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Shuffling the Line
Casey Bulyca (Dawgman.com)
Posted Oct 16, 2008
With so many returning starters on the offensive line they were supposed to be the strength for the Washington Huskies this year. They were going to put Jake Locker and the young skill players on their backs, but not only has the line given up 14 sacks through five games, the run game is only averaging 103.6 yards per game.
Last year with Locker and
ran for over 203 yards a game, second only to
in the Pac-10.
Losing an entire football field's worth of yardage has caused the offense to have problems scoring consistently.
The recent news of
having surgery to his knee creates even more question marks for the offensive line. Since Buylca is in his last year of eligibility he tried to play through the pain, but during their last trip to
it became apparent the injury was just too severe. “He’s been hobbled for a couple weeks, it’s been bothering him," said UW Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano Tuesday. "He’s been grinding through it, he knows he hasn’t been really effective with it and its come to a point where it isn’t helping anybody.” With a fully healthy replacement in
- who started 12 games for Washington in 2007 - the hope is that the line will be able to function more effectively. With guard being such a physical position depth becomes a genuine concern.
“He’s (Ryan Tolar) kind of been our security blanket all year long in case something went wrong on the inside,” Offensive Line Coach Mike Denbrock told Dawgman.com. “As things have tended to go this year, nothing seems to exactly fall into place the way you would like it to, so having him is a luxury that we’ve had since the beginning of the year and his experience in that he has had already started a bunch of games since he’s been here will be helpful.”
anchoring the left guard position and Tolar taking over for Bulyca,
now steps into the role of security blanket. After Sedillo,
is the only guard to have ever seen playing time.
Bulyca’s play hasn’t met everyone’s expectations on the field but his leadership has affected all the guys on the offense. With so many young guys playing this year and Locker being out, Bulyca’s leadership has had a real impact.
“It affects it a lot (chemistry). He is one of the veteran guys on the line and he brings a lot to this team as far as leadership,” said UW running back
. “I feel that whoever steps in behind him is still going to give us a good look. As a team we have good chemistry with each other so it does hurt that Casey is gone but whoever steps up will get it done.”
“With someone like Casey whose played so much him being gone means there might be something the other guy doesn’t see or doesn’t know because of the experience level,” added
, one of Bulyca's teammates along the line. “Ryan Tolar obliviously played all last year and he’s pretty good at calling out the same calls but Casey had a little extra to it. It's kind of hard to put your finger on it; just a little extra call or take a little bigger split or he might be like 'he's coming, he’s going' - stuff like that really affects you.”
Both Griffin and
will be counted on this Saturday against
to finally get the run game going. “We haven’t changed anything, we’re still running our same plays," Griffin said. "It’s basically just as a running back going out there and taking what the defense gives you. Every play isn’t going for the big ten, or maybe twenty yards, but you still have to take what they give you and eventually by the end of the game something big will happen."
One thing he and the coaches all agree on is the need to open up the run game against the Beavers. OSU is fifth in the Pac-10, allowing 130.2 rushing yards a game. “Well that’s something this football team needs to have happen," Denbrock said. "I think we definitely need to find a way to run the football. That obviously starts with the guys up front. We need to do a better job of blocking people and moving people around. We have to make the running backs' jobs easier than we have.”
With a redshirt freshman quarterback and running back getting the starting nod this week, the line's play will be even more important in making the offense go. Bulyca’s absence means another lineman will need to step up and fill his leadership role.
would be the most likely fit. With his collegiate career winding down, Garcia and the other upperclassmen can hopefully provide extra motivation for the offense, as well as leadership by example.
By-The-Numbers: Oregon State
Oct 16, 2008
OSU Really Good or Cougars Simply Awful
Oct 14, 2008
Beavers make it five in a row vs. Huskies
Oct 18, 2008
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