RECAP: Washington vs. Hawaii – More Questions Than Answers

New Washington Football coach, Chris Petersen directs warm-ups in Hawaii last night.

New Washington Football coach, Chris Petersen, directs warm-ups in Hawaii last night.

What an underwhelming debut for the Chris Petersen era of Washington Football. The offense lacked consistency, creativity, and explosiveness throughout the entire game, while the defense performed with a “bend but don’t break” mentality. Considering the fact that Hawaii outperformed the Huskies in nearly every meaningful stat, the Dawgs are very fortunate to be flying home with a victory. Going into this game I, along with Husky Nation, were looking for answers; however, we were left scratching our heads once again. Here are five questions I had entering the game that still remain unanswered entering week two versus Easter Washington.

Question #1: Who is the Husky Quarterback of the future? Jeff Lindquist entered Saturday’s game with momentum coming off of a strong fall camp and being rewarded with the starting job. This was Lindquist’s opportunity to seize the starting spot for the season and he did not take advantage of it. Lindquist started off hot showing why Coach Pete gave him the reigns of the offense for week one. He made some nice throws early on, and completed a 91-yard touchdown pass to speedster John Ross III going into halftime. I don’t know what happened during halftime, but Lindquist was a completely different player in the second half. After two quarters marred by three-and-outs it is clear that the door remains wide open for sophomore quarterback, Cyler Miles. Expect Miles to get a good amount of playing time next week against Eastern Washington. It appears that the starting job has certainly come down to Lindquist and Miles, and look for the top performer next week to run away with the job.

Question #2: Who is the Husky Running Back of the future? Coming into week one against Hawaii a core of four Husky running backs emerged: Dwayne Washington, Lavon Coleman, Deontae Cooper, and Jesse Callier. After analyzing their performances on Saturday, it is clear that Washington and Coleman have separated themselves as the top two backs. Both played a very average game running for 3.2 and 4.6 yards per carry respectively. In my opinion, Coleman looked the best running the ball; however, he had a critical fumble that was luckily recovered by Lindquist. Expect both Washington and Coleman to carry the load once again next week against Eastern Washington.

Question #3: How did electric athletes, John Ross III and Jaydon Mickens disappear in the second half? Jaydon Mickens had a very disappointing season opener as he had nearly no impact on the game whatsoever. Mickens dropped a crucial third down pass which would have extended the drive early in the first quarter. I expected more out of the veteran receiver against a defense that was extremely vulnerable last season. I don’t want to rag on John Ross III too much as he did provide the Huskies only two touchdowns on the day, and in remarkable fashion might I add. However, Ross failed to make an impact outside of those two plays. Coach Pete needs to re-evaluate his game plan and find more ways to get the ball to Ross and Mickens in open space. Look for more swing routes, bubble screens, and jet sweeps against Eastern Washington. Also, hopefully a healthier Kasen Williams will provide a sure-handed, possession type receiver and add a comfort zone for the young quarterbacks.

Question #4:  How will the defense perform with a veteran front seven and an inexperienced secondary? Much like that of the offense, I found the defensive performance to be disappointing. I understand that holding a team to 16 points is a pretty solid game by any defense against today’s fast-paced, pass-happy offenses.  As mentioned above, the Husky defense really brought life to the saying, “bend but don’t break.” The defensive front seven were bullied around all day by the Warrior’s offensive line and running back, Joey Iosefa. It was also discouraging to see our defensive secondary play so conservatively. It seemed as if Hawaii converted on every third-and-long situation by beating our cornerbacks on deep comeback routes. If the Huskies want to compete in the PAC-12 they have a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Question #5: How will Washington’s Special Teams perform under the pressure of a real game? Perhaps the unsung hero of the game was punter, Korey Durkee. Coming into the game there were many questions surrounding the Huskies kicking game. Durkee punted eight times averaging a respectable 42.5 yards per punt. Durkee sure answered the call in a game that ultimately came down to time management and field position. Kicker, Cameron Van Winkle attempted and converted his only field goal from 36 yards. Also, freshman kicker, Tristan Viscaino performed admirably on kickoffs. Washington’s return game was dormant, but their kickoff and punt coverage was solid outside of the opening kick.    

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Preview and Prediction: Washington vs. Hawaii

The "New Era, New Look" Huskies will be on full display tomorrow night against Hawaii.

The “New Era, New Look” Huskies will be on full display tomorrow night against Hawaii.

Game: Washington Huskies @ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Where: Honolulu, HI

When: 7:30pm (PT)

Line: Huskies by 17.5 points.

Game Storylines:

New Coaches. Husky Nation is anxious to see what the new Chris Petersen-led Huskies can do. With new coaches, new players, new schemes, and new jerseys, what will the 2014 Dawgs look like? Coach Pete has said all of the right things this far through spring and fall camp. With that being said, spring ball is spring ball and fall camp is fall camp, this is the real deal now. Will Coach Pete and his staff have their players fired up and ready to unleash the Dawgs? Only time will tell.

New Players. Five faces that were synonymous with Husky Football either left or graduated last year: Steve Sarkisian, Keith Price, Bishop Sankey, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Sean Parker. A new coaching regime is in town and with it comes an influx of young talent vying for their shot at becoming the face of the program. Will starting quarterback Jeff Lindquist exceed expectations and hold off a promising Cyler Miles as the quarterback of the future? Will Dwayne Washington continue the trend of great Husky running backs started by Chris Polk and Bishop Sankey? Will Kasen Williams string together a healthy and productive season? Will the defensive front seven take one step further in cementing themselves as an elite force in college football? Will the young and talented freshman defensive backs hold their own against Division-1 athletes? Husky fans have heard a lot about this kid named Budda Baker, just how good is he?

Matchups:

2014 Matchup - UW vs Hawaii

Quarterback. The QB position is a wash due to the inexperience of both team’s quarterbacks. Both Jeff Lindquist and Ikaika Woolsey have yet to take any meaningful snaps in a regular season game. Without any game experience or game film on either passer it would be impossible to give an edge to either team.

Running Back. This position is nip and tuck between the two teams. Washington is more athletically gifted and has significantly better depth; however, all four Washington running backs remain unproven. In the end, the edge goes to Hawaii and their senior workhorse of a RB, Joey Iosefa. Iosefa is a monster standing 6 feet tall and weighing in at 245 lbs, but he will be challenged by Washington’s stout front seven.

Wide Receiver. Washington’s receivers are experienced and possess electrifying speed and play making ability. Hawaii’s receiving corps has been depleted from last year due to graduation and injuries. The edge here definitely goes to Washington and the Legion of Zoom.

Tight End. Neither team heavily utilizes their tight ends; however, the edge goes to Washington due to their superior athleticism, depth, and experience.

Offensive Line. This is an area of strength on the Huskies roster entering the season. Washington boasts big, agile, and experienced lineman across the starting line and even into their second string. Hawaii’s o-line should be improved from a dismal performance a year ago; however, the edge certainly lies with the Huskies here.

Defensive Line. This is also an area of strength for the Huskies entering the season. Similar to the offensive line, the Huskies have a ton of talented and capable depth. Hau’oli Kikaha is an assassin rushing the passer, and expect him to be extra motivated to play well in front of his family on his home island. Hawaii boasts some big and athletic bodies up front, but they can’t match the experience or depth of Washington. Edge goes to the Huskies.

Linebackers. Shaq Thompson, John Timu, and Travis Feeney all return from a spectacular 2013 campaign for the Huskies. Enough said. Edge, Huskies.

Defensive Backfield. Washington is inexperienced at three of the four secondary positions. The Huskies received an influx of talent which includes freshmen Budda Baker, Naijel Hale, and Sidney Jones; however, freshmen are bound to have their ups and downs. Hawaii’s secondary is led by experienced upperclassmen poised to rebound from a lackluster 2013 season. With that being said, All-American hopeful Marcus Peters and the raw playmaking ability of freshman Budda Baker give the Huskies the slight edge.

Special Teams. Special Teams is always tough to predict before the season starts. Nobody knows how kickers will respond to the pressure, particularly the inexperienced Washington kickers and punters. The kicking edge goes to Hawaii’s seniors Tyler Hadden and Ruben Guzman. However, the Huskies have perhaps the most electrifying return game in the country. The Legion of Zoom will be on full display from the moment John Ross, Jaydon Mickens, Marvin Hall, or Budda Baker catch the ball. The return game will have a larger overall impact on this game than the kicking, and therefore the special teams edge goes to Washington.

Prediction:

UW 41 Hawaii 13 Washington’s speed and explosiveness at the skill positions will overwhelm the Rainbow Warriors defense. Jeff Lindquist will successfully operate the offense, minimize critical errors, and consistently get the ball to our play makers in open space. Expect the Offensive Line to set the tone early by dominating the line of scrimmage opening up big holes for Dwayne Washington and the other Husky running backs. The Huskies tackling ability will be challenged by Hawaii’s bulldozing RB, Joey Iosefa. Look for Washington’s defensive front seven to plug up running lanes and contain Iosefa. Also, Hawaii will certainly test the Huskies youthful secondary, but the young guns will answer the bell and hold their own. At the end of the day, an athletically superior Husky roster will prove to be too much for the Rainbow Warriors to handle.  

Husky Football: Position Preview – ST

John Ross returning a kick against Cal in 2013.

John Ross returning a kick against Cal in 2013.

Husky Football: Position Preview – ST

Husky Football is only two days away as the Dawgs take on Hawaii this Saturday at 7:30pm PT. With the season right around the corner we will be rounding out our fall camp position previews. The special teams have been an area of concern since the departure of do-it-all kicker, Travis Coons.

 

Who’s Gone:

Travis Coons: Coons was perhaps the most under-appreciated player last year. He kicked off, kicked field goals, and even punted. To put all three kicking duties on one player and demand consistent performance is a tall task for any kicker, collegiate or professional. However, Coons was nearly a sure thing each time he lined up for a field goal or extra point. He also performed admirably at kicking off and punting. His triple threat leg will surely be missed this season. Coons is competing for the starting kicker position with the Tennessee Titans.

 

2014-2015 Specialists:

Kicker:

Cameron Van Winkle: (5-10 180 lbs; Sophomore) Van Winkle has been the most accurate and powerful kicker throughout fall camp and has separated himself as the first string place kicker. Van Winkle has also solidified himself as the kick-off starter to begin the season. He had off-season back surgery and seems to have made a 100% recovery since then. The Huskies will need an injury free and consistent season from Van Winkle.

Tristan Viscaino: (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman) Viscaino has done nothing but compete for the starting kicking job from the moment he stepped on campus. Viscaino has shown a strong leg, but has lacked the required accuracy and consistency throughout fall camp. With that being said, it seems as if Coach Pete will give Viscaino a shot at kicking at some point this weekend against Hawaii.

Mitch Johnson: (6-1 197 lbs; Sophomore) Johnson spent the past two seasons at UCLA and walked on at UW this spring. Due to transfer rules Johnson will have to sit out this year. Expect him to compete for the starting kicking job next season.

Punter:

Korey Durkee: (6-4 230 lbs; Junior) Durkee has displayed a very strong leg all fall camp; he booted two 60+ yard punts during the fall scrimmage. However, Durkee has not been as consistent as the coaches would like. He will get the first crack at punting this weekend versus Hawaii.

Tristan Viscaino: (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman) Viscaino has also been battling for the starting punting spot. He performed fairly well at the fall scrimmage; however he is more of a rugby style punter than a traditional drop-kicker. With that being said, it seems as if Coach Pete will also give Viscaino a shot at punting at some point this weekend against Hawaii.

 

Long Snapper:

Ryan Masel: (6-1 199 lbs; Junior) Masel did a great job long snapping last season. There is a saying that goes like this, “If you don’t know the name of your team’s long snapper he is probably doing a good job.” Expect nothing less in his second season as the starting long snapper.

Luke Hutchinson: (6-2 221; Redshirt Freshman) Hutchinson provides depth at the long snapping position, but barring any injuries to Masel don’t expect him to get any meaningful playing time.

Kick Returner:

John Ross III: (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore) Ross is poised to have one of the best years a Husky kick returner has ever had. Ross possesses the vision, shiftiness, and straight line speed that is required to be an elite kick returner. Expect Ross to return three or more kicks for touchdowns this season. For old times sake, here is his kick return in the bowl game last season:

Budda Baker: (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman) Similar to Ross, Budda has vision, creativity, and the speed to be an impact player on special teams. Budda is a state champion in the 100 and 200 meter sprints and that is evident when he gets the ball with an open field in front of him. Budda will get his chances at returning kicks, and when he does don’t blink because something exciting is bound to happen.

Punt Returner:

Jaydon Mickens: (5-11 174 lbs; Junior) Mickens has shown the sound decision making and soft hands necessary to be an effective punt returner. Returning punts is more than simply catching the ball and running, a punt returner must constantly be aware of where he is on the field and whether to catch the punt or let it roll. Mickens is a leader in the locker room and has been cool under pressure making him a logical choice to return punts.

Marvin Hall: (5-10 188 lbs; Junior) Hall was the starting punt returner all of last season and performed admirably. He had several long returns and a touchdown called back due to holding penalties. He will certainly get his chances to return punts in certain situations throughout the season.

 

2014 Outlook:

The special teams unit is perhaps the one area of the 2014 Husky team that remains the most uncertain. All three kicking positions remain open, and throughout the first four weeks of the regular season expect to see some shuffling of players throughout the three kicking positions. With that being said, Van Winkle has taken steps in the right direction to solidifying himself as the place-kicker and kick-off starter. The punting job is still anybody’s guess; personally I would give a slight edge to Durkee from my experiences at the public practices and fall scrimmage. Although the kicking game is still shaky in areas, the 2014 Huskies will have an elite returning game. With the combined speed, elusiveness, and experience of John Ross, Jaydon Mickens, Marvin Hall, and Budda Baker the 2014 Dawgs have one of the most promising and exciting return games in the country.

Husky Football: Position Preview – DB

Cornerback Marcus Peters getting the crowd pumped up in 2012.

Cornerback Marcus Peters getting the crowd pumped up in 2012.

Husky Football: Position Preview – DB

Husky Football is only two days away as the Dawgs take on Hawaii this Saturday at 7:30pm PT. With the season right around the corner we will be rounding out our fall camp position previews. The defensive secondary is one of inexperience, but also a position of talent and potential.

 

Who’s Gone:

Sean Parker: Parker was one of the most consistent Husky players in the past four years. He came into the program as a highly regarded national prospect and he lived up to the hype. Parker started nearly every game as a freshman and never looked back. His experience and consistency playing centerfield for the defense will surely be missed this season.

Greg Ducre: Ducre had his best season in 2013 without a doubt. He battled his way through the depth chart the previous three years and he eventually prevailed. Ducre’s man coverage was excellent thanks to his elite speed.  He is currently trying to make the San Diego Chargers roster.

Will Shamburger: Similar to Ducre, Shamburger had battled injuries and depth throughout his first three years as a Husky; however, he emerged as a solid starter his senior season. Shamburger’s experience and veteran leadership will be tough to replace in 2014.

Tre Watson: Watson’s story is an inspiring one. He was born and raised in the Seattle area and grew up as a die-hard Husky fan. He had always dreamed of one day playing for the Huskies; however, after his senior season at O’Dea High School the only scholarship he had was to Central Washington University. Watson spent his first two seasons in Ellensburg honing his talents and eventually made his dream a reality by transferring to UW for his final two years of eligibility. Watson was a key reserve in the defensive secondary who provided great versatility.

Cleveland Wallace: Wallace appeared in nearly every game in his freshman campaign; however, he has decided to transfer to San Jose State in order to be closer to home. Wallace showed great upside and would have likely been the starting cornerback opposite of Marcus Peters had he decided to stay in Seattle.

 

2014-2015 DB’s:

Cornerback:

Marcus Peters: (6-0 190 lbs; Junior; 2013 Stats: 55 Tackles, 5 INTs, 1 Sack, 1 FF) Peters is a true lock-down cover corner who is not afraid to come up and make a hit in the running game. He has the size to play a physical, Richard Sherman-esque, style of man coverage. Peters needs to emerge as a locker room leader and help out the young inexperienced talent surrounding him in the secondary. Expect opposing quarterbacks to avoid Peters the majority of the game; however, when they do test him he will make them pay.

Jermaine Kelly: (6-1 190 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) Kelly has solidified himself as the second starting cornerback opposite of Marcus Peters. Kelly has excellent size for the corner position and has shined in his limited game-like environments such as the spring game and fall scrimmages. Look for Kelly to experience some growing pains, as all freshman do, but also expect him to make plays based off of his raw talent.

Naijel Hale: (5-10 177 lbs; Freshman) Hale has impressed the fans and the coaches in his first fall camp with the Huskies. He came into the program with great ambition, instincts, and ability which has helped him work his way through the depth chart. Hale has separated himself from the other freshmen cornerbacks and has settled in as the third cornerback on the 2014 roster.

Sidney Jones: (6-0 171 lbs; Freshman) Jones has really turned it on the second half of fall camp and is poised to make his Husky debut at some point this season. Typically, coaches would like freshmen to redshirt; however, with the lack of depth at the position a few freshmen will be forced into action. Jones has improved quickly and is proving that his is ready to rise to the occasion.

Travell Dixon: (6-1 195 lbs; Senior) Dixon entered the Husky program three years ago with a lot of hype. He transferred from a JC; however, before that he was a promising freshman at Alabama. Dixon has not been able to find significant playing time the past two seasons, and with the influx of young talent it won’t be any easier this season.

Brian Clay: (6-1 196 lbs; Junior) Clay transferred from Hawaii last year and had to sit out due to NCAA rules regarding transfers. Clay was consistently generating buzz due to his performances at practice. Clay brings excellent size and experience to the cornerback position, but he too may get lost in the pool of young and promising talent.

Darren Gardenhire: (5-11 173 lbs; Freshman) Gardenhire is on the bubble regarding whether or not he will redshirt this season. He has shown enough improvement and natural ability the second half of fall camp that Coach Pete is giving him an opportunity to  play this season. Expect Gardenhire to proceed as an unofficial redshirt; however, if he performs well enough in practice or injuries thin out the position, he will see the field this season.

Brandon Lewis: (5-10 181 lbs; Freshman) Lewis seems to be the odd one out of the freshmen cornerbacks. It seems that a redshirt season is the most likely outcome in his case. This could be a blessing in disguise as he is given a year to adapt to college life, get stronger in the weight room, and come back a better player in 2015.

Free Safety:

Budda Baker: (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman) Baker has been one of the breakout stars of fall camp. He has sprinted his way to the top of the depth chart with his speed, hustle, and instincts. In the fall scrimmage it seemed as if Budda was always around the ball and making plays. Some will questions his size, but I would encourage those same people to educate themselves on All-Pro Free Safety, Earl Thomas (5-10 200 lbs). Budda will make his presence known on defense as well as special teams returning kicks and punts in 2014…man that sure sounds familiar?

Kevin King: (6-3 183 lbs; Sophomore) King gained some valuable experience last season as he filled in for an injured Will Shamburger for a few games. King is an interesting prospect with excellent size and great athleticism. Although he was beaten out by Budda for the starting spot, expect King to find his way onto the field and make the most of it.

Thomas Vincent: (6-0 200 lbs; Senior) Vincent is a great story as he starred at local King’s High School as a quarterback. Vincent walked on as a freshman QB. Last season he was moved to the defensive side of the ball and has been playing Free Safety ever since. It is unlikely that he will have a major impact this season; however, he is a good locker-room guy that simply enjoys being a part of the process.

Strong Safety:

Brandon Beaver: (6-0 192 lbs; Sophomore) Beaver spent nearly all of fall camp as the starting Free Safety, but the emergence of Budda Baker made the coaches slide Beaver over to Strong Safety. Beaver has some experience as a reserve last season, but he still remains a raw player with loads of upside. He was a standout this spring making plays and creating turnovers left and right. Expect Beaver to become a solid player in the back-end of the defense.

Trevor Walker: (5-11 186 lbs; Sophomore) Walker spent all of fall camp as the starting Strong Safety; however, with Brandon Beaver sliding over to Strong Safety he has been moved down a spot in the depth chart. Although Beaver has been named the starter, don’t be surprised if Walker gets his chances to prove himself this weekend against Hawaii.

Jojo McIntosh: (6-1 191 lbs; Freshman) McIntosh will likely redshirt this season; however, he will need to keep himself ready to play as there is not a ton of depth at either safety position. McIntosh is an athletic prospect that could also contribute as a returner on special teams in the future.

 

2014 Outlook:

Although the defensive secondary is the most inexperienced position on the team, it is also the most promising position for the future. The influx of young talent will experience their growing pains in 2014, but in the grand scheme of things they will emerge as the strength on future Husky teams. With that being said, they are not throwing this season out the window. This secondary has one of the top cornerbacks in the country in Marcus Peters, and one of the most promising young talents in the PAC-12 in Budda Baker. Expect the defensive backfield to be a work in progress throughout the season with many players getting playing time. The secondary will be far from perfect in 2014, but they will also make some game-breaking plays and create turnovers at opportune times.

Week 1: UW @ Hawaii Depth Chart

Freshman Budda Baker will start against Hawaii this weekend in what will be his Husky debut.

Freshman Budda Baker will start against Hawaii this weekend in what will be his Husky debut.

Key Thoughts:

  • Dwayne Washington has separated himself from the “core of four” at the running back position. Coach Pete has acknowledged Washington’s speed, consistency, and explosiveness as the reasons for giving him the first carries of the game.
  • Marvin Hall is listed as the starting WR #1 ahead of Kasen Williams. Now don’t freak out, this is simply due to Kasen Williams working his way back from his injury. Williams has not been 100% throughout fall camp and therefore will not start and have a play count against Hawaii as he eases back into action.
  • Colin Tanigawa gets the nod at center ahead of the incumbent, Mike Criste. Tanigawa spent the final two weeks of fall camp playing center with the number one offense.
  • Corey Littleton is not listed on this two-deep roster. Some feared the worst (suspension/dismissal); however, he is simply nursing some nagging injuries he has had throughout fall camp. Expect to see Littleton work his way back into the regular rotation at “buck end” in the weeks to come.
  • Keishawn Bierria is listed as a co-starter with Travis Feeney at one of the outside linebacker positions. Bierria has had a very strong fall camp; however, this is probably a precaution due to Feeney’s absence during fall camp due to injuries. If Feeney is 100% when the team gets to Hawaii, expect him to start. Otherwise, Bierria will start in what is sure to be his Husky debut.
  • Budda Baker has won the starting Free Safety job which has pushed Brandon Beaver over to Strong Safety. Baker has been remarkable throughout fall camp on defense and specials teams. Baker is also likely to get his chance at returning kicks as well.

Offense:

Quarterbacks:

Jeff Lindquist (6-3 246 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Troy Williams (6-2 194 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Running Backs:

Dwayne Washington (6-2 219 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Lavon Coleman (5-11 217 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) –OR-

Jesse Callier (5-10 206 lbs; Senior) –OR-

Deontae Cooper (5-11 199 lbs; Senior)

Wide Receiver #1:

Marvin Hall (5-10 188 lbs; Junior)

Kasen Williams (6-3 217 lbs; Senior)

Dante Pettis (6-0 177 lbs; Freshman)

Left Tackle:

Micah Hatchie (6-5 306 lbs; Senior)

Jake Eldrenkamp (6-5 292 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Left Guard:

Dexter Charles (6-5 311 lbs; Junior)

Siosifa Tufunga (6-3 321 lbs; Junior)

Center:

Colin Tanigawa (6-3 292 lbs; Senior)

Mike Criste (6-6 319 lbs; Senior)

Right Guard:

James Atoe (6-7 381 lbs; Senior)

Ross Dolbec (6-5 313 lbs; Junior)

Right Tackle:

Ben Riva (6-7 313 lbs; Senior)

Coleman Shelton (6-4 281 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Tight End:

Joshua Perkins (6-4 227 lbs; Junior) –OR-

Michael Hartvigson (6-6 251 lbs; Senior)

Darrell Daniels (6-4 234 lbs; Sophomore)

Slot Receiver:

Jaydon Mickens (5-11 174 lbs; Junior)

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Kendyl Taylor (5-10 202 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore)

Wide Receiver #2:

DiAndre Campbell (6-2 206 lbs; Senior)

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Brayden Lenius (6-5 217 lbs; Freshman)

 

Defense:

Defensive End:

Andrew Hudson (6-3 246 lbs; Senior)

Joe Mathis (6-2 250 lbs; Sophomore)

Will Dissly (6-4 273 lbs; Freshman)

Defensive Tackle:

Evan Hudson (6-6 273 lbs; Senior)

Taani Tupou (6-2 282 lbs; Junior)

Nose Tackle:

Danny Shelton (6-2 339 lbs; Senior)

Greg Gaines (6-1 321 lbs; Freshman)

Elijah Qualls (6-1 311 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

“Buck” End:

Hau’oli Kikaha (6-3 246 lbs; Senior)

Jarret Finau (6-3 261 lbs; Junior)

Psalm Wooching (6-4 225 lbs; Sophomore)

Outside Linebacker #1:

Keishawn Bierria (6-1 221 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) –OR-

Travis Feeney (6-4 218 lbs; Junior)

Middle Linebacker:

John Timu (6-1 246 lbs; Senior)

Scott Lawyer (6-2 225 lbs; Junior)

Azeem Victor (6-3 244 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Outside Linebacker #2:

Shaq Thompson (6-1 228 lbs; Junior)

Sean Constantine (6-2 224 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Cornerback #1:

Marcus Peters (6-0 190 lbs; Junior)

Sidney Jones (6-0 171 lbs; Freshman) –OR-

Travell Dixon (6-1 195 lbs; Senior)

Cornerback #2:

Jermaine Kelly (6-1 190 lbs; Redshirt Freshman)

Naijel Hale (5-10 171 lbs; Freshman)

Free Safety:

Budda Baker (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman)

Kevin King (6-3 183 lbs; Sophomore)

Strong Safety:

Brandon Beaver (6-0 192 lbs; Sophomore)

Trevor Walker (5-11 186 lbs; Sophomore)

 

Special Teams:

Punter:

Korey Durkee (6-4 230 lbs; Junior)

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman)

Kicker:

Cameron Van Winkle (5-10 180 lbs; Sophomore)

Tristan Vizcaino (6-2 210 lbs; Freshman)

 

Snapper:

Ryan Masel (6-1 199 lbs; Junior)

Evan Hudson (6-6 273 lbs; Senior)

Punt Return:

Jaydon Mickens (5-11 174 lbs; Junior)

Marvin Hall (5-10 188 lbs; Junior)

Kick Return:

John Ross III (5-11 179 lbs; Sophomore)

Budda Baker (5-10 173 lbs; Freshman)

Sounders Get Back To Winning Ways

Obafemi Martins Clint Dempsey Seattle Sounders

These two were back to their old ways in Portland on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon the Seattle Sounders looked much more like, well…the Seattle Sounders. After struggling to score goals over the past few weeks, Seattle routed their rival Portland Timbers 4-2 and looked much more like the potent offense that we have seen for the majority of the season. The Sounders are back on top of the MLS standings and leading the race for the Supporter’s Shield. All is well.

On top of the win, Oba Martins won MLS Player of the Week with his 2-goal performance on Sunday. He also notched an assist on a beautiful pass that Clint Dempsey flicked into the back of the net to put the Sounders up 2-0. It’s pretty evident that Martins and Dempsey love playing with each other. Unfortunately, the two have struggled to create much on the offensive end – mostly due to inconsistent playing time together – the past few weeks (Dempsey only had one goal since the end of April) and Seattle has struggled to get the results that they expect. It’s been a rough patch of games the past month. But this game had the Martins and Dempsey combo at full force, as they were involved in all four Seattle goals. They both are tied for the team lead with 10 goals a-piece.

When these two are at their best, the Sounders have the most explosive scoring duo in the league. Fluid. Fast. Dangerous. The Rave Green will need both of them to keep playing like they did on Sunday if the Sounders hope to stay on the top of the standings. As the final month of the season approaches, expect the team to rally behind Clint and Oba. As they go, the team will go.

It’s good to see us back in the win column. Especially against the Timbers – in Portland. Go Sounders!

Here are the match highlights:

Next match: Seattle will come back home again on Saturday for a match against the Colorado Rapids.

Husky Football: Position Preview – LB

Shaq Thompson, modeling the new uniforms, is poised for an All-American season.

Shaq Thompson, modeling the new uniforms, is poised for an All-American season.

Husky Football: Position Preview – LB

The second component to the defensive front seven is the Linebackers. Last week we discussed the strength of the defensive line; with that being said, the 2014 Linebacker unit might be the strongest position on the team. A great combination of ability, experience, and ambition should lead to a great season. Let’s take a closer look:

 

Who’s Gone:

Princeton Fuiamoano: Fuiamoano was the Huskies leading tackler last season with 80 stops. He was a consistent contributor each of his four seasons at UW and will surely be missed.

Thomas Tutogi: Tutogi was a junior college transfer and spent his two year Husky career as a solid backup middle linebacker. Tutogi was a run stuffer who saw significant playing time against ground-and-pound type offenses such as Stanford.

Jamaal Kearse: The younger brother of current Seattle Seahawk, Jermaine Kearse, was a consistent contributor as a backup linebacker and special teams player. Kearse was one of those “do-it-all” players that coaches love to have on their team.

 

2014-2015 LB’s:

Outside LB #1:

Travis Feeney: (6-4 218 lbs; Junior; 2013 Stats: 55 Tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.5 Sacks) Feeney has been a fabulous linebacker when he has been able to stay healthy. He has battled his fair share of injuries throughout his UW career. Feeney has great speed and range at the outside linebacker position allowing him to run down running plays from behind. Also, he can be an effective cover lindebacker with his size, athleticism, and long arms. Barring any setbacks with his off-season surgery, expect a big season out of the junior linebacker.

Keishawn Bierria: (6-1 221 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) Bierria got his first meaningful snaps this off season throughout spring and fall camp as Feeney was rehabbing from surgery. Bierria has shown flashes of his athleticism and instincts in his limited action. Expect him to spend this season as Feeney’s backup while contributing on special teams.

Drew Lewis: (6-2 189 lbs; Freshman) Lewis is almost certainly going to redshirt this season for a number of reasons. First, there is a good amount of depth ahead of him at all three linebacker positions. Secondly, he is fairly undersized for a college linebacker, so expect him to spend this year putting on weight and getting stronger in the weight room.

Middle LB:

John Timu: (6-1 246 lbs; Senior; 2013 Stats: 77 Tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 Sacks, 2 INT) Timu is one of the most experienced and respected players on this roster. He has been a significant contributor to the Husky defense the past three seasons and expect nothing less in his fourth and final year. Timu is the captain of the defense and does a little bit of everything for this team.

Azeem Victor: (6-3 244 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) Victor was one of the highlight players of UW’s fall camp scrimmage. He was swarming to the ball and making his presence known in the middle of the field. Victor had three bone crushing hits that had the fans on the edge of their seats. Victor has prototypical size for the MLB position and has shown the potential to be the future leader of the Husky defense.

Sean Constantine: (6-2 224 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) Much like Victor, Constantine made some standout plays in the scrimmage. Constantine created the only two turnovers for the defense, a fumble recovery and an interception of a Troy Williams pass. Constantine has been pushing for that back-up middle linebacker spot; however, with Victor beginning to separate himself there, don’t be surprised to see Constantine moved outside.

Outside LB #2:

Shaq Thompson: (6-1 228 lbs; Junior; 2013 Stats: 78 Tackles, 4 TFL, 1 INT, 1 TD) All eyes will be on Thompson as he prepares for what could be an All-American season. Thompson is coming off a productive sophomore season; however, he is looking to take his game one step further and make his presence felt as a play maker. Expect Thompson to have more game-breaking type plays such as interceptions, fumbles, and touchdowns in 2014. Also, don’t be surprised to see him get 5+ carries a game on the offensive side of the ball. 2014 promises to be Shaq’s most exciting and productive season, Husky Nation should be anxious to watch what could be his last season in a Husky uniform.

Scott Lawyer: (6-2 225 lbs; Junior; Appeared in all 13 games as a special teams player registering 18 tackles) Lawyer is an experienced player who provides valuable depth at an injury prone position. Lawyer has the ability to play outside and inside which provides our defense with more depth and versatility. Expect Lawyer to push for more playing time either inside or outside, along with continuing his duties on special teams.

Connor O’Brien: (6-3 238 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) O’Brien is young and inexperienced player; however, he is extremely athletic and talented. O’Brien was recruited as a safety, but after redshirting and spending time in the weight room last season he certainly looks like a linebacker. Expect O’Brien to be a key special teams contributor while pushing for playing time as a backup linebacker.

 

2014 Outlook:

The 2014 Husky linebacker crew promises to be the highlight of the entire defense. With such a strong defensive line in front of them, the backers should have the room to roam around and make plays. With veteran players in Feeney, Timu, and a potential All-American in Thompson, the Huskies starting linebacker unit is perhaps the best in the conference. The new defensive coaching staff has put a significant emphasis on creating turnovers, and nowhere has that been more apparent this off-season than at the linebacker position. Husky Nation should expect more game-breaking plays and excitement out of their 2014 linebackers. These linebackers will be all over the field, swarming to the ball with bad intentions, and making their presence known. Look for that mantra to be spread throughout the entire defense as this team promises to be the hardest hitting Husky defense in recent memory.

Beatdown: Postgame Analysis from Preseason Week 3 vs. Chicago

2024371434The Seahawks left no doubt that they’re regular season ready as they showed up in mid-season form at CenturyLink Field tonight. The Hawks dominated the Chicago Bears in every phase of the game, cruising to a 34-6 preseason victory.  Around the league, the third preseason game is generally considered to be the most important of the four; a dress rehearsal where the starters routinely play into the 3rd quarter.  If you’re going to read into preseason scores, this it the week to do it, and the Hawks proved once again that they are the class of the NFL.

The Seattle offense, led by Russell Wilson, engineered four straight touchdown drives to cruise to a 28-0 lead and made it 31-0 at the half.  The offensive unit was firing on all cylinders and breaking down the Bears defense in a multitude of ways – quick rhythm passes, a powerful run game, play action passing down field, and well, Russell Wilson playing Houdini in the backfield.  The defense was dialed in as well, consistently disrupting Jay Cutler in the pocket and clamping down on underneath passes with ferocity.  Special teams did well, most notably significant kick and punt returns from Percy Harvin and Earl Thomas, respectively, as well as a 59 yard field goal from Steven Hauschka.

Game Balls:

QB Russell Wilson:

The third year signal caller was a man on a mission and displayed Peyton Manning-like efficiency (Super Bowl excluded) on several successful drives.  I found myself in awe of his arm strength and zip on his passes.  What was particularly special tonight was how he quickly got the ball out and found receivers in tight windows.  15/20 for 202 yards and 2 TDs in less than three quarters of play is a pretty good stat line which was indicative of how well he and the rest of the offense played.

WR Percy Harvin:

Harvin was all over the field catching passes, leaving little doubt that he is fully recovered from hip surgery and finally healthy (knock on wood).  He showed a nice burst, great body control, reliable hands, and a willingness to fight for yards after the catch.  He also had a nice 46 yard kick return to start the game and set the stage for the beatdown that would ensue.

CB Jeremy Lane:

Lane had a big interception on the goal line right before the half when the Bears were driving and in the red zone.  He had a near spectacular return on the pick, setting up the rocket launch of a kick from Hauschka right before half.  Lane swarmed up to the ball, making 4 solo tackles, and made a handful of nice breakups in pass coverage.

The O-LINE!!!:

Tom Cable’s group was in sync from start to finish and played a huge role in how well the team moved the ball.  They opened up lanes for RBs Robert Turbin and Christine Michael and gave Wilson time in the pocket to throw.  Rookie RT Justin Britt was much improved from Week 1 and 2 and appears to have locked up the starting right tackle job for Week 1 of the regular season.

I know I’m supposed to give game balls to backups, role players, guys fighting to make the team, etc. since it’s preseason, but the guys above really stole the show tonight so… sorry.

Closing thoughts:

I’m going to pose a bold question: Is it possible that the Seahawks will be the best offense in the NFL this season?  This thought crept into my head during tonight’s preseason game, and it just felt like we were literally unstoppable with Wilson back there.  I can only imagine what opposing defenses must feel like.  Add in Lynch, Harvin, Doug Baldwin, and an emerging Jermaine Kearse and you’ve got a pretty scary group.  Let me know what you think – is Russell Wilson ready to join the truly elite quarterbacks in the NFL?  Will the offense be able to carry the team this year with phenomenal performances like the defense did last year?  I think the potential is certainly there, and Darell Bevell’s offense clicked as well as I’ve ever seen tonight – but I guess it was preseason.

Go Hawks!

yedlinnycarroll

 

Position Battles: QB, RB, DB, ST

Jeff Lindquist going through throwing drills with Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach, Jonathan Smith.

Jeff Lindquist going through throwing drills with Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach, Jonathan Smith.

QB: This certainly has been the most publicized position battle throughout the off-season; however, Coach Pete finally threw us a bone today. He announced that Jeff Lindquist, a Redshirt Sophomore from Mercer Island HS, will be the starting quarterback against Hawaii next weekend, but seemed non-committal to name Lindquist the starter past week one. This should not come as a surprise to those who attended last weekend’s scrimmage. Lindquist outshined the other three quarterbacks; not only did he have the more accurate and powerful arm, but he also appeared to have a better understanding of the offense. Every throw was thrown on time and with confidence, it looked as if he knew where the weakness in the defense would be. With that being said, Coach Pete has reiterated that this will continue to be an open competition. Coach Pete will re-evaluate the QB battle after week one. Lindquist will finally get his first meaningful snaps, as will Troy Williams in the event of a blowout, and Cyler Miles will be eligible after serving his one-game suspension. From my perspective this is Jeff Lindquist’s job to lose. If he can continue to perform at a high-level in game situations, as he has all off-season, I don’t see a scenario where he loses the starting job. However, if Lindquist struggles week one don’t be shocked to see Miles starting at home next week against Eastern Washington. The competition to be the season-long starting quarterback is still open, but Jeff Lindquist has a great opportunity to run away with the starting job next weekend.

RB: The running back position battle has also been full of uncertainty and intrigue this off-season. A “core” of four players has emerged and will be featured in Coach Pete’s attempt at a running back-by-committee approach. Dwayne Washington and Lavon Coleman have had great off-seasons and have begun to separate themselves as the top two backs. Expect Washington and Coleman to receive the bulk of the carries week one against Hawaii. With that being said, Deontae Cooper and Jesse Callier will get their touches next weekend as well. The first game of the season will be a big opportunity for all four of these running backs to prove that they can be an every down back.

DB: The defensive secondary will certainly be the youngest and least experienced position group on the team. We know for certain that Marcus Peters will be the starting cornerback as he looks to have an All-PAC12 or even an All-American season. Outside of Peters, the other three positions remain wide open. Throughout fall camp, Jermaine Kelly has seemed to solidify himself as the second cornerback opposite of Peters. Also, Brandon Beaver and Trevor Walker have been consistently getting first string reps at Free Safety and Strong Safety respectively. However, both have been pushed for their starting positions by freshman Budda Baker and sophomore Kevin King. Throughout the game the Huskies will be faced with situations that require as many as six defensive backs on the field, which will create opportunities for other young players. Next in line to receive playing time are freshmen, Naijel Hale, Sidney Jones, Darren Gardenhire, and Jojo McIntosh. Expect to see all of these players contributing in the secondary and on special teams throughout the season.

ST: Special teams have had their fair share of position battles as well. It seems that Cameron Van Winkle has solidified himself as the Huskies starting placekicker and kick-off specialist. Likewise, John Ross III has retained his kick returning duty from last season. Jaydon Mickens will start the season as the Dawg’s punt returner; however, Budda Baker has been impressive in fall camp and will have his chances to both return kicks and punts. The punting job remains wide open. Korey Durkee and Tristan Vizcaino have been competing for the starting punting job and both have had their shining moments in fall camp. I would give a very slight edge to Durkee after watching him blast two 60+ yard punts during last weekend’s scrimmage. Overall, the Huskies kicking game remains somewhat shaky; however, they boast an elite return game with Ross, Mickens, and Baker returning kicks and punts.

Husky Football: Position Preview – DL

Danny Shelton crushes an Idaho State QB in 2013.

Danny Shelton crushes an Idaho State QB in 2013.

Husky Football: Position Preview – DL

After taking in the UW Open Scrimmage this past weekend, one thing stood out in particular; the Huskies boast a menacing front seven on the defensive side of the ball. Today we are diving deeper in the linemen that anchor the defense. (*Note: Expect players to play multiple positions along the defensive line. The players are listed under the position in which they have the most experience.*)

Who’s Gone:

Josh Banks: Banks was a junior college transfer, graduated from UW in June. He was a reserve defensive tackle that appeared in multiple games in 2013.

Sione Potoa’e: Potoa’e was a highly touted recruit coming out of Lakes HS. Unfortunately his college career never panned out due to injuries. Sione graduated with his teammates and classmates last June.

Josh Shirley: Shirley surprised everyone when he announced he would be transferring to UNLV. He has been one of the Huskies most effective pass rushers who would have surely contributed in 2014. Shirley is eligible to play for UNLV right away because he graduated from UW in June.

Lawrence Lagafuaina: Lagafuaina also graduated in June and transferred to Hawaii to be closer to home. He will be competing against some familiar faces on Aug. 30th when the Huskies travel to play the Warriors.

Connor Cree: Never saw significant action in his short lived football career. As a redshirt sophomore he has decided to retire from the sport of football.

Jaimie Bryant: Bryant ended up gray-shirting last season and re-joined the team this spring. However, his Husky career was cut short due to a back injury. Bryant has taken a medical retirement.

 

2014-2015 DL:

Standup DE:

Hau’oli Kikaha: (6-3 246 lbs; Senior; 2013 Stats: 70 Tackles, 15.5 TFL, 13 Sacks, 3 FF) Kikaha is geared up for a breakout season on a national level. Kikaha is one of the elite pass rushers in the PAC-12 and quite possibly the country. He provides a constant threat to opposing quarterbacks with his relentless motor.

Cory Littleton: (6-3 229 lbs; Junior) Littleton has been a regular contributor for the Huskies since halfway through his freshman season in 2012. He appeared in all 13 games last year and is poised to have an even bigger role in his junior year. Littleton is a versatile threat who can rush the passer or drop back into coverage.

Psalm Wooching: (6-4 225 lbs; Sophomore) Wooching spent last season as a Fullback. However, with new coaches comes a new offensive scheme. Unfortunately, the new offense does not include a traditional Fullback. Wooching has been moved to the defensive side of the ball in what could become a blessing in disguise. According to Husky players, Wooching is one to keep an eye on. Wooching’s game is aggressive, violent, and relentless.

Defensive Tackle:

Evan Hudson: (6-6 273 lbs; Senior; 2013 Stats: 21 Tackles, 4.5 TFL, 4 Sacks) Hudson spent the first three years of his Husky career as a TE. Last off-season he was converted to the other side of the ball due to depth issues along the defensive line. Hudson has made the most of the opportunity by solidifying himself as the starting DT. Expect Hudson to take yet another step further in his fifth year on campus.

Taani Tupou: (6-2 282 lbs; Junior) Tupou has spent the majority of his first two season as a reserve defensive lineman while playing a vital role on special teams. He saw significant playing time at DT towards the end of last season and was a standout performer in spring. Tupou has carried that momentum into fall camp and looks ready to contribute regularly in 2014.

Joe Mathis: (6-2 250 lbs; Sophomore) Mathis was a heralded recruit who came in a contributed right away. Expect Mathis to take one step further this season. He provides the Huskies with a versatile defensive lineman who will be utilized as an interior pass rusher.

Damion Turpin: (6-4 266 lbs; Redshirt Sophomore) Turpin has spent his first three seasons as a reserve defensive lineman. He has yet to get any significant playing time. Hopefully he will see some more action in the defensive line rotation in 2014.

Will Dissly: (6-4 273 lbs; Freshman) Dissly is a player that Husky Nation should be extremely excited about. He was coined as a “Diamond in the Rough” by Coach Pete on National Signing Day last February. Dissly didn’t receive appropriate national recognition in High School due to living in rural Montana. Dissly has the size, speed, and technique to make SEC scouts drool. However, he was discovered by Coach Pete and has so far lived up to the hype at UW. Dissly has been running with the second string defensive line in fall camp; expect to see him get significant playing time this season.

Nose Tackle:

Danny Shelton: (6-2 339 lbs; Senior; 2013 Stats: 59 Tackles; 3.5 TFL, 2 Sacks) Shelton is the linchpin of the entire defense. He clogs up running lanes and ties up offensive lineman which allows the Husky Linebackers to run freely and make plays. Shelton has assumed a leadership role on and off the field. He is looking to take his game to the next level and have an All-American season. Expect to see him playing on Sundays next year.

Elijah Qualls: (6-1 311 lbs; Redshirt Freshman) Qualls offers another prototypical Nose Tackle body. Expect to see him get action as the backup Nose Tackle in 2014. Qualls is a stout defensive lineman with extreme versatility with his freakish athleticism. At nearly 300 lbs, he played running back in high school! Don’t believe me? Check out his highlight video:

Greg Gaines: (6-1 321 lbs; Freshman) Gaines is a highly touted recruit who will compete with Qualls to be Danny Shelton’s backup. Gaines will provide valuable depth along the defensive line.

Kaleb McGary: (6-7 291 lbs; Freshman) McGary is an intriguing player, many believed that he was recruited to play Offensive Tackle; however, it appears he will play along the defensive line in 2014. McGary provides a rare blend of size, speed, and strength that will set the foundation to a promising career.

Vita Vea: (6-4 346 lbs; Freshman) Vea is easily one of the more physically intimidating members of the 2014 Huskies squad. Vea was a highly recruited defensive tackle out of high school; however, due to eligibility issues he failed to sign a college football letter of intent. Vea provides the Huskies with yet another Nose Tackle-type body that is rare at the college level.

Traditional DE:

Andrew Hudson: (6-3 246 lbs; Senior) Hudson has elected to exercise his fifth year of eligibility after graduating in June. Hudson has four years of game experience and veteran leadership. Expect Hudson to have a significant presence along the defensive line this year.

Jarret Finau: (6-3 261 lbs; Junior) Finau has yet to receive any significant playing time in his Husky career, but that will change in 2014. He provides an athletic big body up front that can rush the passer and be stout against the run.

Drew Schultz: (6-2 266 lbs; Senior) Schultz has not had any meaningful game day experience in his Husky career. He has been a valuable practice player, and with the depth ahead of him don’t expect that to change in 2014.

Shane Bowman: (6-3 247 lbs; Freshman) Bowman is a local product coming from Bellevue High School and is fulfilling his dream of playing for the hometown Huskies. Considering the amount of depth and versatility along the defensive line, expect Bowman to redshirt in 2014 while spending time getting bigger in the weight room.

Jaylen Johnson: (6-2 254 lbs; Freshman) Johnson was a long time Boise State commit, but ended up showing his loyalty to Coach Pete and his staff by following them to UW. Johnson is an athletic defensive end who can rush the passer with the best of them. Johnson still has a chance to see some action in 2014; however, he will more than likely end up redshirting.

 

2014 Outlook:

The Huskies strength on the defensive side of the ball lies within the front seven. In order to be an elite defensive line a team must have a threatening pass rush, dominant run defense, and talented depth. The 2014 Dawgs check all three of those boxes. Hau’oli Kikaha shows up in opposing quarterback’s nightmares with his lethal blend of quickness and power moves, Danny Shelton is perhaps the most effective run defender in all of college football, and the Huskies boast at least seven experienced defensive lineman. Having a top-tier defensive line will go a long way in helping a young and inexperienced secondary find their bearings. Last year’s defense was one of the best Husky defenses in recent memory; expect the 2014 squad to build off of that momentum and once again be a force to reckon with. Husky fans should expect big things from their defense this season, and the defensive line in particular.