For UW to succeed, however, it is essential for the five guys up front to have made marked improvements from last year. If not, all this hype will have just been hooey.

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Exciting. Intriguing. Invigorating. Interesting and exhilarating, too.

The language surrounding the 2016 Huskies is an incessant stream of flattery that ups the anticipation every week.

Perhaps the hype is deserved. Talent is certainly abundant.

But do you want to know what the key to the most exciting, intriguing, invigorating, interesting and exhilarating Huskies team in years is?

The most boring unit on the field.

When I said my preview column would focus on Washington’s offensive line, a colleague told me no one would read it. I can’t fault his reasoning, either.

The O-line is to football what cinematography is to film — crucial to the process but ignored by the vast majority of viewers.

For UW to succeed, however, it is essential for the five guys up front to have made marked improvements from last year. If not, all this hype will have just been hooey.

“I’m a little biased, but I think the offense is as strong as the offensive line,” said left guard Jake Eldrenkamp, a senior. “Every step that we take as a line is a step that we take as an offense.”

The O-line has no glaring hole that suggests imminent disaster, but the youth may tighten the knots on some fans’ preseason nerves. At left tackle, after all, is sophomore Trey Adams — and at right tackle is sophomore Kaleb McGary.

These bookends are two of the more gifted linemen to come through the program in the past 10 years. But at their positions, experience always trumps natural talent.

Take 2015, for example. As precocious as then-freshman quarterback Jake Browning looked last season, he was often overwhelmed by the opposing pass rush. The 30 sacks he took were the fourth most in the Pac-12, and the one sack per 12.1 pass attempts was third.

The Huskies were still able to win six regular-season games despite this particular shortcoming, but if they are to contend for a league title — something their No. 14 national ranking suggests they can do — the pass protection needs to be shored up.

Having said that, most imperfections on the offensive line last year came with a forgiveness clause. With his team riddled with injuries, UW coach Chris Petersen was forced to start Adams at left tackle, marking the first time a true freshman has started on the Husky offensive line in 40 years. McGary, meanwhile, was inserted as the starting right tackle despite playing as a defensive lineman on the scout team the year before.

To advance to a bowl game with two teenagers playing shows tremendous potential for this group. Now the question is whether that potential has transformed to prowess.

“I mean, for the most part, we executed our assignment,” said McGary, adding that he made rookie mistakes galore. “But as far as doing it well, we could have done it a lot better.”

But UW offensive line coach Chris Strausser is confident that this year’s team will do it a lot better. He spoke of the gains Adams made in the weight room, which are often the biggest between one’s freshman and sophomore year. He noted the proficiency McGary has shown in camp, which is encouraging for a guy still familiarizing himself with the position.

He emphasized the mental strides everyone on the line has taken — from Eldrenkamp to center Coleman Shelton, to right guard Shane Brostek — and how fundamentals have become habit.

“I think it’s just the details,” Strausser said. “There’s a better understanding of how a defense is going to attack you, how you handle a blitz off the edge. We didn’t see the bigger picture before, now we do.”

Fans should hope that this line is seeing the bigger picture now. Because that unit is essential for the Huskies accomplishing bigger things.