Yesterday, John Breech of CBSSports.com wrote a post about 3 Washington players who need to shine. And, he kind of duffed it. The premise is simple: one offensive, defensive and special teams player who need to have big seasons for the Huskies to have a big season. So of course for offense and defense, Breech chooses two captains, two players who went to Pac-12 Media Day with Steve Sarkisian, two upperclassmen on everybody’s radar: Keith Price and Desmond Trufant.
Now, I don’t disagree with either choice but it just seems really lazy to pick those two guys. A quarterback needing to have a good season for his team to be successful? Not exactly breaking new ground there. As for Desmond Trufant, he’s been anywhere from serviceable to really good over the past three seasons, and the defense hasn’t mirrored his play.
So without further ado, here are my 3 Washington players who need to shine.
Offense: LT Micah Hatchie
Assuming Hatchie wins the starting left tackle job as is expected, he may well be the key to making the offense go. It’s pretty much a given that Keith Price is going to have a good season considering what he did last season, Sark’s history with quarterbacks, and what Price did in his healthiest appearance against Baylor. And that’s one of the biggest keys to Price’s season: keeping him at his healthiest so that he isn’t limited. That’s not happening without solid play at the tackle postions, especially on the blind side.
The other thing that Hatchie will have to do to to make the offense hum is to open holes in the running game. With the talent Washington has at running back, the real question mark is whether or not there will be holes available for Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey to run through. Hatchie being dependable in run blocking will keep the ball moving forward, and prevent defenses from focusing on defending the pass.
Defense: DE Hau’oli Jamora
The Huskies defenses the last couple of years have had good players in the secondary (Sean Parker, Desmond Trufant), at linebacker (Mason Foster) and defensive tackle (Alameda Ta’amu), and the results have been pretty underwhelming. The position that hasn’t had a standout player manning it in that span has been defensive end. Washington hasn’t had a (healthy) standout defensive end who can do it all since Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, and Jamora could end up being much better than UW’s all time sacks leader.
Breech props up Trufant because of the prolific passing offenses in the Pac-12, but I’d go the other way and say that the best way to defeat those passing attacks is with a sound pass rush. With Jamora on one side and Josh Shirley coming from the other, opposing quarterbacks will not have the luxury they’ve had in recent years of dropping back and waiting until their receivers pop open. If the defense can force passing situations, they should be able to get off the field more often than than in the past.
Special Teams: PK Travis Coons
Alright, I’ll give you that one, Breech.