The Saint Mary’s Huskies’ defence wasn’t built in a day, a week or a month. But a year might have done the trick.

Despite some ups and downs early in the Atlantic University Sport football season, the Huskies have had one constant — strong defensive play — and the players chalk it up to a full year working with defensive coordinator Dan Laramee.

Laramee replaced Mike McLean at the start of last season.

“We went through that growing phase last year,” said defensive lineman Dan Schutte.

“A lot of guys stuck around and got their heads into it over the summer and the system is just second nature to us now. No thinking, just reacting.”

The run defence has been stout, allowing only 129 yards and a touchdown through two games, second in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The pass defence isn’t far behind, sixth in the country with just 336 yards and two touchdowns allowed.

The Huskies were no slouch last season — fourth in passing and ninth in rushing — but the comfort level is higher now.

“As anybody will tell you on our defence it was a big transition,” said third-year linebacker Leroy Fontaine. “Coach Laramee’s defence is much more sophisticated than before ... Everything has a reason to it instead of going out and just running around. It’s systematically attacking every play.”

Huskies head coach Steve Sumarah hasn’t dished out much praise to his team through two weeks after a loss to St. Francis Xavier and a win over Acadia. But he has consistently commended the play of his defence.

Its continued emergence will be a key in interlock play and in the playoffs if the Huskies expect to go anywhere.