Barnes' time has come

I remember talking to Khalif Barnes the night he verbally committed to Rick Neuheisel, Karl Dorrell and the Washington Huskies. That was back in 1999, when most of the current Husky roster didn't have a clue about where they wanted to go to college. Barnes is a rare elder statesman on this team, and he knows it.

"It's been a little different just because I'm one of the last guys left in the class," the 6-5, 310-pound Barnes told "My class was last year, so it's kind of weird being left, along with DJ (Derrick Johnson) and a couple of other guys. So it's our team now and we have to lead it, we have to lead the team."

A lot of turmoil has transpired in the past year, especially the roller-coaster ride the team went on during the season. 6-6 is not Husky football, and nobody knows that better than Barnes, who is one of the few left on roster to have a Rose Bowl ring.

"I think a lot of the guys on the team are focused, knowing that last year isn't the kind of year that Washington is used to," Khalif said. "We've got some things we need to adjust, but we'll get it rolling again."

Leadership starts from within, and Barnes has been doing his share of soul-searching this winter, looking inward for clues to help him get back to the way things were four years ago. "I think I have to work on being more consistent, dominating my guy every play," he said. "Nine out of ten times I want to dominate. Ten out of ten would be nice, but it doesn't always happen perfect every time. I want to set realistic goals and as long as I know what I need to do, I'll be fine."

It's incredibly cliche, but the only thing constant in regards to Washington offensive line coaching situation has been change. Barnes will be on his third coach this year, having already been coached by Brent Myers and Dan Cozzetto. "We've been switching coaches for a while," he said. "There have been coaching changes the whole time I've been here, so it's just something you have to adjust to. Whatever guy comes in, you take his coaching and use it with the things you've learned from the coaches before. You put it all together and hopefully have a good season."

That being said, Khalif has nothing but praise for new OL coach Charlie Dickey. "I think he's a great man, fantastic coach," Barnes said. "He's a good person on and off the field. When we were doing mat drills we got a good taste of what he's going to be like and I like the man. He's a good guy all around."

With Dan Dicks retiring and Rob Meadow and Tusi Sa'au out rehabbing injuries, there will only be eight scholarshipped offensive linemen available this spring. Barnes talked about the players fans should take notice of in April.

"I feel that Stanley Daniels is going to come and have a breakout spring," Khalif said. "He's got nice feet, quick hands. He's about 300, 305 pounds. I think he'll play well. I think Clay Walker is going to have a good spring. He's ready to go. And I think (Ryan) Brooks is going to step up and play on the strong-side tackle position and it will be interesting to see how he comes out and takes over a starting role on that side.

"It's an opportunity for the younger guys to step up and play in the two-deeps. Spring is an important part, but our guys need to get healthy. We don't play for the spring, we play in August. We need those guys to get healthy and get ready for those game."

Khalif Barnes Scout Profile Top Stories