Bigger shoes than you think: Washington

Ninth in a series looking at lineup holes that are important even if they don't make headlines.


Everybody is talking about: The Huskies must replace their two best defensive players, defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and linebacker Donald Butler, who combined for 28 tackles for a loss in 2009.

Bigger shoes than you think: fullback Paul Homer

This wasn't an easy one because the Huskies only lose five starters, but Homer is a the sort of blue-collar guy who makes an important impact that is rarely noticed. For one, isn't it possible that Chris Polk rushing for more than 1,000 yards -- he's the first UW freshman to do so and just the second Huskies running back to eclipse the benchmark since 1997 -- had something to do with a veteran fullback? Homer was a three-year starter who persevered through tough times for the program while distinguishing himself as a student as well as an athlete.

Who is stepping in: One of coach Steve Sarkisian's pre-spring position moves was switchingDorson Boyce from tight end to fullback, which suggests that the Huskies might want the fullback to catch more passes -- think Stanley Havili at USC. Boyce, a senior, will compete with fellow senior Austin Sylvester for playing time.