Co-Defensive Coordinator Tim Hundley - PART I

Staring at the wall of Husky Defensive Coordinator Tim Hundley's office in the southeast corner of the Graves Annex Building, I am struck by a framed quotation hanging on his wall. The quote is attributed to an H. E. Jensen and it goes, "The winner is the guy that may have been counted out several times, but never heard the referee."

Hundley has heard the clamoring from fans that groused at his defense that gave up chunks of yardage, but he certainly hasn't heard the referee yet.

In fact, he's as optimistic as he's been since he arrived at Washington five seasons ago, and I found both him and co-defensive coordinator Phil Snow in great moods.

Once I sat down and tape started rolling, Hundley wasted little time in stating goal number one.

"We would like to be a touchdown better in 2003 than we were a year ago," said Hundley, who will also coach the linebackers. Washington gave up just over 25 points per contest last year.

"To do that, we'll need to play better third down defense, and to play the pass better on first down. I think Phil Snow brings a lot of great ideas in that regard."

"Then we need to play better in the red zone (inside the 20 yard-line). Statistically, we didn't play very good there last year. We'll get that done this spring. Additionally, we want to be error-free up front, in the linebacking corps, and in the secondary. We need to minimize mistakes, and some of that is done by simplifying things," said Hundley.

"We're going to spend this spring seeing who can play when things are made simple. Often times your best athletes aren't your best football players," said Hundley.

By simplifying things, Snow and Hundley are hoping that it may allow better athletes to rise to the top of the depth chart, but that remains to be seen.

"Of course, we have to adjust to what other teams are doing offensively. If we can minimize mistakes, make it simple, and adjust properly, we'll be good. The effort is certainly there. The message this year is, ‘give me all you have for eight seconds.' That isn't very long, it's not an eternity, and that doesn't require athletic ability," said Hundley.

"You just give us what you got. The other thing you have to do is tackle well. We have not done that well at specific spots. Although we played the run well last year, we didn't tackle particularly well at times. We want to improve that, and that certainly takes some athletic ability. We have to get that done."

On defense, when a coach says someone is athletic, he is telling you that someone can get off of blocks and make plays. If a guy can run a 4.4 at 300 pounds but cannot shed a block, he's not as athletic as you'd like.

"We are looking forward to seeing some younger guys prove themselves, because we have some guys that are definitely athletic enough. We also hope some of the older guys will step it up in the face of competition."


Washington lost secondary coach Bobby Hauck to Montana, but picked up Phil Snow to replace him. Snow has years of coordinating defenses at Arizona State and UCLA, and has also coached the secondary for years. It's a terrific hire and Hundley couldn't be happier to have him on staff.

"He's very disciplined and bright. He brings some great adjustments to our defensive package. He's been a good friend for a long time and he'll really REALLY help us as a football team. Obviously the better we are on defense, the better we are as a football team, and Phil will be a giant addition to our staff, both from the standpoint of being a coordinator and as a secondary coach. He's very special, and Husky fans will find that to be true," said Hundley of Snow.

"Phil and I were going to possibly work together at ASU in 1996 but I had just gone to Colorado. But he's very easy to work with. Having Phil Snow here is a very good thing, Rick did a great job of getting that done. Randy Hart, Cornell Jackson, and myself are very fired up to get going and work together with him."

Will the schemes change much with Snow co-coordinating the defense? Probably.

"I think our schemes are pretty similar, in terms of background. We do the same ‘match up zone' and ‘man' things, but I think we'll do things a lot better with him here. Because he is a coordinator, and he's back there in the secondary, that's a great thing. It's a perfect position to do that from."

Washington's secondary was blistered by big plays last year, mostly as a result of blown assignments. That is where Snow fits in, to make that group more disciplined.

"You put Randy Hart's expertise, Cornell Jackson's knowledge of offenses from his days as a running backs coach, and Phil in the secondary, it's a nice staff. We have coaches that are aware of what's going on in every spot, and probably the most critical area is the secondary because you don't have anyone standing behind you when you make a mistake. Phil is excited about the challenge," said Hundley.

"We have some questions to answer, but we have the people on the roster that can answer them. There is some concern over depth at linebacker, and we may have to have some freshman help us to some degree in the fall. And I'm anxious to see how the question marks at safety will work themselves out. But they'll be very well coached, and are very capable. Phil will get that taken care of. This is a year where guys feel that if they do their jobs, all the time, we should be in the hunt for the championship the whole way. We want to take that picture at the end of the season with that championship pose. That's why you come to Washington," said Hundley, pointing at the Rose Bowl photo from 2001.

"We're fired up to do it, so now let's roll the ball out there and see what happens."
Link to Keith Gilbertson interview

NEXT UP: in part II, Hundley runs down the entire defense. Top Stories