CB Derrick Johnson (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)
Coach: Keith Gilbertson
6-6, 2nd year
2003 Record: 6-6
at Ohio State LOST 9-28
at UCLA LOST 16-46
at Oregon State WON 38-17
at Arizona LOST 22-27
at California LOST 7-54

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

Uncertainty is the buzzword around U-Dub. Continuing NCAA investigations, a search for a new AD and a reshuffled coaching staff all linger as possible distractions. Somehow, the staff still managed to put together a top 20 recruiting class. These Huskies overcame the sudden departure of Neuheisel a month before the 2003 season so they are accustomed to focusing against the odds. They'll have to because coach Gilbertson will run a much tighter ship in an attempt to instill more toughness and discipline on both sides of the ball. Gilbertson's first spring also gives the offense time to gel and learn the option. Speed in the backfield offsets a suspect line and will cause defenses to overplay the run so that, eventually, Frederick will hit a big play. The sooner a leader emerges at QB the better because that position battle will determine the style of the offense.

The defense will be a greater cause for optimism, especially if the inspired play in the Apple Cup is an indication of the Phil Snow system. Too often the defense played scared, waiting and reacting; an aggressive scheme will lead to more mistakes but will also generate more turnovers after finishing a dismal minus four in said category. As on offense, there is enough experience to ensure consistency. At the same time, too many questions abound for talk about greatness. A win at Notre Dame could be a catalyst for a strong Pac-10 finish; however, Husky fans should be satisfied with a 28th straight year at .500 or better, which is going to be a close call much like the previous campaign. If they can somehow find a way to overcome the injury bug that has effected this team so hard, UW might prove to be a better than what most predictions tell us heading into August. Getting back to the days when a Seattle visit was frowned upon by many top rated opponents, isn't on the immediate "return to glory" cycle just yet in just Coach Gilbertson's second year.

Projected 2004 record: 5-6
QB - 2.5 DL - 2.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 2.5
WR - 3 DB - 4
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Casey Paus, 23-10-1, 151 yds., 2 TD

Rushing: Kenny James, 122 att., 530 yds., 2 TD

Receiving: Charles Frederick, 59 rec., 831 yds., 5 TD

Scoring: Evan Knudson, 10-17 FG, 33-36 PAT, 63 pts.

Punting: Sean Douglas, 1 punt, 43.0 avg.

Kicking: Evan Knudson, 10-17 FG, 33-36 PAT

Tackles: Jimmy Newell, 84 tot., 46 solo; Tim Galloway, 84 tot., 45 solo

Sacks: Manase Hopoi, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Derrick Johnson, 6 for 62 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Charles Frederick, 11 ret., 18.4 avg.

Punt Returns: Charles Frederick, 29 ret., 11.7 avg.


OT Khalif Barnes (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)
OFFENSE: Todd Bachert-C, Nick Newton-OT, Dan Dicks-OG, Cody Pickett-QB, Rich Alexis-TB, Reggie Williams-WR (NFL)
DEFENSE: Jerome Stevens-DT, Terry Johnson-DT, Marquis Cooper-ILB, Greg Carothers-OLB, Tyler Krambrink-OLB, Roc Alexander-CB, Owen Biddle-SS, Chris Massey-CB, Garth Erickson-P

The Washington faithful have the lowest offensive expectations in years after the loss of the Pac-Ten's first 4,000-yd. passer in Cody Pickett. The meager experience returning at the position belongs to Casey Paus, a 6'5" prototypical QB with good touch, who did lead the Huskies to the win over Oregon in 2003. His 43% completion rate and lack of mobility however, offset his leadership qualities, especially as coach Keith Gilbertson moves towards an option offense. Sophomore Isaiah Stanback would be a better fit after converting back to QB from WR. Although he has struggled to consistently make mid-range throws, the sophomore brings so much speed (4.4 - 40 yds.) and raw arm strength to the table…a nightmare for defenses as a run/pass threat. Likewise, RS freshman Carl Bonnell has the speed and understanding of the option to challenge either of his elders; still, his sound mechanics have never been tested in a game. The arrival of Matt Tuiasosopo, the top prospect in Washington and younger brother of FB Zach, only makes the competition more heated. Either way, the passing game won't resemble that of the Pickett-era. The best case made from spring football goes to Bonnell, the transfer from Washington State. He appears to be a better athlete than Paus, a better passer than Stanback and he ran the option in high school. The case for Paus is that he won't lose you a game, but the Huskies are not going to be efficient enough to play "not to lose". For the first time in 25 years, there is no heir to the quarterback throne at Washington.

Running Back
The mid-season injury last fall to Rich Alexis eased this year's transition for the Huskies' two talented TBs. Junior Kenny James showed off a bruising running style that made him one of the top backs in the country coming out of high school. He'll fight for tough yards, but with a 4.3-yards per carry average and a 56-yd long, he proved there is enough speed to out run defenses. Having enough speed is not the question for sophomore Shelton Sampson. The Husky track-star wants the ball with a chance to out-sprint the defense as he did against the Ducks with one of the season's most absurd stat lines: 131-yds, 3 TDs, 6 carries. Yes, six. Considering James also went for 104 yards in the win, the Huskies have a potential two-headed monster in the backfield. Fullback is also considered a strength with Zach Tuiasosopo, a solid blocker who moves the pile with or without the ball, backed up by junior James Sims, who made a successful transition from safety. The only real disappointment is the continued absence of Chris Singleton, who has been limited by a foot injury that caused him to miss last season.

Wide Receiver
Unlike the Alexis injury, there was no time to prepare for the early departure of record smashing WR Reggie Williams. Somehow, despite Williams' presence, the Huskies still found a way to get the ball into a school-record 18 different receivers' hands, which bodes well for U-Dub's depth. Senior Charles Frederick gives whoever is throwing the ball a legitimate playmaker as his 371 all-purpose yards against the Beavers proved. The All-Pac-Ten special-teamer will receive the same honor at WR if the Huskies utilize his freakish sub-4.3 speed which earned him the nickname E.T. Sophomore Sonny Shackleford jumped up the depth chart in fall practice and showed uncanny maturity under Williams' wing. Still, his blocking must improve to open up the run game. If the Huskies can't run the ball, it will be tough for anyone without spectacular physical ability to get open underneath. The door is open for an extensive array of young freshman to step in such as Charles Smith, who might have raised his stock the most this spring. Game experience, not depth, is the major concern for this corps.

Offensive Line
Unlike the receivers, depth is a major problem for an O-line that returns only eight scholarship players and allowed the second most sacks in the Pac-10. This may be the biggest question mark on the team, which gives new O-line coach Charlie Dickey a difficult task heading into the fall. The spring saw Tui Alailefaleula and Graham Lasee slide over from defense to add depth, but injuries continued to reduce the number of able bodies available. Guards Tusi Sa'au and Rob Meadow missed all of spring from previous injuries and matters took a dark turn when starting guard Dan Dicks decided to retire from football. The leader will be senior OT Khalif Barnes, a four-year starter who is as reliable as they come. If everyone comes back healthy for the fall, the prognosis could swing more towards a positive note. The stars of the spring have been senior Ryan Brooks, who has gained a foothold on one tackle spot, and sophomore Stanley Daniels, who also has made a successful transition from defense. Tight end originally looked to be one of the deepest positions, but injuries have been no stranger to this aspect of the front wall either as Joe Toledo and Ben Bandel have been dogged all spring. Bandel should be fine by the fall, but Toledo's future remains uncertain.

The departure of Pickett and Williams could be a blessing for coach Gilbertson, who was often hand-tied trying to play Neuheisel's style to utilize his talent. Thus, the Huskies struggled in 2003 with the same stars of 2002, going from one of the most prolific passing offenses in UW history to a program failing to get bowl eligible while demanding more of a running power game. With a full preseason to implement a ground-oriented attack, the players and coaches should be on the same page come fall. The major problem now is a lack of bodies on the offensive line to implement said game plan. RBs James and Sampson are the keys; yet, whoever wins the job at QB must remember to get Frederick his touches. Even if Paus is the starter, the excitement Stanback provides will get him on the field soon enough. Much the same applies to Carl Bonnell as the Huskies at least have three options at QB. Gilbertson must use reverses, misdirection and any other imaginative way to get his talented runners into the open field. At best, they are a ball control offense that stretches defenses with Frederick; more likely, they'll look confused, especially in the red-zone where they were downright anemic. They'll struggle to match their 26-ppg average.


FB Zach Tuiasosopo (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Casey Paus-Jr (6-5, 215) Isaiah Stanback-So (6-3, 200)
Carl Bonnell-Fr (6-3, 200)
FB Zach Tuiasosopo-Sr (6-2, 240) James Sims-Jr (6-1, 200)
TB Kenny James-So (5-10, 210) Shelton Sampson-So (5-11, 190)
WR Corey Williams-So (6-1, 190) Quintin Daniels-So (6-0, 195)
WR Charles Frederick-Sr (6-0, 180) Sonny Shackelford-So (6-1, 180)
TE Ben Bandel-So (6-7, 260) Jon Lyon-Sr (6-6, 260)
Joe Toledo-Jr (6-6, 285)
OT Khalif Barnes-Sr (6-5, 290) Chad Macklin-Fr (6-8, 285)
OG Clay Walker-So (6-4, 290) Stanley Daniels-So (6-4, 285)
C Brad Vanneman-Jr (6-3, 300) Brandon Leyritz-Jr (6-3, 200)
OG Rob Meadow-Jr (6-6, 295) Tusi Sa'au-Jr (6-2, 300)
OT Ryan Brooks-Sr (6-6, 290) Tui Alailefaleula-Sr (6-4, 315)
K Evan Knudson-Sr (6-0, 185) ..



Defensive Line
With two DT starters departing and a few players moved over to the offensive line, coaches had some shuffling to do. Starting DE Manase Hopoi, second on the team in sacks after leading the Huskies with seven in 2002, has now moved inside and will man one of the vacated spots. Coaches have been particularly impressed by the play of freshman tackle Wilson Afoa and Casey Tyler, who is currently running with the first team due in part to injuries. Tyler is pretty mobile for standing 6-6, 285 and will battle with Dan Milsten for the open tackle spot opposite Hopoi. Projected starter Dan Milsten isn't as big as Tyler, but he's more experienced. The question is whether they have the size as a group to plug running lanes, a weakness Cal exposed with 381yds on the ground. The biggest concern will be finding a pass rusher. Mike Mapu, a JUCO transfer who sat out last year, has good size, as does current starting defensive end Donny Mateaki, an All-Pac Ten freshman from his tackle spot a year ago. Both of those guys could move inside but currently occupy the bigger, strong side end position. The pass rushers from the other edge will be Ty Eriks and Brandon Ala. Both are considered equals on any given down, although Eriks appears to garnish more reps. Ala has the ability to take command but nagging injuries have haunted him throughout his career so far and Eriks has moved positions four times. The line will be smaller and quicker; how much pressure comes from the outside will only be answered by how well the inside can hold ground.

Coach Phil Snow's aggressive 4-3 scheme will place even greater emphasis on the linebackers. Losing a general in the middle like Marquis Cooper won't help the cohesiveness of a group returning only one starter. Luckily, senior Tim Galloway returns to impart his intensity and obsessive work ethic on the younger LBs. Galloway has no startling physical attribute. Instead, he plays with reckless abandon, finishing second on the team last fall with 84 tackles…he could reach 100 this year. Switching DB Evan Benjamin to LB gives the Huskies the cover skills needed over the middle. Benjamin has that safety's knack of perfectly timing a big hit, meaning few receivers will want to run in-routes. Sophomore Scott White has great instincts and, along with oft-injured Joe Lobendahn, adds passion and sure tackling to the Huskies' limited depth. The group's success is contingent on coaching and hard work, not talent.

Defensive Back
Even though Benjamin moved to LB, this remains the most experienced unit with three senior starters. Only UCLA allowed fewer passing TDs in the Pac-10, this after the Huskies were predicted to have one of the weakest secondaries in the conference. This group should be even better, partly because of the maturity and leadership of senior FS Jimmy Newell. He is considered a second coach in the backfield, lining guys up and barking out commands all spring. Already second on the team in INT's and pass break-ups, those numbers will likely double with a ball-magnet like Derrick Johnson (six INT's) at one of the corners. Joining Johnson on the outside is another veteran in senior Sam Cunningham, which makes the corner rotation as tight as it gets. Look for much more lock-down philosophies to be utilized in this scheme. Other than running back, this could be the strongest position on the team.

With key position changes on every unit, Husky fans will have doubts about the defenses ability to gel. What they should realize is that Gilbertson will not hand anyone a starting job and will ensure he has the best talent at every position. This should toughen a unit that was ninth in the Pac-10 in rush defense and worst in the red zone (85%). The positive is that the hardest workers return to a team that allowed the fewest first downs due to penalties in the conference... so the discipline is there. Opponents will still attack them on the ground, placing the burden on the front four. They are fast, but still too small to knock opposing lines back. If they end up on field too long without the ability to rotate fresh legs in at linebacker, expect the defense to tire late in games.


WR/PR/KR Charles Frederick (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Donny Mateaki-So (6-5, 260) Mike Mapu-Jr (6-3, 260)
DT Manase Hopoi-Sr (6-4, 265) Jordan Reffett-Fr (6-6, 275)
DT Dan Milsten-So (6-5, 275) Casey Tyler-Fr (6-6, 285)
DE Brandon Ala-So (6-3, 225) Ty Eriks-Jr (6-2, 230)
OLB Evan Benjamin-Jr (6-0, 205) Kyle Trew-Fr (6-1, 215)
ILB Tim Galloway-Sr (6-2, 235) Tahj Bomar-So (6-2, 215)
ILB Scott White-So (6-1, 225) Joe Lobendahn-Jr (5-10, 225)
CB Derrick Johnson-Sr (6-0, 185) Matt Fountaine-So (5-11, 180)
CB Sam Cunningham-Sr (6-0, 180) Dre Simpson-So (6-1, 185)
SS C.J. Wallace-So (6-0, 195) Chris Hemphill-Fr (6-6, 210)
FS Jimmy Newell-Sr (6-1, 190) Dashon Goldson-So (6-1, 200)
P Sean Douglas-So (6-1, 200) Isaak Woldeit-Sr (5-11, 185)




Former walk-on kicker Evan Knudsen is expected to have solid senior season but needs to be more consistent from the 30-39 yard range where he was only 3 of 7. Surprisingly, he showed better consistency beyond 40 yards.

Highly recruited sophomore punter Sean Douglas will be favored to take over the duties from departed walk-on Garth Erickson. Douglas averaged almost 42 yards-per-punt in high school.

Return Game
Charles Frederick's electrifying 86-yd TD punt return against the Beavers only solidified his place among the top return men in college football. He'll try to follow his Pac-10 leading punt return season with similar success on kick returns alongside Shelton Sampson. Kickoff and punt coverage was some of the best in the conference last fall.