Is it football season yet?
The Washington Huskies spring game has come and gone, leaving football fans anxious for the 2013 season. The problem is, we still have just over 4 months before the season opener against Boise State. After getting a small glimpse of what fans can look forward to next season, it has left us all with a yearning that football comes back sooner than later.
While we wait, though, there are lots of developments to be made. Will the team get ravaged by injuries again before the season even begins?
Will an incoming freshman come in and impress his way into the starting lineup? Will there be more off field incidents that affect any other starters?
Most importantly, though, is who will this season’s leaders be? The role changes each season, so it can be hard to gauge. Especially on a talent-rich, upper-classmen filled squad.
Here are 5 Huskies who must lead by example this season.
The obvious choice as always is Keith Price. With this being his senior season, he has a LOT to prove. Especially after his rollercoaster tenure while at Washington. It all starts with winning the job, though. The starting QB spot is not a given this year with so many young, talented quarterbacks waiting in the wings.
Price will have to start his campaign by wrestling the job from Cyler Miles, Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams. After that, Price will need to get back into 2011 form, when he finished the season by out-dueling 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III in the Alamo Bowl. If he can go back to being as productive and electric as he was that season, he will immediately set the tone for the next starter.
As a freshman, Shaq Thompson was arguably the best player on the entire Huskies squad. That’s pretty awe-inspiring considering some of the other players on the team…and how Thompson ended up at LB instead of his original Safety position. With the Huskies linebacking corps devastated by multiple injuries, they needed someone to step in and fill the gaps.
Thompson, among others, made the move to linebacker to accommodate. He did not disappoint, excelling at the position and getting better as the season progressed. Now, Thompson is looking at a possible All American nod from his new position.
If Thompson can make the move from DB to linebacker and make it look easy, it should inspire others to work even harder no matter their position. Even as a sophomore, Thompson can, and will, lead by example.
It’s easy to peg Sean Parker as a leader on this Husky squad. He has been one of the most popular Dawgs during his time in Montlake and is in his last season as a college player. He has been known as a leader, but he can do it in a different way this year.
Parker has put up solid numbers on a mostly sub-par defense in his years as a Dawg.
As a senior though, he will have plenty of opportunity to show the young guys how it’s done one last time. And if he performs in top form, it will no doubt inspire those fighting for the job next year.
Kasen Williams is the leader of the receivers scary enough. His freshman season saw him challenge Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar for the top WR billing on the team. His sophomore season, the role was his after the aforementioned Kearse and Aguilar went on to the NFL.
Now a junior, Williams has quite a bit to prove. Can he be a clear #1 receiver and dominate opposing defenses? And can he lead the next generation of Husky receivers?
The answer is yes. And if he can pull both off, he will push himself, and those fighting for his job, to become better players.
If he can become Keith Price’s go-to guy, it will be all the motivation any receiver needs to become inspired.
I know this one is weird, but let me explain. With the DUI that Austin Seferian-Jenkins was charged with this offseason, it has left him suspended from the team indefinitely. Whether it be one quarter or 6 games, ASJ has a chance to turn this all into a positive as crazy as that sounds.
Looking at a past example, Jerramy Stevens, ASJ can erase any comparison to Stevens by becoming a positive example.
If he takes his suspension like a champ, works hard in the meantime and comes back stronger than ever, he gives himself a chance to do multiple positive things.
By overcoming the adversity, he can show that hard work, sacrifice and taking responsibility for your actions can bring you back to glory.