Pre-Spring Outlook - Offensive Line

SEATTLE - Of all the additions and subtractions, perhaps the biggest news coming into spring for the Washington Huskies was that of a player who was neither coming or going. When Juan Garcia was granted a sixth year of eligibility for the 2008 season, it meant even more stability and experience for an offensive line that is definitely starting to gel.

The biggest fact that attests to the quality of the Huskies' offensive line is that they helped Louis Rankin to a 1294-yard season, the first time the Huskies have had a 1,000-yard rusher in a decade. And quarterback Jake Locker was only 14 yards from duplicating Rankin's achievement.

On top of that, they only allowed 24 sacks in 13 games protecting a first-year quarterback in Locker. Certainly his elusiveness helped to keep the sack total in the middle of the Pac-10 rankings, but the number is also a testament to the level of communication between signal-caller and line. Expect the number of sacks given up to be even lower in 2008.


Juan Garcia$* 6-3 315 Sr. Sr. 2V Yakima, Wash. (Eisenhower)
Robert Lukevich+* 6-2 260 Sr. Seattle, Wash. (Bishop Blanchet)
Greg Christine+* 6-3 285 So. Camarillo, Calif. (St. Bonaventure)

+ Walk-on
* Has utilized redshirt season
$ has been granted sixth year of eligibility for 2008

As stated above, Garcia coming back for his sixth season is monumental, and if the Huskies are successful in getting to a bowl game in Tyrone Willingham's fourth season, Washington fans could look to Garcia's return as a catalyst. He brings emotion and a fire to the offensive line, and the way Offensive Line Coach Mike Denbrock runs things up front, the center is the one responsible for all the calls and protections. Having your most experienced lineman at center can only be seen as a big plus for a group that is just starting to come into its own.

Matt Sedillo was the lineman to come in for the one play Garcia missed in 2007 (the Huskies scored on the play, against USC), so expect Sedillo to slide into the center spot when needed. The redshirt sophomore will be the one interior lineman counted on to be able to play any one of the three interior line positions at a moment's notice.

After Sedillo, the job is up to two experienced walk-ons; Greg Christine and Rob Lukevich. It would be a pleasant surprise to see either one of these players step up and compete with Sedillo for the backup role, so that will be something to watch for this spring.

Casey Bulyca* 6-6 340 Sr. Woodinville, Wash. (Woodinville)
Jordan White-Frisbee* 6-6 340 Sr. Kenmore, Wash. (Inglemoor)
Morgan Rosborough* 6-6 365 Jr. Long Beach, Calif. (Jordan)
Ryan Tolar* 6-5 310 So. Pasco, Wash. (Pasco)
Matt Sedillo* 6-3 300 So. Escondido, Calif. (Orange Glen)

+ Walk-on
* Has utilized redshirt season

Guard is looking to be a real strength for the Huskies in 2008, especially on the left side - where Ryan Tolar really began to assert himself in his first year as a starter. Tolar has totally revamped his body and appears dedicated to taking his game to the next level. If he plays up to potential, he could end up getting all-Pac-10 mention by the end of the year.

The right side is equally solid with Casey Bulyca anchoring things. Bulyca has always been known for having a bit of nasty in him, and 2007 was the first year in which Bulyca was able to let it all go on a consistent basis. There's no reason to believe that it won't be more of the same this coming fall.

The biggest thing this coming spring will be the battles for the backup spots. Sedillo, Jordan White-Frisbee and Morgan Rosborough all have a chance to make a big impact in solidifying their positions in the depth. One this is for sure; this group of guards is as deep and as talented as any Washington has had in some time. The lack of senior attrition only adds to the attractiveness of this group as a whole - and all of them have the potential to come in and play at any time without a ton of drop-off.

Ben Ossai* 6-6 300 Jr. Bakersfield, Calif. (Stockdale)
Cody Habben* 6-6 300 So. Sammamish, Wash. (Skyline)
Skyler Fancher* 6-5 280 Fr. Costa Mesa, Calif. (Huntington Beach)
Mark Armelin* 6-5 290 Fr. Canoga Park, Calif. (Bishop Alemany)
Scott Shugert* 6-6 315 Fr. Oregon City, Ore. (Oregon City)

+ Walk-on
* Has utilized redshirt season

The Huskies lose Chad Macklin, Erik Berglund and Sir Aaron Mason from this group, and Macklin's loss will be felt the most. Replacing a two-year starter is never easy, but Willingham and Denbrock have done a nice job recruiting tackle-types, and that will be their main objective this spring. With Ben Ossai and Cody Habben battling back and forth all last year for the starting left tackle position, both have the experience to move to the other tackle spot if necessary. So Denbrock could go with those two at the ones with inexperienced backups, or they could try and develop one of the younger freshmen and have either Ossai or Habben as backup in case of injury.

Right now I'd tend to believe that Denbrock will start with Ossai at left tackle and Habben at right tackle. Habben started three games in 2007 at left tackle, and if either one of those players is going to make the switch now, it's going to be the younger player. Ossai has started 21 of the last 25 games at left tackle, so he's pretty much set.

Either way, Skyler Fancher, Mark Armelin and Scott Shugert will be highlighted this spring, and I expect Denbrock's eventual decision will be based largely on whether or not one or more of these players exceeds expectations and can be counted on to handle a starting role from the get-go. Top Stories