Husky Trails | First Thoughts About the 2009 Washington Secondary

Ian PetersonCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2009

EUGENE, OR - AUGUST 30:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks carries the ball as he is grabbed by Tripper Johnson #34 of the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium on August 30, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

You know your secondary is terrible when you look through the Getty/Bleacher Report archive of pictures and you can't find any good pictures of your defensive backs making plays. 

It's even worse when most of the pictures are of them getting burned.

It goes without saying that the Washington Huskies defense needs a complete transfusion of energy and talent at safety and cornerback.

That, or they just need concentrated coaching and athletic conditioning.

Going into 2009, the defense seems more or less set in its rotation at defensive line, and the linebacker lineup is a forgone conclusion. However, there has been a constant rotation of players at both safety and cornerback.

Nate Williams, an honorable mention for All-Pac-10 honors last season, seems to be the only sure shot in the defensive backfield.

For what it's worth, Williams could potentially be a huge star. He plays the position well and loves to hit hard.

The return of Jason Wells at safety is vital to creating depth at the position. The other big name safety on the team, Victor Aiyewa, has suffered from injury problems. Wells' return creates depth problems at the position.

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Tyrone Willingham moved freshman running back Johri Fogerson to the position to add backup, and now Steve Sarkisian has moved wide receiver Alvin Logan to safety as well. 

The pattern emerging is that the coaches have been severely dissatisfied with either the talent or depth at the position.

At cornerback, the problem isn't depth, but who pairs up with Quinton Richardson.

The coaches have penciled Richardson in at one starting cornerback spot, but have no less than four players listed at the other one. Through the entirety of spring, neither Justin Glenn, Matt Mosley, Anthony Gobern, or Vonzell McDowell staked a convincing claim to the position.

It is worrying that there is no leader, but perhaps it could lead to an increase in talent based on the competition for the slot.

It really depends on whether these guys are playing up to get the spot, or playing timid because they don't want to be the guy to screw up on Saturdays.

Potentially, depending on how well he picks up the system, junior college transfer Dominique Gaisie may be the the Huskies' short-term solution. However, he will have the least amount of time in the program, since he'll be joining with the JC transfers in the fall.

Gaisie, along with safety David Batts, should add much needed cover to a unit that has been atrocious the last couple years. 

It may take another year until the talent matures enough to be an effective unit. Nick Holt needs to create schemes that will help out the players and provide the best possible cover for the field.

The offense will be learning all-year long, so it will often be up to the defense to keep the Huskies in the game. 

I wouldn't hold out too much hope for a massive turnaround, but the team has matured, and there is new energy. 

We will find out starting Sept. 5th whether that helps or not.


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