Glenn Gets On-The-Job Training

Don't blame Justin Glenn just because he's pretty good at something. As a cornerback, having the ability to defend on an island and tackle is a big part of the job. But as a free safety, it's the biggest thing. In the middle of the field, it's the job of the free safety to stop the big play, to keep the defense on the field, to be the last man standing.

And for the 5-foot-11, 198-pound redshirt freshman, it was his skill bringing ball-carriers down that led Glenn outside-in. No longer would he be that guy on an island; he was going to be the guy that made sure no one got off that island, no matter how hard they tried. Saturday he found out quickly what that was like when USC's Stanley Havili broke through the Huskies' front seven and was headed Glenn's way. He rose to the challenge.

"The first time my eyes got huge, but I couldn't stop my feet," he said Wednesday. "That's what they want you to do. It's not an easy thing. You have to trust your technique."

Glenn remembered what the Washington coaches had drilled into his head: Don't let him score. Play deep, play up to the run and be the last man there. And no matter how far down they field they are, don't let 'em score.

He didn't.

"That helped my confidence a lot, to know I can compete with these guys and do it down after down," Glenn said.

And although USC eventually did score on that opening drive, Glenn made another big tackle on receiver Damian Williams on the Trojans' next series, helping to limit the Huskies' losses.

It's those experiences Glenn will use as a guide through the rough patches of his first away game, as the Huskies travel south Saturday to take on Stanford in an early battle for Pac-10 supremacy.

"When a play comes your way you have to make it," he said, matter-of-factly. "That's what you're out there for and that's what the coaches want. They want to trust you."

"He's done a good job playing in the middle of the field," UW Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt said of Glenn. "He's got corner skills, he can redirect and he can tackle people. He's made a world of difference, because as you saw Saturday there were a bunch of plays where he was all by himself and he made some huge, big field tackles. It wasn't pretty, but he got the guy down, so we were allowed to play again."

"To think he's only heading into his third week of practice at the free safety spot," added Huskies' Head Coach Steve Sarkisian. "I know those guys running at him and they aren't easy guys to tackle. He made some great tackles that helped change the scope of the game."
,br> It wasn't as easy his first time around. Glenn picked up his first career start in the Huskies' second game of the season, against Idaho. Washington took care of business and won 42-23, but it was quite the baptism for the new safety. Glenn leaned on strong safety Nate Williams quite a bit while getting used to his new surroundings.

"It was loud and I couldn't hear anything and I didn't know what to do," he said. "(Williams) would help me out and tell me what to do. He's been right by my side the whole time.

"It was huge, just getting out here and getting with the game speed and tackling. That game helped a lot getting me comfortable with playing out there."

If the coaches had to do it all over again, they would have moved Glenn sooner. But a knee injury near the end of fall camp derailed their plans. "I'm glad we did it later, rather than never," Sarkisian said.

"I'm really liking it now," Glenn added, noting that he made the switch willingly, but with a hint of trepidation simply because he was just starting to get comfortable at cornerback.

"You have to be a smart kid to be a safety," Holt said. "He can pick it up and he's doing a great job with it."

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