We continue our review of positions — after a once-again admittedly too long break — with the secondary.
POST-SPRING DEPTH CHART
SS — Nate Williams, Sr./Greg Walker, So., Marquis Persley, So.
FS — Will Shamburger, Fr./Nate Fellner, So./Justin Glenn, So.
CB — Desmond Trufant, So./Vonzell McDowell, Sr./Anthony Gobern, So.
CB — Quinton Richardson, Jr./Adam Long, So./Anthony Boyles, So.
NEWCOMERS ARRIVING IN THE FALL: CB Gregory Ducre, safety Jamaal Kearse, FS Sean Parker, S Taz Stevenson.
POST-SPRING OVERVIEW: An area that has not been a real strength for the Huskies for a while is suddenly looking like it has a chance to be much improved this year. There are players returning with significant starting experience at every position, and the Huskies appeared to finally settle on a safety combination in the spring that they really liked with a bigger and apparently much faster Nate Williams (said by coach Steve Sarkisian to now run in the 4.5 range in the 40) solidified at strong safety and fast-rising youngsters Will Shamburger and Nate Fellner at free.
That had UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt saying at the end of the spring that he planned to have touted incoming freshman Sean Parker starting out at strong safety where he can be groomed to eventually take over for Williams. But also in the depth are guys who have started such as Greg Walker and Justin Glenn, the latter of whom was still recovering in the spring from a broken leg suffered last season. Exactly where Glenn fits into the new alignment will become more clear once fall camp starts, assuming he’s again 100 percent. Kearse, younger brother of WR Jermaine Kearse, is expected to start out his career on defense and could also move quickly into the mix, as could Stevenson. Assuming the young kids are as good as advertised there appears to be as much depth here as there has been in years.
At corner, the Huskies return four players who have significant starting experience in Trufant, Long, McDowell and Richardson. The story of the spring was the re-emergence of Richardson (pictured above against BYU in 2008) and McDowell, veterans who a year ago took a backset to Trufant and Long. Both spent much of the spring working with the starting unit with Trufant sidelined after sports hernia surgery. Trufant should be 100 percent for the beginning of fall camp. Speedy true frosh Ducre also arrives in the fall.
Boyles was another revelation in the spring, appearing to finally find a home on defense after moving over from receiver late last fall.
Here is the post-spring analysis of the position from Sarkisian:
“On the safeties, Nate Williams was as consistent as ever. He’s just a bright guy, a great leader, physical. His movements, in my opinion he is moving better in space, which is something we really wanted to focus on with him, and it really showed up. Nate Fellner, I thought had a great spring. Was physical, active, got around the ball. Probably the most improved player on our defense was Will Shamburger. He was a guy we thought had athleticism, but he really did some nice things for us.
On the corners, I was really impressed with Quinton Richardson. I thought he had a nice spring for himself. He took to heart some of the challenges from last year and battled back and improved and got better. Vonzell McDowell, nice spring. I think we have seen some of the flashes out of Anthony Boyles that he can be a good player. Again, he’s a guy we have to fight for consistency and doing things right down after down after down. It’s going to be great to get Trufant back running around and doing this thing. So all in all I think there is some depth there. Now we’ve got to continue to build on that confidence and the belief that they are really good players and are going to make plays for us.”
UW coaches have said they would like to play more aggressively in the secondary if they feel like the players in the back end can handle it. Sarkisian said he thinks the spring showed they will be able to play a little more man-to-man this fall.
“We’d like to, especially on the obvious passing downs. I thought, and Nick would be the first one to tell you, we are a zone-oriented team, and when you don’t have a great, great pass rush on the obvious passing downs and you are playing zone, there are soft spots and (an opponent) can find it, so everything goes hand in hand. We need to apply more pressure on the quarterback and we also need to apply more pressure on the receivers to heighten the stress factor on the offense.”
NEXT: Special teams.
June 25, 2010 at 12:02 PM
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