Tag Archives: Colin Tanigawa

Your 2014 UW Husky Offensive Preview

Hey readers, long time no write! New content here has been next to non-existent for a while, but college football season always inspires The Good Guys. I can’t promise the inspiration will last, but we’ll at least get the season started right.

With Seahawk fever now a permanent Seattle epidemic, the Huskies aren’t getting a lot of attention yet.  I don’t know whether that will change at all, but they deserve some buzz. This team has the potential to be the best Husky squad since the Tui-led Rose Bowl team. That’s not saying a ton, and this team has questions, but there’s the chance of something special on Montlake.

I debated what type of preview to write, but I think I’m going with a good old position-by-position write-up. While a lot of these players have been around, some of the focus is shifting from the departed offensive stars to lesser-known guys. I’ll start with the offense tonight. Here we go!

Quarterback

Most fans would say this position is the key to the Huskies season, and it’s hard to disagree. I don’t know that the Dawgs need elite QB play this year, but they need an unproved guy to be dependable and reasonably mistake-free. Who the QB will be is still somewhat in doubt. Jeff Lindquist gets the opening start in Hawaii. He’s big and athletic with a good arm but next to no experience. There’s no reason he can’t be effective, but game action is the only true determiner. Lindquist narrowly beat out freshman Troy Williams, who has maybe the biggest arm and most potential of the group, but the least experience. Should Lindquist struggle, Williams could see some time. Hopefully more likely, he’ll see mop-up duty in Hawaii.

Lurking behind these two is Cyler Miles, suspended for the opener for his off-season shenanigans. The common assumption is Miles will take over week two, but I don’t consider that a fait accompli. Miles brings a bit more experience and excellent running ability, but he’s generally considered to have the weakest arm on the roster and missed all of spring practice. Should Lindquist impress at Hawaii, it’s no given he’ll lose the spot just because Miles is available.

Running Back

Replacing Bishop Sankey is impossible, but the Dawgs have the talent to maintain an elite running game. Dwayne Washington will get the first carries. He’s taller for a back and fast, but runs with a good amount of power and violence. Fumbling issues held him down early last year, but he recovered to log the most yards of any back besides Sankey. His time as a receiver should theoretically be of benefit in the passing game. RS freshman Lavon Coleman has garnered raves since arriving in Seattle. He’s a big back with star potential.

Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier are still around and should see plenty of carries. I’ve never been a huge Callier fan, but he’s a dependable change of pace from the bigger Washington and Coleman. It’s hard not to continue to hope for Cooper to regain everything he was rumored to have before his injuries. If he were to do so, he could easily take over the starting job and be one of the best in the conference. More likely, he’ll get a decent share of carries but not quite have the burst to be a star. No matter what, he’s one of the great stories of perseverance the Huskies will ever have.

Shaq Thompson looms in the shadows, awaiting the day the Dawgsignal summons him to the offensive backfield to deliver justice and retribution to Ducks and Bruins alike. 

Receivers

This is a talented and fairly deep group, but how dominant they are could depend on how effectively Kasen Williams returns from last year’s injury. He’s not yet at full strength, but he’s close enough to play this week. Kasen’s size and experience is needed as a counterpoint to the speed of Jaydon Mickens, John Ross and friends.  Mickens matured into a go-to receiver last year, and he could be a monster in 2014 if he can diversify his game a bit. Ross is the most electric player on the roster and could make a huge jump himself. There are capable bodies behind the three, but a breakout or two would be welcome.

Tight end is a little hard to figure, due to Austin Seferian-Jenkins departure and questions as to how a new staff will use the position. Josh Perkins showed himself capable of making big catches a year ago. Michael Hartvigson has never had the impact many expected, but he’s valuable as a blocker and might catch a few more passes this year. Darrell Daniels is easily the most talented guy here and one of the better athletes on the team. Hopefully he can translate all that into football skills. If he can catch the ball, he could be huge as a bigger threat to complement Kasen. 

Offensive Line

For the first time in a long time, UW is deep, talented and experienced on the O Line. Six guys have extensive starting experience, and there’s some young talent behind them. Tackles Micah Hatchie and Ben Riva are dependable if unspectacular. LG Dexter Charles, the lone junior starter, has been considered an awards candidate in waiting since his freshman year. Colin Tanigawa supplanted Mike Criste at C this fall, potentially a good sign since Criste was a solid starter all of last year. That move could be largely about getting mammoth James Atoe into the line-up at RG. This line might not be as dominant as some of the great lines of Husky days past, but they should be better than anything the Dawgs have had lately. Count me as one who believes the coaching change could have a huge effect here too, both in performance and recruiting. Dan Cozetto’s lines never seemed to reach their expected level, and new guy Chris Strausser is renowned as a teacher.

That’s enough for tonight. Defense is next in a day or two. Go Dawgs!

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Looking At The Dawgs – Offense

In past years, I’ve tried to do position previews before Husky football season kicked off.  Usually these previews fizzled out somewhere between the linebackers and the secondary.  In an attempt to end this, I have simplified the previews this year.  I will be previewing the offense in one post and the defense in the next.  I will do a general overview of each side of the ball first and then break down the position groups (although I’m not going to make those all that in-depth).  I don’t plan on listing all 90-plus guys on the roster over these but I will try to give an idea of what I think about the starters and the depth at each position.  With these things in mind, let’s get started with the offense!130318123323-keith-price-top-single-image-cut

Offensive Overview:

Heading in to 2012, the Husky offense was thought to be a strong point of the team.  They had lost their top receivers and one of the great Husky running backs of all time but they had a stud tight-end, a few exciting prospects at running back, a returning offensive line, a decent receiving group, and a Heisman contender at quarterback.  Things didn’t exactly go to plan.

Before the season began, the Huskies were already down a few offensive linemen.  That continued throughout the season and caused the offense to fall apart.  The tight-end was great.  A star was found at running back.  But, the offensive line couldn’t pass block, a second, third and fourth receiving option was never found, and Keith Price went from a Heisman dark horse to a guy that some people wanted benched.  The offense was a disappointment, but it was one that people could make excuses for.

In the spring, the Huskies started to implement a no-huddle offense.  This has continued and will be used this season.  Apparently, the playbook is close to the same.  While they may have simplified it some, Sark has not moved to a spread offense.  I will talk about how this affects the defense in the next post but it has yet to be seen how it will affect the offense.  If the playbook really hasn’t changed much, I think the offense has a chance to special.  Sark has always been good at taking advantage of match-ups on the offensive side and as long as this is the focus of the offense and not just ‘going fast’ I feel confident in what the team can do.  The offensive line returns almost everyone and the depth of the whole offense could make running the no-huddle effective.

Position Previews –

Quarterback:
Starter – Keith Price (RSr.)
Keith Price was extremely efficient and productive in his first year as a starter in 2011.  Last year, he was a shadow of himself.  Price couldn’t move around very well, was constantly pressured, and made questionable decisions.  His efficiency in the red-zone, which was what made him great in 2011, slipped dramatically.  Price seemed to want to be too perfect at times and played scared at other times.  I’m hopeful that playing in the no-huddle offense will limit his thinking and get him back to just playing ‘Keith Price’ football.  He is only a few touchdown passes short of breaking the UW career record.  He’s had an amazing career, regardless of the last two games of 2012.  Here’s hoping he gets back to his improvising, accurate ways.  I’m glad he’s our quarterback.
The Depth – Cyler Miles (RFr.), Jeff Lindquist (RFr.), Troy Williams (Fr.)
It seems like what is listed above is the pecking order.  Miles has separated himself as the backup.  He is a good athlete and a play-maker.  His weakness seems to be his arm strength.  Lindquist came in with Miles and, while he may have fallen behind him now, appears to be in the running for the starting job next year.  Jeff is from Mercer Island and has a stronger arm but maybe not the big play ability of Miles.  Williams is a true freshman and was highly recruited around the country.  He is mobile and said to throw the best ball out of all of the quarterbacks (maybe not the most accurate, but the strongest and best spiral).  Expect Williams to redshirt unless everything falls apart.  Unlike last year, the quarterback depth appears to be in solid shape and they seem to be capable backups.   Continue reading

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Getting To Know Your Dawgs – Offensive Line

We’re only five days away from Husky football now, which means I’m not going to go quite as in-depth on these because I want to get most of them done before the first game (and I have other things to write).  The Huskies offensive line is the biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball but it doesn’t make me as nervous as many people feel.  Sark said last week that this was the best offensive line they’ve had since he took over and I don’t have any reason to not believe him.  I won’t have a lot to add about these guys because I don’t know a ton about offensive linemen and their technique.

I think the team will have about 8 offensive linemen who could play and then the rotation will become smaller as the season goes on, I would guess.  I’ll talk about those 8 guys and 2 of the true freshmen who are on the verge of playing.  Here we go! (I’ll try to list the starters first, as there’s only one position still in question)

LT – Micah Hatchie (RS So.)

It’s always a little bit nerve-wracking to start a season with an unproven left tackle.  With that being said, there wasn’t much competition for this job.  Hatchie won the spot fairly easily and received almost all of the first team reps all camp long.  Micah played some at right tackle last year but never started a game.  Scout rated Hatchie as the top recruit from Hawaii when he came out in 2010.  This spot will be tested early against LSU and it will be interesting to see if Hatchie holds up.

LG – Colin Tanigawa (RS So.)

Tanigawa started last year before suffering a knee injury in the Oregon State game that kept him out for the rest of the season.  He made his way back during camp and participated almost fully the last three weeks.  Tanigawa has a hold on the spot, as he played pretty well last year and he should only get better.  The only question with him is if the knee will hold up.

C – Drew Schaefer (RS Sr.)

Schaefer is the veteran of the group.  He’s played the last four years and has played pretty well.  It’s good to have a senior at such a critical position.  If Erik Kohler had been healthy all camp, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Schaefer ended up playing at left tackle this year.  Watch for that as we go forward, if the line isn’t succeeding.

RG – Erik Kohler (Jr.)

Kohler came in as a highly rated recruit and didn’t red-shirt his first year on campus.  He started most of that season and played well for being a true freshman.  Last year was a little bit up and down for him but he comes into this season as the second oldest starting lineman.  He was injured early in camp but came back last week and has since got more and more work.  He’s engaged in the only battle left in the O-line with James Atoe but I expect him to win.  If Atoe does win, look for Kohler to move around and play multiple positions.  I think the staff feels comfortable with him at every position save left tackle (although they might feel okay about that as well). Edit: Kohler has been named the starter in the depth chart.

RT – Ben Riva (RS So.)

Ben Riva makes the fourth starter out of five who came to U-Dub in the 2010 recruiting class.  There are a few more who could be in the rotation as well.  Riva is the only guy out of the five who didn’t see a lot of time last year.  That makes you wonder if the question marks regarding the offensive line aren’t overblown.  Riva comes from O’Dea and was a fairly heralded recruit.  He challenged for a spot last year but didn’t play much aside from on PAT attempts.  It is a little worrisome that the two starting tackles are unproven, especially considering the early season gauntlet, but the coaches seem to feel fairly comfortable with them.  If they didn’t, Kohler would have moved to one of these spots.

The next 5 in line:  LG (LT) – Dexter Charles (RS Fr.), RG James Atoe (RS So.), RT Mike Criste (RS So.), C – Siosifa Tufunga (RS Fr.) G Shane Brostek (FR.), Jake Eldrenkamp (FR.)

I don’t have a lot to add about these guys.  Charles, Atoe, and Criste will all probably see game action on the offensive line.  Tufunga is a large man who could play center if things go really bad.  The two true freshmen I list are both probably headed to red-shirt years but they are also the closest to playing out of all the true freshmen.  Brotesk is actually on the two-deep so he may play but hopefully he red-shirts.

That’s about all I have to add about these guys.  If you have any questions about any of these positions, post them in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Andrew

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