Sunday, August 24, 2008

Washington Football Preview

Year four of the Tyrone Willingham coaching project will be under a microscope. The Huskies desperately need to climb out of the Pac Ten basement and the dicey part is that this team is probably still a year away from accomplishing such a feat. Sophomore QB Jake Locker will remain the focus of the program. No doubt this highly touted prep recruit has talent. He did not disappoint in his debut season while rushing for a conference record by a QB (986 yards). He is a very physical athlete that still has plenty of room to grow in terms of his passing skills. The problem is that he does not have the RBs and WRs at his disposal to take that gigantic leap forward yet. The Huskies must replace five senior receivers and TB Louis Rankin, who became the first Husky since 1997 to rush for more than 1,000 yards. The OL might be one of the few considered strengths but took a huge hit when All-Conference center Juan Garcia suffered a foot injury late in the spring and likely won't be available this fall. UW returns just one of its top six linemen on the other side of the ball. No one other than DE Daniel Te'o'Nesheim had more than two tackles last season. The back seven won't be as inexperienced. New D-coordinator Ed Donatell, a former NFL defensive back specialist, has been experimenting with many of the secondary schemes this spring. There is a chance the defense could wind up being much improved at least in terms of defending the pass. Overall, this defense has not shown a consistency at any one facet. Willingham is reaching the end of his rope. Anything short of six wins may not be good enough to keep him in Seattle. If that is the case, say good-bye. Especially considering an 0-3 start is more than possible; it is actually to be expected, as the openers are Oregon, BYU and Oklahoma.

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