Dawgbytes - 8/15

As college football teams wander into the second week of fall camp, the aches start to hurt a little more, the legs start to feel a little heavier and that wall of pain inches closer and closer to each player's threshold. It's also a time where being off the field due to injury can spell the difference between a starting spot and having to start all over again.

"John Ralson once said, 'You can't make the club in the tub,'" Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham said Monday as his team moves out of the NCAA-mandated 'acclimatization' period and into the normal 2-1-2-1 practice rotation used by most college coaches. "For the days where we have two practices, the morning practice will be full pads and the afternoons will be probably shells and shorts," he added.

For guys like Kenny James, being an incumbent at a position is not a guarantee. "I don't like to pin myself in a corner when it comes to situations like that," Willingham said when asked whether or not he would typically grant a starting spot back to an injured player. "But it's impossible to be a good player if you don't practice."

James would not be back for Monday's practice, still nursing a bruised shoulder. C/G Juan Garcia hurt his ankle Sunday and also would be on the sidelines. Jordan Reffett is expected back 'mid-week' while his hamstring heals up. Carl Bonnell (ankle/quad contusion) and Casey Bulyca (infection) have been 'slowed up' and will be limited Monday, said Willingham.

Ironically enough, none of the ten incoming frosh or transfers have suffered injuries serious enough to limit their work. "When we're in shorts, the tempo is like a full pads practice for them normally," Willingham said when asked about the adjustment the first-year players are making. "There's just a ton of overload going on right now. They are taking information for a whole season that they'll be responsible for and learning it in 3-4 days. Once they can balance that with the physical skills, they will be alright."

Now that Washington is in it's second week, it's up to Willingham and his staff to balance the fine art of pushing his players hard, yet understanding when they are about to hit the wall. "That moment happens at a different time for each school," said Willingham. "If I had been here a few years, I'd be able to tell you exactly when I knew that time would be coming. But with a new team, you're not sure. So I tell the team to go out there and go one-hundred percent and I will be able to figure out what adjustments we need to make.

"But as I always like to say, when they dump their food, that's when I'll know."

And along with that, Willingham is constantly looking for that 'upward climb'. "Yesterday was another step forward," he said when asked about Sunday's practice. "But we have been inconsistent in that area. We need to keep moving on the upward climb. I'm always concerned about effort, and of course effort is going to be slowed somewhat because of the learning process."

So how does he balance effort with learning? "Well, there are two schools of thought," said Willingham. "There's 'part-whole' and there is 'whole-part'. The latter is more of what we're doing right now. We give them everything first because we have a pretty good idea of what they can absorb."

And how is that? "They've had a lot of experience picking up new systems," he said, matter-of-factly.

But Willingham goes even past 'whole-part'. In truth, what we're really doing is 'whole-whole', he said. "We gave it all to them in the spring and now we're reinforcing all of it this fall. And just because we're doing that doesn't mean we stop talking about detail," he added. "We talk about detail every day."

Lee gone: Jamie Lee, a walk-on linebacker from Everett, who started his football career at Eastern Washington, has left the team. His departure allowed Washington to bring in another walk-on LB, Joshua Gage.

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