Three of the four main pieces are back, but the departing one is a big loss.
All week here at Sportspress Northwest, we’ll breakdown the different units that comprise the Washington football team. A look back and a look forward for the (gasp!) 7-6 Huskies of 2010. Let’s take a look at the secondary:
What was thought prior to the season: Things would improve with senior Nate Williams at safety and Desmond Trufant at corner. Quinton Richardson was a question at the other corner as was Nate Fellner at free safety.
What we saw during the season: Trufant and Richardson struggled most of the year. Richardson, in particular, had a difficult time until the final few games of the season. Trufant’s play was simply all right, not dynamic as anticipated. He finished with one interception and four pass breakups. Williams became a sure tackler and solid strong safety, finishing the season with 105 tackles. Fellner’s performance in the Holiday Bowl exemplified his season. He made a bone-head play when hitting Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez well out of bounds, leading to a personal foul. But he also moved over well and picked off a lofted Martinez pass later in the game.
What’s next for this group: The hope for Washington coaches is that Richardson carries over his improvement into his senior year. We’ll see. His frame was always cited as the prime reason he could be an effective corner, and Richardson started playing physical football toward the end of the year. He still gives too much cushion and does not always believe what he is seeing. Blitzing Trufant off the corner developed into a weapon for defensive coordinator Nick Holt. Expect more of it next season. Sean Parker, assuming he is recovered from his stinger, is the prime candidate to replace Williams. Taz Stevenson will also likely get time at safety. Adam Long and Greg Ducre will add depth at corner. Improved coverage from this group will provide the yin to the defensive line’s pass-rushing yang. If they work together, Washington’s defense should be much improved.