Huskies expect increased depth on defensive line
SEATTLE – Jeff Choate looks at the Washington Huskies’ defensive line and sees the same things an outside observer might.
UW’s D-line starters – and nine days into camp, that’s a fluid distinction – have been in college long enough to be able to find their way blindfolded from the Quad to the Ave. Danny Shelton, Evan Hudson, Andrew Hudson, Hau’oli Kikaha – they’re all seniors. And with the exception of Shelton, they’re all fifth-year seniors.
Behind them are a batch of capable but unpolished prospects, high on potential but low on experience.
“I really see there’s kind of two groups for us – we’ve kind of got our veteran crew that’s working to improve on the details of the game,” said Choate, UW’s defensive line coach, “and then we’ve kind of got a younger crew behind them that’s really all kind of in the same spot as far as trying to figure out, ‘how do I line up? How do I go from four to six, from A to B as fast as I can, and keep Coach Choate from losing his voice?”
One intriguing prospect whose name continues to surface as a quick learner is freshman Will Dissly, a 6-foot-4, 273-pound native of Bozeman, Montana.
Dissly is one of three true freshmen who have been taking consistent repetitions with the No. 2 defense – defensive backs Budda Baker and Naijiel Hale are the other two – and he was named as one of the unit’s standouts during Monday’s closed scrimmage. So, too, was fourth-year junior Taniela Tupou, who has been around since 2011 but has played sparingly.
“He’s real smart. So he’s kind of figured out what’s going on,” coach Chris Petersen said of Dissly, who was rated a 2-star recruit by Scout.com. “I think when he kind of figures out the pace and tempo of the college game, plays a little more physical, he’s going to do some really good things. He’s done a nice job up to this point.”
“The guy’s gonna help us, no question,” Choate said. “He’s gonna play some football for us. It’s probably going to be sooner than later.”
Petersen said after Tuesday’s practice that Tupou was one of Monday’s stars, knocking down a quarterback and forcing a fumble – it was live action for everyone, QBs included – that linebacker Travis Feeney picked up and returned for a touchdown.