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UW OL Drew Schaefer likes line's look

8/12/2012

SEATTLE – As soon as Washington’s freshmen arrived on campus, Drew Schaefer organized tutoring sessions for the linemen.

The 6-foot-4, 294-pound senior center gathered the group two or three times each week for an hour or two. They broke down the playbook. They talked about technique. They discussed scenarios that would give the young players a head start at the beginning of fall camp.

“We went through the whole playbook,” Schaefer said. “That’s why some of those freshmen have a good understanding of the playbook this first week, because all summer we’ve already been working on it.”

The only senior on the Huskies’ offensive line, Schaefer has embraced his role at the line’s leader. But, as important as those sessions were for the young players, Schaefer said the time spent teaching the playbook also helped his understanding of the offense.

“You always learn, especially from teaching it, compared to just sitting there and listening to it from coach [Dan] Cozzetto,” Schaefer said. “It’s a different perspective and you kind of pick up on stuff.”

With junior Erik Kohler working his way back from a knee injury on the first day of camp, Schaefer is the only upperclassmen working with Washington’s starting offensive line.

Redshirt sophomores Micah Hatchie (left tackle), Colin Tanigawa (left guard) -- he is working his way back slowly as he also recovers from a knee injury ­-- James Atoe (right guard) and Ben Riva (right tackle) make up the rest of the first-string line with redshirt freshman Dexter Charles also seeing time with the first unit.

So far, Schaefer likes what he is seeing out of the group.

“From the point where we ended spring to this first week of camp, I think we’ve made a lot of strides,” Schaefer said. “There is obviously stuff we can still work on, but as far as our communication and in terms of playing together, I think I’m really happy with where we’re at.”

Freshman Shane Brostek, who has a cast on his right hand, has also drawn praise from both Schaefer and Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. Schaefer also made a point to praise tackles Hatchie and Riva.

“They’re doing a lot better job with their sets,” Schaefer said. “They’re giving [quarterback] Keith [Price] a lot more time in the pocket.”

Washington's line is young. But Schaefer sees progress.

“Through Week 1 I’m really proud of where we’re at,” he said.