The Huskie defense played a pretty good second half against the Windsor Lancers, but they came out and really struggled early in the game. Given the veteran talent on this unit, the first half performance was a surprise and disappointment. We caught up with several members of the defense, along with defensive coordinator Ed Carleton, after the game.
“We’ve got a few things to fix,” stated Coach Carleton. “You’re not very happy when your first unit gives up a 70 yard screen. We’ve got to get some guys in the right place. We were better in the second half after we saw what they were doing, but it shouldn’t have been any different at the start. That is something we’ve got to fix, and we need to play a little smarter.” On a more positive note, Coach Carleton was pleased with the play of his freshmen recruits in the second half. “We played through depth and got to see a lot of kids play. We had 8 or 9 kids, fresh out of high school, play in the second half, and they did a good job.”
The first half performance of the defensive line was, perhaps, the most puzzling part of Friday’s game. This unit is expected by many to be the biggest strength of the Huskies’ team. “There are a lot of kinks that we need to work out,” defensive tackle, Steve Kovach, stated shortly after the game. “The intensity could have been a little better. Credit goes to Windsor too. They had a good tailback in there. They were a good team and they came in to compete.”
Another defensive tackle, David Rybinski, echoed much of what Kovach had to say. “We definitely had a few things to work out early in the game. Once we did that, our energy and level of play picked up. That’s what we need to establish early in the game so that we get that effort for four quarters. We made a few mental errors too. Windsor deserves some credit as well. They came in here and put up a good fight.”
Huskie safety, Bryce McCall, added a little more about the play of Windsor’s offense. “They did a lot of good things and they’re a good team. They ran the ball really well. They had a great tailback, and they put us in some real situations. You’ve got to be able to play that zone option, and if you don’t they’ll beat you with it. We’ve got to come back and rebound. We didn’t look like a veteran defense. There are a lot of things to fix.”
The Huskies will now embark on their Canada West season, beginning next Friday vs. Alberta. The Dogs found some areas where they need to improve; that’s one of the main reasons for playing a preseason game. Bryce McCall summed it up best: “We’re going to become better from this experience.”