The one apparent certainty for Washington’s defense coming into training camp – its stout starting linebackers – is suddenly unsettled.
And that’s a good thing.
Senior Princeton Fuimaono has been as impressive as anyone in UW camp, pushing his way into the starting mix at outside linebacker while pushing sophomore Travis Feeney into a reserve role.
“I’m feeling more comfortable with the defense,” Fuimaono said. “I had to come out with a mentality to be physical and just do something to get out there on the field. … I’ve never felt better.”
The Huskies haven’t settled on a depth chart for the Aug. 31 season opener against Boise State. UW coach Steve Sarkisian said after Monday’s practice that he would meet with his staff later in the evening to try to get a better idea of the two-deep roster before beginning to plan for the Broncos in earnest on Wednesday.
Fuimaono was running regularly with the No. 1 defense last week alongside middle linebacker John Timu and opposite fellow outside ’backer Shaq Thompson, with Feeney mostly with the No. 2 defense.
“Everyone wants to talk about our linebackers and they want to talk about Shaq, Feeney and Timu,” Sarkisian said, “but Princeton Fuimaono has played a lot of football for us since his true-freshman year. … He’s a guy that’s extremely reliable for us. He’s can play every one of the three positions, and we don’t skip a beat when he steps in there. He’s tremendous for us on special teams; he starts on every special teams for us. He’s just a valuable guy to have, and that’s what you want out of your seniors.”
Regardless of who ends up starting, the apparent improvement in the corps’ depth is a positive sign for a UW defense that will likely rely more on its reserves this season with the Huskies’ shift to a no-huddle offense.