We get to move away from the weakness of the defense, the front seven, to the strength, the secondary. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that the Huskies secondary should be pretty good, but that changes this. Here’s my starters and backups:
- Desmond Trufant, 6-0, 180, SO.
- Adam Long, 5-10, 170, RS SO.
Desmond Trufant has the potential to be one of the best cornerbacks UW has ever had. He has started his first game on campus and was a pleasure to watch mature throughout last season. He was a little scary to watch in the first few games but then became the Huskies best corner by mid-season. It only makes sense that Trufant will get better with experience. It will be fun to watch Desmond this spring to see how a year in the weight program has affected him. He should be a lockdown corner for the Dawgs for the next three years.
Adam Long red-shirted his first year here and then took the starting job from Quinton Richardson halfway through last season. He was recruited because of his speed and is one of the fastest players on the team. Long had exceptional games against WSU and Cal to end the year. During those last two games he was UW’s best cornerback. He will have to compete this spring in order to hold off Richardson. Long does lack weight and hopefully he gained some muscle this offseason while keeping his speed. I really like Adam (not just because we have the same last name) and think he has just as much potential as Trufant. If he continues to progress, Long may turn into an NFL caliber corner.
- Quinton Richardson, 6-0, 203, JR.
- Vonzell McDowell, 5-8, 180, SR.
- Anthony Boyles, 6-3, 200, RS SO.
- Anthony Gobern, 5-11, 185, SO.
At the start of last year, Richardson was U-Dub’s best cornerback. He got burned on a couple of plays, suffered a few injuries, and lost confidence. The combination of that and the progression of Trufant and Long moved Richardson to backup. Quinton is a big physical corner who was moved from his original position at safety. He can tackle pretty well and is decent in one-on-one coverage. I hope Richardson has an excellent spring and challenges for a starting job. He is a good corner and will be a very valuable backup if the depth chart stays the way it does.
Someday I might devote a full post to Vonzell McDowell because the truth is, I feel sorry for him. To put a long story short, Vonzell was a starter as true freshman and was solid his first two games in wins against Syracuse and Boise State. He even had a game-clinching against the Broncos. The next game was against Ohio State and in a close first half McDowell was burnt for a touchdown against a good Buckeye receiving group. After that play, Tyrone Willingham (I threw up in my mouth after I typed that name) benched McDowell for the rest of the game and most of the season. Why you would bench a freshman after one mistake is beyond me, but a lot of things Tyrone did were beyond me. Predictabl,y McDowell lost a ton of confidence because of this benching and he hasn’t been the same since that fateful play. I’m not suggesting that McDowell was going to have an amazing career, Trufant and Long possess more talent than Vonzell did as a freshman, but now we can only wonder what could have been. As it sits now, Vonzell is a decent backup but nothing more. I’m sorry that Tyrone was your coach Vonzell.
Boyles is an interesting case. He came in as a highly touted wide receiver but didn’t grasp on to the offense and suffered from inconsistency. No one questioned his talent but he just couldn’t pull it all together. The coaches moved him to cornerback at mid-season last year so he wouldn’t have to think so much. They like his raw ability and he had a couple of good practices. Boyles really needs to have a great spring to crack this rotation because the guys in front of him have more experience and have quite a bit of talent. Anthony Gobern hasn’t seen the field too much but was supposedly a solid scout team player last year. He may progress into a good corner. Like Boyles, Gobern needs to have a really good spring in order to crack the rotation.
Overall Position: This is more depth and talent at cornerback than the Huskies have had in years. Trufant, Long, and Richardson could all be starters on most pac-10 teams and they have room to grow. The rest of the backups have a good amount of upside (especially Boyles). If these guys are able to really grow and become dependable in man-to-man coverage the linebackers will get to bring pressure more. This is what happened against Cal and WSU. This is probably the best position on this defense.