Husky Stadium, tailback depth, and more. …
Q: What’s the latest on the Husky Stadium renovation front?
A: Really, nothing more than we reported late last month. If you missed it, here’s a pretty exhaustive story, as well as a chart of the stadium, that I encourage everyone to read — these two items are pretty much what there is to know right now and should answer a lot of the questions I continue to get.
It has been reported since then that UW has about $36 million raised. But that’s not all cash in hand, some of it is simply promised donations. So while I think they feel good about where they are, there is still work to do. On track, but not done, essentially, but everything appears a go for the renovation to start next November.
An information-only update of the project is on the agenda for the UW Board of Regents meeting tomorrow (Thursday).
Q: If Johri Fogerson doesn’t play in 2011 (and his infractions, unfortunately, seem serious enough to warrant risking his scholarship) what impact will that have on the rotation at tailback? If Chris Polk were to get hurt, who fills in for him?
A: Well, first off you are presuming guilt, and while he has been charged and indefinitely suspended, he has not yet been found guilty, so may be a little too early to really say what his future holds.
But fortunately for UW, this appears one of their stronger positions. Jesse Callier was the backup last year and proved more than able, so he’d be one option. The expectation is that Deontae Cooper will be fully ready to go in August (he’ll be limited in the spring, but that’s normal at this stage in the recovery from that type of injury), so he’d be another. UW obviously got highly-touted RB in the February recruiting class in Bishop Sankey, so he’d be another.
Then there’s Fogerson’s younger brother, Zach, who while listed as a fullback, also took snaps in practice last year at tailback and could emerge as an option at both spots. UW also signed Dezden Petty, who is theoretically headed for a fullback role long-term, but if things really got dire, could probably fill in at tailback, as well. So, UW has options at tailback.
Johri Fogerson’s greatest value next season, maybe more than being a backup to Polk, figured to be as a situational, third-down-type back, catching passes out of the backfield, that sort of thing. I think Callier and Cooper are probably being groomed the most specifically to be every-down backups to Polk (along with Sankey eventually).
Q: Seems like the Huskies are very rich at safety- another Top-Ten national safety (James Sample), added to the one they picked up last year as well as a plethora of juniors and seniors at the position. Is any of them likely to change to linebacker, as Victor Aiyewa did? (Or, another position?)
A: I haven’t heard that. Not that we would have yet — with spring ball starting on March 29, UW coach Steve Sarkisian will probably meet with the media sometime prior to that and answer those quesitons. But when he held a live chat with us last month, he didn’t indicate any position changes coming (though again, spring is always the time for experimentation, so you never know).
I’m not sure I’d say the safety spot is just brimming with depth yet, however. Obviously, a guy like Sample isn’t here yet, so a little early to assume he’s ready to be a big contributor right off the bat. He has the hype, and he very well could. But not sure you start moving guys around based on that assumption.
And remember that Nate Williams basically played every snap last year, meaning that the first priority is to properly fill his loss.
Again, there’s lots of reasons to think Sean Parker can handle that, with guys like Taz Stevenson and Justin Glenn (who may finally be 100 percent again this spring) also right in the mix. But with one starting, you need one of the the others as backup, and ideally you’d be three deep there. Nate Fellner should return as the starter at free safety.
But again, you want to have quality depth at safety, guys ready to go if needed. Will Shamburger, Greg Walker and Marquis Persley are the other safeties. But that’s seven scholarship safeties for the spring and two more sure to be at the spot for the fall. Not sure that’s too many. I count 14 potential linebackers for the fall, so not like that’s a spot hurting for numbers, either. But since aspects of those two spots (namely, the two outside LB spots and SS) certainly you could see some movement there. I’d actually think it more likely of a younger player, maybe, than an older one.
All for now.