Returning Gaines is Huskies gain
Getting Gaines back for another year is a huge win for defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. With Gaines back, Kwiatkowski now has more to work with on the interior of the D- line. Before the news of Gaines return, the D-line depth felt shallow. And with the exit of Vea, the team has a huge void to fill.
So as Gaines returns, he immediately will aide the development of incoming freshman Sam Taimani and Temple transfer Josiah Bronson. And with that, the Huskies defensive line depth improves dramatically. Gaines not only produces on the field, but he helps translate scheme responsibilities to the other players at his role. Adding those guys in with returners Levi Onwuzurike and Jaylen Johnson returns the prowess and solid skillsets to the squad. The team fought hard to recruit Idaho-resident Tommy Togiai, but fell short. Still the team gains two interior linemen this year to one loss, and that is a plus.
Big bodied defenders needed
One big thing that the D-line really needs is big bodies that can generate pressure. We saw in the bowl games each of the last two years that those matchups on the interior are crucial in inter-conference showdowns. The 322 pound Gaines is a huge matchup. He eats up blockers in the run game and at times have an impact as a pass rusher.
Gaines decision is a solid plus for the Huskies as they assemble the 2018 roster. And to that, there are still more decisions hanging in the balance. In fact, one such young man is trying to find his way closer to his Sacramento, California home. And much like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, he simply needs to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. We’ll discuss him in the next article.