Q&A - C.J. Wallace

Dawgman.com spoke with C.J. Wallace on a number of issues, and the senior safety gave his thoughts on his new position coach, a different teammate at safety, and what it's going to take for the Washington Huskies football team to turn around their losing ways. Here's what he said.

Dawgman.com: How hard was it to stay out of spring drills?

C.J. Wallace: "It was kind of rough because I have never been out of too many things. If I was hurt I still played. It was probably the first time in my life where it was kind of out of my jurisdiction to play. So that that was the most frustrating thing for me."

DM.C: How is your health now?

CJW: "Everything is going fine and I think I'm going to have my best year this year."

DM.C: When you heard that J.R. Hasty wasn't going to be here for the fall, did you ever think about filling in?

CJW: "I always wanted to play a little running back. If they ever did call me to play running back I would definitely do it and I would not let the team down."

DM.C: What has been the best thing about new defensive backs coach J.D. Williams?

CJW: "Just listening and talking to him. I'd go up to Coach Williams office and just talk football for about an hour, hour and a half. And I won't say nothin', I can listen to him all day. You'd be surprised how much you can learn from him. He makes it a lot easier."

DM.C: What has been the biggest thing you have learned from coach Williams so far?

CJW: "I don't know if it's a philosophy thing or a football thing...it's probably a little bit of both. The game is the same wherever you go, but he just puts that little twist on it so it just makes more sense. On top of that, he can go on the field and he can show you. He's fast, great technique. He makes it really fun."

DM.C: Do you ever think at all about what a redshirt year would have meant to your career at Washington?

CJW: "At one point I was thinking about trying to get my year back because I didn't see the field that much my freshman year. I thought I was going to play more. It didn't turn out that way, and it's something I've got to live with. I've got to play like it's my last year and I've got to go all out. It would be good to have another year, that's always good."

DM.C: How is the team's confidence going into the season?

CJW: "We've been thinking about that since the last game of last year. It's something you feel deep down inside that we're going to be good. We should have been good last year and we could have been good last year. We had plenty of opportunities but it came down on us where we made mistakes. This year we have a better grasp of the defense and more experience and we re-arranged some things and added a twist here and there...we're going to come out and we're going to shock the world."

DM.C: It's been a while since you've been able to hit someone on the field. Are you feeling it?

CJW: "To be honest, when I'm back home in Sacramento chillin' with my family, my mom has to watch me because when it gets close to football season I get a little fever. I might hit anything. I might hit my Grandma. It's always good to get that good pop, and it's even better to hit someone other than your teammate. So I can't wait for that."

DM.C: So what is it going to take to get over the hump this year in terms of turning losses into wins?

CJW: "It's the little things, like getting lined up. We lost a few games where we didn't get lined up out of the huddle. So we have to work on that. We've got to trust each other. Too many guys were doing too many things last year. We've got to focus on our jobs and do our jobs only. We've got to communicate. They seem like little things, but they can turn into big things on the field. So that's why there's been a lot of bondsmanship with each other. Things like that get taken care of. Mentally, we just had some breakdowns. We'd come out and fire off against good teams and we knew we could beat them. But coming down to the fourth quarter, we just had mental breakdowns. We need to be stronger in the fourth quarter. That's going to be huge for us. We need to be stronger on third downs. If we eliminate those problems, we could have easily won seven games last year just off that. If we can put everything together, we are unstoppable."

DM.C: What did the DB's do this summer?

CJW: "We hang out with each other all the time. With the defensive backs, we have a little more bondsmanship because we're always together. And I'm bonding with the defense because we're coming together. We always do things outside of football."

DM.C: Talk a little more about your role this year and how it's going to change.

CJW: "Last year I didn't really talk that much. I'm more of a guy that plays by example, but this year we need more guys that can talk. Whatever I have to do, that's what I have to do. It's my calling to be the vocal person and to talk. Sometimes I don't have to say stuff, but if there's something I need to say, I'm going to say it. And Scott White is going to say it. And anybody else...a freshman...if he's saying the right things, speak on it. That's the kind of thing we've got going on right now."

DM.C: How will it be for you not lining up next to Dashon Goldson this fall?

CJW: "It's different, because I've been playing with Dashon, but if it's for the best and it's going to help us get better and it's going to bring someone else in who can do just as good a job as him, it's going to make us better. But we can look at each other and he knows what he's going to do and I know what I'm going to do. We have an understanding. With the others, we're working on it, we're getting it down. But we don't have to talk, me and Dashon. I'm starting to sense that it's happening with the other safeties too."

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