Rick Neuheisel quotes - 4/3

Here's what Washington's head football coach had to say to the media after Thursday's opening day of spring football. It was a upbeat two hour-plus workout in cold temperatures at Husky Stadium.

On Nate Robinson: "Nate decided to dedicate his attentions to basketball. We wish him well. Football is not a game where you can be halfway in. It's a game that requires absolute commitment and so we wish Nate and the basketball team all the best. Nate is a unique athlete, but you can't take a year off and say that you are coming back. What Michael Jordan did in basketball I'm not sure there are many guys doing that in football."

More on Robinson: I don't know that we saw enough of Nate to know what we are going to miss. Certainly we were infatuated with his energy. I thought that he was very fun to have on the ball club but this is a game that you've got to love to play.

On the defensive secondary: This is exciting for us. This is the first time we've had Roc Alexander and Derrick Johnson healthy at the same time (during spring) since their freshman season. It's pretty exciting to have those two guys. They both ran 4.3 40-yard dashes or better at the pro timing day. I think we've got gifted players. Certainly Chris Massey brings experience and Matt Fountaine is an exciting young player so we've got enough to coach.

On the first day of spring practice: I was encouraged by the enthusiasm. Our guys enjoyed being out there. There wasn't anybody complaining about the weather or the elements or anything like that. I think our team likes each other, so I'm very enthusiastic about what we can accomplish as a football team. The attitude feels good and I'm anxious to see how we'll continue to progress. Saturday will be the first day that we'll be in pads, and we'll get out there and hopefully look like an eager bunch.

On his feelings of the 2003 team: I think I always feel good at this time of year based on the work and the offseason. I can't tell you I feel much differently, but I can say that I do like our enthusiasm. The thing I like best about this team is that it likes each other. There are very few cliques and everybody gets along pretty well.

On the two junior college players, Mike Mapu and John Lyon: I feel good about both of them. Both are eager, both are ready and willing and excited to be here.

On Lyon: I think he runs the ball well and catches the ball well, and he's going to be a good player for us. I'm excited for us.

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