The Outsider crew is already getting anxious for the Dogs’ Breakfast and spring camp 2012. Judging from conversations we’ve had with others, Huskie fans are feeling the same way. We thought we’d tackle a few early questions regarding the Huskies’ 2012 season.
1st down: How much better do the 2012 Huskies need to be in order to win CanWest?
Dog Whisperer: The Huskies need to create more depth on the OLine if they want to win CanWest. The main focus needs to be on creating greater consistency on offence. We will have the playmakers to win CanWest but the team needs to get the ball in their hands with greater consistency. Our defence will be solid again but the offence was the Jekel/Hyde part of our team last season and too often, under pressure, it was unable to execute. If our OLine steps up, stays healthy, and lives up to it’s potential we will be able to run the ball and set up a potent passing game.
Dallas: I think they have to be much better on offence to keep up with the Dinos and Thunderbirds this season. They have to establish a consistent ground game and stretch the field every game with speed at the receiver positions. The slow start we’ve seen the past two seasons combined with the tendency to turn the ball over frequently has to be stopped if they are to keep up with the other top teams in the Canada West.
Tom: My response combines a little of what both of you have suggested. I agree with Dallas that the Huskie offence will need to be more productive this season, and like Dog Whisperer I think the performance of the OLine is the biggest key to that happening. I’m confident that they will be a stronger unit this season, and I think that will benefit our running game, which will in turn make things a little easier for our QB.
2nd down: In what area will we see the most improvement from the Dogs in 2012?
Dallas: I hope it’s on offence, specifically in the running game. I think improvements along the offensive line and new talent and depth at the running back position will benefit the entire offence and lead to a more balanced attack. If they can keep the starters relatively healthy this year, I think we will see a Huskie among the conference leaders in rushing yards, once again.
Dog Whisperer: I believe that the greatest improvement area for the team will be in the running game. Creating great depth of playmakers at the RB position is the only way to ensure that the offence will be dynamic and take pressure off the QB to make plays. Running to set up the pass would be a very good place to start. Great Huskie teams have had strong lines and great running backs. Recruiting will be key but I am confident that the running game will be a more powerful element to our offense next season.
Tom: We’re all agreed. I also think that the ground game will be the most improved area for the Huskies in 2012. An improved OLine along with the addition of some outstanding rb recruits should provide the Dogs with a good, consistent rushing attack.
3rd down: I will probably ask this question again, following spring camp and during main camp, but which Huskie do you think is poised for a breakout season this year?
Tom: I expect rb Dexter Janke to have a solid season. He’s a good player who hits the whole hard and is also good in the open field. He’ll get a lot more carries in 2012, and should the OLine be stronger this season he will be the main beneficiary.
Dog Whisperer: Tough question but I have to say Jerit Lambert. He is dangerous every time he touches the ball, whether it is in the return game or as a receiver. Getting him maximum touches each game has to be a priority. I’m also going to give an honourable mention to one of our young linebackers. With Michalchuk and Lynch graduating we will see more of Power, Rothe and others. I think that our LB corps will be a strength of the team and one of these young players will breakout and prove to be a worthy successor to Peter Thiel when he leaves.
Dallas:I think we will see big things from Zach Hart this year, especially if he sees the majority of his plays from the edge. He has the potential to go on to the next level as a defensive end and I think the team would benefit from his speed from the outside. I also have a feeling we’ll be hearing Charlie Power’s name a lot next season. He played very well coming off the bench last year and will be relied upon to take over from Tony Michalchuk and Nico Higgs.
Huskie Outsider followers will be provided with lots of coverage as the Dogs begin their indoor practices in a couple of weeks. We will be attending some of these practices and will have an opportunity to speak with many of the players and coaches. Hopefully we will also institute a players’ version of “Three downs.”