Fall camp begins for the Huskies on Aug. 4, and as we countdown to the start of Chris Petersen’s first season at Washington, we’ll preview each position on Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to the start of camp.
TODAY: Offensive line
Backup Erik Kohler, who took a medical retirement in January, is the only lineman gone who played any sort of meaningful role last season . UW announced earlier this month that sophomore reserve Taylor Hindy was transferring. Otherwise, the starting unit returns intact.
— Micah Hatchie, sr., 6-5, 301. Hatchie, an all-Pac-12 honorable-mention selection last year, missed all of spring ball while recovering from offseason surgery, but he’s started 26 consecutive games for the Huskies at left tackle. Presuming he’s back to full health, there’s little reason to think the native of Haleiwa, Hawaii, won’t be back there when the Huskies open the season at Hawaii on Aug. 30.
— Jake Eldrenkamp, so., 6-5, 287. With Hatchie sidelined, Eldrenkamp was entrenched with the ones during the spring, and he held his own against UW’s veteran defensive line. He figures to be next in line as the starter here in 2015, though Coleman Shelton might have something to say about that.
— Coleman Shelton, rs-fr., 6-5, 280. Shelton, fiery and physical, was one of the young guys singled out by O-line coach Chris Stausser during spring ball.
— Dexter Charles, jr., 6-5, 278. Perhaps the line’s best NFL prospect, Charles earned all-Pac-12 honorable-mention honors as a sophomore, when he started 10 games at left guard. He missed three games with a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. He then sat out spring ball, usually doing conditioning drills and running Husky Stadium stairs alongside Hatchie. Has started 21 games in his UW career, and he’ll be entrenched there again this year.
— Siosifa Tufunga, jr., 6-2, 305. With Charles out, Tufunga was a regular at left guard with the ones in the spring, emerging as one of the “breakout” players. Figures to be a solid reserve this season.
— Michael Kneip, so., 6-5, 283
— Cory Fuavai, so., 6-3, 322
— Mike Criste, sr., 6-6, 318. Criste was solid and dependable in his first season as the starting center, starting every game and earning all-Pac-12 honorable mention.
— Dane Crane, rs.-fr., 6-3, 300. Crane was another one of the young guys singled out by Strausser in the spring.
— Colin Tanigawa, sr., 6-3, 275. Coming off major knee injuries in 2011 and 2012, Tanigawa was one of the team’s pleasant surprises last season, starting all 13 games (the first 12 at right guard) while serving as a team captain. An intense competitor, he was tried out at center in the spring, though he figures to find himself back at right guard for his senior season.
— James Atoe, sr., 6-7, 375. Versatile big man was a one of the most valuable reserves last season, and started at right guard in the Fight Hunger Bowl.
— Shane Brostek, jr., 6-4, 287
— Ben Riva, sr., 6-7, 313. The steady, heady senior, who will represent the Huskies at the Pac-12 media days Thursday, enters his third season as the primary right tackle.
— Ross Dolbec, jr., 6-5, 304. Dolbec appeared in 11 games last season, and he figures to push for more playing time with the second unit this year.
— Andrew Kirkland, rs-fr., 6-4, 302
— Matt James, fr., 6-5, 270, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
— Jesse Sosebee, fr., 6-6, 300, Garden Grove, Calif.
— John Turner, fr., 6-4, 275, Los Angeles
After years of mediocrity, at best, there’s hope that the offensive line could be a strength, if not the strength, of the UW offense this season. Again, all five starters return from a line that paved the way for Bishop Sankey’s record-breaking rushing season, and there’s quality depth behind them, too. One glaring weakness from last season that must be addressed: The Huskies allowed 30 sacks last season (or 2.31 per game), which ranked 88th in the nation. By comparison, under Stausser, Boise State allowed a combined 26 sacks — 26! — over 39 games in 2010, 2011 and 2012 (before allowing 26 last season, which, not coincidentally, was Boise’s worst season of the Chris Petersen era). In those same three seasons (2010-12) UW allowed 96 sacks. It’s fair to wonder how well a more mobile quarterback — ahem, Cyler Miles — will help that statistic; regardless, the sacks will no doubt be a point of emphasis for Stausser and the Huskies this season.