Rick Neuheisel notes and quotes - 4/14

Monday evening, Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel addressed the press and went over a variety of subjects, including his thoughts on Saturday's scrimmage after watching the tape, injury updates on a number of players, and also a peek into a new conditioning drill brought in by Phil Snow

On Kenny James' right knee injury suffered in Saturday's scrimmage: It's as we anticipated, it's a sprained MCL. He should be fine by the latter half of May. He's in good spirits, it's just a shame that he's going to miss the rest of the spring.

On limiting Donny Mateaki to non-contact drills: We are just being careful (due to a sore shoulder). We will have him reevaluated here tomorrow to see where we are at.

On Jordan Reffett's injury from the scrimmage: He has soreness (in his right knee). I don't think it's anything significant.

On whether the injured players will play in Friday's scrimmage: I'm hopeful that Reffett will. We are going to wait and see with Mateaki.

On where Tui Alailefaleula will play: He'll stay on defense. Josh Miller is a little bit of question mark. We are going to have a specialist look at it this week and see if we can get some more information.

On where team needs to improve: I like the intensity and physical nature of the team. Now I think we just need to know what we are doing a little bit more. We need to be more assignment conscience. I'm basically looking for more concentration, and the other thing that we are going to do now in the next week or so is probably add a few more things.

On Saturday's scrimmage: In general there was good intensity, there was good crispness to the scrimmage. It was certainly obvious at times that it was the first scrimmage for a lot of guys. They have now a baseline from which to grow.

On a new policy this spring: We did a conditioning drill at the end of practice for all the times we felt there was a lack of effort - whether it be on defense chasing a ball down from the back side or on offense finishing a play - just as a reminder that we are going to set a standard that is very high in terms of what we are expecting from each player on every play. We aren't just going to do it for window dressing, we've got to hold them to that standard. Hopefully that sends a loud and clear message this afternoon.

On what's been done in the past, and who came up with the new idea: We've written them down and chastised them about it, but not as a team. We are trying to preach accountability - one for all, all for one. So we are adding that to the repertoire. In the past we would single out people and make sure you were dealing with them but now we are dealing with it more as a team. This is a staff idea. Phil Snow thought it really helped the defenses he's been around, and we've done it before on offense. I think it will fit well with what we are trying to get done from an attitude standpoint.

On the emerging Junior Coffin: First of all, it's been a very pleasant surprise that he's been able to compete because of the shoulder situation he had in the fall. That's a great tribute to him in terms of the rehab and all the work he's put in to get to this point. Second of all he's a very bright young man and has been able to utilize that to get to places where he is going to be an effective football player. What he may lack in 40-speed he makes up for great intuitiveness as it pertains to playing on the front.

On the defensive secondary: Just a ways to go. I think we've got athletes to play the position. I was pleased to see Jimmy Newell make a great play today on the back end. Derrick Johnson and Chris Massey both played really well in the scrimmage. We've got to get Roc (Alexander) back playing confident. He played hurt for so many games that he developed some habits that we've got to break him of. He's got to realize he's got to be broken up. He can't not allow himself to be coached. He has a good attitude and I'm hopeful that that can happen because he's blessed with such unique ability.

On Isaiah Stanback's performance on Saturday: It's a hard position to play. So many times your strengths are your weaknesses. He's got such gifted legs that sometimes he was looking around just for a place to use his legs instead of keeping his eyes downfield to make his reads. Its not uncommon. Even for a guy who ran a much slower 40-time back in my day (referring to himself), I got caught looking at a few defensive line stunts while playing early in my career too. I anticipate that he'll improve rather rapidly.

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