The Big Questions Summer Update

Back before the Huskies started Spring Practice, we put together a list of questions that we thought were key to the 2010 season.  Now that the expansion chaos has calmed slightly, let’s look back and see if we have any new answers.
  1. Can the offense become a consistent threat? I don’t think spring showed anything that would make us think otherwise.  Jake and the receivers looked as good as we expected, maybe better.  The offensive line, with Senio Kelemete at left tackle and a lot of experience everywhere else, gave hope for a bust-out year.  With Polk out, Cooper and Callier showed that they’ll be at least back-up threats this year.  The only concerns at all are fullback, back-up QB and maybe Middleton, who didn’t take the step forward that would have been great to see.  But the fact remains, if Jake’s healthy, this unit should be tough.
  2. Can the Dawgs field a defensive line that will stop anyone?  Injuries were a major problem for this group, as it was shorthanded to start and always seemed to have at least one addition member out.  Everyone should be back healthy for the season though, so we’ll just have to wait and see once they have a full group and the incoming frosh on the field.  One plus: Elisara played a lot of DE and looked solid, which will help with versatility, if nothing else. 
  3. Will quality depth emerge on offense? As mentioned above, the offensive depth looked much improved this spring.  The running backs might have fewer bodies, but the ones they have are better and more versatile than in recent years.  Receiver looked to be in good shape but actually suffered some injuries and could possibly need a freshman to play.  The top four or so look great, however.  Izbicki passed Middleton on the depth chart and they’re a solid tandem.  The line isn’t as deep as we’d like yet, but again, it looks better than any line in recent memory.  The back-up QB’s were shaky, as was expected.
  4. Can the defense take the next step?  It’s tough to say on this, with the line such a mish-mash.  The linebackers looked good and the safeties were much improved.  The corners looked like a very deep group, even with Trufant out.  It’ll all depend on the line, but there’s definitely promise here.
  5. Will special teams find any playmakers?  Special teams is the one thing that’s not practiced much, at least in scrimmages, so I don’t have a good answer for this.  The presence of the freshman is a positive, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
  6. Will we see any changes in Nick Holt’s defensive game-calling in his second year? This is tough to call as well.  It seemed like there were a few more blitzes in what I watched, but that could be my imagination.  Between keeping schemes vanilla so as not to give away much and the practices being more geared toward fundamental improvement, we won’t really know this until games start.
  7. Who will emerge at safety and linebacker?  Safety was maybe the most improved position on the team this spring.  Nate Williams missed some time with injury, but looked much-improved.  I saw the other day that he’s dropped his 40 time from the 4.7s to the 4.5s, which is huge.  The real positive was the battle between Nate Fellner and Will Shamburger at the other spot.  Both showed big improvement and should battle for the job, along with Justin Glenn.  At linebacker, the Foster-Dennison due looked like the strength of the defense.  Alvin Logan, Matt Houston, and Victor Burnett all had their moments competing for the other spot, although Victor Aieywa might have the lead over all of them this fall.
  8. How much of the team’s success is dependent on Jake Locker?  How far can he lead them?  In a word, still pretty much all of it.  This team is good enough to win a few without Locker, but with him healthy for the full season, I think they have a good shot at one of the top three Pac-10 bowl games, especially with USC out.

The team recently started their summer workouts, which are “voluntary”, and the rest of the freshman will report in the middle of July.  It sounds like Chris Young and Darius Waters, two linebackers, are the only possible academic casualties.  Cross your fingers, because they’re not two we want to lose, especially Young.  Husky specific news (non-expansion will probably be sparse until August, with the exception of the occasional fluff piece from the beat writers about how much stronger a certain player has gotten or how the team is really bonding this summer.  That leaves plenty of time for the Good Guys to cover the exciting Mariners season.  Lucky us.

Have a good weekend everyone.  Go Dawgs!



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