UW standout safety Budda Baker is going through concussion protocol after taking a "friendly fire" hit against Utah. Elijah Qualls sat out against Utah with an ankle injury.
After taking a “friendly fire” hit from fellow safety Jojo McIntosh on Saturday, Washington sophomore safety Budda Baker remains in concussion protocol this week. His availability for Saturday’s game at Arizona State likely won’t be determined until later in the week.
“I’m sure that’s extremely tough for him,” UW defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said Tuesday. “But knowing him, I know he’ll do everything in his power to make sure he’s ready to go for this weekend.”
On Sunday, Baker sent out a two-word tweet — “Friendly Fire” — in reference to the accidental hit he took from McIntosh, UW’s redshirt freshman safety. McIntosh has quickly established a reputation as the Huskies’ hardest hitter in the defensive secondary.
“That’s a term we use. The guys play really, extremely hard and we’re all attacking the football,” Lake said. “So when you’re around the football and you get hit by your own teammate, we call that friendly fire. Especially when Jojo’s coming to the pile, you’d better know where Jojo’s at.”
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Baker missed most of two games earlier this season with an ankle injury. That Baker didn’t miss more time because of the ankle was “an unbelievable recovery,” Lake said last month, calling Baker “one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around, that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach. … He is definitely a different football player, in a great way.”
UW’s starting nickelback Kevin King has been hobbled by a leg injury in recent weeks, and the Huskies weren’t counting on him to play much vs. Utah. Instead, after Baker’s injury, King played most of the game at nickel, with McIntosh taking over for Baker at free safety.
“Budda’s obviously a big-time playmaker for us,” Lake said, “but Kevin King wasn’t supposed to play very much. So he came right in and two weeks in a row now, Jojo McIntosh has played off the charts. He’s really stepped in (and played) a huge role for us.”
The Huskies also played against Utah without starting nose tackle Elijah Qualls, who injured his ankle on the opening drive against Arizona on Oct. 31. UW coach Chris Petersen said Monday that he was “encouraged” by the prognosis of Baker, Qualls and freshman left tackle Trey Adams (leg).