WR Anthony Russo (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)
Coach: Tyrone Willingham
7-16, 2 years
2006 Record: 5-7
SAN JOSE STATE WON 35-29
at Oklahoma LOST 20-37
FRESNO STATE WON 21-20
UCLA WON 29-19
at Arizona WON 21-10
at Southern California LOST 20-26
OREGON STATE LOST 17-27
at California LOST 24-31 (OT)
ARIZONA STATE LOST 23-26 (OT)
at Oregon LOST 14-34
STANFORD LOST 3-20
at Washington State WON 35-32

 

2006 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2007 Outlook

If the improvements from his first two years as Husky head coach continue, Ty Willingham should have a winning college football program in 2007. UW opened 4-1 last time, and they looked like the Huskies of old before their QB went down and seemingly took their season with him. But winning, once a tradition here, has been elusive since 2003’s 1-10 debacle – one has to go all the way back to 1976 (5-6) to find a sub-.500 Washington team before that. Fans surely thought Willingham would turn their program back into a success, yet things still look 50/50 as to whether Ty has the mettle to achieve such. He sure seems to presently have attracted enough talent. A true leader with a strong hand toward making sure his guys get their due education(s), this former-National Coach of the Year may feel his seat get warmer if he can’t deliver this time. The evidence could go either way – the new highly-touted QB, Jake Locker, has yet to take a snap; a decent OL returns three starters, but early indicators show a lack of consistency/depth; and a revamped secondary has had an identity crisis in this, seemingly the ‘passing league’. A solid group of ball handlers along with their quickly developing linebackers will help, but just like last year, it all banks on how the iffy components come together under real conditions. The slate looks daunting – Syracuse, Boise, Ohio State and Hawai’i are one tough set of non-con foes, but having USC, Oregon, Cal and rival Wazzu come to Seattle offers some hope. Top level wins mean UW will earn each, providing them and the entire program a competitive foundation upon which further seasons can build, just like this year’s squad did after the last. That’s how you get back to where you were, and how Washington will vault back into contention. But even if wins don’t come so easily, continuing the baby steps of sound fundamentals (something that had been missing during the losing efforts) will at least keep these Huskies on the right scent.


Projected 2007 record: 5-7
WASHINGTON
*POWER RATINGS
Offense
Defense
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 3.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 3 ..
RETURNING LEADERS

Passing: Casey Paus, 274-116-17, 1476 yds., 5 TD

Rushing: Kenny James, 172 att., 702 yds., 5 TD

Receiving: Sonny Shackelford, 21 rec., 298 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Kenny James, 5 TD, 30 pts.

Punting: Sean Douglas, 63 punts, 42.6 avg.

Kicking: Evan Knudson, 7-10 FG, 3-4 PAT, 24 pts.

Tackles: Evan Benjamin, 105 tot., 48 solo

Sacks: Manase Hopoi, 9 sacks

Interceptions: Evan Benjamin, 3 for 34 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Anthony Russo, 15 ret., 17.6 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Anthony Russo, 8 ret., 3.4 avg., 0 TD

 

CB Roy Lewis (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)
  WASHINGTON
OFFENSE - 7
----RETURNING STARTERS----
DEFENSE - 7
KEY LOSSES
OFFENSE: Isaiah Stanback-QB, Mark Palaita-FB, Kenny James-TB, Sonny Shackelford-WR, Stanley Daniels-OG, Clay Walker-OG, Michael Braunstein-K
DEFENSE: Donny Mateaki-DT, Brandon Ala-DE, Scott White-OLB, Tahj Bomar-ILB, Matt Fountaine-CB, Dashon Goldson-CB, C.J. Wallace-SS, Chris Hemphill-FS, Sean Douglas-P
2007 OFFENSE

The consistency and leadership seen (on offensive) over 2006’s first seven games went south quickly after now-departed QB Isaiah Stanback was injured. That one player was such a HUGE difference - between their 4-3 start and a 1-4 closing - speaks volumes. Carrying over into this preseason, the difference between the first- and second-team(s) is still rather wide if the spring game (starters vs. backups) tells us anything. But the good news for coordinator Tim Lapanno is that he has last year’s No.4 dual-threat prospect, Jake Locker, in place of Stanback. Fifth-year senior Carl Bonnell had a solid spring, but his 42% career completion rate (as well as his career 7-to-15 TD-to-INT ratio and his marginal showings in place of Stanback) meant Locker had the starting nod (by default) before even taking a single collegiate snap. The Ferndale native will obviously take a bit of time to adjust to real game speed and intensity, and, as mentioned, how long it takes him to adapt will dictate whether this team can finish above .500 or not. For only starting twice, Louis Rankin surely was the coaches’ chosen back of 2006. Rankin dazzled this spring, but it was mostly against the second-teamers and was also due more to individual (than team) effort(s). J.R. Hasty is a no-frills production machine who just has to keep his grades up to secure the No.2 spot, especially with a distinct lack of choices at TB. A bevy of incoming freshmen will buoy the unit, but we expect an expanded role for fullback Paul Homer to bolster last year’s 69th-ranked running dimension. The line’s three returning starters played like the leaders they will need to be this spring, but the two new guards showed promise in flashes rather than via consistency. Ben Ossai’s consistency in playing nearly every offensive snap of ’06 while being the focal point at left tackle (for a team that only allowed 19 sacks) means the new QB(s) will have extra time to settle into the pocket, when necessary. Locker’s speed should keep the sack total low again. Bookend tackle Chad Macklin did play every snap and his steady improvement over his career needs to continue if this group is to keep the Huskies competitive. Juan Garcia bounced back in ’06 from two years of leg/ankle injuries to also participate in every down of offense. The switch by monstrous Morgan Rosborough from backup LT to starting LG typifies the OL’s entire profile – they seem to be too big to effectively keep up with more athletic and faster DLmen. Moreover, they don’t pull for outside assignments with efficiency and/or consistency. And the dropoff in quality to (most of) the second team has fans praying that an injury rash doesn’t break out. The backs have dealt well with these dilemmas in practices, but third-and-one remains a struggle. We fear what may happen come September. What isn’t of concern is the depth and quality of the Huskie receivers. Even losing “go to” guy Shackelford won’t dissuade most from realizing how good the group is. Senior Anthony Russo can become that guy, and a smarty all-arounder like Cody Ellis will also be steady enough to help Locker gain confidence downfield. German-born ex-hurdler Corey Williams has the wares to be sent deep, but it is the mismatches that Marcel Reese poses which will truly open up the field for everyone once he becomes the distraction he deserves to be. Furthermore, Kirton and Gottlieb as sizable TEs over the middle will give everyone more room to operate. Lapanno needs to get his line together, otherwise, all of these quality upperclassmen at the talent positions won’t really matter.

 

C Juan Garcia (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)

 

WASHINGTON 2007 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters/
Key Players
OFFENSE
QB Jake Locker-So (6-3, 210) Carl Bonnell-Sr (6-3, 210)
FB Paul Homer-So (6-0, 222) Luke Kravitz-Sr (6-1, 225)
TB Louis Rankin-Sr (6-1, 205) J.R. Hasty-So (5-11, 200)
WR Anthony Russo-Sr (5-11, 185) Corey Williams-Sr (6-2, 195)
WR Marcel Reece-Sr (6-3, 240) Cody Ellis-Sr (6-0, 185)
Quintin Daniels-Sr (6-0, 195)
TE Johnie Kirton-Jr (6-3, 270) Michael Gottlieb-Sr (6-5, 245)
OT Ben Ossai-Jr (6-6, 300) Eric Berglund-Sr (6-6, 290)
OG Morgan Rosborough-Jr (6-6, 375) Jordan White-Frisbee-Sr (6-6, 320)
C Juan Garcia-Sr (6-3, 315) Ryan Bush-Sr (6-2, 305)
OG Casey Bulyca-Sr (6-6, 320) Ryan Tolar-So (6-6, 325)
OT Chad Macklin-Sr (6-8, 300) Cody Habben-So (6-5, 270)
K Erik Folk-Fr (5-10, 185) Ryan Perkins-Jr (6-0, 185)

 

2007 DEFENSE

In a conference where defense is sometimes more of an afterthought, returning seven starters could be what greases the track so that a dominating group can, by themselves at times, keep Washington in most games. This year’s bunch has made strides along these lines, but the secondary will be marginal enough to keep UW from holding their foes to under 300 aggregate points (the last time they did this was 2000’s 11-1 season, and the last time they did such and still had a losing record was 1974’s 5-6 campaign, when they still played in the Pac 8). The line’s 66th-ranking for run defense should moderately improve with all of its starters back. Senior end Greyson Gunheim has started since his freshman year; the ex-RB standout has unusual speed for his size and his consistent presence in foes’ backfield(s) confirms his all-conference selection. But the bigger upside seems to be with Pac Ten Freshman All-Conference selection Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, who should have a breakout effort with so many quality linemen to distract opponents. Depth on the outside with 6’7 Caesar Rayford is good, but beyond him, it gets scant for experience. Reffet on the inside is a true leader with a great work ethic; he and Afoa don’t offer quite the same threat as Te’o-Nesheim and Gunheim, but their experience gets them the starting nods. Sophomore backup Cameron Elisara had a great spring and will press for reps, but (like at end) beyond him, coach Willingham will need some greenies to step up if there is to be a worthy rotation amongst the DL. The linebackers are led by senior outsider Dan Howell, another vocal player who has his front seven mates playing well as a unit. Howell won the team’s Most Improved Player Award (KING-TV), and he is still getting better. Inside, Don Butler was one of two true freshmen to play last year, and the ex-RB has the size needed to rule the middle in this BCS-aligned conference. Still, the most talented of this bunch seems to be E.J. Savannah, whose poignant spring efforts were notable enough to have him vault past heir-apparent Chris Stevens on the depth chart. Many other insiders, too, feel this should eventually be the strongest area on the D. The 102nd-rated secondary is still a concern – a few solid players have but little experience behind them. Senior CB Roy Lewis, one of the two remaining components from 2006, can be left one-on-one, but he won’t likely see much come his way since JUCO-transfer Jordan Murchison has yet to see action at the I-A level. Murchison has promise, but he will be tested early and often (the load of incoming talent means he is no lock opposite Lewis). Backup Byron Davenport played at UCLA, giving some valuable experience to the youth outside. Big and fast, free safety Jason Wells has yet to meet the high expectations he’s set at this level. Mesphin Forrester’s work at nickel gives promise for the impact he should have at strong safety. Walk-on Jay Angotti had a huge spring; he and top prospect Quinton Richardson will press for reps/starts if others don’t perform up to par. The DBs not being a sound unit as UW heads into fall is a bad sign in the pass-happy Pac Ten. Still, the talent is there for this to be a decent secondary…they just won’t be able to hold their own, and that will tax the entire defense enough to keep them chasing opponents more than actually stopping them.

 

DE Greyson Gunheim (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)

 

WASHINGTON 2007 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters/
Key Players
DEFENSE
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim-Jr (6-4, 245) Darrion Jones-Jr (6-3, 245)
DT Jordan Reffett-Sr (6-6, 295) Cameron Elisara-So (6-2, 275)
DT Wilson Afoa-Sr (6-3, 290) Erick Lobos-Sr (6-3, 285)
DE Greyson Gunheim-Sr (6-5, 265) Caesar Rayford-Sr (6-7, 245)
OLB Dan Howell-Sr (6-1, 225) Matt Houston-Fr (6-1, 215)
ILB Donald Butler-So (6-1, 240) Trenton Tuiasosopo-Jr (6-2, 240)
OLB E.J. Savannah-Jr (6-2, 222) Chris Stevens-So (6-0, 215)
CB Jordan Murchison-Sr (6-0, 184) Matt Mosley-So (5-11, 190)
CB Roy Lewis-Sr (5-11, 185) Byron Davenport-Jr (5-11, 195)
SS Mesphin Forrester-Sr (6-2, 205) Darin Harris-Sr (5-11, 200)
FS Jason Wells-Jr (6-2, 210) Victor Aiyewa-Fr (6-2, 210)
P Jared Ballman-Jr (5-11, 175) Ryan Perkins-Jr (6-0, 185)

 

 

2007 SPECIAL TEAMS

Ryan Perkins huge leg has bounced back well enough from a 2006 knee injury to win him the punting job. The thing is, now-departed Sean Douglas also flew ‘em far, but Washington could only muster the nation’s 76th net results…ergo, the team needs to improve its coverage more than the Huskie’s punter(s) have to improve their efforts. Eric Folk is supposed to give Perkins a run for his placekicking job when he arrives this fall, and either looks like the shizz. Tony Russo seems much more worthy for both return slots, though, Roy Lewis has been tabbed for KRs, an area within which he struggled in ’06.