Better Worse Or Neutral: Running Backs

Otto Greule Jr

Bishop Sankey did what nobody expected: he made us forget about Chris Polk. What will he do as an encore?

Returning Players: Jesse Callier (Jr), Deontae Cooper (Jr), Ryan McDaniel (RS-Fr) Bishop Sankey (Jr), Dwayne Washington (RS-Fr), Psalm Wooching (RS-Fr)

Losses: Jonathan Amosa, Dezden Petty, Erich Wilson II

Additions: Lavon Coleman

In 2012 running back was supposed to be a strength of the team, with both Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey laying claim to the starting spot. When Callier went down in game 1 against San Diego State, it threw a huge wrench in the plans. On the one hand, it allowed everyone to see just what Washington had in Bishop Sankey: a bell-cow back who put up 1439 yards on the ground and 16 touchdowns. On the other hand, the Huskies had no counter punch when Sankey needed a breather, and the offense had to rely on the pass more than it should have.

With both Sankey and Callier back, that combination may be back in play. With Sankey's play, he's pretty well staked his territory as the alpha back, but Callier will be in the thick of the battle to be the first off the bench to keep the offense humming. Joining that battle will be (hopefully) Deontae Cooper, but both Cooper and Callier are coming off of knee injuries, so they may be a bit limited. The coaching staff may also want to bring them along slowly, especially Cooper given his history.

If those two guys are not 100%, the scuttlebutt is that they're going to take a back seat to Dwayne Washington. We didn't hear much about Washington last year, as he came in as a receiver, switched positions mid-year and redshirted. He's a big strong runner though, and could be a nice change of pace from the crop of smaller backs that UW has coming back. And with his background as a receiver, he could be a big threat in third down situations, replicating some of the impact that Chris Polk had attacking defenses as a pass catcher.

Psalm Wooching is supposed to be the kind of fullback that Sark has been looking for since he came to Seattle. A guy who can do all the things that a halfback can do, and then knock the snot out of guys to open up holes in the run game on plays like Sark's favored lead draw.

The Verdict: Better. As long as Sankey is back, the rest is basically academic to at least be as good as in 2012. But with what looks to be more depth coming in behind him, this position could be one that the Huskies lean on more than they were able to last year.

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