Hau’oli Kikaha talks about Washington’s knack for turning turnovers into touchdowns. The Husky defense has scored six times this season, which is a school record dating back to 1951.
Kikaha has forced two fumbles and recovered one.
(How do you explain Washington’s ability to turn turnovers into touchdowns?) “We have really dynamic players on defense and on our team in general. When the ball is in our defensive players’ hands it can go the other way really quick. Our mantra is score and get the ball back. I’d never heard that before out of coaches. It’s so cool to hear that for the first time. Everybody is usually like tackle the ball, fall on the ground, create turnovers and give the offense the ball. But ‘score’ is like our No. 1 job. It’s bizarre to think that way. Nobody talks like that, but Coach K brought that to our defense.”
(That’s a different way of thinking.) “Our coaches emphasize attacking the ball. Normal defenses attack the ball, try to get it and or get it on the ground. This is like attack the ball and take it away and score.”
(What did you think about John Timu’s touchdown last week?) “I knew I soon as I looked up, he’s out. That’s an exciting feeling to see one of your brothers snag the ball and take it away. Everybody waits for that opportunity. John is a super smart. He gets those opportunities fairly often because he puts himself in the right position to make those plays.”
(Is it true every defensive player really wants to be an offensive guy?) “Everybody wants to score touchdowns. Everybody wants to be the guy. When you come to the realization that you’re not that guy or you can be a better guy somewhere else on the field then you got to go. But when you get your opportunity to score, it’s golden. I’m waiting for mine still. I’m getting one before the season.”
(I was going to go there. When are you getting your touchdown?) “It’s so crazy. It’s disappointing. Sometimes if I get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands, they recover it. It’s frustrating. I want to score. Against Stanford, Shaq stripped the ball and I’m right there reaching for it, but he’s faster and he snatches it up and he scores a touchdown. I want to be as fast as that guy.”
Turnovers to touchdowns
Washington has returned six turnovers for touchdowns to set a school record. Here’s a look.
Date Opponent Outcome
Sept. 13 Illinois Shaq Thompson 36-yard interception
Sept. 13 Illinois Thompson 52-yard fumble recovery
Sept. 20 Georgia State John Timu 35-yard interception
Sept. 27 Stanford Thompson 32-yard fumble recovery
Oct. 11 California Thompson 100-yard fumble recovery
Oct. 25 Arizona State Timu 63-yard interception