Dawgman Insider Blog: March 2011

Washington's second practice of the spring was met with blustery and rainy conditions, but that didn't stop the team from getting in a brisk two-hour workout. Some youngsters started to show up and the quarterbacks -- Keith Price and Nick Montana -- continued their battle for the starting job. Deontae Cooper and Colin Porter also talked about practice and where they are at so far this spring.

Posted by Chris Fetters
10:30 pm

Colin Porter Thursday Quotes

On how he's feeling: "Faster, strong, mentally stronger. I'm at 320 right now and I played at 307 last season. I feel great right now. I'm not any slower and I'm stronger. I'd probably like to be around 318 or so, so just a couple of pounds to work off."

On the offseason with Ivan Lewis: "It was good. I just got a lot stronger, a lot faster, my agility and flexability is better and my feet are better, so all around my game got better. I'm more of a football player now."

On when he started feeling comfortable last year: "Probably the Washington State game. The week up to WSU I felt a lot better, like I was getting my stuff down. Against Cal, I had a really mediocre game and coach Cozzetto told me what I needed to work on – my pad level was the biggest thing – and I felt like once I got my pad level where it needed to be it boosted my confidence and when that happens, you start playing better, more confidently, and sometimes it just takes a little thing like that to boost your confidence and change your whole game."

On the WSU game: "It was a huge confidence-builder for me. I felt like I played pretty well, I didn't have too many assignment errors and it was a really big game for me and the team and where it was going. It was a big confidence booster for me and for us."

On Cozzetto: "He's spending a lot of time coaching the younger guys, the redshirts, right now, because last year they didn't get a lot of experience so he's coaching them up a little more right now. I feels awesome to have coach Cozzetto yelling at us. It's football again, getting the pads on is more fun than the offseason stuff."

Posted by Chris Fetters
10:25 pm

Deontae Cooper Thursday Quotes

On where he's at right now: "I'd say about 85, 90. There's no doubt, no doubt I'll be ready for the season."

On wearing the knee brace: "I don't like it, but if it's going to keep me safe then I'll wear it. I've been talking to my doctor about taking it off before the season. It's not slowing me down, but like I said, if it's going to protect me then I'm going to wear it."

On thinking about the brace/injury: "I can't be. I try not to think about it. I try to move forward and I'm just trying to get over it."

On what he's focusing on: "Getting my speed back. I feel like my straight-line speed is coming back, but I'm not playing as fast quite yet."

On whether feels pressure to get in there with Callier and Polk playing well: "I don't really feel the pressure other than me just wanting to get back out there and play. I'm just looking forward to getting back and being able to compete."

Posted by Chris Fetters
8:50 pm

Thursday Practice Report

It was a blustery day at Husky Stadium for Washington's second spring practice, and of course that caused havoc with the quarterbacks and receivers. But the tight ends started getting themselves integrated more for really the first time since Steve Sarkisian took over at UW - and chiefly because he now has at least three legitimate, and different, types of tight ends to use.

Marlion Barnett, Michael Hartvigson, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, all worked here and there with the No. 1 and No. 2 offensive units Thursday, and it made sense to work more on the shorter passing game, as the swirling winds around Montlake made the intermediate to deep throws nearly a crapshoot.

Seferian-Jenkins, the true frosh from Gig Harbor, set the tone for the group with a nice sliding catch during one of the early periods. In that same period, Hartvigson came up with a sprawling reception, one where he ended up doing two somersaults after securing the pass. And last, but certainly not least - Barnett came up with his own sliding catch later on in practice. All three had very productive days.

And the receivers, when they did have difficulty hanging onto passes, did the intangibles to get themselves noticed. James Johnson, for instance, ran full-sprint downfield to make sure he could get in front of Jesse Callier and Zach Fogerson when the two got into open field. Johnson did his best to act as a caravan for the RB's. He also caught a 30-yard pass from Keith Price to round out a solid day.

Price again seemed to have the upper hand in what has already become a close QB battle with Nick Montana. Montana appeared to have the one turnover again - a fumble recovered by Andrew Hudson - but overall it looked like both quarterbacks threw the ball with confidence. They both struggled a bit when it came to putting the ball right on the money during the periods when the receivers and tight ends would go up against the linebackers and safeties.

The running backs, especially Chris Polk and Jesse Callier, looked great. They have done some great work in the off-season to get themselves ready for spring, and it shows. Polk looks powerful going through the line, but then cuts it into another gear when he gets clear. Same with Callier, although he's not quite as fast as Polk.

Deontae Cooper is running at about 75-80 percent right now, but still looks smooth and fast. He's wearing a knee brace, but it's not the same kind as the linemen use. Will Mahan, on the other hand, is wearing a lineman's brace.

Speaking of Cooper, he was also being looked at during the return period for special teams. Sean Parker was the only player it appeared that worked out with both the punt return and the kick return unit. Joining Cooper and Parker at kick return were Desmond Trufant and Jesse Callier. Kevin Smith, Devin Aguilar, Willis Wilson, Johri Fogerson and Cody Bruns all fielded punts.

Watching the lineman one-on-one drills, all the offensive linemen looked to have decent days, but those that worked out at right tackle - Erik Kohler, Ben Riva and Skyler Fancher - all had issues with the incoming pass rush. Kohler, who also took some reps at left guard, looked very solid inside, but struggled to handle the speed of rushers like Hauoli Jamora, Andrew Hudson and Josh Shirley. On the other side, it was a different story. Senio Kelemete and Micah Hatchie had their end on lock-down. Kelemete man-handled Shirley, while Jamora and Hatchie had a couple great battles, but it wasn't all great for the redshirt frosh from Hawaii. When he had a false start, he had to run around the field to make up for his mistake. Drew Shaefer had his hands full with Alameda Ta'amu, but held his own, while Sione Potoae duked it out with both Colin Porter and Michael Criste, with each side winning their share. Dan Kanczugowski looked really good inside against Lawrence Lagafuaina and Chris Robinson.

Porter also took some snaps at center, and clearly looked the part from a physical standpoint. Now all that needs to happen is for Porter to get familiar with the communication side of things. He's a bit green on that, and understandably so.

The first OL still appeared to be Kelemete, Tanigawa, Schaefer, Porter and Kohler. The second OL was Hatchie, Criste, Kanczugowski, Atoe and Fancher. On defense, the first DL looked like Jamora, Potoae, Ta'amu and Thompson. The second DL looked like Hudson, Lagafuaina, Galbraith and Shirley.

At linebacker, Garret Gilliland was the No. 1 WIL Thursday, backed up by Thomas Tutogi. Cort Dennison was backed up by Tim Tucker at the MIK, and Jamaal Kearse was backed up by John Timu at the SAM. Jordan Wallace was also in there at WIL, and there were a lot of different permutations to these lineups, as the coaches are trying to collect as much film as they can to see where they can be the most effective.

In the secondary, Desmond Trufant was backed up by Gregory Ducre, and Quinton Richardson was backed up by Anthony Gobern. Sean Parker was backed up by Will Shamburger at the FS spot, while Justin Glenn backed up Nate Fellner at the SS position.
Seeing red: Deontae Cooper, Princeton Fuimaono, Taz Stevenson, Cooper Pelluer, Will Mahan, and Greg Ducre were all in red today.

Recruits in the House: Dorion Barnett (Marlion Barnett's younger brother), Jason Thompson (Everrette Thompson's younger brother), Dexter Charles, Keivarae Russell and Nathan Dean were all spotted at practice.

Former players seen: Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and D'Andre Goodwin were both watching practice Thursday.

Posted by Chris Fetters
8:50 pm

Sarkisian Thursday Quotes

On Garret Gilliland: "He's a smart kid. He's really bright, with a high football IQ. He's tough. He's not afraid of contact. And that's what we like about him. He's got good movement. He can understand how blocks come, how they don't come, how he can avoid it. But then he's got the courage to take them on head-on when he needs to. So he provides a lot. It's a good battle for him."

On the benefits of learning he's starting against Nebraska a few days out: "A benefit? I don't think there's a benefit to that. The experience for him was valuable. By no means was he perfect, but just the opportunity to play in that game and get that experience against a big, physical front, there are some lessons from that game that he'll take with him, he'll carry with him for a long, long time. And plus, he's got a great story to tell when he's older."

On who jumped out: "Oh, boy. Geez, you always ask me this. Cort Dennison had a good day, for sure. Really in tune to what we're doing defensively. He was around the football, fast to the ball. I thought Fellner had a nice day on the back end, just being right. Sometimes it's hard, not in pads to make real breaks on the ball, but he just looked right to me. I think Senio was good at left tackle, just first thought that came to me. Jermaine seemed to kind of spark up today; he caught five, six, seven balls. Those are the guys who jumped out at me."

On Zach Fogerson: "We're hopeful that he can become that fullback guy that has a lot of versatility to his game because Zach has that. He obviously has the ability to run the ball, he has a high football IQ, he can catch the ball, he's athletic enough to block, and he's got the courage to do it. So ideally, he can be that. But I don't want to neglect giving him carries, either. So we're giving him enough carries as a runner to see what he can do there as well."

On Saturday being a big day for hitting: "Ah, not yet. We're still in the installation process of it all. We're still teaching fundamentals and technique. We might be able to tell a little bit from a courage standpoint, but we've got a long way to go until we're really full-go, until we're really full-padded and scrimmaging and tackling and all those things. We're still in the infancy stages right now.

On Timu and Tutogi: "I like both of them, I think Tutogi is really a natural linebacker. He's got the instincts, he's on his toes, he's a downhill guy. I don't think he will be shy on Saturday when the time comes to hit. Timu, you see his athleticism, he's a beautiful athlete, he's gifted, he can change directions, he's athletic enough. But this process is a little different for him, this  is the first time ever being at this position to it may take a little longer, but we'll see.''

On what to expect Saturday: "Helmets and shoulder pads, Tuesday full pads: "I kind of like the progression part of it.''

On scrimmaging April 9: "That will be labeled a scrimmage. But as you guys know, when we go to full pads, our team periods, we get going pretty good. The whole practice won't be a scrimmage on Tuesday or Thursday but we will get after it pretty good.''

On Hartvigson: "He's 100 percent, good to go. He's been really impressive. ... Catching and blocking, just his demeanor, his presence. He looks really good to me.''

On if he could have solved the TE woes of last season if healthy: "I would like to think so. It's always easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. I would like to think he could be that. But fortunately he got his year back and he's a freshman and along with Austin we've got two really big-time tight ends that can work together and add a really different element to our offense that has been lacking for a couple of years.''

On being a lot further ahead: "I don't think it's too early say, we're a lot further along. I haven't seen this many balls go to the tight end in the first two practices in the first couple years I've been here.''

On what it would mean to get production from the tight end: "It's huge , to operate in the middle of the football field, and not only in the middle of the football field but they are massive targets, their wingspan is huge, and so those are the completions you like to get. To get easy completions, especially on first and 10, to get to second and short, and first and 10's to take care of the middle of the field so you can't just focus on the perimeter.''

On it being called more: "There are some things we are calling for them to try to assess who they are and what they are about and what we are about as an offense, and it's showing up for us.''

On having to alter things because of the lack of corner depth: "A little bit, and we'll continually have to monitor that. We're doing some things, playing some safeties at corner, and when we go to nickel we'll have a safety in that spot. We'll monitor it closely, try and minimize their overall running in practice. If you see today, the bulk of our DB's are gunners on punt teams, and we're not full running those guys. We're working on technique at the line of scrimmage, and just trying to preserve them for 15 practices, and not just worry about week one and week two."

On monitoring Trufant and Richardson: "They've played enough football to know how vital practice is for us. And that's the beauty of this schedule too, the way we go. They get a minimum of a day off between every practice to recoup and get their legs back. They want to be special. They want to be the best cornerback tandem in the Pac-10, and they are working towards that. I've respected their approach to spring so far, and I don't anticipate them changing."

On those two taking the mantle of leadership in the secondary: "I'm hesitant just to give that up to them completely, because I think Nate Fellner has played a lot of football for us the last two years. He's been productive for us. All in all, we just have quite a bit of experience out of those three guys, and it's very helpful for a Sean Parker or Taz Stevenson when they get in, knowing that they have three guys that have basically been full-time two-year starters."

On Deontae Cooper's timetable: "Fall is definitely when he gets going. I'd like to ease him back into some things as we get going. There's no need to rush him. I know what he is; it's not about courage with Deontae. I want to make sure he's healthy, but I also want to get his mind right. We'll gradually work him back, but when we're going in fall camp, he'll be full-go."

On anything left over from Pro Day: "A few teams have called. Through it all, people have been very appreciative of our organization and how we were able to handle this thing. It wasn't easy with all the media and whatnot there. But I thought guys were impressed with how our kids performed. Our guys came in prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally, and they performed. I was proud of them, and I think they were aware of the fact that our guys performed at a high level."

On his voice starting to go after just two practice: "I've got to train myself, I've got to get in shape myself. I'll be alright. I'll be ready for Saturday."

Posted by Chris Fetters
7:50 pm

Steve Sarkisian (K.Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Tuesday Practice Report

It was a bit dreary outside, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the Washington football team, as they participated in their first practice of the spring Tuesday at Husky Stadium in front of about 100 or so fans, friends and family. They worked out in shirts and shorts, as they won't be allowed to go in full pads until a week from today.

There were a few prospects on hand. 2011 UW signees Jarett Finau and Dexter Charles were there, as was 2012 big man Zach Banner. When Banner saw UW OL Coach Dan Cozzetto, he gave Cozzetto a big hug. Also there from Mullen High School in Denver, Co. - Devin Aguilar's alma mater - was 2012 QB prospect Cyler Miles. I would also be remiss not to include Nick Montana's father Joe was seen just outside the Don James Center, chatting with former UW QB Hugh Millen and watching the quarterback battle unfold with interest.

Also there was Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, as well as Mason Foster and Nate Williams. I spoke to Mason about his upcoming Senior Pro Day Wednesday at UW, and will have that story up later tonight.

All the position groups appeared well-represented despite those that were sitting out due to injury. The one group that did appear noticeably thin was the cornerback spot, where there were only five available - and that included Gregory Ducre, who was in red because of an off-season shoulder surgery.

Ducre, Cooper Pelluer, Taz Stevenson, Deontae Cooper, and Will Mahan were the players in red Tuesday. Sean Parker wore red during the final team period. There were others, like Nick Wood, Semisi Tokolahi, and Talia Crichton that were at practice but did not participate. Wood and Tokolahi walked stairs for part of practice. Senio Kelemete is apparently battling plantar faciitis, but that didn't stop him from anchoring the No. 1 left tackle spot.

The lines, as best we could tell, looked like this:
No. 1 OL (from left tackle to right tackle): Kelemete, Tanigawa, Schaefer, Porter, and Kohler
No. 2 OL (from left tackle to right tackle): Hatchie, Criste, Kanczugowski, Atoe, and Fancher

Ben Riva also spent time mixing with the ones and twos at right tackle.

No. 1 DL (from DE to DE): Jamora, Ta'amu, Potoae, Thompson
No. 2 DL (from DE to DE): Shirley, Galbraith, Lagafuaina, Hudson

The loss of Tokolahi and Robinson affected the numbers inside significantly, so walk-on Pete Galbraith took the No. 2 reps. During the one-on-one period, the day had to go to the defense, as the defensive ends made pretty quick work of the offensive tackles. Porter and Tanigawa got their licks in, but the old adage of the defense being ahead of the offense at the beginning of camp definitely held true with the lines Tuesday. Expect those battles to go back and forth with vigor in the coming weeks.

Of course everyone was riveted on the quarterback competition between Keith Price and Nick Montana, and both struggled early in the winds swirling through Husky Stadium. But when the wind died down, it appeared that Price ended up having the better day.

During the final team period, he hooked up for nice completions with Aguilar, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kevin Smith. Montana also had his share of completions, but also had the only blemish of the day - a pick at the hands of Justin Glenn.

Chris Polk looked outstanding for just a shirt and shorts practice, running strong, confident and fast, as was his capable back-up from last year - Jesse Callier. And even though Deontae Cooper was expected to be brought along slowly by the coaches this spring, he looked lively for a player having to wear a knee brace on his left leg. It's just a matter of time before the redshirt frosh from Perris, Calif. is back to where he was last spring.

The linebacker position appears to have a bunch of good athletes, and a ton of versatility as well. Now it's just a matter of the coaches figuring out the best positions for everyone available. The only constant is Cort Dennison at the MIK. Because Princeton Fuimaono and Cooper Pelluer are injured, that meant Jamaal Kearse and Garret Gilliland worked alongside Dennison at the SAM and WIL, respectively. The second group of linebackers, from SAM to WIL was John Timu, Tim Tucker, and Thomas Tutogi. Jordan Wallace and Victor Burnett also found time with the No. 1 and No. 2 teams.

In the secondary, Parker and Nate Fellner were the No. 1 safeties, with Desmond Trufant and Quinton Richardson at the cornerback spots. Glenn and Will Shamburger started out as the No. 2 safeties, with Ducre and Anthony Gobern at the cornerback positions. Greg Walker also worked his way in with the safeties.

Posted by Chris Fetters
7:15 pm

Steve Sarkisian Tuesday post-practice quotes

On Johri Fogerson practicing - "We're not playing right now and he had been away from the team for some time and there are still some things down the road that need to get cleared up but in the mean time he is a student at our campus and part of our football team and we are practicing so he is practicing with us.

"We're not playing a game right now, I don't have to worry about lifting any suspensions.''

Just suspended from games? - "Yep.''

On who stood out on Day One - "James (Johnson) made some plays. I thought the two young tight ends made some plays, (Michael) Hartvigson and (Austin) Seferian-Jenkins. I liked the quarterbacks --- they stood out to me for their first day out here running with the ones against the first defense, I thought they did a nice job. I thought Quinton Richardson made a couple nice plays on the ball. Up front, I have a feeling Drew Schaefer had a good practice though sometimes it's hard to tell with the offensive linemen when you are trying to watch everything. I felt like we targeted well up front and that must have meant we communicated well and that all starts with him so he must have had a good day.''

On the QBs and what they did - "I thought their decision-making today was good. We had one turnover today on a nice play by Justin Glenn. We didn't fumble any snaps, I thought our command was good in the huddle. I liked their ability when things weren't there to check the ball down to the running backs. They showed their knowledge of their offense that they knew where their secondary reads were. But then when people were there down the field I thought we threw the ball down the field pretty well as well so all in all, I just like what they brought to the table for day one.''

On ASJ - "He's definitely a big guy and he's got a lot of learning to do. But for a first day, the thing I was impressed was it wasn't too big for him. He came out and was confident and he's very coachable, which is good to see in a true freshman his first day out. He didn't make the same mistake multiple times. He was able to make a mistake and learn from that. And then he made his plays. Sometimes as a young guy making the play can be the hard part. You do everything right and then here comes the ball and you get a little bit antsy. But he made his plays every time the ball was thrown to him.''

On Chris Polk - "I think Chris looked good. I'm excited to look at the film and see what he was able to get done in the pass game because that's a point of emphasis for us with him this spring, not just in pass protection but the route running aspect of it. It's going to be something that I know he wants to work on to really complete his game and we want him to do we can become a complete offense.''

On Josh Shirley - "When the whole thing went down there we just did our research and did our homework and really looked at the entire body of work and everything that went in and sometimes we are in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people and that's not necessarily indicative of who we are as people. We had a good relationship with Josh and his family during the recruiting process, we knew him extremely well, and I didn't think that was indicative of him either. So we made the decision to give the guy a second chance because we thought he was deserving of it.'

"First day of really running our defense but I think he's got some special qualities rushing the passer which is really needed for us on the defensive side of the ball.''

On his weight - "He's plenty big enough. He's just under 230 right now and that's plenty big enough. We can protect him with some things in the run game but speed is such a big factor. I don't know what Dwight Freeny weighed when he started out at Syracuse or a Joey Porter. Pass rushers are lean for a reason and his body will grow and the weight will come on naturally.''

On if there was a rhyme or reason to who was with the starting units on the line and linebacker - "No, just trying to really even out the reps not just with the ones but with the twos and give guys opportunities not just to play but show different aspects of their games. It was very calculated and just trying to compile as much information as we can.''

Posted by Chris Fetters
2:50 pm

Steve Sarkisian Spring Press Conference Quotes Opening statement - "Can't believe football is in the air again. Here we go. We are obviously every excited as a staff and as a team as we embark on the 2011 edition of the Washington Husky football program. It's been an off-season which I think has been extremely productive from a weight-room perspective. I thought our kids got stronger more powerful, which was a real goal of ours with Ivan Lewis and his crew down there in the weight room. I thought our guys did an excellent job in the classroom, exceeding our highest team GPA ever this past quarter, so we are doing it in a lot of phases  and the next phase is football, and away we go starting tomorrow.

"I know we've got an excited group of players that are eager to get out there and get going and there are quite a few question marks for us to answer and to figure out as we go through this thing, so I'm going to hit on some things here before we even get into questions that hopefully can lend itself to what we are thinking about and where we are headed.

"A few things from a roster perspective. The first is that Jarett Finau will not be here this spring. He had a couple classes he still has to finish up so we'll get him here this summer. As you probably already know just to reiterate, Kalani Aldrich and Kykenna Ikehara are no longer able to perform physically so they are still on scholarship and still on pace to earn their degree but aren't able to play football anymore. And we still have a couple of outstanding issues from off the field incidents regarding Jordan Polk and Johri Fogerson that we are dealing with and I think we are taken that head-on, which is the right way to do it.

"And then from an injury perspective of what is going on with our team, we do have a few guys that are out this spring and will be completely out. The first is Nick Wood, offensive line, who had hip surgery, so he will be out the entire spring. The second is Adam Long, who injured his knee in an off-season throwing session, he will be having knee surgery here on Wednesday. Hopefully we get him back by the fall, at some point in the season. And Semisi Tokolahi, who is still just nursing the broken ankle from the Apple Cup. So those are the three guys that will be out.

"We also have some limited, some with no contact, some with movement drills until they work their way up. We had four guys with shoulder surgeries just after the season who will be limited. They will be in drills but cannot have contact this spring, the first of which is Greg Ducre at cornerback, then Taz Stevenson at safety, and linebackers Princeton Fuimaono and Cooper Pelluer. And then we had a couple guys who are coming off of surgery late in the season there, Talia Crichton and Chris Robinson, both with knees that we are going to monitor closely and get them back into football shape before we get them going. Sean Parker will be limited in a sense because we want to monitor that stinger thing in the shoulder and don't want to re-aggravate that. So I don't know how much hitting he will do but he does need the reps, he does need to be out there. And then Senio Kelemete will be limited in a sense. He tore the plantar fascia on the bottom of his foot there which is a painful injury. He is working back fine, I just don't want it to longer, so he will be limited some.

"Obviously Deontae Cooper will be limited some coming off of the knee injury there last fall camp but he will progressively grow as spring ball moves forward and we get him out there. I don't foresee him ever being full contact but I do want to get him in some team drills in different settings to get the game speed for him going. And then Will Mahan we are just going to monitor him  closely with his knee injury as well. So from an injury front, that's where we are at. It's not ideal but you've got to have the surgeries and you need to do them as soon as the season is done so we can have them back for fall camp, which is the most important thing.

"I would say this, some goals for us this spring as we move forward, first of which is the physicality that we play with. I thought we ended the year in 2010 as being a very physical football team. We ran the ball extremely well. We played a physical brand of defense. And that's something we want to piggyback on and continue down that road, so hopefully with the format again of having a day off in between every practice and going Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday  we can have some real physical practices and practice in that manner so we can continue to grow that way.

"The second is that we have played a lot of young football players the last two years, a lot of true freshmen have gotten opportunities to play. And that's great, we've gotten some experience. But we need to raise our football I.Q., our football awareness needs to get better. Understanding of the special situations within the game. So that will be a big focus for us of our young players that have played a lot, to raise their level of awareness of what's really going on on the field and not just running the play but what is happening around them and how they can really excel even more.

"And then to find out what is happening with a lot of key position battles, most notably quarterback, with Keith (Price) and Nick (Montana). I think it will be a great battle, the key for both of those two guys is to focus on their job and their role and not worry about the other guy, which is always challenging to do. But their real goal should be competing against themselves to give our team the best opportunity to be successful when they are on the field.

"The tight end position with Marlion Barnett, Mike Hartvigson and then the addition of Austin Seferian-Jenkins to get that position  back going for us. At linebacker with the loss of Victor Aiyewa and Mason Foster, obviously the glue to this whole thing is Cort Dennison but to have a couple of other guys step up and see how are they can go at linebacker is big. And then on the offensive line, we are really returning two great leaders in Senio Kelemete and Drew Schaefer. But there are a lot of young guys in this mix who  are talented. We signed seven of them a year ago, two played as true freshmen, Colin Porter and Erik Kohler, and I love what I am seeing out of those two guys as well. But the Colin Tanigawa's, the Mike Criste's, the James Atoe's, the Ben Riva's, to see how far they have come. So the offensive line is going to be an area I am going to watch very closely.

"Some areas where I think we need to improve this spring, the first is the ball. Our turnover ratio is not where we need to be to be an elite team in this conference or in this country, so our emphasis on taking care of the ball offensively, especially with two new quarterbacks, and our ability to create turnovers defensively, has got to be better. We have got to create more turnovers. And you see the value in that when you look at the Holiday Bowl and you look at the first series, our defense creates the fumble, our offense goes on the field and scores and boom it is 7-0 first series of the game because of the great field position, that's an area where I think we can improve.

"Another area where we really want to improve is our pass rush, our ability to rush the passer, not just on third down but on first and second down opportunities to see how far Hau'oli Jamor has come, to see what Josh Shirley looks like out there rushing the passer. To see what Aalameda Ta'amu has been able to rushing the passer from the inside, we need to continually get better there, which really goes hand-in-hand that we need to improve offensively in our dropback pass game. It's been poor, at best, and we pride ourselves on being able to drop back and throw the football, especially on first and second down, so that will be a point of emphasis for us.

"And then the fourth real key for us this spring is the return game and  special teams, our ability to create more returns on punt and kickoff returns and then to continue down the road, I thought we got better as the year went on in covering kicks but it's got to be a real point of emphasis for us. So those will be some key areas for us as we head into tomorrow, and away we go.''

On QB battle and differences between Price and Montana - "Both of these guys have improved immensely in the short amount of time that they've been here. I think that the job is important to them. They are both over 3.0 students. They both work extremely hard in the weight room and both are very well-liked by their teammates. They walk around, they are bright-eyed, they are smiling. At the end of the day I think they have a lot of intangibles that you want at the quarterback position. Now how that all plays out remains to be seen. We have to continually put them in the settings where they can show off and show where they have those intangibles, and where they are deficient. Hopefully we can help them grow in those areas. I like both of them, and I've said this since the Holiday Bowl that we're going to need both of these two kids. This isn't just about Keith Price or Nick Montana. We're going to need both of them, and we're going to need both of them to perform at a high level. That's going to be the goal this spring. I'm not going to rush to judgement to name a starter for the sake of naming a starter - but I also don't plan on going into the season platooning quarterbacks either. We're going to take our time, we're going to allow these two kids to grow and evolve at the position, go through some ups and downs, and then when we get there, we'll make that call."

On Austin Seferian-Jenkins being a key contributor right away - "I'd like to hope so. I'd like to think so, Aaron. He has the potential to do that, not only physically but mentally. He's a very mature young man. But I'm not going to force the issue with him either. We're going to allow him to grow. We will throw him in the fire from Day One; he'll be right in there with our ones, and he'll have to block a Hauoli Jamora, and he'll have to block Everrette Thompson. He'll have to run routes against a Sean Parker or a Nate Fellner. You'll see him do those things, and we'll assess his strengths and we'll try and assess his weaknesses and see how far we can take him in a short amount of time. I think it's a great benefit for him that he's here early for spring practice. But he's going to have his ups and downs. For a kid who just started his first day of college classes today, and he's got his first team meeting at four, and his first day of football practice tomorrow, it's not going to be easy. But I think if there is the type of kid that can handle it like a Nick Montana or a Jesse Callier or Deontae Cooper, I think Austin Seferian-Jenkins is that same type of kid."

On the wide receivers - "A part of it…and I touched on it earlier…our consistency in our passing game needs to improve. And that comes from a variety of areas. And the one is the receiving group and their ability to one, we've got to improve getting off press coverage, jam coverage. Our precision in route-running and our ability to consistently catch the football - all of those areas are areas where we can improve. And whether it's Jermaine or Devin or a Kevin Smith or a James Johnson or Cody Bruns, the likes of these guys…they are all very talented. DiAndre Campbell, I'm really excited to see this spring. That cohesiveness with these two other quarterbacks they are working with…there are big challenges ahead, because we need to be better in our passing game than what we've been."

On the spring being the litmus test for the QB's, or could the battle go to September - "I could see it going into September. I hate to rush to judgement on this thing. Because they are so young and their ceiling is so high and there's so much room to grow, I don't want to make a decision based on a couple of practices and say, 'this is your role, and this is your role'. I think they could ultimately improve not only through spring, but into summer and fall camp. If the timing's right and it feels right to me, then we'll make a decision. I hate to pencil a date like they do for National Signing Day, where you have to decide by that date. I think kids make commitments and we make decisions when it feels right, and that's what we're going to do here as well."

On Price have an edge because of his playing experience - "It's only an advantage if he uses the experience. For me, I'm going to judge them based on the body of work, and where they started from the day we started working with them to when that decision time comes. I think they've both come a long, long way. The battle, in a sense, is a little overhyped, to me. We're on a football team. The natural thing is that we want to pit Keith and Nick against one another, but the reality is that they are not against each other, they are together, and they are doing this together to make us a better football team. That's the goal. They are going to be part of an offense and part of a team where they have a role in place, and their job is to go out and execute that role. And we'll monitor their ability to do that."

On platooning the QB position - "Not the near future, but you guys know me well enough…I think change is inevitable. You're either getting better or getting worse, and sometimes you need to change. We'll see. But for right now we're going to try and find our starting quarterback, and whoever isn't the starter develop a really good backup whose going to ultimately have to win us a game or two next year."

On filling the holes left by Jake Locker and Mason Foster - "I'm watching the Denver Nuggets now, and they traded away their star player, and now they are winning more games, for whatever reason. I don't know exactly how that happens, but I'd like to think we can be that team. I love Jake, I love Mason…not only were they great football players, but they were great leaders in the locker room, on the field…their willingness to embrace everything we brought to this program will never be forgotten. But if we're going to grow as a program and continue to get better, we have to one, bring in great character kids and very good players, and then improve them as they go through, so when one leaves, the next one is ready to go. I'd like to think we're a better football team today, but that remains to be seen and there's a lot of work that still needs to be done."

On how he dealt with QB battles as a player - "I embraced my job. I think the moment that you start to concern yourself with the other guy, and you base your day on having a good day or bad day on how it's relevant to the other guy, you're in trouble. I think the relevance of how you're playing has got to be based on your own potential and what your own potential might be and where that day's performance fit, and then ultimately the days, as they add up, where am I at based on my own potential? And if I can get near or achieve my own potential, I'm giving our team the best chance I can to be successful. The moment you start basing ... if I go out and throw two picks tomorrow, and the guy next to me throws three, and I think I had a good day, that's the wrong mentality to have."

On Giving the young QBs training wheels in the offense - "No, I never had training wheels, and my 5-year-old doesn't, either. 'You go down the hill, baby.' No, I know what you're saying, I know where you're coming from. Ultimately, we have to mold and shape a team based on the personnel that you have. We've got a system in place that has withstood the test of time. And it's got some really cool wrinkles to it that we can do different things with different people on the field. Would I like to go out and run the football 45 to 50 times a game and average six yards a carry and hold teams to seven, eight points per game? Ideally, great. But we have to see how we evolve and where we go. Part of that is playing to the strengths of these young guys, too. These guys are different than what Jake was. They might not be the big-arm, play-action pass, throw-it-65-yards-down-the-field. They've got a little more feel, they like to be a little more spread out, and they like to play catch and utilize all aspects of the game. So we're going to tailor some things to what they do well as well. And parts of our offense may have some training wheels to it. Other parts are going to have the training wheels taken off to fit what they do well."

On the 'Must-Have' criteria for quarterbacks - "Take care of the football, one. And part of that comes from understanding of the offense. Two, decision-making, especially at critical moments. And, three, your ability to not force the football and to throw the ball away. As a young quarterback, that's the hardest thing to do. In their mind, they feel like they're giving up - and they're not giving up, they're just giving us a chance at another snap. So the football's one. Two, their ability to move the football. We're taking care of it, one, but two, does the offensive football team get first downs, and then ultimately does it score points when they're on the field. And that doesn't necessarily always equate to if a guy was 10 of 12 that day. A guy could be 10 of 12 but have five punts in three series (which would be incredible, by the way, to punt five times in three series - an NCAA record, I believe), whereas the one guy who was, maybe, 8 of 12 but scored 14 points in his two drives might have been the guy that has been a little more effective. So it's not always about the numbers. It's protecting the ball, their ability to move the football, especially in the critical moments late in games, late in two-minute drills. And then three, their effectiveness to manage the team, to be that coach on the field, to have the presence that's needed in what is, in my opinion, the most important position in sports, which is at quarterback when you're in the huddle and there's 11 guys out there and you've got to look them all in the eye and get them to believe in the play call coming from the sidelines."

On these QBs being recruited for this system, unlike Jake Locker being recruited for Willingham's run-Jake-run system - "Well, I think they're further along in this style of play then where Jake was at this point in his career. I would agree with that. These guys have been groomed, since they were in junior high, that they were going to be a passing quarterback, in a sense. That doesn't necessarily mean that they play better or they play worse, it's just from a comfort level, they're definitely more comfortable doing some of the things we're doing. So, yeah, I would agree with that."

On players to watch - I'd love to touch on that. Some guys for us to look for this spring, that I'm excited to watch to see what they might bring. One is Johnny Timu, he'll be starting off at outside linebacker. I think he brings something that is unique from an athletic perspective. Josh Shirley, to see how he's evolving as a pass-rusher coming off the edge. Sean Parker, and his ability to really be that physical safety that I think he has a chance to be. On the offensive side of the ball, the growth of Kevin Smith at wide receiver, and DiAndre Campbell, for that matter. And then all of those young linemen. I'm just anxious and excited to watch those young linemen because I think they're nasty, I think they're tough, I think they embody all the characteristics that we're looking for in offensive line play. To watch them go out and really run our offense instead of running another team's offense this spring is going to be exciting."

On the QB's lining up more behind center? - "It potentially could be there for them. It could lend itself. Nick, especially, is really comfortable under center; it's almost innate, obviously, in his blood, that ability to get under center and drop smoothly and have rhythm. Again, it's all going to depend on where our strengths are as a team and how we evolve."

Are you more comfortable with QBs lining up behind center - No, I think the more things you do well, the better you are as a football team. But there's a fine line there because you can try to do everything and not be good at anything, either. I'm not, by any means, sitting here and saying we're going to scrap shotgun. We're going to be in the gun plenty. We're still going to run zone-read stuff. We're still going to have that dimension to our offense. We're still going to run the fly play. But we have to figure out what is the best thing that we're good at so that we can emphasize the things that we're best at and still have those wrinkles to our offense that make a defense have to defend us. And so it's just a point of emphasis, a part of our offense that I think has lacked some, probably because of coaching, and we need to do a better job of coaching it."

On Quinton Richardson - "I think Quinton's had a very good spring. Traditionally, in the spring, he's had some nagging injuries. I think he's as healthy as he's ever been. He's as fast as he's ever been. I think part of that is due to the building of the confidence from the end of the year. I mean, he was really a dynamic playmaker for us. I continue to look back to his interception against UCLA as one of the season-changing moments for us. Our defense had a great game against UCLA, and that ability to create a turnover and score points just lent itself to another big game against Cal and, maybe not his best game against Washington State, but then coming back and having another nice ball game against Nebraska. I think that he provides a lot of leadership. He's got a great deal of experience, and a guy that I think is really going to build from the end of last year."

On depth at CB without Long and Ducre - "It's concerning. We'll monitor it closely. You're going to see some of a Justin Glenn back at corner some. You'll see Marquis Persley back at corner some. I don't want to have to play Quinton and Desmond every snap of spring ball and just wear them out. We need to develop some young players, and we've got a couple coming here for fall camp, and we'll monitor it closely."

What can Deontae Cooper give you? - "He provides a real explosiveness. He's a big-play guy. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well as run it, I think we're all sitting around thinking what would it ever look like with Jesse, Deontae and Chris all in there together and how can we make that work? I have fun with that kind of stuff, so we'll see. I think Deontae's work ethic has been unparalleled. The guy, he's a machine when it comes to working out and getting his body right, so when the time's right for him to go 100 percent, he'll be there, but in the meantime, we'll work him back as we need to. He provides a real big-play element to our offense."

On the linebackers - It'll look pretty fluid from the naked eye, but you'll see Jamaal Kearse and Johnny Timu at the same spot, you'll see Garret Gilliland and Thomas Tutogi at the same spot as Jordan Wallace. You'll see Tim Tucker in the middle there at the same spot as Cort Dennison, but also Victor Burnett. We're going to move some guys around, too, give them an opportunity to show what they're about, whether they're an edge rusher or playing in the inside 'backer spot."

Where are you with the 3-4 defense? - "We're not going to start in it, but we'll get to it here as spring moves on. I'm intrigued to see what a Josh Shirley and Hau'oli Jamora on the field together might look like as edge guys, and real pass-rusher type guys, and more of an NFL mentality that way. We're not going to rush to that. We want to get our base defense in first, and then we'll evolve to that."

On Zach Fogerson - "I love Zach. I think Zach has got real potential to his game. He's actually a very bruising runner and nice feet for a big man, but catches the ball extremely well. He's got a high football IQ. I like what Zach brings, and I'm excited to watch Kimo (Makaula) this spring, as well. I think he's a guy who's matured. You've got to remember, he was a high school quarterback, and it takes some time to make that transition, so we'll see what he brings to the table as well."

Is there any way you can keep the Cascade Front together? - "I think that would be challenging, quite honestly. I don't think Senio's going to be real willing just to give up left tackle, or Drew Schaefer's going to be real willing to give up the center spot. We're going to mix them pretty good, see what it looks like, see what it feels like, and some guys are going to develop a little faster than others. Some guys might take a little longer. That doesn't mean they're not going to be good players down the road. It just might take a couple of them a little longer than maybe some of the other guys."

Are any of them farther ahead than the others? - "I'm going to hold out before I say that. I want to watch them play. They all look good in the weight room right now, but until they have to block Alameda, or have to block Everrette, then we'll find out a little bit more."

Seahawks fans might not have a choice but to watch you this year - "I've invited Pete (Carroll) out to practice. (laughs) I don't know. I think we've got a very good football community here in Seattle. Obviously a great deal of Huskies, but also a lot of Seahawk fans and a very good high school football area here in Seattle, obviously, and the state of Washington for that matter. I think in general, football fans are football fans, and they're going to want to be around it and want to see it. If they're missing something somewhere, they're going to go somewhere else to find it. If we happen to be that, so be it. But ultimately, we haven't changed our approach to this thing, especially at spring practice. It's wide open. We invite anybody and everybody that wants to come for any of our 15 practices, and come out and really enjoy and appreciate how hard our coaches coach, and how hard our players practice and to get a perspective of O and D-linemen doing one-on-one drills, and the blood, the sweat, the tears that go into this thing that make up Saturday afternoons."

Can you do less fundamentals during spring now, because of the continuity? - "We'll never neglect that. I think to some of the best coaches, whether it be football or any other sports, and you can look at the John Woodens of the world, or the Mike Krzyzewskis, whatever that may be. I think when you watch their teams play, I think they're extremely fundamentally sound. And that's no different in football. So we'll never lose sight of our fundamentals and our technique, but you are exactly right - the quicker we can really grasp those fundamentals and those techniques, the easier it is to move on and to talk more scheme and philosophy and things of that nature."

What is Chris Polk working on this spring? - "It's his overall game. We all obviously know his style of running is a very physical style, and so I don't know how much I'm just going to expose him to just pound away on himself and on our defense. But we are going to work on some things here this spring that I think will round his game out and allow him to become more of a complete player, the first of which is pass protection. Really, fundamentally grasping it. The second is in his route-running and his ability to really be involved in the passing game, which lends itself to our drop-back pass game, as I've been touching on all afternoon here. There's going to be some aspects to his game that we're going to focus on, but I'm not going to lose sight and just not give the guy the ball. He's going to get his carries. We look at the end of the year, we saw his big play potential, and his ability to make people miss in the secondary, which will be something that we'll continue to work on because he does have it in him."

On Alameda Ta'amu - "I hope he doesn't ruin spring practice. He can really dominate when he gets going. I'm excited to watch him as well because it's not only in the run game, it's in the pass game he can be a force. And we saw that late in the year, the big safety, he gets the holding call in the end zone. Some of the sacks he's created, those things. He can be an every-down player, not just at our level but at the next level. I just hope he doesn't ruin spring ball."

On offensive balance toward end of last season - "I think it helps in belief. Our kids understand the style of play that we played with and the belief and the approach to what we went into those games with, and it was talked openly of what we were going to try to get accomplished in those games. It's a style of play that we believe in. Our kids know that, and they believe in it. There's going to be games where we're going to have to throw the ball more than maybe we did late in the year to create more plays because of our opponents and what they're doing. But from a philosophical approach, our ability to run the football and play really good defense gives us a chance to win, and our guys understand that."

On returning entire coaching staff - "It's big. I think that the continuity for us has been huge, and to have all of our guys back heading into spring practice has been big. And not just big from a point that gosh, we don't have to meet, we just get to roll out the balls and practice can go. We're constantly making tweaks to, whether it be practice or schemes and different things, because to me, ultimately, change is inevitable, and we're either getting better or we're getting worse. Nothing ever remains the same, and so when you're bringing on new coaches, you're not only having to try to teach what you've already done, but then you're trying to teach where you're going. When you have continuity on a staff, we've all ridden this wave all the way to this point and now, as we tweak and change and build and grow towards the future, everybody's on the same page as we do it and I think that's why it's so important."

On Nick Montana getting bigger in the off-season - "Yeah, I think both of our guys have really filled out. I think that's a natural part of maturing as a young man. These guys are 18, 19 years old and that's when our body changes the most and our metabolism slows down and all those things, and so Nick and Keith have both done a nice job in the weight room, really had great off-seasons -- not only from the physical perspective but also our movement stuff. I think we will see that come out here in the next few days."

  On Holiday Bowl rings being presented - "We haven't done it yet. (laughs) It takes a while. To be honest with you, I don't know. I'm kind of focused on blocking Nick's defense, to be honest with you."

On getting them focused on the season ahead - "I don't think we ever want to forget where we came from. I don't think we ever want to forget that on our first day on the job we were an 0-12 football team. We don't ever want to forget some of the tough losses, and we don't ever want to forget some of the great wins, because how we got to some of those moments are how we got building blocks for us. I think we've done a nice job of laying a foundation for a program, and now we've got to continue to build. We won't ever forget where we came from, but ultimately the goal here is to win championships. We were Holiday Bowl champions, but there are other championships out there to be had and we will continue to work towards them."

On being concerned with the outside perception of the program - "I'm not concerned about our reputation. We've got great kids on this football team. But it speaks to the fact that the education process never ends. We are continually trying to educate our guys in all facets, in all areas of life. It's not just about football. It's not just about academics. It's not just about their social world. It's not just about their personal worlds back home with their families. The education process is continuous. Sure, it's disappointing when problems arise, but at the end of the day I've got 115 sons and we are going to make some mistakes. That's the reality of it. We try to learn from one another, we try to learn from our own, and you try to move forward and grow. I'm not one to sit there and dwell on it and get stuck on it. It's a form of adversity that we get faced with. And it's recognizing the adversity you are faced with and then what are you going to do about it and how are you going to move forward. I think that lends itself to the mental toughness that you need to be a student athlete. And I think that our guys are understanding that. Are we perfect? No. But our guys are men who have had a couple incidents but who have also done some really great things on this football team that I am proud of."

On what needs to be improved in their drop-back passing game - "Our efficiency. Our efficiency's not great. We are spotty. We make some plays here and there and then it just doesn't feel good. It's ugly. It's choppy -- I guess is the best word. I'm really looking to the efficiency factor of it. You know, the beauty of a drop-back passing game is the fluidness of it and the precision of it. I was just watching a show on Bill Walsh while I was on vacation. And to listen to him talk about the West Coast passing game and what it meant when that era of the San Francisco 49ers was really going, and the fluidness of that. And I thought to myself, 'We're lacking in that. We don't have that efficiency right now, that precision.' So that's going to be the goal for us this spring. Whether that means we run less plays this spring, that remains to be seen. But our goal and our vision and our effectiveness and that precision in our drop-back pass game has got to improve."

You were watching Bill Walsh while on vacation? - "Yeah. (sheepish smile). Well, that's entertainment to me. I think we all have to do things that put us in a frame of mind that is relaxing. That is where I get it from. Because when I am watching this NCAA tournament I can't sit down, so that's not relaxing to me."

  On when the pads come on - "We'll have pads on Saturday. We'll go to half-pads Saturday, then next Tuesday we will be in full pads."

On Receiver Coach Jimmie Dougherty getting married this past weekend -"Yeah, Coach Dougherty got married this past weekend. And so, great for him. He's got a new ring on his finger."

On what might look different in spring practice - "There's a couple things. We will have a part of practice -- not early on in spring ball, but as we move to the second week -- of more a true no-huddle period. For a variety of reasons. One is I think as a young quarterback sometimes a no-huddle area or situation is a way to get your rhythm going if you are struggling. But two is, I want to get our defense exposed to it. They see so much of it, I want to present it to our defense earlier than just in game week -- with the likes of Oregon and Arizona and Washington State that do have that no-huddle aspect to their game. I'd like to expose our defense to that earlier on than just wait until in season."

On Jake Locker as a pro football player - "I think he's going to be fantastic. I was sitting back thinking about this: My view of Jake Locker right now, as a true pro-style quarterback, is that he is a sophomore coming out early going into the NFL draft. He's had two years in a pro-style offense, of learning the nuances of this thing, to the drops to the protections, to the coverages to the route recognition to the reading to the things that all have to take place, the fundamentals that it takes. So, to me, his upside is huge. Whoever gets him is going to get a player that is going to continue to develop and is going to work at it. And they are going to get somebody who is a tremendous leader, not only on the field but off the field in the community, which matters -- and somebody who is going to be mature enough to step into a huddle with a 10-, 12-, 13-, 14-year NFL veteran and call the play with conviction and execute a play. Especially late in games. I think so much with Jake that got missed while he was here, for us, if you look at the way he performed in the fourth quarter, especially in final drives over the last two years, those were special plays and special drives that he had. And when you watch the NFL on Sunday, how many times (do) games come down to that final drive? And he's got that ability to make plays on that final drive, which ultimately win games, ultimately win playoff games and ultimately win Super Bowls. I think that's why he's going to be special down the road."

Posted by Scott Eklund
12:50 pm

Steve Sarkisian Spring Press Conference Notes

-- Really successful season from a weightroom standpoint.

-- Really getting it done in the classroom and they exceeded what they had hoped for.

-- Quite a few questions to answer this spring...

-- Roster updates...Jarrett Finau won't enroll for spring football; Kalani Aldrich and Mykenna Ikehara are done as football players, but are still on scholarship; Jordan Polk and Johri Fogerson's legal issues are still being worked out; Nick Wood will be out this spring; Adam Long will have surgery this week and will miss spring, but hopefully will be back for fall; Semisi Tokolahi out for spring, but hopefully will be ready to go for fall; Taz Stevenson, Greg Ducre, Cooper Pelluer, Princeton Fuimaono, Sean Parker, Senio Kelemete will all be limited some during the spring; Deontae Cooper will be limited, but will take part in team drills (no full contact); William Mahan still being monitored.

-- Hopes a day off between every practice will allow them to have more physical practices and they want to build on the physical defensive football they were playing toward the end of the season.

-- Said Quarterback will be a great battle with Keith Price and Nick Montana. Doesn't necessarily want them to compete against each other...just to compete with themselves.

-- Said the TE position is going to be fun to watch.

-- Wants to watch the battle for the starting spots at linebacker.

-- Lot of young guys along the OL. Likes the leadership if Kelemete and Drew Schaefer.

-- Areas to improve: Turnover Ratio (not where it needs to be to be an elite team in the conference/country); Pass Rush (not only on 3rd down, but on 1st and 2nd down); Sark named Hauoli Jamora, Josh Shirley and Alameda Ta'amu; Drop back passing game; Return game, both returning and coverage.

-- Noted both Montana and Price have both improved a lot since their arrival. Smiling a lot, good leaders, a lot of good intangibles for the QB position, but still need to show it on the field. Likes both of them. Said they need both to be ready to go and to perform at a high-level. Won't rush to name a starter, but won't plan on platooning QBs this fall. Want both of them to evolve and when the call needs to be made...they will make the decision.

-- Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be thrown into the fire right away. Want to see his strengths and weaknesses and they know he will have his ups and downs, but they are excited about what he can bring to the football program.

-- Said consistency in the passing game needs to improve and the receivers are a big part of that. Precise route-running; making catches; being consistent; those are all things that need to improve.

-- Not going to make a decision on a starting spot for someone if they have a couple good practices. They won't pencil in a date for the starting QB spot or any other spot until they are ready to make that decision.

-- Montana and Price are different QBs from Jake Locker, but they do things that Jake didn't do well. They are different players, so they will tailor things to what they do well and work with that.

-- What is he looking for/what is most important? Making good decisions; moving the football; effectiveness in managing the team.

-- Said Montana and Price are further along than Locker was at this point in his career the biggest reason beign that they've been in the system longer.

-- Guys to watch this spring -- Johnny Timu at OLB; Josh Shirley at DE; Sean Parker at S; Kevin Smith and DiAndre Campbell at WR; all of the young OL.

-- Said Quinton Richardson is as healthy and as fast as he's ever been at this time. He provides a lot of leadership and has a great deal of experience and should be able to build on a good finish to the 2010 season.

-- Said that with Long and Ducre out, they will have Justin Glenn and Marquis Persley back at corner to give Trufant and Richardson a blow at times...

-- Going to move guys around at the linebacker position just to find the right combination.

-- Looking forward to seeing what Jamora and Shirley being on the field at the same time looks like.

-- Loves Zach Fogerson and has real potential to be a bruising runner, but is also a good receiver and has a high Football I.Q.

-- Going to work on rounding out Chris Polk's game even more. They want him to be better in pass-protection, but they don't just want him to pound the ball all day during practice.

-- Said he hopes Ta'amu doesn't "ruin spring practice" because he's such a dominant player that he can really cause problems for the offense and it could cause problems for them getting stuff done.

-- Haven't distributed the Holiday Bowl rings yet.

-- Never wants to forget where they came from (0-12), but that winning the Holiday Bowl is just a first step. "There are more championships to win".

-- Addressed the off-field issues saying that it's adversity they are faced with and how are they going to move forward. Also said that guys are going to make mistakes, but you learn from them and move forward and that while a couple of guys made mistakes, that doesn't take away from the great things the rest of the players are doing.

-- Half-pads on Saturday, full pads on Tuesday (April 5th).

-- Said he looks at Jake Locker as a true sophomore coming out early into the NFL Draft as far as a Pro Style QB is concerned. Said he's been in the offense for two years, so he still has a lot of growth and a lot of upside.

Posted by Scott Eklund
2:10 pm

Isaiah Thomas (AP)

Saturday's Radio Show Podcast

The Dawgman guys talked a lot of basketball during Saturday's Radio Show, including an interview in the second hour with Isaiah Thomas, but they also fit in some spring football talk as well.

Here are the podcasts in case you missed it.

Posted by Scott Eklund
2:10 pm

Jake Locker (K.Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Friday Afternoon News Links

-- The Husky Pro Day begins at 11 a.m. PST on Wednesday March 30th and will take place in the Dempsey Indoor and can be viewed on ESPN3. QB Jake Locker will not run during the event, but will throw and lift for the scouts, GMs and head coaches that will be in attendance.

-- Washington made news with a couple top 2012 prospects including Mercer Island QB Jeff Lindquist and Dominguez CB Alphonso Marsh.

-- ESPN's Ted Miller looks at the Pac-12's three-headed monsters, although UW is not included because they are missing a very important piece.

Posted by Scott Eklund
7:13 am

Cody Pickett (K.Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Friday Morning News Links

-- Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times speaks with former UW QB Cody Pickett about his decision to return for his senior season as well as what he's up to now that he's decided to retire from the game of football.

-- I spoke with Monrovia (Ca.) DT Ellis McCarthy and posted this story with his thoughts on Washington.

-- Aaron Beach gives us a two-part look ahead at the basketball team and what fans can expect. Here's the first story and here is the second.

-- Dick Baird gives his thoughts on the coming QB battle.

Posted by Scott Eklund
1:11 pm

Lakes DB Cedric Dozier (Scout.com)

Dozier gets selected for U.S. Army All-American Game

Lakes (Lakewood, Wa.) head coach Dave Miller informed Dawgman.com that one of his top prospects for the 2012 class, DB/QB Cedric Dozier, has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American game that is held annually in San Antonio.

Dozier joins teammate Zach Banner and Puyallup OL Josh Garnett as players from the state of Washington who will play in the all-star game.

The Huskies have offered Dozier as well as Cal and he's getting attention from schools across the country including Oregon, LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma and Miami among others.

Posted by Scott Eklund
6:15 am

Matthew Lyons

Wednesday Morning News Links

-- I posted this blurb on why Dorsey LB Matt Lyons, who we originally thought would end up at UW for spring football, is waiting and will enroll this summer.

-- The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta has a nice piece on redshirt freshman RB Deontae Cooper and his recovery from an ACL tear last August.

-- The Mercury News posted this story on the on-going Pac 12 media package negotiations.

-- Apparently, at least on NFL scout has told National Football Post that Mason Foster could wind up being taken as early as the latter part of the first round.

Posted by Chris Fetters
2:45 pm

Lorenzo Romar (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Lorenzo Romar post-season press conference notes

Lorenzo Romar wrapped up the 2010-11 season Tuesday with a press conference that lasted over an hour. In it, he talked about post-season critique and development, Isaiah Thomas, Aziz N'Diaye, Terrence Ross, the newcomers, whether or not the program has 'plateaued', and what he's doing to get geared up for this coming fall.

Lorenzo spoke for over an hour today with the media, and then thanked them for covering the team this year. Still the best beat I've been able to cover since starting this over a decade ago. Not even close.

He said that over the next two weeks, he will sit with each player and go over everything they are doing in the off-season (summer plans, school, etc...). He also said that he is in the process of watching every single game of the season to focus on patterns that he saw on both sides of the ball, and to also look at other teams to see what they did well to maybe learn some things from that. Overall, it's done as part of their post-season self-critique to get better and maybe add things for next fall that will help them to take that next step forward.

He said they are planning on signing a big in April, which means Andrew Andrews will go to prep school in the fall. He's a recruitable athlete once they start practices, but Romar is confident Andrews will stick with his commitment to UW, because he understood the circumstances and still picked the Huskies over offers from other teams.

He said a little bit about the incoming players. On Hikeem Stewart - "Hikeem iis a 'heady player' who will be given an opportunity to compete.

Tony Wroten - "Tony is the 'best passer he's seen at the high school level this year."

Jernard Jarreau - He is a 'willing rebounder', but will improve when he gets stronger. Really excited to get him into camp, because he could turn out to be a special player.

Romar said he got some advice from John Wooden when he got the Pepperdine job - "Don't be too good too early, because they expect it."

He said he understands the heightened expectations that have been put on the program, but the great programs take time to build, and they are creating 'building blocks'. "I would hope people be patient. We are making progress. I understand the criticism. I feel like we've made a lot of progress here."

They are about a week or so from finalizing the 2011-2012 schedule. I've heard a rumor for one of the non-conference games, and if it pans out it's going to be a doozy.

He doesn't believe there will be any post-season surgeries or injury clean-ups for his players. Romar did say that Abdul Gaddy is working on his 'range of motion' with his knee. "Man, he's been working hard on his rehab."

He said the only player that doesn't need to add muscle and get stronger in the off-season is Isaiah Thomas. He expects Terrence Ross to gain. Someone asked about the possibility of Romar going with a four-guard lineup next fall with players like Tony Wroten and Hikeem Stewart showing up, and he said that with a player like Ross they could. He's good down in the block as a scoring threat, and can play down along the baseline in the zone because he's used to doing that. He gives them a lot of versatility.

Said he expects a lot out of Aziz N'Diaye and Darnell Gant this off-season. This is the one year Gant has a chance to be an impact player right from the jump.

And with Aziz, he said they can't work with him in the off-season due to NCAA rules, but guys like Spencer Hawes, Detlef Schrempf and Jon Brockman will be around to lend a hand in getting Aziz prepared for next fall.

On Thomas, they are now in the process of getting information for him for his impending decision to stay for his senior season, or go to the NBA. Said they'll go through the same process they went through with Nate, Brandon, Hawes, Brockman and Quincy.

He said that if Thomas did come back, with Gaddy returning and Wroten showing up, they could be very hard to defend, because they are all guard that have the ability to handle the ball and score.

Romar was asked what Roy Williams said to him after the game. Romar said that immediately afterward, Roy congratulated him for a good game, but they saw each other later in the tunnel. He said at that point, Williams said he was happy his team won, but when he looked at Romar and saw the look on his face, it made it really hard for him - because he knew how much it meant.

Posted by Scott Eklund
7:10 am

Cort Dennison (K.Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Three Defensive Position Battles To Watch This Spring

Linebacker - Cort Dennison will be one of the three starters this coming fall, but how things shake out with the rest of the group will determine where he will end up playing.

Dennison is a better fit inside, using his intelligence and leadership skills to be the "quarterback" of the defense.

However, he does have the versatility to play either of the outside positions so things aren't completely nailed down as to where he will actually start this coming season.

Battling for the two remaining spots will be a plethora of young, talented players, but none of them have much in the way of playing time.

Thomas Tutogi was a beast at the JUCO level last season as an inside linebacker and, like Dennison, he could play inside or outside, although he's been told he will start out at the SAM position once spring football gets underway.

Jordan Wallace is widely considered one of the more cerebral linebackers, but that has also cost him as some of his peers and coaches have noticed him thinking too much instead of just reacting and letting his instincts take over. If he does that, he has the capability of playing either of the outside positions.

The coaches really love the effort and abilities of Princeton Fuimaono and Garrett Gilliland and both a decent amount of playing time last fall.

Gilliland started for an injured Dennison inside against Nebraska when the Cornhuskers visited Seattle and he acquitted himself well, although it was obvious he was overmatched at the time.

Fuimaono started outside for an injured Victor Aiyewa against Arizona and played well, but also needed to put on some size and add strength.

While he's not a new name, John Timu will be intriguing to watch this spring as he acclimates himself to the college game. A standout on both sides of the ball as a prep at Long Beach Jordan High School, Timu suffered a knee injury and greyshirted last year as he rehabbed his leg.

Now, back 100%, Timu has really bulked up and looks fantastic. How will that translate once the pads come on? We won't find out until next week.

Lastly, a player many should be excited to get another look at is Victor Burnett. He was one of the most heralded defensive recruits the Huskies signed last year and even enrolled early hoping to find a spot in the linebacker rotation. However, things didn't work out exactly as planned and he struggled to find his way, but the coaches seem to think he has a very bright future and they expect big things from him this fall.

Also in the mix will be Tim Tucker and Jamaal Kearse, but neither appear to be in the mix for a starting spot, at least at this point.

Defensive End - Hauoli Jamora was outstanding as a freshman and the expectation is that he will be a mainstay at right defensive end for the forseeable future. However, on the left side, there promises to be a battle between senior Everrett Thompson and junior Talia Crichton.

Thompson is one of the most versatile players along the Husky defensive line, able to play inside or outside, depending on need and the defense that has been called. He played better and better as the season went along.

Crichton was just starting to come on before hurting his knee against Oregon State and never seemed to fully recover.

Those two should be a fun battle to watch this spring.

Also, keep in mind that Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson have reportedly had outstanding offseasons and they could be in line to push Jamora for reps as well.

Cornerback - While it is expected that Quinton Richardson and Desmond Trufant will be the starters this fall, that isn't a lock.

Trufant suffered a bit of a "sophomore-slump" last fall and was inconsistent at times. He needs to show the same form he flashed as a freshman where he was able to make plays on the ball in the air and as a sticky man-to-man corner.

Richardson was outstanding down the stretch, but early last season he looked to be on the verge of relinquishing his starting spot due to his inconsistency.

Both need to have solid springs in order to hold on to their status as starters.

Challenging them will be a Greg Ducre who is super-quick, has good size and came along nicely as a freshman in spot duty last fall.

Once summer hits, two more players -- Antavius Sims and Marcus Peters -- will show up with their sights on the starting spots as well.

Posted by Scott Eklund
9:45 am

Keith Price (K.Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Three Offensive Position Battles To Watch This Spring

Quarterback - Price got the start against Oregon down in Eugene last season and managed to "not look awful" as many had anticipated.

He showed good mobility and a better-than-expected presence in the pocket, keeping the Huskies in the game for nearly three quarters against the second-best team in the country last year.

That being said, the speculation among pundits has been that Montana is a better fit for Washington's offense and that his Football I.Q. will put him at the helm of the Husky attack this fall.

Don't expect a starter to be named until Fall Camp is halfway over, but we should know who the leader is by the end of the Spring Game which will be played on April 30th.

Tight End - Again, speculation is that incoming freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins is destined to make his presence felt very early once he hits the field next week.

With his size and athleticism, it isn't hard to understand why the expectations are so big, however, the presence of redshirt freshman Michael Hartvigson and third-year sophomore Marlion Barnett as well as second-year walk-on Evan Hudson could make things interesting.

All three have their own attributes and two of the three -- Hartvigson and Barnett -- have played against D-1 talent.

How Seferian-Jenkins adapts to the speed of the game at this level, as well as how he takes to being asked to block on a regular basis, will determine how he progresses and whether he is the starter come September.

Right Tackle - With left tackle Senio Kelemete being limited this spring, Erik Kohler and Micah Hatchie, will probably see a lot of playing time at that position.

That leaves Skyler Fancher, if he can stay healthy, Ben Riva and Dan Kanczugowski as the likely candidates to battle on the right side this spring, although word is that Mike Criste has made a lot of strides in the weight room and could be a factor as well.

Come fall, Kohler could end up being the starter at right tackle while Hatchie is the backup to Kelemete at left tackle and Kanczugowski could move inside or continue to be the top backup at the tackle spot.

Husky offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto loves to move his players around, allowing him to mix and match players depending on need.

Expect that to be the case this spring as he tries to figure out where each of the young linemen fit best.

Posted by Chris Fetters
11:30 am

Chris Polk (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Spring Football dates announced

The start of the UW football team's spring practice season is less than two weeks away. The University's spring academic quarter gets underway on Monday, March 28. The following day - Tuesday March 29 - the Huskies take the field for the first of 15 spring practices.

Practices will run each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for five weeks, culminating with the annual Spring Game Saturday, April 30, at 11:00 a.m. Weekday practices start at 4:00 p.m. and Saturday practices begin at 11:00 a.m., other than the April 16 practice, which begins at 1:00 p.m.

All practice sessions are open to the public, but you must check in before entering. Just go to the northeast corner of Husky Stadium (field level), near Husky Softball Stadium to enter.

With that, here's a rundown of the Huskies' spring practice schedule (start times are approximate (usually within 15 minutes) and subject to change):
Tuesday, March 29, 4 p.m.
Thursday, March 31, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 2, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 5, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 7, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 9, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 12, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 14, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 16, 1 p.m. (Coaches Clinic)
Tuesday, April 19, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 21, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 23, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 26, 4 p.m.
Thursday, April 28, 4 p.m.
Saturday, April 30, 11 a.m. (Spring Game)

For more information click on the link below.

Get Ready For Spring Football!

Posted by Scott Eklund
10:00 am

Thursday Morning News Links

-- ESPN's Todd McShay, a big Jake Locker fan, has the former Husky signal-caller going to Seattle in his latest Mock Draft.

Here's the excerpt...

Seattle Seahawks: (Top needs - OT, OG/C, QB, OLB, CB)

Jake Locker, QB, Washington

Matt Hasselbeck is a free agent but will be back in the fold in Seattle, but he's also 35 years old and the Seahawks need a quarterback to develop behind him because current backup Charlie Whitehurst is clearly not the long-term answer. Locker would be in an ideal situation sitting behind Hasselbeck and Whitehurst in 2011, giving him time to work out his mechanics and get the practice reps he needs to become more accurate and consistent. He needs at least a full year of grooming before he is ready to face the pressure of game action.

-- NFL.com reports that Locker had a workout with the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday and will have private workouts with the Seahawks and Tennessee Titans in the next two days.

-- The Seattle Times has a write-up on the unbeaten Washington Husky softball team and their participation this weekend in the Judi Garmin Classic.

-- Percy Allen, the Seattle Times' men's basketball beat reporter, has a nice profile of Isaiah Thomas and how he's grown as a young man and also as a leader.

That's all for now...

Posted by Chris Fetters
10:45 am

Zach Banner Official Junior Highlight Reel

Dawgman.com received news that Zach Banner's official junior highlight reel had been released on YouTube. Want to check it out? We've got it right here. It's five minutes of No. 73 doing his thing on both sides of the ball...

Posted by Scott Eklund
10:23 am

Recruiting Blog - 3/15

In today's Recruiting Blog, we take a look at the top defensive tackle prospects on Washington's radar and who could see an offer down the road with a good spring and summer.

Posted by Chris Fetters
5:30 pm

Tia Jackson (UW Media Relations)

Tia Jackson resigns as women's hoops coach

SEATTLE - Tia Jackson announced today that she will resign from her position of head women's basketball coach at the University of Washington, effective immediately. Jackson informed UW athletic director Scott Woodward of her decision.

Jackson recently completed her fourth season with the Huskies, compiling an overall record of 45-75 (.375), including a 24-48 mark in Pac-10 Conference competition. The Huskies finished 11-17 (6-12 Pac-10) this season, and fell 58-48 to California in the first round of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament last Wednesday.

To read the entire release, click on the link below.

Jackson Resigns As UW Coach

Posted by Chris Fetters
1:00 pm

Lorenzo Romar Monday Media Notes

Romar met with the media Monday.

Asked about the firing of Tia Jackson, Romar had no comment.

On Georgia - They are a really good defensive team. Strength inside. Way they defend is the way USC defends. Thompkins and Price, very physical and strong, very active.

On winning close games lately gives you confidence. If you get in that spot again, go back and remember what it's like and have confidence that you can come out on the positive side.

On not having a set five starters this late in the season - Very unique. Can't remember a year, except for maybe our first year, we've changed so many lineups.

On the health of the team coming out of the Pac-10 Tournament - More of a mental strain than physical. Exception of Isaiah, most played normal minutes. It was all about being mentally prepared. Executed scout very well the last two games as well as any they played all year, and that was due to being focused in the moment. Friday is ample time to get mentally and physically ready.

Health of Justin Holiday - by Friday, that'll be two weeks, so he should be fully physically healthy by then. Said he would have been on the Pac-10 All-Tournament team if his shot had been falling, and the concussion definitely affected his shot, and his play.

Romar said they've decided to leave Tuesday, but didn't have much more in the way of details. Still working that all out.

On Isaiah staying for his senior year - The NBA rule on underclassmen is there for him to test the waters. Haven't talked to him about coming back.

On starting five - Haven't figured out what they want to do with a starting lineup, because they haven't fully put together their scout.

On doing all this during finals week - They give the team plenty of time off after finals for winter quarter because it's so draining. So they have to be cognizant of that going into this week.

On redshirting - I don't think we've ever recruited a player with the idea of redshirting. Not one that I remember where we've suggested it. If I had a son who was good enough - and he wasn't a lottery pick - I would insist on a redshirt year. Guys like Gant, Wilcox and Simmons came to them and asked. Simmons was a little different because of his knee. He was reluctant at first, but now very happy he did it. So much more prepared to come in and play. Never had a fifth-year player come back and say they wished they hadn't redshirted. Look at Gant, and how excited he is to come back.

On being able to use their recent NCAA Tournament experience versus Georgia - Georgia has played enough basketball to be very competitive. Fox as a HC and assistant has been involved in the NCAA, so they know how to get a team competitive, so I don't know if there's any advantage. What's important is understanding everything leading up to the game. If you aren't accustomed to dealing with all the off-court things in the tourney, it might affect some and become a distraction. But once the game starts, it's just a game. So it might help in the mental preparation, but Fox and his staff will help their team get over those hurdles.

On Georgia's guards - They have capable guards. Leslie - athletic, strong and durable. We'll have to see when we get out on the floor. Leslie reminds him of the Odom guard from Marquette. Took to the second half for Isaiah to lock him down. Just don't know what you need to do until you get on the court and figure it out.

On playing Friday - The emotional high of the Pac-10 Tourney, coupled with the travel, means getting an extra day is more important than normal for them.

On getting Overton back - Plays with energy, hard to scout what he does. His push, his experience in the tournament, he can do nothing but help. Doesn't anticipate changing his role, but game will dictate what happens.

On Terrence Ross - He doesn't have highs or lows. Not just rare for a frosh - rare for anybody.

On the final play of the Pac-10 Tournament - It wasn't like I was screaming time out and Isaiah said no. I was thinking time out, but once I saw he wanted it, I told the rest to flatten out (baseline) because I knew what he was thinking too. He wanted to make the play.

Posted by Scott Eklund
3:15 pm

Larry Scott speaks with the media in LA

Enough good stuff on hoops and football and the future of the conference.

On the format for the Tournament next year - "We haven't decided finally, yet. We're certainly looking into what other 12-team conferences are doing, with four play-in games and four teams starting in the quarterfinals…but we still have to decide."

On there being four games Wednesday and Thursday - "Yes. That's the most obvious model that we've looked at."

On moving the basketball tournament around - "It's always a thought, and something I've heard people would want us to look at. It would be a normal thing when our rights come up. It's tied to our TV contract, so we're here for sure next year as well. As part of our TV negotiations and what we're discussing, first in terms of whose rights it's going to be and who gets to make that decision…then after that it's about if we stay here or if we look at other models. Sometime in the next 12 months, it's a question we'll answer."

On the sparse attendance - "I'll reserve judgment until after the tournament. Last year was my first tournament, and we were disappointed in the crowds last year. But USC wasn't in it because of their post-season ban, and UCLA down…I think this year will be a much better test with USC and UCLA very strong. And we realize, as I've looked across the country at other conference tournaments, weekdays beginning of the tournament are sparsely attended everywhere. So I think we can more fairly judge it after the tournament is over, see what these next three days are like."

On TV negotiations - "We're in negotiations, and while I won't comment on the details or how that's going, but I expect it's going to take a fair few months to get through the process."

On moving start times on TV - "We're definitely looking at the overarching issue, which is how do we get more national exposure for basketball and football, in particular. It's a complex set of issues; I don't think it's just about start times." "That topic is something I'm laser-focused on. We're determined to get a lot more national exposure for basketball and football than what we've been getting."

On USC's appeal - "I'm not privy to the deliberations, so I'm waiting to hear just like everybody else."

On basketball officiating - "We decided to concentrate on football first, and I think after the season we're going to sit down and figure out and look at officiating more broadly. We haven't decided what we're going to do vis-a-vis other sports or not. I think it's fair to say we've tried to take a fresh look at all aspects of the conference. We're determined to be 'best-in-class' and seen as elite in everything we do. And officiating is very important."

On Oregon - "I don't really have anything to comment on. It's not something that's even an investigation yet. Because it's a possible investigation that's been looked at, it's not something I'm prepared to comment on."

On probation schools - "There's plenty of issues that are out there affecting almost every major national program out there. I think it's par for the course these days that there are issues that come up and need to be addressed. But I don't want to get ahead of ourselves; it's not even an investigation at this stage."

On Oregon and the NCAA - "We're not waiting to hear from them. The way it works, at least in our conference, is that when there's a process of looking, it's done in parallel between our conference and the NCAA. We've got our own process, we've got our own enforcement division. There's been some 'preliminary fact-finding', is the way I would describe it."

On more Thursday night football going forward - "We're evaluating it vis-a-vis our long-term approach to scheduling and our TV contracts. But Thursday night football has served our conference exceedingly well. There are certain advantages we have, being on the west coast. And there's an awful amount of clutter on Saturdays. When I looked at the facts, and looked at the ratings, some of our Thursday night games have been some of our best-rated games. It's a chance to have the sole spotlight nationally on the conference. So if you take a macro-view of trying to get more national exposure, it's been a real winner."

On a conference TV network - "I've been pretty clear - it's a high priority. It's something we've looked at very seriously."

On raising revenues - "That's one of the reasons I'm here, and why the conference wanted to bring someone in from professional sports that's done a lot with television and raising revenues. There was a sense that the Pac-10 had fallen behind. We're fifth among the BCS conferences in TV revenue, and that's not satisfactory. That's been a concern - we've fallen behind in national exposure, as well as revenues. "It's all being done to change perceptions of where the Pac-10 belongs in the pecking order."

On the most important things on his plate right now - "Clearly, these television negotiations is my number-one priority at the moment. We're also doing a lot of work in terms of the integration of Colorado and Utah, the migration to the Pac-12. And particularly the first ever football championship that will be played at the home site has required a lot of organization and pre-planning on our part."

On impact of championship if USC doesn't win appeal - "The net effect would be that, if they win the south they wouldn't be able to play the football championship game, so the No. 2 team from the south would play in the football championship game. Next year will be the last year of all our current arrangements, and we struck a one-year deal with Fox Broadcasting, so it's really got no impact with negotiations going forward."

On future tiebreakers for football - "We've done some pretty detailed thinking about who would break ties in terms of who would win each divisions, as well as who would get the home rights."

On talk of standardizing injury reporting throughout the Pac-10 - "We have not had any discussions that I'm aware of."

On when the Pac-12 logo changes over - "Officially the Pac-12 starts July 1st, when the new academic year starts. But sometime in the next few weeks, we're going to have to start the process of implementing logos on new surfaces, and other pre-planning. So in the next few weeks you'll start to see it unveiled."

Posted by Scott Eklund
8:50 am

Larry Scott Recap

-- Thinks Pac 10 basketball has impressed as the season went on.

-- Said it is a credit to the players and the coaches in the conference. Said it's unfortunate that the Pac 10 hasn't been getting the coverage/exposure nationally that they should be getting and that's something they are working on now.

-- Said the selections by the Selection Committee are largely subjective and a lot of that has to do with exposure and coverage.

-- On the current TV contract – Current agreement runs another year (2012). Conference is currently in the exclusive negotiations with current partners (ie. FSN) and will have an opportunity to open up negotiations soon and that he expects this to take several months before things start to take shape.

-- Said they have some serious constraints in their current contract on broadcasting games. Wants to get rid of the "exclusive windows" and that every basketball and football game needs to be on TV going forward. Wants to exert some influence on schools to change times of games to accommodate that, but it is limited, so a lot of that depends on the school. Said the major change will come when the 2012/2013 academic year comes around and the new TV contract is in place.

-- Said that the Thursday Night (or other weekday night games) are something that the conference will need to be more flexible in order to get more national exposure so they aren't caught up in the clutter of all the other things going on that day. Also said basketball will be like that as well…different nights/days than what is currently in place.

-- On the state of the conference and his agenda – Conference is in a healthy state. Continues to dominate in the number of championships won. Basketball has been down, but it isn't that bad; football is coming up and they lead in Women's sports. Several of the leading academic institutions in the country are in the Pac 10. Conference is in six states and covers 20% of the TV households in the nation.

-- When asked about ESPN and the conference being more involved with them, Scott said the network is a very valued partner due to their reach and their marketing. He said there is a lot of competition and that you have to balance the exposure, the possibility of the conference starting its own network, more exposure for Olympic Sports, women's sports, etc. and that is something they need to look at, but ESPN is a valued partner for them and he sees that staying in place going forward.

-- $170 million is the internal goal, especially to start the equal revenue sharing, but he said that isn't necessarily an area where they aren't flexible.

-- Said he thinks the 2011 will be a better litmus test for the program. They have been working on marketing things better, streaming video and he wants more innovation around the Pac 10 tournament and they will re-evaluate on whether they will stay in L.A. or decide to move things in the future.

-- Wants to have a vibrant and fun atmosphere around the tournament and said there will be a lot of booths, a fan fest, bands, cheerleaders, etc. there which will make it much more festive than it has been in the past.

Talk about it: Here Here
Posted by Sabrina Squires
12:30 pm

Isaiah Thomas (Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

After UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar took his turn addressing the Venoy Overton situation, some of the players took their turn, including Isaiah Thomas, Matthew Bryan-Amaning, and C.J. Wilcox. All three spoke with the media Tuesday, and they also talked about the upcoming Pac-10 Tournament, and what they have to do in order to experience some March Madness for the third year in a row.

C.J. Wilcox Tuesday Quotes

On receiving ALL FRESHMAN TEAM honors
"I was actually surprised too -- with my injuries and stuff. I felt like I kind of fell off when I had the injuries and everything. But I was able to come back strong and the teammates helped out a lot with that, especially being a Freshman. I was really surprised that I got it, but it was an honor."

On going from the UCLA to the USC game
"You know, they are two different teams. USC packs it in a lot, and UCLA you get more freedom, more spacing, so you know, guards like Isaiah were able to create shots for me, because it wasn't so packed it. He was able to get by his guys, you know draw and kick, so that helps a lot. The USC guards are really good, and we just weren't able to get the kind of shots that we wanted. I got a few, but they weren't falling that night -- you can't shoot good every night. But it was just a tougher game."

On the post- season awards
"Like I said, I was shocked, I wasn't expecting it. It's a really good opportunity, and I just want to continue to get better."

On matching the WSU intensity and drop down in the confidence when you've missed your few first shots
"With shooting, once you see the ball go in the hoop, it's a whole other level of confidence. You feel like you can hit 10 more shots. As far as early start, early in the season, we were having good starts but not finishing the second half. And now that is kind of reverse, so we just have to figure out how to pick up energy early instead of when we are down 10 with four minutes to go to really start picking it up. So we just need to figure out how to get the energy earlier in the game."

On getting a more assured shot early in the game
"You know, it's good to start early. To go inside early to Matt and Aziz. Once they establish what they are going to do down there, it opens up the floor for the other guards to hit open shots and stuff."

On you feeling comfortable bringing the ball up the floor
"First of all, I have no problem bring the ball up the floor. But when you have great guards like them, you don't need to worry about it. But if I'm put in the position to bring the ball up the court, I'm comfortable running the offense from the point guard position. But as far as what you have to do on the court, if you play defense, you'll play. You need to play defense and rebound. I don't think he's too concerned about points, but I know as long as you rebound and defend, you'll be fine."

On the last time you played point
"High school is the last time I've done that, but not since I've been up on this level. All last year, I've been working on my ball handling stuff, and playing against Venoy, you just naturally get better handling the ball. So I'm comfortable playing that position."

Posted by Sabrina Squires
12:15 pm

Matthew Bryan-Amaning Tuesday Quotes

On Most Improved Player
"Surprised. I know I had an obviously better year than I have in years' past, but obviously other guys in the conference had done the same jump, or if not, better than myself. (Jared) Cunningham I think had a great year compared to his freshman year, and Harper Kamp coming off an injury, so I was just a little surprised I got it. It was obviously nice to hear, and nice to see the coaches took notice of my improvement.

On 1st team selection
"Pretty much, you kind of can guess with the Pac-10, having 10 guys throughout the year, you can kind of tell who the main guys are, who will get it. So I wasn't so much surprised with that, just with the Most Improved -- that kind of caught me off guard, and honorable mention for defense."

On how you found out
"B.T. (UW SID Brian Tom) actually texted me first. He texted me and let me know, and then I just got a whole bunch of texts and tweets and stuff, congratulating me."

On the mindset of the team right now
"Well we haven't met obviously with the stuff with V.O.-- it just happened, so we haven't met as a team yet. We don't know what is going with Justin, he feels like he can play, so I feel as a team we are positive that he is going to do everything in his power to be able to play this weekend. But we just know that we've been through this before, a lot of injuries happened to the end of the season. We just have to go out there and try to play with what we have on the court and what is available."

On this weekend being a challenge
"I think the guys know, and have used everything so far as motivation, with what is going on. We know that we got a lot of work to do. Obviously three games in three days is a lot of work. And a lot of teams in the country play six, seven, eight guys. Fortunately for us we have had to play with nine and ten bodies, and have been able to play with that many guys. But now, it just shows that we have a lot of talent and we have a lot of stuff going on that we can go out there with that many guys and still play at a high level."

On the confidence being low and how do you get that back up
"I don't think it's really low. Obviously we know where we have been on the past playing offensively, right now I think we are playing a lot better defense than we have in the past, and that is going to fuel for our offense. We know if we get stops and rebound the ball, we can get out there and play the tough basketball we want to do, which is fast breaking obviously. And I think once, if we keep doing on what we're doing on the defensive end as of late, we'll be fine. Just because, we'll get in to transition, and get some easy buckets, which will always boost your confidence."

On the hovering unnamed UW basketball player faced with criminal charges being hard on the team and feeling associated
"Not really, obviously we're just supporting him throughout everything that was going on. And we knew the team was going to take flat, regardless of the situation. So we knew as long as we were there, and we believed in ourselves, and supported each other, we would be fine."

On this season being one of Romar's most challenging seasons as a coach and does he cover it up well
"I think he does. We kind of, obviously know what is going on with everything. It's not just him that has to deal with it, it's the whole team. Knowing if someone isn't doing as well, that we won't have the same bodies or personnel to help bounce back, but he does a good job at staying positive. He hasn't said anything, I don't think to us as a team, as a whole. He might've said something to individuals, but he hasn't said anything to the team as a whole. Even though we've had all of this, he is still positive, and knows the talents that we do have and what we have available and he still believes that we have a chance to make this season memorable."

On there being a correlation of how you guys played and when the news came out
"Not that we've noticed anyway. Not that any of the players or myself have noticed. We still go out and play as hard as we can while we are on the court."

On playing at Staples Center
"Yeah, it's a lot of fun. Obviously playing in an NBA arena, anywhere across the country is a lot of fun. It's just the bright lights really. It's a big stage, a national stage, that everybody gets to see you-- whether it's other teams across the country, your friends or families get to see you all around the country, all over the world. You just know that it is another plateau to show how good your program is. Especially with everything happening this coming week, leading up to selection Sunday, we know everybody will be watching."

On your memories from last year and getting you excited
"Yeah, and just because it's March. Everything that comes along with March. Every game feels like a tournament game. Your last few games leading into the tournament, and then obviously playing in the Pac-10 tournament. It's March Madness and everybody loves it. Your adrenaline gets running just talking about it, now I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it. It's just a lot of fun, and you know everybody is there and everybody has to bring their A game."

On your dunk (on Stanford's Andrew Zimmerman)
"No, I was just thinking about cutting down those nets."

On feeling if you don't win on Thursday, you won't be invited to the dance
"We feel like we had the opportunity to secure earlier, obviously. But right now, I think the mindset of the guys, especially the guys coming back from last year, where nothing is a sure thing. You never know what is going on with the committee. In years past, teams thought they were in and they weren't. The year before I got here, they thought they were watching it just to see if they made it. And they didn't make it, and soon they thought they were going to play in the NIT and they didn't even make that. So you never know what is going to happen. So right now, we're just doing everything we can to make it, but at the same time, we're trying to play for another championship. These three days in LA is another opportunity to make another statement. Right now, the regular season has ended and everybody is 0-0. We could've finished top of the league, we could've finished 10th in the league, but we have another opportunity to win another championship, and that is what we are headed for."

On having revenge against WSU last game and not playing so well
"We are always amped up, everybody is amped up. It's your state rival regardless of what is going on. We feel that offensively we had a bad half, but we had a great defensive half. Everything that we have been trying to focus back on on the defensive end has started to come together. We've done well on the last few games, minus the second half of that game, at getting back to the basics and doing everything the coaches have asked us to do. From picking the ball up, to not doing anything until we've secured a rebound. So what we're trying to do is focus in on that stuff, and then obviously our offensive roles will just happen. That's going to happen in basketball. Obviously it's tough when two, three or four guys aren't having good nights. But we feel, if we do what we are supposed to do on the defensive end, everything on the offensive end will take care of itself."

On some of those offensive roles from last game being because you were so hyped up you were
" I don't know if it was because of that… I don't know what to say to be honest. It just happens sometimes, regardless if it's myself missing or some of the guards missing from the outside. It just happens. And obviously the first half of the WSU game was evident because it happened to a majority of people on the court at the same time. And obviously against UCLA we were able to bounce back. C.J. started knocking down some shots, and like we said, when someone isn't having a good night, someone else can pick us up."

On being excited at all about playing them again or do you dread it
"No, never [about dreading]. Especially when you have lost twice, it's one of the toughest thing in sports to do, especially at a collegiate level is to beat a team three times in one season."

On beating Oregon State three times last year
"At that point last year, we were not losing a game. We just knew, regardless of what was happening, even if we were playing Marquette, we were not losing a game. We just had that confidence, regardless of what was going on, we had to win. And I think that is what the attitude is that this team is starting to pick up now. We kind of know everything that is going on and around the country. And obviously everybody on this team wants to play in the tournament, and they know what is at stake. So I believe everybody is ready to play. And with WSU, we just know that the same way we feel that this is an important game, for Sunday and for us obviously for the championship, it's an important game for them too. So we know they are going to come out fired up and ready to play."

On pointing out a particular part where you felt that not to lose confidence
"I think once we got over that hump, not winning a game on the road, after we beat Stanford. I think we lost to CAL at their spot, but after that, it was kind of -- everything was just positive. Regardless of what was going on, standings, whatever We kind of just shut out everybody else. It was like the team, the coaching staff, and everybody with this program was in a room, in our little bubble. We weren't going to let anything effect us, because we knew what direction we were headed and we weren't going to let anybody else deter us from that."

On where that feeling is this season
"Well when you come out with such a positive start -- I'm not saying as a team we got relax, but Coach let us know early we couldn't settle, I just think that is what we sort of did on the defensive end. Now we got back to the drawing board, and our defense has gotten a lot better than those three, four games, mid way through the season. I think that everybody that has been here knows what we have to do. Coach always talks about us being a blue collard team on the defensive end, and that's how we've done it. We had a lot of talent last year, just like we do this year. But defensively, we just kind of didn't back down from anybody."

Posted by Chris Fetters
11:15 pm

Isaiah Thomas Tuesday Quotes

On Curtis (alma mater): "They did something I never got to do. They got to the state Championship game. They didn't win it, but it was good to see 'em in it."

On Venoy Overton: "Basketball out the window…it's tough. It's sad. I don't even know what to say. Someone close to you like that, their last year…for them to go down like it has, it's tough."

On being disappointed with him: "Not really. Things happen. I can't be mad at him. He knows he did wrong. He knows what was at stake. People makes mistakes, and I feel like you always deserve a second chance for whatever mistake you make. Through the bad times and the good times, he's kept his head high and just tried to push it out the window and play basketball."

On it being a distraction: "I really don't think so. We never really talked to him about it. We never really talked about it as a team. We talked about it one time. That was it. We play basketball. It was never a distraction for us, or for him, I don't think."

On if VO talked about it with the team that one time: "No. We just talked about it as a team - the coaches and the players. And that was it."

On dreading this day coming: "Not really. I kind of thought it was over. I don't know how the law works, and stuff like that, but once he said he wasn't charged for what had happened, I thought it was over. But obviously it's not….just pray to God, put it in God's hands, and hopefully it'll work out."

On the public heckling during games: "You know what fans are capable of doing. Going into anybody's arena, they hear about things that maybe you never hear. They find out things and say whatever they want. You just have to be a basketball player and push it out of your mind and focus on what you've got to do for that game. It came to a point where some teams said some things that you just don't say, but people are disrespectful in this world. It is what it is. You put yourself in that position, and people think they can say whatever they want."

On how they'll respond: "You've gotta respond positive. Our backs are against the wall, once again. (Abdul) Gaddy went down; Tyreese (Breshers) went down at the beginning of the year - it's been a rough season. It's been up and down, but we're not going to give up. It's a new season right now, everyone's zero and zero. We've got Washington State on Thursday. No one is feeling sorry for us; I'm not feeling sorry for us. We've got to go out and win basketball games. I talked to my teammates today just about keeping your head up. Our backs have been up against the wall before. We know what it takes to win a Pac-10 Tournament Championship. We've got to play every game like our last, because it can be our last."

On the timing of the news: "It's probably difficult for different people. For me, it's just like 'Dang, why did it have to happen right now?' But once I get on the court, it's out of my head. We just have to focus on what's at hand, and what we have to do to get in that NCAA Tournament. We just have to be focused and really dialed in."

On maybe having to go 40 minutes: "I'm ready. This whole week, I've been really focused. I feel like lately my play has rubbed off against the team, and I put a lot of my shoulders, and a lot of the blame goes on me for how we've played the month of February. I'm just ready. I'm ready for Thursday. I see what you guys write. I see that everybody is against us and it feels like our season may be over…but it's a new season right now, and I've been in the gym a lot. I'm ready for whatever coach needs me to do and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get a win on Thursday."

On being tired, or what's wrong: "I'm out there thinking too much the last two or three games. I've been thinking a little too much. I felt like in my mind I was a freshman again…looking to the bench every play, seeing if I'm doing good or bad. I don't know. When I thought about it Sunday night, it came to me - I'm just thinking too much. I just need to go out there, play basketball, and not think about anything else but winning. I've been in the gym Sunday, Monday…I was in there today in the middle of classes. And when I get in the gym, that's when I know I'm really focusing and putting everything else aside. I'm ready to play Thursday, put the team on my shoulders and try to get a win."

On being tired: "It's not about being tired. I've trained since the summer to be ready for this. I'm not tired. I watched film on the little things I can get better on with my shooting…like falling back, not keeping my follow-through up, free throws not bending my legs…little things that can be fixed, and they will be fixed come Thursday."

On his post-season accolades: "It's alright. I'm looking for bigger and better things, like winning games, winning Pac-10 championships, and trying to go far in this NCAA Tournament. The individual stuff doesn't matter to me."

On beating himself up over the losses: "I guess you could say that. Yeah. Just trying to figure out what it is…haven't been playing well the last two or three games. But I think I figured it out. I'll be back to the old Isaiah come Thursday."

On if that's how the process goes for him when he's facing adversity: "Yeah, I feel like for me…it's different for different people, but for me it's like, 'What are you thinking out there?' Just going over film and doing what you can to try and become a better player. I watched a lot of film this year, a lot more than the last couple years….I can see it on the court. If teams made adjustments to try and stop me…it's not even that. I haven't been going out there the same, I've been thinking too much, and not just going out there and playing basketball…the game I've played my whole life. You'll see a different me on Thursday, this me that's energetic and smiling and just having fun."

On if he feels like he has to take over certain aspects, especially with guys out: "Whatever it may be…if that means I have to go out and take a game over on the defensive end and try and be Venoy, or if I have to go out and score 40…if my team needs me to do whatever, I'm willing to do that. It's the end of the season. It's March. My team looks to me, so I'm going to put my team on my shoulders and do whatever I can to get a win."

On coming together: "You have to go back to what's worked. You can't over-think to when teams are going to adjust, because teams are going to adjust and do whatever they can to find your weaknesses and slow you down. With us, teams don't want us to get out in transition. No matter what teams try and do, we've got to counter that, and get in transition - push the ball, and not look to coach for things. I'm basically the coach out there when I'm out on the floor because I'm the point guard of the team, and like I said before - the last couple of games, the month of February, has been so up-and-down with me, and I feel like it's rubbed off on the team. I just have to have a positive attitude, go out there and have fun, and see where that takes us."

On if it's a surprise to him that he has had that effect: "No. Ever since I was a freshman, I've always felt that way. Even when we had Brockman and Quincy, I felt like being the point guard of the team - my play dictates a lot of what we do. It doesn't mean I have to go out and score 25 points, or get 15 assists…just overall being a great leader and picking dudes up if they aren't playing as well, and just holding everyone accountable for what they are doing. And I feel like if I'm doing that and we're having fun, we're a hard team to beat. We just have to get back to having fun and playing hard."

On if there's something about WSU that gives UW problems: "I don't think so. The first time, we just didn't play defense. The second time we played better defense, but we couldn't hit shots. If we put that all into one and be a consistent team, we can beat Wazzu. It's not like they are the best in the country, and we're like 'Whoa, we're playing Wazzu - this is going to be tough'. They played two good games, and we give them all the credit, because they battled those two games and beat us. But it's hard to beat a team three times, and we're going to be well-prepared for what they've got."

On what UW will miss with Venoy out: "Just intensity, energy…one guard can change a game on defense, and it's crazy what he can do. These last 2-3 games, you guys have seen it - he's been playing really well. It sucks to be in the situation he's in, but that means I have to pick it up a little more. Like I've told you guys, I take a lot of the blame for everything that happens - good or bad - and with him going down I feel like it's more on my shoulders. I can fix this by playing my heart out, playing like it's my last game, and having my teammates playing the same way."

On the possibility of not having Justin Holiday play: "I thought he got hit in the eye, and he went out for a little bit. Other than that, when he got back in I really didn't think about it too much. It's going to be really hard if we don't have him…he's our anchor on defense - him and Venoy. I feel like he's going to be ready. I talked to him today, and he said that if they try and make him not play, he's going to find his way down to LA. He knows what's at stake. Everybody knows. And we're going to be ready."

Posted by Chris Fetters
4:30 pm

Romar reacts to Overton news

Opening Statement: "I was just made aware of the charge against Venoy Overton, and as a result of that charge, Venoy will not be participating in the Pac-10 Tournament. As I've said all along, it's something we take very seriously. There have been some internal dealings with Venoy that I won't go into because it's family stuff. I didn't want to outwardly discipline twice. I wanted to wait for this process to take its course. It was my intention all along that if something were to happen, further action would be taken from the action that has already been taken internally.

"Although it's a charge at this point, there's still a small process that has to take place. But it's against what we teach here in our basketball program. It's serious enough to me. In the past, we have dealt with things our players have done. We've never said we have saints on our team that never make mistakes. Players have made mistakes before, and we have dealt with those. But what is really important is to make sure there are consequences, but also for behavior to change. We have to grow from these things and we have to learn from these things.

"He will participate beyond the Pac-10 Tournament, if we're invited to a tournament. But he will not play in the Pac-10 Tournament."

On if he thought about a lesser penalty - "What happened to Klay Thompson, that had no bearing on our decision here. There were a lot of things to be a considered. Sometimes there's an outcry from the public that something needs to be done. As far as I'm concerned, behavior has to change. We have to learn from our mistakes. Mistakes are going to be made. Every situation is going to be different. I don't think you handle every situation the same way. It's important that we learn from this and go on from here."

On the internal penalty - "Internally, some things had already been put into place. But I didn't want to go back and discipline twice outwardly. Everything now is in place, and we'll move on after this. Because I think there are consequences, but you also look at things differently after something like this."

On struggling since this news came out - "It's hard for me to say. I'd love to be able to say 'Yup, that's the reason that we haven't played as well. I'd love to say that. But who knows."

On his reaction - "It's hard. It's hard for him."

On what losing him will do to the team - "He was starting to play his best basketball. He was rounding into shape to do the things we've all grown accustomed to watching him do on the floor. Scott Suggs was playing good basketball when he was injured. C.J. (Wilcox) was injured, and now this with Venoy. It always takes away from your team."

On when he found out about the new charge - "I found out about an hour ago, shortly thereafter (1 pm)."

On if Overton will travel - "Yes, he'll travel with us."

On if this has been the toughest decision he's had to make - "I don't know if the decision is as tough as you're more disappointed than anything. Our second year here, there were some discipline issues at the NCAA Tournament. And when I heard what had happened, the decision wasn't as difficult as 'why…?' We all have to learn. We all have to learn and grow. Hopefully the team can learn from this. Venoy can learn from this. We can all learn from it."

On the details of the incident - "I'm not going to go into detail with that. One of the most difficult things about a situation like this is when you know some truths, you know some things, and people are talking all around you about things where they may not know all the facts. And you have to sit and wait. But I'm not going to go into that."

On how awkward it's been the last three months - "It's been the toughest year since I've been a coach here, for me - I'd say. You have a certain vision; you work really hard to have your program be a certain way…and you also want what's best for your guys. And if something goes wrong, your guy makes a mistake, it's a setback. And you hate to see that happen. But you make mistakes, there are consequences too. Just dealing with all that makes it difficult. It starts when you have to look your player in the eye when the doctor tell him he can't play basketball anymore, in the case of Tyreese Breshers. I was there with him. You're there with Abdul Gaddy when they tell him you're done for the year. It starts way back then, and goes on and on and on…that has made it tougher. Other programs go through this. We're not the first program to go through these type of things. It just that we hadn't gone through them here very often."

On who made the decision - "It's my decision. Scott (Woodward) is aware of it. Scott is great in that, he expresses a lot of confidence to me in what we do. He's been really good with that. This was the decision I made."

On if this would have been the decision if it had been made earlier - "I don't know. What was important to me is that there would be certain consequences, and there would be a lesson learned, and that there was a change in behavior."

On concerns for the rest of the team - "I really don't know what it's going to be like. I know guys love their teammate; they know they are going to go to battle without him on the floor, and that's going to make it tough. But we have to go on."

On Overton's contrition since the incident - "Oh yeah. Absolutely. Definitely."

On if Overton will address it - "There could possibly be a statement."

Posted by Chris Fetters
2:30 pm

Overton charged

According to numerous Seattle-based media sources, Washington guard Venoy Overton has been charged by the Seattle City Attorney with furnishing alcohol to minors, a gross misdemeanor that carries with it a penalty of up to a year in jail.

You can read the full story here

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar suspended Overton for the Pac-10 Tournament, although he is currently practicing and he will travel with the team to Los Angeles.

Romar also added that if the team makes it to the NCAA Tournament, Overton would be reinstated for that run. We'll have more from Romar later tonight.

Posted by Scott Eklund
8:56 am

Recruiting Blog - 3/8

In today's Recruiting Blog, we take a look at the top wideout prospects on Washington's radar and who could see an offer down the road.

Posted by Chris Fetters
11:15 am

Matthew Bryan-Amaning (K.Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Pac-10 Post-Season Hoops Honors Released

WALNUT CREEK, Calif., – In a vote of the 10 Conference coaches, ARIZONA sophomore forward Derrick Williams has been named the 2010-11 Pac-10 Men's Basketball Player of the Year, CALIFORNIA guard Allen Crabbe has been named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year; USC senior guard Marcus Simmons has been named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year; WASHINGTON senior forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning has been named Pac-10 Most Improved Player of the Year and Sean Miller of ARIZONA is the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Commissioner Larry Scott announced today.

To view the entire release, click on the link below. (.pdf file)

Pac-10 Post-Season Hoops Honors

Posted by Scott Eklund
9:50 am

Recruiting Blog - 3/6

Washington has already offered Jeff Lindquist and Travis Wilson and they are looking pretty hard at a couple of other prospects.

Here's a quick look at some of them and what makes them special enough to garner interest from the Dawgs...

Posted by Chris Fetters
7:20 pm

Isaiah Thomas (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

USC v. UW Game Blog now on!

Posted by Chris Fetters
4:00 pm

Isaiah Thomas Friday Quotes

On ever having to run lines for not taking a shot - "Nah. I'll never will have to, ever." (laughs)

On Wilcox's night - "It was good. That's what I envisioned this whole year. Once he shoots it, there's a good chance of it going in. He was shooting it with confidence, he got his confidence back. I guess he felt like he was hitting whatever he put up. He did a good job of keep shooting within the flow of the game, and he helped us a lot."

On worrying about himself, with big games coming up - "Maybe. I'm not too worried about myself. I'm more worried about winning, but I just have to go watch a little more film on how teams are playing me. Because they've adjusted to what was working, and I just have to counter that and adjust to beat what they are doing. It has a lot to do with the on-ball and how they are playing it and how they are just sitting back…like I said, I'm just going to go watch more film and dissect what I can do to get easier buckets and easier buckets for my teammates."

On what they've taken away - "They know when they hedge, it's a mis-match - because the big is a lot slower than I am. They're not hedging anymore. They are sitting back, with the big in the paint. It's basically like a 2-on-1, with the guard trailing. When I shoot, he's trying to contest my shot from the back and the big is right there. So me and my bigs have to do a better job of setting the screen and just working out of that. And my guys have to knock down shots when I pass it to 'em."

On clowning around with Josh Smith - "He just said, 'My bad', and the ref thought he said something like we didn't know each other and we were talking mess. But we try and tell the ref, we've known each other for a while."

On which senior will cry Saturday - "(Justin) Holiday. He's trying to say he won't, but he will. Or Matt (Bryan-Amaning). I don't know. But I think Holiday will."

On Quincy Pondexter crying last year - "He was a little punk last year, for crying like he did (laughs). We rode him for a while, because he told people he wasn't going to cry either. But I was like, 'Quincy is gonna cry'. We know you Quincy, you're gonna cry. But he cried more than I thought he would (laughs)."

On if it's his last game - "Maybe. Maybe not."

On when his Twitter account opens back up - "Next Saturday. Championship game…hopefully we'll be playing in it. I'll be back."

On looking ahead - "I've heard we might play Washington State, but that's all I've heard. I haven't really heard like you guys. If we do, hopefully third time's a charm, and we can get one against them."

On how he feels right now - "Teams have adjusted…I knew this would happen. Teams have adjusted to key on me and stop me. And when you do that, guys like C.J. pick it up for you, and other guys pick it up for you…but I'm not tired. I'm not fatigued. The free throw thing was me not using my legs. I'm working on that and getting that rhythm back. But yesterday, they were shots that I normally take. They weren't going in. I had a step-back that went in and out. When it went in and out, I was like, 'Ok, it's one of those nights'. Hopefully we get the win and I'll be happy."

On advice from others - "Jason (Terry), we talked for a long time last night about the pick-and-roll, and how the game is made of angles. I have to come off the pick-and-roll…because of how they are playing me, I have to come off shoulder to shoulder and on my guy's hip, so that the trailing guard can't get to me as quick as they did last night…just little things that I can see on film and work out and get better. So hopefully I'll have a better game tomorrow, and we get the win."

On any other calls - "Will (Conroy) texted me and said, 'Great win'. Other than that, not too many."

On cut on thumb - "I stabbed myself with a knife. It's deep, but it's alright. Maybe that's the reason I was missing…nah, there's no excuses. But the other night, I was trying to get some brownies off this plate, and I stuck myself. It's a deep cut, but it's alright. They glued it back together, and there's a band-aid under it, with a patch. It's hard to grip the ball because it hurts, but I have to adjust to that."

On USC's defense - "UCLA played a lot like USC plays defense. Yesterday, that's the first time I've seen UCLA play like that. And USC's defense is good. Like I said, I'm going to watch a lot of film tonight to see where I can get easy baskets, and where I can get my teammates easy baskets. They pack it in and plus, they play off on the pick-and-roll. You've got to take good shots, take care of the ball, and if you do that you've got a good chance of winning against USC."

Posted by Chris Fetters
3:45 pm

Lorenzo Romar Friday Notes

Some similarities to WSU in the UCLA game. Missed eight layups against WSU, 10 against UCLA. Shot 22 percent against WSU; 21 percent against UCLA. Had 22 deflections against WSU; 21 against UCLA. "The difference was that we defended for 40 minutes, instead of 20 minutes. If we weren't guarding, we wouldn't have gotten it done."

Asked about changing anything for USC, and Romar said that they aren't going to change the way they played their defense, and they aren't going to change their offense, because they got 10 layups the first half. If you're doing that, you're doing something good. "Just make the open shots. For whatever reason, it's just happened these last couple games." But he did say that they do need to take care of the ball a little bit better.

At USC and starting slow, we've been in that situation a couple of times early on, and played like it. Also played like that at Arizona too. USC plays tremendous defense. If you make a mistake, you are going to pay. Other teams you might get away with something, but with USC, you have to do everything right.

On USC's front court - They are different than USC. Vucevic can step outside and really shoot, whereas UCLA's guys really don't do that as much, unless they use Tyler Honeycutt as a big.

On USC being a bad matchup historically against UW - They've been very successful against UW. When they had Dwight Lewis, O.J. Mayo and Demar Derozan, they were a bad matchup because they were so big. That made it difficult.

On difference between second and third going into the Pac-10 Tournament - Depends. It's like the NCAA Tournament; it's not necessarily about the best teams, but the best matchup.

On Suggs' return - It helps mitigate the fatigue factor. Last night, Scott played more like a veteran than I've ever seen him play. He didn't score a lot, but his defense was really good. He forced a number of turnovers, and had a couple of steals. Thought he did a great job.

On his knee - Haven't talked to him since, but I haven't heard anything. I think he's fine. Eighteen minutes probably means he's fine. Brought him in at the 9-minute mark, and he immediately contributed.

On Thursday's trapping defense - It made a little bit of a difference. It made us alert. Didn't force a lot of turnovers, but it did help speed UCLA up at times.

On Venoy Overton starting Saturday - He will be starting.

On the senior class - They've been a part of a lot of success, and it's been fun watching each one of them finding their own way in contributing to the program. Justin (Holiday) has winner written all over him. A lot of people thought UW was recruiting Justin because of his brother Jrue, but he's shown why he was good enough on his own.

He had mono his first year, as well as a staph infection, and then he had to sit out the entire summer before his junior year. If he was able to get all that time back, he'd be even better than where he is now. He's got a lot of basketball ahead of him.

MBA - He has developed into a player with more substance than when he came in. Less is more with him. He's become an All Conference guy, and a great rebounder, which wasn't his forte coming in.

VO - People will always remember him when they talk about these teams, because he's changed games. He's provided a lot of fun and excitement for people to watch. He's provided a lot of fun and excitement for me.

Romar compared Overton to a guy he played against in college - Pepperdine's Michael Knight. "It was a fun challenge."

When you look at the end result, this class - if you also include Gant - they stack right up there with the best classes we've had. They didn't come in with a lot of stars next to their names, but they have a chance to play beyond college and they've helped us win a lot of games.

On the legacy of this class - I know their legacy is enhanced the more you win at the end.

On a sense of gratification that the class positively underscores his methods and approach toward recruiting and development - Trust me when I tell you this - the coach that says he develops players, that's not the case. You recruit players that have a passion to be the best. Those players will develop quicker than those that are just going through the motion. I'm proud of them when they put the time in and work hard, and our assistants do a great job of working with guys. MBA, for instance, has done a good job of developing, but I don't think coach (Paul) Fortier gets enough credit for working with him and slowing him down. Coach Fortier has really helped him, but Matt really wanted to be helped.

On this week being bittersweet or sentimental - Jon Brockman and I were laughing about this on his senior night - we were thinking of other things to make sure we didn't tear up. We had a talk last night, and I mentioned how it would be the last time walking through that tunnel for some of them, and I could hardly get through the sentence. You spend so much time working with them, and you've gone through things with them behind closed doors and you've watched them grow - they are your family. And to know they are going to be fine, but you aren't going to be able to be with them all the time - it gets tough.

On the first commitment of that class - Matthew was first, Justin second, Darnell third, and then Venoy last. Venoy had committed to USC, but signed during the regular signing period. The other three signed during the early signing period.

On which senior is most likely to cry - I don't think any of them will cry quite like Quincy (Pondexter) did last year. But out of all of them? It's hard to tell.

On Wilcox's night, and how it could just be who he is - This may sound crazy…I don't know if we'll see him score 24 in a half (Mark Sanford scored 25 points in a half in 1995; Will Conroy scored 23 against UCLA in a OT loss), but to me, that's what we've seen before. We've seen him do what he did last night so many times…that had been coming. The last couple games he wasn't shooting too well, but the Arizona games… last night he was exhausted, and we reluctantly took him out. He's scoring like that, and we would have loved to keep feeding him. Jeremy Green is like that, Salim Stoudamire was like that.

On if he's ever supposed to miss, just watching his form - No. Whenever he misses, I wonder if he got enough sleep the night before, or if he failed a mid-term, or if someone moved the basket. He's such a good shooter. Scott Suggs is a better percentage shooter, but C.J. can get shots up so quickly. He needs no time to get his shot up, and that's what makes him so dangerous. He has an innate ability to get to the open area. His senior year, he came to our Elite camp, and my wife was there. I told her to watch C.J. shoot. She's not a talent evaluator, but she did recognize he could shoot. He just made shot after shot after shot.

On changing the scout because of C.J.'s game - I don't think UCLA went into the game not thinking C.J. wouldn't shoot. Our guys were looking for him, and they did a good job of that. If we played them tomorrow, I think they would have the same scout. And they have a scout for Isaiah, etc… something has to give.

On Ross not getting minutes Thursday - Isaiah is Isaiah; Venoy played really well last night. Second half, you don't take C.J. out of the game. Scott was playing well, and with their front court being as big as they were we had to go as long as we could with Aziz, Matthew and Darnell. We could have said it doesn't matter how well certain guys are playing, let's play Terrence. When we played USC the first time, that was reversed. It's a great case in point; it's money time. It wasn't because he took a bad shot and missed. We called that play for him to go one-on-one.

On if they need two of the three wings to play well each game in order to win - If two of those three guys come in and play well on the same night, it really increases our chances at being successful. C.J. and Scott can guard well, and Terrence will guard well in time. Sometimes it just takes freshmen a little longer.

On USC improving over time - Dropped off a little bit when they lost Jones, but then they regrouped. It's a classic example of guys falling into their roles, understanding what their job description is. They have one of the most under-appreciated players in the country in Vucevic, who is getting you nearly a double-double every night. And with that, you always have a chance. They have quick guards, and they really defend you.

On Aziz' game vs. UCLA - He missed several layups, but let's see what happens in that game if Aziz isn't playing against Josh Smith. Smith probably goes for 25 and 20. What Aziz does is he can help neutralize the other team's big men. It's like what Boston did by getting Dennis Johnson to neutralize Andrew Toney of Philadelphia - 'The Boston Strangler'. Aziz can do the same thing, because we've had a tough time deal with other bigs in the past. He didn't stop Smith, but he helped to slow him down a little bit. Cleveland did that with Shaq to go against Orlando's Dwight Howard.

Posted by Chris Fetters
5:15 pm

Come join our live UCLA/UW blog at 5:30!

Click on the link below for a live blog, where you can join in and participate. We'll cover all angles of Thursday night's UCLA/UW game from Alaska Airlines Arena.

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Posted by Scott Eklund
4:00 pm

Husky RB arrested for marijuana possession and resisting arrest

The Husky football team got some bad news Thursday morning when news started to filter out that senior RB Johri Fogerson was arrested for resisting arrest and investigation of possession of marijuana shortly after midnight.

In a story published in the Seattle Times earlier today, it was noted that Fogerson was pulled over at 12:25 a.m. for having a headlight out on the car he was driving.

Apparently the State Patrol trooper saw what appeared to be a "baggie" of pot inside the car and attempted to put handcuffs on Fogerson, but according to State Patrol Spokesman Keith Leary, he took off running.

After giving chase, the trooper was unable to locate Fogerson, but around 3:30 a.m. the dispatch center received a call stating that Fogerson wished to turn himself in and that his mother, a Seattle police officer, would be present when he turned himself in.

Shortly thereafter, Fogerson met with troopers and was booked into the Snohomish County Jail and has since posted bail.

"We are aware of an arrest of a member of the UW football team," Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement released by the University of Washington. "We are still gathering information and, if and when any action is taken on our part, we will have further comment."

Fogerson was the Associated Press State Player of the Year following his senior season at o'Dea in 2007, leading the Irish to the state title game, playing both safety and running back.

As a freshman in 2008, Fogerson played safety, but was moved to running back when Sarkisian took over as the head coach.

Fogerson only played in one game last season, versus BYU, before a hip injury caused him to miss the rest of the season.

Posted by Scott Eklund
7:11 am

Jake Locker (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Wednesday Morning News Links

-- Jake Locker, Mason Foster and Nate Williams all had their moments at the NFL Combine this past weekend.

-- ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton says the Seattle Seahawks should take Florida State QB Christian Ponder over Locker.

-- Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times catches up with former Husky K Steve Robbins.

-- Dawgman.com's Dick Baird talks about Marques Tuiasosopo's move to UCLA and why he is no longer at UW.

-- ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi says he sees the Huskies as a ninth-seed in the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament.

-- The Husky women's basketball team heads out on their last road trip of the season this week.

Posted by Chris Wells
6:10 pm

Justin Holiday (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Tuesday UW Player Quotes

Tuesday, Dawgman.com spoke with a few of the Washington players - Isaiah Thomas, Justin Holiday, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Darnell Gant - about the Washington State loss, as well as what they do going forward as they get ready to host UCLA and USC this week...

Isaiah Thomas:
First time they played UCLA:
"Back then, we were looking to go 18-0. I don't know, it's just a little different. We've had some injuries and there is no difference for where we could make an excuse for how we have been playing in all of February. It's a new month and hopefully guys are ready because March Madness is what college basketball is all about."

  Playing guys too many minutes and wearing down:
  "Not with myself, maybe some of the other guys. I want to be out there 40 minutes a game. But we've always have had a lot of talent on the team to where he splits the minutes up pretty well. So, I don't know, for me it's not a problem, but for others it may be that they get a little fatigued towards the end of games."

  Having to win out:
 "Not really, but that's the mindset. You want to win every game, especially with five games left possibly and you want to try to win out just so there is no and, if's or but's about you making the NCAA Tournament. I don't feel like we have to win out, but as the leader of this team, I want my teammates to feel like we need to though."

Meeting potential:
 "No, we are so up and down. Some games we are where our potential should be and in some games, like the Wazzu game, we are just not there. I don't know what it is, but that whole month of February was just not a good month for us. We were 4-4 the whole month and we just have to turn it around ASAP. We have to work hard in practice and have to keep faith and not worry about things that have happened in the past and get ready for UCLA and USC."

Free-throw problems:
"They're short. I'm not using my legs. There is nothing to really panic about. I've been in the gym since then and I just have to use my legs, because all of my misses are short. They are not left, right or long, they're short. So I know what to do."
Justin Holiday:
Improvement throughout the season:
"Of course we would like a lot of things to work out better. We want to get wins, and to get wins you have to do everything right to your ability. Like UCLA, they played better in the second half of the Pac-10. You have seen they've gotten better. I guess because we had such a good first half of the Pac-10, the way we are playing now, it seems like we are maybe not as good. But we have been in improving and of course there are things we want to improve, like our defensive aggressiveness or even being smarter for the full 40 minutes."

Fixing things up:
"I think so. It's going to take guys really wanting to get stops and wanting to get rebounds and focusing on that more than anything else in the game. I mean, we did have a problem with scoring a little bit last game, but I don't think that is going to be that much of a problem every game. We need to focus more on the defensive end and let the rest of the game come to us."  

Surprising about defensive lapses:
"I can't say surprising, because playing defense is not easy. It takes a certain amount of effort and focus to be able to do that. The reason we were so good in the past was because we were really focused on playing defense more than anything else in the games. I know, especially myself, I did that. It's just going to take a lot of focus from these players. We have some players playing a lot of minutes, also. So, I think once they understand playing all of these minutes in big atmosphere games, it's going to come around in a real good way."  

Now being an offensive threat. Has it taken a toll on his defense:
"It makes it harder to play the game really. I can't get more fatigued in these games this year than I would have any other year, but at the same time, I'm used to it now. I've been able to do it all season and I've figured out how to do that and it might seem like I'm not playing defense as well or something like that because I am playing both ends, but I still think that is there. There were some games where I wasn't as effective as I should have been, but I think especially right now when understanding what is at stake; I am going to bring it at both ends."
Matthew Bryan-Amaning:
Last two games at home:
"I'm just trying to concentrate and stay focused and do everything to make the rest of the season successful."

Problem focusing:
"Even though we had a bad first half, we were still in the game. I think we just needed to be more focused for the 40 minutes. Defensively, we had a really good first half, regardless of how we played offensively. I just think we needed to have a better second half."

WSU game:
"Just trying to move on to the next one. We can't really dwell at this point in the season because every game is even more important right now. Just like it was last year, we can't look back on what was, we have to look at what's lying ahead."

Further along right now as a team:
"As a whole, I think obviously teams grow and we were playing good at the beginning of the Pac-10 season. We had that dip and obviously since that dip, we have gotten a lot better since. We had that three game skid. He just knows where we should be right now and I think he is just focusing on practice. We have to key in on a lot of different areas to make the team improve."

Lost defensive identity:
"I don't know about lost. We know what we have to do; we know it's out bread and butter. We know that if we put more intensity and focus back on defense than we have in years past because it has just been there regardless of what has been happening offensively. I think it just makes it more important after that Wazzu game just because we didn't have a good offensive half that our defense has maybe not been as good as it has been in the past. We are talking about it, and any time we hold a team to 23 points in a half, we are usually up 10, 12, 15 points.  

Seniors taking responsibility:
"Definitely because we know how this ends and how we are going to be seen as Huskies in the future."
Darnell Gant:
Taken a step back:
"I feel like a few games we took steps back and we are trying to improve and get that on the right track."

Second half not feeling the same:
"The atmosphere wasn't the same. We tried to keep the defensive intensity, but they were making a lot of tough shots and it takes a lot of energy when you are playing hard defense. The team makes tough shots and you have to come back down and run your offense and then get back on defense. Through the whole course of a game, that's pretty tough."

Getting on track:
"Very important because these are live or die now. We probably have to win out to get into the NCAA Tournament and everybody knows the NCAA Tournament is one of the fun atmospheres that you will ever play in and I want the new guys to feel that just like I have felt it the past two years. We have to do our best to get there."

Posted by Chris Fetters
3:30 pm

Lorenzo Romar (K. Grinolds/Dawgman.com)

Lorenzo Romar Tuesday Press Conference Notes

First, Romar said that junior guard Scott Suggs is 'probable' for the UCLA game Thursday. He added that Tuesday will be the first time he'll do anything practice-related after getting hurt early in their win at Arizona State. If he can come back, that gives them just a little more depth and experience. He also said that Suggs would definitely not start, and how much he does will be dependent on what he can do in practice.

With UCLA and USC coming to Alaska Airlines Arena, Romar was quick to sing the praises of both LA teams, saying they are playing good basketball right now, with UCLA arguably playing the best basketball of anyone in the league.

To get back on track after the 11-point loss to Washington State Sunday, Romar said simply that the team needs to understand in their gut who they are and what makes them successful. And that requires constant focus and concentration, among other things.

He said he's still a little confused by the WSU game, because they came out ready to play defensively. They had 22 deflections the first half, just two short of what they want for a whole game. They were up for it on defense, but they also missed eight layups, and he thinks that mentally deflated the team a little bit. As for accounting for the missed layups, Romar said that it's the first time he can remember when multiple players were involved in not making them. "I can't explain that one."

He also said that Washington State did a great job of 'being there' on defense, making it really hard on UW to score.

He said that if they continue to defend and work through the offensive droughts, they have a chance to do well. He mentioned at Arizona, when they were down by as many as 12 in the second half, but kept coming back. "We put our chinstraps on. We were ready. We didn't allow the distractions or the adversity to affect us."

Depth has started to become a factor. "To play the way we play, we need depth". The last few games, they've been down to eight scholarship players, and Romar admitted to probably playing a few players longer than he should have. He also said that the loss of Abdul Gaddy has caused them to re-evaluate how they do things with the personnel they have, because he was one of the guys that could reel others in and stay focused and on point.

Asked if he can do anything to offset any depth concerns, Romar said that if Suggs returns, that will sort out some of their issues. He said he might try and rest more guys, and maybe use his time outs sooner than he would normally like to give them a bit of a spell.

Overall, Romar was asked if the team has progressed throughout the year from the two games they played in LA, and Romar was direct: "We have not progressed nearly as much as we needed to." He added that when they were 4-0 and 7-1, the coaches kept preaching to the team that they couldn't remain stagnant. But that's exactly what has happened, and the LA schools have improved as the year has gone on.

The main culprit, according to Romar, is the defense. It has not improved. He said when the team went through their three-game losing streak in the middle of the season, that was squarely on him. It was his job to get them focused at the job at hand, and clearly they weren't. Since that point, he's been fairly pleased, but the second half of the WSU game was a lot like that three-game stretch. They are just making too many mental errors on defense, and that has to get cleaned up.

At the same time, Romar has always been into patterns, and he's not going to say that the team is on a downward trend just because of one bad game. "We haven't improved the way we wanted to, but we are getting better." Mentioned the AZ road trip and the Seattle game as signs that they are getting better.

Offensively, Romar doesn't mind the three-pointers. But when 11 of the 27 taken against WSU are contested, that's way too many. Earlier in the year, they saw more uncontested looks - like against Virginia at Maui - but now teams know they can shoot and are guarding accordingly. The Huskies have to be patient and give up those contested threes for maybe a better look inside, or an extra pass or two to set up an uncontested look. Romar mentioned how Arizona has the highest percentage of any team in the league when it comes to three-point shooting, and it's because they've been taking good shots.

Asked about Josh Smith, and Romar said if you give the UCLA frosh an 'inch of an angle', you can't stop him. He seals well, and has great hands. If he gets the ball close, he will finish. And he's more nimble than people give him credit for. He's been watching Josh since the 8th grade.

Talking more about UCLA, Romar said when you have four 'sure-fire' future NBA guys like Smith, Reeves Nelson, Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt AND a coach like Ben Howland, who Romar said is one of the best coaches in the country, 'It's going to click sooner than later'. He added that Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson have really helped to improved the Bruins' overall guard play.

With everything on the line, Romar knows UCLA is coming in motivated to win the Pac-10 title outright, whereas UW has to find their motivation. "We have to be motivated to be the best team we can be. Now is the playoffs. Everyone has something at stake."

C.J. Wilcox and Terrence Ross are playing a lot more now in Suggs' absence. Have they hit a bit of a wall, or is the gravity of the situation starting to take a toll on them since they haven't been there before? Romar isn't so sure. With Wilcox, Romar said you won't find a crazier road environment than at Arizona, and he had 19 points and played great. At ASU he had 16 points and eight rebounds. "He was stellar."

With Ross, Romar thinks because it's still his first year he's probably a little 'streaky' than the others when it comes to his play. And he referenced Ross' 18-point outburst in UW's first Pac-10 road game of the year. "He has such a carefree way, I'm not sure those situations really affect him."

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