Progress Q&A - Mike Cox

With Washington on a BYE this week, wanted to catch up with UW Linebackers Coach Mike Cox to ask him about his group, and the progress they've made as a unit from week one through this latest win on the road at Utah. He also gave us an update on the three true freshmen LB's - Matt Lyons, Scott Lawyer, and Nick Holt.

At the group at the mid-way point and making stides - "There's no question about it; they are making significant strides. They are getting better each week, and each play they are getting better. That's what happens when you play young guys. And part of our issue is not and try and do too much - just do your jobs. And we're getting more...we're getting closer to doing that."

On having success on the road and the stage not being too big for the younger guys - "That's how it's supposed to be. There's no difference. There's no difference playing at home, there's no difference playing on the road. It's about getting the call, executing the call, and playing as hard as you can. That's what we're preaching, and that's what we do out here in practice. Do what you do in practice and do what you do in the games, and that's what we're preaching. I hope they don't get caught up in all that stuff, because that means they're their right minds."

On what Jamaal Kearse is doing now that he wasn't doing during fall camp - "I think he's playing faster, number one. I think he's more comfortable playing it. He understands things a lot better. And we still have to realize that this is his first real year at linebacker, so he has a little more confidence and he's a little more comfortable playing it."

On the battle between Kearse and Timu as the season goes on and Timu comes back to full health - "We'll see how practice goes. It's going to be how they do in practice. I think they are both athletic, they are both similar kind of guys; it's just really who practices best. That's never changed here."

On if Fuimaono and Gilliland will have a similar battle - "They both played a lot. But the competition around here never ends. Princeton and Garret both played a similar amount of snaps on Saturday."

On if the LB's playing special teams is helping them on defense, and also the pride factor that comes with special teams - "Obviously, the more they play, any time it helps them get more experience. I do know that 99 percent of the teams in the country, their linebackers play special teams. And so I hope they want to be a part of special teams, and they are supposed to be. It's part of their job description. But it goes back to last year. At the end of last year our special teams the last 4-5 weeks was pretty solid. And most of the linebackers - Victor, Mason, Garret, and Cort - all the linebackers were on them. That's part of...we talk about it, it's part of our makeup, it's part of our job description...we are special teams. We're the core of the special teams. That's part of your job."

On getting back in contact with the younger LB's and development - "Matt (Lyons) and (Scott) Lawyer and Nick Holt...damn right. They keep coming. Obviously playing on the service team a lot really helps them because they've had to play against the first group, so they've got to learn to play fast and all that kind of stuff. So sure there's been some development...sure has."

On seeing things from them they didn't necessarily see when they recruited them - "All three of them...we thought they were pretty instinctive guys and ran pretty good and all that stuff, so I'm not surprised at what I've seen. Their biggest thing right now is getting in the weight room and getting their size and getting to a point where they can be effective on the field a year from now and learning the scheme and learning how to play and all that stuff in the process. All three of them are nice prospects."

On how proud he was of Cort and being able to get the win at Utah and having that moment with his friends and family - "I'm sure it was very important to him. I'm sure he'll be the first to admit he didn't want it to be, and he didn't make it to be; he went about it as a business trip. That's how we all handled it. We didn't treat it any different for Cort than we did anybody else on the team. But I'm sure down deep it'll be something he can cherish after years and after playing and all that stuff. But for the rest of us, we had the mindset of just going and winning a football game, and that's the approach we took about it." Top Stories