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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Fellner learning to catch on

One of the real keys to last week’s win over Oregon State was, pretty obviously, the three interceptions by the Huskies.
That was one more than UW had all season heading into the game — and two more than Oregon State QB Ryan Katz had thrown all season.
But as UW fans know, the Huskies had had some chances at other interceptions in earlier games, a few times just letting them slip through their hands.
No one was more guilty of that than sophomore safety Nate Fellner — and we’re not picking on Fellner in pointing that out. When I talked to Fellner earlier this week, he readily admitted it.
“The ones that I dropped earlier were just inexcusable,” he said. “You’ve just got to make your plays when you’ve got your opportunities.”
Fellner finally did that last week, picking off a long throw down the sideline by Katz in the third quarter at a time whem momentum appeared to have swung toward the Beavers — the game was tied at 21 and UW had just been stopped on a fourth-down near midfield.
“I finally caught it,” Fellner said.
A couple differences, he said, included some extra work during the week catching passes after practice, and simply trying to play more relaxed.
“I think it’s easier to do with more experience, for one, and then just relaxing when the ball is in the air and believing in yourself that you are going to make the play is another thing,” he said. “That’s important. That’s what happened on Saturday — when I saw the ball it was like ‘I’m going to catch this.”’
Fellner said he’s not really sure what the problem was earlier in the season. He was a high school running back as well as a safety and has lots of experience catching passes.
“That was the most frustrating part,” he said. “In high school I had really dependable hands when we needed a catch or something. So it’s not like I never had any hands.”
The interception was the first of Fellner’s career, but he could get a lot of chances Saturday against an Arizona team that likes to throw the ball (and still will quite a bit even with QB Nick Foles out).
Fellner began the year sharing the free safety spot with Will Shamburger. But he now is the unquestioned starter and on the field almost all the time.
“I don’t really think about it like that,” he said, when asked if he feels he’s made the position his for now. “You just try to take advantage of your opportunities. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be a starter here.”

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