October 16, 2008

Thompson Making Strides

Washington Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatell discussed the challenge with facing the Oregon State offense.

"The major challenge is that they have good speed and quickness at the skill positions. You look at the two brothers, one in the backfield. They have good speed and quickness and a really nice running game - obviously you've seen that. Their group of receivers is up there with most anybody's. They're a big chunk offense, meaning they have reverses and fly sweeps. We'll see a lot of short, quick passes. Their screen game is very good too, big screen team. The screen is a way for them to handle pressure and get the ball to their weapons. It's either that or down the field. You'll see deep crossing routes."

Has the defensive line been inspired by Daniel Te'o-Nesheim's play in the Arizona game?

"I would say yes, because he inspires them daily. We've got a lot of work to do with that group, but he's certainly helped us. The way he's brought that group in and showed them how to study and how to work. They have the right mindset and patterns and so forth, we're just not seeing the fruits of that yet, but some day it'll be there."

Has it been hard to game plan with the safety spot opposite Nate Williams constantly changing?

"I think you think of all of those things while you're game planning, but I know that's so much a part of the game. That's the farthest thing from my mind. Just getting this group good enough to win a game is what I'm trying to do."

And how does the situation affect Williams?

"He's more mature than a normal sophomore, there's no doubt in my mind. I tell him that and I tell him I trust him. Stretching guys is always good. Wherever he's going to get, he'll get there quicker. From his perspective, he's worked through injuries. To jump out there with a true freshman against Oklahoma, and be managing him and yourself, that's hard duty. He's been a champ about it."

Donatell discussed sophomore safety Victor Aiyewa.

"Victor's been working really hard. He was there three days and played a game, so he was rusty. This bye week has knocked some more rust off of him. His attitude, his desire, his into it - he's still a young guy, but he acts like an older guy. He's matured in all areas of his life, so that all carries over. I think he's a mature kid, so that can help things out."

When asked if he knew who the two starting safeties would be, providing everyone was healthy, Donatell had this to say.

"I don't know to be honest with you. I just take what's there and go from there. It isn't that hard, you don't even have to make that decision. It's close enough, where nobody's totally outplayed anybody. We're not worrying about that decision, that will take care of itself. Why should I worry if injuries keep a guy back? That's not a worry, because your decision has already been made for you. I always believe you don't make a decision until you need to. I haven't even really thought that much about that. They answer it for us, that's my honest answer to that."

Washington's defense against third down conversions has not been good this season. Is that more because of the Huskies' play on first and second downs?

"I agree with that. Third down first of all, is a dependent decision, dependent on those other two downs. But I'm not hiding in there either, because we've had some eights and nines in there. It's a combination of pressure and coverage, how it works together. There's no question that's a concern. We want to continue to improve and fix it, we want to work on that. There's certain ones that are totally manageable, and we want to do a better job on those."

Any players move up the depth chart to possibly earn some playing time in the bye week?

"Not really, just working on bumps and bruises, nothing significant. We've been dinged up at linebacker, so we'll role some guys around there."

Donatell discussed the play and progression of true freshman defensive end Everrette Thompson.

"A guy that I think is going up pretty nicely is Everrette Thompson. He's a big, squared away kid. He really likes being around the football room, watches a lot of tape and seems to pick things up well. I think for a guy that walked off the field at Kennedy [High School last year] to come in here and be very effective, it's pretty impressive what that kid's been able to do. He'll be a very good end here for a very long time, he'll have a really nice career. He's a 262-pound guy that hasn't stopped growing. He can hold that weight, which is really nice. Usually guys are fighting to keep weight on them, so he has that."

What's the probability of true freshman defensive tackle Craig Noble redshirting?

"That's a Tyrone [Willingham] question, but it's about when he came in and about getting established, it's not only about football. The guy jumped right into school, when all of the other guys were leading up to orientation - boom, he's right in school. It's about getting used to his new surroundings and so forth. I think it's a low probability that he will play. This is unusual - the number of kids to play this much, when you look at Alameda Ta'amu, Everrette Thompson and Senio Kelemete as true freshmen. That probably has not happened very many times, to play that many plays. So we probably wouldn't be looking to throw Craig into that situation this late."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!