2008 Washington Huskies Football Preview
2007 Washington Record: (4-9, 2-7 Pac 10)
2007 Bowl: none
Washington Head Coach: Tyrone Willingham (11-25 at Washington, 76-77-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tim Lappano
Defensive Coordinator: Ed Donatell
Returning Washington Leaders:
Other Key Returnees: CB Byron Davenport, C Juan Garcia, S Darin Harris, FB Paul Homer, OT Ben Ossai, K Ryan Perkins, LB Trenton Tuiasosopo
Key Losses: DT Wilson Afoa, DE Greyson Gunheim, LB Dan Howell, CB Roy Lewis, OT Chris Macklin, RB Louis Rankin, WR Marcel Reese, DT Jordan Reffett, WR Anthony Russo
Quarterback Jake Locker will need some help making plays on offense from his fellow Washington players. But there is not much proven talent left to provide any help. Receivers Anthony Russo and Marcel Reese and running back Louis Rankin are all gone. There is good reason to be excited with talent around like receivers D’Andre Goodwin and Chris Polk and back Brandon Johnson, but none of them are proven performers.
Then the question arises…how much help does Locker really need? He nearly rushed for 1,000 yards last season and threw for over 2,000; and that was just as a freshman. As a sophomore Locker should become a better leader on the field. He will also have to become a better passer. He threw 14 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions. The receivers were not to blame for that. An experienced offensive line will give Locker more time to throw or run and that, along with a valuable year of experience, should help keep Locker’s interception numbers at a reasonable level. However, the best lineman on the team, Juan Garcia, may be out for the season with a foot injury. In the best case scenario, the center will return in October.
During Pac-10 play, the Washington defense ranked near the bottom of every major statistical category. There are some quality players to build around. The front four has end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, who totaled 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss last season. E.J. Savannah led the team in tackles and developed into a consistent linebacker. Now a senior, Savannah will be one of the main leaders of the young defense. Free safety Mesphin Forrester was third on the team in tackles during the 2007 season and first in interceptions. Still that leaves a lot of holes to fill. The line will need Cam Elisara, De’Shon Matthews and Craig Noble to develop quickly and linebacker Mason Foster needs to become a full-time starter. The biggest thing that can turn the defense around is new coordinator Ed Donatell, who heads to Seattle after multiple stints in the NFL.
The Bottom Line for the Huskies:
If the defense does not improve, the current coaching staff might just be out of time. It is unfortunate for Coach Tyrone Willingham that the Huskies need to at least show improvement this year. Most of the roster is underclassmen and this is a team that could, and should, be pretty good in a year or two. Yet, this season might not go too well and one more losing season is probably all the Washington brass can handle.
2007 Washington Huskies Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 203.08 (18th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 191.15 (93, 9)
Total Offense: 394.23 (60, 6)
Scoring Offense: 29.23 (51, 5)
Rushing Defense: 185.00 (89, 10)
Pass Defense: 261.38 (104, 9)
Total Defense: 446.38 (103, 10)
Scoring Defense: 31.62 (92, 9)
Turnover Margin: -.08 (64, 6)
Sacks: 2.54 (29, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.85 (48, 4)
By Joel Welser
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