Dawg Blog - Arizona

It's time for the Washington Huskies (3-1, 1-0) to head down to the desert to take on the Arizona Wildcats (2-2, 0-1), a game that should be full of fond memories for Tyrone Willingham, Isaiah Stanback and the rest of the Huskies.

End of Game:

The Huskies win in a gritty way, 21-10. They scored all their points in the second quarter and rode Stanback's brief, but hot, hand during that period. Washington's D did the rest, stuffing UA for -7 yards rushing for the night. It was definitely a tale of two halves.
2:34/4 Braunstein misses a chippy from 24 yards. Apparently coming home to Arizona wasn't what he needed to play well. Stanback did a great job to get his offense that far down the field, and even sustained a leg bruise as a result. Carl Bonnell had to come in to try and finish the deal with a score, but couldn't make it happen.

A Dan Howell sack closes the door on the 'Cats, and the Husky fans that did make it to Tucson are raging in the SW corner of Arizona Stadium. Washington's offense still needs to play mistake-free in order to escape Tucson with a win despite not scoring in the second half.

At this point, the UW offense is struggling mightily, so it's 'Hang on Huskies!'. Every time UA starts something, they oblige the visitors with a key penalty, killing drives and momentum with every yellow hanky that hits the Arizona Stadium surface. They aren't cheap calls either; the front 4 of the Huskies is putting all sorts of pressure on Tuitama, and Baer has not been this aggressive in his scheming all year long.

The UA fans are booing because they thought Roy Lewis had jumped up while in the end zone to down a punt, but he was clearly out of the end zone. Now backed up at their one, we'll see what the 'Cats' have. White and Goldson come up with another great play to force the Folk to punt out of his own end zone.
End of 3rd Q:

It doesn't feel like UW is hanging on, but as good as Stanback played in the first two quarters, he struggled mightily in the third. He didn't run much and tried to sit back and be a drop-back guy. He's not that kind of guy. He needs to get back to running the ball and working his pass game off boots and misdirection.

Stanback is telegraphing now downfield. He needs to get some more roll and boot plays to keep things rolling.

Have the 'Cats found a spark? They score on a juggling catch by Steptoe, the first time the Huskies have been scored on in over five quarters. Just like the first time UA scored, the Huskies need to come back with points.

Tuitama is doing what he can, but their receivers are letting him down. The Huskies are doing their bend-but-don't break routine, and Brandon Ala gets flagged for a helmet hit on Tuitama. And UA comes right back with a penalty of their own. They certainly aren't helping their own cause.

Scott White is certainly earning his keep tonight. Great hustle and after that 15-yard sack of Tuitama you just have to be shaking your head if you're an Arizona fan.

The bomb, part 2? Give Willingham credit for going ahead and sensing that he could still score with less than a minute left and his team at his own 20. Two plays for 80 yards? The Huskies with an explosive offense? You're seeing it in the desert tonight as the Huskies offense went for 328 first-half yards. And the fact that it comes right before half and they get the ball back to start the second half means they could come out and really make a statement.

Stanback has absolutely been on fire since his 0-4 start, going 10-10 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. The boo birds are in full force, while the cheers from the UW section resonate through the din. It sure didn't look like the Huskies were going to be up 18 at half, but that's exactly where they find themselves.

Here are some quickie stats for the half:
UW - 84 yards rushing, UA 21. UW 244 yards passing, UA 122. UW TOP 14:08, UA 15:52.

Individually, Rankin has 9-37, Stanback 4-29 and James 5-18 and a score. Stanback is 10-14 with a pick for 244 yards and two scores. Shackelford is 5-105 and a score, Russo is 2-61, James is 2-23 and Quintin Daniels is 1-55 yards and a score.

A quick note on the closed-circuit broadcast. In talking with Kim Grinolds, it appears that there's around 6000 now at BoA and there's only one concessions booth open and minimal security. Clearly the UW AD underestimated just how many folks were going to show up tonight, a great show by all the UW supporters in the Seattle area.

Give Stanback a lot of credit for settling in. Since going 0-4, he's gone 4-8 for 164 yards and two scores. Big numbers, and also credit Shackelford and Anthony Russo for making key catches. Now it's up to the D to stop UA to end the half on the right note.

An 80-yard drive to answer, just like Willingham would have drawn it up. Lappano is taking advantage of UA's aggressiveness in the secondary. And if there was any question as to who Stanback's go-to receiver is, I think Sonny Shackelford has answered it with gusto.

You hope the game doesn't come down to a battle of field goal kickers, because Nick Folk has it all over Braunstein. He just hit a 'no-doubter' from 52 to put the 'Cats up three.

A Ben Ossai clip negates a brilliant play-call by Lappano. And yet the Huskies still get themselves in reasonable shape for points and Braunstein lets them down. You can't give up points when you're on the road, and that's just what they did.
End of 1st Q:

The Huskies and 'Cats continue to play field position. It appeared that Marlon Wood tried to signal his players away from a bouncing ball that he ended up picking up on the run, but the refs apparently decided that he signaled fair catch.

Washington is running the ball between the tackles with a lot of leverage and power. Even when it's bottled up, they are leaning forward on every play. And it does look like Lappano is going back to the quick hitters outside for Stanback to help get him settled.

Looks like Lappano is going to have to give Stanback simpler throws tonight. Inside UA's territory, he basically throws up a jump ball to Shackelford, which is wrestled away by UA's Michael Johnson.

Back in Seattle, they are estimating 4500 fans at BoA for the closed-circuit broadcast.

Willingham really wanted to give that fourth down his full look, but decided to punt, and it was the wise decision. Sean Douglas booted it outside the numbers toward the 'coffin corner' and Roy Lewis was able to down the ball at the UA 1. Not the start the Willingham would have wanted to have offensively; let's hope it's just a matter of the Huskies settling into the flow of the game and getting comfortable.

A rough start for both Tuitama and Stanback throwing the ball. It does appear that UW might be able to run the ball against the Wildcats. UA really missed a grand opportunity to get momentum early, but Marcus Hollingsworth dropped a sure pick-six for the Wildcats.

UW won the toss and will defer. One unusual thing about Arizona Stadium is that the visitors have to come out of their room basically one player at a time, so it takes some time to get UW all together before officially 'taking the field'. They appear to be ready. Wind is out of the northwest at 7 MPH at gametime.
3 minutes before gametime

Some last thoughts from the UA announcers before gametime. They talked about UA DT Marcus Smith and how he was moved inside last week and did well.

Talked about UW's last game, and how UCLA's only TD drive was 6 yards. They have some 'strong points' to their D, including quick DE's and bulky DT's. Said they are opportunistic and tough up front.

Said the keys for UA would be to find a running game, get something out of their offense, and play as hard as they did defensively last week. Also said that field position would be big.

As a side note: Mike Braunstein, Sonny Shackelford, Roy Lewis and Clay Walker are the UW captains.
22 minutes before gametime

The local announcers had a pregame segment with UA Head Coach Mike Stoops. UA played with passion last week, and Stoops said that this game is really important and they don't want to leave September 0-2. Said it's been a struggle to move the ball consistently and they need to score points to win games. Said he feels good about his defense, thinks they will keep them in games, but the offense has to step up.

Added that defense is a game of intensity and attitude, offense is a game of execution and strategy. Said they've had a hard time getting the results that they need. Thinks they are close, but it's a 'big test'. Said UW plays sound, fundamental defense.

Asked about field position and Sean Douglas for UW, and he said that UA is going to be in a lot of close games this year, and special teams and field position are critical. Said that both teams 'mirror' each other in many ways, and that both play hard. Said that it's going to be a key to find those 'hidden' yards.

Talked about Isaiah Stanback, and Stoops said that you have to pressure him and contain him and 'pick and choose their spots'. Said that a lot of people have pressured him, but he's found a way to elude sacks. Said it's a 'big key' to keep IS in the pocket.

Said the key will be to 'play fast, get off their blocks and stay on their toes.'

And in a quick note, it appears that UW Head Hoops Coach Lorenzo Romar is at the game tonight, a guest of UW AD Todd Turner.
35 minutes before kickoff

The local announcers spoke with UA DL Coach Mike Tuiasosopo. He said that the QB run game is critical for the UA defense, they have to play harder, be more physical at the line of scrimmage, get off blocks and 'fit the run just right'.

Added that they are a couple of guys down, and they are trying to get the best on the field. Marcus Smith is being moved inside on the DL.

Said that regardless of how last year went, 'revenge is not enough'. 'We have to be mentally and physically ready to play.'

Asked about RB Louis Rankin, and he said that he 'finds his crease' and has had some nice runs, and he just said the same thing as before. 'We just have to fit the run'.
55 minutes to gametime

In chatting with Kim Grinolds briefly (who is at BoA), sounds like 1500 fans are already at Hec Ed, and hopefully that means that there could be 3-4 thousand by kickoff.

In talking with UW SID Richard Kilwien in Tucson, it sounds like the closed-circuit broadcast will eventually cost around $10,000. That has to do with the satellite time and the engineers the AD had to use in Tucson and at the UW TV end of things to get stuff synched up and working properly.
60 minutes before kickoff

Listening to the Arizona radio broadcast...they believe that Arizona is 'looking in the mirror' when it comes to two programs and where they are in terms of trying to rebuild. Said it's a big game for both teams and they feel that last year's game at UA has kind of kick-started their run. They expect a big battle tonight. They also added that if UA loses, they wonder what the fans' enthusiasm for the season is going to be like.

More from the UA announcers...said that UW has scored as many points as they have given up and they have also given up more yards than they have gained. Added that there's just not a lot to differentiate the Huskies, except for Stanback. They said that Stanback is the guy that 'stirs the drink'.

They talked about Willie Tuitama and how he had his worst game against UW. Said how well the UA offense goes will be based solely on the offensive line and whether or not they can open up holes for the run game and give Tuitama time to find his receivers.
100 minutes before kickoff

First players out for prelim warmups...Sonny Shackelford and Carl Bonnell. They are followed by TE's Mike Gottlieb and Walt Winter.
two hours before kickoff

Good thing for the Huskies that this game is being held at night, because it still may be in the high 80's by the time Washington and Arizona kick off. It's very warm right now, mid-90's.

Spent most of my free time today taking a quick side trip to Nogales and also watching the other Pac-10 games. That Oregon-ASU game was about as one-sided a conference game as I've seen since the 2004 UW-Cal game. You know, the one where Cal racked up 725 total yards of offense. Other than Terry Richardson's kickoff return, that game was never in doubt from the start.

It looks like the Cal-OSU game was just as one-sided, so the Pac is definitely starting to shake out. I think you can definitely say that USC, Oregon and Cal are the top three in league, and there isn't much dispute there. After that, Washington, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington State and Arizona could emerge. Oregon State and Stanford appear to just be bad. As in really bad.
(9/28/06 4:14:21 pm)

Willingham afternoon briefing...

The biggest news of the day is that Washington has put together a closed-circuit broadcast of Saturday's game with Arizona at Bank of America Arena. It'll start at 7 pm, with doors opening at 6. It is free, open to the public and parking is also free. Concessions will also be available.

The way it works; UW will be taking the raw video feed from the scoreboard at Arizona Stadium, and they'll combine it with the audio feed from the ISP radio broadcast (Rondeau and Nelson) - much like how they did it with the replay of the San Jose State game.

Fox Sports Northwest will provide a truck to handle the feed and UW TV on campus will take that feed and relay it down to the Bank. There are a lot of pieces being put in place, and new SID Richard Kilwien was the mastermind in putting all of it together.

As far as the briefing, I asked about crowd noise and how they've been pumping it in during practice to combat what they anticipate on Saturday, and Willingham said that they always adjust how they plan to handle crowds on the road, but Arizona Stadium is one of the louder places in the Pac so they are taking it seriously.

Scott White and CJ Wallace have still been just limited contact this week and their status won't fully be known until gametime. He said that as of after Wednesday's practice, both would travel to Tucson, but he left open the possibility that - depending on how they work out on Thursday - that their status could change.

Asked who would play in their place, and Willingham said that Mesphin Forrester would most likely play in C.J.'s place and maybe Dashon Goldson could do something too. For White, Kyle Trew was mentioned, as well as moving a player like Tahj Bomar, if necessary.

Asked about being on the road right now, and he said it's more advantageous right now because they just started school, and going on the road is going to allow the coaches to 'tighten up the ranks' and help to remove distractions that school brings.

Asked about having more media attention right now with the wins, and Willingham said that he hopes it's not a surprise to his team. He said that he understands why it would be to others because of how the program has been the last couple of years, but it should be 'business as usual' to them.

Asked about whether or not he's seen the kind of aggressive play and attitude in practice that would lend to maybe seeing more success in the two-back sets, and Willingham said that they have had good practices, but there's no real way of predicting how things will go until they actually play.
(9/27/06 3:37:27 pm)

Willingham afternoon briefing

He said that he's 'really excited' to have a full compliment of players on his team now, and specifically with J.R. Hasty, all he has to do is take care of his academic concerns. There is no additional things he needs to take care of. Also said he's not overly concerned about the condition of the players that joined the team on Monday, saying that there's plenty of time to work them in and get them to where they need to be.

Asked about Chancellor Young, and Willingham had no comment.

Asked about the particular demands school now places on the players, and he said that it 'stretches their focus' of the players. 'There are more people in their life now. Now they have to do what college students do. They are part-time football players now'.

Asked why C.J. Wallace and Scott White were wearing red on Tuesday, and Willingham said it was from getting dinged up on Saturday, and that they are being cautious with both and trying to make sure they can 'mend as much as possible'. He also said that both would continue to be in red today, but they are both expected to play Saturday.

There will be no walkthrough at Arizona Stadium on Saturday. Willingham said that they had been there last year and they should be comfortable with the surroundings. Added that the only reason he might do it is if they were concerned about wet conditions, but even in that case they probably wouldn't allow the team to practice on the stadium field to protect it before gametime.

Said that they had a good session on Tuesday and that it was 'not perfect, but we haven't had one of those yet'.

Asked about the recent success the team has had in holding people on 3rd down, and Willingham said that they've been able to get teams in 2nd-and-long situations and they've been doing everything possible to create 3rd and longs.
(9/27/06 2:38:59 pm)

Spoke with DL Coach Randy Hart...

...(actually, I don't know if one has a 'conversation' with Randy. Mostly it's playing catch-up).

He said that Greyson Gunheim is past his knee injury and doing good things. Still needs to do more.

Said that Cameron Elisara, DeShon Matthews and Derek Kosub will all get the benefit of a redshirt year like Daniel Te'o-Nesheim did the year before, and they are learning all the DL positions. Added that Matthew is more of an end, while the other two can play either at DE or DT.

Asked about what changed in the second half against UCLA to get the DL going and cause problems for QB Ben Olson, and Hart said that 'they woke up'. 'We didn't coach any different or do any different. They just decided to play I guess we just kind of smoothed into things'

Asked what he sees of his guys on film, and he said he sees a group of guys that have to improve a lot for them to be as good a football team as they can be.

Asked about Mateaki's surge forward of late and Hart said 'he's improved himself the past couple of weeks and done a nice job. He's going in the right direction'.
(9/27/06 2:29:12 pm)

Spoke with CB Roy Lewis...

...and he was asked about his pick-six against UA last year, and he said he had a touchdown called back earlier on a phantom roughing the passer call, so he really was itching to get back in the end zone. 'When I had an opportunity to make a play, I took it to the house'.

Asked how much he'll draw on that experience on Saturday, and he said that every night before a game, he plays through the game in his mind and visualizes himself making plays.

Said that now with school in session, there's 'double-duty'. You have to please teachers and coaches. He was in art, but changed to American Ethnic Studies, and he has a cousin that used to be on Futureama and King of the Hill, and also has a best friend that works on the Simpsons and Family Guy.

Asked about his Panther tatoo and he said that he was inspired by Ray Lewis. 'That's all I can remember. I told myself that if I was going to get a tatoo it was going to be of something that inspires me'. He also just thought it looked cool.

Asked about his play in high school, and he played RB and LB. He didn't play corner until he got to college. Said he tries to keep using that linebacker mentality to corner so he can still play tough and aggressive.

Said he moved from SJSU because it just wasn't the right fit. Transfered to UW mainly because of Dashon Goldson and Chris Hemphill. Gave UW 'very low' interest out of high school because of Seattle, which is ironic now because he 'loves it'.

Asked about the biggest change in the corners the past couple of weeks, and he said it's the mindset. 'Coach Williams keeps telling us that we're only going to be as good as we want to be, and we're believing in that and believing in ourselves'. Also said they are nowhere near their capabilities, but they are 'making strides' and getting better.

Apparently Coach Williams has another quote: 'Good, better, best...don't ever rest until good becomes better and better is best.'

Asked about the bigges thing he needs to work on, and he said 'seizing the moment'. 'At times I'll get caught up in the thought process instead of playing, but once I get to that level, I'll make all the plays I'm supposed to make. Added that the game is slowing down for him.
(9/27/06 1:59:12 pm)

Spoke with DC Kent Baer today...

...and he was asked about Willie Tuitama and how he's improved from last year, and Baer said that 'he looks like he's playing with a lot of confidence', and that he's behind a younger OL than a year ago, but they are getting better. 'He's the leader'.

Asked about their lack of scoring punch so far this year, and Baer said it's because they've played four very good defenses. Obviously LSU and USC are on a different level, but he said that BYU has a great defense and even Stephen F. Austin's D was very good. 'They had some guys that are excellent football players, I'm assuming from Texas, that are big and strong. They aren't going to be as talented as LSU and USC, but they really play hard'.

Asked about the walk-on RB, Chris Jennings, and Baer said that he reminds him of Fresno State RB Dwayne Wright in the sense that when he runs 'he wants to hurt you'. Said that he might even be a little faster than Wright.

Asked if UA's offense has a soft spot, and Baer said he didn't think they did.

Asked about their improvement on third down, and Baer said he thinks this year's team is just playing with a little more confidence. 'Last year we tended to play more with our base personnel, but now we use more nickel'.

Added that because they are using so many guys in different packages, that's really helped boost the confidence level because so many guys are playing and feeling like they are part of something. 'It can only help you because everyone looks forward to taking part in their role', and that it's really helped comraderie and attitude. 'We're just getting a lot of guys involved'.

Asked about having guys on the service team like Jake Locker, Michael Houston and now J.R. Hasty, and Baer said that 'you can't put a pricetag on it'. 'By playing against them all day, you can't help but get better'.

He added that they may not get as many reps as in the past because there's so much involvement, but 'we're getting more quality looks'.

Asked about UA's passing game, and Baer said he's seen all their games so far this year, and they may have thrown the ball a little bit more early on just because they all fall to scheme and prepare, but they've gone away from it a little bit, and he expects that UW might see more from UA's passing game again, especially to help them in 3rd down situations.
(9/27/06 1:46:13 pm)

Spoke with DB Coach JD Williams...

...and was asked about Mesphin Forrester, and he said that Mesphin has become a 'pleasant surprise'. 'The guy, we had him for our nickel package and he finds a way to get his hands on the ball and he's a good tackler for us too'.

Added that he's helped to make some crucial third-down stops, and for a guy coming off the bench, getting those picks is huge. Said that in the spring, he was put in the position of having to learn more than one positions. 'And he's smart, so he ended up learning three positions - both the safety spots and the nickel'. With Wallace out, he was the starting strong safety for spring ball. 'He said that he didn't want to be denied, he wanted to be on the field this year'.

When asked about the tougher times Forrester had earlier in the year, Williams put that on him. 'We thought that Dashon was going to be further along than he was, and Roy (Lewis) had trained at the nickel position and Mesphin was next in line.'

Asked about Goldson and Williams said that he thinks he's ready to the point where he can go '30-40 snaps a game'. Asked if that would start this Saturday, he said 'hopefully. It's all kind of 'wait and see' to see how he feels'.

Asked about Darin Harris and Josh Okoebor, and Williams said that with Harris' back injury being very serious and Okoebor having surgery for his ACL in March, neither would be ready to do anything this year. Asked if he's talked to Josh at all about petitioning for a sixth year, and he said they haven't talked about it yet.

Asked about Arizona, and he said that they have one of the better receiving corps in the Pac-10. 'Young QB, he's a good one and you expect great things out of him'. They have to come out and play well because UA is fundamentally and schematically sound.

Asked about what they are doing better the last couple of weeks and Williams said that they are playing harder. 'I think the kids are buying in, playing harder. And it's all about confidence, confidence to go out and execute what you've been taught all week'.

Asked about slow starts, and he said that he thinks they've been coming out too hyped. 'I think a lot of it is emotional. It's all about energy level and if you get your energy level right, you'll be fine'. Added that with UCLA being such a big game and the conference opener, they lost a lot of their energy in the locker room getting fired up for the game.
(9/27/06 1:07:36 pm)

Spoke with DT Donny Mateaki...

...and he said that there was so much energy during the UCLA game, especially the second half, and a lot (for him) had to do with the fact that they had a really powerful chapel service the night before. 'We had Shaun Alexander there and the message that he gave us was really powerful. It got to me and inspired me. He talked about his relationship with God and once you give everything to him, he'll give it all back to you. Once he said that, I thought about how I'm a good Christian but things have come hard for me, so I took it to mean that I shouldn't be trying so hard and let things come to me. I was more relaxed during the game, and that allowed me to really play."

Asked about his foot, and he said that it hasn't been a problem at all. 'I don't even bother with my foot anymore'.

Asked about the spontaneous reaction to Ink Aleaga getting honored as a Husky Legend. 'When we saw Ink getting honored, I didn't even know - but when I saw it I wanted to go down there and congratulate him. That helped, because it got me a little pumped up'.

Asked about the general change in attitude from last year to this year, and he said that it's helped that they are winning, but it's also been a case of 'guys getting on other guys to do the right thing'. 'It's working for us, so we need to keep it going'.

Said that the move from DE last year to DT has been a big move for him. 'They are asking me to just get up the field and this spot really fits me better. I played tackle in high school and it's natural for me. At end I would have to think a little bit about it, and that would take a step or two away from me'.

He added that it's also been a nice thing to have another player from the islands, Wilson Afoa, right next to him. 'It just feels natural. But all of us on the d-line feel comfortable with each other'.
(9/26/06 4:27:22 pm)

Willingham afternoon briefing and practice notes

Roster additions were handed out to the press, but per his wishes, they can not be announced until the quarter officially starts, which is at 8:30 tomorrow morning by his calcuation, so we will honor that request. Look for roster changes to be made tomorrow morning.

Moved onto the Arizona game and was asked about the possibility of a letdown, and he said that there is 'no reasonable grounds for a letdown'. Added that they haven't played their best football yet, and they are going to be playing 'a heck of a football team' and that it's going to take everything UW has to win.

Asked about Louis Holmes and the special problems he presents, and Willingham said that he's a big, athletic, talented player who has a knack for rushing the passer. Said that he's unlike anyone they have faced so far this year because he's more 'angular'. Said that he's impressed with Arizona's D overall, but more impressed with their front line than any other part.

Asked about UA's two interior linemen and how they only average around 260-265, and he said that because of their activity inside, their goal is to make it so two offensive linemen have to gang up to handle one of their DT's, thereby opening up holes for their linebackers and other linemen to make plays.

Asked about Donny Mateaki's game against UCLA, and Willingham said that it was probably his best game to date because of how active he was. Also said that it seems like his foot wasn't causing him problems, so he was able to go full all the time.

Asked about the success UW had at UA last year and if it's simply a matter of recreating that same feeling, and he said that they are a totally different team this year and you can't go back to last year. 'You have to play the game now'.

As far as practice, there were six members of this week's 'Victory Club': Dan Howell, Tahj Bomar, Jason Wells, Isaiah Stanback, Sonny Shackelford and Anthony Russo.

Scott White and C.J. Wallace were wearing red today, but they looked to be participating in warmups and individual drills.

Today's warm-up music included a selection from Husky Nation and also some James Brown.
(9/26/06 3:09:15 pm)

Spoke with OL Coach Mike Denbrock...

...and he said that they have to be able to run the ball out of the two-back set, and teams have stacked it up against them, but they still need to move the football no matter how many people they put in the box. 'Fundamentally we just have to do a better job of attacking people and being more aggressive and just turning ourselves loose and playing the game better.'

Said they stress fundamentals and footwork every day and that 'it's a big part of being successful as an offensive lineman'.

Asked about what he envisioned for the 'first quarter' of their season, and he said that he would have liked to have been able to rotate more guys in, but a lot of situations in games have dictated that they stay with their strength.

Said that Rosborough, Bulyca and Erik Berglund are in the mix to be those guys coming off the bench. 'We're beginning to build some nice quality depth and we just have to continue doing that'.

Asked about what they do as coaches to keep those other linemen 'in the game' mentally, and Denbrock said that it's something they spend 'a great deal of time' talking about. 'The way we practice is conducive to getting ready for the game too, and even when they are running the other team's plays in practice, there's a lot of coaching that takes place and a lot of things fundamentally that they can get out of what they are doing. They are getting work in practice all the time'.

Asked about Louis Holmes, and he said that Holmes is a really good football player and their front four is 'as good as anyone we face'. He'll line up against Chad Macklin. 'There are going to be things we're going to have to do to help everybody out up front. That's how much I think about the four guys they have up front'.

On a personal note, he said that he's doing fine, feels healthy and has not had any flareups or any issues after being diagnosed with Crohn's disease back in the spring.
(9/26/06 2:54:12 pm)

Spoke with TE Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Bob Simmons...

...and asked him about how the TE's have improved. He said that Kirton is making plays, but he's got a ways to go to become the kind of 'complete tight end' that he needs to be. 'On those plays where he was called on in the passing game, I thought he did a nice job'.

Asked about Louis Holmes, and he said that both Gottlieb and Kirton will need to step up their games to block him. 'He's a man among boys.'

Said it was good for Gottlieb to get in against UCLA, but he's still a little rusty and this week of practice will help him get back to where he needs to be.

As far as special teams, I asked him about Douglas and the discrepancy between Sean's long kicks and the cover teams not getting downfield quick enough, and Simmons said first that 'when you are in a position to make a tackle, you have to tackle'. 'You can obviously do different things, but it's nice to have a weapon like that'. Getting off blocks and hustling downfield is crucial. 'If we don't get off blocks and get downfield, it doesn't matter who is returning the ball'. Added they have to execute their 'coverage lanes'

Also said that Stevens and Roy Lewis are their gunners and they'll rotate guys in depending on how much time they are already spending on defense. 'We're always rolling.' Said that Fountaine, Forrester, Q Daniels and Corey Williams also rotate out in that position.

Asked if he had ever seen a play like Greyson Gunheim's against Terrence Austin, and he said that 'it takes a special player to do that'. 'It was a key point in the ball game, but if we make the play to begin with he never has to make that play.'

Added that the coach in him sees a play like that and it shows him that they are all buying into the fact that they can put together a winning team, and 'it also tells me to all run like him, and run like him in coverage. Let's make a great play that compliments a great punt.'

Said that when it comes to directional kicking, if Douglas can kick 'outside the numbers' and still keep up his average of what he's been doing, that also helps. 'A couple that have been run back have been inside the numbers, but that doesn't negate the fact that we have to go out there and make a play'.
(9/26/06 2:40:48 pm)

Spoke with WR Cody Ellis...

...and he said it felt great to get back on the field. 'It was something like five weeks, but it felt like I was out a year'.

Said that he fractured his collarbone, but it didn't break all the way through. 'They said it was a green-stick break'. Added that he got 'banged around a little bit', but didn't have any soreness.

Played around 20-21 plays against UCLA. 'I was expected for that much'. Added that the speed of the game was a little faster than it should have been, but he wasn't overwhelmed.

Said that when you're out for that long, you do things like ask for scripts so you know exactly what's going on and you stand behind the position coach and 'pretend like you're taking reps'. Also tried to stay in shape as much as he could by running.

Asked about describing the feel of the team right now as opposed to a year ago and he said that the feeling is 'a lot different'. 'People are actually starting to believe. It's getting there. In years' past, if we were down 16-0, we would have gone down the tank. And that play by Greyson, he probably wouldn't have made that play. They score and the game's over. So now it's like, 'Hey, we can win, we've got players'.

Added that there are still that are doubting whether or not they are a legit Pac-10 contender, but it's more like they don't know because they haven't played up to their potential. 'That first quarter against UCLA was awful. We have skills, and if we put it together, we could have a great team.'
(9/26/06 2:33:14 pm)

Spoke with RB Coach Trent Miles...

...and he said that he hasn't been frustrated the last couple of weeks, but the RB's have some things they need to clean up and it'll come. Added that they saw the ball on the ground once against UCLA, and they never want to see that.

Said that the biggest thing for them is pass pro. 'We have to run hard and you have to go with what's there'. You have to be patient, run tough, break tackles and be physical.

Asked about Louis Holmes and how that's going to impact what they do on Saturday, and Miles said that it's critical all the time - but very rarely are they one-on-one with a defensive lineman. 'Usually, if anything, we get in their way. We need to let them do their thing'.

Said that last year's success running against UA was all about tough running. 'Some guys made plays. We were fortunate to get some runs, and Isaiah got some runs too - so that helped. But it was just a matter of playing hard and getting after it'.
(9/26/06 2:15:49 pm)

Spoke with OC Tim Lappano...

...and he said that Mike Stoops made the comment that this is the most important game of his career, and that it's paramount that UW give them their best effort.

Said that 'we can't win very many more games if we can't run the football better than that'...referencing the UCLA game. Said it's going to be a big emphasis this week in practice. Added that you're never sure about what the breakdowns were until you go back and look a couple of times, and he said that it wasn't physical...it was blown assignments and key breakdowns. 'We have to be sure that we use our fundamentals better'. Also said that all the things he saw were correctable.

Said that he wants to be able to get in two-back and 'run downhill'. 'That is nothing more than attitude.' Especially when the weather gets 'sloppy'. Said that's the type of team they want to be, where they can 'take shots' from play-action and mix passes in. 'That's being two-dimensional'.

Said they have talked to other coordinators, and the consensus is that others know Stanback can beat teams with his feet, so they want to make sure to do everything they can to force Stanback to beat them through the air. 'He did it Saturday.'

Asked if they have a guy like James Sims that can run like Sims did against UA last year, and Lappano said absolutely. Added that James and Rankin have proven they can run the ball and 'we have to give them a chance to get going. If they can't get a crease and get started, it doesn't matter who you have back there'.

Asked about a letdown the same way UA did against UW last year after beating UCLA. 'We know we're going to get their best, so they have to know that they are going to get our best too. It's as much a 'must-win' for us as it is for them.'

Said that he wasn't sure about throwing the bomb at the end of the half last year because of the 5-yard penalty that happened the play before. 'I watched it again this morning and I watched the reaction of the DB's. They were just stunned. Their heads went straight down. It shocked everybody. It shocked me.'

Asked what he sees from UA, and he said that their front four is the strength of their defense. 'They are very active. They have a JC All-American kid that is playing very well right now - Holmes. He can be disruptive.' Said that they don't like to stay on blocks long, so it's going to be an even tougher challenge for UW to be able to run the ball downhill and stay on blocks. 'Their front 4 is as good as anybody we play'.

Asked about their secondary, and Lappano mentioned Antoine Cason. 'He likes to take chances. He likes to sit on routes'. 'Their corners can cover, they can run'.

Asked about Reece not getting any touches against UCLA, and Lappano said that they aren't singling anyone out right now. Added that the reason why a guy like Shackelford gets 9 balls if that's the case is because he was making plays. 'When you start seeing a guy make plays, the quarterback - whether I want him to or not - is going to start looking for people that make plays. And that happens at every level. That's probably what happened a little bit on Saturday.'

Said with Gottlieb back, they can get into more 2-TE sets, and he'll be able to block a little more aggressively this week because he's healthier.
(9/26/06 1:44:38 pm)

Spoke with TE Mike Gottlieb...

...and he said that he's fully ready to go. 'I'm feeling fresh'.

He broke the finger right next to his right pinky, and it had to have a pin put in it. Because the doctors wanted the finger protected, they put his hand in a fist and then created a club around it. 'I was pretty much a non-factor in the passing game'.

Asked about how he tried to stay in the game when he wasn't playing, and he said it was all about 'mental reps', thinking about the play. 'It's just like going through my routine as normal as possible, just minus the physical part'.

He played 10-11 snaps against UCLA strictly blocking in the two-TE sets. 'This week should be back to normal'.

Asked about what kind of identity Washington has right now, Gottlieb said that UW is a 'team that will take what the defense gives us'. Said that they are committed to getting yardage any way they can.

Said that he's seen improvement in blocking from Johnie Kirton. 'Learning to block is a technical thing that you have to master'. Said that Kirton has always been capable of doing it and he's 'definitely stepped it up'.

Said he's chomping at the bit to get in and start to catch passes in the red zone for scores, but that he doesn't care who gets credit as long as they are winning.

Said that Walt Winter is getting better. 'He's really aggressive and works very hard'.
(9/26/06 12:55:31 pm)

Spoke with WR Anthony Russo...

...and he said that as a vet that's gone through the low points, he's having to calm himself down now. 'I'm real excited right now'. Said that if they play that OU game like they should, they would be 4-0. Said that the UA game is just another colored jersey, just another game. 'We're not intimidated by anything.'

Said they were upset about how they played the first half against UCLA. 'I didn't have any doubt in my mind that we weren't going to come back and win that game'. Added that he felt Quintin Daniels getting that first down on their first scoring drive was the turning point. 'Once we scored we just kept it going.'

Asked about any side things the receivers have amongst themselves to push each other and up the stakes, and he said no. Said that they do push-ups as a group in practice for drops. 'But we should do that. That would make it even more competitive.'

Asked about the UA game last year, when he led the team in catches with five. 'That was the turning point for me. That's when I found my comfort zone.' Added that the game slowed down for him then. 'I didn't get tired the whole game. The ball was coming slow to me'.

Asked about the bomb, and he was the receiver trailing Craig Chambers and Sonny Shackelford. It was Russo's job to trail and catch any tips that might happen. 'It was something we do every time in two-minute.'
(9/26/06 12:06:00 pm)

Here are the UA official two-deeps...
WR        10 Mike Thomas 5-8 173 SO
        84 Terrell Turner 6-2 170 FR
LT        76 Peter Graniello 6-5 296 JR
        66 James Tretheway 6-6 300 JR
LG        74 Adam Hawes 6-4 302 SR
        52 Bill Wacholz 6-6 294 SO
C         50 Blake Kerley 6-2 273 rFR
        71 Erick Levitre 6-1 282 SR
RG        75 Joe Longacre 6-3 303 SO
        68 Daniel Borg 6-5 270 rFR
RT        77 Eben Britton 6-6 280 rFR
        72 Tanner Bell 6-8 294 SR
TE        17 Brad Wood 6-2 228 SR
        87 Brandyn McCall 6-4 245 JR
        86 Travis Bell 6-6 235 SO
WR         1 Syndric Steptoe 5-9 182 SR
         9 Anthony Johnson 6-2 205 JR
        11 Terrell Reese 6-4 195 FR
QB         7 Willie Tuitama 6-3 218 SO
        14 Adam Austin 6-3 217 SR
FB        49 Earl Mitchell 6-2 250 FR
        45 Brandon Lopez 6-1 224 SO
RB        28 Chris Jennings 5-10 220 JR
        19 Chris Henry 6-0 215 JR
        30 Xavier Smith 5-11 196 rFR


DE        97 Jonathan Turner 6-3 250 SO
        53 Jason Parker 6-3 258 JR
NG        55 Marcus Smith 6-5 266 SR
        46 Donald Horton, Jr. 6-0 259 rFR
DT        54 Lionel Dotson 6-4 278 JR
        62 Dave Bertrand 6-1 290 SO
DE         1 Louis Holmes 6-6 270 JR
        91 Michael Shelton 6-3 240 SO
SLB       39 Dane Krogstad 6-2 236 JR
        40 John McKinney 5-11 226 SR
MLB       33 Ronnie Palmer 6-2 239 SO
        25 Adrian McCovy 6-2 223 SO
WLB       51 Spencer Larsen 6-1 236 JR
        15 Xavier Kelly 5-11 193 rFR
CB         5 Antoine Cason 6-0 182 JR
        21 Cam Nelson 6-1 175 FR
FS         8 Dominic Patrick 6-1 207 JR
        31 Michael Klyce 6-0 193 SO
SS        23 Michael Johnson 6-2 205 SR
        24 Marcus Hollingsworth 5-10 228 SR
CB         3 Wilrey Fontenot 5-9 174 JR
         6 Devin Ross 5-11 180 FR


PK        12 Nick Folk 6-1 215 JR
        13 Jason Bondzio 5-9 168 FR
P         12 Nick Folk 6-1 215 JR
        27 Kyle McQuown 5-9 170 JR
Hold      27 Kyle McQuown 5-9 170 JR
LS        65 Garen McHone 6-4 269 JR
KR         1 Syndric Steptoe (all) 5-9 182 SR
        10 Mike Thomas 5-8 173 SO
         5 Antoine Cason 6-0 182 JR

(9/25/06 4:28:32 pm)

Spoke with C Juan Garcia...

...and he said that he doesn't think much about his past injuries before, but he sure wishes he never had them so he could be as much 'up to speed' as the other veteran linemen like Clay Walker and Stanley Daniels.

He added that he hasn't had this kind of 'feeling' since he's been here, because most of the time he was rehabbing and having to go through losing seasons, so he's thrilled with how things have gone so far for this year.

Asked about being on track to graduate, and he said that he is and that he's fully planning on returning for his final year of eligibility next season. 'Oh yeah, I'm coming back for sure'. He added that it definitely drives him. 'I think I could do something special next year'.

Said the whole experience of coming to college from a household where english was a second language is a blessing that he doesn't take for granted, even for one day. 'Every day I thank God. I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing. Coming from where I came from, when does that happen?'

Asked about defenses taking away the success UW had running the ball early, and Garcia said that they aren't respecting Stanback as a passer. 'Now they are going to realize that the passing game is there, so that's going to open things up for the running game'.

Said that he didn't go to the Arizona game last year, and he listened to it on the radio, just like he would have during his high school days. 'It was pretty exciting. I had a picture in my head of the bomb and everything.'

Echoed Stanback's thoughts about how scary it's going to be when the offense puts four full quarters together. 'I don't know why we can't. Maybe it's just because we're not used to being in this situation. I'm sure we're going to get it fixed, because coach (Willingham) keeps telling us, 'Do you know how special this team is?', and I think we're starting to understand'.

Added that it's a lot easier to trust the coaches' message with more wins. 'We have to buy in completely, because it pays off'.
(9/25/06 4:09:33 pm)

Spoke with QB Isaiah Stanback...

...said that anytime a competitor is challenged, they try to step up to the challenge. So when UCLA was trying to force IS to throw, it was OK for him. 'We have a lot of ammo on our team, and it just comes down to executing'.

Asked about the potential for a letdown, and he said that they haven't played a good game for 60 minutes, other than San Jose State, and they are not happy about where they are at. For himself, he's going to do whatever it takes to play a full game next week. 'I'm nowhere near satisfied. I'm excited about how good we could be. We beat two really good teams without playing a full game, I'm excited about that. Once we play a full game, who knows how good we could be.' Said it's really bugging him that they haven't played a full game, and when they do, 'it's going to be a statement'.

Said it all comes down to execution. 'It's nothing the other team is doing. Everything they do, we've seen before and we expect. If we aren't expecting it, you make adjustments and now you do expect it.'

He felt that he was too relaxed coming out. 'You can't be too pumped up, you can't be too relaxed. You have to be yourself, or you can't play at your best'. Added that all it takes for him to get in the rhythm of the game is 'first downs'. Doesn't matter if it's just handing the ball off, if the chains are moving all the time, he's in the game.
(9/25/06 3:57:53 pm)

Spoke with OG Stanley Daniels...

...and he said that the coaches were mad at the OL for being 'stuck in the mud' early against UCLA. 'At halftime, Coach Willingham got us fired up and we came out and scored.'

Asked about the question Willingham posed to the team at halftime about being scared and he said that he took it like an actual question. 'It was like he didn't know. That's not how we practice or play, that's not who we are. So he asked us and we were like, 'is he serious'...so we got angry at how we were playing and I think it did what he thought it was going to do...it kind of hit the reset button for us.'

Asked about not coming out and playing with that fire all the time, and Daniels said that going all the way back to the Oklahoma game, he thought a lot of guys were surprised that they were actually hanging with Oklahoma. 'It's a testament to Coach Willingham that he keeps telling us that we have no idea how good we could be if we buy into him'. And there was the proof. But he also said that sometimes it's just ragged because of a lot of young guys playing and newer leadership on the team. 'Coming back to the UCLA game, I have no idea why we were flat. I came out pumped up and we were hitting guys, and I thought we would come out with some fire, and we just didn't - for whatever reason. And I can't explain it'.
(9/25/06 3:43:15 pm)

Spoke with WR Sonny Shackelford...

...and he said that with Isaiah getting better and better in terms of knowing when to pass it and when to tuck it and run only makes him that much more dangerous.

Asked about this past summer and he said that he was still coming off an injury, but that didn't stop him from doing all the film room stuff and also running routes and doing what he could to try and build some chemistry. 'All of it paid off'.

Asked about how he'll follow up on arguably his best performance so far at UW, and he said that he's going 'to go back to the drawing board' and see what he did right and wrong and work hard at practice.

Said his chemistry right now with IS is at an all-time high. Added that Isaiah would say that he doesn't have a 'go-to guy', but toward the end of the UCLA game he was looking more in Shackelford's direction, and Sonny 'was all for that'. 'I was in the zone and I wanted the ball. I knew I was going to make a play'.

Asked about Arizona and he said that they play a little different coverage than most of the teams they play. 'Most play cover-8 with two safeties. They play a lot of single-safety and they have good cornerbacks.' He mentioned Antoine Cason as one of their guys that he hopes to match up with.

Asked if the receivers have any deals in place with Coach Yarber when they go through a game without any drops, and he said no - it's just a matter of pride with them. 'The number-one thing in practice last week was 'catch it first'. 'The run after the catch will take care of itself if you have great athletes'.
(9/25/06 3:26:45 pm)

Spoke with DE Greyson Gunheim...

...and I asked him about 'the play'.

He said that Douglas hit a great kick 'maybe too far' (with a laugh) and that he was a 'good ways away' from the returner, and when he bounced for the sideline he tried to run as fast as he could and he was lucky to stop him. Hasn't figured out how far he ran in total yards on that play, but was still able to stay in.

Asked about trying to create less separation and he said that Sean has a great leg and he kicks it that far, 'that's just him using his weapon' and they have to do a better job of getting off blocks. 'When you have a kicker that can kick from our end zone and kick it to their 20, that's huge for us, so we have to find a way to get off our blocks and make the play so we can use that weapon'.

Asked about the recent success in stopping offenses from getting in the red zone, and he said that in practice they've been taking a lot of pride in trying to stop their own offense. 'They are not coming into our red zone and getting a touchdown'. Said that the same attitude they have in practice is the same attitude they have in the game.

Asked about his opinion on the sluggish starts, and he said that he doesn't know why it's happening. He added that things felt good going into the UCLA game, but that first half was 'embarassing' and he said that he's really excited to see what happens when they get it all together and have it rolling for the whole game. 'I'm really excited to see how that game turns out'.

Asked about what he'll take from last year's game at Arizona, and he said 'hard work' and 'never quitting'. 'When something big happens, keep going. Big plays are going to happen and we just have to respond to them'.
(9/25/06 2:58:44 pm)

Spoke with LB Scott White...

...and he said that he's working with a really good group of younger guys. 'They are real workmanlike'. Said it's the veterans that need to set the pace and standard.

Said that it's so much easier for the older guys to 'sell the message' now that they are winning. Said that guys like Donald Butler and Jake Locker ('The future leaders of this team') are seeing how things are being put in place and how the coaches are doing things for the future.

Asked about the possibility of a letdown after two big wins and he said that everyone just has to prepare the same way. He added that they can't just remember how easy the UA game came to them in the second half and think that they are going to be able to walk in there this year and do the same thing. Said that UA is a better team than people are giving them credit for and UW has to prepare even harder. 'Every win in the Pac-10 means the next game is even bigger'.

Asked about coming out sluggish, and he said he isn't sure. Said there could be a number of reasons. Coaches said that they point to the warmup being 'lackluster' so the team came out 'lackluster'. 'If that's what they think it was, we're going to get after each other in warmup and pump it up a little more to get off to a faster start'. He added that he's busy during pre-game visualizing everything that's going to happen during the actual game, 'the plays I'm going to make'.

Asked about the red zone defense and the success they've had of late keeping teams out of the end zone, and White said that they've been doing a really good job of stopping the run and being disciplined up front. 'When you can't run down there, it makes it even tougher to score'.
(9/25/06 1:57:55 pm)

Willingham noon briefing

He said that the team is ready to move forward and that while they are happy with what's happened on Saturday, they are ready to move onto their next opponent (Arizona).

Asked about what he's seen from Arizona so far this year and he said that he hasn't really gotten much of an opportunity yet to scout them, but he believes that they are better than what their record indicates. They have played tough opponents and from a statistical standpoint, they've improved in the 'most important categories'.

Added that he felt that their defense is aggressive and they run well to the ball. Said that from what he saw of the USC game, Arizona did some good things and forced some turnovers to keep themselves in the ballgame.

Asked about last year's win and how that helped to build momentum, and he said that was important at the time because it gave them two wins, but they didn't build on it they way he would have wanted them to by winning the next week, so that's what they have to work on now.

Asked about what he's seen from Isaiah Stanback this year, and Willingham said that Stanback has shown the ability to run and throw effectively, and that 'dual' threat is hard to get a consistent read on defensively. So that should allow for some plays to be made.

Asked what the keys have been for Washington to get off to such a good start, and he said that they've 'made plays at the appropriate time' and have consistently given a solid effort. 'We've had a workmanline approach to every game we've played'.

Asked about Greyson Gunheim's play on special teams, and Willingham said that his effort speaks to his individual talents. 'It also showed our team how not giving up made a difference. It kept points off the board.'

Asked about Sean Douglas earning Pac-10 Player of the Week honors, and Willingham said that he's got the potential to be the best punter in the country, and it always helped that cause when you get noticed like Sean has.

Also asked about outkicking his coverage, and Willingham said that it's more a function of his coverage guys getting off blocks better. They will never ask Douglas not to kick it as far as he can, and if there ends up being a large chunk of separation between the returner and cover team, that cover team has to make sure they are fundamentally sound and make the play. Said that on the long return Saturday, there were a couple of players that could have made a play but didn't, and that has to improve.

Asked about the inconsistency in the run game the past couple of weeks, and Willingham said that for their offense to really be effective, they have to be able to run and pass. 'We just have to execute better'. And that is on the offensive line and running backs, not just one.

Asked if he was surprised Washington got votes in the latest polls, and he said no. 'We're 3-1'.

Asked about the question he posed to the team at halftime of the UCLA game, asking them if they were afraid? 'It was just a question. I thought they were playing tentative.'

Asked about the mechanics of changing gameplans midstream (going from power run game to spread), and he said that 'in a sense you are changing plans, but in a sense you aren't' because they had the spread package in for that game, but then it was just a matter of going to it more exclusively, including using Stanback more as a runner than they normally would.

Asked about the ability UW had to run against UA last year, and he said that while the OL had a good game, that was pretty much all on James Sims. Sims had 200 yards on the ground against the 'Cats. 'His determination was key and he ran through a lot of tackles. He was a force'.

Asked about injuries, and he said they had three players come off the field at various times against UCLA, but they all went back in. Said that he's not expecting any guys that are currently injured to be back for Arizona, including E.J. Savannah. He added that he thinks Savannah might be a couple of weeks away.

Asked about Dashon Goldson, and Willingham said he played 12 snaps against UCLA and that they were 'very pleased' with those snaps. 'We're hopeful that he's at the point where he gets more involved'.

No new academic news. The new quarter starts Wednesday, and that's when the roster will be finalized. We'll have more news on names being added on tomorrow, as Willingham would not go into any detail regarding players like J.R. Hasty or Chancellor Young.

The Pepsi Players of the Week were - Offense: Sonny Shackelford; Defense - Roy Lewis; Special Teams - Chris Stevens; Service teams - Matt Houston (ST) and Darrion Jones (D). Willingham couldn't remember who the service player on offense was that won the award.
(9/25/06 11:57:00 am)

Here's the official two-deeps for the Arizona 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
        19 Quintin Daniels 6-0 195 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        37 Johnie Kirton 6-3 270 SO
        86 Michael Gottlieb 6-5 245 SO
        92 Walter Winter 6-5 250 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
         3 Marcel Reece 6-3 240 JR
        29 Cody Ellis 6-0 185 JR
        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR


DE        66 Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 6-4 245 rFR
        41 Brandon Ala 6-3 260 SR
DT        91 Donny Mateaki 6-5 285 SR
OR        95 Jordan Reffett 6-6 295 JR
DT        74 Wilson Afoa 6-3 290 JR
        77 Erick Lobos 6-3 285 JR
DE         7 Greyson Gunheim 6-5 265 JR
        41 Brandon Ala 6-3 260 SR
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
          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
FR        83 Marlon Wood 5-10 185 JR
        21 Sonny Shackelford 6-2 180 SR 

(9/25/06 11:51:57 am)

Stoops press briefing notes

Missed the opening of Mike Stoops' briefing (opening statement), but here's what I got from the rest of it.

Mentioned how his team has lacked third-down execution and haven't been able to run the football.

Said that he feels that UW and UA are going in similar directions, and that all it's going to take is 'repetitions day in and day out doing things a certain way'. Said that UW might even be ahead of schedule and also said that he's been impressed how UW has built their offense around Stanback.

Said that seeing UW come back from a 16-0 deficit shows the Huskies' resiliency and 'that's coaching'.

Asked about the health of Washington QB Willie Tuitama and he said that he has a calf bruise and won't practice Monday but he's hoping to get Tuitama back Tuesday to work.

Asked about playing after USC, and Stoops said it was a big atmosphere, but hopefully this weekend is just as big or bigger. 'This is a big game for us'. Said he wants UA to stay 'ahead in the win column' and want to come out of September 3-2.

Asked how hard it is to build momentum when playing teams like LSU and USC, and he said that 'it's not ideal, but that's the way it was set up' and it might be easier to play a softer non-conference schedule to build rhythm and also to give younger players a chance to play more, but playing a tougher schedule should help them prepare for the rest of the season.

Asked about judging UA's offense too quickly based on their early struggles and he said it's probably too early to do that because they are starting four freshmen and Tuitama has only started 8 games in his career. They've also played very good teams.

Asked about walk-on tailback Chris Jennings, who is leading the team in rushing...Stoops said that he's big and strong and has developed into a nice player. 'He's legit'. Also added that they are young in that area, and they 'need to find more running room'.

Asked about Stanback's bomb last year and he said that 'he has never seen anything like it'. Added that they were expecting to go into half leading 14-7 and that play killed their momentum. Also said that it reminded him a lot of the Stewart-Westbrook throw (Colorado-Michigan).

Asked about 'making a call to Normal this week' and he said that he talks to them a lot and that the 'also do a lot of similar things in their structure', but Washington will make adjustments in what they do and are also kind of going in a different direction. 'There are no magical calls'; it's the players that make those calls look good.

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