One of the most common questions I get is whether the Huskies will blitz more, or bring more pressure, than they did in 2010.
So I asked defensive coordinator Nick Holt (pictured right) that very question after Saturday’s practice, prefacing it by first reminding him of the 42-10 win over Cal that ended the regular season (thought it might help to bring up a good memory) in which the Huskies had five sacks. UW had also had five sacks in the 30-0 win over WSU the week before, each a season high.
“Late in the year, that was kind of normal stuff,” he said, repeating what he said at the time that the Huskies’ success getting to the QB was more due to executing better than calling anything different.
“(But) I’d like to play a little tighter coverage than we did last year, and I think we can do that knowing the amount of corners and the safeties we have. I’m not saying they are all fast and great, great players, but we have a bunch of them and they are getting better at that stuff.
“I’d like to be a little more aggressive in the coverages. Does that mean blitzing? Not really. But I’d like to do a little more man-to-man and a little less soft zone stuff, and hopefully we can do that. We’ll wait and see. We are working on it now, but it’s spring ball — you give up a big play and it’s a ‘who cares?’ But in the fall, you care about that stuff, so you are a little less aggressive in fall camp than you are in spring ball. But you want to get the kids comfortable in those situations so they feel comfortable with those calls in the fall.”
Holt says that if it looks like the Huskies are doing some different stuff, it’s not a matter of anything having changed schematically but that the players are now a year into the system, and able to get more deeply into the playbook.
“We’re doing more stuff because they know our stuff, so they’ve escalated their awareness,” he said. “We are doing the same stuff we are doing we are just doing it faster, playing it faster, we know it better.”
Holt said the defense will have to take some chances at times to force more turnovers than a year ago, when the Huskies got 23, compared to losing 19. Those were respectable numbers as the turnovers margin of plus-four was tied for third with Cal (UCLA led at plus-six), the number gained sixth (but also coming in one fewer game than the seven teams that made it to bowls) and the number lost fourth.
But Holt says getting more will be a key in 2010.
“We are going to have to get the ball back for the offense,” he said. “We are not going to go out there and just rise up and just be so so great on defense where we can just show up and play and play good sound football and win. We are going to have to get after it to create some stuff, so that’s what we are working on right now.”
Holt said he’s been pleased that so far in the spring, the Huskies have been able to add some of the more aggressive looks without necessarily giving up a ton more big plays.
He said he thinks that’s “because we don’t screw thigns up as much as we used to. We still screw things up, but not as much as we used to, so we’re not giving up the big plays we were last year because we are all on the same page.”
April 18, 2010 at 8:38 PM
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