2001 Final Rankings
AP-19, Coaches-19, BCS 15
6'4 with 4.4 speed, sophomore Reggie Williams represents
the next generation of legendary receivers.
out a front-runner for the Pac Ten Conference
at this point is quite a stretch. Any number
of teams can qualify for those preseason
bragging rights as the league is as even
as any other year if not more. Washington
is one of them. Looking at the Huskies offensively,
no reason exists where this 2002 club can't
be as good, if not better, than the Tuiasosopo
led 2000 team. For Washington to be successful,
Cody Pickett will have to continue to improve
his game. The receiving unit is as good
as it comes out west. True sophomore Reggie
Williams looks like he may turn out to be
one of the greatest receivers in history
with his 6'4 and sub 4.4 forty speed. The
tailback position may not be as extremely
deep as last year, but the numbers at the
position are still rich. With a large number
of offensive linemen coming back, the Huskies
are poised for a solid season. The same
does not apply for the defense. There are
key losses everywhere as the Husky defense
will be the do-or-die portion of the formula.
If an award for injuries were given out,
this team would be at the front of the line.
The spring was just riddled at almost every
position by shoulder surgeries, knees, etc.
Frustrating as that may be, many of the
walking wounded are anticipating a return
in August. Coaches and fans will hold their
breath till then. A common sight this preseason
in many of the polls is seeing the Dawgs
as regulars in the Top 10. Many Husky fans
will be the first to tell you that may be
a kind estimate with the competitiveness
of the Pac 10 for 2002. They will have to
play better defense period. For now the
offensive numbers are pulling the weight.
If Washington can get by in the opener at
Ann Arbor, the next five games show the
Huskies as heavy favorites. The ball could
Projected 2002 record: 10-3
Huskies had 16 players sit out the spring
game for a variety of reasons, mostly
injury-related. Most, however, were
held out for precautionary reasons.
UW suffered no new injuries during the
spring, and the biggest question mark
is the health of OLB Kai Ellis,
a projected starter at the team's designated
pass-rush position. Ellis had surgery
on both knees last season and suffered
a recurrence early in the spring and
was held out the rest of the way. Coaches
hope he will be OK in the fall.
Cody Pickett, 169-301-14, 2403 Yards, 10
Rushing: Rich Alexis, 125 att., 391
yds., 5 TD's
Receiving: Reggie Williams, 55 rec.,
973 yds., 3 TD's
Scoring: John Anderson, 14 FG, 34
PAT, 76 pts.
Punting: Derek McLaughlin, 52 punts,
Kicking: John Anderson, 14-22 FG,
34-37 PAT, 76 pts.
Tackles: Ben Mahdavi, 85 tot., 40
Sacks: Ben Mahdavi, 5 sacks
Interceptions: Roc Alexander, 4 for
Kickoff returns: Roc Alexander, 19
ret., 29.2 avg.
Punt returns: none
Walker-FB, Willie Hurst-TB, Todd Elstrom-WR,
Kyle Benn-C, Jerramy Stevens-TE (NFL)
Roberson-DE, Larry Tripplett-NT, Jamaun Willis-ILB,
Sam Blanche-OLB, Omare Lowe-CB, Wondame Davis-FS
OFFICIAL SPRING RELEASE
University of Washington, Official Athletic Site
Washington's offense appears to have all of the
weapons to be one of the most formidable units
in the country. Led by junior quarterback Cody
Pickett, freshman All-American wide receiver Reggie
Williams, and senior wide out Paul Arnold, the
Huskies have the capacity to go to the air for
big play production. "A year ago I was really
concerned with replacing four starters on the
offensive line," Neuheisel says. "There
was a lot of attention paid to the 2002 Washington
Football quarterback position and Cody Pickett
taking over for Marques Tuiasosopo, but I felt
all along he would be fine, and he was. It was
the offensive line that pleasantly surprised me.
We need to get better in our running game and
more consistent in our passing. We cannot afford
some of the turnovers we had last year."
Washington returns all three of its quarterbacks,
including Pickett, the starter, backup Taylor
Barton and redshirt freshman Casey Paus. Last
season Pickett demonstrated why he has the tools
to be one of the Huskies' greatest signal callers.
He passed for 2,403 yards, the third highest single-season
mark in UW history. He accomplished that despite
playing the final seven games of the year with
a painful separated right (throwing) shoulder
he suffered against USC. He set a handful of UW
Last season a shoulder injury kept Rich Alexis
from participating in spring drills and he was
not able to capitalize on a freshman season that
saw him rush for 726 yards and average 6.2 yards
per rush. Last year Alexis productivity dipped
to 391 yards and an average of 3.1 yards per carry,
despite rushing the ball eight more times than
he did as a freshman. Helping to fill Hurst's
void will be senior tailback Braxton Cleman, who
missed all but one game last year due to a broken
collarbone. Cleman has been a very steady performer
as a rusher and receiver. Neuheisel moved outside
linebacker Zach Tuiasosopo to fullback for the
spring in hopes of generating more offense from
Washington's wide receiving corps has the makings
of one of the best groupings in the nation. Wilbur
Hooks, who will miss spring drills due to a shoulder
injury, returns after making 21 receptions over
the past two years. How good is Reggie Williams?
All he did last year was compile the most receiving
yards by a freshman in Pac-10 history. His 55
receptions were a conference record. Williams
never had less than three catches in a game. While
Williams was grabbing most of the headlines, Arnold
also made a great debut as a Husky receiver. After
playing tailback his first two seasons at Washington,
Arnold caught 43 passes for 649 yards as a junior.
He demonstrated outstanding speed and open-field
running skills while recording touchdown receptions
of 62 and 78 yards.
The Huskies lose three tight ends from last year's
squad, but return Kevin Ware, who started eight
times in 10 games due to an injury to Stevens.
At 6-3, 275 pounds, Ware gives Washington a solid
blocker on the offensive line and he demonstrated
he can be an effective pass catcher. "We
really took a hit at this position with three
of our top four players gone," Neuheisel
says. "We'll need some younger players to
step up here."
With four starters back, Neuheisel has to do a
little shuffling to fill out the Husky offensive
line. "A year ago the offensive line was
my biggest concern," Neuheisel says. "Four
fifths of our offensive line had not played. To
win seven of our first eight games, with that,
was somewhat amazing. "I think we can really
go places with our offensive line," Neuheisel
says. "Through our recruiting, I think we'll
be able to keep the offensive line a strength.
That area is always going to be the cornerstone
of the offensive side of the football team. What
they can do will dictate what you can do on offense.
I feel really good about where we are."
Senior John Anderson returns to handle the placekicking
duties for the Huskies and will be a strong candidate
for the Groza Award. He was a second team All-Pac-10
selection as a junior and enters his final year
at UW with 39 career field goals to rank third
on the Huskies' all-time list
2002 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in Bold
University of Washington, Official Athletic Site
fourth-year Washington football coach Rick Neuheisel
sits down to discuss the Husky football squad,
he seems to be a bit defensive. That is to say,
he seems to be constantly talking about Washington's
defense. Despite posting an 8-4 record last year,
the Huskies were outscored 323 to 310 during the
regular season. That included late season losses
to Oregon State and Miami where the UW defense
gave up 49 and 65 points, respectively. Washington's
Holiday Bowl matchup with Texas resulted in a
47-43 setback, after the Huskies had built a 19-point
lead. Five starters, and several key reserves,
return for the Husky defense in 2002. During the
off-season Neuheisel admits to thinking about
moving the Huskies away from the 3-4 (Eagle) defense
Washington has employed during the past three
seasons. Instead of an overhaul, he opted to make
some small changes to the scheme and instead,
emphasize the team's speed at linebacker.
The defensive line is young and just needs an
identity. The Huskies will look to find replacements
for defensive tackles Larry Tripplett, an All-American
in 2001, and Marcus Roberson, a two-year starter.
Junior Jerome Stevens is the lone returning starter
up front. Playing primarily at defensive end last
year, Stevens totaled 20 tackles and had three
for loss. Stevens will probably see more time
at nose tackle this year.
Linebacker is going to be the cornerstone of the
defense. There are some very exciting players
there, including two-time MVP, Ben Mahdavi. The
challenge is to get the right people on the field.
Washington has an abundance of talent at its inside
and outside linebacker position. Senior inside
linebacker Ben Mahdavi will miss spring drills
due to a shoulder injury. He led Washington in
tackles last season with 85, including 10 tackles
for loss and five sacks. Last season Cooper appeared
in all 11 games and recorded 34 tackles. The Huskies
have a number of experienced players at the outside
positions. Senior Kai Ellis returns at the rush
end backer position. His transition from the junior
college ranks to the Huskies was slowed last year
due to surgery on both knees during the season.
He appeared in nine games and totaled 39 tackles
but failed to record a sack. Senior Anthony Kelley,
who has played in 33 regular-season games and
started seven times, also returns at the position.
He has 71 career tackles, including 14 for loss
and six sacks.
Washington has a solid corps of cornerbacks and
safeties to build its defensive backfield. The
Huskies are hoping for improved play in that area,
which was impacted severely by injuries last season.
"We need to get some guys healthy and ready
to play again," Neuheisel says. "It
will be fun to have Derrick Johnson back. He allows
us to do some nice things in the backfield. We'll
miss Roc (Alexander) and Greg (Carothers) this
spring, but we know what they can do. I think
Sam Cunningham played very well last year as a
freshman and expect to see him improve this spring.
"We're going to have some new faces out there
competing and I'm anxious to see what they can
do. Who is going to step up and take on a bigger
role? That's the question for this group."
While junior Roc Alexander will miss spring football
due to a shoulder injury, he figures strongly
into the Huskies plans at cornerback. Last year
he started four times in 11 regular-season appearances.
He used his quick closing skills to come up with
four interceptions and 11 pass deflections, the
third best mark in UW history. With Davis gone
as the starter at free safety, it will provide
ample opportunities for less-experienced players
to compete for playing time.
Sophomore Derek McLaughlin will again handle the
punting duties. A second-team freshman All-American,
McLaughlin averaged 41.2 yards per punt and set
a school record with a 74-yard boot at California.
His punting average was the best by a Husky in
2002 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in Bold
season Pickett demonstrated why he has the
tools to be one of the Huskies' greatest signal
callers while passing for 2,403 yards.