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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

March 18, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Defensive line takes another hit, and a few other personnel notes

I had a chance this morning to talk with UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt for a while to preview spring football on his side of the ball.
I’ll pass along some of his more specific comments about each area of the defense later, but for this post, wanted to give you a few updates on personnel.
One isn’t good as Holt said that junior-to-be Everrette Thompson will miss the spring after recently suffering a torn Achilles tendon during a conditioning drill.
Holt said Thompson will be out 4-6 months, so he should be ready for the season. But it’s a definite setback as Holt confirmed rumors that the plan was to move Thompson back to defensive end so he could fill a hole there.
Also out for the spring, Holt said, is Kalani Aldrich, who has struggled with knee injuries and will take the spring off in an attempt to fully recover and get ready for the season.
All of that is on top of the recent news about Andru Pulu, indefinitely suspended while being investigated for possible assault (here’s the latest on Pulu).
“We’re decimated again on the defensive line with all the stuff that’s happened the last couple of weekends,” Holt said. “We were thin to begin with and now we’re even thinner.”
On the positive side, Holt said DT Cameron Elisara has been cleared to practice this spring (he has battled neck stingers) and redshirt freshman Chris Robinson, who sat out last year while rehabbing from knee surgery, should also be ready for spring.
But the DE spot will be a real concern heading into the spring. Right now, the starters would be Talia Crichton and De’Shon Matthews, Holt said, with not much else in terms of scholarship players on the roster after that.
“We’ll be lucky to be two-deep (on the line this spring),” Holt said, saying the team may be forced to depend heavily on some true freshmen in the fall depending on how well Thompson and Aldrich return and whatever happens with Pulu.
That lack of depth up front could impact the way the Huskies go about formatting spring scrimmages and the spring game if they don’t have enough players on the defensive line.

— Holt said that Victor Aiyewa will also miss the spring the spring after having recently had shoulder surgery. That’s a setback for Aiyewa for all the obvious reasons, but it will also delay a possible move to linebacker. Holt said the team is considering a few options for how to best fill out the linebacker spot and was planning to move Aiyewa there in the spring to see if he could make that adjustment.
— Speaking of the linebackers, the plan for now is to have Cort Dennison move to the middle to take over for Donald Butler, and for Mason Foster to move back to weakside linebacker, the position he played in 2008 before moving to the strongside last season to make way for E.J. Savannah — that was the position Savannah preferred. Holt said the strongside is “the easiest position to play mentally” so it makes more sense to have the two veteran LBs man the other spots and put in someone new on the strongside.
Jordan Wallace will enter the spring behind Foster and Tim Tucker behind Dennison. That will leave guys like Matt Houston and Alvin Logan competing for the strong side, and Holt said the team will look at some of the defensive backs to see if it makes sense to move them up to LBs as they were planning to do with Aiyewa. Another candidate for that spot could be true freshman Victor Burnett, whom Holt said is on track to enroll and be ready for spring practice.
Justin Glenn has been cleared to return for spring practice, Holt said, though he said he may not yet be quite 100 percent. Everyone else in the secondary sounds good to go. Entering the spring, the starters will be Desmond Trufant and Adam Long at cornerback and Nate Williams at strong safety with Glenn, Nate Fellner and Greg Walker all in the competition at free safety (a spot that will get a lot more competitive in the fall when touted recruit Sean Parker arrives).
— The starting tackles entering the spring will be Elisara and Alameda Ta’amu.
As I said, I talked to Holt for a while and I know some of this info may just lead to more questions about who is where, etc. What I will do is over the next day or so, post the position overviews for each area of the defense throwing in the info gleaned today and try to come up with a two-deep entering the spring at each spot.



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