Huskies Insider Blog

Afternoon reading and listening: Husky defense will use plenty of players

Here's my radio hit with Ian Furness and Jason Puckett on 950 KJR.

Here's my story from today's paper about the Huskies using their depth on defense to try and counter Oregon's up-tempo, no-rest system. One of those  players is safety Will Shamburger, who has moved into the starting lineup at free safety.

“A point of emphasis is finding a way in the middle of the third quarter to be fresh defensively so we can hang with them,” Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I think we’ve played decent defense against them for 21/2 quarters for two years in a row now but have run out of gas in the last 20 plays of the game. That’s where they’ve really hurt us.”

Washington was outscored 69-17 in the second half of the previous two games the teams played. It wasn’t just physical fatigue that hurt the Huskies. It was also mental fatigue – all those plays, all those running backs, all those options.

“Eventually, they wear you down,” Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt said. “You’ve been doing what you’re supposed to do for three quarters then all of a sudden they do the same play and you are out of your gap, they break a tackle and then they get in the open field and then they’re gone.”

The Huskies wore down because they were lacking in depth at most positions and were forced to play their starters on almost every snap.

“What we haven’t been able to do the last couple years that I think we can do now is we’ve got to play more guys on defense,” Sarkisian said. “And we’ve got to play them early in the game. We can’t wait until they (starters) are tired to substitute for them. You have to substitute them earlier.”Kevin Pelton has this post on Chris Polk's receiving skills

Bud Withers of the Times has this excellent story on officials calling hits on defenseless players