Before I get to some more questions this morning, a quick link from the LA Times with more on Steve Sarkisian’s recruiting efforts in that area this weekend.
Now, questions. …
Q: What is the read on Skyler Fancher? He was recruited late by USC and Tyrone Willingham’s staff was really high on his potential. I know that he hurt his ankle but does the current Husky staff see him as an impact player /starter next year?
A: I’m not sure they’ve seen him enough to have much of a feeling on him one way or the other. He got hurt about midway through spring practice, injuring his ankle, then again about midway through fall camp. He was working with the No. 2 unit at tackle at the time, and Dan Cozzetto had said he’d done some good things. But injuries and long absences always make it hard to judge where a player really fits. Sarkisian said this week he wasn’t sure if Fancher would be available for spring ball, though Fancher appears to be getting healthier — he’s no longer using crutches now walking around on a boot. But if he is, that will be a key time for Fancher to re-establish his role on the team.
Q: Why did Sark take three former starters in Matt Moseley, Alvin Logan and Trenton Tuiasosopo and turn them into non-contributors?
A: I haven’t asked him that question in quite that manner. But what I think he would say is that other players simply beat those guys out. Also, each situation is different, so you really have to break them all down individually to answer it with any accuracy.
Logan, obviously, switched positions to safety and now linebacker, a move that seemed like a good one at the time and that Logan also seemed excited about. The emergence of some of the younger players at WR created a logjam there that precipitated the move of Logan. And after Logan seemed to impress early in his move to safety, he obviously didn’t do anything to earn playing time in fall camp as he never saw the field, and now has been switched to OLB.
Tuiasosopo is the backup to Donald Butler and I think Butler, in the eyes of the coaches, has played so well they’ve seen no reason to ever take him out. This is no knock on Tuiasosopo, but it is worth noting that he started last year when E.J. Savannah was gone and Butler hurt. He was behind those guys before those things happened, and when Savannah returned and Butler got healthy, he fell behind them again.
As for Mosley, that one seems a little more mysterious that he never played at all at a spot (cornerback) where the team obviously had great needs all season and has tried a lot of different players. But I think you can read between the lines of what UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt said that Mosley had had some “off-field issues,” though nothing serious — meaning, apparently, nothing legal or anything like that. Sounded like Mosley might have been among those players Sarkisian referenced on the day he got the job, that not everyone necessarily gets on board when a new regime takes over.
Q: Whatever happened to offensive line recruits like Mark Armelin and Scott Shugert?
A: They are still on the team and working on the offensive line — Armelin at tackle and Shugert at guard. But both are on the third team right now, indicating they evidently haven’t done much to impress the coaches. And with at least four new OL recruits coming in next year, and Fancher maybe returning, the competition will be just as stiff next season (though three OLs do graduate — Ben Ossai, Morgan Rosborough and Nick Scott).
Q: What do you think about Sark turning Jake Locker into a pocket passer behind
a line that can’t create a pocket to save their lives?
A: I’ve stated what I think about this pretty clearly. I understand what Sarkisian is doing and why. But I thought Locker would run more than he has — maybe for 600 yards or something this year instead of the 986 he had as a freshman. Instead, he has 217 with two games to play. What I would say is that if you wanted to turn someone into a dropback QB behind a shaky OL, it’s better to have that QB be someone like Locker who can at least get away from pressure — he’s undoubtedly prevented a dozen sacks or so this season.