As spring football continues, ESPN.com is looking at the “biggest shoes to fill” for every college football team, and today spotlights UW.
No surprise who they pick for the Huskies — cornerback Desmond Trufant, UW’s lone all-conference first team pick last season.
Few personnel questions are settled the first week of spring. But as UW opened practice last week, the starting corners were clearly Marcus Peters and Greg Ducre, also each the two most experienced cornerbacks on the roster, as well. The backups were redshirt frosh Cleveland Wallace and Alabama transfer Travell Dixon, a junior. I wrote about the cornerback spot and how it may unfold in this story for Saturday’s paper.
As we’ve noted here before, but as may bear repeating, UW doesn’t have a lot of other big holes with essentially 17 starters returning from last year’s team.
But here’s a quick look at other lost starters from a year ago and who appeared to be replacing them the first week of spring:
FREE SAFETY — With Justin Glenn lost to graduation, fifth-year senior Will Shamburger has run with the first team at free safety the first week. True frosh Trevor Walker has run with the No. 2 unit, though Brandon Beaver will likely join the competition there when he returns from a sports hernia when spring ball resumes in April. Tre Watson, a cornerback last year, has also seen time at safety so far in spring camp.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE/END — Semisi Tokolahi started eight games last year at tackle or end, depending on the starting alignment, with Talia Crichton also starting seven games at end, depending on the alignment. So essentially, that’s one defensive line starter up front last to graduation, with Danny Shelton returning at NT, Andrew Hudson at DE and Josh Shirley at rush end. Running with the No. 1 unit at DT the first week was Sione Potoa’e with fellow senior Josh Banks as the backup. True frosh Elijah Qualls also figures to get into the mix there once he arrives in the fall. For now, spring offers a great chance for Potoa’e — a much-heralded Class of 2010 recruit who has struggled to get on the field consistently so far — a chance to make his claim on the job (and obviously, the hope and expectation is that Hau’oli Jamora, Pio Vatuvei and Lawrence Lagafuaina all return from knee injury in time for the season adding lots more depth and options on the defensive front).
CENTER — The most significant offensive loss is center, where Drew Schaefer left after essentially holding the spot for the last three years. So far, Mike Criste has been running as the No. 1 center with James Atoe taking over Criste’s spot at right guard. But the expectation is that Erik Kohler will also get a long look at center when he returns to practice in April for the second session of spring workouts.
FULLBACK — Jonathan Amosa actually got just one official start last year with UW more often going with either three WRs or two tight ends to begin. And as some others have wondered, it’ll be interesting to see if the move to more no-huddle, up-tempo offense impacts how much the Huskies use a fullback. The 0nly players on the roster listed solely as fullbacks are redshirt frosh Psalm Wooching and junior Cooper Pelluer (the departed Dezden Petty was listed as both a tailback and fullback). UW lost no other fulltime starter on offense.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— A reminder that UW will practice again tonight.
— Phil Steele has Troy Williams No. 7 and Lavon Coleman No. 47 on his list of top true freshmen QBs and RBs.
— Arizona State, a team that returns to UW’s schedule this year, begins spring ball March 19. Here are some notes looking ahead.
— Utah is looking into some rough allegations about its swimming program, including how it was overseen by AD Chris Hill, who was a finalist at UW in 2004 when the Huskies instead hired Todd Turner.
— Cal released its first official spring depth chart last night. ESPN reviews it.
— Cal backup QB Allen Bridgford announced Monday he is officially transferring, becoming the latest Cal QB to wash out early. Jon Wilner looks at the recent history.
— ESPN also reviews the salaries of all of the Pac-12 athletic directors.
— USA Today wonders what would happen if March Madness was replaced by bowl games.