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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 2, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Position preview — running back

We’ll continue with our second installment of position previews by today looking at the running backs.
Starter — Chris Polk, RFr., or Willie Griffin, So.
Backups — Demitriuis Bronson, Fr., Curtis Shaw, So.
BIGGEST QUESTION? Will lack of depth come back to bite the Huskies?
After four losses to academics or injuries since the start of spring, UW’s number of scholarship players at tailback has been cut in half. That doesn’t necessarily have to impact the position all that much if the top four guys stay healthy — four can be more than enough. And none of the departees necessarily loomed as starters (especially the academic casualties, who all kind of seemed in the dog house from the start of spring).
The key to it all may be Polk. Coach Steve Sarkisian seems especially high on Polk, particularly after he had good outings in the last two scrimmages of the spring. But Polk has had injury issues of his own and keeping him healthy will be especially critical. And when he did play last year, he was unimpressive, though it was hardly all his fault.
But if the four scholarship players UW has can stay upright, the Huskies could have a nice complement of backs — Polk may be the most versatile, with speed and power and the ability to catch the ball; Griffin also has shown decent hands; Bronson is more of a power back who also has the ability to break long runs; and Shaw looks like the speed back of the group.
Sarkisian has said there will be some walk-on RBs arriving in the fall to add numbers, and for the long-term, UW is actively going after some of the top RB prospects on the West Coast — and already has a commitment from Melvin Davis. So the depth issues aren’t a long-range concern. But for this year, the Huskies have to hope their big four guys stay healthy.
COMFORT LEVEL 5. This looks like a group with a lot of potential. But it is obviously unproven at this level — both in terms of production and durability — so the expectations have to be tempered a bit until we see otherwise.
Starter — Paul Homer, Sr.
Backup — Austin Sylvester, Jr.
Also on the roster — Tobias Togi, So.;
BIGGEST QUESTION — Is this position ready to handle an increased workload?
Sarkisian’s offense has the capability to make liberal use of the fullback, particularly catching passes out of the backfield — USC’s main FB, Stanley Havili, has caught 58 passes the last two seasons. Homer, by comparison, has caught 10 passes in his career.
Homer was less productive in 2008 than in 2007 — something that could be said of almost everyone — though in his case, sounds as if a knee injury was largely to blame. if healthy, he could have a much bigger impact this season.
Sylvester also had some moments in the spring and appears ready to become a contributor.
Togi, a walk-on, got some significant reps in the spring and could also factor in if needed.
COMFORT LEVEL — 3. If Homer is healthy, this could be a vastly improved and more productive position for the Huskies this season.



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