The point of discussion Tuesday among the defensive folks was how to handle Illinois quarterback Nate Scheelhaase.
In his first two games, Scheelhaase has completed 74 percent of his passes. Washington wants to cage him in.
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox said a priority for the Huskies is to make Scheelhaase uncomfortable by surrounding him. Sacks are a shiny stat, but Wilcox wants to be sure to disrupt a quarterback who has been in a maximum rhythm.
“Their win just reaffirmed the things we were thinking,” Wilcox said. “Their quarterback is very efficient, completes a lot of passes, had a lot of guys making explosive plays for him.
“Obviously a fast team, their quarterback is a heck of a football player, have a big O-line, and give you every formation, motion, personnel group that there is.”
That all starts with Scheelhaase, who completed passes to 11 receivers in Saturday’s 45-17 drubbing of Cincinnati by the Illini. He’s been able to scramble out of trouble to complete a pass or keep a drive alive during 3rd-down-and-short situations.
Wilcox said Washington wants to “affect” the quarterback by keeping him in the “cage.” That means reducing his ability to step up or get out of the pocket, making his feet uncomfortable and making him throw into tight windows.