Husky Trails | Why The Huskies Offensive Line Will Be Better This Year

Ian PetersonCorrespondent IMay 22, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Cody Habben #71 of the Washington Huskies blocks Keenan Clayton #22 of the Oklahoma Sooners during the game on September 13, 2008 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Sooners defeated the Huskies 55-14.(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

A bold statement for a team that is losing three starters in a unit that was terrible in 2008. The offensive line was big but it was slow, and got overwhelmed by quick defensive linemen.

However, that is why I think the line will be good this year, they have slimmed down greatly and should be able to cope better with different situations.

The biggest hole to fill will be that of center, with six year senior Juan Garcia graduating and heading to the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. In spring the snaps were shared by redshirt freshman Mykenna Ikehara, who had received rave reviews from the previous staff, and long time Husky lineman Ryan Tolar.

Tolar is a one of the better linemen on the team, with the versatility to play all along the line, but to be honest that versatility came back to bite him in the bud last season. He was played more as a rotational player, listed as the backup for three different positions on the line. Hopefully that will not have stunted his growth.

Cody Habben and Ben Ossai both will have benefited greatly from a year of experience, Habben especially. He looked a bit out of his element at times last season, so if he can mature that will be a good sign.

Most teams will be attacking the right side of the line, however, with the two spots vacated by Casey Bulyca and Jordan White-Frisbee are being filled by two players with little to no game experience.

Drew Shaefer is a redshirt freshman as well, while Senio Kelemete played last season as a true freshman, but on the defensive line. The new staff just liked Kelemete better on the offensive side of the ball.

It's a bit of a huge ask for two guys so young to anchor a whole side of the line, and they will need to grow into their roles quickly, lest be overwhelmed on September 5th when LSU comes to town.

That being said, new offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto will get the unit working hard throughout the entire year. The key is making sure the line is not nearly as sluggish as they were last year, but considering everyone on the line has lost a lot of weight, that seems extremely likely.

The heavy use of tight-ends in head coach Steve Sarkisian's scheme should help to add some protection for the quarterback as well.

In truth, the biggest reason i can cite for why the unit will be better, is because they sure as heck can't play any worse. 

I'm a typical Husky fan in the mold of the last few years, I have nothing but optimism every single year, and I'm hoping they don't let me down again this year.

The offensive line will be a huge component to getting the Huskies back on track, because they will allow Jake Locker to stay on his feet and make the plays he needs to. When Locker has time he can be extremely deadly, either with his arm or his feet.

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