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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

March 7, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Quotes and video from UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox

Thursday night marked our first chance this spring to talk  with UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox.

Here are a few quotes, and below is also some video (some of which includes a couple things I didn’t transcribe — I didn’t get all of it on video and I didn’t transcribe all the video part):

On what he has seen after two practices: “Usually after the first two practices and especially when it’s no pads you are stressing good habits and communication and running to the ball, alignments, getting your eyes in the right places. So the finishing part you don’t see as much, a little bit more in the pass game whether you are able to knock iti down or intercept it. But we are looking for guys to be in the right spots. It’s not real clean right now and I don’t think I’ve ever been through two spring practices where it was real clean,  it’s not unexpected. We just need to get things tightened up day by day here.”

On the challenge of replacing Desmond Trufant: “Desmond is a real talented guy, played great for us last year and we are going to miss him. Anytime you lose a guy of that caliber it’s not easy to replace him but that’s where the next guy has got to step up and every guy has got to improve whether it’s that second corner spot or the nickel spot, whatever it is, we’ve got to find guys to get in there and do what we need them to do. And there might be a change in how we play things. We put a lot of pressure on Desmond quite a bit of the year, so there could be some schematic things we might change a little bit.”

On if Greg Ducre is a leader to take over that spot: “It’s going to be very competitive. You could really list all the corners right now and say we’d put them in there at one point. We are excited about Greg (Ducre), he can obviously run. Consistency has been his thing so he’s got to continue to work on that.’’

On his assessment of the defense in 2012 and areas to improve on in 2013: “There were some definite overriding themes. For us, obviously the tempo (meaning, playing up-tempo offenses), the mental stamina of playing those teams, the number of plays that we were giving up when it was the seventh of eighth play of the drive. When we played in a slower pace we were much more effective and there is also some of the teams probably the way they operated on offense were a little bit different. But there were a number of things and each position as a whole. It was defending tempo teams, tackling in the open field, getting to the quarterback, affecting the quarterback. There were some pretty substantial things we focused on in the off-season and will all the way through fall camp.”

On Shaq Thompson remaining at linebacker: “We are doing to do what is best for Shaq and our team. I know people, because he was listed by the experts as a safety when he signed here, however he didn’t play a lot of safety in high school if you watched him. He was a tailback a lot of times andn when he was a safety he was down in the box near the line of scrimmage. So the things we are asking him to do are not much different and that’s what we are going to continue to use him as. Shaq’s got a lot of good skills. We feel like this is the best thing for him and for us and he gives us some versatility in the slot because there are guys he can cover because he can run. But he’s also a 230-pound guy, so we feel like that’s his best way so we are going to continue to use him that way. We are glad he is progressing. He’s had a great off-season and we expect him to get better and better.”

On other cornerbacks who could emerge and the secondary in general:Marcus Peters is another guy who needs to continue to develop, a few of those other young corners, Cleveland Wallace. Spring ball is so critical for a lot of the young guys. … Travell Dixon is going to have a lot of opportunity, he’s going to get a ton of reps this spring, and Tre Watson is another who has played a ton of ball for us. The secondary in general there is really not a depth chart. Sean Parker is kind of the only guy right now who has solidified himself as a starter. The rest of the guys they are going to run with the ones and run with the twos and we are going to see how they (play). And it’s not going to be done after spring ball. It’s going to go into fall camp. You want competition to create the best out of your players and that’s what we are going to have and hopefully we will  have some guys to step up and take those spots.’’

On where are the fiercest battles right now:Sione (Potoa’e), Josh Banks (at defensive tackle) is going to be tight. The rush position  between how we will use Josh Shirley, (Andrew Hudson), Cory Littleton could get some reps there. There is going to be an influx of freshmen in the fall that are going to push some people. In the secondary it’s a lot of spots. Linebacker, Johnny Timu and Shaq Thompson have played a lot of football for us and did a good job and we expect them to continue to improve. But really it’s quite a few, and really it’s what have you done for me lately. That’s the nature of this, playing football. That’s what is exciting and we need more and more competition.’’

On the free safety spot: “Will (Shamburger) is going to get plenty of reps there and we are going to get Trevor Walker going. We are repping some corners in that spot because so much of the spread and one-back, you need safeties that can cover in the slot, you really do, so we are going to rep some corners in that position because that’s what they do better is cover, and you’ve also got to be involved in the run game because you’ve got to fit off the crack blocks and those things, so we will have a few different bodies playing in there. Will did a good job when he was in there playing last year and he’s got to continue to improve on a few things and he will  have plenty of opportunity in there.’’

Here is some video:

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