1. What were the core questions that you had hoped would be answered by Spring Practice? Were conclusions reached?
Two big hopes were that the offense could find a couple of reliable receivers to compliment (sic) Kasen Williams and that the offensive line would take a big step forward. The first looks like it happened, with James Johnson coming off of a redshirt for his senior year and DiAndre Campbell having a big spring, while the second remains to be seen. For the first time in a long time the Huskies had one starting five for all of spring and didn't do their usual mixing and matching, but there are still real questions about the quality of the guys along the line.
2. Any major style changes coming our way in the fall? New offense or defense installed?
The offense and defense will be the same schematically, but the offense ran the no-huddle for all of spring, and will be operating a lot of out that (if not entirely) in 2013. They found that they were much more successful in 2012 when they went to the no-huddle package, and have expanded that package in 2013 to include the whole playbook to try to improve production. This comes with the added benefit of the defense practicing against it every day, which could be the biggest boon as the Husky D was torched by Oregon and Arizona last season.
3. What players emerged on offense? On defense?
Offensively, while it's hard to say that he "emerged" given that he's been a two year starter, Keith Price had a really nice spring. He's healthier and stronger than he's been at any point in the past couple of years and has really taken to the no-huddle. People who thought there may be competition for the starting QB position were very quickly quieted.
DiAndre Campbell, as mentioned above, also really stepped up. He's a guy with just 18 career catches, but he's put on some good weight and earned the reputation as one of UW's best blocking WR's. He has put himself in position to nab a starting spot.
On defense, Connor Cree came along as a defensive lineman, and started in the spring game. He's versatile enough that the staff is comfortable playing him inside and outside, which helps a lot with depth.
There's still a lot of competition in the defensive backfield, but two redshirt freshmen that have primed themselves to get a lot of playing time or even start in the fall are Cleveland Wallace at corner and Brandon Beaver at safety.
4. What are your biggest worries coming out of spring ball for the fall?
With the way they struggled through last year, the offensive line has to be the biggest concern. Until they show that they can give Keith Price the time he needs to throw the ball down the field that position will be the team's biggest question mark.
5. Project your season. Contender? Pretender? Middle of the pack?
Until someone proves otherwise, nobody is a contender in the Pac-12 North outside of Oregon and Stanford. I think that UW is the clear #3 in the division though, and with the most talented squad this program has had in over a decade, the potential is there for the Huskies to crack that top 2.
6. Any frosh you can't wait to get on campus?
The WR class coming in is arguably tops in the country, while the DL class was among the best as well. Those are two positions that could use some immediate help, with Damore'ea Stringfellow at wideout and Marcus Farria at end the two guys predicted to be getting the most early playing time of the 2013 group.
7. Who will you miss the most from last season? Who will be stepping up to fulfill those shoes?
Desmond Trufant was one of the best corners in the country last year, and the #22 pick in the draft, so that's an easy one to circle. The competitors for his spot are the aforementioned Wallace along with Gregory Ducre, a senior who has a lot of experience including a handful of starts, and Travell Dixon, a junior who was the top JUCO recruit in the country at his position a couple of years ago.
8. Any particular Pac12 match-up/rivalry you are looking forward to this Fall?
Oregon is the biggest game on the schedule, given their run of success and the size of the rivalry. With Chip Kelly moving to the NFL and UW's talent level closing the gap on Oregon's, this will be the best chance the Huskies have had to end the Ducks' series dominance in a long time.
9. What are the specific injury concerns coming out of this spring?
The team stayed pretty healthy through the spring, which is nice. Linebacker Travis Feeney sat out with a minor surgery, but is expected to be back 100% by the time the preseason practices roll around.
The biggest questions will be how players who had major injuries return, if they do at all. Jesse Callier, Hau'oli Jamora, Colin Tanigawa, Pio Vatuvei and Deontae Cooper are all still in the process of recovering from knee injuries, and all of those guys if 100% would be either starters or solid contributors.
10. Based on what you've seen, who is ready to take a major leap this fall?
I think that when the book is closed on the 2013 season, Kasen Williams will be talked about as one of the country's top receivers. He's been very good in his first couple of years, but was limited by playing behind one of the most productive WR duos UW has ever had as a freshman, and then as a sophomore by the offensive line's inability to allow downfield routes to develop. If the offensive line improves at all, (and there's really no way that it won't) Williams could put up a monster season. All throughout spring ball he made circus catches and big plays and nobody really batted an eyelash because it was just Kasen being Kasen.
11. Which Keith Price did your QB resemble this spring, the 2011 version or the 2012 version?
Keith really took to the no-huddle and had his best spring as a Husky. He's primed to return to his 2012 form, but as mentioned before, I feel it depends more on the guys around him than it does Price. The skill guys are in place in Bishop Sankey, Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, it's just a matter of the line being respectable. They don't have to be world beaters -- they weren't in 2011 -- but if they can get to middle of the conference level, then the offense and Keith Price should have a very good year.
12. Will Sark get fired if he goes 7-6 again? How many wins does he need to satisfy fans?
I don't think 7-6 would get Sark fired, but it would put the burner under his seat on 11 for 2014. Husky fans can be a strange group, in that it seems like they'll never really be satisfied with anything less than 14 wins, but most reasonable fans have the bar set at 9 wins.
13. We have heard whispers of Thompson being moved around - and possibly out of the secondary. Is that true? If so, how is Shaq handling the transition to linebacker this spring?
In truth, Shaq was a linebacker last season as well. Though he was labelled as the team's starting "Nickel" he played almost exclusively near the line of scrimmage. He's such a freak athlete that he can pretty much play anywhere defensively though, and with him having a year in the system and in college football expect to see Justin Wilcox moving him around much more to hide him from offenses and take advantage of his versatility.
14. Who do you want to punch in the face?
Our thanks to UW Dawg Pound for taking the time and putting up with us. What do you Golden Bears predict for them in 2013? Will Dykes be able to beat Sark, a goal that eluded Tedford? Will Sark finally get fired for being so woefully mediocre?