From The Coordinator: Huskies Good On Defense

The news was not lost on Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich as the Washington Huskies had three members of the Associated Press All-American team in seniors Danny Shelton at nose tackle, Hau'oli Kikaha at the buck linebacker and junior Shaq Thompson at linebacker (although he's listed all-purpose on the All-American team).

Kikaha is a consensus All-American, and Thompson has played both ways at running back while starting 10-of-13 games on defense and two on offense.

Washington is 46th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 24.4 points a game and 21st in rushing defense. However, while they are third in the nation in sacks with almost four a game they are 121st in pass defense, allowing just shy of 284 yards a game.

Yurcich is aware of the All-Americans and playmakers on the Washington defense, but is also pointing out that they have more than three players on that defense.

"I think we have to be mindful of those three guys, certainly," Yurcich said of the Huskies' All-Americans. "They are a good team overall, from a defensive unit standpoint, they are a well-rounded bunch.

"It's not like you have to be concerned with three guys and that's it. They have some dudes around them that can play. For us this has also been a time for us to get better at the basics and the fundamentals. We're trying to maximize the opportunity with the extra practices that we get."

The Huskies secondary is a little rough with two true freshmen starting in cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Bubba Baker. Safety Kevin King and cornerback John Ross are sophomores, and Ross was playing wide receiver before being moved in an emergency mode at the start of November. He ended up starting three games on offense and three in November on defense.

The Cowboys have some good energy built up from the Bedlam victory, and Yurcich agrees they are working to capitalize on it.

"I think it (Bedlam) was great for the program and we came away with momentum," Yurcich said of the Bedlam win and overtime domination. "Football is a game of ups and downs and right now we're up, and it's good and we're going to try to ride that wave in the bowl game."

Sounds like surfing and while the team won't be on the beach but in the desert they can still ride the waves of emotion that come from a season where you went on two five-game streaks, one winning and one losing, and the chance to finish on the upswing. Judging by this Huskies defense, passing may be the way to go.



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