September 20, 2011

Cal poses another Husky defensive challenge

By Ravi Venkataraman

After a third quarter breakdown against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday, Washington Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt's main focus for this week is playing aggressive and consistent defense.

He is impressed by the resilience of his defensive unit in the fourth quarter of a 51-38 loss to Nebraska, but wanted his defense to be assertive during vital plays in the third quarter.

"In the first series, when we got them at a third-and-three, and then we missed the tackle in the third-and-three option," said Holt. "We could've had them at that drive."

Holt stressed that he is looking for consistent playmakers in his defense. This, he said, will come over time with the overall improvement in his defense.

Above all, Holt is looking for improvement in his defensive line. The Huskies' Saturday opponent, the California Golden Bears, have outrushed their opponents, 536-196.

"(The defensive line) have been a disappointment to me," Holt said. "We didn't play as well as we needed to for us to win last Saturday. We have an older group, and we didn't play as well as we needed to."

California is coming in 3-0, thanks to stellar play by dual-threat quarterback Zach Maynard, and a strong cast.

"He's quick. He's like Keith," said defensive end Hai'oli Jamora on Maynard's scrambling ability.

Holt, Jamora, and defensive end Everrette Thompson all agreed that the defense needs to stay focused, stick to responsibilities and make California's offense one-dimensional.

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