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

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July 21, 2008 9:11 AM

July questions, take one

Posted by Bob Condotta

A lot of good questions out there so I'll unfurl the first batch of answers here.

One caveat --- a lot of the questions asking "who is so-and-so'' looking are kind of unanswerable at the moment. The team hasn't done any real football playing since the spring and doesn't start up again until Aug. 4. The incoming guys have yet to do much of anything. So what I'll attempt to do on questions like that is just give an overview of where that player stands in the fall.

Q: Any clue yet as to which side of the ball the staff is hoping to play Kavario Middleton? He is almost exclusively referred to as a TE, but according to scouting reports it sounds like he could be a huge asset on the other side of the ball. And now that Chris Izbicki is ready, don't you think we are long in the TE department?

A: I actually ran into Middleton when I was out there last week and he said he's undoubtedly a tight end to begin his career. Izbicki did appear to make some nice strides in the spring, but I don't think the TE spot is long at all. You have Michael Gottlieb, a fifth-year senior, and then Izbicki, a redshirt frosh, Middleton, a true frosh, Walt Winter, a fifth-year senior who hasn't ever really played much, and walk-on Romeo Savant, a redshirt frosh who has shown enough to far to indicate he may be a real factor at the spot someday.

That's five tight ends, but two who will be gone after this season. The Huskies like to use lots of two tight-end sets, which means having three or four ready to go at any time in case injuries arise. A lot of people project Middleton to step right in and play a big role this season, and he certainly looks the part. But playing tight end in a Pac-10 offense requires a pretty big mental adjustment and it could take Middleton a little while to get his sea legs. To me, this position is stocked just about right, though I think the Huskies will need to get at least one more in this recruiting class to add to the depth.

Q: Can you find out about Johri Fogerson? Is he going to be playing D this year? And if Brandon Johnson starts off the season slow any chance they will put Chris Polk at RB full time instead of this Hybrid type role they are planning on doing?

A: I also had a chance to talk to Fogerson last week, as well, and he said he will start out on offense --- I don't think there's any question that's the position he prefers. Position changes can always occur later, but all the freshmen currently have listed positions assigned by the coaches. As for Polk, I think his receiving skills are such that he will always be a big part of the passing game. But should he emerge as the team's best running back --- and lots of recruiting analysts think that's where he should be --- it's possible he becomes more of a full-time runner. But the best-case scenario is that Johnson (or Willie Griffin or whoever else is here) can handle the "true'' running duties, allowing Polk to do more of the Reggie Bush-role the coaches envision.

Q: With our small inexperienced D-line what are the Huskies going to do to prevent teams from just pounding it down our throats? Four yards and a could of dust.

A: I'll grant the inexperienced part. But depending on who emerges, UW's line might not be all that small. Alameda Ta'amu is listed at 6-2, 348 --- that would make him one of the biggest, if not the biggest, DLs in the conference. Cameron Elisara is now listed at 6-3, 289. There are lots of DEs in the 250-pound range in the Pac-10, like Washington's will likely be. But the inexperience is a legitimate worry. Several of you asked questions about that, and while you sometimes see DLs step in and play really well immediately, the more likely route is that it takes a year or two to really get it. There's a new level of physicality to get adjusted to, and more complicated technique. In general, I usually think the two lines are the two worst places at which to be young --- along with maybe QB. So that will be a big challenge for this team. As for what UW will do to prevent teams from pounding it down their throats? No real secret --- try to get the new guys as acclimated to the game as quickly as possible, and maybe take some of the pressure off the line by using a 3-4 or blitzing more.

Q: When is Picture Day?

A: It's Saturday, Aug. 9, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Here are details from GoHuskies.com.

More later.

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