Bomar goes with the flow

There was a time when the game of football came very easy to Tahj Bomar. For anyone that saw him play in the fall of 2002 for the Kentwood Conquerors knows what I'm talking about. Bomar was the face of the Conks' defense, as well as their heart and soul. He amassed 155 tackles, helped lead Kentwood to a Class 4A championship and was named all-state.

That all transferred over to the University of Washington in Bomar's first year with the team. Even though he was still behind guys like Marquis Cooper and Evan Benjamin in the depth, his play on special teams could not be ignored. He was so good his first year that he was on the starting kick return unit for the Huskies' first game of 2003 - at Ohio State.

And guess who made that tackle on the season's very first play? Tahj Bomar.

It should have been a sign of things to come for the fourth-year senior, but instead Bomar has had to play the waiting game. And even now, when he's clearly earned the stripes to get his chance at one glory-filled season to finish his college career, he's embroiled in a tough position battle with sophomore Trenton Tuiasosopo.

It's nothing new for Bomar.

"It's been a nice battle. Competition makes everyone better," Bomar told Dawgman.com. "I'm not afraid of competition. I'm just going to go out and execute the plays like I know it. I've been running this system for four years now, so I'm going to go out and play ball."

It would be easy for Bomar to not look at the positives, but that isn't Tahj. For instance, many would regret the fact that they don't have a redshirt year left, and never used one. Some would bemoan the fact that in their first two years of eligibility, they only played in 11 games with no starts and only four tackles to their credit. But that isn't Bomar's style.

"It helps you grow faster, become a better player faster," he said of getting thrown into the fire as a true frosh. "I can't say that would have helped everybody, but I just take whatever is on my plate, it's the plan God had for me. I don't regret anything. It's the situation I'm in right now."

But was it in those two years that saw Bomar founder near the bottom of the linebacking depth chart? It sure wasn't something Bomar was used to. "For a lot of people, it's the mental part - getting the full grasp of the defense the way the coaches want you to, not how you think it should go," he said. "It comes down to being mentally ready. I'm happy I'm in the situation to make plays this year, to shine."

And right now the Huskies find themselves in a situation where they are trying to replace a four-year starter who won the team's most valuable defensive player and most inspirational player award in 2005. Replacing a Joe Lobendahn is not easy, and Bomar doesn't expect to do that. He just expect to be himself, and the team needs him to be just that.

"I don't want to be a guy that I'm not, I just try to lead by example," he said. "So if I'm going to the 7-7's and the workouts, hopefully that example will be something the other guys pick up on." And the vocal players? "Scott White, I love being around that guy - he loves to get things stirred up," Bomar added. "C.J. Wallace, we have a lot of guys...we have a lot of guys on offense too. We have guys that help us get pumped up."

Bomar is up to 225 pounds, up from the weight he was at last year. "It kind of messed me up because I made a quick move from the outside (WIL), but I know I can play on the inside," he said. I did it last year, and I was at 220 last year."

He's also hoping the two games he started for Lobendahn last year will help pay dividends when locking up the starting MIK spot over Tuiasosopo. "I think it will, but I've played sparingly throughout the years," he said of his relative experience. "It does help you out when you've experienced the game speed, but if you know what you're doing and are a good ballplayer, you can go out there and accomplish some things."

In the meantime, Bomar is just doing his part - part of a total team effort - to get ready for Washington's season-opener against San Jose State and beyond. What will it take for the Huskies to get over that hump and turn some close losses into wins? "It's going to take execution, 100-percent effort and everybody running to the ball on defense," Bomar said, adding his formula for success. "Last year if we just make one play, we beat UCLA, Air Force - a lot of teams. If we do that we're bowl-eligible. So if we just execute, run to the ball and make a play, we're going to win a lot more games than just two."

In fact, the defense is taking it upon themselves to set the pace for the rest of the team. "That's our goal every year, to be the tone-setters for the whole team," Bomar said. "We want to be the team that wins the game for the Huskies."

That move toward consistency in play has been helped by the consistency in coaching. Chris Tormey has been the linebackers coach now for the last two staffs, and that stability has helped solidify confidence at that position. "That's been the main thing for this University, having a steady coach," Bomar said. "I've had coach Tormey for three years now. When I came here we had Tim Hundley. We've got a steady coach now, and that's always a good thing for a program. He's a pretty good guy."

So with a position coach in place, a competition in place and his mind right where it needs to be, what else does Bomar need to have the season he's hoping for?

"Home cookin'and protein shakes," he said with a laugh.

Dawgman.com Top Stories