2004 Husky Football Season Preview

We are officially in the <i>Dawg</i> days of Summer and looking forward to an exciting season of Husky football. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the last few moments of quiet time as Dawgman.com provides you with a peek at the upcoming Husky football season. It gets underway Thursday, Aug. 12 when the Huskies will hold the first of their scheduled practice sessions at Husky Stadium.

Head Coach: Keith Gilbertson (2nd year, 6-6, 54-41 overall)

Last Season's Record: 6-6 (4-4, T-6th in Pac-10)

Last Bowl Appearance: 2002 Sun Bowl (34-24 loss to Purdue)

Key matchup(s): Sept. 18 UCLA (ABC), Sept. 25 @Notre Dame (NBC), Oct. 30 @Oregon, Nov. 20 @WSU (ABC).

Star Power: OT Khalif Barnes, 6-6 300 senior, WR Charles Frederick 6-0 195 senior, FB Zach Tuiasosopo, 6-2 250 senior, CB Derrick Johnson 6-0 190 senior.

Notable Additions: S Dashon Goldson 6-2 204 JC transfer, DE Greyson Gunheim 6-6 230 Analy HS, CA.

Notable Subtractions: QB Cody Pickett, WR Reggie Williams, DT Terry Johnson, all drafted by NFL teams.

Notable Returnees: TB Kenny James 5-10 215 soph, WR Corey Williams 6-2 200 soph, OG Clayton Walker 6-4 290 soph, TE Joe Toledo 6-7 285 junior, LB Joe Lobendahn 5-10 230 senior, DT Manase Hopoi 6-5 280 senior.

09/05/04Fresno State
09/25/04@Notre Dame
10/09/04San Jose State
10/16/04Oregon State
10/23/04@Southern California
11/20/04@Washington State
Offensive Overview: The offense will be much different than the 2003 version. The quarterback, whomever that may be, will be asked to become more of a threat on the ground. He will take some snaps out of the shotgun and also be able to run down the line on the option. The line will need to be retooled significantly, and Washington will need Tusi Sa'au and Robin Meadow to return to health. There is little proven depth behind the five starters. TE Joe Toledo is a threat but his back has kept him out of significant action. Charles "ET" Frederick could be the finest receiver in the conference and the Huskies will find ways to get him the ball whether it is on reverses, screens, bombs, or returns.

Kenny James will be the featured back in the rushing attack and excels between the tackles. When the Huskies want to quicken the pace, they hand the ball to Shelton Sampson. The sophomore runs a sub-4.4 in the 40 and has a nose for the end zone. Fullback Zach Tuiasosopo could be the best in the Pac-10.

Defensive Overview: The defense is undersized. Losing Terry 'Tank' Johnson to the NFL early hurts, but Manase Hopoi has beefed up and will be tried inside at Tank's spot. Donnie Mateaki is now a chiseled 295. Mike Mapu and Dan Milsten are capable but need some experience. Either Brandon Ala or Ty Eriks will need to emerge as a pass rush guy, or true freshman Greyson Gunheim will be asked to fill the role. The linebackers are small as well but quick. Evan Benjamin's move from safety should bolster depth. The secondary looks solid with the addition of Goldson, and Derrick Johnson has proven to be a ball hawk from his cornerback position.

The key to the defense will be how aggressive the secondary can be in man coverage. The corners are a real strength, as Johnson earned all-Pac 10 honors two years in a row and fellow senior Sam Cunningham is solid on the other side. Safety Jimmy Newell provides good coverage from his free safety position, but the Huskies really need Goldson to step into the head hunter role at the other safety spot in order to make things gel and allow the front seven to attack and get up field.

Special Teams Overview: Charles Frederick will return both punts and kickoffs, and is a threat every time he touches the ball. Evan Knudson returns as the main placekicker and had a solid spring. Sean Douglas won the punting job and showed a big, albeit inconsistent, leg.

The Huskies can win eight games this season if... they can avoid injuries on the lines. On offense, they are talented up front on the first team, but very green and young behind them. The running game should improve but a brand new quarterback will be asked to not lose games. The defense will be more aggressive under Phil Snow, but will need to show that they are not so undersized that teams can smash mouth them to death.

TheInsiders.com 2004 College Football Preview
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