Jimmy Lake covered a wide range of discussion involving Husky players in his Monday press briefing, but the University of Washington football coach's most interesting revelations involved four defensive backs.
It was lessons learned in so many different ways.
Dominique Hampton, one of the standouts of spring football, played special teams against Arkansas State, but he was notably absent from taking his regular turns on defense as a reserve safety.
The sophomore from Glendale, Arizona, apparently was serving out a team-levied, message-sending sentence for receiving a taunting call at Michigan the week before that enabled an opposing drive that was stopped to proceed and result in a touchdown.
"For our whole team, if we have some mental missteps with poise there's always going to be a price to pay," Lake said. "Now you have to earn your trust back, and when that trust is earned back, more playing time will be given."
Freshman cornerback Jacobe Covington, a reputed playmaker patiently waiting for chance to draw significant minutes, came off the bench and registered one of three sacks administered by the UW defense.
In cleanly dropping Arkansas State quarterback Layne Hatcher for an 8-yard loss, without going for blood with the hit when he could have, Covington received style points from Lake.
"That was a defensive call that we didn't rep a lot but he should know," the coach said. "For a young guy to execute that call, at that moment, and he did it perfectly, and he hit the quarterback in the strike zone, no targeting, not a late foul on the quarterback, nothing like a young player would normally make like a mistake in that moment, I was very proud of him of that."
Oklahoma transfer Bookie Radley-Hiles led all Husky tacklers with 9, including a sack of his own and a fumble recovery, as the nickelback does what he came to Washington to do.
Which was learn the defensive back position in much greater detail, which the program is reputable for.
"He's hungry, he wants it, he's really smart, he's got savvy about him about football," Lake said. "It's funny watching his eyes open when we tell him another detail, 'Well if you see this, you can do this.' He says, 'Coach, I've never heard those coaching points before,' and we have the film to back it up."
Don't tell Oklahoma he said this, but Lake, who recruited Radley-Hiles coming out of California, got a little cocky and offered this coaching pot shot, "If Bookie would have come here out of high school, just imagine where he would be right now. Can I say that? I can say that, right? He's here."
Finally, Alex Cook started at safety for the Huskies and played well, but the junior from Sacramento stood out for his second-quarter blocked punt that set up his team at the Arkansas State 28.
When the call was made, two other UW teammates were supposed to have the best opportunity to swat the kick, according to a play designed by assistant coach Keith Bhonapha from something he saw on film. Yet the lane opened for up for Cook and he took it.
"Alex Cook again just shows up," Lake said. "He shows up on kickoff and special teams. He shows up on defense. Another player that we rewarded because he shows up on a lot of tough, physical plays on special teams. [He's] playing on defense now. That's a brave player running through the line of scrimmage, foot-faking a guy and having the bravery to go down and slam a punt."
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