UW’s pass defense a surprise plus this year

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, September 26, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By JOHN SLEEPER

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – A lot of individual factors are giving the Huskies a startlingly better pass rush than they had last season.

Beter coverage in the secondary and better push up front is forcing pass protection to break down. The Huskies have 12 sacks so far this season, just one fewer than they had all of last year.

“Guys are just getting off quicker,” UW defensive coordinator Tim Hundley said. “We’re getting better push from the inside guys. If there’s no push, all you do is step off, and the outside guys can never get a sack.”

Corners Anthony Vontoure and Omare Lowe also are providing better pass coverage than the Huskies had last season, forcing the quarterback to hold onto the ball longer.

Defensive tackle Larry Tripplett’s three sacks against Colorado equaled the number 1999 sack leader Mac Tuiaea had all last season.

“It’s been great,” Tripplett said. “When I’m bearing down on a guy, all I’m saying is, ‘Don’t throw it; don’t throw it.’ Lately, I’ve been getting to him.”

Tripplett leads the Huskies with five sacks; linebacker Derrell Daniels has three.

  • Tailback rotation: Don’t expect any changes in the Huskies’ four-man rotation at tailback until someone breaks out from the crowd. Neuheisel has given time to Paul Arnold, Braxton Cleman, Willie Hurst and Rich Alexis in each of Washington’s four games.

    While it has been effective in some respects – the Huskies lead the Pacific-10 Conference in rushing at 190.7 yards a game – Neuheisel prefers what he calls “a hot back” to carry the load almost exclusively.

    Now, he said, he will rely on running backs coach Wayne Moses for assessment.

    “I don’t see any reason to deviate from where we are,” Neuheisel said.

    Among the tailbacks, none has more than 27 carries or fewer than nine.

  • Stevens case: The King County Prosecutor’s office said Jerramy Stevens’ sexual assault case still is under review and that no action is expected this week.

  • Short routes: Tackle Chad Ward missed practice Tuesday because of an eye infection. Apparently, a speck of dirt found its way under a contact lens and triggered it. He is expected to be back today … Tackle Wes Call was absent from practice Tuesday because he went to his 6-month-old niece’s funeral. It is not known whether Call will be back today … Under Neuheisel, the Huskies are 9-0 when they have more time of possession than their opponent, 1-5 when they don’t. Last year, they led the conference in time of possession with an average of 32:57 a game.

    The Oregon-Washington game will be a sellout. The last of the University of Oregon student tickets were sold Monday and standing-room-only tickets were sold out weeks ago … In the Ducks’ 17-game win streak at Autzen Stadium, they have scored 42 points or more nine times … The UO offensive line has allowed just four sacks in the Ducks’ four games. On the other side of the ball, opponents are completing just 37.5 percent of their passes against the Oregon defense.

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