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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

May 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Post-spring position review — Offensive Line

kohler.jpg

The next stop in our review of UW’s position is one that’s a little hard to read — the offensive line.

UW returns three full-time starters from last season, and another who started five games. But the Huskies also lose three players who combined to start 91 games in their careers, each of whom started at least seven games last season.

And they spent the spring with a couple of positions in flux and the defensive front often getting the better of the offensive line. The general thought leaving the spring was that there’s potential here, a chance to continue the improvement seen at the end of last season, but that it also remains something of a work in progress.

Before going further, a look at the official post-spring depth chart on the line.

LEFT TACKLE
Senio Kelemete, 6-4, 289, Sr.
Micah Hatchie, 6-5, 274, RFr.

LEFT GUARD
Colin Tanigawa, 6-3, 310, RFr./OR
Erik Kohler, 6-5, 306, So.
Mike Criste, 6-5, 280, RFr.

CENTER
Drew Schaefer, 6-4, 281, Jr.
Daniel Kanczugowski, 6-4, 327, Jr.

RIGHT GUARD
Colin Porter, 6-4, 307, So.
James Atoe, 6-6, 355, RFr.
Nick Wood, 6-3, 287, Sr.

RIGHT TACKLE
Erik Kohler, 6-5, 306, So./OR
Ben Riva, 6-6, 275, RFr.
Skyler Fancher, 6-5, 303, Sr.

POSITION OVERVIEW

Three spots listed above are set — Kelemete at LT, Schaefer at C and Porter at RG.

Those are the leaders of the offensive line, players who ran with the first team throughout the spring at their respective spots other than the time Kelemete missed with a foot injury that shouldn’t inhibit his readiness for fall camp.

Kelemete and Schaefer were full-time starters last season, as was Porter once he entered the starting lineup against Oregon State (UW went 5-3 in the games he started). Porter, regarded as the strongest of the OLs, may already be the most physically imposing player up front, though he’ll be just a true sophomore next season.

Schaefer does a solid job getting things organized up front, which makes him a good fit for the center spot. And Kelemete’s leadership is evident in being elected a team captain by teammates for the second straight season. Kelemete had some struggles a year ago in his first full season at left tackle, with the obvious hope that a second year in that spot should lead to improvement.

The other two spots, as noted by the depth chart above, are a little uncertain heading into the spring.

Kohler, a talented player (pictured above against Nebraska in a Dean Rutz photo) who started five games last year as a true freshman, spent time at both guard and tackle throughout the spring. He may be a better fit right now at guard, but the Huskies think he could be a long-term answer at tackle, and Kelemete’s injury allowed him to get some reps there this spring. It won’t be a surprise if the Huskies allow him to settle at one spot or the other when fall camp begins in August.

Riva was an early revelation at right tackle, touted as one of the most improved players on the team. But he suffered a foot injury and missed the last two weeks of the spring. The bullish Tanigawa was also regarded as one of the most improved players from the fall and spent much of the spring running with the starters at left guard.

Ultimately, two players out of Kohler, Tanigawa and Riva figure to start, the Huskies ultimately likely decide which of those two help fill out the best fivesome.

And those six, along with Kanczugowski, loom at the moment as the players who would most likely fill out the rotation. Kanczugowski, who filled a key reserve role a year ago — largely as a blocking tight end — was moved to center in the spring, an experiment that will apparently continue into the fall.

Fancher also has some experience, and appeared to be healthy this spring for the first time since a foot injury that has sidenlined him the last two seasons. Continued health could put him in a position to get on the field in 2011. Wood also has some starting experience, but his career was in doubt at the end of the spring, which he missed due to hip surgery — UW coach Steve Sarkisian said it was uncertain if he will return.

Youngsters Hatchie, Atoe and Criste all show promise but also all may need some more time before contending for legitimate playing time.

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