UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt, right, was a guest on the Dawgman.com show on KJR-AM this morning.
I didn’t get every single word of it — the fingers just don’t go that fast this time of morning — but I caught a few of the highlights:
— In talking in general about the defense, Holt agreed with his previous statement that he thinks the Huskies may surprise some people on defense this year, saying that “I feel pretty confident that we can field a competitive defense and I think we have a couple of players that are all-league-like caliber guys, and the guys that aren’t that type of caliber kids got better and can help us win some games.”
— He said Mason Foster, Cort Dennison and Nate Williams “are probably our best defensive players” right now.
— Speaking on the defensive line, said Cameron Elisara, Alameda Ta’amu and Talia Crichton were “three kids who stood out” during the spring. He said he was “really pleased” with the progress of Elisara, and said that Ta’amu “has really come into his own. He’s lost some weight, gotten into shape, looks really good, down to 325 pounds and I think he will be one of the better nose guards on the West Coast, I really do.”
— Assessing the overall line, he said “inside we are deep at nose guard and d-tackle. I think we have some quality players there, it’s just at defensive end we’ll have to mix and match some guys and hopefully some freshmen can come in and give us some quality reps.” He said again he thinks Everrette Thompson will be ready for the season.
— On the linebackers, said the move of Foster to WLB (or weakside) was due in part because it’s the one that “is probably the hardest position to play in our defense mentally and technically, and Mason picked that up fantastic.” He said Foster “would be our best player anywhere we put him. Quite honestly, he’s our best defensive player and one of the better players that’s around here, if not the country. I really think he is that good of a football player, and we are going to move him around to higlight what he can do. He’s going to do a multitude of things for us so we can get him on the field to make plays and get us off the field.”
— On Dennison, said the MLB spot is “probably the second hardest to play mentally.
He had a really good spring.”
— Said again that the battle for the SLB spot is still pretty much a three-person deal with Alvin Logan, Victor Aiyewa and Matt Houston. “Between those three guys, I think we can find a quality player at the weakside linebacker position. Said Logan “has gotten a lot better” through the spring.
— Of the backups, mentioned mostly Jordan Wallace and Victor Burnett. Said Wallace “had a really good spring, had a fantastic spring game, really expecting hin to help us out.” Of Burnett, said: “He did a really good job for a 17-18-year old, graduating early. … he’s a very instinctual, very smart player. He just needs to get bigger and stonger, and he will. He’ll play for us this year. He’ll help us out on special teams and be a really special player when it’s all said and done before his career is out.”
— Of the overall group, said that “those four, five guys will be good players for us. Those guys will be the core of our linebackers. Going into the spring we thought we had two really good ones, but those other guys have gotten better. … We feel good about the linebacker position, not great, but think we’ve got some quality guys.”
— Asked about Sione Potoa’e playing this year, he said: “I think there’s no question physically he can do it. Mentally, not that playing the D-line is mentally taxing, but mentally if he can learn his assignments, which isn’t that hard, he can play for us. Where we need help is on the outside, but he’s not an end, he’s a tackle. But we have depth at that position. But he hopefully will be better than what we have right now and if that’s the case, he will play as a true freshmen.”
— On the secondary, said that: “Last year we didn’t have a lot of depth, so it’s a totally different situation now. We played a lot of young guys and only graduated one kid, Jason Wells, and he didn’t play very much for us. We have everybody back and really we feel pretty good about the kids that are with us right now and we have to start with our senior older guys.”
— Said of Nate Williams that “he had a really good spring and think he will be a really good player for us. Expecting him to have a really good senior year.”
— Said of Nate Fellner that “he is a fantastic football player, in my opinion, as far as being a natural instinctive football player. He just has to keep learning his assignments and some other nuances of some of the thigns he has to do. Feel good about him at free safety.”
— Of Will Shamburger, said that: “in spring ball he showed us why we recruited him. Think he is going to be one of our better players before it’s all said and done.” Said that his running ability sets him apart from some of the other safeties.
— Overall of the safeties, said that: “feel good at the safety spot with those three guys, and we’ve got another kid coming in in Sean Parker. With him coming in, think we’ve got four quality safeties.”
— Of the corners, said he thinks “we’ve got some quality guys” and that Desmond Trufant will “be one of the better corners in the Pac-10” this year.
— Said he likes the competition for the other spot that’s basically five deep with Quinton Richardson, Vonzell McDowell Jr., Anthony Boyles, Adam Long and Anthony Gobern. “We have four, five corners that there are a lot of other programs would love to have these guys.
— Said the depth at corner and the confidence they are playing with should allow the team to “play more man-to-man” this year. “They are confident and know the system now” which he said will give the defense more flexibility in what it can do.
— Ended saying that the sideline penalty in the spring game was Steve Sarkisian “setting (him) up.”