Coaches' Notes - SJSU

Norman, Okla. seems a long ways off for these Washington Huskies, and next weekend's matchup between the Huskies and the Oklahoma Sooners has mismatch written all over it. A team on the rise versus one that's already all over the mountaintop.

In while stopping short of 'that's why they play the games', the Huskies' coaches definitely accentuated the positive in UW's 35-29 win over San Jose State, and the boost of confidence that will surely result as they prepare for the Sooners.

Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham:

Said that his run defense was one of the 'good things' they did today, said that their runner (Yonus Davis) was 'explosive' and that it was good to keep him under some control.

Said that there's a process that takes place in a team that's learning how to win again, a way that they react in critical situations, and San Jose State played a great second half and actually had them 'pinned up against the wall' a couple of times.

Asked about Isaiah Stanback's game, and Willingham said that he's felt for a long time that if given the right opportunity, Stanback would have a 'hell of a ballgame'.

Asked about the secondary issues in the second half, and Willingham said that they will continue to have some issues and growing pains while they try to get healthy. Dashon Goldson only played three snaps. Also said that it's very difficult to shut down every aspect of a full passing game, but there was 'more give' in the secondary than he would normally like.

Asked about points in the game, and Willingham said that he felt like they gave up about '20 points' too many on defense and were about 20 points shy of what they could have scored on offense.

Asked about Louis Rankin, Willingham said that his run in the fourth quarter was 'very exciting and very needed'. 'It was a great reply'.

Asked about getting that first win under his belt, and Willingham said it was 'absolutely fantastic'. 'It makes what I do very rewarding'. Also said that the young men are very excited, something Willingham termed 'priceless'.

Asked about the play of the younger guys on the DL, especially guys like Daniel Te-o Nesheim and Chris Stevens, and Willingham called them 'cornerstone guys of our program'. 'There is never a slow moment in the way they play,' he added. 'They have done nothing but make us a better team.'

Asked about Dan Howell not playing as much in the second half, and Willingham said that they went more into their nickel defenses, bringing in guys like E.J. Savannah and Stevens, while Howell is more in their 'base' personnel. 'It was just a better match for what they were giving us," Willingham added.

Asked about Stanback improvising, and Willingham said there were probably six of the 17 runs he eventually had that were improvised, the rest were called.
Washington Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano:

Asked about Stanback's game, and he said that from where he was upstairs he felt like most all the passes were pretty accurate. Said that by the end of the game he was getting fatigued, so that's why he ran more in the two-back sets, and that's why maybe he was errant on a couple of the late throws.

Said that SJSU played cover-2 against Washington's base offense, which is something they weren't expecting. That's why they ran a lot out of the 2-back sets. They were going to be more spread in the beginning, but the OL did a great job today in opening up holes against that defense.

Asked about Stanback's career and how's almost over, and Lappano said that he just hasn't won a lot. Said a lot of the offensive guys have gone through 3-4 position coaches, so they are guys you just root for because of the adversity the senior class has been through. To have these guys leave the program as winners would be really important. 'They deserve it, they are good kids'.

Asked about the first-half turnovers, and he said that they really harped on that Friday night because early games have a tendency to be sloppier than others. But didn't have one in the second half. Said that it was just 'taking points off the board' by giving up the ball because they were running and throwing the ball very effectively. 'It's throwing opportunities away.' Said they didn't make a lot of adjustments in the second half because they didn't have to. They were doing everything right but turning the ball over.

Asked about SJSU making some second-half adjustments, and Lappano said that they played more strong and weak-flex than the straight double-eagle, and also a lot more two-deep than they were anticipating. 'I don't think they wanted to give up the big play. I think they wanted us to earn it.' So they countered with the two-back run game.

Said that every time Louis Rankin plays, he makes something happen. Said he's got great feet in the hole, can make people miss. Kenny James played 'steady'. Said Isaiah, when he turned the ball upfield, make some things happen.
Washington Defensive Coordinator Kent Baer:

Said that they just need to clean things up in the secondary. Said it's a tough offense to play right out of the gate with a beat-up secondary.

Asked about Te-o Nesheim and Stevens...said that he 'loves those guys'. Said that they are going to get a lot out of them and that they are going to be good Huskies when it's all said. Also said that it's probably too early to make any sort of grand judgements...said that the most improvement is usually made from week one to week two, so they'll take it from there.

Asked about Mesphin Forrester...with Goldson only getting three snaps, to play the nickel Mesphin was the next guy in. Said he probably learn some things today and will get better.

Asked about using the nickel a lot in the second quarter, and Baer said that it was a reaction to SJSU spreading the ball out and the QB getting rid of the ball quickly. Also added that the spread wasn't something they worked on a ton during camp, so they just wanted to get their best five cover people they could in the game. Felt like the move helped them, but the disappointment was giving up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Asked about conditioning playing a factor in the fourth quarter, and Baer said it was part that, part missing tackles...'but they played the same snaps too'. Said that anytime you have four guys continuously pass-rushing throughout the whole game, it's bound to wear and tear on you.

Asked about playing a little more 'straight up', and Baer said they kind of had to because of the fact that it was the first game and they were by nature a little more conservative. 'I didn't want to dial too many things up and do something stupid'.

Asked about Goldson and his ankle and he said that he talked to Dashon after the game and he said that the ankle was the same as when it was before the game. Baer thinks it is getting better, but 'inch-by-inch, trying to get to a mile'. Said that he needs to work through it.

Asked about next week's butt-kicking in practice to fix what's wrong and he said that a great measuring stick for that was by what he saw in the locker room after the game. 'The guys were pleased that they won, but they know that there's a lot of things to correct, and I like that. They understand that we beat a good football team, but there wasn't a lot of yelling and screaming. They know they've got a lot of things to work on."
Washington Offensive Line Coach Mike Denbrock:

Asked about the play of the O-line and he said that there was a lot to be pleased with. He thought we played hard. Assignment wise, they looked like they were doing some good things. He liked the way they prepared from the beginning of the week. He thought we had a nice focus and even though some of the things San Jose State was doing may have been confusing, he thought they did a great job and fought through.

Asked about starting young and inexperienced players like Ben Ossai and he said that coaches are nervous to begin with but the lack of experience at that position is always a cause for concern. But Ben did a good job today and kept his poise in what could have been a difficult position. He thinks the whole group did a good job in responding when they needed him to do that. It's a constant learning curve for all of them. Today was a great learning experience for their group up front. It's certainly good to have a good amount of yards rushing and to keep the defense off the quarterback.

Asked about future goals for the O-line and he said that the number-one thing is consistency. Breaking long runs is one thing, but consistently being able to pound the ball is where they want to be and where they want to go.

Asked about playing the five starters the entire game and he said that he was happy with their conditioning today. He thought the conditioning paid off today. They knew going in they weren't really deep and they also knew some of the guys they were starting weren't really experienced. Can they play that way the whole year long? Odds are going to tell you probably not but they'll keep their fingers crossed that they do and stay healthy.


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