QB Jake Locker (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)
Coach: Tyrone Willingham
11-25, 3 years
2007 Record: 4-9
at Syracuse WON 42-12
at UCLA LOST 31-44
USC LOST 24-27
at Arizona State LOST 20-44
at Stanford WON 27-9
at Oregon State LOST 23-29
at Hawai'i LOST 28-35


2007 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

The formula for success here isn’t complicated. In Ty Willingham’s fourth season (11-25), we find the coach with a budding QB who only needs to find a consistent supporting cast to bring this offense to new heights. The defense has to find stopping power, both on a play-by-play and weekly basis. What Willingham inherited upon arriving – a 1-10 program that had its worst point and win totals since the ten-game 1969 season – has shown signs of finding its usual, competitive self, but 2008 seems to be another pivotal year. More incremental steps will come, but making them equal more wins will be the same challenge it’s been these first three years of Ty’s administration.

Sophomore Jake Locker is the reigning Pac Ten Freshman of the Year. That won’t guarantee production since most of the other talent guys are new (all new WRs) and the OL has issues. A rare run-first Pac Ten offense, UW found its efforts lacking against their own defense this spring; a 10-7 result has many in Seattle cringing at the rerun they are about to be forced to again watch. All of Locker’s talents can’t overcome a porous line.

The same troubles on defense – failing to have consistency from play to play – are why Donatell was brought here. A coup from the NFL ranks, Donatell’s climb seems steep. Nine of the past ten seasons witnessed the 300-point barrier being broken; before 1998, Washington had only allowed this to happen twice in 119 years of football. The fine Northwest stopping tradition found here will soon be back. The immediate dilemmas are in the middle – the tackles are strong but small, and MLB Donald Butler has to stay healthy. The corners needed bolstering from the safety ranks, but it all seems to be on track for immediate improvements to be seen.

The Huskie’s schedule is a beast…hey, you become the best by playing the best, right? A trip to Eugene right off and its probable result can’t be seen as the harbinger for the rest of the season. Oklahoma, BYU and Notre Dame all come to Seattle, but in what could be the toughest set of non-cons on any FBS slate, Willingham’s troops have to stay focused and realize how this is just status quo. The defense keeping them in many games will help. Locker feeling his passing oats will then go the farthest toward making this an above-.500 effort. The solutions are there, and Willingham can solve the Huskie’s recent troubles if these basic elements are conjured.

Projected 2008 record: 4-8
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 2.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 3.5 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Jake Locker, 155-328-15, 2062 yds., 14 TD

Rushing: Jake Locker, 172 att., 986 yds., 13 TD

Receiving: Michael Gottlieb, 12 rec., 136 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Ryan Perkins, 15-20 FG, 45-46 PAT, 90 pts.

Punting: Jared Ballman, 71 punts, 40.9 avg.

Kicking: Ryan Perkins, 15-20 FG, 45-46 PAT, 90 pts.

Tackles: E.J. Savannah, 111 tot., 73 solo

Sacks: Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, 8.5 sacks

Interceptions: Mesphin Forrester, 2 for 61 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff Returns: Brandon Johnson, 13 ret., 17.4 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: None


OFFENSE: Carl Bonnell-QB, Louis Rankin-TB, Anthony Russo-WR, Cody Ellis-WR, Corey Williams-WR, Marcel Reece-WR, Chad Macklin-OT
DEFENSE: Jordan Reffett-DT, Wilson Afoa-DT, Greyson Gunheim-DE, Dan Howell-OLB, Roy Lewis-CB, E.J. Savannah-LB (academics)

In a conference where the pass is king, Spokane native and Husky coordinator Tim Lappano is afforded a different approach. Running the rock is now ‘in vogue’ here in Seattle. Already a ground weapon, how much better sophomore dual-threat Jake Locker’s arm gets will tell whether this offense can finally hit on all cylinders. That’s because this former No.4 QB prospect already has those uncanny, unteachable instincts only a veteran usually possesses...and he’s got the wheels to exploit defenses that leave him running lanes. Big and strong, Locker out-gained Heisman winner Tim Tebow on the ground and all other QBs except La-Lafayette’s Desormeaux and WVU’s White; this Ferndale phenom even topped the combined rushing-passing yardage of nearly every other dual-threat QB except Tebow, A&M’s Steven McGee, USF’s Matt Grothe and Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson. And he did it all as a freshman! The only thing is his 15 INTs, but if Locker’s solid prep numbers are any testimonial, his struggling accuracy (47.7%) so far and the excessive picks will diminish soon. It seems to be as simple as just letting Locker air it out more until he feels more comfortable, and then the playbook can explode. Fouch is a drop-back type who might really change the way the Cougars attack…except when you see he is another savvy, sneaky, quick type of QB who would surely surprise foes on the ground after he set them up with his quality arm.

The “run first” philosophy finds a new set of tailbacks, and the ground game can lean on the ever changing, distracting running patterns of Locker and how defenses are forced to mark/cover his every move/fake. Such will benefit Brandon Johnson, a direct-style of runner who finds holes through which to squirt in little time once given the rock. Homer is more used than most fullbacks, and he has a leadership role that cannot be discounted on such a young team. This is a deep set of runners, but the staff still needs to isolate who will be a reliable workhorse and who can get open downfield (Johnson had no catches last year). These role players are sure to pop up, which is more than can be guaranteed for the depleted receiving corps.

You can see how three freshmen and two sophs WRs make for some restless nights in the coaching barracks. Logan looks like a real threat anywhere he may roam, and four-star RB recruit Chris Polk will play the hybrid role of slot receiver and all-purpose ball carrier, a true “X factor” who will spread defenses even thinner when he’s put in motion and/or when he’s faked to. Goodwin is the vet as a sophomore, but he could quickly be displaced (Shaw, Aguilar) if his game isn’t completely on. Gottlieb becomes a huge factor; big and reliable, he’s sure to find his number called quite often early on with the shakiness at WR.

The other concern is for the line’s lack of pass protection skills. Don’t let the low sacks allowed number deceive you – Locker’s elusive nature is what that speaks towards more than it does a quality wall during pass plays. This is especially true for the tackles. Still, losing Garcia for most of 2008 will put this group to the test; the OL coming together relies now upon Matt Sedillo’s progress after only playing in two games as a frosh. Tolar is solid inside, but Bulyca has the same trouble with quick, stunting blitzers as do the tackles. If the line struggles (like it did in the spring game against UW’s young defensive line) to even establish running lanes, let alone decent protection, Locker and the backs will be running for their collective lives more than forward in any productive mode.


C Juan Garcia (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Jake Locker-So (6-3, 225) Ronnie Fouch-Fr (6-1, 195)
FB Paul Homer-Jr (6-0, 222) Luke Kravitz-Sr (6-1, 245)
RB Brandon Johnson-So (5-11, 195) J.R. Hasty-Jr (5-11, 200)
Willie Griffin-Fr (5-8, 200)
WR D'Andre Goodwin-So (6-0, 170) Curtis Shaw-So (5-11, 190)
Devin Aguilar-Fr (6-0, 185)
WR Chris Polk-Fr (5-11, 195) Alvin Logan-Fr (6-2, 215)
TE Michael Gottlieb-Sr (6-5, 245) Chris Izbicki-Fr (6-3, 230)
OT Ben Ossai-Jr (6-6, 300) Mark Armelin-Fr (6-5, 290)
OG Ryan Tolar-So (6-5, 310) Jordan White-Frisbee-Sr (6-6, 340)
C Matt Sedillo-So (6-3, 300) Juan Garcia-Sr (6-3, 315) (inj.)
OG Casey Bulyca-Sr (6-6, 340) Morgan Rosborough-Jr (6-6, 365)
OT Cody Habben-So (6-6, 300) Skyler Fancher-Fr (6-5, 280)
K Ryan Perkins-Jr (6-0, 185) Erik Folk-Fr (5-10, 190)



There’s a quick way to cure what ails your defense – go out and hire Ed Donatell. In him, coach Willingham reached for an assistant who hasn’t coached in the collegiate ranks since 1989 (CS Fullerton), and Donatell is the brass ring that can turn the defensive tide in the Huskie’s favor. It’s a mystery how four returning starters up front can relinquish 185 rushing yards per game, as was the case last year. Everyone in the front seven had respectable stat lines, so it comes down to finding more consistency in Washington’s ample talent pool. Pressure from the outside just has to stay disciplined to be more effective. Jones is an ex-LB looking to prove extra heft can help his game, but he’s unproven…unlike bookend Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Te’o-Nesheim is the emotional leader of the entire defense and a building block for the future. The inside has athletes with the will to succeed, yet little girth when those bigger, better opposing OLmen come calling. A single OG controlling his Husky counterpart/tackle will mean another long year. Depth up front, like the bulk of the starters ahead of them, is, at best, young and eager, but consistency will be a tough goal to achieve with this two-deep.

Overachieving E.J. Savannah has their collective backs. This defense is going to be better if Savannah is allowed to play instinctually instead of being forced to constantly compensate for marginal line play. Oft-injured Donald Butler having a healthy campaign at MLB, next to the hiring of Donatell, will go the farthest toward keeping this D focused and stubborn. Mason Foster should be better since he doesn’t have to keep switching between LB spots. Tuiasosopo has never been able to earn a permanent start, mainly since his run stuffing is superior to his efforts in coverage. This is an experienced corps, but group cohesion still must be found for the defense to take any corner(s). UPDATE: LB E.J. Savannah has been ruled academically ineligible.

Mesphin Forrester is the major pivot in the secondary, moving from safety to corner. His coverage skills are decent, but the move smacks of desperation. Davenport will have a hard time keeping Richardson from his spot. The Scout Team POTY, Richardson is the nickel back, at least, and a catalyst for the entire coverage scheme to move up a notch if he can commandeer the start from the senior ahead of him. The same kind of uncertainty on who will start at safety actually reflects the number of quality hats in the deep middle. Wells was lost in game six, and Harris will keep the free spot until displaced. Williams and Aiyewa are both worth developing into starters; you can see why Forrester was bumped to the outside. Under Donatell, this group should progress the quickest of the defensive units.


DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (PHOTO - UW Media Relations)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim-Jr (6-4, 260) Tyrone Duncan-Fr (6-2, 285)
DT Cameron Elisara-So (6-2, 275) Nick Wood-Fr (6-2, 275)
DT De'Shon Matthews-So (6-4, 255) Johnie Kirton-Sr (6-4, 270)
DE Darrion Jones-Jr (6-3, 255) Kalani Aldrich-Fr (6-7, 244)
OLB Chris Stevens-Sr (6-0, 195) Joshua Gage-Sr (6-2, 225)
ILB Donald Butler-Jr (6-1, 240) Trenton Tuiasosopo-Sr (6-2, 240)
OLB Mason Foster-So (6-1, 218) Chris Stevens-Sr (6-0, 215)
CB Mesphin Forrester-Sr (6-2, 205) Matt Mosley-So (5-11, 190)
CB Byron Davenport-Sr (5-11, 195) Quinton Richardson-Fr (6-0, 205)
SS Darin Harris-Sr (5-11, 200) Victor Alyewa-So (6-1, 217)
FS Jason Wells-Sr (6-2, 210) Nate Williams-So (6-1, 205)
P Jared Ballman-Sr (5-11, 175) Ryan Perkins-Jr (6-0, 185




Ballman and Perkins are adequate, sometimes exceptional, at their given kicking tasks…but having five total kicks blocked has to be stemmed more than anything else on fourth-down plays. The new return men will be announced as the season is imminent.