Q&A - Dick Baird

SEATTLE - Dawgman.com caught up Wednesday with former UW coach and current Husky Honk Dick Baird, and Baird gave us his thoughts on the defense, how each position group looked, who stepped up, and how the new coaches are fitting into the overall direction of the program.

On the new coaching change - "I think the kids are responding well; they usually do with change. You really see the youthful enthusiasm of the new coaches. I'm really impressed with Tosh. He's a Randy Hart…go, go, go and talking all the time-type guy. He's doing a great job…Connor Cree is a classic example. He's coming out of the woodwork and it looks like he's going to help this team. These guys are developing really well. We still look a little light on the defensive line, but he's got 'em going."

But it's more a speed game now, right - "Yeah. There's no question, but it's going to really help to get Tokolahi back. They need one more, and they are missing him. They are missing Talia now…it shows size-wise. But geez, all these kids are getting bigger; they've obviously done a good job in the weight room. I'm really impressed with Jarett Finau, I think he's going to be a really nice player. And (Sione) Potoae is looking better. He's really stout-looking right now. They are having a good spring, but there's not very many kids here - that's the point. There's only about 60 kids out here, and that's dangerous from the depth standpoint. But the moves they've made of moving some of the safeties to linebackers has really helped that position…there's still no 'thumper' in the group per se, but they are really active, running athletes with the emphasis on speed.

The guys that have really impressed me are some of the…Greg Ducre. Shoot, he looks really good. And that little Tre Watson is having a good spring. And Tru is going to be a really fine player next year. We've got depth and corner, and depth at safety…"

On Nate Fellner's move to LB - "He's put on weight and it gets him closer to the ball…plus everybody has to play nickel now because of the spread offenses, so he fits right into that category as an outside linebacker. He used to play strong safety, so really what's the difference? It's the same position."

On UW being more physical this spring - "Yeah, I think so. Which is suprising because they have so little numbers, but they really have great enthusiasm. Some of the drills they had for special teams were beautiful, and the 2-1, getting rid of a blocker and making a tackle…those kind of things have a lot of enthusiasm. It's been a good spring. There's an infusion of new faces."

On the safeties - This is a great group, the safety group - especially when you add in the Shaq Daddy to the group (Shaquille Thompson). The two kids (James Sample and Travis Feeney) are going to be nice. They are really rangy, and when they put on a little more weight and they'll just be big guys."


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