Martinez ready for the road

Going to Washington with a freshman quarterback and a first-year starter at center might not necessarily be ideal. But it's what the coaches have been preparing for as they ready for the road trip to Washington. But as you will read from today's notes, Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson says this team will have something that will help them on the road much more than they had last season.

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Shawn Watson spoke to the media after practice today. This is a basic summary of what he had to say:

  • On Taylor Martinez' ability to handle the ball in the zone read and the option being something the coaches saw in him right away: "I think he does an exceptional job of it. He's learned how to manage the footwork part of it, because that's what really sets the bait for the read. And he does a real nice job of it. The key to that is his footwork. If the footwork is right, the ball handling is pretty easy. He seemed to be pretty natural at it."
  • On preparing a redshirt freshman for first road start in tough environment like Washington: "You work on it daily. We work on it every day. Dealing with noise. Dealing with the environment that you can get in - an end zone where it's closed and their fans are at, the noise level and communication. Those are the big things we have worked on with him."
  • On his demeanor being a major asset for this time of environment: "He's just a cool customer. He doesn't get wound up about it. He's been in big games in his arena in high school before, and I know this (college) is a totally different arena, but I think he had the same demeanor then. He's got confidence, and that's part of what he does really well."
  • On his progression as a QB: "He's come a long way in terms of a lot of different areas. i am just impressed with his management overall. His demeanor has been very calm, cool, collected. Something big will happen and he's the same way as he is when he is doing something he's supposed to do."
  • On addressing the turnovers: "We do it every week. We take care of it as a unit. Then we take care individually as coaches. It's not tolerated. We always work on it. We just work on it harder."
  • On Washington's defense: "You can see a big transition in a year. They've come a long way in terms of their overall scheme understanding. They play with hot motors. They get to the football. They are a good pursuit defense. A year ago where they might have been feeling around a little bit, still learning, not for sure - this year they are a veteran group that knows. So, there's a big difference in just the speed they play at."
  • Comparing their offense to USC's: "Very similar. Very, very similar."
  • Using that history with USC as a reference: "You can see some similarities, but like everything, offensively-defensively, you evolve. But there are similarities. And there are similarities not only in style, but similarities in scheme. So, you can recall back. But there are changes along the way though."
  • On familiarity with Washington's stadium: "I have been there before. It's a tough place to play. It's a different place to play. It's a beautiful place to play. It's a pretty neat environment. It's a loud stadium. That's what i remember most about it - how loud it was."
  • Taylor throwing the deep ball: "He's good. He's real good. In practice he threads the needle. He did some really good things yesterday and today throwing the ball down the field. He's got a great trigger and he's very accurate throwing the ball down the field. He's as good as I have coached at throwing the ball deep."
  • On Mike Caputo and challenges a center will face in a stadium like Washington's: "Communication issues are always a concern when you are playing on the road, especially a place like this. So, he's going to have to do a great job, not only making line calls and getting those echoed, but also the other thing is being able to snap the ball. whatever cadence we are working with."
  • On how he has looked in the first two games: "He's looked great. I think he was awesome this last game. He was really good. He was physical. He was assignment sound. He's got a great motor. He's a guy that finishes. He was really impressive this last game."
  • On Sirles' maturity: "It helps him a lot. How many redshirt freshmen play both tackles? He's been assignment sound. He needs technique - things he needs to work on, but he's not been too bad there either."
  • On experience helping with road game: "It's big. It's huge. These guys have been there before and been in loud stadiums and know how to communicate."
  • On Taylor's quick release: "That's one of the things he does well. He's really quick with his feet. He's really quick with his release. He's got NFL quickness in his trigger. He's fast. That ball gets out of his hand in a second."

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