Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/31/13
Take the next step! The 2012 Washington Huskies football season saw dramatic depth chart upheaval, for the better and for the worse. Tailback Bishop Sankey came out of nowhere to solidify the running back position as one of the team’s strengths. But injuries exposed a lack of depth and experience on the offensive line. Starting all over the field as a freshman, Shaq Thompson did everyone for the Huskies defensively. But graduation left Washington’s receiving corp depleted and shallow after losing Austin Seferian-Jenkins. After an audit, it’s clear Washington needs to fix up five positions in particular. Defensive Line Injuries killed Washington on both sides of the trenches. Defensive tackle is a position Washington needs to upgrade. The loss of senior Talia Crichton, a disruptive backfield force, in particular will be felt. The Huskies will look at to-be junior Danny Shelton to lead a unit that struggled to impact the game at times this season. Offensive Line Same story as the D-line here for the Huskies: injuries and inexperience led to Keith Price frequently getting mauled or forcing up bad throws (although to be fair, he forced up a lot of bad throws anyway). Injuries to Ben Riva and Erik Kohler led to Washington starting the youngest offensive line in the Pac-12. The Huskies have talent coming in on both sides of the ball, but will need those players who were baptized under fire this year to lead the team in 2013. Center in particular is question mark. Four year starter Drew Schaefer will be gone, and someone will need to replace him. UW must upgrade DB. Tru is leaving. Was he the best cornerback in the Pac-12? Most experts think so. Wide Receiver What? How is this a team weakness when Kasen Williams is so good? Because Washington has exactly one playmaker at wide receiver, and we all know it’s Kasen Williams. Part of the reason Keith Price’s production slackened this year was the loss of several senior receivers. With Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar gone, Price has Williams at wide receiver, and not much else. The youthful duo of Jaydon Mickens and DiAndre Campbell made catches at times, but both lagged behind Bishop Sankey, who was statistically Washington’s 3rd-best receiver behind the big two. Either they, or prize recruit Damore’ea Stringfellow, will need to step up and give Price (or whoever is quarterback) a target. Tight end Just kidding about this one. ASJ will only be the best tight end in the country next year, bar none. And other option Michael Hartvigson has flashed potential as well. Cornerback In his four years at Washington Desmond Trufant blossomed from “Marcus’s brother” to the best cornerback in the Pac-12, and now, a first-round NFL prospect. The Huskies will miss him dearly.  Starting opposite him was redshirt sophomore Marcus Peters, who was questionable at best. This is a critical position for Washington to reload at. Shaq Thompson will take one spot if he doesn’t play linebacker or safety, but this area is still a major red flag for the Dawgs. Special Teams A surprise pick, but not really, given that a good special teams unit is the most underrated part of a football team. Here, Justin Glenn will be missed. A contributor for Washington the four years he played, the versatile Glenn also doubled at safety. Consistently a force on special teams, the hardworking Glenn was honored this year for his quiet contribution as a Pac-12 honorable mention. These are the key holes for Washington to fill by 2013 if they expect to be a well-rounded team on both sides of the ball. Until then, Bow Down. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE HUSKIES CLUBHOUSE PAGE AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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