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

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August 3, 2008 6:34 PM

Freshmen getting ready

Posted by Bob Condotta

For tomorrow's paper, I wrote about Monday being the official debut for one of the more celebrated freshmen classes in recent UW history.

There should be 21 freshmen making their debuts as three apparently won't be eligible right now and two enrolled last winter or spring (Kurt Mangum and Chris Polk).

I talked to a few of the freshmen recently and they said they know there will be quite a spotlight on them.

"I think this class is prepared,'' said receiver Jermaine Kearse. "We are very focused. We want to come out there and make a statement.''

The best statement they could make is that they are ready to play immediately as many figure to be called on to help out this season, Kearse among them.

UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said "four or five'' of the incoming frosh could play on the offense this year, though he said that's not a set-in-stone number and could change in either direction.

Still, he said needs at certain spots almost dictate that some will have to play.

"Starting with our tailback position, we only have one guy that's played and that's Brandon Johnson, so obviously we are going to be counting on probably a couple of freshmen in that tailback group that are going to end up playing as true freshmen,'' Lappano said. "I don't think there's going to be any way around that right now. I think that's a legitimate possibility.''

Lappano said the three incoming tailbacks --- Johri Fogerson, Terrance Dailey and David Freeman (with Demitrius Bronson unable to enroll at the moment) --- start off equally on the depth chart.

"Right now, there is really no 1-2-3,'' he said. "We've get them all slashed (as either/or). They all do some really good things and in the next couple of weeks we've got to find out what they do best, how big a difference there is (in readiness to play) and let them compete and see how that thing unfolds. But there is some speed and talent there so it will be exciting to watch those guys.''

Receiver is also a spot where some true freshmen will play, especially if you consider Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar as true freshmen, which they are, just simply a little more experienced.

"The only guy that's played is D'Andre Goodwin and Curtis Shaw has played a little bit toward the end there and did some good thigns, so that's another spot where when we go into our spread stuff with four wide receivers, definitely a couple of those kids are going to be battling to play,'' Lappano said. "Even Aguilar and Boyles, they are like incoming freshmen in my opinion, so you could have three-four of those kids playing.'' There are growing expectations that Kearse and Cody Bruns could each play this season.

Lappano coached Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh at Oregon State and says the current group of receivers could eventually rival that set as the best he has coached.

"As high school kids, this is really a talented group,'' he said. "Maybe by the time they are juniors and seniors they will be pretty good. They are young but they are talented.''

Tight end is also spot where a true freshmen is likely to play as Kavario Middleton figures to battle for a spot in the rotation.

"Kavario, we have to look and see where he's at,'' Lappano said.

Lappano says he doesn't expect any of the true freshmen offensive linemen or quartebacks (which now numbers just one, in Luther Leonard) to play this season.

With Dominique Blackman out of the picture until January, UW isn't deep at QB, but Lappano says he isn't worried about the depth there saying "three will be all right.''

With the opener against Oregon looming in less than four weeks, the Huskies have little margin for error in getting the freshmen ready to play. Lappano said it helped that the team usually went 11-on-11 in its voluntary team sessions this summer instead of 7-on-7, saying that should help get the freshmen more acclimated to the speed of the game.

"It's absolutely critical that we don't waste a day of practice with this many kids we are counting on to play for us,'' he said. "We have just a certain amount of practice before we go down to play Oregon and the learning curve is going to be night and day for all of these freshmen compared to what it's been in high school.''

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