"I think it went well," said Willingham regarding Wednesday's morning workout, which included four-minute situations, as well as goal-line and short-yardage situations. The team was scheduled to also practice at Husky Stadium Wednesday afternoon. "We're starting to do more things that you would expect from a good football team. We're still not there. We still have the normal problems - the assignments and alignments - that are all a part of the game. And our goal each day is to eliminate those things and continue to get better."
One area where Willingham has been reticent to talk about is movement in the race for the starting quarterback nod a week from Saturday versus Air Force, especially since it's still a very tight battle. "I don't think they view it as pressure, it's just what they do," said Willingham when asked if the fact that one of the signal callers stepping up has added any addition strain to the battle. "They are going to determine who plays."
But one thing he did talk about was the work put in off the field when it came to watching film and - more importantly - understanding what they were seeing. "I would compare it to reading a book and not knowing what you read," said Willingham. "There's always a science and art to everything, and the more experience and mature you get the more you understand exactly what you are seeing.
"I think Coach (Tim) Lappano has given them some excellent leadership and has educated them well on what to look for and how to study."
With the QB spot still plagued by gridlock, Willingham is in no hurry to get it resolved. He's had instances in the past where his starter wasn't named until very late in the process. "It's never been a problem," said Willingham. "As long as everything is squared away by September 3rd at noon, I'm fine with that."
Willingham did say that whoever starts for Air Force has earned the right to play and start unless something happens to take them out of that position, with the caveat that it won't necessarily be that way for the defense. "Because of the style of play, we may make some change of personel than what you might not see against a team like Cal or Notre Dame or another team because of the option," said Willingham.
A star is born?: Willingham also admitted that, while 'the key is always team', Dashon Goldson has really stepped it up in the secondary. "He's practiced like an All-American," said Willingham. "He's been fairly consistent. He's been working very well."
Kicking duties not yet resolved: Willingham mentioned that Evan Knudson, Mike Braunstein and Ryan Perkins are all still very much involved in the battle for the number-one placekicking spot. "I think there may be a slight leader, but it's too close to call," said Willingham, who would not divulge his ideas on a leader. "There's been a high level of competition." The player responsible for kickoff duties may change off and on during the season because of the 64-man travel limit for Pac-10 road games.
Sorting out the bodies: Juan Garcia, Dash Crutchley, Jordan White-Frisbee, E.J. Savannah, Trenton Tuiasosopo are not expected to be available for Air Force. There are at least five others, including Jason Benn, Clarence Simpson, Ryan Bush, Ben Ossai and Kenny James - sidelined with a first-degree shoulder sprain - that Willingham will not rule out right now for game action, but they have been limited in their ability to practice. Savannah, Tuiasosopo, James and Simpson were wearing red this afternoon.
Dawgbytes - 8/24
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