Probably worth it to compare the offense last seen on the field against Cal vs. that we will see tomorrow, especially now that we have some more clarity on it from Steve Sarkisian’s press conference today.
So here’s how the offense lined up in the season finale against Cal:
WR — Devin Aguilar
LT — Drew Schaefer
LG — Ben Ossai
C — Mykenna Ikehara
RG — Senio Kelemete
RT — Cody Habben
TE — Kavario Middleton
FB — Paul Homer
TB —- Chris Polk
QB — Jake Locker
WR — Jermaine Kearse
Here’s what it looks like we’ll see tomorrow:
WR — Aguilar
LT — Kelemete
LG — Ryan Tolar
C — Schaefer
RG — Ikehara
RT — Skyler Fancher
TE — Middleton
FB — Austin Sylvester/Dorson Boyce
TB — Demitrius Bronson/Johri Fogerson
QB — Locker
WR — Kearse
One note on the Cal game is that Ryan Tolar missed it with an injury.
And remember that Habben is out for the spring with a shoulder injury as is Polk — both will be fine for the fall. So you’d have to pencil them in as starters against BYU, obviously.
For the most part, you see an experienced unit with the main questions being solidifying the OL, which probably won’t completely happen until the fall when Habben comes back and some of the incoming frosh such as Erik Kohler arrive.
Fullback is also intriguing to watch with the move of Boyce. I see some of you have asked about Kimo Makaula and whether that means he would now move elsewhere. Sarkisian didn’t mention it today. He wasn’t specifically asked about Makaula but he was asked if there were any other position changes and he said nothing signficant, so assuming Makaula remains on offense for now.
A FEW OTHER NOTES
— I’m sure much may be made in some places of the Jake Locker-baseball angle, but not sure there’s much new here other than what has been expected from the day he signed his deal — he may play a week or two with an Angels minor league team this summer but other than that, football remains his priority and the plan is that he won’t do anything that will interfere with football responsibilities. “When Jake has a week off here or there they would like him to do some baseball,” Sarkisian said. “So we are talking to get to a common ground to where there is some time to play some baseball. I don’t necessarily think that’s a completely bad thing. I think a guy can grow from a maturity standpoint being in that clubhouse, that locker room, that dugout. It’s just a matter of can he handle it mentally and physically so he’s not exhaused in the middle of the season for us. So we’re still working through that.”
— As noted earlier, Sarkisian said the team will experiment with 3-4 looks on defense, recalling that the team did some of that last year, as well. “We’ll do both (4-3 and 3-4) and I think we’ll stay aggressive, like we have been. We have to play to our strengths and we’ll have to see what those are moving forward,” he said.
— Andru Pulu is actually not listed on the roster anymore, apparently gone now until his legal situation is resolved, at which point a more definitive decision on his UW future will be made.
— Other walk-ons no longer on the roster include Romeo Savant and Kiel Rasp.
— Sarkisian said the team GPA last quarter was the highest it has been since 2007, which he said is more proof that the players are buying into all aspects of the program.
— While there’s obviously no question about the starting QB, there is about the backup, and Sarkisian said that “two young guys start this battle that could go on for years, which is exciting.” Nick Montana will be off limits to the media this spring, as will the other three incoming true frosh. But Keith Price won’t be and Sarkisian said he will be interested to see how Price handles the attention as well as the inevitable ups and downs of the position.
— Sarkisian noted how much it should help the team that the entire coaching staff remained intact this off-season, allowing for that much more continuity in how the team does things. He said there will be some minor tweaking to practices based on the experience of a year ago. One is that a five-minute special teams walk-through prior to practice will be scrapped with that time added to the special teams part of the main practice.
— He said the first full pads practice won’t be until next Tuesday. The Huskies will spread out 15 practices over five weeks — the NCAA allows 34 days to get in your 15 spring practices from start to finish. He said that should help keep the team fresher, avoiding back-to-back practices, especially critical with the depth issues on both lines.
— Asked about an overall goal for the offense this spring, he said to “become a more physical offensive football team.” He said the team showed flashes of that last season but that there were also obviously some times when the team struggled to be as physical as needed. “You can point to some of those games where we kind of got knocked around when we really tried to run the football, and for us to really take this offense to another level (UW needs to become more physical.) That’s only going to create more big plays in our passing game, so that’s the goal, that’s what we’ve got to get to.”
— Sark noted that Deontae Cooper had a GPA above 3.0 in the winter quarter and seems to be adapting to college quickly. But he said the other three incoming frosh are making a big adjustment and that the coaches will be expecting them to need some time to ease into things.
— In a few comments after the press conference, Sarkisian said that Cody Bruns and Will Mahan will be looked at initially as holders and that Brendan Lopez would be the first snapper but that other guys will be looked at, including Middleton and Tim Tucker. Middleton was the emergency snapper last season.
— Also in that session, he said Trufant’s injury is just “wear and tear” of last season so they are just being careful with him this spring.
— Also said in that session that there is no set rotation at TB behind Polk. “I’m going to let it play out. I want to see what it looks like.” Said Fogerson might have had the best off-season of any player on the team.
— I’m actually just concluding my seven days in Hawaii and flying back this afternoon, so there may not be anything more on here today — there really won’t be for the next six hours from me as I make the flight back (I got this info today from calling in — isn’t technology wonderful?). But we’ll be back with full coverage of the first day of spring practice tomorrow.
All for now.