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Washington defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake met with the media following Tuesday’s practice and talked about the position battles in the secondary, including the free safety spot that was won by freshman Budda Baker.
“We try to measure their effort and they have to go 40 seconds from Point A to Point B every single play they’re in there and he did that a million miles per hour,” Lake said. “If he was making a mistake, he was flying around and making it as hard as he could. Or if he was making the right play, he was flying around too.
“Just his effort and also picking up the defenses as we were installing them was very, very impressive. His attention to detail. And now, we still have to go prove this on game day. Just because you’re penciled in as a starter – hey, no one has done anything in our secondary except for one person (Marcus Peters). So we have a lot to prove on the back end.”
On how Baker (5-10 and 173 pounds) can play safety despite not having ideal size: “His toughness. Very, very tough. He’s the type of guy that you have to slow down in practice. You’re like, hey this is thud tempo (and) it’s not live. He wants to fly around in there and hit people. He’s very instinctive.
“And there’s a lot of guys that over the years of football you can say they were undersized, but they’re extremely tough. I think we have one of the best undersized safeties in the world right down the street at the Seattle Seahawks in Earl Thomas. Everyone said he was too undersized coming out of Texas. But you see how fast he plays, how tough he plays, how instinctive he is and how much he studies that game and that sets him apart.”
Despite the comparison, Lake said its way too soon to compare Baker to someone like Thomas.
“I wouldn’t compare him to to anybody right now,” he said. “He still has not played a college football game. If we want to start making comparisons after game 10 or game 11, after we’ve done some things. I mean, I wouldn’t even make that comparison after game 1.”