With spring football just around the corner, here's a position-by-position look at the roster and what to expect over the next month

Today, the offensive line is our focus as we continue our countdown to UW spring football...

Washington’s offense improved over the course of the 2015 season, going from averaging 25.7 points per game through their first 10 games to 47 their final three games. That’s a substantial jump. 

And they were able to do it despite having five different offensive line combinations during the season. The only position that didn’t have multiple starters throughout the year was at center. 

The Huskies lost that center, Siosifa Tufunga, to graduation, but return every other 2015 starter UW used. That means eight Washington offensive linemen come back with some starts under their belt; Coleman Shelton, Jake Eldrenkamp, Trey Adams, Andrew Kirkland, Kaleb McGary, Shane Brostek, Matt James and Jesse Sosebee. 

The interesting part of that is the number of total starts between those eight returners - 62. That means an average of only eight starts per lineman. That’s not a ton of work. Shelton is the elder statesman of the group with 20 starts; the next-most is Eldrenkamp with 11. They are the only ones in double-digits.

----------------------------------------

Position Group (By Class)

Jake Eldrenkamp (6-5, 296, Sr.)

Shane Brostek (6-4, 305, Sr.)

Michael Kneip ((6-5, 302, Sr.)

Coleman Shelton (6-4, 293, Jr.)

Andrew Kirkland (6-4, 307, Jr.)

Trey Adams (6-7, 302, So.)

Kaleb McGary (6-7, 302, So.)

Matt James (6-4, 285, So.)

Jesse Sosebee (6-5, 311, So.)

John Turner (6-3, 289, So.)

Devin Burleson (6-7, 302, RFr.)

Jared Hilbers (6-6, 287, RFr.)

Henry Roberts (6-5, 287, RFr.)

----------------------------------------

The Returners

The left side of the offensive line looks to be in solid shape, as Adams and Eldrenkamp have 20 total starts from last year between them. It’s important that Adams bounce back from the stinger that kept him out the last two games of 2015 with some banked reps in the spring. And Eldrenkamp is the steady Eddie of the group. He knows what’s expected and also what spring can do to help his cause. Before moving inside last year, the former Bellevue star spent two years at the number one left tackle spot in spring before incumbent Micah Hatchie was healthy enough to take over in the fall. 

And on the right side you have McGary as the returning right tackle with six starts from 2015. Inside him you have Brostek and his two starts or Sosebee, who had four starts there. You could move Kirkland in from right tackle, where he had five of his seven season starts. 

It’s at center where the real change takes place this spring. Tufunga’s position will be manned by Coleman Shelton and his 20 combined starts. Ironically, Shelton has starts at every other position along the offensive line during his UW career, except center. That should change in 2016, as it appears he’s got first crack at taking over for Tufunga. 

James and Sosebee each started two games in 2015, so they’ll be counted on to provide cover along the inside three positions. And Kirkland appears to have the backup tackle spots covered for the time being. 

The New Guys 

Burleson, Hilbers and Roberts are the new boys in town, having redshirted this past season. We have no idea right now how much bigger, faster, and stronger they got during the off-season, but we should get a pretty good idea early in spring camp if they can break through the two-deeps. 

Burleson should be the one backing up Adams at left tackle, although Kirkland showed the final two games of the 2015 season he can be used there in a pinch. Hilbers and Roberts spent most of fall and during the bowl practices inside at guard, and there’s no reason to expect anything different once spring ball starts. 

What Does Spring Mean For This Group?

More than anything, it’s about Coleman Shelton getting comfortable with the quarterbacks. That’s priority number one. Given Shelton’s experience and intelligence, that shouldn’t take long, but since he didn't take part in spring last year resting an injured shoulder that could factor in - at least initially. 

Second, they need to create a first unit from those eight returning starters that can be a unified force heading into fall. Most likely it’ll be Adams, Eldrenkamp, Shelton, Brostek and McGary - but don’t count out Sosebee at right guard. He’ll make noise for sure. And Andrew Kirkland has shown himself to be a vital cog, but where is his best position? Could he move inside and be the right guard for 2015?

Offensive Line Coach Chris Strausser has some decisions to make, but they are all based on good problems. He has a number of starters returning, they have some versatility and position balance, and he has prospects in the pipeline ready to push beyond where they’ve been and battle for playing time. So where does he play them all? And which position takes advantage of their skill set and demeanor the best? 

This spring will be an important one for the offensive line to pick up where they left off 2015, continuing their forward momentum. Staying healthy is at a premium, but it always is during this time of year.

----------------------------------------

Best Guess Spring Depth Chart

Left Tackle 

Trey Adams (6-7, 302, So.)

Devin Burleson (6-7, 302, RFr.)

Left Guard

Jake Eldrenkamp (6-5, 296, Sr.)

Michael Kneip ((6-5, 302, Sr.)

Jared Hilbers (6-6, 287, RFr.)

Center

Coleman Shelton (6-4, 293, Jr.)

Matt James (6-4, 285, So.)

John Turner (6-3, 289, So.)

Right Guard 

Shane Brostek (6-4, 305, Sr.)

Jesse Sosebee (6-5, 311, So.)

Henry Roberts (6-5, 287, RFr.)

Right Tackle

Kaleb McGary (6-7, 302, So.)

Andrew Kirkland (6-4, 307, Jr.)

--------------------------------------

Spring Position Preview - Quarterbacks

Spring Position Preview - Running Backs

Spring Position Preview - Receivers

Spring Position Preview - Tight Ends


Dawgman.com Top Stories