Habben Soaks Up Starting Role
April 11, 2008
By Benton Strong
SEATLLE -- Cody Habben didn't mince words when he said, 'we rejoice when it's sunny out.' So on Friday, when clear skies and higher temperatures greeted the Huskies, it could only help to better what has already been a strong and energetic first week of April.
Habben, a junior from Skyline High School, came into the spring as the top right tackle on the depth chart, the position vacated by graduated senior Chad Macklin. Macklin played every snap of the 2006 season and overall had started the Huskies' last 25 games at the position.
Habben started three games at left tackle last season, on the opposite side of Macklin. He knows he's going to have to work hard to earn a permanent starting spot.
'A lot of guys will be able to step up,' Habben said of the wealth of depth on the offensive line. 'Nothing is set in stone and there will be some battles for spots, but that's what this is for.'
With just a week gone by, there is still some rust to shake off and guys like Habben have to get used to being at the top of the depth chart, which means always working with the first team.
'It's definitely just hard to get acclimated and that's the most important thing,' he said. 'We've had a lot of time off from actual football, so we're all a little rusty. We're just trying to have a positive spring.'
'The energy level is definitely up and all the older guys, the seniors, are doing a great job of leading us.'
And speaking of leadership, Habben has a familiar face roaming the sidelines this spring. His high school coach, former Skyline head coach Steve Gervais, has signed on as the new running backs coach, replacing Trent Miles who left to take the head coaching job at Indiana State.
Gervais led Skyline to three State Championships, including one in Habben's senior season. He brings his coaching abilities to the next level where two of his former players are on the roster.
'I'm happy for him,' Habben said. 'It is a great opportunity. It's a step up from high school, just like it is for an athlete. Practice is different and he'll be watching a lot of film all the time, but he's a good coach and a good guy.'
Under Gervais, Habben was named the 2005 KingCo 4A Lineman of the Year and also to two first-team all-state teams. He didn't stop winning awards when he came to UW and in 2007 won the Husky Fever 12th Man of the Year Award (offense) and was also an Academic All-Pac-10 honorable mention.
While the individual awards are nice, it is the team's success that will fuel Habben in 2008. If he can keep improving and blocking the way he did as a redshirt-freshman, that should not be an issue for Habben and his Husky teammates.
Husky fans will get their first full look at the 2008 Huskies on April 26 at the annual Spring Game, slated to begin at 12:45 pm.