A Visit with Safety Dashon Goldson

During football practice this past Saturday, Dashon Goldson gave vocal expression to the aggressive buoyancy he felt inside. From that day's Dawgman.com practice report, Scott Eklund gave a detailed depiction of the scene that occurred as the team prepared for stretching. Goldson, wearing a red jersey to limit contact in practice due to his healing shoulder, began to stir.

Attention turned toward the junior safety, as he began leading a chant of "WHOSE HOUSE?" to which his teammates immediately bellowed "DAWGS' HOUSE!" The spirited chant pulsated along for several measures, rising to a fevered crescendo, before culminating into widespread barking- which reverberated throughout an otherwise empty Husky Stadium.

This past Tuesday, Goldson was asked what brought it about.

"I took it upon myself," said Golsdon, with a quiet voice that belied a beaming smile. "I was just feeling it at that moment. I had a lot of adrenaline pumping in my body, and I was just thinking about Air Force. I'm just waiting to get a win. I just thought our tempo at practice was a little (slow), and I just took the chance to get everybody fired up."

Goldson was asked if he was aware that the entire Washington coaching staff broke into smiles and seemed to feed off the chant's energy.

"I didn't know the coaches were," he said chuckling. "But I knew that the players were."

While team-wide player bonding has noticeably improved from last season, the communication between fellow safeties Goldson and CJ Wallace has also evolved to a higher level.

"We've been friends since I got here," said Goldson. "And it's great having him back there. I like to tell him that we're like Batman and Robin. We've got a real feel for each other. Like, we've got to stay on the same page. If he makes a mistake, I can fill in for him; and if I make a mistake, I can fill in for him, so that you can't tell the difference that anything wrong has occurred. And that's good."

(When Goldson was asked of Wallace's predilection for playing the piano and singing long songs onto his cell phone voice message system, Goldson leaned back in his chair and burst forth with howling laughter- but made no further comment.)

Goldson was asked in what specific ways he has become a better football player from last season.

"I'm more mentally tough, physically tough. I'm learning more and more each year. I had a great coach last year in Phil Snow. From him I learned a lot about the game. From Kent Baer now, and my position Steven Wilkes, I've learned a lot more of the little details. That's what (Wilkes) brings to the table, and that makes me a better player.

"Last spring I sat out (due to injury) and watched coach Willingham to see what he was expecting from a lot of players. I just kind of soaked that in, so when I came into the fall camp I would have an idea of what he expected from me. So its, you know, play hard, work hard, know your assignments—and dominate your opponent.

"During the summer I worked on my shoulders," he said. "I was trying to build up the muscles around my shoulders. I took a lot of contact during last season and it can wear down your shoulders. I also worked on my angles on tackling. Usually when I take a proper angle, I will come off it a little bit, and overrun it a little bit, and that will cause the runner to have two lanes to go. So that's what I had to work on a lot.

"In a football game, there are a lot of little things to focus on," he said. "Like down and distance, when a team comes out in a certain formation, and what can happen from that formation, stuff like that… I'm quicker to recognize and respond to situations during a game.

Finally, Goldson was asked about the specific challenge in facing the Air Force Academy's football team.

"Their whole offense is a challenge, man," he said, referring to the Falcons' option attack. "If you don't read your keys, you can get screwed up. If one person doesn't do their job, that's pretty much a big play. So everybody has got to do their part.

"Air Force is a very disciplined team," he said. "They are probably more disciplined than any other team we will face this year. They do all their wake-ups early, and they are just disciplined, that's how they are.

"But we've gotten a lot better," he said. "On defense, we've got a lot of guys back. We're going to do some good things this season."

Derek Johnson can be reached at MidnightJazz@msn.com

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