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Husky Trails: Positions That Need Work in Fall Practice for UW

Ian PetersonCorrespondent IAugust 5, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 6:  Joshua Gage #24, Mesphin Forrester #23 and Tripper Johnson #34 of the Washington Huskies tackle a BYU Cougars player during their game on September 6, 2008 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Cougars defeated the Huskies 28-27. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

If you are getting excited these days and you don't know why, do not adjust yourself, it's just the college football season looming large in front of us.

If you are a UW Huskies fan, you have even more to be excited about—there is a new era happening on Montlake.

With fall practices coming up next week, August 10 to be exact, what are the positions that need the most work before the first game against LSU?

Here's the list according to this humble columnist.

Cornerback 

I can't stress enough how difficult the job Nick Holt is going to have coaching up this defense to the levels he had at USC. There's promise, but not as much on a nationally-recognized level.

The problem with the cornerback slot is that while sophomore Quinton Richardson has one of the slots locked down, the other has four players listed at starter.

Justin Glenn and Anthony Gobern, two names considered for the other job, are both young and untested. However, the staff must like what they see since they are named in that starter stable.

It may be that the experienced guys on the list, Matt Mosely and Vonzell McDowell Jr., are just playing badly.

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It wouldn't be a surprise, since the unit has been so bad over the last couple of years. It will be a huge benefit to have guys with experience at the position.

The next couple of years are going to be interesting, considering that no matter how the secondary plays over the next year, almost all of the guys are coming back next season.

That continuity is going to pay dividends, if not this year, then next year. 

In the meantime, this set of practices is going to be essential for figuring out the pecking order at that other cornerback slot. If Holt can't figure it out by September 5, then it could be a long evening for Husky fans.

Running Back

The running back position was extremely erratic last season, and all signs point to it being the same this year if Chris Polk can't lay a stranglehold on the spot.

If he can, great, that is one less worry for the team. If he can't, the depth behind him is sparse because of injuries and academic losses.

Willie Griffin was the second leading rusher last season, and is the current leading rusher following Terence Dailey's exit from the program for academic reasons.

Since he has the gametime experience, it's no surprise he is the co-starter with Polk, who has the raw talent.

Curtis Shaw, the backup, is good, but he also missed all of last season for personal reasons, and the year before that the Willingham staff had him switching between running back and receiver all season.

Demetrius Bronson is a name that keeps coming up from the staff, but keep in mind he is a freshman and could potentially have the same stage fright as Polk did last season.

There are no running backs coming into the program from last season's recruiting class; Steve Sarkisian chose to focus on it for this recruiting class. 

Let's hope, as fans, that doesn't come back to bite him.

Center

Through spring, the staff couldn't decide between old hand Ryan Tolar—who is a converted guard—or redshirt freshman Mykenna Ikehara. 

With the right side of the line composed of Drew Schaefer and Senio Kelemete—who have yet to play a competitive game of football on the offensive line—getting the center position down is key.

In the end, it will most likely go to Tolar, who has bounced around the line most of his time here. The rationale will be, I assume, that he is the most talented and thus the most likely to fill the gaps in need.

The left side of the line is solid with tackle Cody Habben and guard Ben Ossai coming back. Ossai will most likely nail that spot down, despite reports to the contrary.

The only way that Ossai won't play is if Ikehara lays claim to the center spot and the staff likes Tolar better at the guard spot. Otherwise, there is no reason to keep him off the field.

News and Notes

Quarterback Jake Locker was named to the Davey O'Brien award watchlist today.

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