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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

March 19, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Holt talks about the defensive line

As mentioned yesterday, I had a chance to talk for a while with Husky defensive coordinator Nick Holt to break down that side of the ball heading into spring practice.
I hit the most noteworthy of the personnel news here yesterday.
In this post, I’ll break down some of his thoughts about the defensive line.
As mentioned yesterday, the line will be thin heading into the spring with Everrette Thompson out with an Achilles injury, Kalani Aldrich out with a knee injury and Andru Pulu indefinitely suspended.
Holt said Aldrich “has gotten a lot stronger” but is going to sit out the spring to let the knee completely recover.
The loss of Thompson is particularly disappointing because the team planned to move him back to defensive end to fill in the depth there.
With all of those guys out, the one sure thing at DE is sophomore Talia Crichton, who will enter the spring as the starter at one spot.
“One defensive end who had a great winter and I think will be a good player is Talia Crichton,” Holtt said. “But now we’ll have to mix and match and move some guys (to fill the other spot). We’ve got (senior) De’Shon Matthews who has played at that position before and we’ll just have to put some bodies there.”

UW will have a few true frosh coming in this fall on the DL, notably, Hauoli Jamora and Andrew Hudson — the two signed DEs who seem readiest to play — and Sione Potoae (listed as a tackle, but if they need bodies at DE, maybe getting a look there as well).
“All the guys that come in in the fall, that gives us our depth,” Holt said. “But all these incoming freshmen are 17, 18 years old and that’s not what you want. So that’s what we’ve got this spring. It’s too bad because we feel good about where we are mentally. The kids know the stuff. They are really confident and I think they feel good about it. They’ve all gotten stronger and bigger in the weight room. But we have these depth issues because of the injuries.”
The tackle position is in a little better shape with senior Cameron Elisara cleared to play after missing much of the second half of last season with a next stinger issue.
“He’s been cleared, which is good,” Holt said. “But he has an injury that you worry about and that’s not good for a defensive linemen because you are always using your neck. We’ve got to do a good job of trying to protect him so he doesn’t do it again. But every year he’s had it, so you worry about thata.”
With Elisara back, he will enter the spring as the starter at defensive tackle, with junior Alameda Ta’amu the starter at nose tackle.
Backups in the spring will be junior Tyrone Duncan, redshirt freshman Chris Robinson and sophomore Semisi Tokolahi.
Holt said Duncan “has had a good winter” and could be ready to contribute more this season.
He said Robinson has also “looked good” in off-season conditioning. And he said that Tokolahi “has had a really good winter, so we’re expecting him to be good for us.”
But as Holt noted “there’s seven guys,” not enough to go two-deep across the line with scholarship players for the spring.
Holt said the Huskies could look at a couple of guys currently playing linebacker as possible defensive ends (Alvin Logan among the possibilities).
Assuming Aldrich and Thompson make it back for the season, UW would have nine returning scholarship linemen. The five who signed will make it 14, not too far off the norm in terms of overall numbers, just young and lacking in experience.
“We just don’t have a lot of kids on the front,” Holt said. “We’re trying to improve on that but it just takes time.”



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