University of Washington Preview: Rebirth of a Program

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University of Washington Preview: Rebirth of a Program

IconThe rebirth of the once-proud Washington Huskies begins this season.

Coach Tyrone Willingham seems to have enough talent on his side to bring respectability back to Mount Lake. Even though redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker has been dubbed the savior, the defense will ultimately decide whether this team makes a bowl game in 2007.

The Huskies have a challenging schedule, and will have to upset a few teams to be successful. If they come together, this season could be one to remember.

The defense is led by senior end Greyson Gundheim, a tenacious player with a constant motor. Gundheim sets a great example for his teammates with his hustle and work ethic, and could be an All-Pac-10 selection at season's end.

Playmaking linebacker Dan Howell always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and gets the job done when given the chance. Sophomore linebacker E.J. Savannah will be counted to play a bigger role in the defense.

In the secondary, corner Roy Lewis has excellent coverage skills to go along with great ability in the return game. As a whole, this defensive unit is the best the Huskies have put together in many years.

The offense will helmed by the talented Locker, whose promise has made him something of a local folk hero. Locker isn't alone in his quest to return the Huskies to prominence, as he has a decent set of offensive weapons around him.

Wideouts Marcel Reece and Anthony Russo are steady targets; Reece is a big play waiting to happen. Locker's scrambling ability will be augmented by the play of tailback Louis Rankin, who needs to be more consistent. UW also has a good group of tight ends who will all see significant playing time.

The offensive line is a much improved unit, with center Juan Garcia leading the way. If the veterans gel with an influx of new talent, the Huskies could be back on the national map sooner rather than later.

This isn't a make-or-break season for UW so much as it's a stepping stone towards the future. For all their promise, the Huskies have a brutal schedule ahead of them, starting with Ohio State and Boise State before Pac-10 play opens against USC and UCLA.

If nothing else, it should be an interesting autumn in the Pacific Northwest.

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