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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 14, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Mills talks safeties

I had a chance to talk with UW safeties coach Jeff Mills after practice on Tuesday to get an update on that position. Here’s some of what he said:

On the progress and return to form this spring of Justin Glenn: “A year ago coming off that injury (a broken leg suffered against Notre Dame in 2009) he was obviously thinking, working through the process. Obviously I don’t think that’s the case now, that’s behind him now, so it’s been fun to watch him out there just working, competing. And he’s got some versatility, having played corner and safety, that he can do some different things for us.”

On if it’s difficult getting a handle on the spot with some guys limited this spring such as Sean Parker and Taz Stevenson: “In some ways. But in other ways we are just trying to be smart and getting these guys all healthy for fall camp. They are all getting good work. We’ve got a good feeling, Nate Fellner coming back as the starter at free safety. But been real pleased the last few practices Taz Stevenson has got a ton of work even though he’s coming back from his injury, his shoulder surgery, he’s doing well. And Sean Parker is getting a ton of reps. I’m pleased with the group as a whole, I think today was a good practice for them. And the situations we are working so much that Coach (Steve) Sarkisian puts us in has really helped us, especially guys like Sean and Taz who are getting more reps than they’ve had, as young guys.”

On Stevenson being at free safety and Parker at strong: “Yes, but with some of the older guys like Justin and Will (Shamburger) and Greg (Walker), we are mixing them. As I tell those guys, these are mirrored positions, so they learn the base techniques at safety, then we should be able to put them at strong or free and it doesn’t matter, it’s very similar at both spots.”

On Parker getting work despite being in red: “He’s getting a ton of work and he’ll be fine and we are just trying to be wise in what we do and getting him ready for the fall. He’s full lifting and doing all the work out here that he can do as long as we are not in a live setting, then we get him out.”

On replacing Nate Williams at strong safety: “I think that there are a lot of good answers in there. It’s the natural process of moving from having a veteran guy to having a group — who is going to step up? Kind of like an old phrase I first learned from a coach I worked with here, Nate has left his glove out there on the mound — who is going to pick it up and go play? We’ve got a lot of candidates and the competition is good now and it will be even more heated in fall camp. We’ve got some options. The thing is when you lose a guy like Nate, it forces other guys to step up and be more vocal – ‘hey, Nate is not here. I’m the guy that has to make the calls, communicate the adjustments.’ It’s forcing Nate Fellner and maybe some of the guys who were reliant on a veteran like Nate Williams to be that guy. So it’s been good to see that process with Nate Fellner and some of the others.”

On Will Shamburger’s progress this spring: “Will’s been working at both spots. He played primarily last spring and fall camp at free, but he started out initially as a strong, and now he is getting the bulk of his reps at strong safety, but I can rotate him at both spots and he is coming on. He had a really good off-season and got stronger and continuing to work hard in the weight room. He’s a good athlete who can really run — we know that about him. And I really think, kind of going back to the Nate Williams thing, I’m feeling Will more from the standpoint of communication and taking charge out there, being more of a leader and a veteran in what is really just his second spring because he didn’t play that first fall. It’s the most I’ve noticed him as far as taking charge out there.”

On assessing Shamburger’s 2010 season, having a good spring and then not playing as much during the season: “He made a lot of plays last spring because he’s a natural athlete. But as you looked at it in the fall he was still a freshman, still young. You never judge guys when they are young or when they are injured, just continue to evaluate them and work them and push them. And to his credit he worked to elevate his play and I’m excited. I think he’s had a good spring camp so far.”

On Glenn reverting to 2009 status physically: “I think so. I think maybe just confidence wise, a year ago coming off that injury he wasn’t fully cleared and ready to go so coming into fall camp it was probably still lingering. But I don’t notice anything and he really moves well, he’s got really good feet, a good athlete naturally and I think he is back on track, I really do.”

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