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Husky Trails: Defense Seems To Be Carrying The UW Huskies' Practices

Ian PetersonCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2009

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 04:  Nic Grigsby #5 of the Arizona Wildcats tries to escape the tackle of Daniel Te'o-Nesheim #66 of the Washington Huskies during a first quarter run on October 4, 2008 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Going into day six of the Washington Huskies fall camp, the trend thus far has been for dominate defensive play. 

The way that head coach Steve Sarkisian tailors his practices is by holding a points competition between offense and defense, with a winner chosen each day.

The defense has won three of the first five practices. According to Sarkisian they came close to winning a fourth time but for some last minute heroics by the offense.

It's going to be interesting how this camp translates into the full season. The team as a whole could benefit greatly from the defense being better. 

A dynamic threat like Locker benefits by having to not carry as much of the burden as he has in the past. Knowing that each drive doesn't necessarily have to be a scoring drive is important.

The only way the team has come close to winning the last several years has been in shoot-outs because the defense has given up so many points. I point you to the Oregon-UW game in 2007.

The offense, however, needs to pick up the pace. No matter how good the defense, if they are playing the majority of the game they rapidly lose effectiveness.

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The defense has earned good praise so far from the head coach. It would seem that hiring Nick Holt as defensive coordinator has paid off so far.

The unit that is mentioned constantly is the linebacker corps.

Donald Butler, Mason Foster, and EJ Savannah have been singled out for praise on multiple occasions.

Savannah claimed in a post season practice the other day that this unit ranks among the best in the country.

While that statement is completely hyperbolic, it attests to the amount of swagger that the team has picked up so far. A swagger that was completely lacking last season.

The secondary, as well, has looked eager to get back to their best. They have made quite a few of breakups and interceptions. 

However, they also get picked apart on some of the bigger pass plays, so it's still a give and take in that respect.

The one troubling unit is the defensive line, with only Daniel Te'o-nesheim really ever being singled out for praise in each practice.

The rest of the line seems a bit anonymous so far. Coach Sarkisian even stated in his newest post practice interview that if it was game time tomorrow that true-freshman linemen Semisi Tokolahi, Andru Pulu, and Talia Crichton would play.

I'm thrilled that Sarkisian is seeing such good things out of those guys, but it does not inspire confidence that the line is performing to it's potential.

Also, notice the disaster that was last season to show the dangers of playing so many true freshmen during a season.

It would seem that the defense as a whole, though, is poised to take a step up over the last couple years. 

It remains to be seen how much that will affect the wins and losses column. 

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