Time to Bow Down!
The 2012 college football season is approaching quickly and Husky Nation is revved up about this season’s prospects for their Washington Huskies. The last time the Huskies took the field, they took on Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears and took the game to new heights unheard of in scoring in the NCAA.
The 67-56 loss was painful, but it also put this young and talented team on the map for this upcoming season.
It’s finally time for this revamped Husky team to hit the field and face the Pac-12 gauntlet once again. With many new changes in coaching and on the depth chart, the Dawgs are looking forward to getting the 2012 campaign off and running.
The Huskies face a grueling gauntlet of opponents to start the season, but remain hopeful that they can improve on last season’s 7-5 record.
The Huskies start the season off with the San Diego State Aztecs in the new, temporary home for Husky football – CenturyLink Field.
They will get it on Saturday, September 1.
They are then @LSU (September 8), vs. Portland State (September 15), vs. Stanford (September 27), @ Oregon (October 6), vs. USC (October 13), @ Arizona (October 20), vs. Oregon State (Octboer 27), @ California (November 2), vs. Utah (November 10), @ Colorado (November 17), @ Washington State (November 23).
And of course, the NCAA National Championship Game on January 5. Hey, a guy can hope, can’t he?
There are high expectations this season for the Washington Huskies.
Let’s take a look at their 2012 team.
Head Coach Steve Sarkisian is back with a whole new staff. After he took it upon his self to let go his personal friend and Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt, Sark stockpiled coaches to improve this Husky team. He went and got Justin Wilcox, the team’s new DC, from the University of Tennessee. He also nabbed Peter Sirmon, the team’s new Linebackers coach from the Vols.
Also new is Tosh Lupoi, the team’s Defensive Line coach, fresh from Cal. With Lupoi came Eric Kiesau, the team’s “Offensive Coordinator” and QBs coach. And Keith Keyward is the new Defensive Backs coach.
With all these new coaching changes, Washington vaulted itself to the top of several recruiting ranking lists, quickly turning this team around before the season has even begun.
Junior Keith Price returns to continue what he started in 2011. After breaking several Husky records and challenging several NCAA records, Price is poised to come back in a big way to help bring this Husky offense back to prominence. Last season, Price put himself in the running for a big 2012 campaign.
After seeing the Heisman and Davey O Brien watch lists, it is more than evident that Price is a force to be reckoned with.
Behind Price is Derrick Brown, a red shirt freshman, who battled hard and won the job from 3rd stringer Cyler Miles. Behind Miles is Jeff Linquist, a homegrown freshman from the same high school as standout WR Kasen Williams.
And to think…this time last year, we were wondering who would replace Jake Locker – Keith Price or Nick Montana? (Nick Montana left the program after it was evident that Price was the man)
The running back position for the Huskies has become very clouded with the departure of Husky legend Chris Polk to the NFL. The team has gone to a more committee format, with Junior Jessie Callier and Sophomore Bishop Sankey taking the reins.
Behind them is Erich Wilson, a freshman, and senior Jonathan Amosa.
Despite the loss of Polk, this Husky offense will depend on this running back group to split up the loss of production from Polk from last year. That’s not an easy task, either as Polk broke many of Napoleon Kaufman’s school records and came close to the ones he didn’t break.
The depth chart at Wide Receiver has thinned out as well for this Husky team. They will look to sophomore Kasen Williams to step up in a big way and help ease the pain of losing both Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar to graduation. Williams started last year as true freshman and was a standout first year player.
He will look to continue to improve this season and help this potent Husky offense stay ahead of the game. Behind him is senior Cody Bruns, senior James Johnson, junior Kevin Smith Jr., sophomore DiAndre Campbell, and freshmen Marvin Hall, Kendyl Talyor and Jaydon Mickens.
Teams don’t normally turn to their freshmen so early on, but this Husky team took a huge blow losing their top 2 receivers. This young group of receivers is very talented and will make life much easier for Keith Price and this Husky offense.
When talking about receiving, you cannot neglect the tandem of standout Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Michael Hartvigson.
Both of these guys played well last year, with ASJ earning several pre-season watch list nominations for his stellar play. You could very well see the best TE tandem in all of college football this season in Purple and Gold.
The Husky offensive line was oft injured last year and this spring, but things seem to be looking up. Last season, they were shaky and this year they face a whole new slew of issues.
The line has been decimated with injuries for the past year now and does not seem to be getting much better.
Colin Porter had to retire from the game of football after finding out his shoulders were degenerative. Colin Tanigawa, Erik Kohler, and Drew Schaefer all battled injuries and surgeries in the offseason and are looking to come back stronger to help keep Keith Price and his knees healthy.
Ben Rivah and Micah Hatchie, who have never started for Washington, will get their first starts this season.
Defensive Line & Linebackers
There is a night and day difference between these 2 units on the team. The defensive line is going to be strong, tenacious and productive this season. Defensive Ends Andrew Hudson and Josh Shirley are looking to improve on a strong 2011 by getting to the QB more. The line is rounded out by Danny Shelton and Talia Crichton.
The linebacker position for the Huskies has been problematic. Also ravaged by injuries and key losses, this core is finally gelling and hope to come together to make last year just a bad memory and not history that will repeat itself.
Sophomore John Timu, redshirt freshman Travis Feeney, junior Princeton Fuimaono, junior Thomas Tutogi, and junior Taz Stevenson, Jr. will look to improve the LB play from last year.
The Husky secondary is going to cause many headaches this season. Headlining the group is Desmond Trufant, a hard hitting CB. The core of young, fast, ball hawking players is rounded out by senior Justin Glenn, junior Sean Parker, junior Will Shamburger and junior Tre Parker who dethroned Greg Ducre for the starting spot.
We will also see a lot of incoming freshman Shaq Thompson, who is coming highly touted. Rounding out the group is senior Anthony Gobern and redshirt freshman Marcus Peters.
Between Glenn, Sean Parker and Shaq Thompson, this team will have a mix of veteran and rookie play that will no doubtedly erase some of last year’s black eye.
Funny as it is, the special teams has big changes that are pretty important to this team. Gone is steady kicker Eric Folk. Taking over for him is junior Travis Coons.
The team also has a new punter with incoming freshman Korey Durkee taking the spot over this season.
This team is stacked with young, stellar return guys with Jaydon Mickens, Shaq Thompson, Kasen Williams and Jesse Callier sharing duties on the return team.
This Huskies squad can only go up from last season. The offense has proven itself to be potent, but will have to adapt to big changes. I don’t expect it to be an issue as this team got even younger and more athletic over the course of the offseason.
The horrendous defense from last year seems to already have completely turned around and will look to erase many bad memories from last season.
Despite the gauntlet of teams the Huskies have to face to start their Pac-12 campaign, hopes are high for the 2012 UW team to challenge Oregon for the Pac-12 North title.