Tag Archives: Dorson Boyce

Huskies Position Overviews – Safety

This is the last installment in our long series of position overviews.  Spring practice starts tomorrow. I plan on attending most of them and then posting practice reports. 

Today we’ll take a look at safeties; a position with a few questions but with even more promise.  Here’s my depth chart:

Starters:

  • Strong Safety: Nate Willliams, 6-0, 220, SR.
  • Free Safety: Justin Glenn, 5-11, 200, RS SO. or Nate Fellner, 6-1, 200, SO.

Nate Williams has been a mainstay in the Huskies secondary for the last 3 years.  He’s a solid player that the coaches like a lot.  He is sure to add experience to this group and be a leader on this defense along with Mason Foster.  He can play either position but the coaches prefer to have him at free safety.  The only downside on Williams is that he tends to wear down over the course of a full season.  This is a problem because the Huskies need to be able to count on Williams for all 13 games this year (yes, I’m counting a bowl game).  The biggest thing this spring for Williams is to stay healthy and to get stronger so that he’s able to be there all of next season.

Most people have Nate Fellner as the starter at free safety but I’m not so sure.  Because of a couple injuries last year, Fellner became the starter.  He showed potential but struggled at times, which is to be expected from a true freshman.  Nate was overlooked in the recruiting process and came to the Huskies unnoticed.  This looks like it was a good sleeper pickup for the coaching staff.  Fellner is a hard hitter and will be a solid player over his career.

The reason that Fellner doesn’t have the starting job on lock down is because of Justin Glenn.  Glenn became the starter against USC last year and we all know what happened that game.  He was a very good player and made many tackles before breaking his leg last year.  Without Glenn I don’t think we would’ve won that game against USC.  If he plays at the level he did last year I think he is the best free safety we have.  I don’t know if he will be able to do that though, returning from a broken leg is not an easy thing to do. 

Backups:

  • Strong/Free Safety:  Victor Aiyewa,  Greg Walker, Marquis Persley, Will Shaumburger

Aiyewa is senior who has had injury problems all of his career.  He is a big kid who will backup William at strong safety.  The coaching staff may take a look at him playing outside linebacker too.  Victor can hit people very hard.  I’ll never forget an interview I heard with Victor Aiyewa when the reporter asked him what he brought to the team, Aiyewa responded with the brilliant answer, “I like to hit people.”  Football players should say that more often.  Because of this I will always be a Victor Aiyewa fan.  If he can stay healthy, I think we’ll see Victor do some big hitting this Fall.

Greg Walker began last year as the starter.  He blew a couple coverage assignments and then was passed by Glenn and Fellner on the depth chart.  Walker can obviously do some good things or else the coaches wouldn’t have started him in the first game last year.  But, from what I’ve seen, Walker needs to get better in pass coverage and tackling.  He is only a sophomore and will only get better with time, assuming a Vonzell McDowell situation doesn’t occur.

The other two guys are not very well known commodities.  Persley, a junior, has spent the last couple years as a backup cornerback and now makes the transition to safety.  We’ll see what he can do come this spring.  Shaumburger red-shirted last year.  He was an impressive recruit and we hope that translates to the field.  Both of these guys need to have good springs in order to see the field come next fall.

Overall Position:  This team has plenty of talent at safety.  Over the course of last season, many of these guys gained experience also.  I think this group could be pretty good.  Matched with a good set of cornerbacks, the Dawgs might have a better secondary than they have in 7 or 8 years (which, to be honest, isn’t saying much).  The one gripe here is that it doesn’t look like the Dawgs have much star power at either safety position.  They have very solid players but I don’t think any of them have all pac-10 potential (although Nate Williams may get some consideration because he’s been consistent over the last 3 years).  It’s nice to have a solid group here and it’s nice to not have to worry too much about the Dawgs secondary for the first time in while.

Just a few quick notes after the jump  Continue reading

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Huskies Position Overviews – Tight End

Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these.  Frankly, I can’t get my mind off of the UW basketball team so these have taken a backseat.  To try to avoid my growing nervousness (26 hours until game time!) I’ll cover tight ends today. 

Tight end is an interesting spot for the Huskies.  There is no doubting that the Dawgs’ have talent at this position.  Here’s how I see the depth chart at this position:

Kavario Middleton, 6-5, 253, JR. – When Sark came over from USC, people expected big things from Middleton.  A tall, athletic tight end fits the pro-style offense that we run perfectly.  Unfortunately, last year wasn’t a coming out party for Kavario.  He had a solid year but struggled with the same inconsistencies that he had since arriving on Montlake.  Middleton came in as a 5-star prospect with big expectations.  He has the ability to make plays that will conjure up memories of Jerramy Stevens (although Middleton isn’t crazy), but they don’t happen often enough.  If he ever puts it all together Middleton could be a first round NFL draft pick and a star for the Huskies.  For now, he’s just a solid player with a ton of upside.

What Middleton needs to improve on this spring:  Blocking, blocking, and more blocking.  The main gripe about Middleton is that he’s a liability when the Huskies are running the ball.  He has the size to be a good blocker but many reports say that he doesn’t put in the effort and would rather be catching passes.  There is no questioning Middleton’s pass catching ability, he might have the best hands on the team, but if he wants to be an NFL caliber tight end his blocking must improve.

Chris Izbicki, 6-3, 232, RS JR. – Izbicki, like Middleton, came to UW as a highly recruited rank.  A  few off the field issues landed Chris in Tyrone Willingham’s doghouse.  Thankfully, he got a fresh start last year and did some nice things.  He may not have the star potential that Middleton has but he is very capable of being a good pac-10 tight end.  Izbicki is a decent blocker and can turn into a good receiver.

What Izbicki needs to improve on this spring:  It seems like you know what you’re getting with Izbicki.  He will probably never fulfill the high expectations he had out of high school but he will be a solid contributor.  Through this spring Izbicki needs to continue to develop better hands so he won’t be considered a liability during passing downs.

Dorson Boyce, 6-2, 231, SR. – Boyce came into the program last year from junior college and contributed on special teams.  He is probably the best blocker out of this tight end group but his receiving skills are suspect.  Boyce was brought in to add depth to the position, he may struggle to see playing time at this position.

What Boyce needs to improve on this spring:  Boyce doesn’t have the skill set of the other guys but he works hard and is a solid blocker.  If he was to improve on his receiving dramatically then he may be in the conversation.  I don’t really think he has the ability to catch up to the guys in front of him regardless of what kind of spring he has.  But the great thing about this coaching staff is they love competition so if Boyce pushes the guys in front of him to be better than expect to hear Dorson’s name come up.

Marlion Barnett, 6-2, 220, RS FR. –  We’ve yet to see Barnett on the field because he red-shirted last year.  The coaches seem to like him judging from practice reports and I expect him to become a solid contributor in the years to come.  He is supposedly a very capable receiving tight end.

What Barnett needs to improve on this spring:  Barnett lacks size for a tight end and blocking pac-10 defensive ends may be a struggle for him.  Therefore, putting on weight and working on blocking this spring are essential.  If he does this I think he will see some time on the field next year, although it will probably in a limited role.

Overall position:  This is a position where the Huskies have a lot of talent but it is under achieving.  Unfair expectations may have been put on Izbicki but Middleton definitely has untapped potential.  At USC, Sark used his tight ends very effectively and I think Middleton has the capability to become a Fred Davis type player in this offense.  Obviously, this would be huge for an offense that already figures to put up quite a few points.

A few random thoughts and links after the jump.  Continue reading

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