Notebook: Huskies' line getting thinner
Seattle Times staff reporter
OLYMPIA — Another day, another defection up front for a Washington Huskies football team already treading the line between thin and thinner in the depth department.
The latest to leave is redshirt freshman defensive tackle Casey Tyler of Edmonds-Woodway High. Two other linemen, Graham Lasee of Sehome High and Erik Berglund of Beaverton, Ore., left earlier in camp. Neither Lasee, who played defense, nor Berglund (offense) was expected to make much of an impact this season.
But Tyler is another matter. He had been listed as a starter at one defensive tackle spot at the end of spring ball and coaches had raved about his potential.
Tyler signed with the Huskies in the winter of 2003 along with high-school teammate and good friend Kyle Trew.
Trew said yesterday that Tyler — who left the team Sunday — just lost his love for the game."He said he didn't know if he really liked football as much as he did when he started," Trew said. "And if he didn't like it as much as he thought he did, it wasn't worth it to keep hurting the team."
Trew said he began thinking something was up with Tyler during the summer.
"Over the summer, he didn't come to any of the workouts and I thought maybe that was the beginning of it," Trew said. Tyler was among the players who seemed to struggle during the team's post-practice running drills during the first few days of camp.
Tyler had initially been recruited to Washington as a tight end and was switched before spring drills. But Trew said he didn't think that was a factor.
"He wasn't mad about anything," Trew said. "I don't think he has any hard feelings toward anyone. It's just something he felt he needed to do. He was doing really well at the end of spring and even the couple of days he was here he was doing really well. It was just more of a mind thing that he felt he didn't love football."
The loss of the three players means the Huskies now have 79 scholarship players on their current roster — the NCAA limit is 85. That number doesn't include incoming freshmen Casey Bulyca of Woodinville and Jasper Henry of Los Angeles, each of whom is still awaiting approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse.
The loss of Tyler, in particular, could increase the chances that a true freshman, such as Jordan White-Frisbee or Erick Lobos sees time this season at defensive tackle. Defensive-line coach Randy Hart said yesterday that each has been impressive so far.
"They are strong enough that you could put them out there and not have to worry about them being physically injured," Hart said.
Defections, obviously, are inevitable in college football and maybe even more so with the Huskies considering the program's upheaval in the past year. But coach Keith Gilbertson didn't seem too concerned.
"We've had some guys leave and sometimes attrition is good," he said. "Sometimes you need to thin the herd, so to speak, and get the guys who really want to play and are excited about wearing the helmet and the jersey. I think some of that is good for a team. Everybody who stays is really into it and that's what we are looking for."
"It's unfortunate, but like the coach says, we're getting rid of all the pretenders," sophomore linebacker Scott White said. "It's good that we're running a real hard camp. That's good for the guys who stay. That means something special for them. It means they are the ones who want to be here and that's really important."
Milli Vanilli reunited?
Receiver Charles Frederick and Isaiah Stanback each appear to have even longer dreadlocks this season than last year, prompting one UW official to dub the two Milli Vanilli after the infamous pop duo of the late '80s. Both players laughed at the nickname yesterday while seeming to indicate they hope it doesn't catch on.
Frederick says he hasn't cut his hair since he was a senior in high school. "I'll never cut it again," he said. "I might trim it, but I'll never cut it."
Asked if the hair gets hot in his helmet on 80-plus days like yesterday, Frederick shook his head. "A lot of people think it gets hot, but it doesn't," he said.
Trew makes his move
Though his buddy Tyler is gone, Trew is flourishing. He has been running with the first team as an outside linebacker, ahead of White. He played inside linebacker last season before being moved outside at the beginning of camp last week.
"I'm just learning everything real quick and trying to do my best," he said.
Trew said he weighs about 10 pounds less than a year ago — from 235 to 225 — and is quicker.
• Sophomore running back Shelton Sampson said he weighs 206 pounds after playing last season at 192. He weighed in the 175-180 range when he enrolled at UW in 2002. "I've still got the speed," said Sampson, who defeated Nate Robinson in the Class 3A state finals of the 110-meter hurdles in 2002.
• Rob Meadow, who played guard last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the season, has been switched to tackle.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Casey Tyler became the third University of Washington football player to leave the program in the past two days. The list:|
|Graham Lasee||DE||6-5, 270||Jr.|
|Erik Berglund||OL||6-6, 280||Fr.*|
|Casey Tyler||DT||6-6, 295||Fr.*|
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