The defensive line is young and inexperienced. Two freshmen have played in all five games this year while three receive significant playing time. Left end Manase Hopoi (6-4, 290) leads the line with 30 tackles, including a team high 12 tackles for loss and a team high five sacks. The senior has good speed and is active in the backfield as he leads the conference in tackles for loss per game with a 2.4 mark. Junior Mike Mapuolesega (6-3, 265) sees limited time at left end behind Hopoi.
|Jordan White-Frisbee (#94) is a future All-Pac-10 pick.|
The youth of the line begins with left tackles Dan Milsten (6-5, 290) and freshman Erick Lobos (6-3, 300) who have eight and three tackles respectively. Milsten receives the starting nod while Lobos rotates in. The youth movement continues on the right side of the line with a pair of freshman.
Right tackle Jordan White-Frisbee (6-6, 330), who became the first freshman to start this season, and right end Greyson Gunheim (6-4, 240) are green, but have a ton of talent. White-Frisbee, who is destined to become an All-Pac-10 player, has nine tackles in five games while Gunheim has added three stops.
Sophomores Donny Mateaki (6-5, 285) and Brandon Ala (6-3, 245) rotate time on the right side with the freshman. Mateaki, who was a 2003 second team All-America pick by the Sporting News has five tackles and one sack. Ala has nine grabs.
The strength of the UW defense lies with its linebackers and their starting three who are the team’s top tacklers. Inside linebacker Joe Lobendahn (5-10, 230) leads the charge with a team high 56 tackles (second in the conference), 4.5 for loss, while also forcing a team high two fumbles. He is one of the vocal leaders on the defensive side who plays with a lot of energy. Senior Tim Galloway (6-2, 230) is experienced and has grabbed 13 tackles.
Inside linebacker Scott White (6-1, 230) is just a sophomore but is third on the team in tackles with 44, 7.5 for loss, five sacks, and two pass breakups. White moves well and can put up big numbers as he grabbed 15 tackles against the Cardinal and 35 in the past three games.
Outside linebacker Evan Benjamin (6-0, 210) is the second leading tackler with 50, 3.5 for loss, while adding a co-team high two interceptions. The junior has good speed and is one of the more improved players on the team.
|Dashon Goldson has recovered a team high two fumbles.|
UW is one of the better teams in the country defending the pass. They rank first in Pac-10 and 11th nationally surrendering just 157.8 yards per game. Free safety Dashon Goldson (6-2, 195) tops the secondary with 26 tackles, one interception, two pass breakups and two recovered fumbles.
Strong safeties C.J. Wallace (6-0, 205) and Jimmy Newell (6-1, 195) handle the strong safety duties. Wallace has 24 tackles, three for loss, and one pass breakup while Newell has added 15 tackles off the bench.
Left cornerbacks Matt Fountaine (5-11, 185) and Derrick Johnson (6-0, 190)
split time on the field. Fountaine has 10 tackles, one interception, and a co-team
high two pass breakups while Johnson, who has been battling injuries, has 26
Right cornerback Sam Cunningham (6-0, 180) is one of the more experienced players on the roster having played in all 40 games during his career. He has 14 tackles and a co-team high two interceptions.
Notes on the defense:
- UW is first in redzone defense with a 58.8 opponent success rate.