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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 9, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Secondary takes center stage

As the Huskies went through their paces Wednesday, the biggest question remained how the secondary will unfold on Saturday.
Really, it’s just one person that is uncertain as Nate Williams is set at one safety and Quinton Richardson and Vonzell McDowell at the corners.
But it could end up impacting two positions as the Huskies are continuing to experiment with different personnel at safety, and Williams could start at either free or strong on Saturday against Idaho with one of Victor Aiyewa, Justin Glenn or Greg Walker as the other.
Glenn got a lot of work with the ones on Wednesday but coach Steve Sarkisian was non-committal about who will be where come Saturday.
“Nate Williams is steady as ever,” Sarkisian said. “I just need to evaluate Justin, Victor and Greg again, and see how they’re doing.”
Glenn was moved this week from cornerback and said he was initially caught off-guard by the switch. But he said Tuesday that “I’m having a lot of fun. I think it’s a better fit for me. I like the freedom back there reading the quarterback a little more and making plays on the ball.”
He said he’s learing that “it’s a whole different ball game” at safety — he’s primarily playing free — learning how to play inside-out compared to outside-in. He also appears to be getting some time as a nickel back.
The lineup shuffle came after Walker missed tackles on two LSU passes that turned into touchdowns — both by Terrance Toliver. The first, for 45 yards, came in the second quarter. The second, for 39 yards, came in the third.
Coaches have taken pains to point out that the plays weren’t all Walker’s fault — specifically, they said he should have had more help on each.
“He didn’t have the help around him he needed to,” said defensive coordinator Nick Holt. “Again, he missed the tackle. But he should have had a couple more bodies there to help him out and a couple of the other kids that you wouldn’t know because of the call should have been in that vicinity where the mistake occurred. They would have been there, maybe, for the tackle. So Greg had to be there all by himself and it’s hard to ask an NFL safety to make a big play in space on a great receiver. It’s really hard because he didn’t have any help from his corner or one of his linebackers comming inside out. They were caught doing some other things where they shouldn’t have been.”
Said Walker: “I should’ve made both plays. The first play, I was running away from the slant, toward my slot guy, and they threw the slant to the backside receiver and the corner didn’t squeeze — he had to blitz — kind of left me one-on-one in space . I was one-on-one in space, and I should’ve made the tackle. And the second one, it was a gap blitz. I still should have made the tackle. I should have just broke down and forced (the receiver) to the sidelines and it would have been a 10-yard gain, no big deal. But because I just went over there so fast, I didn’t come under control, I missed the tackle. The linebacker is supposed to be around there, but in space I have to make the tackle regardless.”
Asked if it was a difficult week, Walker shrugged. “I’m just preparing to win because we lost, and I didn’t play as well as I wanted to,” he said.
TRUFANT ADJUSTING: With newcomers now available to speak to the media, reporters met for the first time with cornerback Desmond Trufant, who will likely see increasing playing time this week after getting his feet wet last week.
He said he feels a little more comfortable every day.
“I mean, at first, I came two weeks late, so I was kind of new,” he said “Everything was so fast for me. Now, it’s sticking with me, and I’m hitting, tackling, making plays and that is what is making me play fast.”
Trufant said “it was hard” during the time he was ineligible. “I just had to stay focused, grind it out. Every night, I was staying up all night, then working out on my own to stay in shape, and that helped a lot.”
He took a poetry and popular literature class to make up for the sign language class that the Clearinghouse denied. “I had to read two books … and it was all day. I had it on my own. It was pretty much (like being back at Wilson High) – in the morning until the afternoon, and then I came out here and watched practice just to stay mentally in the game. I was watching their footwork and a little bit of their scheme, and it helped a little bit, but it was hard to come back like that. … I knew I was going to be back, and it would come out good. I knew if I tried my hardest, everything would work on fine, pretty much.”
Andru Pulu also talked with reporters and said he is excited to see his first action at DE if called on, though he’s backing up Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and not Jones. He said he’s 6-2, 250. “I’m just going to be on the sidelines, waiting for my name to be called. I’ll be ready. I did all the summer workouts, all the lifting. I worked hard with the team and the strength coaches.”
— Holt had this to say about the switch of David Batts to corner and Glenn to safety: “We’re trying to find that competitive edge, the relentless pursuit. And that means finding our best players at positions. We’re trying to mix and match and find things that guys can do well. David Batts is a tall kid that is athletic, and being a corner he can pick that up a little easier. Safeties have so many adjustments and he hasn’t been in our system very long. I think that was a very good move for him. And Justin Glenn is a very heady football player, he’s a very physical corner. And in this conference you get spread out and you have to have athletic safeties. And I think it’s a really good move for him, and hopefully he can pick it up and hopefully in time…by Saturday…he can get some positive reps for us. ”
— Sarkisian said that former UW QB Marques Tuiasosopo has a headset on during game days so he can listen to all the plays and then chart them, which school officials say is legal for a strength coach. A UW official said “Marques cannot perform any coaching activities, which he is not. The headset is to help communicate amongst the staff.” He said there are additional non-coaching staffers on head sets during games other than just Tuiasosopo.
— WR Jermaine Kearse appears to be getting more time in the slot as the Huskies look for ways to get him on the field more. “We’re moving him around,” Sarkisian said. “He’s a bright kid, and he’s now learning hiw third position at the wideout spot. It gives us more versatility, and it gives him versatility to get on the field and do more things.”
— Sarkisian said he had gotten a little bit of feedback from other coaches about the game Saturday: “A little bit. It’s hard in FB season as coaches, we’ve got all our own jobs. It’s hard to call somebody up and talk to them. But i”ve gotten some good feedback on just some of the game management things, and some of the scheme things we’re doing. In your first game, that’s always good to know. You want to make sure you’re not out there looking like a chicken with its head cut off, running around. The feedback was good, so it was encouraging from the guys whose opinion I really respect.”
— He also said he thinks the players have gone a good job in practice this week of matching the intensity of the LSU preparation. “I think so. I think our coaches have been extremely intense and I think our kids have matched it. And we just need one more good day of work tomorrow.”
—- PK Erik Folk was 3-4 today in fairly windy conditions, with a long of 43 —- the miss was from 38.
— It was turnover Wednesday and the defense forced a handful, including two interceptions by Glenn in scout team work.
— The Huskies will practice tomorrow at 4 p.m.
All for now.



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