Stanback happy to be in leadership role

The quaterback is the leader of the team. Either by default or by his own personality, players took at the signal-caller to lead them where they want to go. Washington senior QB Isaiah Stanback is the defacto leader of the Huskies and he's ready for his final season on campus to be his best.

"It wasn't natural," Stanback said when asked if he was a natural leader. "I think it's more natural now, but it wasn't before. Coach (Tyrone) Willingham and I have talked about it and how I'm not just a normal player and I was like ‘why not?' because I am just a normal player.

"I didn't realize things until I watched the NFL Network and how those quarterbacks speak and listen to the coaches and how they are and what it means to be a quarterback. I think I understand that now."

Stanback's physical talents make him a superb candidate to be not only the emotional leader of the team, but also the physical leader as well. He's come a long way from his first start under center as a sophomore in 2004, but he's been hampered by some coaching changes that have caused him not know who to believe in or to trust.

"It's hard," Stanback said about three different head coaches in four years. "That's all about relationships. You need to trust the coaches and to believe in them and it's hard to do that when you're wondering if they are going to be around next year or not.

"You kind of put up a defense system. Kinda like a guy or a girl that has had their heart broken a number of times they are going to have that defense mechanism up and not have their guard down and it's the same thing with us. Last year we were trying to get comfortable and we were tentative because it's happened to us so many times that now we have stability and it's easier for guys to open up and take the coaching a lot better."

Much has been made of Stanback's abilities as a runner and he said he feels he knows better when to take off and when to stick around and see what develops down field.

"The confidence factor is a lot higher than it's ever been," Stanback said. "I know what I'm doing and I feel comfortable now and that I understand what is best for the team in certain situations."

Stanback also mentioned how he's developing confidence in a deep receiving corps that has experience, but still hasn't gelled with the starting quarterback.

"We have a lot of good receivers," Stanback said without hesitation. "The main thing with our team is that nobody is cocky. They don't feel like they should get the rock on every play and the receivers are a close-knit group.

"They all laugh together and hang out together and everybody is going to get the ball and they know that so they're happy when others have success. I like that atmosphere and that the receivers know that if they're open they'll get the rock."

Senior WR Sonny Shackelford agrees.

"Last year, toward the end of the year, we were able to look at each other and know exactly what we were thinking," Shackelford said. "Isaiah has a strong arm and he and I started, toward the end of the season, to be able to look at the corner and safety, and he would give a little wink and I knew what was up."

Getting back on the field is what matters most to Stanback and he's ready to begin the final season of his college career.

"It's going to be fun," Stanback said with his trademark smile. "You're always excited to see each other. You're excited to see how the new guys are and if any of them can help you this year. Coach doesn't let you ease into it either. ‘We're going to run these plays today and the next day we're putting in about 30 more'. It's going to be fun being back out there."

Now it's up to Stanback to be the leader every wants and needs him to be. Top Stories