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Picks King leads improving Washington defense

As Captain Obvious might say, "if you hold the other team scoreless, you like your chances of winning a college football game." The Washington Husky defense has pitched a shutout for six consecutive quarters, but is still a work in progress.

Part of the success formula has been a talented, improving secondary. Switching lanky safety Kevin King to cornerback has also paid dividends, leading the team with two interceptions in two games.

At 6-3 King fits the new 'Richard Sherman' type tall corners, using height and jumping ability to negate the speed and quickness of smaller receivers.

"It definitely gives me a huge advantage. I'm long and if a guy has a step on me that's not really having a step," King explained. "Jamming guys at the line with my long reach means they can't get their arms on me as much as I can get on them."

The San Leandro, California product spent his first two Husky football seasons at the safety position. He was approached by UW defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake about the switch to corner after the Cactus Bowl.

"He said we're gonna try you at corner because that was my natural position in high school. I was pretty excited about it because that's what I've done my whole life, said King."

Coach Lake has witnessed steady growth and confidence from Kevin.

"It would be harder to go from corner back to safety. He went from safety to corner and really knew what the job was of both the corners, the nickel, and the wil linebacker," said coach Lake. "Now it's just the technique part of it. He's grown and has a ways to go, but I really like the path he's on right now."

Safety Budda Baker says King's length along with very tall Huskies linebackers has decreased the space for opposing quarterbacks to find their targets.

"The window gets real tight. Kevin King is 6-3. We have Azeem Victor who's over 6-4 and Cory Littleton is over six feet. It gets real small for quarterbacks and that means we could get more picks," Baker said.

The Husky defense has faced predominantly pocket passers from Boise State and Sacramento State. This Saturday the Dawgs look at multi-dimensional Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton. The Aggies senior QB completed 22-of-35 passes with two touchdowns, and also led his team in rushing with 46 yards in a loss at #24 Utah.

Kevin King is aware of the dual-threat quarterback, and knows shutting out the opponent is not a given.

"As a defense in these first two games we've proved we can hold people out. Just because it was a shutout doesn't mean it's a perfect game. There's a lot of things we need to tighten up, me personally and as a unit. Hopefully when Saturday comes, we'll be even better."

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Washington suffered a blow to its secondary when freshman corner back Austin Joyner suffered a season-ending knee injury. At home, the Huskies open the week as five point favorites against Utah State. Kickoff is 2 p.m. on your home for the Huskies, KOMO AM 1000/ 97.7 FM.

The September 26th home game against California will also be a 2 p.m. start.
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