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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 2, 2009 at 1:43 PM

Holt happy Huskies have one more game to play

Or should I say he thinks it’s awesome?
Anyway, Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt says the motivation for this week’s game against Cal doesn’t have to be anything more than what it appears on paper.
“It’s a great opportunity to play one more game in our stadium and having an opportunity to win five games instead of four,” he said. “And it enables us to practice one more week in the same style and keep getting the kids that are coming back better, and that’s what makes it good. It’s an opportunity to play football one Saturday — that’s what makes it good.”
And why wouldn’t the Huskies want to play one more time after what happened Saturday, when UW turned in its first shutout in 147 games, a 30-0 domination of the Cougars in the Apple Cup.
WSU’s ineptness can’t be ignored when assessing that game, and Cal will obviously present a much sterner test.
But Holt says he’s excited to see the UW defense play one more time and see if it will continue to progress, as he says he feels the defense has gotten steadily better.
“The defense has improved at the end of the year,” he said Tuesday when he talked to a few of us after practice for his regular weekly meeting with the media. “They really have.
“Against Oregon State it doesn’t look like it, but we had a short field and had our backs up against the wall from play one. But there were some good things in that game as well as the UCLA game — just a couple of passes (against the Bruins). I think late in the year they have gotten better.”
Against WSU, Holt said the reason for the dominant performance was pretty simple — “Our front seven got after them pretty good.” In fact, that dominance up front allowed the Huskies to keep the schemes pretty simple and just beat the Cougars straight. There wasn’t much rotating of personnel because there wasn’t much need — UW’s defense wasn’t on the field long and was playing well — and the defense got in a groove.
“It didn’t take a lot of tricks, no,” he said. “We were mentally ready to play and what was really neat was we didn’t give up a lot of big plays and we played really solid, smart defense. We didn’t have any penalties and no big plays really to speak of, so it was a really sharp, kind of a solid, clean game, and we were really physical as far as our tackling, and that was really good to see.”

Holt said the performance was a sign of increasing confidence among the defense, which will return at least seven regular starters next season.
“I don’t think that was the game where they deiced ‘oh God, i believe in this stuff.’ It’s just a continuation of doing the same things and playing at a good level and being excited to play in front of the crowd and doing our stuff for the last three months. We are finally starting to get it and play really fast.”
Holt also touched on a few more topics:
— On the future of the defense and whether he thinks the Huskies will get better: “You are going to feel better because I think what is happening is they are feeling really comfortable with the scheme, so they are playing faster and making less mistakes. So that has a lot to do with it. So I feel comfortable in that regard, and i feel comfortable with the new the guys getting a year older and guys getting better at the stuff and recruits coming in.
— On which players need to make a big leap in improvement next season: “All of them. All of them. Not one kid on our roster does not need room for improvement, major league improvement. It’s going to be huge starting the Monday after our last game.”
— On who feels the role of Daniel Te’o-Nesheim in being able to play inside and outside on the defensive line and whether Everrette Thompson is the guy for that role: “I’m hoping someone will rise up and we can do all that (we) like to be muiltiple. And Everrette’s body size and profile is the logical choice. And now he needs to have a great off season and really work at that.”
— More on the impact recently of Te’o-Nesheim: “He can play inside and outside and that’s really helped us the last month doing a couple of things. But its all the other guys that have grown in the system, some of the linebackers that have learned, and we feel comfortable putting four linebackers out there with Josh Gage and Cort Dennison and guys like that. What Daniel brings is he is a very smart kid, so you can do a lot of things with him and he will do it well.”
— On whether there is an heir apparent to Donald Butler at middle linebacker: “Not at the moment. We are hoping a couple of freshmen get a lot better. But with the guys coming back who have played there is Cort and Mason (Foster) and then some of the other guys. Tim Tucker, he’s the main candidate at that linebacker spot, and hopefully you can get E.J. back. We are not coutning on that, but that maybe is a fantastic piece to the puzzle, along with having a great recruiting year. We are going to have to play some true freshmen next year. It’s just going to happen because of the depth.”
— On if Savannah comes back the three LBs could be Savannah, Foster and Dennison: “We could go E.J., Mason and Cort, absolutely. That really gives you a lot of good leeway. But regardless of what happens, some of the incoming freshmen are going to have to come in and play, which is tough, which is really difficult.”
— On whether Kurt Mangum fits into that MLB mix: “He’s just, you know, we just have to wait and see. Hopefully somebody rises up. It happens every year that somebody has a great winter and then a spring ball and they step up and become a really good factor. But we’ll just wait and see with that stuff.”



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