Husky Offensive Line: Cozzetto Speaks

Husky offensive line coach isn't known for speaking many words other than the what you hear him shouting to his charges during practice. However, on Tuesday Dawgman.com was able to get him to talk about the new offense, the progress of some of the players and what he's looking for when he hits the recruiting trail...

On the "fast break offense" and getting his guys ready: "We've done it ever since I've been here, but now it's on a more consistent basis. Obviously, as fast as we go, you try to get the on-field coaching done, but in your individual work it's critical. You try to get as much coaching in as you can and then we get in and do the video work and meetings and you try to do what you can when you can."

On the new offense: "We're still doing the same things, it's just that now it's at a much higher rate and high tempo, so that's the biggest thing. We're still doing the two-back stuff, we're not just one-dimensional. We're still pulling people, we're still double-teaming, we're still zone-blocking and doing all the stuff we did before. It's just at a much faster pace now."

On the game changing: "I've never had big maulers. My guys have always been able to run. The heavy guys who can't move don't work in this game anymore. If you look at the NFL, if you can't run you can't play and it's the same at this level too. You're not going to get away with big, heavy guys that can't run and if the game changes like I think it's changing and it goes up to that next level, it will change the whole dynamics of the offensive line. Now if you get a guy at 330 pounds that run a 4.8 then…he can run, but those guys aren't easy to find. It's imperative that they can run and they have the core strength and big guys that are so muscled up and can't move, this isn't the offense for them and they don't have a future in this game."

On the core strength being important: "If you're in a two-point (stance) then you're dealing with hand warfare. You're grappling and martial arts and leverage and using the man's weight against him and that's why we do the things we do in the offseason so these guys will be able to handle the stuff we give them to do."

On his preference in the offense: "Everything I like to do is fast. Go on sound, get out of the huddle fast, even when I was working for coach Snyder years ago we'd always set the huddle five yards from scrimmage and we'd get up there and go on sound. So it's always been a part of me. I've never been one to walk to the line of scrimmage and so this way I don't even have to huddle. We just get up there and go."

On the lack of seniors: "I haven't even thought about that. I just know that I have all but one back and these are all the guys that have come up through the system. They are all Sark's and our guys."

On the depth: "The glaring issue here, my first time and second time here, were offensive linemen. There's a big hole there and all of the sudden you have attrition and it's been the same at the other schools I've been at. You either buy in or you don't buy in and then you have to build the numbers back up with the people who go with the system and you have to recruit the players who fit your system and the kind of guy that is going to help you."

On projecting recruits: "With offensive linemen, they are so young and they are getting offers at a young age where they haven't even gone through their senior season and their growth-potential might go to 19 (years of age) or their growth-plates are real open and they arrive here at 6'3 and then they end up at 6'6. You never know about offensive linemen because you can have a late-bloomer or get a guy who's completely tapped out so you have to kind of project and see where he's going to be. It's completely different as far as recruiting because when I was first starting, you waited until their senior season was over and then you went from there, but now you have to look at what else they do. Do they play basketball? Do they wrestle? Are they active? What do they do when they're not playing football? The kind of player we are recruiting here is a total athlete. I've always liked former basketball player to be my tackles, former wrestlers to be my guards and then the center takes on a completely different realm as far as being ‘me' out there and he's got to have a demeanor like me out there, you know, a little arrogant maybe, maybe a little like a coach to take care of business. I get leery of linemen who only play football. They need to be active all the time."

On the ideal numbers along the offensive line: "In a program like this, in the Pac 12, we need 18 guys on scholarship and we're close to that, but if you look at the success the school has had it was always a lot of d-line and running backs, but when you look at the success of the program, it always comes down to what you're doing in the trenches."

On some guys jumping out: "They've all improved, but Michael Criste has done a tremendous job for us playing both guards and taking over at center and playing some tackle and being position flexible. There's a lot of things Michael has done to make himself into a football player when some people said maybe he couldn't do this or maybe he could. We just didn't know. Dexter Charles did really well as a freshman. Ben Riva is really developing and Micah (Hatchie) is getting better and if you look at the backups they're getting better and God help us if we lose four starters like last year but Panda (Colin Tanigawa) is coming back so eventually I think we're getting to the point where the players take over and take care of the team. Are we there yet? I don't know, but I know, with my guys, the peer-pressure is much stronger than what I can bring, so we're getting there, but we're not there yet."

On Dane Crane and the other youngsters coming in: "He's got a lot to learn. To take a high school kid in this situation with the thing we do and the tempo and the speed of the game. This isn't Santa Margarita…we're not heading to play Orange Lutheran, we're here to play Nebraska and Oregon and teams like that, so it all depends on how well he can adapt and his maturity level and it's the same for the other young guys."


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