Dawgbytes - 8/16

It's hard not to notice the smattering of red shirts seen throughout Washington's practices this fall, but that's the price being paid for a team that is now going through the football equivalent of the 'doldrums'.

Survive and advance - while a catch-phrase most often found in golf's match play lexicon - appears to be more than appropriate here as UW Head Coach Tyrone Willingham talked Tuesday about the 'consistent inconsistency' that typically accompanies a team trying it's hardest just to make it through two-a-day practices intact.

"Camp is going forward and is going as well as can be expected," he said. "They are stressed but haven't hit the wall. I think they are functioning as well as you would expect them to function at this point in camp. I think this morning the defense picked it up. They had a good session. They had enthusiasm, energy and effort, which is always what we like to see. It was a welcome sight."

But that lack of consistent improvement and effort throughout camp is what has Willingham and the rest of the coaches attentive, but not surprised. "It's up and down because there's always information overload right now," Willingham said. "It doesn't allow you to see all the things you'd like to see."

And in it's place emerges a new term for fall - 'consistent inconsistency'. "That has to be expected a little bit," Willingham said of the team's 'consistent inconsistency'. "Of course you'd like to see perfection, but it's usually not there. In most camps I've been in, you see that up and down."

The only remedy, it appears, is to deal with it the best they can and overcome. "They only thing you can do is just get out of two-a-days," said Willingham. "All teams go through it. Anybody that's been through them before knows what a tough grind they are. It breeds a certain amount of inconsistency. You just try to have the toughness to get through it."

And the camp grind also has an effect on the coaches, especially the head coach. "The only guy that's going to be unhappy every day is the head coach," said Willingham. "It's a constant give and take, especially when you are working against yourself."

Those that have missed some sort of time already in camp - Dash Crutchley, Willie Kava, J.R. Hasty, Juan Garcia, Jordan White-Frisbee, Carl Bonnell, Kenny James, Casey Bulyca and Jordan Reffett - are just experiencing what Willingham calls the 'sum total' of what happens in camp. "It gets tough out there," he added. Crutchley's injury appears to be the most recent - a foot fracture that could see the junior TE out for three weeks or more. Kava's elbow injury may or may not have been re-evaluated Tuesday morning, added Willingham, unsure of Willie's status.

"Every day you are not out there working, it affects your ability to win a job," he added. Bonnell's quad contusion might actually start to create some definition to a quarterbacking battle that has appeared at times this fall to be a long ways from being settled. But Willingham didn't bite at the suggestion that they are that much closer to naming a starter.

"All the quarterbacks have improved from the spring," he said. "They are understanding what they are doing and what they are looking for."

Power Lunch: Willingham spent his lunch hour breaking bread with two former Washington head coaches - Don James and Jim Lambright. With 197 UW wins between the two, Willingham was more than happy to take the time to talk with James and Lambright on a variety of subjects. "What they've given and sacrificed to this program is pretty special special," Willingham said.

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