In Monday’s paper, I wrote about the issues facing the offensive line. Washington entered spring with some questions that head coach Steve Sarksisian would be answered. But with Colin Porter’s forced retirement and minor issues to Drew Schaefer and Erik Kohler more questions have arisen.
But both Sarkisian and Cozzetto are trying to find positives in the predicament. It certainly allows them the chance to evaluate their young offensive linemen.
The first team offensive line Friday was Hatchie at left tackle, redshirt freshman Dexter Charles at left guard, sophomore Criste at center, sophomore James Atoe at right guard and redshirt freshman Ben Riva at right tackle.
“This is invaluable reps they are getting,” Sarkisian said. “The reps were good. Are we perfect? No. We’re not there yet. But we’ll take these reps. And would I love to have Tanigawa and Schaefer and Erik Kohler 100 percent? Yeah. There are things there that could be better but we will really benefit from this time with the young linemen getting these reps, it’s going to help us in the fall.’’
What hurts Washington is its lack of depth on the offensive line. Sarkisian’s first recruiting class in 2009 was understandably diminished because of the head coaching transition. His lone offensive line recruit – Daniel Mafoe, a junior college linemen – failed to gain admission to school.
The 2010 class had seven offensive linemen and featured Kohler and Porter as the prize recruits. But the 2011 class had only two offensive linemen – Charles and Siosifa Tufunga – after committed recruits Paulay Asiata and Stephane Nembot changed their minds and signed with Colorado.
“You look at our numbers, and we are going to have five scholarship guys coming in and our numbers are starting to get right,” Cozzetto said. “We are probably a recruiting class to where you all of the sudden have those classes in place. You are going to have guys that will redshirt and develop in that year instead of having to play guys right away. From the start when we got here, the numbers were way down. And it takes a while to get those numbers back.”