Dawg Blog - Oklahoma

With game one under their belts, the Washington Huskies move up in class in a big way. Boomer Sooner, baby! We'll be covering all the action, from the Monday Tyrone Willingham press conference through the post-game news, notes and quotes. It's your one-stop shop for all things UW/OU!

8:30/4:

Quintin Daniels in the game for the first time this year...UW is going into no-huddle. Nic Harris gets Stanback down for a loss and Eric Yarber is just losing it on the sidelines. Stanback tried to run for it, but it looks like he's just short...that would be a microcosm of the day's play as far as UW is concerned. And it is short...and OU takes over.
9:40/4

Shackelford helps his QB out, catching a pass inside OU territory. One of the few times his WR's have helped Stanback out. Maybe they can make something happen here...
12:21/4

Looks like Stoops is in '4-minute drill' mode, milking the clock and running the ball. AD almost made a first down on third and long. The crowd wants them to go for it, but Stoops won't. The game is well in hand.
14:16/4:

Stanback is getting no help from his receivers, with Kirton being the latest recipient. Wide open, and drops it like he didn't have a choice. Douglas just hit an 80-yarder that goes into the OU end zone...he's UW's MVP right now.
14:43/4:

Juan Garcia gets a personal foul after a play, and the refs had every right to make them negating fouls, but of course they gave the home team the advantage. Poor job of officiating there...they should have just let it go.
Third Q thoughts...:

OU gained 178 yards in that quarter, to UW's 62. Stanback just couldn't get untracked, and when they had their chances to reel in a deficit, they did what poor teams do...give it right back. Let's just hope they have enough in the tank to play this quarter out and keep it respectable. That's definitely something they need to fight hard for. This game is just another building block for a team that needs positive things to happen...
1:13/3:

Finally the Huskies play a play right in the secondary, get double-coverage, and they still can't get it executed. Then AD goes around end while an OU WR has his hands all over Roy Lewis, and Peterson goes untouched for 6. 30-13 and it doesn't look like the Sooners are interested in stopping at this point...
2:13/3:

Roy Lewis is the latest UW corner to lose containment, giving up a slant to Fred Strong for 26 yards. Gunheim goes out with an apparent knee problem on the next play, a two-yard gain by AD...he goes off on his own power, which is a fantastic sign.
3:16/3:

And Stanback makes the Cardinal Mistake...he puts the ball on the ground while trying to use a second-effort. Classic blunder that that beleagured UW for years now...
3:25/3:

White gets another gift, as Chris Stevens got around end and forced a fumble on Paul Thompson as he was going back to throw. It's being reviewed, but there's no way it gets overturned. Thompson was in the process of throwing, but wasn't even close to going forward. Now UW has to make OU pay inside their own 5...the lead announcer just said that the UW offense takes the field, led by 'Isaiah Steinbeck'...who knew he was related to John? Guess it's that whole 'Oklahoma-Grapes of Wrath thing'...

After losing the challenge, OU had the option of using the TO then or have it taken, and Stoops took it then.
4:38/3:

Definitely a questionable spot, but I agree with Willingham's decision to punt. If you don't make it, you definitely have given them license to take the game totally away from you. A good Douglas punt and OU has to start from inside their own 20. A three-and-out here is absolutely essential if UW has any prayer of hanging in close enough to steal a win.
5:49/3:

Stanback shows you what he's capable of...making chicken salad out of you know what...he needs to really put this team on his shoulders. Looks like UW just got flagged for their first holding call of the game.
7:02/3:

Garrett Hartley puts the Sooners up by 10 with a 30-yard FG, but the Huskies were able to hold them to three...or more accurately, the Sooners didn't put their foot on the Huskies collective jugular. OU isn't playing bad per se, but they certainly aren't playing super sound football or taking even decent advantage of their opportunities.
9:37/3:

The Sooners smell blood in the water, and Willingham obliges them with a run on third and long. Then they come on the kick and block Douglas' punt and it's starting to unravel.

It's not all that surprising, but still disappointing nonetheless...Chris Hemphill is now in after Jason Wells took the brunt of AD's shoulder on a sweep...
11:15/3:

For those folks advocating bump coverage? You just got your wish...and Malcolm Kelly just roasts Goldson for 6.
13:18/3:

After a couple of very nice runs from Louis Rankin to start, Stanback's drive stalls after a couple of incompletions. It appeared that if he can find the open receiver while OU blitzes, they could make some huge gains.

It's funny listening to the OU announcers, because they mention all the OU players by their first names, like 'Rufus is slamming his hands on the turf', or 'that's the first time Adrian has had a fullback in front of him'.
Halftime thoughts:

Here are some quickie halftime stats:
Both teams have 13 first downs.
UW has 175 yards total offense, OU has 172.
UW has 94 yards rushing, OU has 70.
UW is 4-8 in 3rd-down conversions, OU 3-7.
James has 8 carries for 64 yards and a 54-yard score. Rankin has 7 runs for 36 yards. AD has 12 carries for 58 yards, long of 26. Stanback is 4-8 through the air for 81 yards, long of 51. Thompson is 12-22 for 102 yards and a TD, long of 18. Just announced attendance at 84,577. 84,943 fans saw OU beat Texas A&M in 2005, the largest crowd ever at Memorial Stadium.

Overall, I know Willingham would say, 'There were some things I was pleased with and some things I was not-so-pleased with', but I think overall UW has to be thrilled with how they have attacked OU's D and how they've been able to keep their composure in hostile territory.

Thus, there's really only one question that has to be asked as they take the field for the final 30 minutes of the game - how long can they maintain their focus, intensity and energy? They were only able to last week for about 45 minutes. If they do that today, OU will score 21-plus on them to finish the game out. Let's see if that maxim holds about football teams making their biggest improvements from game one to game two...

The radio announcer just said that OU has done a 'nice job of containing the Huskies'. Never thought I'd hear that said today, to be honest...they said that they are disappointed in not enough balls thrown to the TE, and they'd like to see some misdirection because they think UW is susceptible, especially if AD is going one way...
:49/2:

A couple of missed catches gives the Huskies just a slight reprieve...Hartley ties it up with a 37-yard FG...I don't expect Willingham to mess around here, just straight running plays to run the clock out. They'll take a tie game with the ball coming out for the third Q every day...but what in the world is Willingham thinking by putting his QB in shotgun if he's content to just run the ball out? Why not go behind center and just take a knee? It doesn't cost them at all, but man...it just seems like you're opening yourself up to a botched snap and handoff when you don't have to...
1:03/2:

Shades of SJSU when OU goes no-huddle...just way too many holes in UW's zone. Even Reggie Smith came in to catch a pass...he normally plays corner.
1:34/2:

A great tackle by Howell on AD is negated by more soft coverage. Just because they line up with cushion doesn't mean they need to play with a soft mindset.
3:31/2: UW 13-10. 13/73 yards/5:21 elapsed. Great numbers...but on the road you just have to punch in every opportunity you have. But kudos to Stanback. Even though he may have had a couple of questionable decisions, he's really done a nice job of protecting the ball. The Huskies, especially in the run game, don't look like the same team that coughed it up with frequency last week. That's super-encouraging. Let's see if the D can come up with the offense's best friend...either a turnover or a three-and-out...
5:47/2:

The Dawgs keep drivin'...Kirton catches a pass, James goes for a first down...can they now put it away? I don't expect the Sooners to budge an inch...and they've got the Sooner band backing them up, as the OU band is placed right behind the Huskies' bench.
7:01/2:

Anthony Russo gets loose. DJ Wolfe knocked down the last pass thrown to Russo, but it was nearly a set-up for the 51-yard pitch and catch between Stanback and No. 5. Great play-call by Lappano to take advantage of OU's aggressiveness out on an island.
7:37/2:

Marcel Reece makes his presence known, catching a screen for a first down. Nice job by the Huskies converting a third and long in their own end.
9:27/2:

Jason Wells lays the lumber, forcing a Hartley 44-yard FG attempt, which he buries. But it's good to see UW forcing FG's instead of big gains on third downs to sustain drives. Tackling is definitely better than last week, but still needs work.
11:40/2:

In the words of the OU announcer I'm listening to...'That was obvious'! That was in response to Roy Lewis' holding. What wasn't so obvious was that Kelly was holding Lewis' facemask...

Iglesias hooks up with Thompson for a first-down gain in front of Goldson. I didn't think Goldson was coming back in, he sure fooled me...
13:10/2:

Just when it Stanback looks to be making all the right decisions, he pulls a huge gaffe on third down and a run/pass option. He had a TE on a drag and Johnie Kirton downfield, but he had a sure first down in his grasp (and probably 5-10 yards more at least) if he just tucks it, but he unloads in Kirton's direction, and the bullet goes whizzing by Kirton's head. Braunstein converts the 32-yard field goal to take the lead, but you could tell the other QB's and coaches on the UW sidelines were really disappointed with that decision made by Stanback. OU dodged a huge bullet, IMHO.
End of the first quarter:

If you could have told me that the game would be tied and the Huskies would be driving as time expired after the first 15 minutes, I would have said you're nuts. But this team is playing with some confidence and also some ability. I honestly believe that this game will hinge on the OL and whether or not they can give Stanback the time he needs to make the correct decision every time. So far, other than calling his own number on a zone read for a loss, he's dialed it in every time. AD has 7 runs for 42 yards, so he's well on his way to going for more than 100 yards.
1:22/1:

You know Scott White has been dreaming about this game ever since it came on the schedule, and the senior LB was more than happy to be the recipient of a gift pick from Paul Thompson. Thompson was hit as he threw, creating a duck that fluttered right into White's hands.
3:02/1:

What a great job by Sean Douglas, avoiding a sure block to get the ball well into OU territory. And after an AD first down run for 26 yards, Goldson goes out holding his ankle. He's probably done.
5:46/1:

OU ties it up. Great call by the Sooners. They had a route inside that sucked in the safety, putting Malcolm Kelly one-on-one with Fountaine. Kelly broke the route off inside, and Fountaine thought he had help in the back of the end zone. He didn't. Funny note: on an earlier play, Tahj Bomar made a tackle, eliciting boos from the Sooners. Guys, Tahj ain't related to Rhett!
7:52/1:

Douglas hit such a long punt, it went over the head of OU's Reggie Smith for 82 yards, but Smith was able to take it back 62 of those yards. One pass from Paul Thompson to Iglesias and the Sooners are first-and-goal. BTW, that punt by Douglas is a school record, besting the 80-yarder by Derek McLaughlin against Oregon in 2002.
10:00/1:

UW's tackling already improved and paying dividends. Fountaine and E.J. Savannah making solid stops to force punts. Baer's D right now does not look fazed in the least. But a GREAT OU punt puts the Huskies back on their heels - at their 1-yard line. We'll see what Lappano wants to do here. With the lead on the road early, I doubt he'll do much gambling this deep on their end.
12:16/1:

OU brings the house on UW's first offensive play and the Huskies make them play with Kenny James straight up the middle for a 54-yard touchdown. The Sooners missed a couple of tackles, but James had a great spring and was able to collect his balance and veer right and toward the NE end of the end zone. Willingham couldn't have diagrammed an opening any better.
13:52/1: OU offensive line killing themselves early with penalties. They couldn't possibly be that nervous. Matt Fountaine has had a couple of very solid edge tackles, one on Adrian Peterson. Goldson breaks up a third-down pass, a very welcome sight.
3 minutes before gametime

The Sooner Schnooner did their figure 8 around the field, pretty impressive but not a huge deal compared to Ralphie. Washington won the toss and UW deferred, taking the wind in the first Q. Oklahoma will receive to start the game. The OU announcers are having a chuckle over the fact that UW has a 'Bomar' of their own, LB Tahj Bomar.
9/9/06 2:14 pm CST

The Sooner team just went to the center of the field where their logo is, right when 'Crazy Train' starts blaring. Ozzy is singing and the Sooners are swaying on top of the 'OU' logo. The Huskies move to the North end zone and then run back to the SW corner of the other end zone while OU goes to the SE corner.

Current UW assistant hoops coach Jim Shaw is here; his daughter attends OU and Shaw used to coach in Norman under Kelvin Sampson. While Mike Braustein was kicking, the OU students were taunting him, calling him 'Rudy'.

The OU band just came out and they look ginormous. Nearly 300 in their band, if you include flag girls and whatnot. For those Husky fans that attend UW games, the OU band just unfurled an Oklahoma state flag that's at least as big as the American flag UW does in their pre-game. They also had their rifle team (the 'Roughnecks') shooting off their guns, so it might catch you off-guard if you weren't prepared for it.

The OU band just played 'Bow down to Washington', to the two UW sections in the SE corner of the stadium. Washington looks to have traveled roughly 500 folks to the game.

Official weather just came down...91 degrees, 31 percent humidity, with a 10 mph wind coming out of the south.
9/9/06 1:53 pm CST

Just got word that the game is going to be reffed by Big-12 officials...and for those that care, OU doesn't have names on the back of their jerseys either. Game captains are the same as last week...Wallace, James, Stanback and Daniels.
9/9/06 1:34 pm CST

Listening to Bob Stoops talk pre-game (hosted at a Red Lobster!), and he sounds a lot like Willingham last week. Said that he loved what he saw offensively between the turnovers, said his QB made good decisions. Defensively OU really needs to clean up their tackling and whatnot, but it's 'correctable'. Also lauded his special teams.

In specific, he said that the zone read run play out of the shotgun and the power plays were things OU had problems with against UAB, so Stoops just wants his team to be more physical.


9/9/06 1:21:00 pm CST

Some thoughts from the OU radio guys...

Listening in to a couple of the OU analysts during their pregame, and two things are clear:
1) If SJSU can score 29, they think OU can score at least 40. 'Because they are OU'.
2) They think UW is better than advertised and will give OU a game for a little while.

The two scores the analysts gave were 38-9 and 42-7. One of them just said that Adrian Peterson runs for 228 and the other said he'll run for 169. One just said that 'Washington stinks', while also fully admitting that this OU team is nowhere near what some of the other recent OU teams have been like. They are also saying that if AD got hurt, it would be catastrophic.
9/9/06 1:05:00 pm CST

Here in the press box, roughly 90 minutes before kickoff...

And nearly three full sections are already full with students. A lot of Huskies are already out on the field, warming up, while there's only two or three OU players out there. The UW players in their purple pants, and if I remember correctly (Don Ruiz swears by it, so it's true), this is the first time in the Willingham era that the Huskies have worn purple pants on the road. Now if they come out with names on the backs of their jerseys...hell will have officially frozen over.

The wind is coming from the south at around 10-12 mph, so that might be something to consider when thinking about the kicking game...
9/9/06 12:54:00 am

Some late night thoughts... As I get back from a night down at Mickey Mantle's at Bricktown, the big game looms.

And I'm not talking about Ohio State vs. Texas (although I have run into a few UW fans that are thinking of making the 2-plus-hour drive from Norman to Austin, Tex. to check it out. If they can brave getting scalped, it's probably worth the effort. It's been a while since No. 1 and No. 2 went to battle in the regular season, and it may be a while after Saturday night.

But let's get back on topic...the trip down to Oklahoma has already been a success from my point of view...and a down has yet to be snapped. Super-friendly folks, plenty of regional beers to choose from (try the Double Deuce at the Cattlemen's Steakhouse at the Stockyards if you want a nice frothy compliment to a grade-A 12-ounce filet. Just make sure you watch out for the lamb fries!) and a packed-in nightlife make Oklahoma City a heck of a lot more palatable than I thought it would be.

Also definitely worth a mention is the visit we took to the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which remembers those who lost their lives in the tragic bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building on April 19, 1995. It stands right on top of where the original Murrah building stood, with a long reflecting pool stretching from the east to west ends of the block, bookended by large square arches. On the south side of the Memorial are seats spaced roughly 5-7 feet apart, each chair signifying a person lost in the blast with their names on them. What was even more sobering about that part of the memorial was that the different heights for the backs of the seats were done to show which people were adults and which were children. For anyone visiting the greater OKC area, it's a must-see.

We drove to Norman from Oklahoma City Friday morning after having breakfast at a Waffle House (any 'Tin Cup' fans will know all about the Waffle House), and we got a chance to see a little bit of the Oklahoma campus and Memorial Stadium.

Let me tell you...if Washington fans are expecting Memorial Stadium to be something like Ohio State or Tennessee...it ain't even close. It's more like a bigger version of Arizona Stadium to me. Granted, I'm sure that 82,000 screaming OU fans will get that place plenty hopping, but it just doesn't appear to be the intimidating atmosphere that I was initially expecting. It's pretty open on the south end (especially the SE and SW corners), so it's not fully enclosed. And on the north end, it's really not as high as it could be, somewhat resembling the Rose Bowl.

Before heading out to Bricktown tonight for dinner, we saw the team come in and get settled. It's quite the organizational feat to get that many players, coaches, trainers and staff all taken care off, making sure that the players' room phones are cut off, but the staff's isn't, etc...

As I stated earlier on the board, Jake Locker made the trip, so Washington will have all four QB's with them. This is a great move for the true frosh. I do not expect Jake to take one snap this year unless something really unexpected happens (like three QB's going down with injury). But a trip like this will give him invaluable information on just what a road trip is all about and how to handle it. The Huskies are at Syracuse the first game of 2007, so they'll need to have as many guys have this kind of experience coming back with them as possible.

FB Paul Homer, LB Donald Butler, OG Ryan Tolar and OT Cody Habben are the other four true frosh to travel to Norman. DT Jordan White-Frisbee, who had his right foot in a small boot this week, did not make the trip, fueling doubts as to how much the 6-foot-6, 320-pounder from Inglemoor High School will play this fall and whether or not his foot injury is something that could plague him for the rest of his career. Hopefully he'll be able to get out there and play soon.
(9/7/06 4:38:21 pm)

Willingham afternoon briefing 9/7/2006

Jordan White-Frisbee had a "flare up" of his foot injury again and while Willingham wouldn't say he was out for the game, he did say there is a pretty good chance he won't play this week. They are waiting for the results from some tests they took this week and should know something more definative next week. Until then...they don't have an answer for us.

CB Dashon Goldson has gotten a lot better according to Willingham and while he wouldn't say he would definitely play, he said he's a player they want to get on the field so if he can go...then he will go.

Said that you really can't gameplan to stop Adrian Peterson. If you could, well, then there would be a book out on how to stop him. As of right now...there isn't one.

They want to limit the big plays and make the day very long for Peterson. Can they do it? "That's what we hope to do".

He said that Oklahoma QB Paul Thompson is a great athlete -- "You don't move a guy to wide receiver and have him start if he isn't a great athlete" -- and Willingham and the coaching staff expect him to be much more comfortable at the controls this week since it's his third full week of practicing there.

Heat isn't a concern for Willingham, but the humidity is. He and the training staff are working on a plan to hydrate the players and keep them from getting worn down.

He wants the players to focus on the game and not the environment they are in. Said the field isn't any longer or wider, the goal posts aren't and higher. It's same as at Husky Stadium.

Said TE Johnnie Kirton had his best week of practice so far and he is definitely the starter. He expects Walter Winter and Tim Williams to also see time this week.

Wouldn't comment on what true freshman will travel and said that they won't release a travel list until Saturday.

Posted by: Scott Eklund
(9/7/06 3:09:25 pm)

Huskies vs. Sooners By-The-Numbers

Pat Thrapp has once again crunched the numbers. Here's how Washington vs. Oklahoma shakes out. Click on the link HERE.


(9/6/06 4:38:50 pm)

Afternoon practice notes

Jordan White Frisbee's right foot was in a boot and he wasn't working out. He spoke with Willingham for what seemed to be at least 10 minutes on the sidelines.

Rob Lewis and Mike Gottlieb were not suited up. Gottlieb's arm was in a sling, and Lewis' foot was in a boot.

There was music during warm-ups, a hark back to the Neuheisel days. Included in the rotation was the song 'We are the Huskies', the one that Alex Mercier, Quintin Daniels, Marlon Wood, J.R. Wolfork and Chris Hemphill all were on.

There were a couple of scouts in attendance, including one from the San Francisco 49'ers.

The coaches were pretty vocal. Just watching Chris Tormey warm his guys up, you could tell he was pretty fired up about going to Norman this weekend. 'From Lakeside to Memorial Stadium'! he shouted to Linus Chou as he was going through a drill. 'You've got to win the war here, and then go to war' was another thing I heard Tormey say during position drills.

In watching the running backs, Trent Miles was really focused on running drills where holding onto the ball was paramount. They would run through a battering ram of foam shields. It also looked like both Shelton Sampson and Michael Houston were being used on the service team to emulate Adrian Peterson.
(9/6/06 3:53:59 pm)

Afternoon Willingham briefing

Said that the team practiced well at the Dempsey Indoor and there was 'good energy', but that they still need to do more.

Said they used music as the 'pre-game' and pumped in actual crowd noise for game scenarios.

Said the key when going on the road is to not lose your focus and concentration and not let distractions enter in. When things are going well, it's amazing how all the outside distractions are not a factor.

Said that other than an ankle sprain to WR Troy Perry, no other injuries of note. Said that Dashon Goldson was 'much better' and he's hoping No. 8 will get more snaps.

Asked about Walt Winter and his adjustment, and Willingham said that it's too early to tell. Said he's a good match for their system and it's the place where he'll be able to help the team the most right now. Said that helping in the run game will probably be the first thing to come to him. Said he didn't look at Winter initially at TE when he came to UW because he likes to be able to let the players start out where they want to, but now it's time for him to make the move for the team.

Asked about Marcel Reece getting some time at TE and Willingham said no.

Asked about how losing the two TE's will affect the run game, and he said that obviously on the off-tackle and perimeter runs it'll make a difference, but he doesn't expect to change a lot in terms of personnel or what they would like to run.

Asked about Jordan Murchison and Willingham said that it's 'possible' he'll play. Also mentioned Matt Mosley and Mesphin Forrester as other guys that could play corner in a pinch if Goldson doesn't get a ton of snaps.

Asked about the academic guys and he said that the process is moving 'at a snail's pace', and that part of the issues may be that there could be faculty involved that aren't currently around and double-checking things to make sure everything is in order. To his knowledge, none of those waiting for clearance are Clearinghouse issues.

Also said there have been no new moves to shore up depth.
(9/6/06 2:22:54 pm)

Spoke with Mesphin Forrester today...

Asked what it was like to be 'thrown into the fire' on Saturday, especially at cornerback, and he said that it was amazing. 'Last year I pretty much played special teams'.

Asked about whether or not he tempered his enthusiasm after the game Saturday with the thought that there's a lot that needs to be improved on, and he said that he was just happy to get the win first. 'Right now we're just focusing on 1-0'.

Asked about what feelings were going through him once he realized that he was going to be in the game a long time, and he said that they were pretty much the same from the start...'Mentally, I was prepared for it'.

Said that just knowing that he was going to be in for whole series was the biggest difference for him. 'Just the focus of the game, keying, looking for personnel', he said. 'I knew I was going to be in on 1st and 2nd down, instead of just 3rd down'.

Said that the last time he played corner in a game was a little bit at Venice High School, but that was the last time he had played strictly corner.

Said that the Venice-Narbonne connection (he was at Venice in the same league as the school where Roy Lewis and Dashon Goldson played) helped becuase of familiarity. Said that he felt like he graded pretty well as a corner. 'There's room for improvement, I can do better', adding that the biggest improvement from week one to week two would be in focusing on being in the whole time, instead of just nickel packages on third down.

Asked about mentally letting up in the second half, and Forrester said that he didn't feel like they came out flat. 'I just think we didn't come out quite as hyped as we did the first half, but we'll correct that'.

Asked about what are the biggest changes he goes through in going from safety to corner, and he said as a safety you're always thinking about half the field or the whole width of the field, but at corner, it's just 'locking your man down'.

Said it's not hard to keep your aggressiveness even with 10-yard cushions. 'The aggressiveness is something I bring over from the safety position, so it's not that hard to do.'
(9/6/06 2:12:06 pm)

Spoke with Kent Baer today ...

Asked about making those 'on the fly' adjustments when the game plan has to be scrapped, and he said that the best thing that happened is that for the first three quarters, they didn't panic. 'I thought we did a pretty good job, because you have to figure out what they are going to do in a hurry', but they just didn't finish well, including tackling.

'But that's the beauty of college football - you see so many different things every week'.

Asked about also having to possibly 'hide' personnel issues while also trying to re-scheme, and he said that it's not so much hiding guys like Mesphin Forrester, who had never played CB at Washington before, 'but we would like to be able to ease him in a little better, if we could'. But he 'got a pretty good dose' and he thinks that's only going to help him.

Said that not only is there the biggest improvement form week one to week two, but also from week two to week three. 'I've always thought that, and it pretty much holds true'.

Asked about whether or not they were emotionally drained, and he said that he didn't know but hoped it wasn't true. 'You'd like to hope they had a killer instinct instead of hanging on, and that's something we need to continue to talk to our players about'.

Asked about having that 'killer instinct' based on where the team has been the last couple years, and he said that a lot of it is based on maturity. 'We're definitely further along than where we were last year'.

Said that the SJSU game in the fourth Q felt 'exactly the same' as the 4th Q of the AFA game last year. 'Except we got the win this time'. Added that he thinks SJSU could cause some people some problems this year.

Asked if the UW defensive philosophy going into Oklahoma is built around just trying to stop Adrian Peterson first, and he said that it's not that simple because their tight ends are pretty effective too. 'I don't think you can shut him down, but if you can eliminate the big play and get him tired by gang-tackling...'

Asked about Daniel Te'o Nesheim...Baer said that he's so unassuming, but he loves to play football. 'He has zero fear, it seems to me'. He causes problems because of how hard he plays the game and how tough he is and how he runs.

Asked about watching the OU-UAB game, and he said that the UAB DB's 'played really well'. 'They had some interceptions in the red zone that were huge'. Said that it was a move back for Paul Thompson, compounded by a young OL and receiving corps that probably caused OU to 'stumble'.

Wouldn't go so far to say that maybe UW is catching OU's OL at the right time because of their relative inexperience. He added that if OU hadn't turned the ball over in the red zone, it would have been a whole different story.

Asked if he could make any parallels between the UW-SJSU game and the OU-UAB game, and he said that he didn't put a ton of stock into first games, other than 'how hard you play and if you tackle well'.

Asked about Savannah's first game, and Baer said he did 'OK for the first time out of the box'. As time goes on he'll be more comfortable. Added that Savannah knows he can play better and faster, and they saw some things on film that showed them that he'll be the 'real deal someday' if he continues to work hard.

Said there's no way to adequately prepare guys like Forrester and Savannah before the fact. 'You can preach all you want about it not being any different, but until the lights go on and you have that kickoff, it changes kids' thinking. And that's just human nature'.

Asked about tackling better, and Baer said they just don't do a ton of live tackling in practice. 'We don't always practice in full pads, and when we do we're not always tackling'. Said the coaches have to emphasize it all the time because 80 percent of tackling is what you do before the actual tackle itself - the angles you take, how you close in on a tackle, footwork, getting in the right body position. 'The other 20 percent is the finish'.

Said that tackling is more of an attitude than anything else. Said he once had a middle linebacker that ran a 5.2 40, but he was one of the best pure tacklers he had ever been around simply because he knew he was a good tackler.

Also said that a lot of it has to do with the fact that the high school game has gotten to be so much about x's and o's nowadays that in general, fundamentals aren't stressed nearly as much as they used to be. 'The game is still about basics and fundamentals'.

Asked if he's seeing, in general, a more positive outlook and 'mental makeup', and he said that a win erases a lot of things. And like he said on Saturday, he was most excited seeing them in the locker room after the game not whooping it up, but they understood there was a lot that needed to be improved on. 'I think a lot of guys had that on their mind after the game, which is great'.
(9/6/06 1:51:28 pm)

Spoke with safety Jason Wells today...

...and he said that the nerves and blocking out the crowd and just playing his position were the toughest things he had to deal with in his first game at Washington this past Saturday.

Said that the 'tough' label that has been put on him is more a matter of stepping up his game at the JC level instead of just something he's always been known for. 'Going to a JC, you have to learn to play faster and be tougher. Coming out here the first few times I was getting ran over, so I had to step it up'.

Asked about the pace of play Saturday, and he said that it wasn't necessarily faster, but our 'energy was drained' because of the big crowd and it being the first game.

Asked about the second half and he said the because they were a little drained mentally, they let down, 'which we shouldn't have done'. Said the defense came out thinking the game was already had, so they played more relaxed. Said they need to always be running and going to the gaps anyways.

Asked about the mindset of the team afterwards, and he said that everyone was happy, but they know they can do 'way better'.

He said that personally, he had some technique issues that he has to get down, like his cutting and tackling.

Said that the leaders of the DB's, like Wallace, said that they were happy that he kept his composure and played hard, but also he knows that he has to do better. 'It didn't need to be said'.

Asked about if he's ever experienced a situation like what he'll face at Oklahoma, and he said, 'I got the first game under my belt, so I'm not really concerned about that'.
(9/6/06 1:15:07 pm)

Spoke with CB Roy Lewis today...

Asked about Saturday and the differences he saw, and he said they prepared for one thing and didn't see that, but they still did a good job of adjusting to it. 'We played well for the first three quarters, but then we got content and we let up'.

Said they just have to stay focused all the way through. Said he didn't think it was conditioning, adding that he feels Coach Willingham has really gotten the team in great condition. Said that 'it was a mindset that took a toll', and that they need to develop that killer instinct to take the program where they want it to go.

Asked about the comments he gave to his teammates. He said that he told them that they can't make the same mistakes. They are 'constantly striving to learn', and they didn't play to their full potential. 'We have to elevate our game, not just for this next game, but for all the games to come'.

Asked if the mental breakdown led to some technique breakdowns, and he said not really. Said that it was the first game and they just need to improve from that. 'We didn't play up to our full capabilities', and when that happens, you can see where the weaknesses are.

Said the win is always great, but they are always striving to do better regardless.

Asked about why there was a letdown, and he said that when you play with a lot of emotion, it drains you. 'Emotion drains a lot energy. It was lovely for the first three quarters, but we got relaxed and let our guard down, thinking we had a sure victory.'

Asked about how many times he asked Coach Williams to get out of that 10-yard cushion, and he said a few times, but that's part of the challenge. He said he thinks the DB's are the greatest athletes on the field, and you have to be more accountable than nearly every other position. 'It would be a plus to get up there and challenge some of the guys. When you're up there in bump, it's just a mindset. It's man versus man - mano a mano - and I like that style of play'.

Asked about the Oklahoma atmosphere, and he said that at Notre Dame, as well as at USC and UCLA - it's the same atmosphere and they just need to go down there and believe that they can go down there and accomplish the goal of winning the game.
(9/6/06 1:01:12 pm)

Spoke with DB's Coach J.D. Williams today...

...he said that the DB's came out with some emotion and played hard in the first half of the SJSU game, but didn't in the second half. 'We came out a little flat'. Said they need to carry the emotion all the way through the game.

Said they ran over 50 snaps of 'empty personnel', and said they didn't think that was going to be a major part of SJSU's attack plan. Said they had a few coverages for it that they had practiced, so they went with that and made whatever adjustments they could on the fly.

Said that they came out 'charged up' and playing with emotion, and he thought that having a lead would get them even more charged up, but they came out flat and let the Spartans back in the game.

Said that you have to keep conditioning and it's got to be a 'whole new game'...try to recreate that same enthusiasm they had coming out against SJSU.

Asked about how thin they are at DB, and he said that Jordan Murchison's knee flared up on him on Friday, and with Dashon Goldson also getting limited snaps, he was going to try and see if he could 'hide' Mesphin Forrester with a minimal number of snaps (~16), but he ended up playing 50. He added that he's coaching the concepts for the whole secondary, so that all his guys can play either corner and safety at any time.

'It's like building a house with a screwdriver'. Said that you can use a screwdriver, but you know it's not the right tool. Said that Mesphin is a good safety, but if he had to play at CB for a prolonged period, SJSU was bound to find the player that had minimal experience and exploit that to their advantage.

Asked about Goldson, and Williams said that he's practicing every day and getting into some of the nickel situations, so he's hopeful that Goldson will give them more snaps this coming weekend.

Asked about still trying to play aggressive with softer cushions, and he said that they always try to play aggressive regardless, and they'll play whatever the coverage dictates. 'We want to keep everything in front of us, eliminate the big plays and go from there.'

Asked about Adrian Peterson, and he said that he's along the lines of the other great backs UW saw last year, like Marshawn Lynch and Reggie Bush. 'If we can contain him and eliminate the explosion plays, we'll be fine'.

Asked about coming into the OU game with a 'nothing to lose' attitude, and Williams said that you still have to keep everything in front of you. 'If you don't keep everything in front of you, you'd lose to a high school team'. Said it doesn't matter where you play, if they play with good fundamentals, good blocking and good tackling, they'll be fine.

Asked about any fundamental breakdowns, and he said he thought it was more 'emotional' than physical.

Asked about making the biggest improvement from week one to week two, and he absolutely agreed. 'They have experience under their belt now, and that's the biggest tool for growth'.
(9/5/06 10:06:35 pm)

Week 2 preview: UW vs. OU...this is how Dawgman thinks things are going to shake out in Norman. Click HERE for the full preview.
(9/5/06 7:40:50 pm)

AANDY's '2006 Meandering's' are here! Click HERE to get the best 'three-dot journalism' that money can buy!
(9/5/06 4:36:11 pm) Afternoon practice observations

Well, we got to see our first 'Victory Club' gathering.

Those in the club were: Brandon Ala, Tahj Bomar, Isaiah Stanback, Greyson Gunheim, Kenny James, Louis Rankin, Clay Walker, Mark Palaita and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

It was a full-pads practice in the Dempsey Indoor to get used to crowd noise...but instead of pumping in noise they just played rap and R&B really loud. This staff has prepared for noise before in Dempsey...last year before they played at Oregon.

Walt Winter was working out with the TE's right behind Johnie Kirton.
(9/5/06 3:53:02 pm):

Willingham afternoon briefing

Reiterated that TE's Gottlieb and Lewis will not play against Oklahoma. Said that Walt Winter will now practice with the tight ends. Asked if there is a new depth chart at TE, and he said that it's Johnie Kirton right now, with the rest TBD.

Tim Williams and Tim Harris will take on a more active role. Both Gottlieb (broken hand) and Lewis (broken foot) will be gone most likely up to a month.

Also said that Jordan Murchison is still having problems with a knee that gave him trouble in JC, and he's 'day to day and week to week' with it. He may travel. Said that in general, Willingham starts with a basic travel squad on Tuesday and finalizes it on Thursday.

Asked about the environment in Norman, and he's never been there, but he's going to rely on Trent Miles (who was a GA there in 1990), as well as Bob Simmons to help with some 'insights'.

Asked about Pac-10 teams like Oregon and UCLA having some success in shutting down Adrian Peterson, and Willingham said he'd chalk that up to more of a fluke thing because Peterson is such a great running back.

Asked about what he saw when watching the UAB tape, and he said he saw mistakes and missed tackles that kept OU from putting the game away. 'They will be on their game this week'. Also said that UAB did show some of the same type of option things that UW could do, but they also showed full house and loaded backfield sets that Washington typically wouldn't do.

Asked about the move teams make from week 1 to week 2, and he said that while it may not be the biggest improvement, he does believe the improvement made is usually 'substantial'.
(9/5/06 3:21:00 pm):

Pac-10 Players of the Week named.

UCLA QB Ben Olson, USC LB Keith Rivers and PK Nick Folk were named Pac-10 Players of the Week.

Isaiah Stanback was nominated on offense, Greyson Gunheim on defense and Sean Douglas on special teams.

The official P-10 stats were also handed out right now, and here's a quick look at where some UW players stand...

Louis Rankin is second in rushing and all-purpose yards behind Oregon's Jonathan Stewart. Isaiah Stanback is fourth overall. Stanback is 9th in the conference in passing yards average per game at 168, but third overall in total offense. He is also 10th in pass efficiency with a UW does not have anyone in the top-10 in receptions per game or receiving yards per game.

Rankin and James are tied for second in the league for points per game at 12.

In the kicking game, PR Marlon Wood is fourth in the league with a 6.5 yard average, while KR Roy Lewis is also fourth with a 17.8 yard average. Sean Douglas is third in the league with a 45.7 yards per punt average.

Defensively, Chris Stevens is tied for 6th and Mesphin Forrester tied for 20th with Matt Fountaine, Roy Lewis and C.J. Wallace when it comes to tackles per game. Greyson Gunheim, Jason Wells, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Scott White are tied for 33rd. Stevens is third in sacks with 1.5 and second in tackles for loss with 2.5. Gunheim is tied for third with 2.

From a team perspective, Washington is currently fourth in scoring offense, 1st in rush offense, 7th in scoring defense, 4th in rush defense, 9th in pass offense, 4th in total offense, 10th in pass defense, 7th in total defense, tied for 7th in kickoff returns, 5th in punt returns, 2nd in punting, 6th in pass efficiency, 10th in turnover margin, 8th in pass defense efficiency, tied for 4th in first downs, tied for 2nd in third-down conversions, tied for 6th in opponent first downs, 7th in opponent third-down conversions, tied for 4th in sacks by, tied for 4th in sacks against, tied for third in least penalty yardage, tied for 7th in field goals (0), 9th in opponent penalty yardage, tied for 1st in PAT kicking, tied for 3rd in 4th-down conversions, tied for 9th in opponent 4th-down conversions, 5th in time of possession, third in kickoff coverage, tied for 1st in red-zone offense and tied for 8th in red zone defense.
(9/5/06 2:12:30 pm):

Talked to TE coach Bob Simmons...

I didn't get a chance to ask about any of the TE's specifically because of other interview obligations, but he did talk about the atmosphere UW should expect. He coached in the Big-12 from 1988 to 2000, and was a head coach at rival Oklahoma State from 1995 to 2000, where he was 30-38 in six years, including a 3-3 record against the Sooners. One of those wins was a 12-0 shutout at Norman in 1995

Asked about his time at OSU and he said that it was so long ago, but the one thing he can share is just what it's like to play there and knowing the kind of place that it is and the attitude they have to take knowing that they are the University of Washington. Said it's important to not forget that and bring that to the table. 'We have to respect their program, but we have to play the game too'. So they need to execute, don't make mistakes and take advantage of every opportunity and win the special teams battle to bring the win home.

Said that he has a lot of friends on the OU staff, like Stoops and Venables. It was a rival when he was at OSU, but they also coaching associations too.

Asked about any Pac-10 venues that might rival what UW will see on Saturday and he mentioned Oregon and USC as a couple. Said that there are big stadiums in the league.

Also added that when you look at the history of college football, you see teams like Oklahoma and USC and others, teams that have won national championships, and that it's important that the UW players don't forget that Washington has won a national championship too, and they have also had to deal with things like noise and whatnot, so all the game-planning is done with the idea that they don't go in there with a sense of not belonging. They do belong. They are part of a tradition-rich program.
(9/5/06 2:00:25 pm)

Talked to WR Marlon Wood today...

And he said it felt good to 'get his feet wet' again, to get his legs back under him. He said he took a couple of shots, but he's 'cool'.

Said that the wants to try and stretch the field every game, and that he was in the back of the end zone on one pass play, but Isaiah didn't see him. 'But he'll find me, that's for sure'.

Said that winning on Saturday was really needed to get ready for this week. Said that the receivers need to work on their blocking and their route running. Said the dropped balls on Saturday was just 'getting the rust out'.

Asked about the sudden lack of depth at TE, and he said that they are receivers too, so if any of the younger guys need help learning a route or need anything, they can go to the receivers to get help, because that's what teammates do for each other.

Asked about what he's expecting on Saturday, and he said that he's expecting the team to come out and play hard. He said that he expects Oklahoma to take them lightly because of the game they played against SJSU, but they don't know what UW players have in their hearts. Said he's expecting a lot of boos and cursing, but they have to just keep their focus together.

Asked about battling the stereotype of just being a deep threat, and he said that he takes great pride in being a possession receiver. 'I don't want to be known as a guy that just does three plays and that's it'.

Asked about his role as a punt returner, and he said that he puts as much effort and work into being a PR than he does as a receiver. Said he does all the scout work for PR, so he basically doesn't leave the field.
(9/5/06 1:11:54 pm):

Talked to QB Johnny DuRocher today...

...and his last act as an Oregon Duck was traveling to Norman to play Oklahoma. Asked about the atmosphere, and he said that it was a great experience. Said the stadium is nice and the fans are knowledgeable. Said the Sooner Schooner will be shooting off their guns. Said it's a great environment for a TV game and it'll be a lot of fun.

Said the only difference between a packed OU stadium and a packed UW stadium is that they are right on top of you because there isn't a track, so you definitely hear them. But other than that, it's kind of similar.

Said his whole attitude on that trip was just to take it all in and enjoy the day because he was leaving in a day or two. 'The bag wasn't packed, but the clothes were all laid out'.

Asked about whether or not he looked at the future schedules as part of his second college choice, and he said that it didn't play a factor, but that Oklahoma is a place that you don't mind going because it's so neat. It's going to be a great experience and one of those things that you remember.

Said that during warmups he heard gun shots, so it catches you off-guard. Didn't find out what it meant, but he's more ready for it this time around. Said the Sooner Schnooner is 'intense'.

Said that it's 'hot and muggy'.
(9/5/06 1:05:34 pm):

Talked to WR Marcel Reece today...

Said that since fall camp was his first camp, it was a hard camp. 'Coach Willingham doesn't run an easy camp'. Said it was strict and you have to be disciplined.

Said the biggest adjustment was learning all the plays for more than one position and reading the defense on the field faster. Said all the off-the-field things were no problem because everyone made him feel at home.

Asked about the first snap and he said that in junior college it didn't make a difference, whereas the first snap against SJSU went by so fast he hardly remembers it. He said that the pace of fall camp helped him ease his way into the game, and that the last scrimmage they had was just about as fast as the game speed he saw on Saturday.

Said that after the first snap, the rest of them kept getting slower and slower.

Asked about the near-touchdown in the end zone, and he said the play came out perfectly except for the very end of it. But he said that they'll get a lot of chances to make that play this year.

Asked about not being as big a factor as he would have wanted to, and he said he never wants to take a play off on the sideline, but that's not reality on any level. Said he's still learning a lot and working hard and he's waiting for his 'coming out party' where he makes a big impact.

Asked in what situations he can make a big impact, he wants to be known as an 'all-around receiver'. No matter what place they are at on the field, he wants the defense to believe that he can make a play at any time and anywhere during the game.

Said that Corey Williams and Anthony Russo really stood out at camp, and that every receiver on the roster brings something different to the table. He now knows the plays, the system, and now it's just a matter of playing at full speed.

Asked about people asking him about not being a receiver and he said it happens all the time. He said it's all fun and game and that he likes it. Said he can't wait to get on the field and make an impact.

Asked about his weight and he said that he's at 240, what the roster said.

Asked about what he's expecting on Saturday, and he said that he's expecting intensity, a wild atmosphere and a win.
(9/5/06 11:41:02 am):

Coach's Corner has been posted. Click HERE for Coach Baird's take on the UW/OU matchup.
(9/5/06 11:36:00 am):
Pac-10 Teleconference Notes:

Mike Bellotti - Oregon is at Fresno State after beating Stanford:

Asked about Jeff Tedford and how he's been successful as a coach. Bellotti said he comes from a sound philosophy of run and pass and also values toughness. Called Cal a 'sleeping giant' and Tedford has done a good job of resurrecting a program that was down.

Asked about the transfer rule for graduates, and he said it's OK. Said he would hope they would stay where they were at, but if they just don't think it's going to happen, it's good to allow a player to enjoy their fifth year. Said that it's not a good thing that the 1-AA schools won't accept those same players because there are some in programs that don't measure up and would benefit from a drop down.

Asked about playing against Fresno, and he said he is 'consumed' with Fresno and expects to be in the crosshairs because they are venturing down to Fresno to play. Follow up on the home-home aspect of their arrangement with Fresno, and he said that since he doesn't do the scheduling it would be out of turn for him to say who he wants to play and doesn't. But he likes the 'quality' west coast games, and considers the UO-FSU matchup to be an 'intense rivalry' and expects it to continue. Also said that FSU has proven they have proven to be good enough to be in a BCS conference, and that there is 'parity' from the top on down.

Asked about an update on Jonathan Stewart and he said that Stewart would have easily topped 200 if he hasn't sprained ankle. Said that he expects him to be ready to play on Saturday, but will probably be in air boot today. Said that because everyone understands the offense better, he's naturally going to play better in the spread system.
Walt Harris - Stanford is at San Jose State after losing to Stanford:

Asked about recruiting restrictions with the Stanford academic reputation, and Harris said that it's always been that way and 'they are out there. You just have to go out and find 'em'.

Asked about scheduling 1-AA opponents, and he said they found out that they can be very good. A number of players at UC-Davis could have played for them, and Colorado found out on Saturday. And the longer you keep a team like that in the game, the stronger they get.

Asked about SJSU and playing UW close, and he said that they obviously played well against UW and were opportunistic. Said it's going to be a 'very big battle'. Also said they are more concerned about executing on their end than what SJSU brings at them.

Asked about Oregon, and he said they 'got caught' not preparing as much and they are thin in the secondary and got caught in the 'space game'. Also said they had alignment problems because of linebackers that had never played before. Said he isn't sure if he's going to be able to get his experienced LB's back this week.

Asked about his experienced OL, and he said that experience is great, but they weren't able to move Oregon's DL off the line. Said they got physically dominated.

Asked about Stewart and he said it was a combo of them doing a good job blocking for him and the Cardinal doing a poor job of aligning and getting ready for what was coming at them. They didn't challenge UO enough, so it's hard to tell just how good they are going to be, but if Dennis Dixon continues to evolve in the passing game, that will take the pressure off the run game and allow Stewart to run free. 'They had a good gameplan and executed it well'.
Mike Stoops - Arizona is at LSU after beating BYU:

Asked about the new rules, having played in a close game, and he said that you have to be very conscious of it. Said that it really affected them before the half. Said he didn't think it wasn't a big deal and was of 'little significance' to their game. Said they could look at maybe doing something within the last two minutes of a half and game to help improve time management.

Asked about what it means for their program to win a game late, and he said it was great to see his team make the plays they needed to. It will help their psyche as a team, it's 'significant'. Still need to improve, but they played tough and finished the game.

Asked about playing LSU and how ASU and OSU hung tough with them, and he said all we can do is go down there and play. 'What are they going to do to us'? Said they just need to go down there and execute better than they did the first game.

Asked about his time at Oklahoma and what it took to turn things around, and he said the attitude and work ethic, which changes in the 'out-of-season' program. Said the trainer changed 'minds and bodies' and all they needed to do was develop them properly. Said that at a place like Oklahoma, you are blessed to get pretty good talent to begin with, but it was getting Josh Heupel that really helped get things off the ground for them.

Asked about putting Tuitama last year as a frosh, and Stoops said that basically they had run out of options and it was great that Tuitama was a 'gamer' from the get-go. Said you want to be cautious and you want to make sure he has success, so you pare things down a lot. The ups and downs are part of the learning process.

Asked about what they need to do against LSU and he said they need to gameplan for the receivers, protect the QB and try to get as much out of the running backs as they can. They need to try and have some drives and keep their defense off the field as much as possible.

Asked about Louis Holmes' first game, and he had two sacks, a batted ball and a fumble recovery and he's 'only getting better and better' as he understands the system

Asked about what a win at LSU would do for their program, and he said it would mean 'we're pretty good'. Added it's a great challenge, but they are going to go out and do their best.
Mike Riley - OSU is at Boise State on Thursday after beating Eastern Washington:

Asked about penalty yardage against EWU, and he said they had a couple of late hits ('unnecessary penalties'), and they yanked those players out of the game. The others were things that will get corrected.

Asked about Boise State and what he expects, and Riley said that the bonus for them is that Chris Peterson is their head coach, so their offense 'hasn't skipped a beat'. Defensively they are very much the same, like Cal, and Wilcox came from Cal, so there's a lot of continuity there. Said OSU/BSU has become a 'very good rivalry' and OSU has a ton of respect for them and their program.

Asked about the rule changes after week one, and he said it didn't impact their game much. Said the refs were warning them to get on the field very fast, which he wasn't expecting. He was expecting the clocks to just start running. He did notice that the 'end of game scenarios' will definitely change and used Miami's last drive against Florida State as proof of that.

Asked about what he's enjoyed about the 4-year 'rivalry' with BSU, and he said all the games have been sold-out and wherever it's played, so it's a big deal. Also talked about how Jared Zabransky coming from Oregon and playing for BSU has added to the mix. Said they have struggled on the road, and to be able to do that and get a win before a tough, tough conference schedule would be big.

Asked about Yvenson Bernard, and he said that he's one of the best 'all-around' football players he's ever been around. Said he's a 'coach's dream' and his off-season workout is at the 'top level'. The only thing he doesn't have is blazing speed, but he's getting better and he's finally healthy for the first time in a while.
Pete Carroll - USC has a bye after beating Arkansas:

Asked about Taylor Mays. He played in the 4th quarter against Arkansas as the third safety, and since one of them is hurt he has a chance to compete for the starting spot against Nebraska in two weeks. Said he had a great fall camp.

Asked about QB's transferring and he said that it's hard for them, because there's no flexibility at their position, like there might be at LB and DB, so if they don't think they can compete or think they can win the job, they might think about trying to find that right fit somewhere else.

Asked about freshmen being able to guide championship teams, and it's just so hard to assimilate everything and understand everything they need to to play at that high a level.

Asked about RB position, and he said the game was much like their practices. Said they had all practiced like they played, so they weren't surprised how they performed. 'We were real proud of the preparation'. Booty and Kahlil are captains, so they are the guys that are leading the offense.

Were they affected by the 'ready to play' rule, and he said they didn't even know it - they still got 80 plays on offense, and Arkansas played at a high tempo. Said that whenever they scrimmaged with the clock, they sped up everything they did. Said the reason coaches don't like it is because it makes the game shorter and coaches like the game the way it is.

Asked about Adrian Peterson and what they did to stop him, he said that basically AP was 'their whole offense', and they were real attentive to him and just played base defense and didn't pass rush much when he was in the backfield...didn't give him any 'freebie opportunities'.
Karl Dorrell - UCLA hosts Rice after beating Utah:

Asked about holding Adrian Peterson down, and he said they knew OU had a young QB (Bomar), and so they wanted to force him into more of a throwing game, and were fortunate enough to be able to do that.

Asked about pass vs. run and what people may expect to see against Rice, and he said they protected Olson very well but put the ball on the ground. Said Utah had a great gameplan against their run, and wanted Olson to throw. So they are going to work more on the run and 'ball security'.

Asked about Olson's game, and he just wanted to get that first play to connect, and when it did it was a 'settling effect'. Said he read the game well, and it was a good start for him.
Dirk Koetter - ASU hosts Nevada after beating Northern Arizona: Asked about new rules impacting the game, and he said that they were way under their normal number, but wasn't sure if it was due to the new rules or NAU taking the clock down on every possession. 'So for those that wanted a shorter game, you got your wish'.

Asked about playing to expectations, and he said they did not. Added that Nevada has great skill players that could play in the Pac-10, so their biggest key is slowing down their offense and also play a lot more consistently on their offensive end.

Asked about Chris Ault's offense, and he said he's known Ault since his playing days at Idaho State. Said their offense is similar to theirs, a one-back scheme. Said it all starts with Rowe. Said that Rowe being in the 'pistol' is no different than their QB being under center.
Bill Doba - WSU hosts Idaho after losing to Auburn:

Asked about injuries after Auburn. 'We had a long line getting x-rays at the hospital'. Aaron Johnson, Courtney Williams, Don Turner would be guys that probably won't play against Idaho. Woolridge is 'questionable' at best to play against Idaho.

With both coaching staffs knowing each other so well, execution is going to be critical against Idaho. Said that Erickson's offense looks very similar to what he was doing at Oregon State.

Asked about possible smoke issues because of the fires in Eastern Washington, and besides a couple of players that have normal asthma issues, he hasn't seen any effects on his team
Jeff Tedford - California hosts Minnesota after losing to Tennessee:

Asked about the defensive issues at Tennessee, and he said that a couple were just missed tackles, and maybe a more experienced guy like Mixon may have made those plays. Thought special teams played well, but they didn't execute on 'all cylinders', didn't click. But he stressed to his team that it's just one game and they can play a lot better. There's a lot of season ahead.

Asked about what has allowed success, and he said that once they laid the foundation of their program and started to have success, the continuity on the staff has helped maintain that, as well as recruiting well and having kids that really believe in what they are doing.

Asked about a turning point, and he said that things were going in the right direction from the beginning, said they had great senior leadership on their first team. Said they were concerned about having those seniors buy in right away, but they did, and that was the biggest thing.

Asked about the high expectations this year being a different kind of challenge, and Tedford said that each year brings a new challenge. They don't talk about what they are supposed to be, but more about how they are supposed to prepare every day.

Asked about what it would take for a true frosh or RS frosh to lead a team to an undefeated season and a championship, and he said it would basically impossible unless he had an amazing cast around him. Picking up the mental part of it would be the biggest challenge, the decision-making and the timing of everything that makes it the biggest transition.

Asked about competition after a loss like that, and he said they feel pretty good about the personnel they used. Said there will be no changes this week. Asked about their mood, and he said that sometimes the players are more resilient than the coaches are. The only way to get 'that taste out of your mouth' is to get another chance to get a win this coming weekend.

Asked about Longshore, and he said that it's hard to think of him having to start his career at a tougher place. Said he thought he had a lot of poise for his first time out, and that there's going to be a learning curve and he expects Longshore to get better every week.

Asked about their defensive signals and getting picked up by Tennessee, and he said that they use three guys giving them out, so if they guess right every time, there's no way they could really know. That being said, he's still thinking about using wristbands instead of signals if there is some truth to the story.
Tyrone Willingham - Washington is at Oklahoma after beating San Jose State:

Asked about health and tight ends...said that Gottlieb and Lewis sustained injuries and both will be out and their absence could be extended. Kirton will start and Tim Williams will back him up. Will also look at Tim Harris.

Asked about Peterson, and if they can keep him under his average and limit his big plays, they have a chance. But they have to improve their tackling.

Asked about Goldson, and he thinks he's getting better and better every day and could be in a position to play more on Saturday.

Asked about JWF, and he was limited by scheme, but he's fine and will be available to play on Saturday.
(9/5/06 6:26:00 am)

An interesting article in the Tulsa World...

Written by John Hoover, it chronicles the downfall of Washington's program. Washington fans have heard the facts of the program's demise a hundred times, but what's interesting about this article are the quotes the author was able to elicit from Don James and Hugh Millen. Here's a quick tease...

James - "I said screw it. For all we'd done for this league? You've got not one coach's violation and not one player's violation, and you're going to do that? I'm done with this university, and I'm done with this league.'"

Millen - "I don't think they were getting players that were dying to be Washington football players. They were getting players who were wanting to play for Rick Neuheisel. Rick's message was, 'Come to Washington and you'll have the greatest college experience you can have.' I don't think that's the message Bob Stoops is selling in living rooms. I think he's saying, 'Come to Oklahoma and it may be the hardest experience you ever had, but you'll be in the winning locker room.' "

For the full article, click HERE
(9/5/06 6:16:41 am)

Derek Johnson spoke with Adrian Peterson yesterday...

So what is it like to be Adrian Peterson? Derek gets to the bottom of it in a conversation with the Sooner RB that you can read HERE.
(9/5/06 5:34:00 am)

Talk about news traveling fast...

I happened to be working late Monday night (as I usually am), and was listening to Jason Smith on ESPN AllNight. And lo and behold, I tuned in to hear Smith rail against...of all people...Tyrone Willingham! And the reason?

The dreaded media.

Smith made note of this quote, found in Bob Condotta's Monday article about Washington 'eyeing' Oklahoma this coming week.

"For me to stand here and think that our young men can defy human nature, that's impossible," Willingham said. "Why wouldn't our kids be looking, to some degree, at something else as opposed to [San Jose State], because you guys were."

Apparently we in the media were found guilty of looking ahead (or at least I'm going by the assumption that I was one of 'you guys').

Well, having looked back at the entry I put in for Willingham's briefing for last week, we definitely asked him about what he expected from a Dick Tomey-coached team, and pretty much the rest of the session was comprised of asking questions about his own players and what he expected from them. I sure didn't see any references to looking ahead or to Oklahoma, but I could be wrong. But at the very least, if someone in the media did ask that question, it sure wasn't a focal point of the press conference and certainly didn't raise any eyebrows at the time.

So I'm at a little bit of a loss for Willingham's response, but Jason Smith sure wasn't at a loss for words in his own response. In a tone that was quite mocking, he said that things at Washington this year are going to be 'very interesting', insinuating that perhaps Willingham has already kind of lost it with the local writers. Again, I don't really know what prompted it, I just hope this issue doesn't get revisted this week, because it really seems like a lot about nothing.
(9/4/06 11:11:37 pm)

Talked to Stanley Daniels today...

Talked general thoughts about the Washington-Oklahoma game, said that winning is what it's all about and that everyone in the country will know that Isaiah Stanback is a true weapon after what happens on Saturday because it's going to be on TV. He said that he hopes the coaches use him to the best of his ability and that they protect well for him. Said he'll do whatever it takes for them to win, one big game of many.

Asked about what the OL does when Stanback improvises...he said that Coach (Mike Denbrock) tells them to stop what you're doing and go protect him. 'He (Stanback) goes running around like he's a big guy, like he's 250, and he's 210'. Said the defense can't catch him, so they know they can't catch him.

Asked about having fun on the field, and he said that Willingham is stressing to the team that when you play hard, you have fun. When you aren't going fast and playing to the best of your ability, it's not fun because you're usually losing.

Asked about the feeling in the locker room, and he said everyone was happy they won, but knew they could play better. 'We weren't too satisfied'. They could have played a lot better.

Asked about having all five of the OL play as a unit the whole game and coming out of it healthy, and he said that he and Clay (Walker) wanted to play their best, so that when film session came around, the younger guys would get a sense of what it takes to play offensive line 'the Husky way'.

He added that even if they had a ton of depth, they still would have played as a full five-man unit for the game.

Asked about the adjustments SJSU made in the second half, and he said that was expected, because if they hadn't tried to adjust, they would have kept playing the exact same way all game long. Said that he felt the adjustments they made were things that they had seen before, which fed right into their game-preperation.

Asked about the expected environment, being one of the fifth-year guys, and he said that he's been to Ohio State, to Notre Dame...'I've been all over this place'...but added that 'football is football' no matter where you play, and have you to be game-prepared. Said their attitude going into Oklahoma is that both teams are good and that UW will try their best to play up to their potential. He said that as a senior it's going to be his job to help focus the rest of the guys to make sure they aren't concerned about where they are playing or who they are playing, just that they are focused and ready to play, period.

Asked about how noise affects the OL more than any other position, and he said that it's critical. They have to play, knowing that they only voice they'll hear is Stanback's, and that your 'eye discipline' and communication has to be 'on point', and that's a huge part of their practice this week, especially for a big game.
(9/4/06 11:10:16 pm)

Talked to Dashon Goldson today... Asked about his ankle, and he said that it's getting better. Said he's hoping to get more reps this week, and last week it was just a little too stiff. He wants to get on the field ASAP.

Asked about playing three snaps on Saturday. Said the first snap, it was still sore, but it loosened up after a while. The second time, the feeling started to come back, but his job last week was just to give Roy Lewis a blow to 'rest and recover' and he has to be ready when his number is called.

Said the five-wide just made him more anxious to get out there. When he saw that he was thinking 'six turnovers', but they didn't end up with any.

Asked what the most important thing is for a cover corner going into a hostile environment like Oklahoma, and he said technique. 'When you lose your technique, it all goes downhill from there'.

Asked about his experience playing in Kansas and how that will help him on Saturday. He said that he's pretty much the only guy that played in the midwest around this time and it's going to be hot, but added that they should be fine. He said that conditioning will be key, and hydrating too. 'It won't be a walk in the park'.
(9/4/06 11:07:20 pm)

Talked to C.J. Wallace today...

Asked about his health, and he said he was a little sore, but still just minor stuff.

Asked about the first hit against SJSU, and he said that he's a better tackler than what he showed on Saturday.

Asked about SJSU catching UW off-guard a little bit. He agreed, saying that they were also running no-huddle, but they adjusted as the game went on. 'Things started slowing down'.

Asked about the second half zone, and he said that they always had being aggressive on their minds, but they just need to break on the ball a lot better and making the sure tackle every time. Said that they are things they can clean up and be much better at as the season goes on.

Asked about conditioning being an issue, and he said that you can always try and condition yourself more, but for the most part he felt pretty good. Said the speed of the game now with the new change of possession rule, coupled with the fact that a lot of guys on defense were also playing special teams, made things a little tougher at first for them, but they'll keep conditioning harder and harder as the season goes on to make sure they are ready.

Asked about the expected atmosphere, and he said that since he's never been to Oklahoma that it's going to be 'the biggest game I've ever played in'.
(9/4/06 11:01:33 pm)

Talked to Kenny James today...

Asked about the adjustment that was made when they saw cover-2, and he said that everything they were planning to do was based on last year's film, but they also knew that they could change things up a bit. Once they saw it, Coach Lappano saw a great opportunity to run the ball, so the RB's took it upon themselves to get the job done.

Asked about his runs early helping to soften up the defense for Rankin's big runs, and he said that to have a running back like Louis that can put a team on their heels is a great compliment for what he does. Said that if they continue to stay healthy and everyone continues to improve, they can be a great offense.

Said he feels 100 percent and that it's been a long time since he could say that. Added that he's enjoying the win and just getting ready for Oklahoma.

Asked about the touchdown, and he said that they had run the same play earlier in the game and he was wide open. So he went back into the huddle and told Isaiah to look his way the next time it was called because there was no one covering him. A time out was called and they talked about it with Coach Willingham and ran it and Isaiah made a great throw. Said it's been a basic play they've been running since training camp.

Asked about the reaction to the win in the locker room, and he said that everyone felt good about getting that win, the first UW team to do that since 2001, 'getting that monkey off our back'.

Asked about the OU environment and what he's expecting, and he said he thinks it's going to be more like Notre Dame. But he added that they can't fall for the hype. They need to stay focused and stay within themselves. If they can do that and execute, they can come out on top.

Asked about the turnovers in the first half, and he couldn't explain it. Said that it could have been 'jitterbugs'. 'Everyone makes mistakes the first game out'. Added that they don't want those things to happen and that the only one that is perfect is the man above. They just need to continue to overcome adversity and continue to work hard and stay focused. Said that last year if a mistake was made it was like, 'Here we go again', but this year is different. 'We're different physically and mentally. We're out there having fun and making plays.'
(9/4/06 10:58:32 pm)

Talked to Anthony Russo today...

Asked about getting that first win under their belts and he said that it was great to get that opening game win, the first since 2001 and to get that little extra boost of confidence as they get ready for Oklahoma.

Asked about his health, and he said he was about '90 percent' going into the game, but once the game started adrenaline kicked in and it put him at 100 percent.

Asked about the near bomb that he caught, and he said that he thought it was pass interference, but that wasn't an excuse. He had it, but the defender came under and jabbed it out. He said that the next bomb thrown his way, he's going to catch it.

Asked about the offense being caught off-guard a little bit and he said that 'they played everything different'. Said that when they watched all of last year's film, they blitzed a lot and ran a lot of man defenses, but on Saturday they ran a lot of cover-2 and didn't blitz that much. Said 'we ran with it and changed on the fly'.

Said he knew that by going to more of a two-back offense he wasn't going to see the ball as much, but he didn't care because all he wanted was the win.

Asked about Isaiah and he said he saw all he expected out of Stanback on Saturday and more. Said that he was 'really calm' and made all the right reads. Said that when they watched film of the game on Sunday, he put the ball basically wherever he was supposed to every time.

Asked about the expected atmosphere at OU and he said that Oklahoma is a 'storied program' and that it's going to be fun. 'I can't wait'.
(9/4/06 10:54:52 pm)

Talked to Greyson Gunheim today...

Said that looking back on his knee injury in fall camp, he was definitely surprised he was able to do as much as he did against SJSU. Said he thought right away it was more serious than it turned out to be. 'It healed really fast for me'.

Said it felt good to be out there, but that he did feel just a little bit slower out there. 'I can't wait to be 100 percent'. Said there was a little swelling, but nothing too severe, definitely manageable

Asked about the mood in the locker room, and he said it was 'mixed'. Said that they were happy, but they also gave away too many points. But they were very happy to be 1-0 and looking more at the positives, but knew that they would have to look at the film and deal with the consequences of how they played. Said that SJSU came with a 'whole new offense' and they couldn't get pressure because the QB was throwing the ball so quickly.

Asked about OU and running the ball, and he said that whatever challenge the coaches put in front of them to stop, that's what they'll do.

Asked about the OU atmosphere and he said that when UW went to Notre Dame it was huge. Added that wherever you go, the fans are going to be crazy, because that's just the nature of college football, but OU has a lot of tradition and it's going to be a really exciting day.
(9/4/06 10:51:42 pm)

Talked to Isaiah Stanback today...

Said that he fully expects Oklahoma to game plan against his running threat, since it's a big part of UW's offensive ability. Said UW still needs to do what it can do.

Asked about his wrapped hand, and he said he doesn't even know how it happened, but it's just part of the game. 'I've got a swollen lip too, but you have to do what you have to do'.

Asked about what he expects to see from Oklahoma, but he hadn't seen the UAB game yet. Added that every team they play this year is going to be good, so it's no different preparing for them than anyone else. 'We just have to be ready to take it on'.

Asked about the special challenges going on the road to a hostile environment like OU will present, and he said he's really looking forward to it. 'You know I like it, I like taking on new challenges'. Said that it's going to be a fun experience for him and the rest of his teammates. Said they play teams like USC and Oregon every year, so they know what it's like to play with noise and that if you don't get the job done the crowd will get on you that much more.

Added that he's not too worried about the atmosphere, saying that if they can score touchdowns, that's the best way to quiet down a crowd.

Asked about Adrian Peterson, and he said that he loves playing against great opponents, but doesn't like seeing them do too well against his defense. Added that he hopes the defense comes out with a great day and they come away with a 'W'.

Asked about the game slowing down, and he said definitely. Said that the better you know your own system and the better you understand what your opponent is going to do, it slows the game down 'tremendously'. Felt like they were in control, and he's still working on calming himself down all the time. 'You can't be too excited out there'.

Said that he didn't treat the post-game much different, just 'chilled' with friends and family. 'But it was still nice knowing we got the win'.
Here's the official two-deeps for the Oklahoma game, as released by Washington Media Relations. Not too many changes from last week...
WR         5 Anthony Russo 5-11 185 JR
        21 Sonny Shackelford 6-2 180 SR
LT        79 Ben Ossai 6-6 300 rFR
        70 Morgan Rosborough 6-6 375 rFR
LG        74 Stanley Daniels 6-4 320 SR
        72 Casey Bulyca 6-6 320 SO
C        58 Juan Garcia 6-3 315 JR
        73 Ryan Bush 6-2 305 SO
RG        63 Clay Walker 6-4 305 SR
        65 Ryan Tolar 6-6 325 FR
RT        75 Chad Macklin 6-8 300 JR
        69 Erik Berglund 6-6 290 JR
TE        86 Michael Gottlieb 6-5 245 SO
OR        81 Robert Lewis 6-5 250 JR
OR        37 Johnie Kirton 6-3 270 SO
          82 Tim Williams 6-6 230 rFR
QB         4 Isaiah Stanback 6-3 215 SR
        11 Carl Bonnell 6-3 210 JR
TB        8 Kenny James 5-10 215 SR
        9 Louis Rankin 6-1 205 JR
        7 Shelton Sampson 5-11 210 SR
FB        43 Mark Palaita 5-10 245 SR
        32 Luke Kravitz 6-1 225 SO
        25 Paul Homer 6-0 225 FR
WR        18 Corey Williams 6-2 195 JR
        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR

Defense

DE        66 Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 6-4 245 rFR
        92 Walter Winter 6-5 250 SO
DT        91 Donny Mateaki 6-5 285 SR
OR        95 Jordan Reffett 6-6 295 JR
DT        74 Wilson Afoa 6-3 290 JR
        94 Jordan White-Frisbee 6-6 320 SO
DE         7 Greyson Gunheim 6-5 265 JR
        41 Brandon Ala 6-3 260 SR
OR        85 Caesar Rayford 6-7 245 JR
OLB        34 Dan Howell 6-1 225 JR
        20 Kyle Trew 6-2 235 JR
ILB        47 Tahj Bomar 6-2 225 SR
        57 Trenton Tuiasosopo 6-2 240 SO
OLB        4 Scott White 6-1 235 SR
        29 Chris Stevens 6-0 215 SO
OR        22 E.J. Savannah 6-2 222 rFR
FS        26 Jason Wells 6-2 210 SO
        23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 SO
SS        1 C.J. Wallace 6-0 210 SR
        3 Chris Hemphill 6-5 235 JR
CB        6 Matt Fountaine 5-11 180 SR
OR        8 Dashon Goldson 6-2 205 SR
CB        28 Roy Lewis 5-11 187 JR
        23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 205 SO

Special Teams

P        17 Sean Douglas 6-2 230 SR
PR        14 Michael Braunstein 5-8 185 JR
        11 Michael Book 6-3 195 SR
HLD        11 Carl Bonnell 6-3 210 JR
SNP        49 Danny Morovick 6-3 230 rFR
KOR        28 Roy Lewis 5-11 187 JR
        6 Matt Fountaine 5-11 180 SR
        7 Shelton Sampson 5-11 210 SR
        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR
FR        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR
        21 Sonny Shackelford 6-2 180 SR 

9/4/2006 10:11:00 am:

SJSU Players of the Game announced...

Coach Willingham announced Monday that Isaiah Stanback, Greyson Gunheim, Sean Douglas, Shelton Sampson and Fred Wiggs all were named San Jose State players of the game. The Huskies defeated the Spartans 35-29.

Stanback completed 16-25 passes for 168 yards and one score and also ran for a career-high 102 yards. Gunheim was a pest in SJSU's backfield all game long, posting three tackles for loss and one QB sack. Those numbers probably would have been higher if the refs had called any number of holding penalties while Gunheim wreaked havoc. Douglas had a phenomenal game kicking the ball, averaging 45.7 yards on three punts, with all three kicks finishing within SJSU's 20-yard line.

Sampson and Wiggs were honored for their work on the Huskies' service teams.


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