The coaches at Washington see some bright spots on the roster but one area they are very concerned about is the offensive line. First off all the talent isn't tailor made for what Sarkisian is looking for. He wants lighter, faster and more athletic players at these positions and the bottom line is that type of talent will have to be recruited over the next couple of years. UW didn't get much help with this recruiting class either. JC OG Daniel Mafoe was the only offensive line recruit in the class.
Cody Habben and Ben Ossai return at tackle. Ossai is a three year starter that hasn't really gotten better. Habben had a tough year last season and spent a lot of time on his back. Both of these guys tend to get brutalized by opposing defensive lines. Scott Fancher and Mark Armelin back them up and will compete for extended playing time this season. Drew Schaeffer and Terrance Thomas who sat out last year will see their first playing time this season.
On the inside only Ryan Tolar returns. He will be most likely flanked by JC recruit Daniel Mafoe. Backing them up will be Scott Shugert, and Morgan Rosborough. Allan Carroll will also see his first action of the year. Obviously UW could use some more help here so expect two defensive linemen to be moved this spring.
Who could move over here?
Tyrone Duncan, Nick Wood, and Craig Noble are a couple of possibilities.
At center Matt Sedillo and Mykena Ikehara will fight it out for the starting job. Sedillo could figure into the rotation at guard if Ikehara ends up beating him out like I think he will. Ikehara was the best of the freshman lineman last year and if Garcia had not returned he may have played.
As far as recruiting goes Washington was not succesful when it came to recruiting offensive linemen in 2008. Daniel Mafoe who will compete for a starting job inside was the only OL in the recruiting class and he isn't a lock at this point to qualify.
One thing in Washington's favor regarding JC's in general is Coach Sarkisian will be more on top of the players academic progress before they get in than Tyrone Willingham and his staff were.
ASU's Omar Bolden is a key example of that. He wanted to come to Washington but Willingham and his staff did not want to take on the academic risk of him not qulaifying. ASU on the other hand took the risk and also took on the job of making sure he found the classes he needed at the JC level to get in to school.
Nobody thought Bolden would qualify but he did. One of Bolden's academic counselors in high school was furious with the Washington staff and said they would never advise a kid to go to Washington as long as former assistant coach Trent Miles and head coach Tyrone Willingham were working there.
What it all boils down to with the old regime is that they didn't want to take the time nesscesary to make sure kids did qualify. If a kid did qualified it was on his own and without much help from Washington. That all changes with Sarkisian in command.
Once again it comes down to the work ethic needed to change things around and Washington's old veteran staff may have been a little burnt out in that regard.
As far as the off season goes Scott Woodward told Bob Condotta last night that the offensive linemen have lost an average of 11 pounds per player so far and were responding well to Coach Lewis. I would like to see the figures without Morgan Rosborough included in the weight loss equation. A guy that big with that much to lose can skew those figures quite a bit.
So in conclusion we aren't adding much new talent per se to this unit and improvement will come sloely from improved conditioning and coaching in 2009