Dawgbytes - 4/7

Just like last spring, Tyrone Willingham took an opportunity to put his mark on the Washington football program by inviting the names from the past - players like Spider Gaines, Jim Krieg, Lincoln Kennedy and many others - back to Husky Stadium to watch and spend time with the current UW football team. It was an immediate hit, and this coming Saturday marks the second time Willingham will mix the old with the new.

"Saturday will be a key day for us," Willingham said Friday. "Any time you have an opportunity to have your former players back, it just energizes you. Our guys will be excited about having them back and watching them and showing what they can do."

To mark the occasion, the Huskies will likely scrimmage a little more than they normally do, but Willingham was quick to point out that they still try to get a little scrimmaging in during every spring practice.

One piece to the puzzle that might be missing Saturday - last year's starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback. Stanback didn't work Thursday because of a bruised shoulder. "He may do some limited stuff today, and possibly be ready to go for Saturday," Willingham said, adding that he didn't believe Stanback's injury to be a serious issue.

Erick Lobos injured his foot on Thursday, the same foot that was injured a year ago. "We'll take some x-rays of that and see what comes from that," Willingham said. "Right now, it doesn't appear to be anything major." Willingham also mentioned that Brandon Ala has been in and out with hamstring issues.

While all the former players in attendance will most likely be focused on the skill players and those in the trenches, Willingham will also be focusing on his special teams. He said that the coaches are just beginning the phase where they take all the individual special teams work done so far this spring and put them together for their first full-squad workouts. "We're trying to get everyone to understand the techniques, the things involved, the fundamentals, before we get into the team thing," Willingham said of the special teams pre-production work.

Once 'team speed' is applied to the special teams, especially in regards to the punting game, Willingham is hopeful that his players were paying attention to all the details. "Everyone's afraid of the double-thud (punt and block)," Willingham said with a smile. "Coaches hate to hear that."

According to Willingham, it's all being done to eliminate one word - inconsistency.

"We haven't eliminated that word yet," he said.
Notes:
Just call him Joe: Joe Borchard is now playing center field for the Seattle Mariners, but that doesn't mean Willingham is getting box seats from his former Stanford quarterback. "It's exciting to see him with the Mariners," Willingham said. "He got off to a good start the other night. He was an exceptional athlete for us and a fine young man." Borchard still holds the Pac-10 record for the longest touchdown pass, a 98-yarder against UCLA back in 1999.


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