Coaches Corner: 8/25

Rick Neuheisel appeared very upbeat as he addressed the media after the first scrimmage of the fall. "I thought it was a good scrimmage from the standpoint that we ran a lot of plays and got them on film. I thought we competed fairly well and didn't get anyone hurt," said Neuheisel.

Neuheisel named three players, specifically, that he was impressed with this afternoon under live conditions. "I thought (linebacker) Marquis Cooper played well and I thought (cornerback) Sam Cunningham showed that he could be a reliable corner for us. I thought that Matthias Wilson did some great things at fullback," said the Husky coach.

He then gave a quick overview of his offense. "Both Willie (Hurst) and Rich (Alexis) looked good at tailback, and I thought Kevin Ware made a big play on that first catch when Taylor was in the game. Reggie continues to make big plays, and I thought Paul Arnold looks like he's put in the work necessary to be a big receiver for us. Offensively I feel like we've got the pieces and now we have to put it all together," said Neuheisel.

"We have to make sure that our offensive line can do it all. That is key. We put our offensive lines in some difficult situations where we threw the ball a lot to see if they could protect the quarterback. I thought for the most part that they did a pretty good job."

Of his quarterbacks, the Husky coach was non-plussed. "I thought they did OK. At times they forced some things and the ball got batted down but we're OK. Certainly they can get better."

Tailbacks Willie Hurst and Rich Alexis did earn his praise. "Willie had 4 carries for 30 yards and Rich had 8 carries for 35 yards but lost 6 on that play where he made a bad cut outside. Those numbers are pretty good."

Freshman receiver Reggie Williams had four catches for 70 yards today and made his head coach smile. "Reggie has exceeded expectations in terms of how quickly he's learned the offense. He's a very bright young man and obviously very gifted. If he continues to work in the same capacity he's going to get to play a lot," said Neuheisel.

There was a significant drop off from the first team line to the second team, indicative of the youth up front on this squad. Starters Khalif Barnes, Todd Bachert, Elliott Zajac, Nick Newton, and Kyle Benn are by no means an experienced group but they look solid. The guys behind them are extremely green and none bring Pac-10 experience to the table.

Of the battle for the number three tailback job, freshmen Chris Singleton looked the sharpest, scoring a touchdown on a nifty bounce play where he outran the defense to the corner of the endzone. Neuheisel isn't willing to say who's going to win that job. "If you recall, Braxton Cleman is still there. We're working him in a lot of different places and he's certainly available back there if need be."

Neuheisel then spoke of his defensive squad. "Up front we looked good at times. The opening drive it looked like we were still on the bus but we got it fixed. Kai Ellis made plays, Larry made a couple of plays, and the guy that showed up the most from my vantage point at linebacker was Marquis Cooper. In the back end we saw some good things from (Greg) Carothers, Sam Cunningham, Omare (Lowe), and I thought Wondame Davis showed up and was productive," said Neuheisel.

"I think we have good athletes (on defense). The question is, 'Can we do it all? Are we where we need to be to be consistent?' I think we're on the right track but we're not there yet."

Washington will start formulating their game plan for Michigan late next week. The team will take tomorrow off and return to practice Monday morning. Top Stories