Amidst the sea of penalty flags and waves of disappointment in the second half last week at Nebraska it was easy to overlook one of the feel-good moments of the season — the return of junior safety Justin Glenn.
Thrust into the starting lineup due to an injury to Nate Fellner, Glenn responded with a game- and career-high 15 tackles in what was his first start since breaking his leg at Notre Dame on Oct. 3, 2009.
Sunday morning brought with it some familiar feelings he had missed in the interim.
“I was definitely sore when I woke up,” he said. “I could barely move my neck, my arms, my legs. But that’s just part of the game. It’s fun. It’s a good feeling.”
One that proved to him that he is indeed all the way back. Glenn returned to action last year, but said he still wasn’t able to play 100 percent, a little more time needed to get back into playing shape physically and mentally. Any last doubt that he could still do it, though, he said was erased in Lincoln.
“It was big for my confidence,” he said. “After sitting out a year-and-a-half, you’re kind of like ‘how am I going to do?’ But I just had to stay confident and trust my techniques and trust the coaches preparing me through the week. I think I’m ready to get back out there and keep playing.”
He may have to as Fellner was limited in practice this week. Even if Fellner returns, the two are likely to continue to rotate, said safeties coach Jeff Mills.. “We just need to get Nate back in the mix and when he does, then we’ve got a great situation with a couple of really good free safeties,” Mills said.
Glenn, who also can be UW’s nickelback, said he’s up to about 212 pounds now from about 190-200 when he played two years ago, a difference he said he felt against Nebraska.
“I feel a lot better physically as far as holding my gaps, taking on blocks, making tackles, stuff like that,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m running around stuff anymore. I’m 212 so I feel solid out there.”
Said Mills: “He’s gotten bigger and stronger and he’s always been a good open field tackler. You like those success stories when guys can come back from adversity and respond.”
Mills said he also likes the play of his strong safety, Sean Parker, the Huskies putting together a safety corps that will stay together for a couple of years.
“He’s improving each game,” Mills said of Parker, a sophomore. “He’s a young guy that is learning. It’s one thing to do it in practice and another to do it in the game. But he’s instinctive, that’s one thing he’s had going for him from the get-go, and he understands the game, and now it’s just continuing to see the pictures out there live, and I think he just continues to play at a faster pace each game. He’s got a bright future.”
Here’s some video of Glenn talking to the media earlier this week:
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