Fall Preview: Offensive Line

The final offensive position to be previewed will be the most important this fall in determining how far the Huskies are able to go. While four of the five positions appear to be set heading into fall camp, the offensive line still has a lot of work to do to get ready for the 2010 season...

The players: T Cody Habben (Sr.); G Ryan Tolar (Sr.); G/C Greg Christine (Sr.)#; G Nick Wood (Jr.); T Skylar Fancher (Jr.); T Senio Kelemete (Jr.); G Mykenna Ikehara (So.); T Dan Kanczugowski (So.)#; C Drew Schaefer (So.); G Colin Porter (Fr.); T/G James Atoe (Fr.); C Colin Tanigawa (Fr.); T Ben Riva (Fr.); T Erik Kohler (Fr.); T Mike Criste (Fr.); T Micah Hatchie (Fr.)

# = walk-on

Washington's offensive line has been in flux for most of the decade, but they may be close to finding some continuity up front now that line coach Dan Cozzetto is in his second season leading the troops.

The coaches will tell you no one's spot is guaranteed, but it appeared when they broke spring camp that they had found at least four starters with the right tackle position the only one that is up for grabs.

Leading the way up front are two solid starters in Kelemete and Tolar.

Kelemete makes the move from left guard to left tackle and many are projecting him to have All-American talent. Now, that isn't saying he'll perform to that level right away, but in the spring he showed quick feet and an excellent understanding of how to play the position.

He knows he's got to hold up against some of the top pass-rushers in the nation in order for Jake Locker to stay upright and with is skill-set, he appears to be up to the challenge.

Tolar makes the move back to left guard after spending a year at center. The physical and intense senior from the Tri-Cities is a better fit at guard and will combine with Kelemete to form a very good left side of the line if he can regain his form from the 2007 season when he was named a Third Team Freshman All-American.

At the other guard position will be Ikehara, a sophomore from Hawaii, who has had trouble adding size to his frame, but he's a young man who is considered one of the best blockers on the team. Defensive lineman he faces in practice on a daily basis made it known last fall and during the spring that when Ikehara gets his hands on you, the play is pretty much over.

Taking over at center will be Schaefer who manned the right tackle position last fall. He's very cerebral and technically sound, but he still needs to work on his drive blocking and making all the line calls. The coaches were happy with his progress during the spring and expect him to be their starter in the pivot over the next three years.

Battling it out for the right tackle spot will be Fancher and Habben, but it might come down to who is the healthiest.

Habben has recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, but he's probably not back to full-strength due to not being able to do any upper-body lifts over the past several months. He's very smart and he could end up being a solid backup if he doesn't win the job during camp.

Now is the time for Fancher to make his move on a starting spot. He needs to show he can hold up against the weekly pounding of a Pac 10 football season, but there's no doubting he has the skills and intensity to play the game and play it at a high level. He just needs experience and this is the year for him to get that.

Whoever loses the battle between those two will end up being the first tackle off the bench, while Kanczugowski, who has proven to be a pleasant surprise since walking on back in 2008, can play either guard or tackle, although tackle is where he primarily will be counted on.

Inside, Christine will back-up both guard spots and the center position where he's well-suited to be a mentor for Schaefer. Joining him will be Wood who successfully made the move from defensive tackle to guard during the season.

Both are not very big, but they are strong and appear to be good backup players who can make a start or two without much falloff.

An influx of bodies and talent came in February when seven prospects signed their letters-of-intent and then enrolled in July.

Porter appears to be the one who is ready physically to play this year, but Kohler has a chance to find his way into the two-deeps as well. Porter is projected to be an interior player while Kohler could play four of the five line positions with his skill-set.

Many consider Hatchie to be the best of the group, but chances are very good that he will redshirt this season and be the left tackle of the future as he progresses both physically and technically.

Atoe is huge and very athletic, but needs at least a year or two in the weight room before he can really be counted on much.

Riva, Criste and Tanigawa all add size and athleticism to the mix, but none are expected to see time for at least a couple years.

Here's a stab at the depth chart as we head into fall practice…

LT: Kelemete; Habben; Kanczugowski
LG: Tolar; Christine; Wood
C: Schaefer; Christine; Porter
RG: Ikehara; Wood; Christine
RT: Fancher; Habben; Kohler


Fall Preview: Quarterbacks

Fall Preview: Defensive Line

Fall Preview: Running Backs

Fall Preview: Linebackers

Fall Preview: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Fall Preview: Defensive Backs

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