Preview 2008 - Offense
2008 CFN Washington Preview
2008 UW Offense
2008 UW Defense
2008 UW Depth Chart
2007 CFN Washington Preview
2006 CFN Washington
need to know:
Jake Locker is the undisputed franchise, a well-sized triggerman
who fell just 14 yards short of becoming the first quarterback
in Pac-10 history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Reaching
another level will require better decisions as a passer,
improved accuracy, and more support from a rebuilt supporting
cast. Hard-running Brandon Johnson is the likely backfield
option after rushing for 196 yards and two scores as Louis
Rankin’s backup. Considering the attrition taking place at wide
receiver, gifted newcomers Anthony Boyles, Devin Aguilar, and
Chris Polk will be asked to contribute right away. The line
brings back three starters, but has lost All-Pac-10 C Juan
Garcia for an extended period of time, a crushing blow to the
Passing: Jake Locker
155-329, 2,062 yds, 14 TD, 15 INT
Rushing: Jake Locker
172 carries, 986 yds, 13 TD
Receiving: Michael Gottleib
12 catches, 136 yds, 0 TD
of the offense:
Sophomore QB Jake Locker
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore WR
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RT Cody Habben
Best pro prospect: Locker
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Locker 2) Goodwin 3)
Sophomore RB Brandon Johnson
Strength of the offense: The ground game, run blocking
Weakness of the offense: The passing attack, inexperience
at the skill positions
Projected Starter: Now that the program has lifted
the lid on the Jake Locker era, the sophomore is the
unchallenged catalyst of the attack. Not your typical
dual-threat quarterback, he’s a 6-3, 225-pound sophomore in a
linebacker’s body. The Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, he bulldozed
his way to 986 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, while
completing 155-of-328 passes for 2,062 yards, 14 touchdowns, and
15 interceptions. While he obviously needs to make strides as a
passer before becoming a complete quarterback, his trademark
grit, competitiveness, and open field running were on display
every time the Husky offense was on the field.
Projected Top Reserves: Considering how often
Locker lowers his shoulders and absorbs punishment, the backups
would be wise to keep their helmets close by. Redshirt freshman
Ronnie Fouch is the new No. 2, coming off a strong spring
session and after being named Offensive Scout Team Player of the
Year. While the 6-1, 195-pounder isn’t in Locker’s league
physically, he’s the most polished passer on the roster, a
poised distributor who throws accurate, catchable passes.
Behind Fouch is another redshirt freshman, former walk-on
Taylor Bean. To be used only on an emergency basis, the 6-1,
202-pounder is the clear-cut No. 3 in the pecking order, and
could be passed in the summer by true freshman Luther Leonard
or Dominique Blackman.
Watch Out For… Locker to make immense progress as
a passer in his second season as the starter. Although he was
spotty in his execution last year, what freshman isn’t as a
rookie? Locker has worked hard in the offseason to improve his
reads and touch, and if the spring is any indication, the game
appears to be slowing down.
Strength: Locker. He’s special as that rare
quarterback who can elevate a floundering program and make top
recruits want to play with him. Locker can’t do it all by
himself, but he’s young and upwardly-mobile, exactly what
Washington and Willingham need these days.
Weakness: Inconsistency in the passing game. While
things should begin stabilizing, there’s still too much
inexperience throwing the ball. Locker is just a sophomore with
plenty of fine-tuning left to be done, and all three of his
backups are freshmen.
Outlook: The best is yet to come for Locker. After
laying the groundwork of his much-anticipated Husky career, he’s
about to add a new floor in his sophomore year. The centerpiece
of the Washington offense, he’d be wise to learn when to slide
and step out of bounds, or else Fouch will endure a baptism
Projected Starters: It’ll be up to sophomore
Brandon Johnson to replace 1,000-yard rusher Louis Rankin
and prop up a running game that’s starting from scratch. One of
just seven true freshmen to play last year, he was Rankin’s
backup, rushing 51 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns. At
5-11 and 195 pounds, Johnson is a tough, downhill runner who
hits the hole quickly and doesn’t waste much movement dancing
around the backfield. In an audition for this job last November,
he ran 23 times for 121 yards and a score in an upset of Cal.
Although he’s listed as the fullback, 6-0, 222-pound junior
Paul Homer has the quickness and vision to be used as an
occasional change-of-pace out of the backfield. More important,
however, he’s a tough lead blocker, team leader, and one of the
smartest players on the field.
Projected Top Reserves: While it might be a
tenuous hold, 5-8, 200-pound redshirt freshman Willie Griffin
exited spring as the backup to Johnson and a candidate to
log a handful of carries. What he lacks in straight-line speed,
he makes up for with quick feet, good vision in the hole, and
the pad level to run through defenders.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Yakaboski is listed behind
Griffin, but is well-positioned to move up a notch with a strong
summer. At 6-0 and 190 pounds, he’s a good inside runner who has
the loose hips and change-of-direction to make people miss in
the open field. He also has the best hands of the backs, making
him a strong candidate to be used on third-and-long.
The Huskies’ short-yardage back is senior FB Luke Kravitz,
a veteran of 22 games with the program. Primarily a blocker and
special teams standout before last year, he turned his first 17
carries into 34 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.
Watch Out For… the fate of junior J.R. Hasty.
Destined to be a disappointing footnote in school history, the
former can’t-miss recruit is running out of second chances.
Physically, he belongs on the field, but more offseason issues
have him playing from way behind of the depth chart. If Hasty is
still buried at the end of August, it could result in an ugly
Strength: The future. While there’ll be inevitable
growing pains that come with youth, by leaning on Johnson,
Griffin, and Yakaboski in 2008, the Huskies will be building
depth and experience for the next few seasons.
Weakness: A proven workhorse. Sure, Johnson had a
100-yard day as a rookie, but it was one game and it was against
a soft Cal run defense. He had better be ready to shoulder the
load because behind him is nothing but a long line of even
Outlook: While Johnson will be the every-down
back, look for Griffin and Yakaboski to get plenty of reps as
well throughout the season. At this point, anything the offense
gets from Hasty will be considered an unexpected gift.
Projected Starters: After losing last season’s top
five pass-catchers, the Huskies are desperately searching for
quality receivers who can help get Jake Locker to the next level
as a passer. The likely go-to guy will be sophomore D’Andre
Goodwin, who caught six passes a year ago and is coming off
a breakout spring session. At 6-0 and 170 pounds, he’s one of
the fastest players on the roster, but he needs to do a better
job of getting off the line and running tighter routes.
Joining Goodwin in the starting lineup will be redshirt freshman
Alvin Logan, the most physically imposing of the
receivers at 6-2 and 215 pounds. Big enough to make catches in
traffic and break free from jams at the line of scrimmage, he’ll
quickly become the quarterback’s best friend near the end zone.
Senior Michael Gottlieb has started six games at tight
end in each of the last two seasons, becoming a big and reliable
target in the passing game. A sure-handed 6-5, 245-pounder, he
caught 12 passes for 136 yards, numbers he should surpass
considering the uncertainty at wide receiver.
Projected Top Reserves: Midway through last
season, sophomore Curtis Shaw was relocated from running
back, a move meant to get him more chances in open space. A
terrific all-around athlete at 5-11 and 190 pounds, he caught
four passes for 46 against Oregon State and will earn more reps
as soon as he gets more comfortable at the position.
True freshman Devin Aguilar was supposed to be a part of
last year’s recruiting class, but he never qualified
academically. Now, he has taken part in spring practice, quickly
rising to the second team behind Goodwin. A smooth and speedy
receiver at 6-0 and 185 pounds, Aguilar has the explosive traits
to be a star in this offense before very long.
Watch Out For… true freshman Chris Polk to
be an immediate and versatile contributor. One of the gems of
this year’s recruiting class, he’s a genuine playmaker who’ll be
used in a multitude of ways. He’ll initially line up in the
slot, and be used on fly sweeps, much the way USC did with
Reggie Bush and Oregon State does with James Rodgers.
Strength: Athleticism. While they may be raw as
pure pass-catchers, the young receivers are going to be far more
dynamic and explosive than last year’s corps. If Charlie Baggett
can coach these guys up on the finer points, they’ll be exciting
Weakness: Experience and depth. A position
strength less than a year ago has quickly degraded into a major
concern. Besides Gottlieb, none of the receivers has starting
experience, and a lot will be expected from underclassmen with
little or no practical experience.
Outlook: While there’s tremendous potential, it’s
going to take time before it all gets realized. For every
eye-popping play one of the thoroughbreds makes, there’s going
to be a blunder or two that stalls a drive. The best news is
that young players like Goodwin, Logan, and Aguilar will be
growing up alongside Locker, and the hints of a dynamite passing
attack should start to appear in the second half of the year.
Projected Starters: The big and disturbing news
regarding the line is that its best blocker, senior C Juan
Garcia, suffered a complex sprain to his foot that’ll
sideline him for at least the first half of the 2008 season.
It’s a major blow to a unit that hoped to four starters back
this fall. In Garcia’s place steps untested sophomore Matt
Sedillo, a 6-3, 300-pounder who played in just two games
last season. The coaches like his upside and how quickly he has
adapted to the speed of the college game, but they hoped he
wouldn’t be in this position until 2009.
From left to right, the tackles will be junior Ben Ossai
and sophomore Cody Habben, respectively. Ossai has been a
starter for the last two seasons, playing better as a run
blocker than a pass protector. At 6-6 and 300 pounds, he can
handle the other team’s most physical rusher, but needs to
continue working on his footwork and technique in order to
handle speedier ends.
The 6-6, 300-pound Habben performed nicely in his first season
of action, playing in all 13 games and earning three starts in
league games. Like Ossai, he shows a propensity for knocking
people off the line and has the long arms, light feet, and
strong base to eventually project as a left tackle.
At left guard, there’s a hotly-contested battle going on between
sophomore Ryan Tolar and senior Jordan White-Frisbee.
The 6-5, 310-pound Tolar started all but one game a year ago,
garnering some Freshman All-American recognition along the way.
An effective drive blocker who showed better than expected
quickness in his debut, he needs to keep honing his pass
White-Frisbee is a former defensive lineman who struggled with
foot problems throughout most of his college career. A hulking
6-6, 320-pounder with three starts on his résumé, he has the
upper body strength to occasionally be overpowering.
The right guard will be senior Casey Bulyca, a
blue-collar mauler who gets the job done despite not having
all-star skills. At 6-6 and 340 pounds, he’s a bear to handle
one-on-one, but too often he lacks the quickness to pick up
blitzes or seal off some of the league’s faster defensive
Projected Top Reserves: Behemoth junior G
Morgan Rosborough brings experience, power, and versatility
to the second team. At 6-6 and 365 pounds, he has long labored
with his conditioning, yet is surprisingly nimble and can also
play some tackle if necessary.
The backup tackle spots will be held down by a couple of
redshirt freshmen, 6-5, 290-pound Mark Armelin on the
left side and 6-5, 280-pound Skyler Fancher on the right.
Both have outstanding size and the room to add more weight.
Fancher, in particular, has impressed the staff with his
athletic ability and his play on last year’s scout team.
Watch Out For… Garcia’s quest to get back on the
field one final time. Before getting injured, this was going to
be his sixth, and presumably, best year with the Huskies. He has
put off surgery in the hopes he can rehab the foot sprain quick
enough to return to action by late October.
Strength: Run blocking. RB Louis Rankin was very
good last season, but the bodies in the trenches had a lot to do
with his 1,294-yard season. Up front, the Huskies are big,
aggressive, and capable of becoming a major strength.
Weakness: Pass protection. Right on down the
line, Washington needs to get better at keeping the pocket
secure. The Huskies lack finesse linemen who can slide down the
line and wall off some of the Pac-10’s quicker defensive
players. They tend to lumber, which will be a problem again
Outlook: While it’s not fair to put the fate of
the line on Sedillo’s shoulders, he’ll certainly play a huge
role in the unit’s eventual performance. No matter how well he
plays, it’ll be impossible to adequately replace Garcia’s
leadership and experience at quarterbacking the Husky front