The passing game in 2008 wasn't spectacular with Jake Locker sitting out more than three quarters of the season. Washington has young talent at receiver but most of that talent was playing for the first time last season with a second string quarterback. It wasn't a recipe for success.
Overall as a group I think we are going to enjoy what we see after a full spring of a healthy Jake Locker throwing the ball to these guys. I expect to see a lot of improvement in the passing game for 2009 if the offensive line can give Locker the time to throw.
Washington lacked a consistent deep threat in 2008 to help stretch defenses. In 2009 they need to work on Jakes accuracy with the long ball so he will be able to hit his receivers long and in stride. Good things happen when you do that.
D'Andre Goodwin leads a group of nine returning WR's from last years squad. Jermaine Kearse, Alvin Logan, Jordan Polk, Chris Polk, Devin Aguilar, Cody Bruns, Vince Taylor, and Anthony Boyles are a talented group who gained a lot of experience the hard way in 2008.
The one player who took it to the next level last year was D'Andre Goodwin. "The Flea" led the team in receiving last season. Goodwin caught 60 balls for 692 yards but only had one touchdown catch in a sorry year where the Huskies only completed six touchdown catches as a team. Ronnie Fouch actually caught one of those TD passes.
Jermaine Kearse showed a lot of potential last season. He made a great catch that was beyond his years for a TD early in the season. He had 20 catches for 301 yards and two touchdowns. Most agree that Kearse is a great talent that will have a solid career at Washington. Of all the frosh on last years roster he was probably the closest one ready to play.
Devin Aguilar had a solid first season as a Husky. He had his moments and showed that he can play at this level. I really like the way this kid can return punts. Devin had 20 catches for 246 yards tied with Jermaine Kearse for second on the team. Aguilar is a good athlete nad he has a good future at Washington.
Chris Polk was slated to be a slot back last season but because of an injury to Brandon Johnson and Curtis Shaw leaving school he ended up being the number one TB to start the season. The job didn't last too long and he sat out the rest of the season with a shoulder that needed surgical repair.
Polk came in with a lot of hype last season and never got it rolling before the shoulder injury cut his season short. Chris obviously is one of the most talented athletes on the roster and they are going to find a way to get him on the field.
Sarkisian knows all about this kid and how to use him since he was a USC commit at one point from the SOCAL region. I think he is best suited for where he was originally slotted and that is at WR. We will find out in six weeks.
Anthony Boyles started slowly last year and ended up sitting out the season. Once he got the playbook down and adapted to the discipline he had an outstanding season on the Scout team. Look for Boyles to explode on the scene during spring football. Observers think he may have been the best receiver on the roster by the end of the season.
Alvin Logan is a good athlete and a decent receiver. I think most of us saw that he has some potential on defense too. The new staff may come to the same conclusion after they analyze the film. I like him best at safety so it will be interesting to see what they do.
I was really impressed with the speed and moves that Jordan Polk brings to the table. He is going to be a real good little player over the next three years. He did a decent job returning kickoffs in 2008. Look for the "Polk Cousins" to team up in 2009 returning the ball.
We all agree that Cody Bruns should have sat out last season but when he actually played you could see what Willingham saw in practice. The Huskies don't have a receiver quite like him. He is really fast, smooth and runs excellent routes. I think he will develop into one of the better receivers on the West coast over time.
Vince Taylor is a guy that I expected to end up at safety last year. He came in late so he ended up sitting the year out. Because of the nature of the closed practices we really won't know how he is progressing until spring. I could see the new staff moving him to defense if they need depth over there.
The Huskies bring in James Johnson from San Diego who set a bunch of records while he was in high school. He has the ability to play right away if needed and I could see Sarkisian doing that to add depth to special teams. If you look at his film he is a big time deep threat and that may earn him playing time in 2009.