The Washington Huskies football program completely re-tooled after last season’s Alamo Bowl explosion turned implosion. The coaching staff is mostly new, highly upgraded, and is one of the most heralded staffs in all of college football.
These new pieces went out and recruited as quick as possible to re-stock this Husky team in hopes to bring it back to Pac-12 prominence.
While they addressed s many needs as possible, there are still a few places on this 2012 team that could use some work.
Behind the recruiting of Tosh Lupoi, Eric Kiesau, Justin Wilcox, Peter Sirmon and Sark himself, the coaching staff is on the road again working to address those less than perfect areas. In the meantime, though, we have a 2012 team stocked with tons of young talent and promise.
Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the 2012 Husky football program.
If you didn’t see Keith Price play last year, you might want to go look him up on YouTube. The guy is phenomenal and went well above and beyond what anyone thought he would do as the replacement to Husky legend Jake Locker. After his strong showing in the Alamo Bowl where he outplayed Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, Price was put on a national stage for all to see.
Price possesses a very strong arm and is highly accurate for the most part. He hits his receivers in stride very well and is able to throw in front of or behind his receivers depending on the coverage. He has good enough accuracy to give his taller receivers the advantage downfield by throwing the ball just high enough so only his guy can go up and get it.
If that doesn’t do it for you, the Huskies also have several other QBs on the roster they like, including backup Derrick Brown and incoming freshmen Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles.
The loss of Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar is pretty significant, but the Huskies have no worries in that department. Sophomore Kasen Williams stepped up big at times last season and is looking to have a breakout 2012. The Huskies have several talented WR this season who could make an impact including James Johnson, Cody Bruns and Kevin Smith.
Throw in the fact that the Huskies have probably the best TE in college football in Austin Seferian-Jenkins and a damn good second TE in Michael Hartvigson, and you have so much depth downfield that the opposing team will need to bring extra DB’s just to cover them.
The defensive line works in mysterious ways. While their run defense is still probably going to be shoddy, the Huskies will bring tons of pressure on passing plays. With explosive ends Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson bullrushing opponents, the Huskies D-Line will be formidable to say the least.
With Alameda Te Amu graduating, it leaves a big hole to be filled. The Dawgs have the right guy for the job in sophomore Danny Shelton, who played in all 13 games last season as a true freshman. He had 11 tackles as a starter in the Apple Cup. Shelton had a dominant spring as well, earning himself double-teams that he handled well.
If this unit can stay healthy, the line should be set for at least the next 3 seasons.
The offensive line was a big hindrance last season and is shaping up to live up to that billing again this season. To top last year’s issues, this year’s line has been decimated with injuries. With Senio Kelemete moving on, it left a big hole to fill. With 4 starters returning, though, things were looking up for this year.
That is, until the injury bug hit the team.
For starters, Colin Porter had to end his football career due to deteriorating shoulders. Then Colin Tanigawa had surgery to repair an injury suffered at the end of last season. Erik Kohler is not 100% either.
While the Huskies went out and recruited a few guys to come in and play backup, they don’t possess any bonafide starters. Their depth is paper thin and if anything else happens to this line, it could be disastrous.
While this is actually kind of tough to argue this point as a negative, I will stand behind my decision to do so. With the loss of Chris Polk, the Huskies have the potential to be lacking at the RB position. Polk was one of the most dominant and productive backs Washington has ever seen. His loss is huge, but they do have a solution.
It’s unclear whether the Huskies would be running 1 back or going run by committee. Either way, they have 2 very capable guys in Bishop Sankey and Jesse Callier, who both saw action last year. If Deontae Cooper pans out like people say he will, the Huskies could have a problem of too much talent on the field.
Regardless, this team needs to rush for 1000+ yards to make up for Polk’s absence. And with this potent passing attack, it may be a tough task.
I wanted to write “defense” as a whole, but I had to step back and remember what transpired in the offseason. After paying very close attention to spring practice, it seems like the secondary, which was god awful last season, has completely turned itself around.
That leaves the linebackers as the biggest vulnerability on this defensive squad. The squad lost their best player by far, Cort Dennison. While there are a few skilled guys left on the roster, the best piece of an already lacking corps is gone. The linebackers frequently missed tackles and had extremely poor coverage.
But then again, Quinton Richardson is gone, too.
The team is addressing it any way they can. In fact, they moved Safety Nate Fellner to strongside linebacker to try and make things work.
Look for Jamaal Kearse and John Timu to step up big time this season to try and make up for the deficiency. If Fellner pans out, this squad has serious potential. Until then, that’s all it is…potential.
This Huskies squad has the makings to be great this season. Despite the weaknesses this team has, the strengths far outweigh them. If the Huskies can stay steady this season, they have the potential to surprise many people.