By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — All that can be said with any level of conviction about the University of Washington’s offensive line as the Huskies prepare for Saturday’s game against Portland State is this: senior Drew Schaefer will be starting at center.
Beyond that, UW had more question marks than answers when it took the practice field Tuesday afternoon. Starting left tackle Micah Hatchie was wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey, and starting left guard Colin Tanigawa was nowhere to be found, adding to a list of injured players that already included starting right tackle Ben Riva and starting guard/tackle Erik Kohler.
Riva (broken forearm) and Kohler (dislocated kneecap) will not be available for Saturday’s game, while the status of Hatchie and Tanigawa was unknown as of Tuesday. Head coach Steve Sarkisian does not meet with the media after Tuesday practices, and offensive assistants only speak to reporters on Wednesdays.
The Huskies opened the team session of practice with Stanwood High School graduate Dexter Charles working as the first-team left tackle, with redshirt freshman Siosifa Tufunga at left guard, Schaefer at center, James Atoe at right guard and Mike Criste at right tackle. True freshman Shane Brostek saw reps at right guard, moving Atoe over to right tackle. Among those six players, only Schaefer (30 career starts) and Atoe (made his first career start at LSU on Saturday) had started a game at UW.
On Monday, Sarkisian said that Charles would compete with Criste this week for the starting spot at right tackle. But Hatchie’s unavailability at Tuesday’s session might mean Charles, a redshirt freshman, will stay on the left side.
The biggest question seems to involve Tanigawa, who started the first 11 games last season before suffering a knee injury. He has started both games this season, joining Hatchie and Schaefer as the only UW linemen to start at the same position against both San Diego State and LSU.