Pac-12: Dorson Boyce
Everybody is talking about: The Huskies must replace their two best defensive players, defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and linebacker Donald Butler, who combined for 28 tackles for a loss in 2009.
Bigger shoes than you think: fullback Paul Homer
This wasn't an easy one because the Huskies only lose five starters, but Homer is a the sort of blue-collar guy who makes an important impact that is rarely noticed. For one, isn't it possible that Chris Polk rushing for more than 1,000 yards -- he's the first UW freshman to do so and just the second Huskies running back to eclipse the benchmark since 1997 -- had something to do with a veteran fullback? Homer was a three-year starter who persevered through tough times for the program while distinguishing himself as a student as well as an athlete.
Who is stepping in: One of coach Steve Sarkisian's pre-spring position moves was switchingDorson Boyce from tight end to fullback, which suggests that the Huskies might want the fullback to catch more passes -- think Stanley Havili at USC. Boyce, a senior, will compete with fellow senior Austin Sylvester for playing time.
- Quarterback Jake Locker may play some baseball with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim this summer but a schedule has not been set. Sarkisian said it won't interfere with his football work.
- Players who won't practice due to injury include running back Chris Polk (shoulder), offensive tackle Cody Habben (shoulder), defensive end Kalani Aldrich (knee), Everrette Thompson (Achilles), safety Victor Aiyewa (shoulder).
- Running back Brandon Yakaboski (knee), cornerback Desmond Trufant (groin) and Justin Glenn (leg) will be limited.
- Defensive end Andru Pulu is still suspended indefinitely and is not on the roster.
- Tight end Dorson Boyce has moved to fullback.
- Marquis Persley has moved from cornerback to safety.
- Drew Schaefer has moved from tackle to center. Ryan Tolar from center to guard.
- The starting offensive line as of Monday: Schaefer, Senio Kelemete at left tackle, Tolar at left guard, Mykenna Ikehara at right guard and Skyler Fancher at right tackle
- Linebacker Alvin Logan could see action as a defensive end. Sarkisian said the lack of depth at end due to injuries and suspensions means that some other players, including defensive tackles, could see time at end.
- Players who have left the program: quarterback Ronnie Fouch, running backs Willie Griffin and Curtis Shaw, linebacker Kurt Mangum, cornerback Matt Mosley and receiver Vince Taylor.
- Four freshmen will participate this spring: linebacker Victor Burnett, running back Jesse Callier, running back Deontae Cooper and quarterback Nick Montana.
- The priority is adding depth on the offensive and defensive line.
- Sarkisian said he's interested to see how receiver D'Andre Goodwin and tight end Chris Izbicki perform. Goodwin was the Huskies best receiver in 2008 but fell behind other players in 2009. Izbicki is fighting for touches behind Kavario Middleton.
- He also said that there should be plenty of competition in the secondary between cornerbacks Desmond Trufant, Adam Long, Quinton Richardson, Vonzell McDowell and converted receiver Anthony Boyles.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
The ninth of 10 quick updates on offseason Pac-10 goings on.
Washington in a sentence
- While the Huskies hit an all-time low as a program by going winless in 2008, there's an abundance of hope for a dramatic improvement under new coach Steve Sarkisian with 18 starters returning as well as quarterback Jake Locker, who was lost to injury four games into last season, and linebacker E.J. Savannah, who was suspended by former coach Tyrone Willingham.
The big issue
- When a team finishes 0-12, everything is an issue, but a good start would be shoring up a defense that ranked 110th in the nation last year, yielding 452 yards per game. Ten starters are back on that side of the ball -- not including Savannah --- but will that prove to be a good thing?
Quick hit news
- Tailbacks Brandon Johnson and David Freeman and linebacker Bradly Roussel left the program.
- All 13 of the Huskies' freshmen are already on campus. The Seattle Times reported that, of the six JC transfers in the incoming class, only one, tight end Dorson Boyce is presently with the team. Another, defensive lineman Johnny Tivao of Cerritos College, is not expected to make it. The other four are trying to complete their work to become academically eligible.
- Sarkisian has gotten off to a fast start with his second recruiting class. The Huskies already have 13 commitments and most services rank the present haul among the nation's top 25.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
It's not completely accurate to call it feast or famine at the tight end this spring in the Pac-10.
Washington, California, Stanford, etc. will insist they've got a wealth of talent at the position, despite the lack of returning production.
But in trying to evaluate a position, it seems best to stick with what is proved over what is potential. So there doesn't seem to be much middle ground here.
- Arizona: It's always nice to have back a certain preseason All-American, which is what the Wildcats have in future first-round draft pick Rob Gronkowski. It's also nice to have all four names on last season's depth chart at tight end and H-back coming back in 2009.
- UCLA: Ryan Moya earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2008, but he wasn't even the No. 1 tight end entering the season. That would be Logan Paulsen, who returns this spring after missing last year with a broken foot. And there's talented sophomore Cory Harkey. And touted true freshman Morrell Presley, who's enrolled and will participate in spring practices.
- Oregon: Ed Dickson was second-team All-Pac-10 -- yes, tied with Moya -- in 2008, and his athleticism makes him an NFL prospect. And this depth chart lists eight guys at the position heading into spring.
- USC: Is it possible for a USC player to be underrated? Yes. Let me introduce you to Anthony McCoy, who caught 22 passes for 256 yards last year. Toss in talented sophomore Blake Ayles -- nagging injuries limited him in 2008 -- and you've got two big targets for whoever wins the quarterback job.
|AP Photo/Elaine Thompson|
|Rob Gronkowski hauled in 47 receptions for 672 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008.|
- Oregon State: The good news is all five names on the 2008 depth chart at tight end and H-back are back. The less excited news is those guys combined for 29 receptions. Can the combination of Howard Croom and Brady Camp become more than just solid?
- Stanford: Starter Austin Gunder, the Cardinal's third-leading receiver in 2008, is gone, but his 17 receptions were just four more than backup Coby Fleener. Notre Dame transfer Konrad Reuland also figures to be firmly in the mix this spring. And, curiously, Stanford signed four tight ends during the recruiting season, though they won't be around until the fall.
- California: Cameron Morrah, the Bears second-leading receiver, surprised many when he opted to enter the NFL draft a year early. That was a hit. But backup Tad Smith is a good blocker -- just three receptions in 2008 -- and many are high on sophomore Anthony Miller, who caught the winning touchdowns pass in the Emerald Bowl victory over Miami (though that was his only reception of the season).
- Arizona State: There are a lot of names here but little certainty -- see just seven combined receptions among returning players. Sophomore Dan Knapp looked good before getting hurt. Redshirt freshman Steven Figueroa could be a factor. Senior Jovon Williams saw a lot of action last year. Touted freshman Christopher Coyle arrives in the fall.
- Washington: If sophomore Kavario Middleton, a touted but physically undeveloped 2008 recruit, has been working hard in the weight room, he could become one of the conference's breakout players. Behind him are sophomore Chris Izbicki and JC transfer Dorson Boyce.
- Washington State: The top two names from the 2008 depth chart -- Devin Frischknecht and Ben Woodard -- are gone. Senior Tony Thompson had four catches last year. Touted JC transfer Peter Tuitupou, tabbed as the starter when he signed, shocked the staff by opting to go on a two-year church mission. There's hope that Zach Tatman, a former walk-on offensive lineman, might be able to step in. Perhaps some young guys will step up.