UW's 'Blind Side' stars a former DL
The movie "The Blind Side" did more than win Sandra Bullock an Oscar. It also put an even brighter public spotlight on a position that football coaches have known for decades is among the most important — left tackle.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The movie "The Blind Side" did more than win Sandra Bullock an Oscar.
It also put an even brighter public spotlight on a position that football coaches have known for decades is among the most important — left tackle.
In college football this season, there may be no more important "blind side" to cover than that of Washington quarterback Jake Locker, potentially the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
The Huskies, though, feel they have finally found the perfect man for the job of protecting Locker's blind side in junior Senio Kelemete, a defensive lineman his first year at UW and a guard last season.
"I love him, I love him," said UW coach Steve Sarkisian after Tuesday's practice. "He's an All-Pac-10 player."
Asked why, Sarkisian said: "Because of one, his want-to. He wants to be great, he's athletically gifted enough to play that position, and he's got the leadership qualities it takes to be that type of guy. He's definitely that type of guy."
Kelemete started every game for UW last season at guard, but all along offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto thought he saw a future tackle. Senior Ben Ossai started most of last season at that spot.
"Now he's ready to go, and it's not like he's going to be overwhelmed by anything that he hasn't seen before," Cozzetto said.
The move of Kelemete was one of several UW made prior to the spring. Other moves included shuffling Drew Schaefer from tackle (he started the last three games at LT in place of Ossai) to center and Ryan Tolar from center to guard.
Coaches have tried different line combinations, but one constant throughout the spring has remained Kelemete, a graduate of Evergreen High of White Center, at left tackle.
"I like it," he said. "It gives me more confidence that the coaches have that confidence in you that you can play that position, because that's a really big role playing that blind side of Jake's."
The coaches believe Kelemete is also more ready physically for the position. Listed at 6 feet 4 and 281 pounds last season, he said he's now up to 288.
"The biggest thing with him was keeping weight on," Cozzetto said.
Cozzetto said he had ingrained in him the importance of left tackle on the day he began coaching.
"You've got to groom those guys," he said. "How I was always taught was, you find your center, you find your left tackle, the rest you can kind of fill in. But those are the two most important spots you've got to have."
It's a responsibility Kelemete is willing to embrace.
"I want Jake to have a great season, a great time on the field," he said. "I want to make sure no one touches him at all."
• Former UW quarterback Damon Huard has returned to the school to take a job as a fundraiser in the athletic department. He will officially start May 3.
• UW's Saturday practice this week starts at 11 a.m., two hours earlier than originally scheduled.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com
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