Fall Camp Presser - Player Quotes

Three Husky players -- DT Danny Shelton, WR Jaydon Mickens and LB Shaq Thompson -- met with the media at the Fall Camp Press Conference and talked about myriad subjects including the switch to Chris Petersen and the rest of the staff, their offseason and what they expect to do this coming season...

LB Shaquille Thompson

On playing tailback: “Not really too picky. We have running backs and that’s what they came in here for, so that’s their job. When coach (Chris) Petersen calls my name then I’ll come, but until then, defense is my focus.”

On his comfort level at linebacker now: “I still have potential to be a better linebacker, so my goal is to focus more on my technique, my alignments and being a better leader for my teammates.”

On stepping up as a leader: “I feel like I have to step up more. In the past, I was sort of laid back, letting the leaders lead, so I feel like now, going into my third season, it’s my turn to step up.”

On the changes from Sarkisian to Petersen: “It’s much different. It’s always going to be different when you have a new coaching staff come in. You don’t know who you’re going to get or how the head coach is going to be, but since spring ball, just getting to know coach Petersen, I just know we’re going to do well. Even though it wasn’t a lot of time, I just know we’re going to have a good coach.”

Focus of the new staff: “Unity. Becoming one, becoming a family and trusting in everybody.”

On his size now: “I’ve put on weight, I’m 230 now, I played last year at 225 or 226.”

On what will lead to success this year: “We just all have to buy in. We all have to trust each other. We have to trust the coaching staff.”

On the defense as a whole and how good it can be: “It all starts off with the front – Danny (Shelton), Hauoli (Jamora), Evan Hudson and Andrew Hudson – then it goes to the linebackers and DBs. We should be solid this year. We lose some guys, Sean Parker, Gregory Ducre, Princeton (Fuimaono), but we have young guys stepping up and we have guys like Marcus (Peters) and Travell Dixon there to lead the secondary, so we’ll be good.”

On what it will take to win this fall: “Consistency. Just being consistent in anything we do and everything we do. If we’re consistent, we’ll do well.”

On leaving early: “It’s not something I’ve really thought about. I’ve still got two years hear and that’s what I’m focused on.”

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DT Danny Shelton

On how similar it is going into college senior year as compared to hs senior year: “Not at all. I feel like its way different. This is a weird feeling for me. I’ve never really felt this confident going into camp, going into a season. I feel like coach Petersen and his crew have been a big part of that. They’ve built this positive energy in me and this confidence in me and now I feel prepared going into my senior season to play.”

On how fast it has gone for him: “It went pretty fast. I didn’t believe the older guys like Alameda and Everette Thompson talking to me about college careers going by fast, but this went by way too fast I feel like. I’m glad it’s coming to an end. I can finally start thinking about the NFL and my future.”

On if it’s different team wise, if there is uncertainty: “Really right now, I don’t know what to expect. Coach Petersen has this weird, kind of crazy camp schedule for us. I haven’t been in a camp schedule like this before. I’m kind of excited to get into this and see what he has for us.”

On what’s weird about it: “He split up the rookies and older guys and I’ve never been through that before. I’m just excited to see what they have. I heard there is like an Olympic games in it too so that’ll be fun to come watch.” On if he’ll jump in the lake this year: “That’s one of my plans. I don’t know about coach, but yeah.”

On Elijah Qualls: “I think he’s going to be a real good asset for our d-line. He just has this get off that’s unbelievable. If you see it during pass rush drills, you won’t believe it’s in front of you. He’s just that quick off the ball. I guess that’s his running back skills coming in. He’s going to be real good for us. He still has some things to grow out of. He’s done a real good job with the weight room. I’m proud of him for that. He’s kept up with me. He’s tried to pass me a couple times. That’s always exciting.” On who he expects to break out this year:

“I really don’t know. I think our defense is going to step it up this year. I think Hau’oli. You have Hau’oli coming back. John, John Timu. Evan Hudson, Shaq Thompson, Marcus Peters. So we have a great group of leaders coming back and that’s exciting to see. Our offense, I can’t really speak for our offense. I’m really focused on our defense a lot. But they’ve done a really good job. Ben Riva’s done a good job gathering his group of guys and working his young guys. It’s going to be a fun camp this year.”

On if he has a game circled on the schedule right now: “I’ve been thinking about Oregon a lot. You never know. Any game could be tough. I have all the games circled right now.” On if he’s looking forward to going back to Hawa’ii: “I’ve never been to Hawa’ii. It’s exciting. That was actually my first game played. It’s going to be exciting to play against some familiar faces over there, Taz and Lawrence.

On if change of coaches makes him feel young again: “Not really. I feel like being through this process for four years, it’s easier to transition into this new scheme, but it’s not really a new scheme. I think the hardest part is just trying to get the young guys to follow.”

On trip to Tahiti: “Yeah, I went to Tahiti again this year. Just a study abroad trip. We went with the anthropology program and I got to go for a second time with Shane Brostek. Basically, what we did over there was run football camps. Football is like three years old over there now. We got to help them, get them locked on with technique and fundamentals so it was a lot of fun. We also had basketball girls and volleyball go down with us too so they did their camps.”

On how big he is right now: “Me? I’m about 340 right now. Yeah, it’s okay with me. I’ve been getting through these workouts. My weight room numbers have been gone up. I’m excited for this. I already know with camp I’ll trim down a little more and I’ll be perfectly ready for the season.”

On new stuff around the training table and if he’s talking about it with teammates: “Not really. We’ve just been talking about this upcoming camp and how exciting it is.”

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WR Jaydon Mickens

On the guys who have been disciplined: “The first reaction is that nobody wants to be on the end of that stick. The second reaction was getting behind those guys. The guys that get suspended, the guys that have been dismissed from the team, just get behind those guys. Make sure they’re focused. Make sure the guys who are coming back, get behind them and get them focused on the present.”

On if he’s been throwing with the QB’s at all: “Yeah. We had a good showing on Sundays and Saturdays of guys that just want to come and get some extra work. We put a mass text out to everybody and if you want to come and get extra work you can. We actually had almost the whole team here, except for some guys that had to do some charity events and some guys who had to go home, but mostly the whole team. Every receiver is getting reps with every quarterback. It doesn’t matter who the starter is, we’re just trying to get the chemistry with everybody.”

On if it’s good to have Kasen back: “Great to have Kasen back. That’s a force. When he’s on the field, they have to know where Kasen Williams is. And that makes it better for me, John Ross, Marvin Hall, DiAndre Campbell because now we can get open if you’re worried about Kasen Williams.”

On what he’s improved on in the offseason: “Just my hands. One cut jukes. Not staying in one place. Just get it and go and try and get to the end zone as fast as possible. And also my blocking. My blocking has to be better this year. There were a couple plays where Bishop could have sprung free, but I didn’t hold my block long enough. So blocking is paramount for me.” On if there’s a place in offense that fits him really well: “All of it. All of it, really. Now I can do anything. My freshman year I came in, I could do some things. That’s why it was like for at a certain position I run in. Now it’s just like I’m out there and I have to know everything. That’s how you’re going to win.”

On how he gets along with Coach Smith: “Coach Smith is a good dude. Everybody is getting along with him. Everybody is in a learning process. Spring ball, we just came out and everybody wanted to learn rather than just dive into it like we’ve been doing here forever. And now that we got that out of the way, Coach Smith is laughing, talking, beating up some of the guys, I don’t mean that literally. It’s been fun and he’s been having a ball.”

On going over to the defensive side of the ball: “I might. I might get over there and test it out a little bit. You know, if the team needs help, I can contribute in any way possible. We had some key losses at the defensive back position, so if I can contribute in the slot, outside, sticking somebody, I will. Oh yeah. I’ll raise my hand to go. Who doesn’t want to be on the field in front of the 78,000 or 80,000 people screaming man? It’s awesome.”

On how much a veteran receiving core can help out the new QB: “It’s kind of weird that you say that because I’m a junior already and I remember you guys interviewing me as a freshman. So it’s weird that you say that, but for me, when I throw with Cyler, when I throw with Jeff, when I throw with the new kid KJ, when I throw with Troy, every route we do, I try to rep it more than ten times. So if we run one route, we have to run it again, run it again, run it again until it’s just perfect. If he was blindfolded he can throw it to a spot and we’ll be there and that’s the main focus. Stop thinking so much and just play. That’s what the young quarterbacks have to learn. If you think so much, than you know it won’t happen, but it you go out there and play your heart out and know your guys are behind you, trust in us receivers, that’s the main thing is trust, that we’re going to be in our spot instead of throwing a pick or overthrow, and then we’re going to be fine.”

On Legion of Zoom and members: “It’s right now John Ross and Marvin Hall. And then Dwayne Washington, Kasen Williams, Darrell Daniels, they’re all sliding in there for sure. They got their temporary membership. They got to show something though. Dwayne Washington, he’s close. Oregon State, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I thought that was Adrian Peterson out there. He’s really there. They have to put in their applications and then me John Ross and Marvin Hall look over them and whoever we don’t like, we just throw it in the garbage.”

On who makes final decision: “All three of us. It has to be three straight across.”

On if members have to run specific forty time: “It’s really no forty. Forties don’t really matter to me. It’s glaring on the field if you see somebody running on the field. If you see Kasen Williams run the forty and then you see him on the field, it’s different. So, you just have to play fast.”

On if they have t-shirts at all: “No, that’s coming up. We have to get our financial aid.”

On Darrell saying he didn’t want to be in the LOZ: “He’s a little mad at us right now because he caught a touchdown in the spring game and he thought that solidified it, but I didn’t see any zoom in it. It was just great hands. If we had great hands, he’d be in the club. But he got a break.”

On if he’s met the Legion of Boom: “No. I’ve never met the Legion of Boom. I’d want to go one-on-one with Richard Sherman. Yeah, yeah. Just something fun. I really want to. I could be playing with him in one to two years. I don’t know. So, I would go with him.”

On Kevin Smith catching a TD over Richard Sherman: “No I didn’t know until now. That’s what I’m talking about! See those guys, I look up to those guys. Seeing them go up against the best every day and succeeding. All the things Kevin went through, from the ACL tear, going to the Cardinals, going to the Jaguars, he could have given up, but he kept focusing. Look where he is now. He’s just like Jermaine. He’s doing great.”

On who will be a breakout player:Jermaine Kelly. Jermaine Kelly. That guys is… From his freshman year, biting on everything, slipping and falling, to can’t tackle, to coming back in the spring and just doing it. Breaking up passes. There were some days where I was like, ‘I gotta focus on Jermaine, I gotta focus on Jermaine. See what his tendencies are.’ He’s really got confidence. His swagger is phenomenal and he’s going to be a breakout player this year. No doubt.”


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