Pickett Still Poised

It would be easy for Cody Pickett to have stars in his eyes right about now. Two-a-day camp for the University of Washington Huskies football team has broken and it's apparent that Pickett will be the starting quarterback when Michigan comes knocking at Husky Stadium a week from Saturday.

Pickett can't wait and is so excited he can barely stand it, just thinking ahead to Michigan, right?

Not so. Either that or Pickett has a great career ahead of him as a card shark because his poker face is that of a seasoned veteran.

"I'm not thinking about that right now. That's still down the line a ways," said Pickett when asked what would be racing through his head as he ran through the tunnel and onto the stadium floor.

"That's an entire week away. It's getting close, which means we still have some little things we need to work on and take care of business. We have a scrimmage coming up tomorrow and that's what I'm focusing on. That's what we should all be focusing on."

Pickett has poise beyond his years. He has thrown but eight passes in his career, completing three of those. That's his entire resume.

However this spring, he turned up the heat in his right arm and began to throw flames. He went 15-23 in the spring scrimmage including three touchdowns and 238 yards and he's had the hot hand ever since. Sure he's looked a bit too eager at times and made some young mistakes in practice but he has yet to throw an interception in any scrimmaging this fall.

"Tomorrow we have to go out and not make the same mistakes we've been making in prior scrimmages. Then we'll move from there," said Pickett.

So there's no thoughts yet, at all, about the emotions of making a first start at Washington?

"I'll have family here and they'll be excited, but I cannot worry about that right now. I have more important things to do, like focusing on the things that will get our team wins. That's what it's all about, and we're not done yet," said Pickett.

This is one cool customer, Cody Pickett.

Keith Gilbertson has not done much different from the previous playbook that Marques Tuiasosopo operated with, and doesn't feel he needs to. "Cody has been here and he knows how to do it. He can run the football very well, so we don't have to change a lot," said Gilby.

"He's a big strong kid with a live arm, and we'll find what he and the offensive line are good at and do it."

Pickett is pleased with the progress the offense has made from spring to this fall, particularly with the five big guys in front of him.

"I've been confident in those guys all along. They're big, strong guys and they know what they're doing. They just need experience, just like me. None of us have really played that much with the exception of Kyle (Benn)," said Pickett of the offensive line that has just one returning starter.

At this moment of the interview, Benn walks up behind Pickett and stands two inches from his face. He crosses his arms and nods for the interview to continue.

Pickett is unfazed and continues as if his mammoth senior center isn't there.

"Kyle is one of the best centers in the Pac-10. He's our veteran on the offensive line."

With that, Benn nods approval and walks away. Pickett grins and asks, "So you we're saying?"

Pickett has really matured, and not just physically. Sure he has added over 20 pounds since arriving and now is about 220 pounds, but the difference in talking to him last year and talking with him today is pretty significant. He's always been pleasant but now there is a confidence and swagger to his manner.

He has the look and presence of a leader now.

He believes that the Husky offense is on track and that they have more inventory than maybe some thought they'd be able to install with such a young team.

"After two-a-days I feel good with what's going on. We have a lot of offense in our playbook that I feel good about. We can do a lot."

He can throw the ball to big Jerramy Stevens or the sure-handed senior Todd Elstrom, or the speed demon with the soft hands Paul Arnold, or the quick guy with no fear Pat Reddick. Then you add super freshman Reggie Williams who has been giving every defensive back on the team trouble and it's quite an arsenal.

That doesn't even include handing the ball off to slippery Willie Hurst or big Rich Alexis who can run over, around, or through defenses. Washington also has a fullback that is capable of running a 4.44 40 in Matthias Wilson.

Pickett allows a smile when he thinks about what he's working with, even if he won't let himself look ahead to Michigan just yet.

"We feel good with what we've done at this camp. Really good. The bulk of our offense is almost in. Now we just need to figure out what will work against Michigan."

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