistent.
- OG Stanley Daniels, Sr.
The former defensive tackle is now the only returning starter to the ling. He's 6-4, 310 pounds, and an effective all-around blocker getting better and better as last year went on. Now he'll have to be a leader and a rock on the left side.
- C Juan Garcia, Jr.
The 310-pound junior has talent, but he's still trying to come back form a serious leg and ankle injury suffered a few years ago. He'll have to battle hard to get the starting center job over Clay Walker and could move to guard if needed..
- OG Clay Walker, Sr.
While not technically a returning starter, he might as well be with 13 career games of starting experience at guard. He'll get the first shot at the full-time gig on the right side and will get a long look at center.
- OT Chad Macklin, Jr.
Macklin is 6-8 and 300 pounds with a little bit of starting experience, but he wasn't exactly a rock when he got his chance. Now he'll need to be a steady starter on the right side.

Top Backups
- OL Jordan White-Frisbee, Soph.
The promising young all-star defensive tackle will move over to the offensive side to add his athletic 335 pounds to the front. He's talented enough to take over a starting spot, or at the very least, will be a great backup option.
- OT Nathan Flowers, Soph.
The 335-pound sophomore will battle for the first look at left tackle after seeing plenty of action in every game last year both on offense and special teams. He bulked up big time over the last year and needs to grow into a key blocker for the ground game after being average this spring.
- OG/OT Casey Bulyca, Soph.
The 6-5, 315-pound sophomore hasn't seen the field yet, but that will change this season as a top reserve at at right tackle behind Chad Macklin or at guard behind Clay Walker, 
- C/OG Ryan Bush, Soph.
Bush bulked up over the last year and now appears ready to be a steady contributor at either guard spot or center. Even though he's not huge at 285 pounds, he's considered a key to the line's future.

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