Dawgbytes - 8/31

Tyrone Willingham took more questions Wednesday about Isaiah Stanback ascending to the starting quarterback position for Washington, while fielding even more queries about what happened with Johnny DuRocher's eligibility and where the compliance process broke down.

"Initially we were disappointed," said Willingham when he found out that DuRocher would not be available for Saturday's opener against Air Force. "But now it's time to move on and play some football."

DuRocher, who transfered from Oregon to Washington in the off-season, was declared ineligible to play per transfer rules back when he enrolled earlier in 2005. But a detail was missed, something Willingham called a 'breakdown in communication' between Washington's compliance office and the football program, one that was caught Tuesday after the Huskies' two-deeps were released.

Because DuRocher wanted to preserve three years of eligibility, he spent the fall and winter of 2004 earning his associates' degree from Pierce College in Puyallup. He had done everything needed in order to start the 2005 football season with Washington, but NCAA bylaws state that when a player goes from a four-year institution to a two-year institution and then back to another four-year institution, the prospect must sit out one calendar year. He transfered from Oregon on September 20th, 2004, making him ineligible to play until after that date regardless of the four-year school he chose to transfer to.

"If we would have known about the situation, we definitely would have had much more awareness," said Willingham of DuRocher's plight. "But we still would have worked hard to get him prepared for the season.

"It's was my responsibility as director of the football program to understand what was going on," added Willingham, who wouldn't go so far as to say that he did anything wrong regarding the situation.

Because DuRocher will not suit up on Saturday, the rest of the quarterbacks all move up a spot, with walk-on Felix Sweetman moving up two spots. The reason Sweetman is bumped an extra notch is because Carl Bonnell will not be able to go. The sophomore from Kent sustained a quad contusion during pre-season camp and has been very limited since that point.

"I anticipate that Carl will not play this week," said Willingham. So that now puts senior Casey Paus as Stanback's backup, followed by Sweetman.

A bright spot Wednesday was the improved health of incumbent running back Kenny James. James has been out since the first day of practice with a shoulder bruise, but Willingham announced Wednesday that James could be available against the Falcons if the need arises.

"He's progressing well," said Willingham of James. "We will up his reps during the week, depending on how well his shoulder responds. I'm leaning right now toward having him available."

Also announced today, Sonny Shackelford could start Saturday, depending on what formation Washington comes out in Saturday. "It could be Sonny Shackelford instead of Corey Williams," said Willingham. "And it could be all three of them - Shackelford, Williams and Anthony Russo, depending on what we do."

Two more starters were named Wednesday, as Tusi Sa'au and Scott White were named by Willingham as players that had won their respective position battles. The battle at left guard between Stanley Daniels and Tui Alailefaleula is still undecided, as is the one defensive end spot. Donny Mateaki and Brandon Ala are still battling for the starting nod there.

Willingham has settled on a kicker, but hasn't talked to them first about it, so it will be announced before practice later on Wednesday. Robert Lewis is still 'hobbled', so Jared Bronson and Johnie Kirton are still very much in the mix at tight end. Matt Fountaine conditioned on Tuesday but didn't practice, and Willingham wants to see more of him before the junior from Oakland, California solidifies his starting cornerback spot opposite Roy Lewis.

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