Preview: Washington Offense

A breakdown of Washington's starters and key offensive personnel for Saturday's matchup in South Bend.

Skill Position Starters

  • Quarterback – Junior #10 Jake Locker: Ran for a Pac-10 quarterback record 986 yards as a freshman in 2007 while passing for 2,062. Under the guidance of new head coach Steve Sarkisian, the 6'3" 226-pound junior now commands the same offensive system mastered by ex-USC Trojans quarterbacks Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, John David Booty, and Mark Sanchez.

    Locker has thrown for 1,001 yards in four contests this season while accounting for eight touchdowns (two rushing), but one of the nation's most dangerous double-threat quarterbacks has "tucked and run" on just 33 occasions this season for 134 yards. Was 21-35 for 237 yards including a 4-4 effort on the game-winning drive vs. USC - a 16-13 Washington triumph.

    Along with a host of USC Trojans, the versatile Locker could be the best football player the Irish face in 2009.

  • Running Back – Redshirt-Freshman #1 Chris Polk: Described as a tough runner between the tackles with enough speed to get outside and do some damage. Polk is considered the bell cow of the backfield, carrying the pigskin 84 times while his backup, sophomore Johri Fogerson, has just seven rushing attempts in '09. The 5'11" 210-pounder sat out the final 10 games last season after becoming the first true freshman to start a season-opener at tailback in modern Washington football history.

    Polk logged a workmanlike 165 yards in 40 carries in the Huskies two losses (LSU and at Stanford) and 153 yards and a touchdown in UW's two wins over Idaho and USC.

  • Fullback – Senior #30 Paul Homer: At 6'1" 237 pounds, Homer reportedly excels as a lead blocker in the Huskies' I-formation sets. The new staff has used the senior as a receiver out of the backfield in '09, as Homer has a reception in three of UW's first four contests. He ranks as the reigning two-time winner of the program's coveted "Tough Husky" Award.
  • Wide Receiver – Freshman #3 James Johnson: The 6'0" 193-pound true freshman ranked as the surprise of Huskies' fall camp and didn't disappoint as his first career touch from scrimmage resulted in 17-yard touchdown reception vs. LSU. Johnson was described as a player with "solid hands…a dynamic playmaker, but not as player that will stretch the field vertically…but seems to have the knack for getting open."

    Ranks third in the nation among true freshman in receiving yards per game with 55 (210 yards total).

  • Wide Receiver – Junior #11 D'Andre Goodwin: The team's leading receiver last season has developed a comfort level and chemistry as a possession receiver with Jake Locker. The 5'11" 183-pound junior came to the program as a deep threat but has developed into a solid chain-mover, catching 3 passes for 83 yards vs. LSU and two more (in a starting assignment) for 42 yards last week at Stanford.
  • Tight End – Sophomore #80 Kavario Middleton: The former 5-star recruit arrived with a great deal of fanfare and is described as "an unbelievable athlete for his size." Middleton can get down the seam and is a difficult matchup on fade routes and in the red zone, but has struggled as a blocker at the point of attack. Began the season with a 5-catch/45-yard/touchdown performance vs. LSU but has totaled just five receptions since.

Offensive Linemen

  • Left Tackle – Senior #79 Ben Ossai: The 6'6" 335-pounder is the Huskie's most experienced lineman and the stalwart of the Washington front five. Ossai has 34 career starts, all at left tackle.
  • Left Guard – Junior #61 Gregory Christine: Christine ranks as the first former walk-on to eventually earn a starting spot on a Huskies front-line in more than 20 years. A redshirt junior, Christine is undersized at 6'2" 284 pounds but is described by Washington insiders as a tough kid that worked his way into a scholarship and eventually starting role. Christine also serves as the team's backup center. li>

  • Center – Junior #65 Ryan Tolar: Tolar has reportedly transformed his body under new strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis, dropping to 293 pounds from his former playing weight in the 335-range. This is his first season as a full-time center (formerly backup left guard) for the Huskies.
  • Right Guard – Sophomore #56 Senio Kelemete: The 6'4" 281-pound sophomore was described by those close to the Washington program as the line's lynchpin for 2010. At present, the converted defensive tackle has started each of the team's four contests this season after playing in 8 of 12 while starting four contests at DT last season under former coach Tyrone Willingham.
  • Right Tackle – Junior #71 Cody Habben: 6'6" 295-pound right tackle has 19 career starts including 16 consecutive. A highly-recruited player from Skyline High School's 2005 state title team.

Key Reserves

  • Wide Receiver – Sophomore #82 Jordan Polk: Irish head coach Charlie Weis referred to the diminutive Polk as "one of the fastest guys on the team." Polk doubles as the Huskies kick returner and slot receiver in passing situations. Polk is technically listed as the team's 12th starter.
  • Wide Receiver – Sophomore #15 Jermaine Kearse: Started two games and played in each of the Huskies' 12 contests as a true freshman in 2008. The 6'2" 200-pound threat caught three passes for 70 yards including two receptions on the game-winning drive in the Huskies' upset win over USC on September 19.
  • Wide Receiver – Sophomore #9 Devin Aguilar: Missed last week's contest at Stanford due to a knee injury and his status for the matchup Saturday in South Bend is unknown. Had four receptions for 76 yards in the season-opening loss to LSU.
  • Running Back – Sophomore #21 Johri Fogerson: A versatile player, Fogerson is a pass-catching threat out of the backfield and can double as a receiver (split-wide) if needed. Scored two touchdowns in the streak-snapping win vs. Idaho (the Huskies had lost 14 consecutive games prior to embarking on a two-game winning streak vs. the Vandals and USC Trojans) and posted a 51-yard reception vs. LSU.

    Scored 36 touchdowns as a high school senior as the Washington Player of the Year and was moved to safety where he started seven contests under former head coach Tyrone Willingham. Fogerson moved back to the offensive side of the ball for 2009.

  • Tight End – Sophomore #4 Chris Izbicki: At 6'3" 232 pounds, Izbicki serves as the team's No. 2 TE, though he's started three of Washington's four contests (along with Middleton) this season. Izbicki ranks as a much better blocker at this stage of their respective careers than does Middleton.
  • Guard – Senior #70 Morgan Rosborough: Has played in each of the Huskies' four games this season.

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