Colin Tanigawa #64 and Senio Kelemete #56 lead the way for ASJ as he heads to the end zone for a TD against California last season. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Those facts taken at face value should mean that the offensive line had a lot of positive things to do with that.
Examine the situation a little closer and you will notice that Chris Polk was probably one of the best "YAC" back's in the country over the past three seasons. He got a lot of yards on his own simply by keeping his feet moving and refusing to go down. That made his offensive line better than they really were.
Keith Price plays quarterback like an All American point guard. The way he moves around in the pocket creating plays takes a lot of pressure off the offense line. Jake Locker ran for his life all four years he was at Washington. Mobile QB's make offensive lines look much better than they really are.
I think we can all agree that the Husky offensive line while serviceable was closer to the middle of the pack rather than being elite (Stanford/Alabama/Wisconsin) in 2011. They probably won't reach elite status either in 2012 because of the lack of proven experience out at the tackles.
OT Senio Kelemete has moved on to a probable career in the NFL which means the Huskies are going to have to find two starters out of a group that includes, Erik Kohler, Micah Hatchie, Dexter Charles, and Ben Riva.
Kohler seems more suited to playing inside and his best moments so far as a Husky have been at guard. Hatchie played a bit last season after sitting out his first season. He still needs to add some beef to his frame and it isn't a given going into spring that he will win one of the starting jobs.
Riva had a good spring last year but faded into the background after an injury. The wildcard at tackle is Dexter Charles who plays with a nice bit of nasty. He impressed the coaches while on the scout team last season and could play himself into a starting job with a solid spring.
On the inside the Huskies are as strong as anyone in the conference when healthy. Colin Porter is coming off shoulder surgery so he won't be full go this spring. Colin Tanigawa is coming off of ACL surgery so he definitely won't be back until late this summer.
If Tanigawa can't go early this fall Kohler can always move back inside. Drew Schaefer returns for his senior season to man the center position. Drew has been a solid starter the past three seasons and it will be interesting to see if he can push it to another level during his final season.
OG James Atoe, C Mike Cristie and C Siosifa Tufunga are the primary backups inside. All three were "Plan B" under the radar type of guys when they were recruited. With Tanigawa and Porter on the shelf these guys are going to get their first legitimate chance to earn some playing time this spring.
I think the development of these three guys will give us a real good idea of where Cozzetto's rebuilding program is headed. If Coach Dan can get decent production and development out of this trio the future is bright. If they fade into obscurity than the foundation of the program still has serious problems.
The Huskies bring in five new scholarship linemen this fall. OT Nathan Dean from Juanita HS, OG Shane Brostek from the Big Island, and C Cory English from Auburn HS are all excellent looking prospects with the ability to contribute earlier than most.
OG Jake Eldrenkamp from Bellevue received a late offer from Washington after more highly touted in state athletes decided to go elsewhere. He is a talented guy who will do very well was as a Husky. I really liked his film and was surprised he had to wait so long for Pac 12 offers. In a normal year (2013) he gets offered by mid June.
OT Taylor Hindy is a bit of a wildcard who popped in to fill the class on LOI day. He has good size and his film looks impressive even though UW was his only big time offer. He is a long snapper and he could end up filling that role in addition to playing tackle from day one.
Another good get is Bellevue HS walk on Michael Kneip who passed up offers from Big Sky type schools to attend UW. The Huskies could really use a couple of guys like Kneip each year to help build depth. His film is really intriguing and he is definitely the type of guy who could earn a scholarship down the line.
Speaking of walk-ons Daniel Kanczugowski could possibly return to the team this spring. He earned scholarship in 2010 but wasn't eligible to play last season because of grades. You really can't discount how important it is to have extra big guys on the roster to practice against or even fill in holes which Daniel did admirably when he was eligible.
- Erik Kohler Jr
- Micah Hatchie So
- Colin Tanigawa So
- Colin Porter Jr
- Drew Schaefer Sr
- Ben Riva So
- Dexter Charles Rs
- James Atoe So
- Mike Criste So
- Siosifa Tufunga Rs
- Taylor Hindy Fr
- Nathan Dean Fr
- Jake Eldrenkamp Fr
- Shane Brostek Fr
- Cory English Fr
- Michael Kneip Fr (Walk-On)
Will the overall performance of the Washington offensive line be improved in 2012?
Yes (114 votes)
No (26 votes)
140 total votes