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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

September 23, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Freshmen starters Budda Baker, Sidney Jones making progress in UW’s defensive secondary

UW freshman cornerback Sidney Jones recovers a fumble in the third quarter against Georgia State (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

UW freshman cornerback Sidney Jones recovers a fumble in the third quarter against Georgia State (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

The Huskies, because of their youth and inexperience, were bound to take some punches in the defensive secondary, and they have early in the season. The haymakers from Vernon Adams Jr. certainly left a few marks.

In the two games since UW’s escape against Eastern Washington, the Huskies’ young defensive secondary has responded well. True freshman Sidney Jones, who has taken over as one starting cornerback spot in place of injured redshirt freshman Jermaine Kelly, has forced a fumble in three straight games and he’s improved each week in his understanding of UW’s schemes, defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said.

“He’s come in and he’s made plays,” Lake said. “He’s forced the most turnovers out of anybody on our defense — three forced fumbles. And forced fumbles are harder to get than interceptions. For him to force three is impressive. And what I’m really impressed with is each week you can see his game getting better and better, more confident and more confident.

“This last game (against Georgia State), he had two catches on him, one was a touchdown where he was right there. But other than that, he was out there, man for man. He’s understanding all of our zones, too. We’re playing some different defenses, and for him to pick that up at such a young age and have that confidence and swagger out there has been impressive.”

True freshman free safety Budda Baker has started all four games for the Huskies (4-0) entering their Pac-12 opener against Stanford (2-1, 0-1) on Saturday. He’s been credited with 21 tackles and two pass breakups, and he’s come close a couple times to his first interception. It was his tip that helped set up John Timu’s pick six against Georgia State.

“I’m on him. I said him, ‘Hey, you liked to get those interceptions at Bellevue High School. You just don’t like to get them in the purple and gold, I guess,'” Lake joked. “But he’s doing good. We’re putting more and more on his plate every single week, and it’s a joy to watch him know the calls and be able to relay that to the corner, to his linebacker with confidence now. So we’ll keep adding little wrinkles here and there, but it’s a joy to watch him understand this defense a lot better.”

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