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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

July 15, 2009 at 10:29 PM

July answers, volume seven

Ruminations on UW’s center position and the killing of dynasties in this edition. …
Q: How much longer can USC continue this ridiculous run? It can’t go forever, can it? What will stop them, sanctions? What stopped Florida State or Penn State’s runs?
A:USC won’t continue to win the Pac-10 every single year forever — I don’t think. But I don’t see USC ever going all that far away. When even just run competently, the Trojans have won Pac-10 titles — for instance, Larry Smith, a good but probably not great coach, had a pretty dominant three-year run in the late-80s that’s easy to forget now. Pair the tradition and lure of USC with a great coach (John McKay, Pete Carroll) and you have a dynasty, and not sure that will ever really change. And I wouldn’t count on sanctions derailing USC. While there’s some thought out there that the NCAA may be fixing to use the Trojans as an example once they announce their findings in the Reggie Bush case, I still think the best bet is that the penalties are more retroactive (forfeiting some wins and awards, that sort of thing) than forward-looking. The NCAA seems to have gotten away from levying huge penalties that impact a school’s future all that greatly. Still, any type of sanctions might be enough to entice Carroll to finally take another crack at the NFL. To me, that’s the more realstic scenario that might derail USC a bit — Carroll finally leaving. As for Penn State and Florida State, I would agree with the other commenters who said that the advancing age of their head coaches helped play a role in their relative decline (as well as the loss of some assistants). But it’s worth pointing out that Penn State hasn’t dipped all that far — it did win the Big Ten last year and finish 11-2 (lots of teams would love that kind of dropoff). Florida State has also had to deal with a more competitive landscape in its state with seemingly every school east of the Rockies dipping into that state for talent these days.
Q: I noticed that, even though the offensive line is an area that needs improvement, the Huskies have, as far as I know, not made any offers to centers. Have you heard any of the coaches’ thoughts on this? The roster shows only one center, Greg Christine, whose eligibility expires after the 2010 season, but, as you know, according to the official depth chart, Ryan Tolar and Mykenna Ikehara are the top two guys at center. Tolar will also graduate after 2010, so it seems that there is a need at the center position. And is it a big deal to teach an offensive lineman to snap the ball if he hasn’t done it before? Mike Marboe, a three star center with a number nine national ranking by, who is also a Wenatchee, Washington high school player appears to be available. Is there much of a chance that the Huskies would offer him?
A: Lots of good questions there. First off, you may have overlooked that Matt Sedillo is also still on the roster with two years left. He is now listed at guard but has played a lot of center in his UW career so he adds even more depth there. So as you note, for the next two years UW seems to have more than enough at center. Ikehara is regarded as the center of the future so I think the Huskies are hoping for a natural transition from Tolar to Ikehara either in two years or next season (Tolar could move back to guard after this season to take the place of senior Ben Ossai with Ikehara stepping in at center). Or maybe even this year if they decide that Ikehara is one of their five best OLs and has to be on the field, which isn’t out of the question. I haven’t asked specifically lately, but I am sure they are aware they might need some center depth down the road and will try to find one or two in the next year or so. UPDATE — And as a few readers pointed out, I overlooked the fact that UW has offered Hroniss Grasu as a center (here’s a story with details on him),.And I don’t think it’s incredibly hard to switch a guard over to center. Most linemen, I think, at some point in their careers at least dabble in center, so it usually seems as if guys can make that transition with a little preparation, if needed. As for Marboe, he definitely seems to be on UW’s radar, though for now, the Huskies seem to be going after some other linemen who aren’t centers (as well as Grasu). The fact they have offered Grasu obviously shows they are attempting to add some depth there.
Those were long questions, so we’ll call this one good .



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