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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 18, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Freshman safety Budda Baker is ‘going to be special’ for the Huskies

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Freshman free safety Budda Baker at his first UW practice today. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

UW freshman Budda Baker. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

What we know now about Washington’s defensive secondary isn’t much more than what we knew at the start of fall camp two weeks ago: There’s star cornerback Marcus Peters … and then there’s a bunch of question marks.

And, as of Monday, “We’ve still got a ways to go,” secondary coach Jimmy Lake said, to figure out who will start against Hawaii on Aug. 30 at the other three spots.

But we can also say with confidence this much: Freshman free safety Budda Baker is going to be a factor for the UW defense.

“(He is) just extremely competitive,” Lake said. “There’s a way we measure that — we talk about going 4 to 6 seconds between point A and point B. And if you put it on tape and you just watch him, every single play he gets he’s doing a million miles per hour. So it’s just been awesome watching him fly around and compete out there. He’s just got to continue to learn the defense so he can be that step ahead of the offense. And as soon as we catch that up with his speed, he’s going to be special.”

In Saturday’s final public scrimmage, Baker again played mostly with the second-team defense at free safety, as sophomore Brandon Beaver continues to run with the ones. Baker also participated in special-teams drills — making the most of his one chance on kickoff return and essentially taking that all way; he also got a partial block on a Tristan Vizcaino punt.

Lake has said that four or five true freshmen will have to play in the UW secondary, and he singled out five of them Monday: cornerbacks Sidney Jones, Darren Gardnehire and Naijiel Hale, plus Baker and Jojo McIntosh at safety.

“They’ve really stood out of the freshmen so far,” Lake said. “We’ve had a couple of injuries to the other couple guys, but those five in particular have stood out. They’ve picked up the defense rather well, and I’m really pleased with how they’re working.”

At the other secondary positions, redshirt freshman Jermaine Kelly remains the favorite to start at the other corner opposite Peters, while sophomores Trevor Walker and Kevin King are battling for the start at strong safety/rover.”No one is veteran besides one player and that’s Marcus Peters,” Lake said. “We’re extremely young back there and we have to pick this up very, very quick. We’re only going to get ‘veteran’ after we play a few games, and so we’re trying to get them as game-prepared as we can, and they’re coming along. But here we go — it’s coming up Aug. 30.”

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