Washington has been one of the worst defensive teams in college football over the past two seasons. Taking necessary steps to address this situation, the Huskies spent a bundle of money in attracting Nick Holt to the shores of Montlake. Holt brings boundless enthusiasm, emotion, and toughness to a squad seriously deficient in those qualities over the past decade.
An improved defensive backfield will key any Washington improvements in 2009. While the cupboard isn't bare in talent, the depth chart is topped by athletes who learned about Division One football the hard way: playing far before they were physically and/or mentally ready to compete at this level.
At CB, Quinton Richardson returns for his sophomore season as a second-year starter. While Richardson possesses the size and speed to be successful, most thought he was destined to play safety or LB. For the record, I expected him to move to safety this spring; however, the new coaches obviously felt he was the best answer currently had to man one of the corner positions.
RS freshman Justin Glenn had a tremendous spring, emerging as a strong candidate to start opposite Richardson. Another impressive RS freshman, Adam Long, worked his way up from the bottom of the depth charts through the spring, asserting himself in contention for playing time. Junior Matt Mosley will add quality depth to the position in 2009.
Keep an eye on incoming freshman Anthony Gobern, who finished his first spring after enrolling late last year due to a high school shoulder injury. However, Gobern may well initially line up at tailback when camp begins, given the Huskies are down to a mere four healthy backs.
Vonzell McDowell, who started his first game as a Husky two years ago as a true freshman, is still in the mix but didn't make a move this spring to get past the younger guys. Marquise Persley is a rangy player showing improvement, but not enough to justify regular playing time just yet.
Heading into this past spring practice session, a legitimate question was whether Washington had a single Pac 10 quality CB on the roster. Richardson is a great athlete; however, in my mind he is best suited for safety or WLB. The young guys looked promising this spring, but sorely lacking experience.
The new coaching staff hedged its bet by bringing in diminutive JC CB Dominique Gaisie, who should end up starting opposite Richardson this fall. No doubt, Gaisie is small; however, he has the speed and toughness to play the position at the Division One level. The coaches believe he can lay the lumber and lock down one side of the defense.
Gaisie played JC football under Demetrice Martin, who may be the greatest addition to this secondary whom you have never heard of. In California coaching circles, he is regarded as a real up and comer, who may be the best CB teacher in America. Besides talent, the one thing Washington has lacked in the defensive backfield was a competent teacher. The addition of Martin ensures that Washington will get the most out of the talent they have in 2009.
Washington adds freshman Desmond Trufant to the roster in August. The brother of a former Cougar and current Seahawk is likely to RS this season with plenty of depth in front of him.
- Quinton Richardson So.
- Dominique Gaisie Jr.
- Justin Glenn RS
- Matt Mosley Jr.
- Adam Long RS
- Anthony Gobern Fr.
- Marquise Persley So.
- Vonzell McDowell Jr.
- Desmond Trufant Fr.