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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 5, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Sark reviews the team by position

One helpful thing UW coach Steve Sarkisian did during his press conference today was give fans a preview of where he thinks every position stands heading into camp. So I thought I would break that out and present it here.
He started with the offense and I’ll just present it as he said it:
“We’ll start obviously with the offensive line. Everybody continues to point out that this is supposed to be a position of weakness for us, where in my humble opinion it should be a position of strength. We’re returning seven starters, the way I look at it, with (Senio) Kelemete, (Ryan) Tolar, (Drew) Schaefer, (Mykenna) Ikehara, (Cody) Habben, (Nick) Wood and (Greg) Christine. Seven guys that have been in battles with us, that have won football games for us. Then you throw in (Skyler) Fancher and (Daniel) Kanczugowski, and we’ve got nine offensive linemen that we feel good about. Then you add seven incoming freshmen with (Erik) Kohler, (Colin) Porter, (Micah) Hatchie, (Mike) Criste, (Ben) Riva, (Colin) Kanigawa, this is a very good group. We’ve got 16 offensive linemen that are big, physical guys. So for what might be perceived as a position of concern, we feel really good about.
“At the tight end position, I love Chris Izbicki right now. I don’t know if anybody had a better offseason, starting in January, to get us to August, than Chris Izbicki did for our football team. He’s bigger. His weight’s up 15 pounds, but he looks stronger, he looks athletic. He’s assumed a leadership role on our football team. Marlion Barnett continues to show the athleticism that we look for. And Dorson Boyce had a good offseason as well; he’s a guy that will mix between the fullback and tight end spot, so we’re anxious to see him. And then we added two freshmen in Mike Hartvigson and Evan Hudson, who we’ll talk more about as a long snapper.

“At the quarterback position, obviously, history tells us that when you’ve got a senior quarterback in this conference, your chances of winning a championship increase greatly. To have Jake (Locker) back, which we’ve touched on over and over and over again, is huge for not only our immediate success of our football program but for the longevity of our program it’s going to be great for us. To have Keith Price and Nick Montana back, continually working and mastering the art of playing the position of quarterback is exciting for them. They both had great summers. And then we added two walk-ons in (Mike) King and (Erik) Wilson, so we’ll have a total of five quarterbacks in camp at that position.
“At running back, Chris Polk is 100 percent healthy. His shoulder’s in great shape. He’s at 215 pounds right now. He looks perfect. He’s exactly where he needs to be and wants to be. Johri Fogerson, great offseason as well. He’s in terrific shape; he’s up to 210 pounds now. And then obviously, with the additions of the young kids, (Deontae) Cooper and (Jesse) Callier, what they got by coming early, participating in spring ball, I think is really going to catapult them into fall camp and give them an opportunity for playing time and significant playing time _ and not just at running back but on special teams.
“At fullback, Austin Sylvester, I’ve been really proud of this young man. He’s assumed a real leadership role. He’s really worked on his athleticism, which is key for us at the fullback spot, but he obviously is very heavy in blocking; he’ll put his face on you and does a nice job there. With the addition of Zach Fogerson, Johri’s younger brother, he brings some real athleticism to the position, so we’re excited about that.
“At the wideout position, a group that has obviously gotten a lot of notoriety of late; I think it’s well-deserved. Obviously, led by Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar. These two guys are all-Pac-10 performers and performed like that in spring and have continued that throughout the summer. Their leadership has been key. James Johnson has really bulked up. He’s a muscular guy now; he doesn’t look like a true freshman anymore. And to me, the three guys that are kind of that next tier of guy that I’m anxious to watch in this training camp that are really battling for playing time here are D’Andre Goodwin, Cody Bruns and Jordan Polk. Three guys we need for us to really be a complete wide receiver group that can really add a speed factor to our offense. All three of those guys can really run; they’re all 4.4 guys. So anxious to watch those guys come out and compete this fall camp. And then you throw in DiAndre Campbell and Kevin Smith, two true freshmen coming in, it’s a very deep and talented group that we’re excited about.
Now the defense:
“I think if we lined up today, you’d see Talia Crichton and De’Shon Matthews at defensive end, Cameron Elisara and Alameda Ta’amu on the inside. Alameda’s a new man and I’m kind of anxious to watch him perform. I think we saw that in the second half of spring ball he dominated the spring game. He’s playing like a guy that is 330 pounds with his strength and speed should play … can dominate the game.
“With that, Semisi Tokolahi, Chris Robinson, Kalani Aldrich, Everrette Thompson, they’ll all be there day one. Really gives us some real depth. We’re two deep easy on the defensive line. Not to mention the five true freshmen that are coming in with Josh Shirley, Sione Potoa’e, Hau’oli Jamora, Andrew Hudson, Lawrence Lagafuaina. This is a great group. Again, a group that I think has been much maligned throughout the offseason for us. About the lack of depth at end … and whatnot. I think this group is going to do some special things. With the new conference rule where we can travel 70 players now as opposed to 64 is going to allow us to bring more defensive lineman on the road in conference play and allow us to continue to shuttle guys so that we’re fresh, we’re fast, we’re aggressive on the defensive line.
“At linebacker, led by Mason Foster. This is another good group, a young group, but a good group. Led by Mason, Cort Dennison, two guys that had great springs. We’re anxious to see Victor Aiyewa come out and perform in training camp. He’s up to 224 pounds. He looks really good. His shoulder is healthy. He’s 100 percent healthy. Anxious to see him go. With the loss of Alvin Logan, Victor has a great opportunity along with Matt Houston at the SAM linebacker spot and Brandon Huppert is back to 100 percent so he’ll be there as well for fall camp. Jordan Wallace is a young man at the WIL linebacker position that showed some real flashes in spring. His development and understanding of the scheme and the system is one that is going to be critical for him to continually earn that playing time and allow us to move Mason around so offenses don’t quite know where he is all the time. He’ll play some WIL, play some SAM. He’ll be moving around.
“Five new freshmen. Cooper Pelleur, Victor Burnett, Princeton Fuimaono, Garret Gilliland, Jamaal Kearse. A very young group again, but an athletic one. All of those young guys have a real opportunity not only to contribute on defense but also on special teams.
“At the safety spot, the guy that has really emerged maybe as the overall leader of the defense is Nate Williams. Looks fantastic. Had a great spring. His knowledge of the defense is probably superior to anyone’s on our team. Looks terrific. And at the free safety spot, Nate Fellner has had a tremendous offseason. Great raves from our strength on conditioning staff about him. And Will Shamburger, hopefully he can continue to grow from spring where he really did some nice things for us and probably the most improved/valuable player for us this spring. You throw in Justin Glenn who will be limited some with his ankle, it’s just not quite right yet, Greg Walker, Marquis Persley, then the addition of two guys that look exactly the way you want them to look at safety, Sean Parker, Taz Stevenson, this again is a very good group.
“At corner, when we start Monday you’ll see Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson out there with the first group. But you will see Adam Long, Vonzell McDowell, get plenty of reps with the ones as well. Those guys had great offseasons. Then the additions of Anthony Boyles and Tony Gobern, real depth at that spot as well. The one guy for me that I’m real excited to see as anybody, a guy who is a pure cover, lockdown corner is Greg Ducre. Tremendous speed athleticism. Very similar, same size as Tru was last year form a height and weight standpoint but can really run so really anxious to see him as well.”
Finally, special teams:
“Kicker, obviously Erik Folk is back for another year after having a great season last year, 18 of 21. The time and the effort he’s put in on kickoffs you’ll see, it will show. (Eric) Guttorp backing him up. Willie Mahan punting the ball and a new walk-on punter backing him up in (Sean) Halligan. At long snapper, we will start with Brendan Lopez , who had a tremendous spring for us. Was a little bit of an unknown for us because he didn’t get a chance last year with Danny (Morovick) doing what he did, but having Brendan back is tremendous. Evan Hudson the walk-on tight end is also a long snapper and we’ve got another walk-on, Peter Becker is a long snapper as well.
“Holding on field goals will be Cody Bruns and Will Mahan. From a returning point of view, kick off returns, I think it would be pretty dynamic for us to open up the 2010 season to have Chris Polk standing next to Deontae Cooper back there returning kicks. That doesn’t mean you won’t see Jesse Callier, that doesn’t mean you won’t see James Johnson and Johri Fogerson back there. You could see the likes of Sean Parker, Kevin Smith and Taz Stevenson. So we’ve added a lot of guys that are interchangeable that do that kind of stuff. I think the first punt return you’ll see Devin Aguilar again. Cody Bruns will get his opportunities and some of these freshmen will as well.”



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