Depth Chart Predictions - OL/DL

SEATTLE - With the 2012 season just a week away, Dawgman.com takes a look at what we feel will be Washington's depth chart based on what took place during fall camp. We'll look at it in three parts; the first part will be the guys in the trenches - the offensive and defensive linemen.

Offensive Line Three-Deeps:
Left Tackle:
72 Micah Hatchie 6-5, 299, So., Haleiwa (HI) Waialua
76 Dexter Charles 6-4, 287, RFr., Camano Island (WA) Stanwood
75 Erik Kohler 6-5, 296, Jr., Camarillo (CA) Oaks Christian OR
73 Drew Schaefer 6-4, 287, Sr., Sammamish (WA) Eastlake
52 Jake Eldrenkamp 6-5, 295, Fr., Medina (WA) Bellevue

This position is going to be a tenuous one, especially with the loss of Senio Kelemete to graduation. He was a rock back there protecting Keith Price in 2011, and Hatchie has big shoes to fill. The redshirt sophomore from Hawaii has been biding his time, playing here and there - but his time to shine in the spotlight of a starting role begins in a week. Dan Cozzetto toyed around with trying Drew Schaefer out there because Schaefer started games at left tackle in 2009, and Erik Kohler is the kind of do-it-all offensive lineman that could move out to RT in a pinch - but I think Dexter Charles could very well be the guy to back Hatchie up. He's become a totally left-sided player for Cozzetto and has worked very hard in the off-season to get in this position. Cozzetto will do everything he can to keep Schaefer at center, so Charles or Kohler have to be the picks here while Eldrenkamp redshirts.

Left Guard: 64 Colin Tanigawa 6-3, 286, So., Pasadena (CA) Loyola
75 Erik Kohler 6-5, 296, Jr., Camarillo (CA) Oaks Christian OR
76 Dexter Charles 6-4, 287, RFr., Camano Island (WA) Stanwood
65 Siosifa Tufunga 6-2, 313, RFr., Long Beach (CA) Jordan
69 Cory Fuavai 6-3, 283, Fr., Auburn (WA) Auburn

The Huskies got a huge pick-me-up during fall camp with the return of Tanigawa, who started 11 games for Washington last year. He brings a stability and toughness to the line that is difficult to replace. Kohler would be the logical backup here too, although Charles has some experience playing the left guard position as well. Give the slight edge to Kohler given his experience. Tufunga is in line if needed and Fuavai will most definitely redshirt in 2012

Center:
73 Drew Schaefer 6-4, 287, Sr., Sammamish (WA) Eastlake
78 Michael Criste 6-5, 282, So., Mission Viejo (CA) Mission Viejo
75 Erik Kohler 6-5, 296, Jr., Camarillo (CA) Oaks Christian
65 Siosifa Tufunga 6-2, 313, RFr., Long Beach (CA) Jordan

Schaefer is literally and figuratively the anchor of the Washington offensive line, starting 24 games there the past two seasons for the Huskies. Criste has been waiting in the wings as Schaefer's backup last year - and there's no reason to suggest he won't be ready this fall too when or if the call comes. I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record with Kohler, but Cozzetto wants him to be in the rotation of linemen that can snap the ball, so look for Erik to be in the mix somewhere here. I just feel that Kohler is the kind of player that - if he isn't starting - the coaches want to make sure he's the next lineman off the bench in some capacity. Center just might be the one spot were he wouldn't necessarily be the next in line because of the time spent grooming Criste to be the man if Schaefer goes down.

Right Guard:
75 Erik Kohler 6-5, 296, Jr., Camarillo (CA) Oaks Christian OR
70 James Atoe 6-6, 332, So., The Dalles (CA) The Dalles-Wahtonka
60 Shane Brostek 6-3, 283, Fr., Kamuela (HI) Hawaii Prep

This was Atoe's job for a long time, especially with Kohler trying other positions in the spring - but once Erik came back from his dislocated kneecap it was game on. I expect this will be a position battle all the way to the end, with Kohler getting the nod because of his experience and because he's more battle-tested than Atoe at this point. Having these two players Duke it out for the starting spot means there's some quality depth at the position - something the Huskies would have had a difficult time saying the last few years. If both Kohler and Atoe are stalwarts at the position in 2012, that would allow the UW coaches to redshirt Brostek, which would be a huge coup considering it was looking likely the Huskies were going to have to play at least one true freshman offensive lineman.

Right Tackle:
59 Ben Riva 6-6, 305, So., Seattle (WA) O'Dea
75 Erik Kohler 6-5, 296, Jr., Camarillo (CA) Oaks Christian
78 Michael Criste 6-5, 282, So., Mission Viejo (CA) Mission Viejo OR
62 Ross Dolbec 6-6, 296, RFr., Orinda (CA) Miramonte

This is Ben Riva's position to lose, but Erik Kohler is there in case the former O'Dea star falters. Riva did play in 10 games in 2011, but mostly in PAT/FG situations, so starting at RT is going to be a new challenge for him. He's had three years getting groomed for next Saturday, so he should be physically and mentally prepared to handle his debut. Cozzetto has tried Criste out at right tackle here and there, and he could be an option if Riva and Kohler are unavailable. As a last resort, Ross Dolbec - a redshirt freshman walk-on from California - is a big body the Huskies can throw in there, but with three scholarshipped players in front of him I wouldn't expect UW to have to dig that deep to find their right tackle.
Defensive End (HUSKY):
11 Talia Crichton 6-3, 252, Sr., Lakewood (CA) Lakewood
44 Pio Vatuvei 6-3, 272, Fr., Patterson (CA) Patterson OR
95 Jarett Finau 6-2, 260, RFr., Kirkland (WA) Juanita OR
91 Connor Cree 6-4, 235, RFr., Sammamish (WA) Skyline 52 Hauoli Jamora 6-3, 260, So., Laie (HI) Kahuku (INJ.)

The re-emergence of Talia Crichton has been arguably the biggest revelation for the defensive line this fall. The senior has been starting opposite Josh Shirley all fall long and the two have proven to be a nice compliments to one another. Crichton will play on the strong side and Shirley plays out as the true RUSH end/outside linebacker that can get to the sideline and also play in some space. Vatuvei is a player the Huskies ripped from USC at the last second before signing day and he has proven to be a quick study so far in the first three weeks of fall camp. He's a versatile big man who can play inside or out, but his quickness and burst off the snap begs to be utilized against a tackle or tight end in space. Finau is also a nice option here against tight ends, as the redshirt frosh has gone through a massive physical transformation while maintaining his burst and speed. Connor Cree isn't as physically developed as Finau yet, but has still had a very solid camp and could be counted on to give the Huskies' DL some speed and leverage around the edge. He'll get some play this year, but his career should really expect to take off in 2013.

Defensive Tackle:
71 Danny Shelton 6-1, 323, So., Auburn (WA) Auburn
98 Semisi Tokolahi 6-2, 339, Sr., Hilo (HI) Hilo
97 Lawrence Lagafuaina 6-0, 325, So., Aiea (HI) Aiea

This is the bigger tackle position, and one that Danny Shelton has had a stranglehold on ever since he played alongside Alameda Ta'amu at the end of 2011. Shelton has done nothing to suggest that he won't have a big season this year, one where he'll get some help from some teammates when he needs a breather. A healthy Semisi Tokolahi is huge here, as he should be able to spell Shelton when the Huskies want to use just one big tackle inside and could partner with Shelton when UW wants to go bigger. Lagafuaina played in eight games last year for Washington and should be expected once again to provide solid cover for both Shelton and Tokolahi at this position.

Defensive Tackle:
93 Andrew Hudson 6-3, 240, So., Redlands (CA) Redlands East Valley
55 Sione Potoae 6-2, 280, Jr., Fort Lewis (WA) Lakes
99 Josh Banks 6-3, 274, Jr., Stockton (CA) St. Mary's/San Joaquin Delta OR
90 Taniela Tupou 6-1, 275, RFr., Marysville (WA) Archbishop Murphy

If Justin Wilcox decides to go to a four-man front from time to time, Tokolahi would be a good bet to play alongside Danny Shelton if they need to defend bigger offensive lines. But in many cases they'll try to go as quick and as explosive as possible - and in those situations Hudson has shown he can be a handful on the inside. He's a relentless pass rusher and doesn't mind sticking his nose into a pile when it comes to stuffing the run. His best asset is getting upfield and disrupting backfields, and he's shown he can do this on the inside as well as on an edge. Potoae has been to many a lost man in this defense, but he's had a very strong fall camp and will be counted on for reps in the depth. He's a player with experience and he's 100 percent healthy, so there's no reason he can't be an effective player this fall. Banks was expected to compete for playing time right from the jump as a junior college transfer, but hasn't really excelled during fall camp. He does have a redshirt year available, and while I'm sure the Washington coaches haven't even broached it as a possibility yet, there may be a chance down the road if everyone else plays as expected. Tani Tupou is another player who could get some playing time but he should be looking to 2013 as the year where he'll really start to factor in the depth.

Defensive End:
22 Josh Shirley 6-3, 235, So., Fontana (CA) Kaiser
45 Corey Waller 6-0, 223, RFr., Long Beach (CA) Long Beach Poly
91 Connor Cree 6-4, 235, RFr. Sammamish (WA) Skyline

This is the RUSH position, where the player is going to be responsible for setting the edge and rushing the quarterback and disrupting backfields, but he'll also be counted on to do some zone blitzing and some cover depending on how Wilcox wants to disguise his defensive intentions. Shirley had 8.5 sacks in 2011, one of the top returning sackmasters in the Pac-12, and has shown no signs of slowing down in 2012. He looks devastatingly quick off the edge, causing some real problems for the UW tackles in practice. Corey Waller and Connor Cree have also shown promise at this position, but aren't quite at the same level Shirley is at this stage. Don't be surprised to see a player like Hudson also take some reps here if UW wants to go bigger.


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