Based on size and experience, this group should not need all of next season to evolve the way it did this year.
All week here at Sportspress Northwest, we’ll breakdown the different units that comprise the Washington football team. A look back and a look forward for the (gasp!) 7-6 Huskies of 2010. Let’s start with the offensive line.
What was thought prior to the season: This group would be a detriment. There was a lot of sorting out to do for the coaches, trying to mix the young guys and find the best spots for the older guys. Senio Kelemete was moved out to left tackle, other veterans bounced around.
What we saw during the season: The line found stability toward the end of the season, as did the running game. No coincidence. Kelemete was at left tackle, Ryan Tolar at left guard, Drew Schaefer at center, Colin Porter at right guard and Cody Habben at right tackle. Left to right, Washington used Kelemete, Tolar, Schaefer, Porter and Habben in the most dominating performance of the season: the Holiday Bowl. No sacks allowed, always in part because of Jake Locker’s legs, and 268 yards rushing for the Huskies. It was doubted, rightfully, that this group could move the Nebraska defensive line around. It did more than move them in San Diego. It slapped them around.
What’s next for this group: Lots of returners. Tolar and Habben will graduate. As will Gregory Christine, who was in the rotation much of the season. Kelemete should be back at left tackle as the senior stalwart of the 2011 group. Schaefer appears a likely candidate to remain at center, where he was during the season-closing four-game winning streak. True freshman Porter received a ton of experience in varying spots on the line this year. He will be plugged in somewhere next season. As will massive Erik Kohler — 6-foot-5, 306 pounds — a true freshman, who made starts and moved around the line this year. Daniel Kanczugowski, really a guard, took over the tight end spot at the end of the season. He’s likely to be moved back onto the line with freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins coming in next season. A very early projection of a possible line could look like this:
LT Kelemete, Sr., 6-4, 289
LG Kanczugowski, Jr., 6-4, 327
C Schaefer, Jr., 6-4, 281
RG Porter, So., 6-4, 307
RT Kohler, So., 6-5, 306
TE Seferian-Jenkins, Fr., 6-7, 260
Mykenna Ikehara, who will be a junior, Sklyer Fancher and massive James Atoe, 6-6, 355 pounds, will get a look to add depth. The size and experience should help Keith Price sleep a little better, and Chris Polk think a little further about considering a return.