The Husky defense dominated practice Tuesday, Day 7 of 15 in spring drills. No one was more dominating than defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu. Ta'amu, down to 330 pounds from a high of 375, was a disruptive force against the run and pass.
“I thought this was far and away Alameda’s best practice,” coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He was really disruptive. He hurt us in the run game, and then what he’s able to do in the passing game is collapse the pocket where the quarterback has a really difficult time stepping up.”
Ta'amu explained afterward that when he was 375, he used to tire after three plays, and not have the energy to consistently go hard in games and practices. Basically, he dropped 45 pounds by skipping pizza, Italian food, and his all-time favorite, rice. “I was tired of being tired out here,” he said. “Always feeling like I was dying, feeling like I couldn’t get through the next day. The coaches were on my butt all the time; they always told me, Alameda, you lose some weight, you can do something special.”
Ta'amu had a huge game against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. Revenge was the motivation for him, he said. “It was revenge, basically,” he said. “They embarrassed me the first (loss against them); they ran for a lot of yards up my gap. I took that personal. I didn’t want that to happen again.”
Middle linebacker Cort Dennison had a good view of Ta’amu’s effort in that game. “He can entirely dominate a game,” Dennison said. “You look at the Holiday Bowl; there was one play when he went through four people, and he knocked them all on the ground. If ‘Meda wants to, he can single-handedly dominate a game.” Dennison said the leaner-meaner Ta’amu is so much quicker at this stage that he’s almost impossible to double-team. “And as strong as he is, there’s not much you can do against him with just one guy blocking him.”
--Practice notes: The day was dominated by the defense. Two plays stood out. Dennison stripped the ball from back Chris Polk and it was recovered and returned by safety Will Shamburger. An even better individual play was a Desmond Trufant interception of a deep Keith Price pass. Trufant closed on receiver Kevin Smith, speared the ball in the air, pulled it in and returned it up the sideline for a nice gain.
--Left tackle Senio Kalemete was on the sidelines in a boot again, recovering from a plantar fascia injury. Running back Jessie Callier went to the sideline with what Sarkisian called a minor ankle injury. Fullback Zach Fogerson, too, went to the sidelines after a hit to the head. “I don’t think it’s anything serious,” Sarkisian said. “We’re just being precautionary.”