Nick Holt has been yelling a lot ever since he arrived in Seattle. It has a lot to do with the defensive line, which struggled to stop the run in any way. Here are the numbers through the first two years of Holt's tenure as defensive coordinator of the Huskies.
- 2009--4.51 yards per carry allowed (92nd in FBS), 148.83 yards allowed (64th in FBS)
- 2010--4.67 yards per carry allowed (tied for 93rd in FBS), 190.46 yards allowed (97th in FBS)
The Husky defense did stiffen up near the end of last season and play a little bit better down the stretch, but much more is needed if Washington is planning to truly contend against the traditional powers this season. Solving the problems on the line would be the first step in that direction.
Veteran Alameda Ta'amu hopes to be one part of the solution as the main interior defensive tackle. Young Danny Shelton, a true freshman, hopes to be the other part as the star DT of the future for the Huskies. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has more.
"I think it's going to be a lot better than it has been," defensive coordinator Nick Holt said after Wednesday's practice. "We finally have some big guys, some road-grader type guys, and it's really competitive, too. We have about four or five guys that are big that are competing for playing time."
The Huskies do have more defensive line depth to run a true 4-3, with Ta'amu at the three technique and Shelton likely handling nose guard duties. Sophomore Hau'oli Jamora will probably start at one defensive end slot; the DE/DT hybrid Everrette Thompson and Talia Crichton will likely be sharing the other spot. Behind Ta'amu and Shelton are young talents like Sione Potoa'e and Lawrence Lagafuiana, with Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson right behind them. This is a unit that can man a solid two-deep, which means Washington could finally break through and have the run defense Holt has wanted since he got there.
Or they could just be too young again. It's still a toss-up at this point.
To heare more on what Holt and Steve Sarkisian have to say about the Washington defensive line, check out the videos of the interviews they did with the Tacoma News Tribune.
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