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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 13, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Freshman Budda Baker says Huskies’ young secondary got ‘way better’ throughout the season

Budda Baker

Here’s video and the transcript of Budda Baker‘s first media availability of the season after Saturday’s practice. The freshman free safety started every game for the Huskies during the regular season and has drawn some freshman All-America accolades this week.

(What’s this year been like for you?) “For me, I feel like I was a little startled in the beginning. But each game I just got better and better. Hopefully this last game, get to a high point.”

(How does it feel to be named UW’s freshman of the year?) “It felt good. It felt real good. I know there’s still a lot of things I need to work on. That was a true blessing. And my man Sid (Sidney Jones) here got it too, so it’s going to be a great four years — three more years.”

(How do you feel the secondary progressed throughout the year?) “Just for me, and for everybody on that DB side, we’re all not that great (because they’re) still letting deep balls get passed us. As the season progressed, we all got better and people started getting picks. I’m still waiting for my pick. It’s coming.”

(Does Coach Lake still give you a hard time about that?) “Oh yeah, definitely.”

(Was the Eastern Washington game a turning point for you guys in the secondary?) “For Eastern Washington, they had a great QB. I don’t know how he’s at Eastern — no (offense) to Eastern. He’s a great QB and their receivers had great chemistry. That was probably the starting point. We just got a lot of deep balls caught on us, Coach Lake getting at us. But we won the game and that’s all that matters.”

(What did you guys do to adjust after that?) “We needed to wake up. We knew we were better than we played. We were just thinking way too much against Eastern Washington. … Our game plan was a lot of man. We knew we could man these guys up, but they got some nice balls and some nice catches. It was all right, though.”

(What’s your assessment of John Ross back there?) “John — he’s fast. He’s four, three weeks into (the switch to cornerback) and he knows the whole playbook. Some of the freshmen still don’t know the playbook. So he’s just a real smart dude and I trust him back there. And that’s all you need. Safety, cornerback — you have to trust each other. So we’re just going to get better.”

(What was the hardest part of the year?) “The hardest part? I don’t know. Just each game trying to get better and better, and for us sometimes we just think too much. Now it’s just a matter of playing the game.”

(On adjusting to the defense) “Right now I feel like it’s way easier. Back then, I knew all the calls but I wasn’t really yelling them. I was being indecisive. Now it’s just playing. I’m just playing. I get the call, I relay it to the linebackers and the corner, and then I just play. So it’s a lot better.”

(On being a freshman playing for a first-year coaching staff) “As a freshman, I think it’s way easier for us. I feel like it’s harder for the older guys because they were all preaching this thing from Sark, and now a new coaching staff comes in and it’s something totally different from what Sark was trying to say. So I feel like for us it’s easier than for them.”

(Was the new staff a factor in why you chose UW?) “That was a factor, but at the end of the day I knew any coaching staff could leave. Something could happen to the coach and he could be gone. It was just a matter of school and a matter of being close to home.”

(How has school been going?) “School has been going great. Just got done with the quarter, last final was yesterday. And now it’s just wait until January 5, 6 when the quarter starts again. Now, it’s just football.”

(What was the highlight of the year for you?) “Highlight of the year? The Wazzu game. The Apple Cup. Last game was one of the best games for us as a DB, as a secondary.”

(Did you think you could shut them down like that?) “With our gameplan, I thought we could. I knew Halliday was gone. Luke Falk, I actually played against him in high school, my sophomore year. He played at Oaks Christian and I played at Bellevue. So I kind of knew what he liked to do, then I watched film and saw the four games he had. I thought they were going to get a little more, but hey, that’s great for us.”

(On how far the secondary came from the start of the year) “It’s crazy. I feel like back then, we wouldn’t have done none of the stuff we did at Wazzu. I feel like we’re just getting way better and it’s a matter of this last game, the offseason, how hard we work for the next year.”

(On going through the fire with Sidney Jones, a fellow freshman) “Me and him, we always talk. He’s a field corner, I’m the free safety, so we’re always on the same side of the field. So as freshmen, we have great chemistry. We worked together in the offseason. We still get on each other when someone drops a ball in practice or messes up in a game, but it’s all out of love.”

(On how big it is to have the extra 15 practices this month) “It’s very big. For me I work; on the days off I do little DB drills to get in condition, because we know that for a bowl game the biggest thing is people are out of condition. So I’m just trying to get in more condition. It’s great because we’re also playing in Tempe. Even though it’s going to be a night game it’s going to be a dry night.”

(On the Bellevue-Eastside Catholic state-championship game) “Eastside Catholic was a better team. Couldn’t say nothing about it, couldn’t do anything. Eastside Catholic was a better team; they ran better, they played better on offense, defense and special teams. We got the loss; now it’s a matter of how Bellevue responds. We’ll see. I know they are in the weight room already. It’s going to be good.”

(Catch a hard time from any of the guys?) “Yes. Of course. Everybody! When I got there the next day it was like, ‘Bellevue lost!’ I couldn’t really say nothing because they did. Yup, they lost.”

(On how much fun it’s been having friends and family be able to come and watch you play?) “It’s real fun. It’s a true blessing for people from their hometown to get an offer from the hometown (school) and have an opportunity to stay in their home town. I have a great fan base here, even though I know at the beginning of the season I wasn’t doing that good. I was getting it, but I know that people still love me and ride with me each game. It’s great to have my family there too because then I can just go right home after the game. It’s just great.”

(On returning kicks) “No comment on it. (laughs) That’s up to coach Pete. I believe in Dante (Pettis), I believe in John Ross. They are getting yards on the field, it’s better for the offense. It’s still good.”

(Does seeing what Shaq and Ross did playing both ways put that thought in the back of your mind?) “Most definitely. We’ll see about it next year.”

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