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Spring Outlook - Offensive Line - Improvement demanded and expected

One word could be used to describe Washington's 2009 offensive line and that was simply adequate. Everyone of consequence other than Ben Ossai is back and the outlook is brighter in 2010. A full year of conditioning and weight training under Coach Ivan coupled with a year of experience with the new offense should yield significant improvement.

Ryan Tolar returns for his senior year after being moved to center last season. I think he will move back to guard in 2010 because the coaches had to notice how well the unit performed the last two games when Mykena Ikehara took over when Ryan was injured.

Tolar will start this season because he has experience. Even though he will start he represents the past since he will never be known for his speed, quickness, and overall conditioning. That being said we expect him to be solid in 2010 while better athletes behind him are groomed to take his place when he graduates.

The only knock on So. Mykena Ikehara is size. He suffered from a virus last spring which forced him to shed around 25-30 pounds. The hope is that he has put that weight back on by April and is ready to move to the full time role of starting center. Mykena is an animal with a nasty streak and if his weight is back on it will be impossible to keep him out of the line up.

Greg Christine surprised us last fall by moving into the starting lineup the first half of the season. The walk-on senior has worked hard to get that opportunity but a nasty broken leg sidelined him at the midpoint. He probably won't be ready for contact this spring but should be good to go this fall. Christine can play guard or center so he is a great asset to have in the depth.

Jr. Senio Kelemete returns after a very strong season in 2009. He is definitely a kid to watch because of all the returnee's he has the best chance of them all to be drafted when he graduates. He started his career playing immediately as a DT and then was moved by Sark to OG last spring.

With a year of experience under his belt Senio could develop into one of the best lineman in the conference. He definitely has war daddy potential. The coaches will take a long look at the possibility of moving him outside due to depth concerns but chances are he stays where he is at.

Jr Nick Wood was a pleasant surprise last season. He started off the year buried on the defensive line and he looked like a probably attrition candidate. A mid season move to the offensive line proved to be the right choice. Within a couple of weeks he had earned a starting position due to injuries ahead of him. I wouldn't count on Nick to start this season unless there are injurises ahead of him but he will provide some solid depth coupled with a great attitude.

The Huskies will take a long look at true frosh Colin Porter when he arrives on campus. This kid is a real beast and he could earn an early shot in the rotation that could lead to a starting job sometime later in the season. 

Jr Mark Armelin and Jr Scott Shugert fill out the depth in the interior. Both of these guys need to make some sort of move this spring if they ever expect to see the playing field. Talent is due to arrive in the fall which will knock them to the end of the depth chart.

Overall Washington seems to be strong enough up the middle but lacks experienced depth at tackle. Sr Cody Habben and So Drew Shaeffer are the designated starters heading into spring. Habben showed improvement last season but he was far from being dominant.

Shaeffer goes into the spring as number one on the other side but he will have plenty of competition from Jr Skyler Fancher if he has recovered from a series of three leg operations. Shaeffer pushed for a starting job as a RS last fall but in the end the coaches decided to move Ben Ossai back outside. True frosh Erik Kohler is certain to step into the rotation next fall and compete for a starting job. you would like to redshirt him but there just isn't any depth.

Washington is bringing in seven HS offensive linemen this fall. It represents one of the better offensive line classes in the history of the school. The majority of these kids will redshirt but expect Colin Porter and Erik Kohler to be given the chance to make an impact in 2010.

Washington will bring in at least five offensive lineman in the 2011 class. Sarkisian and Cozzetto will continue to rebuild from the bottom up. The Washington offensive lines best days are ahead of us but in the meantime the coaches are making good use of the pieces they have.

(Editors Note)

Cody Habben will miss spring practice while recovering from shoulder surgery. He will be fine by fall camp. I would say that it is pretty likely that they take a long look at Kelemete outside this spring.