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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 20, 2007 at 8:36 AM

Answering your questions

Some questions posed the last few days so I’ll try to get to some of them here:
Question: Will incoming freshmen Chris Izbicki and Anthony Boyles play this season?
Answer: While Izbicki is a highly-touted tight end, that is also the position that may be UW’s deepest on its entire roster with Michael Gottlieb, Johnie Kirton and Robert Lewis all back, so the need for Izbicki isn’t great, which would seem to indicate a redshirt year. UW does have some more immediate needs for depth (and playmakers) at receiver and Boyles will certainly get a long look in fall camp. But as I wrote here a while ago, new receivers coach Charlie Baggett says he tends toward the conservative route on playing true frosh, saying he’s only had one who ever felt really was able to pull it off — Andre Rison at Michigan State. But UW has six scholarship receivers at the moment, several of whom are nursing nagging injuries in fall camp, so Boyles and some of the other frosh at that spot may be needed this fall.
Question: I remember Dan Howell seeming to win the gold jersey all the time during fall camp. How is he doing this spring?
Answer: Apparently pretty well. There was a funny moment during an interview the other day when Tyrone Willingham was asked about the linebacking corps and said “It’s Howell, then we’re working our way to the other ones.” The meaning being that as of right now, Howell is about the only sure thing back there as the only returning starter. The team doesn’t select captains until after the season, but I have little doubt if they picked them ahead of time, Howell would be one of the ones chosen.
Queston: Who is working as the punt andd kick returners, and do they work on that during spring drills?
Answer: To answer the second question first, yes, they work on returning during the spring. Roy Lewis remains the primary kick returner with Anthony Russo also in the mix. I know there is concern on here about Lewis doing those duties when he is also the team’s best cornerback. But Willingham says he can’t coach worrying about injuries, that he has to put the best players out there. Lewis averaged 18.8 yards per kick return last year and had one of 80 yards or so in the scrimmage the other day.
As for punt returners, the players working there the other day were Russo, Louis Rankin, Cody Ellis and D’Andre Goodwin. Russo and Goodwin are listed as the two primary punt returners on the official depth chart. I would imagine that a handful of the incoming freshmen will get looks at both spots in the fall, as well.
I’ll try to watch this a little more carefully in coming practices and give a clearer report.
Question: Is Paul Homer the only player so far to win a gold jersey, and is he running No. 1 at fullback?
Answer: As of Thursday’s practice (April 19), Homer appeared to be the only player to win a gold jersey, wearing it both Tuesday and Thursday. He is listed as the starting fullback right now, but backup Luke Kravitz is also seeing a lot of time there (though Kravitz is also seeing some significant duty at tailback with UW only having two of those, as well). I think fullback will be a little like the tight end spot with both players seeing some significant time, rotating into different roles as needed.
Question: How does this offensive line compare to a Keith Gilbertson offensive line?
Answer: That’s kind of a hard question to answer. Do you mean Gilby’s lines during the early ’90s Glory Years? During his stint as Neuheisel’s assistant? Or as head coach? Obviously, the talent isn’t yet back to where it was during the national title time, so that wouldn’t be fair in any measure. It’s not to the 2000 team level yet, either, to be sure. As for Gilby’s two years as head coach, things were so chaotic during that time that it’s impossible to separate that from what was happening on the field. So guess that’s not answering your question, really.
I would say that with Mike Denbrock now in his third season as UW’s O-line coach, we should begin to see some improvement based on that stability, though there are still some talent and depth issues that have to be addressed. But this is now the longest UW has had a line coach in place since Steve Morton held the job from 1992-98, a time during which the Huskies had some good O-lines, and that should begin to pay off.
Progamming note: The Huskies are hosting their annual coaches clinic this weekend, and Willingham won’t be available to meet the media today. With that in mind, this is going to be the one spring practice day I’m taking off, so there may not be any more reports on here today. But the team will practice again on Saturday and we’ll report on that here and elsewhere.
Also, here’s our story today where I tried to update some of the key position battles of the spring.



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