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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 18, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Sunday practice notes — A few thoughts from UW offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto

UW is off the field following its Sunday practice, the second-to-last it will hold here before taking a break and then leaving for San Antonio.

Frankly, there’s not a lot to report. Everything personnel-wise seemed status quo. What stuck out the most was the play of quarterback Keith Price. He won’t be 100 percent for the Alamo Bowl — it’s best to realize now that likely won’t happen until he has some rest and real time to heal after the season (and maybe a little procedure along the way). But he looked great throwing the ball and running around a little better than he has most of the season.

Otherwise, a pretty regular day. UW coach Steve Sarkisian summed it up as he walked over to talk to us, then was told this was a day when he wasn’t scheduled to meet with the media. “I don’t know what I could tell you guys, anyway?,” he said. Kind of how it is a little bit in the long run-up to the bowl game.

So I took the chance instead to catch up with offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto and talk to him about about the line. As reported here yesterday, they’ve made the decision to go with Nick Wood at left guard for the Alamo Bowl in place of Colin Tanigawa, who suffered an ACL tear against Oregon State. Wood started and played well against WSU and for now, that’s how the Huskies will go for the game against Baylor.

Here’s some of what Cozzetto had to say:

On solidifying the decision to go with Wood in the Alamo Bowl: “Nick has always been the backup there. He came off he had injured hip where he didn’t go through spring so we were just kind of waiting to see how he could come back. He continues to work hard and when Panda (Tanigawa) went down he stepped in. And you know he’s going to give you all he’s got. He knows what he’s doing out there. It’s not a matter of assignments or anything like that. He communicates well. I appreciate having him here. He stuck around here. He’s been loyal. He’s the type of kid that our program will be built around is guys like that.”

On how the line played against Apple Cup: “There was a big challenge in front of him playing against (Brandon Rankin) so I had a concern there whether he would be able to hold up. Curious about his hip. But he will fight you, he will kick, he will scratch, he will gouge. He will do everything he can to get the job done. That’s all you can ask of a man.”

On how the line has played this year: “It has (solidified this year). It was like a baseball lineup when I first got here — who was playing this and that and everybody was shuffling around. I think it helped out to have those guys were able to be position flexible. But sooner or later, Drew (Scahefer) had to be the center— had to quit screwing around with him, okay? And Senio (Kelemete) had to be the left tackle and basically find a consistent place for (Colin) Porter and he’s solidified the right guard spot now, and Erik Kohler who played left guard to go out and play right tackle and keep him there. Maybe in the future we will do something with him depending on the maturity of a Ben Riva or a Micah Hatchie, but just to start those guys week after week that builds consistency in that offense.”

On the seven-man Class of 2010 and how it is progressing: “I think it is (on course). And that’s all centered around what (strength coach) Ivan (Lewis) does with those guys and the things that I ask Ivan to do to develop those guys. That’s my biggest key is the strength staff and getting these guys to the level to where they are going to compete with BCS teams all the time. We’ve got to beat the Oregon’s and the Stanford’s, we’ve got to quit fiddling around and get going and that’s where I’m at. When we got we’ve got to elevate our play to get it done.”

On what needs to happen to compete with Oregon and Stanford: “They just need to develop more. You are looking at two true freshmen who played and now they are sophomores and they are going to continue to grow even more. Now they understand the game and they have been in many times now. They are not surprised. They are mature enough to move on to the next snap where sometimes you can beat yourself up if you have screwed up as a young age. You are sitting in awe, you are hesitant because you are really not quite bought in to what your assignment is. Can you adjust okay even though you don’t cover it, are you smart enough to adjust to what a defense is trying to do in gap responsibilities and that stuff. In this system you’ve got to be a true student of the game. You have to be a student of the game and you must study and know every position and know what the quarterback is doing and what the running back is doing, so when they look at it then they become the total player that you want.”

On the left tackle spot going forward: “Micah, Erik and Ben Riva (will get looks in the spring) and we’ve got to get a class in here and obviously James Atoe and Mike Criste and those guys have got to continue to develop. There are a lot of things that are going to happen between now and the time we step on the field in the spring.”

On Atoe’s development: “James is getting a little bit better flexibility wise. He is moving a lot better. I think another winter program is really going to help him and if that man can put it all together he is a force — he is a force. He will cause wrecks.”

On if Atoe will stay at guard: “I think he is a guard, I really do. I think he feels comfortable in a tight space.”

On Tanigawa’s recovery: “He probably won’t be back for the spring but he will be back for August. They just fixed the ACL. There was no damage to any of the other cartilidges or anything, which is a big positive. Nowadays these kids are rehabbing so fast it’s ridiculous. That type of kid, too. There’s a guy that comes in as a freshman and studies the game and you wonder if he can do it, can he really do it? And he just took the bull by the horns and wow, for a redshirt freshman that’s really impressive.”

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