All week here at Sportspress Northwest, we’ll breakdown the different units that comprise the Washington football team. A look back and a look forward for the (gasp!) 7-6 Huskies of 2010. On to the tight ends. Washington would scheme to often use the tight end as a receiving option.
What was thought prior to the season: Chris Izbicki would take on the role vacated by Kavario Middleton when Middleton left. Marlion Barnett would backup Izbicki and true freshman Michael Hartvigson would get a look.
What we saw during the season: A disaster. Izbicki was not able to become the pass-catching replacement envisioned, Hartvigson hurt his shoulder and Barnett wasn’t quite ready. As the season progressed, the use of the tight end regressed. Washington essentially discarded all aspects of the tight end in the passing game, a major blow to head coach Steve Sarkisian’s scheming. Izbicki eventually left the team shortly before the Holiday Bowl and finished with two catches on the year.
What’s next for this group: An anticipated large upgrade via Hartvigson’s recovery and the arrival of Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Large is the key term, with Hartvigson at 6-6, 236 pounds, anticipate that to move to 245 by spring, and Seferian-Jenkins, who is 6-6, 250. Those two coupled with Barnett, who will be in his third year in the system, suddenly produce apparent depth at tight end. It will be interesting to see if Washington ultimately pictures Seferian-Jenkins as a pass-catching tight end or if it moves him to the offensive line.
“I think the tight end position is an area one where we can really improve in — not only with the current players on our roster, but as a focus in recruiting,” Sarkisian said. “It’s an aspect of our offense that we’re accustomed to using not only in the pass game but in the run game. So it’s going to be a point of emphasis for us to get back to being a part of who we are as an offensive football team.”