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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 14, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Freshman Budda Baker, the former Oregon commit, excelling as UW’s starting free safety

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”3839149409001″/]

Washington defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake is hard on his most precocious defensive back.

UW's John Timu, right, congratulates teammate Budda Baker (32) on a third-down stop that forced a Cal punt in the second half Saturday. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

UW’s John Timu, right, congratulates teammate Budda Baker (32) on a third-down stop that forced a Cal punt in the second half Saturday. (Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times)

In his six starts as UW’s free safety, true freshman Budda Baker still doesn’t have an interception. And Lake doesn’t let him forget that fact.

“I make sure I remind him of that every hour or so,” Lake said, smirking. “I’ll shoot him a text when I’m thinking about it at 10:30 at night: ‘Budda, you have no interceptions.'”

Baker, Lake knows, has been everything the Huskies (5-1, 1-1 Pac-12) could’ve hoped for so far. The former Bellevue High All-American — who had originally made a verbal commitment to Oregon last December — is fourth among UW defenders with 35 tackles entering Saturday’s game against the No. 9 Ducks (5-1, 2-1) in Eugene.

UW coach Chris Petersen on Monday said Baker is “as focused as any guy we have,” and Lake said the freshman’s effort is already “a great example” of how the game should be played.

“What I really love is his effort, and that showed up every day in practice and in training camp,” Lake said. “He’s just always flying to the football. He’s just a great example really for everybody on defense that, ‘Hey, this is how you play football. You run to the football as fast as you can, you play physical, you hit what’s in front of you and then you get ready for the next play.’ And that’s what Budda does.

“The plays are going to come. If he keeps playing at that level, with that effort, the interceptions will come.”

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