Alex Cook is set to lead a revamped UW Secondary. But the same standards remain.

Alex Cook is still here.

In his first five seasons at Seattle, the Sacramento native has played wide receiver (at least) before moving to safety in 2019. He has sat down, then has started. He has excelled in special teams. They have seen one coach resign, and another is hired… then fired. He has won a lot, then lost a lot.

Now, it’s time to lead.

“When I told myself I was going to come back, I said, ‘Yeah, I have to go ahead and be a leader.’ “It was really one of the main reasons I wanted to stay,” Cook said Monday, after UW’s third practice of the spring. to move) if I was not the leader in the place where I was before.

“I felt I owed UW. I owe this program to me, for showcasing my leadership skills and for being there for every single person on the team.”

So Cook is going to take the lead.

But who is he leading? And who is leading it?

In regards to the latter, Cook called new co-defensive coordinator and Safari coach Chuck Morell “one of the best friends I’ve ever met”.

As first year head coach Kallen DeBoer?

“We’ll put it this way: Coach DeBoer has never said a curse word. I’ve never heard him curse. I’ve never seen him raise a voice,” Cook said. “He demands everyone’s attention. I don’t know how, but he grabs everyone’s attention. There’s a level of respect that everyone on the team has for him, and so was the case with the coach (Chris Peterson). Coach Pete didn’t have to raise his voice. He didn’t have to curse or anything like that.”

But back to the beginning: Who is leading Cook?

Without Trent McDuffy and Kyler Gordon and nickelback Brendan Radley-Hills, UW’s secondary suddenly looks completely different this spring. Cook, Asa Turner, Cameron Williams and Julius Irwin – all come back.

But the cornerback competition is undeniably compelling.

“It’s going to be a small space for us, but I think there’s talent in the room as well,” Morrell said last week. “I think some of them have had great off-season training sections here. I think Michelle Powell dropped out immediately. Apparently Coach DeBoer put him on a scholarship on the first day in the building, and he was very He’s been productive. He had some productive runs last year, and man, he hasn’t looked back. He’s definitely been one of those guys who’s been the leader of that group.

“I think Elijah Jackson has tremendous upside and he’s a hungry youngster who’s ready to get after that. Then Jordan Perryman grade shifted for us. He’s very experienced. Maybe right now, strength-wise. And pace-wise, he’s one of our pound-for-pound fastest and strongest players on the defensive side of the ball. I hate to take anyone out, but it’s a competitive group right now.”

To date, Powell, Perryman, Jackson and sophomore Jacoby Covington seem to be the primary contenders at cornerbacks. Last week, when asked about Powell, Corner coach Jus Brown said, “I don’t know that I’ve been around a hardworking kid in my coaching career.”

“He’s the one. There’s nothing more to say about it. Misch is the one,” Radley-Hills added after a UW pro day. “He just works so hard, and he’s disciplined. He’s a great person. He’s a great spirit to be around, a great partner, great brother. So it’s hard not to like him.”

Powell could pair well with Perryman — a 6-0, 198-pound senior and FCS All-American from UC Davis.

“We had Jimmy Smith in Colorado, who has played 12 years for the Ravens,” UC Davis coach Dan Hawkins told The Times in February. “Jimmy might have a bit more length and a bit more pace, but (Perryman) could have come out early (in the NFL draft) if he wanted.

“He’s dynamic. He can press. He’s physical enough to get up into people, even if they’re big receivers, and slap those guys. And he has ball skills when he goes after him. Told Juice when he asked me if he could play there, ‘There’s no question he can play there.'”

Added Cook about Perryman: “This dude is as physical as it can be. He’s big as hell, sorry my language. His personality fits the team perfectly. Once we get rolling, you’ll see him. Breakout season is about to happen.”

So, too, could be a collection of cornerbacks who have yet to produce at Pac-12 level. Junior Dominic Hampton and sophomore Kamren Fabiculanen continue to compete in hybrid nickel/linebacker “Husky” status, while a veteran safety has also made significant strides.

“Man, Asa has been on a mission since the end of the season,” Cook said of Asa Turner, 6-3, 200-pound junior. “Asa was the (top) lifter of the whole winter competition. I hate to admit it, but he’s the first and last one here.

“I usually try to do that, but Asa usually beats me here, and he’s always the last one here. If you come back here in seven hours, he’ll still be here, working. That just says a lot about him. Everyone notices it. It is visible in the film. He has a bright future.”

It is unclear whether the future of UW Secondary is as bright as its immediate past. Nine defensive backs were drafted into the Jimmy Lake Era, and McDuffy and Gordon will add to that legacy later this month. UW ranked first nationally in both the passing defense (142.9 yards allowed per game) and opponent yards per pass attempt (5.4) last fall.

True, Lake recruited and developed those players; He oversaw their success.

But Cook insists that the standard goes beyond any coaching staff.

“As a DB entity, we always said to ourselves, ‘It doesn’t matter who’s coaching us, who’s in the offices. We’re going to hold the same standards,'” he said. “The standards we set were not created by the coaches. They were set by the players, and that’s something we take to heart. That’s what we talk about, we preach , and that’s something we practice every single day.”

extra point

  • Having moved from left guard this offseason, 6-6, 344-pound junior Ulumu Ali is working to position himself in the middle of UW’s defensive line. “He’s going to be a big nose, try to be a guy who can catch the point and give us what he can,” defensive line coach Enoch Brechterfield said on Monday. “It’s his third exercise, and he’s shown some stuff. He’s got some twitching. He’s got to figure out his role to figure out how many reps he can go. He’s got to get in better shape, and he’s got to lose a little bit of weight. He is around 345 right now. I want him at 330. But we don’t play until September and he needs that time to work himself as a defensive lineman, size wise.”

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