Since the spring, Washington’s coaches have talked about the increased depth on this year’s team as something that separates it from the squads of 2009 and 2010.
That depth will get one of its first real tests this weekend at Utah as the Huskies have to replace the production of defensive end Hau’oli Jamora.
I wrote about how the Huskies may replace Jamora my story for today’s paper, which means it inevitably focuses on Josh Shirley, who will get the start at that spot.
The good news is that coaches say Shirley is a lot more ready for that duty now than he might have been a month or so ago.
“It’s like any other position, especially for a guy that’s undersized (Shirley weighs 230 pounds), you have to rely on your technique,” said defensive line coach Johnny Nansen. “I think that’s starting to come along with Josh. That’s why I’m saying he had a great practice today, not only from the standpoint of rushing the passer, but technique-wise, you could see the improvement. And he’s working on that. That’s something we’ve been preaching to him and its starting to show up. We just gotta keep on grinding along and brining him along with his technique. After that, I think he’s going to turn out to be a great player for us.”
As Nansen said above, technique is especially important for a guy who uses his speed.
“A guy like that, you can’t be slow,” Nansen said. “His strength is his speed. Now we are bringing technique epseically where we are playing against 21 personnel where he’s lined up on the tight end. You are not always going to be on the open side, so he’s got to learn to shoot his hands and use his power, because he’s a very strong kid. Once we get that down, Josh is going to be okay.”
The Huskies will also continue to use Everrette Thompson more at end.
“We are probably going to do that more but in certain passing situations and passing personnel we are probably going to bring a pass rusher in and keep him outside the tight end so we can rush the passer, and Everrette has done a great job of rushing the passer from the three-technique, so that is what we are looking into,” Nansen said.
Moving Thompson to end allows UW to use players such as Sione Potoa’e and Danny Shelton more on the inside.
“Especially with teams that run the football we are more stout on the edge and not getting smashed down with smaller guys, and Everrette feels more comfortable, that’s what he started off playing two years ago before we got here, so it’s nice to have a reliable kid like him that can play outside or play inside,” Nansen said.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Times columnist Bud Withers writes that it’s not just the quarterbacks that should get all the praise for all the high passing numbers everywhere.
— Withers also looks at who is on the hot seat.
— UW’s official site also looks at the young players on defense.
— CoachSark’s site with some pictures of yesterday’s practice.
— Jon Wilner raves about Keith Price and ranks UW fifth in the Pac-12 this week.
— The Salt Lake Tribune writes about Price and Cort Dennison getting away from the Utes.
— The Trib also mentions Price in a story looking at the standout play of quarterbacks throughout the league.
— The Trib also looks back at one of the memorable moments of Sarkisian’s playing career at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
— A UW grad now living in Salt Lake writes about welcoming his team to Utah.
— The Deseret News weighs in on Utah’s bye week success.
— The Deseret News also says the Utes have a sense of urgency this week.
— A Utah TV web site takes a look at the Huskies.
— The Spokesman-Review also writes about the Year of the Quarterback in the Pac–12.