Spring Football Review 2007
Malamute, 2 April 2007
Washington’s spring football practice begins on April 9 and concludes
April 28 with the annual Spring Game. Five of the 15 practices will be
open to the media but not to the general public. The Spring Game is open
Click here for the 2007 Spring Football
In a recent article in the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, columnist Ted Miller ranked the Huskies ninth in
his "spring pecking order", in a conference that
for the most part should be considerably stronger than it was last season. ("Pac10
football loaded for 2007").
Unfortunately, Miller is a
former Husky beat writer who may know what he is talking about. If his
spring pecking order prevails, the redoubtable Miller could profoundly influence the Pac-10 media
brigade and other related swami, who meet in Los Angeles each year to
rank the conference teams. So, take their forecasts with a grain of
To best Miller's placement, the
Huskies have a lot of "must do's" to do this spring -- which would
have been a good time to work out the dents in their sled and scrape
the rust off its runners if it weren't
for the fact the Dawgs will need a new sled, so the media will likely say in August.
-- The Huskies must stay
UW returns 6 starters on offense
and 7 starters on defense.
Lacking depth at quarterback, in
the offensive line, at running back, and in the defensive secondary,
Washington must stay healthy in 2007 -- and spring is a good time to
begin that quest.
Since the positions at
linebacker, wide receiver, tight end, and the defensive line are UW's
strengths, we won't say much about them.
Huskies must make the most of spring practice
Because the Dawgs haven’t played
in a bowl game since 2002, most of the current roster has missed out on
what could have been anywhere from 15 to 60 practices depending on the
year in school. The NCAA permits 15 practices for a bowl game.
Recently, I told Coach Tyrone Willingham that
we fans would cut him some slack for next season because of the tough
schedule. "Just Win," he said, in earshot of school president Mark Emmert.
--To win, the Huskies must
According to data on scout.com,
only 7 players on the spring roster carried a four-star rating when they
were recruited. Nary a player was rated five stars. Put in
perspective, UCLA brought in 6 four-star recruits in 2007 and one that
was rated five stars, in a class of just 10 players.
At the time of their
recruitment, the Huskies' four-star guys
are QB Carl Bonnell, QB Jake Locker, RB J. R. Hasty, LB E.J. Savannah,
DL De’Shon Matthews, WR Marcel Reece, DT Cameron Elisara.
Four returning players figured
in the Pac-10 statistics last season: Louis Rankin (eighth in rushing),
Roy Lewis (tenth in kick return average, twenty-eight in tackles),
Greyson Gunheim (ninth in sacks, fourth in fumbles
forced), and Dan Howell (third in fumbles forced).
On the bright side, WR Cody Ellis, WR Marcel Reece,
RB Louis Rankin, and LB Chris Stevens each made big plays in the Apple
Cup, all of which contributed to a 35-32 win.
-- UW must develop some depth at
In 2004, most of the beat
writers at Olympia thought that Carl Bonnell would be UW’s quarterback
to be for the next four years.
Bonnell, now a fifth-year
senior, has tons of athleticism
and a quick release; however,
injuries have hampered his career.
He started the third game of the
2004 season against Notre Dame, started the next game against Stanford
and was injured in the San Jose State game the following week. He missed the
2005 season because of a deep-thigh bruise and had surgery on his
off-throwing shoulder following the 2006 season. Since he's not 100%, it’s
not clear that he will be able to participate in any scrimmages during
the spring, but he should be able to participate in drills, this
according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
Bonnell has played in 15 games
for UW and has a career passing efficiency rating of 83.12,
which is based on 218
passes, with 92 completions for 1144 yards, 15 interceptions and 7
touchdowns. He has a career total of 166 rushing yards, averaging 9.8 yards per
In 2006, Bonnell's PE was 91.49,
based on 164 pass attempts, with 72 completions, 11 interceptions, 7
touchdowns and 916 yards. Bonnell's PE for the Apple Cup was 145.8.
Because of Bonnell's experience, look for him to start the opening game against Syracuse,
providing he stays healthy.
Bonnell’s recent marriage has
been called his “saving grace,” which, I guess, has made him more
workmanlike (more willing to spend time in the film room?).
Bonnell will be pushed by
redshirt freshman Jake Locker and incoming freshman Ronnie Fouch, whose
registration for spring quarter allows him to participate in spring
Projected to be the Huskies’
“savior” by many Montlake followers, Locker drew high praise from
Willingham at an alumni function in Palm Springs a couple of weeks ago.
-- The Huskies must find some
depth at running back
The Huskies have just two
scholarship tailbacks, J.R. Hasty and Louis Rankin. Five
running backs were signed as part of the 2007 recruiting class.
Unfortunately, none of them will be tested this spring.
Luke Kravitz and Paul Homer will
get some work at fullback, as Mark Palaita has finished his career at
-- The Huskies must acquire some
depth on the offensive line and replace two starters.
Not many of the Huskies offensive linemen pass my sight test, which I
conduct at Picture Day. “Hold in your guts guys. Hey, Miss Cheerleader,
would you take the pictures of the offensive linemen for me?” The big
guys look much more svelte when one of the girls takes their photos for me.
Last season, QB Isaiah Stanback
joked about lifting more weight than most of his OL could. At Picture
Day, I asked OL
Clay Walker about what Stanback had said and he told me that Isaiah was
strong for a quarterback. Coach Willingham commented on Stanback’s
numbers at Palm Springs a couple of weeks ago.
Willingham also said that the OL
is the most important position on the team.
Five players played most of the
games on the OL last season. Clay Walker and Stanley Daniels, each of
whom started every game, have departed. Erik Berglund played
the first quarter against USC, subbing for Ben Ossai, and
Casey Bulyca took the place of Walker when he went down in the Oregon
game. Other than those substitutions, Ossai, Juan Garcia and Chad Macklin played in every game
on every play, along
with Walker and Daniels.
None of the other linemen listed
on UW’s spring roster have any appreciable experience in the form of
varsity letters. Not developing
any depth and experience on the OL last season could be Willingham’s
weakness this season.
From what I've been reading on
the web, these guys most likely will make up the spring rotation:
Left tackle: Ben Ossai, Erik
Berglund, Cody Habben
Right Tackle: Chad Macklin, Aaron Mason
Center: Juan Garcia, Ryan Bush, Matt Sedillo
Right guard: Casey Bulyca, Ryan Tolar
Left guard: Jordan White-Frisbee, Morgan Rosborough
As Frasier and Niles would say,
"Willingham must cut the Gordian knot that has become the offensive
line." But then again, what do Frasier and Niles know about football.
Forget that iron-man stuff: The offensive linemen only
work 30 minutes a week, mostly resting on defensive linemen and, after a
three and out, about two minutes of work, they get to sit down.
-- The Huskies must find a
punter/kicker or a punter and a kicker.
Kicker Michael Braunstein and punter Sean Douglas have finished their careers at UW.
Douglas finished second in the conference in average yards per punt,
43.2 yards. Braunstein finished third in field-goal percentage, making
83.3 % of his kicks. He connected on 32 of 32 kicks on points after
Punter Jared Ballman, a JC
transfer, has enrolled for spring quarter, and will participate in
Punter/kicker Ryan Perkins
suffered severely torn ligaments in his right knee in last season’s spring game, has had
surgery on the knee and has undergone weeks of rehabilitation. According to
Molly Yanity’s blog (Seattle P/I, Jan 15), Perkins should be able
to punt with his left foot towards the end of spring ball and be working
on field goal distance in June and July. (Perkins punts with both legs
but kicks with his right).
Kicker Erik Folk (Sherman Oaks,
Calif.) was signed as part of the 2007 recruiting class.
-- The Huskies must replace two
starters at linebacker.
Huskies have a lot of depth at linebacker but not a lot of experience.
They lose Scott White and Tahj Bomar,
who finished seventh and thirty-first
in tackles last season. White finished sixth in fumbles recovered.
Dan Howell, E.J. Savannah and Donald Butler all
figure to contribute in 2007. A contingent of promising linebackers back
-- The Huskies must replace Dashon Goldson and Matt Fountaine at cornerback
Goldson finished forty-fifth in the
conference in tackles last season and fifth in passes defended.
Departing cornerback Matt Fountaine finished forty-eighth in tackles.
UW needs one or more of its incoming
freshmen to help out in the defensive secondary, perhaps, two or three
Look for Roy Lewis, Matt Mosley, Jordan
Murchison, and Desmond Davis to contend for playing time. Lewis has the
only significant experience of that gathering.
-- The Huskies must replace C.J.
Wallace at Safety.
Wallace, a Sunday prospect, along with
third in the conference in tackles last season.
Jason Wells, a starter at free safety,
will be back. SS Mesphin Forrester played in nickel an dime packages
last year and should see a lot of playing time this year. Darin Harris,
who missed last season, is slated to return from injury.
-- The Huskies must begin to improve on a whole
host of 2006 statistics, lest Miller -- Heaven help us -- be correct
with his looming forecast.