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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 13, 2006 at 2:11 PM

Secondary issues

Drew’s post on an earlier blog item included several questions about the secondary that are a good way to segue into the theme of today out here at Montlake.
Wednesday is the day that defensive players and coaches are allowed to talk with the media, and the focus of much of the questioning, as you might imagine, is the secondary.
Cornerback Roy Lewis, for one, said simply that “I think we didn’t do so well,” Saturday at Oklahoma. Lewis mentioned not doing enough to prevent big plays.
Secondary coach J.D. Williams said he thinks the team still has some confidence issues, a result in part of having had a different coach every year any of them have been here. Remember, Williams is new this year, and there were two different secondary coaches during Keith Gilbertson’s two years, so guys like C.J. Wallace are on their fourth coach in four years.
Williams said he thinks the secondary players are still developing confidence in each other and the system.
“But each game we have gotten better, so that’s always a plus,” he said.
That might sound surprising considering how Oklahoma also had its way with UW’s secondary. But that also takes into account that Oklahoma has much better talent on its offense than does San Jose State.
Defensive coordinator Kent Baer said he was pleased with the way the entire defense played physically.
“I thought we stood up to them in the physical part of the game,” Baer said.
As for the secondary, he said simply that “we can play better. A lot better.”
Baer isn’t one to delve into a lot of details about anything so those you wanting direct answers to questions such as why this guy played 5 yards off the ball on such-and-such a play aren’t going to get them too often. But Baer did say that personnel issues and gameplanning have limited much of what the Huskies have been able to do schematically.
“There are a lot of things in our package we haven’t done yet,” he said.
The secondary is particularly limited with UW only having three corners right now it really wants to put in the game and one of them — Dashon Goldson — hobbling. In the spring, when everyone was waxing optimistic about the secondary, the assumption was that Jordan Murchison would contribute and Ashlee Palmer would be eligible and Goldson would be the starting cornerback. There was also a slight hope that Darin Harris and Josh Okoebor, who each started games last year, would get healthy and be back.
Instead, Palmer isn’t in, Murchison is out, Goldson ailing and Harris and Okoebor not on the roster at the moment due to their injuries.
One positive, Baer feels, is the improved pass rush.
“We had a lot of hits on that kid the other day and we did the majority of that out of our four-man rush,” Baer said. “We said one area we wanted to improve on this year was our pass rush and I think we’ve done that.”
And to specifically answer Drew’s question about how the secondary looks in practice, we don’t get to see much of practice to find out. What we did see in the scrimmage we saw about halfway through camp, however, looked promising. The QBs didn’t tear up the secondary at all, and they did do some snaps where the first team went against the first team. But as coaches will always say, the defense almost always has the edge against the offense in such scrimmages since they are so familiar with everything. The true gauge of the secondary has been the last two weeks, and so far, it’s not holding up.

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