Can Will Shamburger Stay in the Starting Lineup for Washington Huskies in 2013?

Joe Nicholson – USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Huskies came into spring practice looking for a free safety to step up and take hold of the position heading into the fall. Fifth-year senior Will Shamburger was the obvious favorite as the most experienced player coming back in the secondary. As summer workouts get started, however, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox isn’t ready to name a starter and says he likely won’t be ready to decide until well into fall camp. Should Shamburger be worried about his position with the defense?

It wouldn’t be the first time that Shamburger let the starting job slip through his fingers. Last season, he started the year as the starting safety before yielding the job to Justin Glenn. Shamburger would finish the year with just 21 tackles, never recording more than three tackles in a game during the regular season. Wilcox eventually turned the starting job over to Glenn who finished fourth on the team with 76 tackles.

And Wilcox doesn’t seem any more sold on Shamburger’s ability to hold down the free safety position in 2013. Spring practice was the senior’s opportunity to close the door on the competition and enter his final season as the guy at the back end of the defense. Now, it’s an open competition in the fall and Shamburger will have to fight to stay on the field. Other members of the secondary, like Tre Watson, Brandon Beaver, Trevor Walker and Taz Stevenson will now be given every opportunity to win the job.

That could spell trouble for Shamburger and his aspirations as a starter during his senior season. He will still have a role in the defensive rotation one way or the other, but is there any way he can figure things out and seize control of the starter job next fall?

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