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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 26, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Holt, Nansen talk defense

A few of us caught up with UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt and defensive line coach Johnny Nansen following practice today. Here’s what they had to say:
First, Nansen:
On the defensive line hierarchy: “The lineup you see right now, without Cameron (Elisara), who is still dealing with a little bit of a sore ankle, I think we’ve got it in place with Talia (Crichton) and ‘Meda (Alameda Ta’amu) and Cameron and also Everrette (Thompson) coming back. That would be our lineup right there to start off. We’ll rotate the other guys, like Semisi (Tokolahi) and Chris Robinson at nose – that would be the rotation we would have. And Josh Shirley at the end.”
On Everrette Thompson’s progress: “I think Everrette is a week away, but he’ll be ready by game time. I think you can see it, he’s starting to come back strength-wise and conditioning-wise, he’s starting to come back. The last couple of days, he’s taken most of the reps.”
On having to limit Thompson’s reps against BYU: “I think that’s normal for d-line; you have to rotate guys in and out. But I think Everrette is ready. Other than conditioning-wise, physically he is ready.”
On Everrette being the heart and soul of the DL: “Everrette is sort of like Daniel (Te’o-Nesheim). He’s got that attitude that kids love, especially the young kids. He’s a quiet leader. He leads by example, but when he says something they all kind of listen, because that means he’s either pissed off or he’s trying to get guys motivated to go. He’s that kind of a leader, and Daniel was the same way.”
On who has made the biggest strides on the DL: “I think Talia (Crichton). “He’s had a great camp so far. It’s unbelievable what a year can do for the kid. He had a great off-season and now in camp he’s really been the guy that has been stepping up.”
On Josh Shirley and having to make up for lost time: “He’s a month behind because of those other kids here and him coming in and trying to get in good shape and trying to learn the system in two weeks. That’s what he’s struggled with. He’s learning to play a position. He was more of a standup linebacker in high school. Now he’s learning to put his hand down. There’s a lot of things going on, especially in the college game, and you have to be a fast learner. We don’t have a lot of time to get guys ready. We have a short period of time. He’ll get there, probably by the middle of the season, but you’re absolutely right; he’s a little bit behind. But he’s smart enough that I think Josh will pick it up pretty soon.”
On the other two frosh and whether or not they will play: “Maybe Hauoli (Jamora). Hauoli’s more advanced. The other guy, he’s really been surprising. You look at the comparison between him and Talia a year ago, Hauoli is way more advanced than Talia a year ago. I think you’ll see Hauoli play more for us this year. Andrew (Hudson), on the other hand, he’ll probably need a year to redshirt. We’ll probably have to make a decision on that either today or tomorrow and find out exactly who that guy is, because with so much depth we could use him on service and then a year from now we’ll get him when De’Shon (Matthews) is done.”
On Alameda Ta’amu and his breakthrough: “Obviously losing that much weight and seeing the difference in the kid —- I think he’s self motivated and he finally sees the light (that) if I’m serious I can be a very dominant nose guard in the conference. I think he’s very determined this year — and not only on the football field, but also off the field with the young kids and also in the classroom. He’s picking things up. He’s a quiet leader, but he’s one of those other guys that’s having a great camp.”
On what Husky fans will see from the DL this year they didn’t see a year ago: “I think you’re going to see a much faster group, a more productive group, and most definitely will be more dominant inside with our tackles. When you add the two guys in there — that’s 600-plus pounds in there that people haven’t really seen. Those are the things I’m seeing. And I also think we’re going to be more productive with our pass rush too, with our two outside guys.”
Now, Holt:
On the MLB spot and any concern that Cort Dennison won’t play against BYU: “Cort will be fine, we’re just giving him a little day off to get it feeling good again. What’s happened is some of the younger kids such as Garret Gilliland and Tim Tucker have gotten a bunch of reps and it’s only accelerated their chance to play and to help us out, so in a sense it’s a bad thing that Cort is hurt but it has helped create a little more depth a little sooner, so in the long run it will be good.”
On Gilliland’s emergence of late: “Garret is a really good athlete, a very intelligent football player and just needs a few more reps and he will have a bright future for us. Mentally he’s a little worn down like all the freshmen but he’s done a nice job.”
On comparing the defense now compared to a year ago: “Well, I think we know our defense a lot better than last year because we have been doing the same stuff now for over a year. The older kids are all a lot better so I feel good about that. We need some of these freshmen to come along, especially on special teams. But as a whole we are better now than we were a year ago at this time heading into the opener and hopefully it will show in our first couple games.”
On getting a pass rush off the edge: “We’ve gotten better. To have good edge rushers you’ve got to have really fast guys and we are trying to develop that, or you’ve got to bring other guys to facilitate that. But I think our D-line as a whole has done a good job of their pass rush and we just keep developing. Talia the last week has had really nice practices and is starting to show up so I’m kind of proud of him.”

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