Huskies Insider Blog

Wednesday practice report: Fellner "doubtful" for Saturday, Stevenson hurting

Suddenly the free safety position has become a bit of an issues for the Washington Huskies just a day before they leave for Lincoln, Nebraska.

On Wednesday, head coach Steve Sarkisian said that starting free safety Nate Fellner is "doubtful" for Saturday's game with a strained hamstring. Fellner dressed out today and did some light running, but he did not participate in any team drills.

To make matters worse Taz Stevenson, who had been sharing some reps with Justin Glenn on the first team defense, was rolled up on in practice and tweaked his surgically repaired left knee that had been bothering him for much of fall camp.

"We'll have to see how he comes out of it, but he was pretty sore."

Sarkisian didn't seem worried.

"It's probably one of our deepest positions on our team, so we'll be ok," he said.

Realistically that leaves the oft-injured Glenn and Will Shamburger as the likely replacements. True freshman James Sample is also an option, but he's been battling a sore shoulder. Also listed on the depth chart is junior Greg Walker, who started the LSU game a few years ago, but never saw significant time again. It's worth noting that he suffered a mild concussion last week on special teams.

This safety situation is one to keep an eye on. It's easy to assume that just because Taylor Martinez isn't a great passer and his throwing motion has been likened to this guy ...

... that it's not  a big deal.

But remember, the free safety is often important in run support and the last line of defense on long runs. For example, the Martinez 80-yard run in the first meeting, it's important to remember that Nate Williams' poor angle as the fill guy on run support helped allow the Martinez run to go from 20 to 80.

Defensive tackle Semisi Tokohlahi took some team snaps and Sarkisian said he was getting closer to seeing the field, but wouldn't elaborate.