Bob Condotta has been doing his top ten Husky list over the past week and he put OG Ryan Tolar in there at the five position. My top ten list doesn't have Tolar or even a single sniff from any Husky offensive lineman.
Bob goes on to explain that Tolar was coming off shoulder surgery last season and didn't really make a quantum leap in performance last season. Bob thinks that he is ready to make a move this season since he is healthy and has had a chance to improve himself from a conditioning aspect in the off season.
This offense is going to go only as far as the offensive line will take them this season. If they can't open holes for RB's to run through Jake Locker is going to be sitting back there being forced to create with his arm and feet. Once teams key on that it is simple to defend the Huskies for sixty minutes.
- Cody Habben- Mark Armelin - Terrance Thomas
- Ben Ossai - Scott Fancher - Drew Schaeffer
- Daniel Mafoe (JC) - Morgan Rosborough - Allan Carroll
- Ryan Tolar - Scott Shugert
- Mykena Ikehara - Matt Sedillo
The number one thing to watch if you go to practice this spring is the conditioning of the offensive linemen. Don't expect miracles because it can take two years to properly construct one of these animals in the weight room. A lot of these kids needed to lose a good thirty pounds. They can't afford to take off the summer.
Take a close look at the way new offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto is drilling them. Cozzetto is a taskmaster and he has a lot of work to accomplish in only 15 days this spring. Juan Garcia who spent a year under Cozzetto was quoted as saying that these guys are just going to die.
The second thing to watch is who they are going to move over from the defensive line. Look for two defensive linemen to move to the offensive side of the ball. Tyrone Duncan, Nick Wood, Senio Kelmente, Alameda Ta'amu, and Craig Noble are all possibilities. I have heard a few rumblings that Kelmente has already been moved but nothing is substantiated till they hit the field next Tuesday.
Keep a close eye on center Mykena Ikehara who I think will end up being a four year starter at Washington. He has had nine months to mature in the program and I think he will come out and dominate this spring.
The third thing to look at is the type of schemes the offense will be running. Washington was never built correctly up front to run the spread offense. Remember when Washington just knocked the snot out of California two years ago? It looked like the team had made a breakthrough. That breakthrough turned into a mirage because Washington never lined up to play in that manner again under Willingham.
The USC pro style offense is more of a smash mouth offense. It has a power run game and a good passing attack. The spread is more of a speed offense that relies on zone reads. Washington never had the speed at enough positions to make it go.
With the spread you don't see the traditional run-blocking schemes out of your offensive linemen. And you don't see as many tight ends in a three-point stance, blocking down on big defensive ends. Pass blocking is about 1.2 seconds before the pass is gone, so you don't really get to see sustained blocking assignments.
The Pro Set features a TE, 2 WRs, and a halfback and fullback, often split behind the QB. While QBs can take a snap from the center from the shotgun position, in general the pro set QB takes the ball under center to allow for better play action fakes to the running back.
This formation is particularly popular because teams can both run and pass the football out of it with an equal amount of success. This is important because it keeps defenses guessing on what type of play the offense will run. Because the backs are opposite each other, it takes the defense longer to read the gap the offense will run the ball to.
Because of the real threat of a team running the ball out of the pro-set, defenses must respect the play fake and play run. This pulls the safety to the line and opens up the middle of the field deep. Also, with both backs in position to "pick up" an outside blitz, the pro-set gives a quarterback an abundance of time to find an open receiver.
The current offensive line is more suited for this type of offense. Assign a man and drive him down the field rather than use a zone. Use your FB and TE to help open holes and slip them out of the backfield as intermediate weapons.
This new offense changes things up for Jake Locker. Three years of running a psuedo spread is now replaced by a drop back QB formation where he receives the snap at the line rather than in the shot gun. Locker is going to have to develop into a higher percentage passer this season for the new offense to work.
The emphasis on the pro set is to fear the QB's arm and not his legs. Locker will still have his assortment of QB draws, bootlegs, and rollouts to do some damage with but the emphasis will be on developing a solid running game to open up the pass.