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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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June 4, 2008 3:41 PM

Looking at the linebackers

Posted by Bob Condotta

Tuesday's news about E.J. Savannah's injury has led to some requests to review UW's linebacking situation.

So here we go.

First, here's what the depth chart at LB appeared to look like at the end of the spring (there was no official depth chart released).

SLB Mason Foster, So.
Chris Stevens, Sr.
Cort Dennison, Fr.

MLB Donald Butler, Jr./or/
Trenton Tuiasosopo, Sr.
Kurt Mangum, Fr.
T.J. Poe, Jr.

WLB Joshua Gage, Jr./ or
E.J. Savannah, Jr.
Matt Houston, So.

Worth remembering that the LBs, especially at the two outside spots, often take turns working at the other side in practice, so most of those of those guys have experience at multiple spots and can move around pretty easily. They also sometimes line up in different spots depending on schemes.

The only other scholarship LB on the roster for the fall figures to be Bradly Roussel, a high schooler from Baton Rouge, La., assuming no position changes. So what you see above is what UW is likely to have this season.

One of you asked if this means Kurt Mangum will now get to play some next year --- while listed as an MLB, LB coach Chris Tormey said Mangum appears to have the versatility to play outside, as well.

In answering that question, it may be worth remembering that the apparent worst-case scenario on Savannah is that he's out for the first few games of the season, and not much longer, so I wouldn't think that the coaches would start making big changes in any way. For now, I would imagine they will wait until the beginning of camp and see where Savannah is and then proceed accordingly. Meaning, I doubt they'd rush Mangum into duty just to add depth for a couple of games unless he proves worthy of playing anyway.

During the spring, Tormey felt pretty good about the LB spot, agreeing that it should be one of the strengths of the team this season.

"I think so,'' Tormey said. "We were talented but inexperienced a year ago. I think the experience is going to really help us this year. What we really need to do is play faster, and the experience will really help with that.''

Tormey went on to say that "we've got, I think, pretty good depth at that position. We played a lot of guys last year. Donald Butler, Trenton Tuiasosopo played a lot and Josh Gage really came on and played a lot for us at the end of the year. Mason Foster is an emerging guy and Kurt Mangum is coming in (as a true freshman) so I think we've got some answers there.'' He then realized he hadn't mentioned Chris Stevens and said he's in the mix as well. "He had a really good winter,'' Tormey said, saying Stevens, who has continually battled problems putting on weight, is at about 215 pounds right now.

Butler, listed as a co-starter in the middle with Tuiasosopo, had his season truncated a year ago by a knee injury that limited him to eight games.

"He's really battled through a lot of issues with that knee, but right now he appears to be healthy,'' Tormey said. "So you've really got two capable players at that position and we'll probably rotate them through this spring.''

Of Tuiasosopo, Tormey said: "He had a good winter, he's moving well. I think the experience that he gained last year will really help him. The more he plays the better he will react and the faster he will play.''

With Savannah currently out, Gage, a former walk-on now on scholarship, is the starter at one spot (the strongside slot held last year by Dan Howell) backed up by Matt Houston, who Tormey said "is really athletic. He has a chance to help us this year.''

If the Huskies really run into depth issues at LB, one solution could be moving Austin Sylvester back to that spot. He began his UW career there before moving to fullback.

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Posted by Gabe

4:48 PM, Jun 04, 2008

F-Guest---that link you provided on prior string to Hot Seat re Belotti is very interesting. So is TW's contract posted on the site. I hadn't bothered to look at it before, but it's enough to make me launch a campaign to hire a high school coach to replace him. I'd have to elevate my game to do that, but it worth a try. And, yes, Gervais (sp?) would qualify because he's close enought to high school to come at a much lower price than TW. Hot Seat projects TW staying with a 6-6 record, which is clearly correct, but with anything less, let's find a high school guy and let him go for it. Troy Must Be Destroyed.

P.S. Nice article on the linebackers. Looks like we got some.

Posted by Husky Fan In New York

5:11 PM, Jun 04, 2008

I would think that Stevens would be a nice option at WLB if Savannah can't go for the first game or two. He's up to 215 lbs., is a senior now, and always seems to make plays.

Posted by Jordan

6:41 PM, Jun 04, 2008

I think we'll be fine. Our defense can't be any worse than last year.

Posted by Dave

8:59 PM, Jun 04, 2008

Yeah, plug Chris Stevens in and let's move on.

Posted by John

12:25 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Bob,
I love it how you never give any love to Cort Dennison. He had six tackles in the spring game which was third best on the team (Only Nate Williams, 7, and EJ,8, had more) and he was around the ball almost every play. He runs well too. I would not be surprised at all if he surprises people and takes E.J.'s spot. I know he is young but from what I have heard about him, he works very hard and is a very smart palyer who will make plays. I know Josh Gage, Matt Houston, and Chris Stevens all have the experience on him, but the best players play and I believe Dennison is one of the better linebackers. He didn't win Scout of the Year on defense and have 37.5 sacks his last two years of high school for no reason. Go Dawgs! Get better EJ!

Posted by Husky Fan In New York

6:32 AM, Jun 05, 2008

John, do you think he projects better at WLB or SLB? I've never seen him play in person but read great things about him when he commited and then as a scout player.

Maybe they'd actually move Foster to WLB and start Dennison at SLB if they think Dennison is the best LB to sub for Savannah.

Of course, there's at least a decent chance Savannah could be out 8 weeks meaning that he'll be healthy by early August to start doing upper-body lifting again as fall ball starts.

Posted by Bob Condotta

8:25 AM, Jun 05, 2008

John --- I have nothing against Cort and not sure why people always imply such things. Just think that the other players --- Gage, Houston and Stevens --- are more legit options at the moment to move into that spot if Savannah is really out since they are all ahead of him on the depth chart, as far as we can tell. He had a nice spring game, but as I wrote, as far as I can tell, he's behind those other guys on the depth chart right now. We'll see what happens in the fall.

Posted by BoiseTruth

8:43 AM, Jun 05, 2008


John, I join HFNY in asking for any other insights you picked up from the spring game. Like he said, most of us have never had the chance to see many of these players. Did you notice if Dennison has the ability to shed blocks, or does he remain tied up? Who was the guy that you most noticed and are really looking forward to seeing on the field (vet or rookie)? I know it's really hard to watch everything during those events, but anything you've got, anything that caught your attention, or jumped out at you, I'd be interested in hearing about. I like fan perspective reports. Thanks John.

Posted by 2003 Dawg

8:58 AM, Jun 05, 2008

Do we have any Dr's on the blog?

2-3 months is vague. EJ could continue to stay in shape in terms of condidtioning but the only question would be strength.

Worst case does 3 months mean thats when he can begin lifting again or does that mean he doesn't have to wear a sling?

I feel like there is some strategy for being vague. I don't see why EJ couldn't play in the Oregon game.

Any thoughts would be appreciated...

Posted by Formerly Guest

11:58 AM, Jun 05, 2008

2003 dawg,
This is lame speculation on my part, but here it goes...

Someone posted a link earlier stating that most humeral Fx's from arm-wrestling are mid-shaft.

This would be good. I think an ijury of hte humeral head (in the hsoulder area) needs to be surgically pinned, as does one near the elbow.

The mid-shaft can heal naturally in a sling, provided there is no nerve damage. Websites I looked at indicate this is often the case. The catch is that sometimes the Fx can damage the radial nerve, as it runs by the humerus. It innervates the back of your hand and wrist, and leads to wrist drop. If you damage it with this Fx, the nerve damage often fully heals but takes closer to 4-6 months to completely resolve. And the Fx needs to be surgically pinned.

(Molly Yanity posted a link on her blog on this).

I REALLY have no idea, but I suspect the guy can't use his arm for much until it is out of the sling (provided he goes into one and avoids surgery). So I would think no lifting or major stress on the arm for some period of time.

I suspect they already know if he has involvement of the radial nerve, and if so, would have given a longer recovery time in the press release.

Bob and John,
I don't recall hearing about Dennison before. If either of you have any links on this guy, that would be great. Bob, is it possible to ask the coaches anything about Dennison and how they plan to use him next year?

Also, did they use that walk-on TE from Hawaii in the spring game at all last yr? (The one with the cool name that I am blanking on).

Bob, it's nice to have you back. The blog is great. Thanks.

Posted by Dave

12:06 PM, Jun 05, 2008

FG, if you are thinking of Romeo Savant (and I agree he is a definite "all-name-teamer"), he's not from HI but from Cathlamet, WA.

Posted by Formerly Guest

12:53 PM, Jun 05, 2008

Dave,
for real?

I thought he was from Honolulu. I wonder how I got that idea...Thanks.

Posted by BoiseTruth

12:59 PM, Jun 05, 2008


FG, here's the typical Dennison type story. I remember seeing a story that had a slightly different take than most do so I'll see if I can find it for you.

http://blogs.sltrib.com/prepsports/2007/01/dennison-to-uw.htm

Posted by BoiseTruth

1:05 PM, Jun 05, 2008


Shoot FG, my eyes are going. It was right in front of me. I thought this was diff because it had a peer making comments as well as the coach.

http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,660193282,00.html

Posted by Formerly Guest

4:29 PM, Jun 05, 2008

BT,
Thanks.

Posted by John

7:53 PM, Jun 05, 2008

I think Dennison projects better as a SAM, New York. He played SAM last year and it looks like he is comfortable there. From what I saw in the spring game, he gets off blocks well, but still has work to do, like most young players. He also probably needs to get stronger. I just believe he is a solid player who would make plays and very rarely screw up since he is a smart player and has a good grasp of what is goin on. Thanks for your response too Bob.

Recent entries

Jun 5, 08 - 04:26 PM
Answers, volume seven

Jun 5, 08 - 01:34 PM
What a great grouping this would be

Jun 5, 08 - 09:49 AM
Maybe UW will find an AD here

Jun 4, 08 - 09:03 PM
Interesting look at Pac-10 coaching salaries

Jun 4, 08 - 03:41 PM
Looking at the linebackers

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