In 2009 Washington was blessed with a redshirt freshman running back by the name of Chris Polk who excelled at getting yards after contact. Polk had the speed to break the long one too but his bread and butter during a 1100 yard season was picking up the tough yards after he was met at the line.
Fast forward to spring 2010 and Polk is not available for contact for the second time in as many years nursing a surgically repaired shoulder. There is no question who the number one running back will be come fall but Washington has brought in a pair of freshmen who have opened up everyone's eyes.
The ability to keep your players fresh during the game and long season is parmaount to putting together a championship season. In a 12 game season depth at all positions is the difference between contenders and pretenders. Washington is putting together some serious depth at running back.
Deontae Cooper and Jessie Callier aren't of the flavor of the month variety. These guys are more like the flavor of the next four years and you can expect Sark to use them both liberally next season to insure that Chris Polk stays fresh and healthy deep into the campaign.
This past Saturday was Deontae Cooper's day to shine. Cooper seems to be hitting his stride right now going into the final week of practice. With Jessie Callier out with a sprained knee he became the feature back and did not dissapoint picking up over 100 yards highlighted by two long TD runs. Cooper came in as the more highly touted of the two frosh but Callier had taken a slight lead this spring in drills. SI's Stewart Mandel who took in a practice last week declared Callier a star in the making.
What is readily apparent to the Washington coaches is that they hit a couple of recruiting home runs with Callier and Cooper. You never really know what you get until they hit the field but the early returns on these two guys are as promising as any seasoned observer can remember.
Washington heads into the 2010 season with a starting tailback capable of putting together a 1000 yard season flanked by two frosh who could realistically do the same if given enough carries. They also will have a much improved Johri Fogerson who has pushed himself to the next level over the spring and off season.
Fogerson doesn't have the flash and speed the younger kids have but he is a better blocker at this point and has good hands coming out of the backfield. Most importantly the coaches can count on him hang onto the ball in a clutch situation. Those type of skills at this level come with experience and the coaches love the experience and attitude that Fogerson brings to the table.
I am excited to see Callier and Cooper return kicks this year. We didn't have much of a return game last season but with the addition of these two guys we just might be able to work with a shorter field on offense this season. Speed kills and both of these kids have it.
Big Time Football Announcement
The University and ESPN are going to announce something big today at noon. It is supposedly so big the athletic department is going to have a live press conference. Could Washington be in line for its first stint at hosting college game day? It makes sense since Jake Locker goes into 2010 as a Heisman contender and potential # 1 overall pick.
What doesn't make sense is the timing because the Nebraska game scheduled for the third week of the season would be the likely target if gameday was coming and they usually make those type of decisions the week before the game. For example 0-2 Washington vs 0-2 Nebraska wouldn't exactly cut it for a game day locale.
Another theory is that they could be moving the UCLA game to Thursday November 18th which would be interesting because they would need to have a 5:00 PM kickoff to allow the game to be scheduled for prime time back East.
The press conference will be at noon but expect the details to leak out well before that.
Husky Crew Dominates California
In the 100th addition of this storied rivalry, the top-ranked men's crew swept the Golden Bears to ensure the Schoch Cup would remain in Seattle for the fourth straight year. It's the best stretch for the Huskies since they won six in a row from 1993-98. Taking into account fast conditions on the Redwood Shores course in the Bay Area, the men's varsity eight capped the day with a blistering time of 5:31.6, giving the Huskies an open water win over the second-ranked Golden Bears and setting a course record in the process.
Lawrie Serves up third Perfect Game of the Season
Danielle Lawrie fired her third perfect game of the season, tying a Pac-10 record, and the No. 1 Washington softball team won its fourth-straight conference series with a 4-0 win over Cal on Sunday at Levine-Fricke Field. With the win, the Huskies improved to 37-5 overall and 9-3 in Pac-10 play to stay on top of the conference standings, holding off hard-charging Arizona, which moved into second place with a three-game sweep of Oregon State over the weekend to sit one game back of UW. The Huskies have won all four of their series in conference play this year, including a three-game sweep of Arizona two weeks ago.