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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 3, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Rating the offensive lines

We’ll continue our look at where UW’s position groupings fit in with the rest of the Pac-10 with at look at the offensive line.
As noted earlier, I helped Lindy’s compile the ratings for its Pac-10 pre-season magazine
Lindy’s rated the Pac-10 lines this way:
1, Stanford
2, USC
3, Oregon
4, Cal
5, Oregon State
6, Arizona
7, UCLA
8, Washington
9, Arizona State
10, Washington State
UW fans have lots of reasons to be optimistic that the rating we had for the Huskies proves to be far too low. But heading into the season and looking at it on paper, the Huskies simply still have a lot to prove up front. And it’s also a year when a lot of teams have a lot of experience back up front — 35 of the 50 official OL starters in the Pac-10 last year return.
Oregon returns everyone, for instance, while Stanford returns four starters and USC three — though admittedly, USC’s line prospects looked better when we did these rankings and Seantrel Henderson looked to be coming aboard and the Trojans were a little healthier as the Trojans were bothered by injuries throughout the spring.
If I had to revise them now, I’d definitely move Oregon ahead of USC and maybe even drop the Trojans down another notch or two. Still, USC has two all-conference caliber players in tackle Tyron Smith and center Kris O’Dowd and should be pretty good.
As noted, Oregon and Stanford return basically everyone from what were the two most explosive offenses a year ago, the reason they loom at the top.
Cal has 70 career starts returning and rising star tackle in Mitchell Schwartz. Oregon State returns four starters and has a rising star in tackle Michael Philipp and Arizona has one of the best centers around in Colin Baxter and will start four seniors and a junior.
UCLA is in much the same boat as UW with a line that has a lot to prove but also appears to have a lot of upside.
As for UW, how the OL progresses will obviously be a huge key to this season. The coaches, after evaluating last season, made some changes in the spring — notably, moving Senio Kelemete to left tackle, Ryan Tolar to guard and Drew Schaefer to center — that they hope will pay off better play this year.
Lines often improve greatly in the second year of a system, so it won’t be a surprise if UW’s follows suit. The Huskies also should have their best depth in years with the seven incoming freshmen (though I still think it will probably be a good sign if only a couple of them have to play this season).
Given UW’s experience, the second year in a system and improved depth, I think this has a chance to be the best line the Huskies have had in years — but I also think it’s fair for outsiders to be skeptical until the results come through on the field.
And if you want to compare, here’s how Ted Miller assessed the position last week.

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