Walters Not Tipping His Hand

The defensive backfield probably has had the most competition for starting positions out of any unit this year in fall camp. Gone are former stars Shane Walton and Gerome Sapp and their absence has opened up a lot of competition. The battle has been competitive and probably good for the Irish secondary. Defensive backs coach Trent Walters took some time with Irish Eyes to talk some secondary.

As we reported earlier, Quentin Burrell's emergence as a top player has given secondary coach Trent Walters some options. "Right now we are not sure," Walters said of how he will line up on Saturday. "We have been experimenting with guys playing different positions – (Glenn) Earl playing strong safety and Burell playing free safety. One of the reasons we do that is to develop some depth in the secondary so if we have injuries a guy who is a free safety has some experience playing strong safety and the other guy can move up. As a coach you want to see if a guy is capable of playing another position and then you can judge where these guys are best suited are make a decision."

With Earl playing a lot of strong safety and Quentin Burrell playing a lot of free safety--incumbent strong safety Garron Bible will likely move to the dime position. Preston Jackson will probably be the nickel back. Walters wasn't tipping his hand as to who would play where.

"Well, when we go to different packages both of those guys could be playing," said Walters of Bible and Jackson. "It just depends on how things materialize in the next couple of days. We could have all those guys on the field at the same time."

Dwight Ellick has really stepped up this fall camp and is pushing for playing time. "We like him at corner," said Walters of Ellick. "We like the competition we see at boundary corner between (Jason) Beckstrom and Ellick. We believe position competition is the best thing to have to bring the best out of every player and for them to reach their best potential. We just have to make a decision, probably depending on tomorrow at practice, who is the most consistent, as to whom we decide is the starter."

Preston Jackson was the nickel back last year and that likely won't change according to Walters. "Yes, he's familiar with it and right now he's probably going to be the nickel guy and we'll go from there," said Walters of Jackson. "We have guys who are playing and competing so you don't fully know, if he doesn't play well we have other guys who can step up and play."

Walters says when he picks a starter, that starter will likely play the whole game. "Whomever is going to be the starter is going to play primarily for the whole game unless he gets tired or something. We just don't substitute back and forth. We'll play, see how the game goes and go from there."

Freshman Freddie Parish received high praise from Walters earlier in fall camp. Does he expect Parish to play this fall? "Well, you never know. It depends on how things materialize. He is making progress real well and competing with those other guys. We'll just see how things go."

Irish Eyes learned after practice on Thursday that Jason Beckstrom has won the starting nod for Washington State at boundary corner. We have yet to get a clear picture of how the safeties will line up. Vontez Duff will start at field corner. Expect to see Garron Bible and Preston Jackson in the game when they go to nickel and dime packages. Also, we hear Freddie Parish has been making a move up the depth chart and could see some playing time in the near future. Top Stories