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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Wilcox talks defense

I passed along some video in the earlier post of UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox’s session with the media following practice today. Here are some of the quotes in handy word form:

On the move of Nate Fellner to linebacker: “Nate is a real physical guy. He’s played a lot of downs here and really like the way he plays the game. That spot is very competitive, not only his position out there but the inside linebacker position — we are trying to find a way to get out best people on the field. Nate weighs 218-220 pounds, so just because he played safety in the past doesn’t mean, people think ‘well, he’s a safety,’ but he’s bigger than ’bout half the linebackers we’ve got right now so putting him down there was a good move. It fits his skill set, and really there’s no difference when you’re a strong safety rolled down in the box to what we ask our (strongside linebacker) position to do, so a lot of carryover.”

On what he wants to see at the SLB spot: “It’s more of getting the best guys on the field and then fitting them into spots where we think they can be the most successful and that’s what we did moving Nate down. At that spot you obviously like guys to have some range, can tackle in space, because they can spread the field on you and put that guy out and have to tackle a back in the flat, that type of thing. So it just really depends, and sometimes you are going to have a SAM that will have a different skill set and you play different coverages and fronts because of that. But we are trying to fit it to our people right now and that’s the reason we moved Nate.”

On the linebacking corps as a whole being wide open: “The linebacking position is competitive — very competitive. And playing a down safety or a strong safety position or a SAM are very similar so there is a lot of carry-over in technique.”

On anyone rising to the front at the other two spots: “Not quite yet. Wouldn’t be ready to say this person has done this to deserve a starting spot right how. I think John Timu has had a couple good weeks but I wouldn’t pencil anyone in, that’s for sure.”

On Taz Stevenson and Evan Zeger adjusting to a new position: “It takes some time, obviously. Again, a lot of the things, there is carryover from being a strong safety, a down safety, to what we ask that position to do, and they’ve done well, so we’ve just got to continue to grow and they’ve got to continue to learn. Evan Zeger hasn’t played anywhere, so it’s college football and it’s that natural process along with playing down closer ot the line of scrimmage. And Taz has obviously played some and getting used to playing low, so he’s obviously got a little bit of an advantage there. But obviously both of those guys we’ve got to continue to work with and develop.”

On the safety spot: “All of those guys have done a nice job really working to learn and coach (Keith) Heyward has done a great job with them, teaching them. And I think Sean Parker is a guy who has kind of taken that next step and Justin Glenn has been awesome the way he prepares and practices and how hard he plays, attention to detail. Will Shamburger has showed up here and there and obviously James Sample and Travis Feeney are also getting a lot of reps. Obviously the ones that have played more can pick it up quicker because they have that game experience but as a whole I am excited about the group and the way they are working to get better throughout the spring.”

On Parker and Glenn having a lot of experience and that being a plus: “Absolutely and there’s really nothing you can do to substitute for experience, and they are playing like it. We are making mistakes, there’s no doubt about that, but those guys have done a nice job that when they make one, they usually don’t make it again and that’s what you’re looking for.”

On Sample and Feeney and what they’ve been able to do this spring: “Really, everything but live. … You can see enough, kind of how they learn, some of what their skill sets are. But then again you could line up right everytime and be in the right spot but you’ve got to tackle — they don’t play two-hand touch during the game. So the truth will show when they get out there and play for awhile. So we are excited about both those guys progressing through the spring and Keith has done an awesome job with them and they should continue to do that through the summer and fall.”

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