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Dogs’ defense delivers shutout

Coming into the season, the Huskies’ defense was expected by most people to lead the way for the team in 2012. Judging from their performace on Friday night, the unit did nothing to dispel that notion. The Dogs delivered a fierce pass rush, were stingy against the run, and made a couple of turnovers in the secondary. Following the game, Huskie Outsider spoke with Richard Zacharius, David Rybinski, and Zach Hart about the defense’s strong effort.

Richard Zacharius breaks up a pass vs. Alberta (photo Derek Mortenson for Electric Umbrella)

“I thought we played with a lot of emotion,” remarked Richard Zacharius, a starting linebacker in his first season with the Huskies. “We were making hits and we were all on the same page. It was a great night for the defense.” Zacharius spoke of the effect of the Huskies being more physical on this night than they were in their non-conference game. “I think it gave us more energy, and that helped propel us towards a win.” Richard was asked if the potential shutout became important to the defense as they entered the fourth quarter. “Absolutely, we think about that,” he replied. “We want to send a message to the rest of the league, and prove to ourselves that we can execute for 4 quarters.”

Fifth year defensive tackle, David Rybinski, was equally pleased with the effort on Friday, but he exercised caution in becoming too overconfident, and being ready for a tough Manitoba Bison team next weekend. “It was great to see us flying around out there. Several players were able to come in late in the game, as well, and make some huge plays; I think Ben Rush had a hat trick with 3 sacks, and Travoy made a lot of plays. We’re definitely keeping in mind, though, that Alberta was a young team on offense, although they were very skilled. Next week, we’ll need to get a little bit better in our executions.” Rybinski echoed Zacharius’ statements on preserving the shutout: “It was huge for us, and we focused on it.”

Zach Hart with a QB sack (photo Liam Richards for Electric Umbrella)

“We came ready to play,” stated 4th year defensive tackle, Zach Hart. “The crowd also helped. We had a packed house, and they were loud – it was exciting for everybody.” While the shutout was important to Hart, he found the effort and execution to be the most important part of the defense’s performance. “The more important thing was that we maintained 100% effort to the ball; we need to keep doing that, keep doing what we’re supposed to do, and not freelance.”

As David Rybinski noted, the defense will face a tougher test, next week, when they go up against a Bison team that racked up 432 yards offense against UBC. Despite the lopsided win over Alberta, there is still a belief among CanWest coaches and followers that the Huskies are not a very strong team. In fact, during the live telecast of the Calgary/Regina game, the play-by-play announcer suggested that the Huskies’ #8 national ranking was because of the strength of the program’s history, as opposed to the capability of the 2012 team . It will be up to the Huskies to prove the naysayers wrong.