I don’t recall how many days we have until Husky football starts. Let’s ask Jaydon, shall we?
The Ice Bath Time Machine is a little tradition that I started a few years back. It has become one of the pieces that I look most forward to writing every year. Taking the opportunity to assess this year’s needs against the backdrop of Husky history is a fun exercise that always prompts a few fun hours of googling old stories and reliving glories past.
The concept is simple: if you could hop into a magical ice bath that had the power to take you back to another era in Husky football history, where would you go? If you could bring one player from that era back to the present and put him on this Husky team, who would it be?
Sounds cool, eh?
To make this a little more interesting, let’s resist the urge simply go with the best of the best. For example ... sure ... who wouldn’t want a Lincoln Kennedy or Steve Emtman on this roster? Transcendent talents like that are welcome on any team no matter what areas of need exist on the current roster. With this poll, let’s try to be a little bit more ambitious in demonstrating both our keen sense of the needs of this current roster and our strong command of Husky history.
So, let’s look at the candidates.
Option 1 - Benji Olson, Offensive Guard (1994-97)
Benji Olson is a Washington state product who came to UW after an accomplished high school athletic career that included football, track and wrestling. He is one of UW’s all time great interior offensive linemen having been selected as a first team All-American twice in his college career.
The 6’5” 310 lb Olson was a brawler who played with the kind of nasty streak that both distracted and intimidated opposing defenders. He also played with a level of athleticism that was uncommon for men of his size back in the 90’s. That athleticism made him particularly effective when moving and able to get to the second level. Because Olson came right after the national championship season and during the Jim Lambright era, he isn’t as heralded as some of the other Husky o-linemen that preceded him. Still, Olson was drafted in the fifth round of the 1998 NFL draft and went on to start 140 games over a ten year career with the Tennessee Titans.
With all due respect to incoming true sophomore Nick Harris, a guy like Olson could take UW’s offensive line to an elite level. Not only would interior pocket stability improve for Jake Browning, but his presence would create huge opportunities for Lavon Coleman and Myles Gaskin in the rushing attack.
Option 2 - Jeff Jaeger, Kicker (1983-86)
How far has UW football come when we are debating whether or not the kicker position is a position of significant need?
If you happen to feel it is, then I introduce you to my personal favorite all-time Husky Kicker. Jeff Jaeger was an All-American for UW his senior season and honorable mention All-American in his previous three seasons. Known for his accuracy and his ability to manage in the elements, Jaeger nailed 80 career field goals - an NCAA record that stood until 2003. He is still the all-time leading scorer in UW history.
A kicker like Jaeger could add another 25 to 35 points to UW’s season total and be the difference between a win or a loss in one or two games, particularly against stiffer competition.
Option 3 - Reggie Williams, WR (2001-03)
Most Husky fans recall the great Reggie Williams. The three year starter for UW amassed 238 career receptions, >3500 receiving yards, 22 TDs and a career yards per catch average of 14.7. At 6’4” and 215 lbs, he was won of the most prolific and physically imposing wide receivers that UW has ever put on the field.
The Lakewood product would be an ideal fit in today’s UW offense. He would occupy that coveted “big receiver” role and give UW the best red zone option that any Husky QB has seen since Austin Seferian-Jenkins was on the team. He would also make Dante Pettis that much more of a big play threat by drawing attention away from his side of the field all the while creating a little time to mature for UW’s younger receivers, in particular Ty Jones.
Williams was a first-team All-American in his junior season, his last with UW. As such, I almost decided that he didn’t fit the inclusion criteria for this poll. But, screw it, we could use a guy like him.
Option 4 - Aaron Pierce, TE (1988-1991)
One thing that we are learning about Chris Petersen and Jonathan Smith going into year four is that they like the versatility that the tight end brings to the field. The Huskies often have two tight ends on the field at the same time and they like to use them as inline blockers, h-backs and receivers.
Aaron Pierce is one of UW’s great all-time tight ends. He along with another one of our favorites here at UWDP - Mark Breuner - was one of the more versatile tight ends to have ever laced them up for the purple and gold. While UW didn’t feature the tight end as a receiver very often in Don James’s offenses, Pierce was one of those guys that could always bring the ball in when it was delivered his way. On top of that, he was a strong blocker and a key part of UW’s rushing attack.
Pierce, who played at 6’5” 250lbs, went on to get drafted by the NY Giants where he played seven seasons in the NFL. He played at both TE and fullback during his career in New York, starting 43 of 82 games and notching over 1000 career receiving yards to go along with five TDs.
Jeff Jaeger, Placekicker
This was a tough call as everything in my being wanted to pick Benji Olson here. However, UW does have a pretty deep roster of offensive linemen. I have to believe that there is going to be a moment if not two in the season ahead where the placekicker is going to be the difference in the outcome of the game. While I’m optimistic that our current roster has what it needs, a guy like Jaeger is simply nails. If I had an Ice Bath Time Machine, I’d be plucking him right out of 1987.
What Husky great would you summon from the past to help the 2017 team if you had access to an Ice Bath Time Machine
This poll is closed
Benji Olson, OL
Jeff Jaeger, PK
Reggie Williams, WR
Aaron Pierce, TE