#61 Washington Football Preview

Washington Huskies

Overall Rank: #61
#11 Pac-12
Washington Logo
Washington Team Page

2010 Record: (7-6, 5-4)
2010 Bowl: Holiday Bowl vs. Nebraska (W 19-7)
Coach: Steve Sarkisian (12-13 at Washington, 12-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Doug Nussmeier
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Holt

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Chris Polk, RB, 1,365
Passing: Keith Price, QB, 164 yards
Receiving: Jermaine Kearse, WR, 1,005 yards
Tackles: Cort Dennison, LB, 93
Sacks: Hau’oli Jamora, DE, 3.0
Interceptions: Nathan Fellner, S, 5

Other Key Returnees: WR Devin Aguilar, TE Marlion Bernett, DE Talia Crichton, K Erik Folk, OT Senio Kelemete, G Colin Porter, CB Quinton Richardson, C Drew Schaefer, DT Alameda Ta’amu, DE Everrette Thompson, CB Desmond Trufant

Key Losses: LB Victor Aiyewa, DT Cameron Elisara, LB Mason Foster, OT Cody Habben, QB Jake Locker, G Ryan Tolar, S Nate Williams

Washington went to a bowl game in 2010 for the first time in eight years. That has given the program some hope, but there are a lot of big names that need to be replaced, most notably Jake Locker and Mason Foster. Foster led the Huskies with an impressive 161 tackles last year. Making matters worse for the linebackers is the absence of fellow starter Victor Aiyewa. That leaves a lot of pressure on Cort Dennison to be the playmaker in the middle of the defense and even more pressure on the youngsters around him.

The rest of the defense is in good hands. The front four has plenty of pass rushing threats in Everrette Thompson, Hau’oli Jamora, Talia Crichton and redshirt freshman Josh Shirley. The middle of the line returns senior Alameda Ta’amu and Sione Potoa’e. The secondary has two great corners in Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson. It is tough to decide who to throw away from when those two are lined up against your top receivers. And free safety Nate Fellner makes things even more difficult for the opposing quarterback. He picked off five passes last season and always seems to be around the ball. If the front four and can get consistent pressure in the backfield again this year, the secondary will be one of the best in the conference.

So far Keith Price has held onto the starting quarterback job over Nick Montana. The 6-1, 192 pound sophomore has a little more experience in the system. Coach Steve Sarkisian has pretty much given Price a three game grace period to sort out the quarterback situation. Against Eastern Washington and Hawaii we should learn a lot. However, the third game is a road trip to Nebraska and most quarterbacks will have trouble with the Nebraska defense. If Price struggles early, Montana will be right there ready to take over. The instability at quarterback will not be helped by the absence of linemen Greg Christine, Cody Habben and Ryan Tolar. It seems like those three have been starting forever and the line will have to make some major adjustments without them. Left tackle Senio Kelemete is a good player to build around, but this will likely end up being a very young and inexperienced line.

The Bottom Line:
The good news for the quarterbacks is that they have a superb running back at their disposal. Chris Polk rushed for 1,365 yards and nine scores last season and will have to be the guy who carries this offense until a quarterback steps up their game. However, the staff does not want Polk to get burnt out, so finding a couple young rushers who can handle about ten carries per game is very important. Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse is one of the best in the conference. He caught 63 passes for 1,005 yards and a dozen touchdowns last year. However, that was with Locker throwing the ball. Devin Aguilar should be a fine complimentary receiver, so as long as the offensive line can hold, Price and Montana have players who can get open down field. And that may be the key to the team this season. Without a passing game, the rushing attack will struggle and that would put Washington back towards the bottom of the conference table.

Projected Bowl: none

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 172.15 (38th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 190.38 (84, 8)
Total Offense: 362.54 (76, 6)
Scoring Offense: 21.85 (96, 8)
Rushing Defense: 190.46 (97, 8)
Pass Defense: 194.38 (27, 2)
Total Defense: 384.85 (70, 6)
Scoring Defense: 29.31 (80, 8)
Turnover Margin: .15 (47, 6)
Sacks: 2.15 (47, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.85 (58, 4)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings
#84 Desmond Trufant

Madness 2011 Football Recruit Rankings
#42 Austin Seferian-Jenkins
#50 Kasen Williams

Check out another article about Washington football