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Coordinators Corner: Coach Carleton on the defense

Yesterday before Spring Camp started, we had an opportunity to sit down with all three Coordinators to discuss their goals with Spring Camp. With all of the news from the Dogs’ Breakfast and the CFL draft, we are going to post all three Coordinators Corner interview today. First up, Defense, with Ed Carlton.

Ed Carleton and the rest of the defensive coaches are looking forward to seeing some of the younger Huskies at Spring Camp (Steve Hiscock for Liam Richards Photography)

The Huskies Defense is the strongest unit of the team heading into Spring Camp. They have more veterans than the offense or special teams. The defensive line and secondary have a lot of returning players, but the linebackers will be relying on some younger players to step in and fill some gaps.

Carleton and the defensive coaches met several times over the winter to plan the season and do self scouting, with the frequency of meetings increasing as Spring Camp approached.

“It’s always important to get the coaches together and get the practices planned out,” Carleton said. “We meet with the offense and defense coaches together as well so we are all inserting things that the other unit can be prepared for, like blitz packages and blitz protection.”

“This gives us a better chance to look at all of the players,” he added. “We are going to have over 100 players at camp and we want to give them the best look that we can, so we have to make sure that they are all prepared and able to handle different situations on the field.”

“We are going to miss a few players who have graduated or moved on,” said Carleton. “Guys like Steven Kovach in the middle of the line and linebackers Tony Michalchuk, Nicco Higgs and even Tommy Lynch who was only with us for a year. But we have some young linebackers who are ready to step in and get some playing time this year.”

“We are fortunate to have a good group of veterans and young guys this year,” said Carleton. “We’ve added some good-looking recruits. We are excited to see some of these guys and figure out where they are going to fit in.”

“At linebacker, we are really looking forward to seeing how Dane Bishop is doing,” said Carleton. Bishop missed last season with an injury, but appears to be on the verge of a breakthrough season as he is fully recovered.

“He’s a real smart player and looked good in the winter,” Carleton added. “I think he is real close to playing. We also have Jordan Hilgers from Humboldt who is getting better physically and Jacques Geyer from Moose Jaw and and David Craig-Penner from Regina who are young players but will have to step up and will by pushing for playing time this year.”

“We really look forward to giving some of these young payers some playing time,” said Carleton.

“Our secondary has some kids who have been around here for a few years who are ready to take that next step,” Carleton said about the defensive backs. “Andrew Abbs played a bit last year and looks like he is improving. We’ve got some great athletes in the secondary and some good junior transfers and recruits so that should be a pretty good unit this year.”

“We’ve seen a lot of the defensive guys in the gym and at our winter workouts,” added Carleton. “We see them working hard. It’s great to see the younger guys start to fill out physically and the way their muscularity improves over time. The main thing were are excited to see is how that translates on to the field at Spring Camp. So, in that way, we are ready and really excited to see what happens this weekend.”

Spring Camp continues tonight at 5:00.

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