Bachert - the Center of attention

Kyle Benn was a three-year starter at center for Washington. Replacing him will be a difficult task but offensive line coach Brent Myers has the luxury of moving a starter from last year into that all important slot. Experience can mean everything when talking about a position where you handle the ball on every down. Enter Todd Bachert.

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"I'm excited about moving back to the interior line," said Todd Bachert after Thursday's practice.

Bachert was recruited to play on the interior line, but was moved last year out of need. "I wanted to get my five best lineman on the field at the same time, regardless of position, and I knew Todd was smart enough to handle the switch," said Myers of moving Bachert from his back-up center role last year.

Bachert went on to start every game at strong tackle despite never having played a down at the position before fall camp last year.

"That was fun, I did pretty well. But I'm excited about moving back (inside). I'm ready to get back into the action," said Bachert, who is skipping contact drills while his surgically repaired shoulder heals.

"It is getting a lot better. I'm back to strength now and they say that by the end of spring that I'll maybe get to hit someone. It feels really good. I'm full go for the summer, the surgery was a success."

Surgeons reattached his labrum and shrank some cartilage in what was called a ‘clean up' procedure. "I played in pain last year and with limited range of motion. I can't wait for this year. It feels much better."

Bachert was flexible and athletic enough to play outside last fall but his preference has always been to play near the middle of the action. "I've always wanted to play on the interior – guard, center, whatever. (Myers) talked about maybe playing some guard and center last spring when I was still a center, but we haven't talked about it so far this year."

So he's a full-time center now, right?

Bachert laughs and says, "You never know. I didn't know I was playing tackle until one day before fall camp last year. You just take whatever comes."

However he's planning on taking most of his reps at center this fall. "I learned a lot from Kyle when I was at center before. I moved outside so I could see the field, but now I can put what I learned from Kyle to good use."

His versatility will serve him well when he comes to the line to bark out the line calls. He's seen defenses from all five offensive line positions now, so he should be able to recognize most schemes and nuances from just about any angle.

"I've played pretty much every position now. I played a little bit of weak tackle and center as a freshman, and now I've played weak guard and tackle. Now I'm back at center so I pretty much know the whole offense," said Bachert.

Center may very well be the most important position on the field, so it's very important that the coach, the quarterback, and the entire offensive front trust that player. "Coach Myers calls it the apex of the offense because you are the one that starts the whole thing. You make the line calls of which linebacker you're looking for. You tell your fellow linemen where you are going when you are walking out of the huddle and up to the line. You scope out the linebackers and you let your guys know what defense you're looking at," said Bachert.

During contact drills, Bachert sits out and the center position is handled by Bellevue sophomore Dan Dicks (6-5 325) and redshirt freshman Brad Vanneman (6-3 280) from Issaquah. The depth is solid, but now needs experience.

However the starters all have significant starting experience, with the exception of Andre Reeves, who's looking to have a breakout spring camp. They were a green, untested group that was under the microscope last year. This year should be a different story.

"The line will be good, both this year and next year. It seems like we're gelling pretty well as a group. The ones, twos, and threes are all gelling."

When a team is returning depth and experience on the offensive line and at quarterback, it usually means good things. Bachert lights up thinking about it.

"Tell Husky fans to be excited about next season. I can't wait for August 31st." Top Stories