In this edition, starting lineups, the offensive line, and more!!!!
Q: Can you give us your best guess at a starting offense and defense for 2011?
A: Okay, but on the condition that this is regarded as indeed a guess, and subject to change at a moment’s notice and all that.
So here goes:
QB — Keith Price
TB — Chris Polk
FB — Zach Fogerson
WRs — Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, Kasen Williams
TE — Michael Hartvigson
LT — Senio Kelemete
LG — Daniel Kanczugowski
C — Drew Schaefer
RG — Colin Porter
RT — Erik Kohler
DE — Everrette Thompson
NT — Alameda Ta’amu
DT — Semisi Tokolahi/Sione Potoa’e
DE — Hau’oli Jamora
MLB — Cort Dennison
SLB — Princeton Fuimaono
WLB — Thomas Tutogi
CBs — Desmond Trufant, Quinton Richardson
FS — Nate Fellner
SS — Sean Parker
With so many returning starters, UW has a lot of spots that seem pretty set going into 2011, though the coaches will inevitably say that every position remains open to competition, and invariably some things will change.
Some of the major questions — linebacker and tight end — were discussed in the entry below, so I refer you there for more on those spots (I see both Hartvigson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins seeing lots of time at tight end, but forced to pick one, I’d go with Hartvigson for now based on the progress he was making before his injury).
Left guard and right tackle are the open spots on the offensive line, and I fully expect Kohler to fill one of those. He was listed as the backup right tackle when the season ended and I think that’s been his long-term destination, so I’d slide him in at RT for now, with a good chance he moves over to the left side in 2012 when Kelemete graduates. Kanczugowski was the backup LG when the season ended. Others could definitely move into the mix there (such as Mykenna Ikehara and Colin Tanigawa, to name two). But I wouldn’t dismiss Kanczugowski, who at a listed 327 is the biggest of the OLs other than James Atoe).
On defense, other than LB, the other spot where a starter graduates is strong safety. Parker and Taz Stevenson are the two most likely at that spot, and either could win it (and it could easily be a rotation, and with both on the field often in nickel situations, a spot both held at times this year). Parker appeared ahead on the depth chart before suffering his stinger injury, so I’d give him a slight nod for now.
And no, not forgetting the QB spot. As I’ve said on here every time asked, if forced to choose at this moment — given what we know right now — I’d pick Price to take the first snap of 2011.
Q: Is this the year the Husky OL finally plays up to the level of a top tier Pac-12 level? Or is more realistic to expect that to happen in another 2-3 years?
A: The coaches certainly hope so, and UW will need consistently solid play up front if the Huskies are to maintain the running game success of the end of the 2010 season while breaking in a new QB who isn’t likely to immediately impose the same kind of running threat on defenses. But UW also could have just one senior starter on the line next year (Kelemete). So it’s more realistic to think that 2012 is the year when the line fully matures, with what could be mostly juniors and seniors starting while backed up by players who have all been in the system for several years (namely, all the OLs who redshirted this year).
Q: One idea for your future ‘grading the game’ feature: for home games, what do you think about giving a grade to the crowd as well? There’s nothing better than a close game with Husky stadium rockin’ & rolling or when Dawg fans are able to help rally the team (especially defense) for a come behind victory. Our fans can be great, but there were certain times this year that I felt the crowd gave up on the team too early… (ASU game comes to mind). What do you think about giving dawg fans a grade for the 12th man’s performance?
A: I’ll think about it, Frankly, I’d hate to ever imply that the fans were to blame for a loss. Crowd noise is a factor, no doubt about it. But how teams execute on gameday and practice during the week still means so much more. The team didn’t give the fans a lot to cheer about in that ASU game, so not sure I would have blamed anyone who lose a little faith that night. Maybe I’m just a little old school that way.
All for now.