On the new season: I hope you are as excited as we are about the new season
upon us. We have looked forward to this time since the gun went off in San
Diego in the Holiday Bowl. We are anxious to get going, and we've got a
great group of young players who have just joined the program. We are very
excited about them, and looking very forward to watching their progression
as we enter pre-season camp in anticipation to the game against Michigan.
<< Rick Neuheisel
: "I think there is great athleticism. We thought we
had a very athletic group coming in, and they did not disappoint. In the
myriad of drills we put them through today, we thought there was going to be
great speed. We put them through their paces, and alternated between big
guy drills and little guy drills. After watching it, we are very impressed
with a number of guys."
Neuheisel quotes on incoming freshmen:
<< Brandon Ala: Brandon joined us from the state of Hawaii. Our thought with
Brandon is that he would give us a great outside Rush End (Backer) athlete.
He looked very nimble, very fast. He's coming off a little bit of a knee
surgery. He had cartilage repaired over the summer, so he's not at 100
percent. He's about 6-4, 220 pounds and I think will be a definite edge
presence before he's done here.
<< Scott Ballew: Scott is a walk-on athlete from Austin, Texas. He had been
recruited for a long time by the University of Texas and was under the
impression that he was going to get a scholarship there. But as we know,
Texas had a banner recruiting year and there were a number of defensive
linemen that wanted to commit - I think they ended up signing eight - and so
they ended up not having a scholarship for Scott. We ended up being at the
right place at the right time with him. He is a bonafide player. I think
he's going to be a great addition. We right now have him playing safety,
but that could change as fall camp progresses.
<< Ben Bandel: Big good-looking tight end. We did some pass catching drills
later in the practice, and he looks very, very natural. He's about 6-7, 255
pounds. He's just natural. We have such a great tradition at tight end,
and I think that we have been very fortunate to get our pick out of the
litter, and he was our pick. We are thrilled that he is here, and we think
he's going to have a great career.
<< Jason Benn: A legacy of sorts in our program. His mother and father were at
our orientation dinner last night, and I said if any parents have any
questions about this program works just see the Benns, because their older
son just graduated from here and is now with the Tennessee Titans. Jason we
think is going to be a natural. The other thing that we just realized in
the post practice when we started working specialists is that he's a great
long-snapper. That's exciting. Every time you put a group of guys together
you are hoping you're going to get some great specialists out of it, and he
looked like a real natural. We're hoping that he'll be a big-time
<< Ryan Campbell: Ryan is a walk-on from Eastside Catholic. It's a great story
with Ryan Campbell. He was going to walk-on at Washington State and he came
up to me at a movie theater when I was out at a movie with my wife on a
Monday night. He came up to me and said, "Hey coach," and he introduced
himself to me. I said, "How are you" and he said, "well, I'll see you next
year because I'm going to walk-on to Washington State. I said, "you are,
why not the Huskies?" He said, "It seemed like the Huskies didn't call me
back." I said, "You call me tomorrow," and sure enough he called me the
next day and now here we are. We stole one from the Cougs there. I think
he's a neat kid and he's excited.
<< Dash Crutchley: Dash is a guy that played wide receiver in high school.
He's 6-5, 235 pounds. He wasn't quite that heavy in high school, but he's
the kind of athlete that you're looking for as a Rush End (Backer). He's
eager to give that a try. He was an outstanding soccer player - I think he
was a goalie - and was a youth national player. Football is not something
that he's done for a long time in his life, but he's a gifted athlete.
We're excited about what he can become.
<< Stanley Daniels: Stanley was a young man where down the stretch it became
Washington and Nebraska, and we are thrilled that he chose us. Stanley
played in a number of all star games over the summer almost primarily on
defense. We've got him listed as an offensive lineman but we're going to
continue to watch him and give him a chance to see if he might be a
defensive lineman. We think that he's that kind of athlete. He's got
quick-twitch (muscles). He played some tight end (in high school). He was
catching the ball today. He's a big, natural athlete. He's probably a
couple of weeks away from being in shape, but we think that he's a big-time
player and we're very excited that he's here.
<< Matt Fountaine: Another legacy recruit. His brother, Jamaal, just joined
our staff as a defensive quality control guy. Matt is a corner/athlete, and
we just think that he's going to be another big-time Fountaine in our
program. He's a natural. He ran about a 10.8 100-meters in high school.
He's a gifted player, and looked very natural today.
<< Eric Hass:
He's a walk-on fullback/linebacker. We're going to try him at
fullback initially. Like all young players who come without scholarships,
he's eager to prove he belongs. We've had a rich tradition of walk-ons here
at the University of Washington, and hopefully we can continue to do so.
<< Eddie Jackson: If you've got out there and watched him, he has the prototype
wide receiver build. He's about 6-4, 215 pounds. He runs very well, and is
just a very, very gifted player. You put him along with our other wide
receivers in the program, and you've got a nice force of guys who'll
hopefully give opposing secondaries some problems as far as how they match
up. You might have one guy that can match up with Reggie (Williams) or Paul
(Arnold), but now you put another big guy in the game and it becomes very
difficult to keep matching up with that kind of athletes and that kind of
size. You look for those kind of individual opportunities as you are game
planning to see where you might be able to gain a physical advantage. We
don't have any designs to redshirt him. We think that he can be a performer
<< Kenny James: Outstanding young man who's worked his tail off to get himself
here. His whole family drove up to drop him off. Kenny is a very natural
player. We put him through a variety of fundamental drills, and he didn't
just look good in the running back drills, he looked good in the back-pedal,
he looked good catching the ball, he's just a natural football player.
That's exciting when you are talking about the tailback position because it
requires so many different skills. We think that we've got a real gem in
<< Cory Jones: He's not yet joined the program. He'll come in with the varsity
on Friday, and we think that he's going to be a big-time asset to our
program. We eagerly anticipate Cory joining the program.
<< Robin Kezirian: He grew up on a ranch and showed up with a bunch of raisins,
and the coaches have never had it so good. We are very excited to have
Robin here. He played offense and defensive line. Robin is another diverse
athlete who can run a little bit. In a quality recruiting class, you'd like
to have four to five offensive linemen. We think we've got four great
offensive linemen, and Robin is one of those.
<< Donny Mateaki: A great looking young man. I think he can be a real asset to
our defensive front, if not right away then certainly in the future. Donny
is a classic defensive front guy. We think that he's got a tremendous
<< Dan Milsten: He is a bonafide defensive line prospect. You put Mateaki and
Milsten together, and we think we've done some great things for the future
of our front.
<< Nathan Rhodes: He introduced himself last night as a guy that loves football
and loves to eat. Both are very obvious. He's about 6-7, 320 pounds, just
a huge young man. It'll take a little while to get him into great shape,
but he ran around pretty well today and caught the ball pretty well today.
Just a very, very natural athlete. He kind of jumped onto the scene last
year after the combines because he performed so well. He grew up with his
grandparents and tears were flowing as the grandmother and grandfather left.
We think we've got ourselves a big-time offensive tackle of the future.
<< Nate Robinson: Obviously a much heralded local player, and if day one is any
indication he did not disappoint. As natural of a young man as you'll ever
see. He just looks like he fell off the truck doing it. He caught punts at
the end of practice today and it looks like he's been doing it for 100
years. He catches the ball well, he back-pedals well. He's just a very,
very gifted young man. If he stays focused, there's no telling what he can
accomplish in his time here at the University of Washington. Certainly
there is a lot of basketball in his blood, and we don't want to dissuade him
from that. Lorenzo Romar and I have talked about him a number of times, and
we both agree that he can help both of our programs and so we're going to do
that. It's going to be fun for me, as a basketball fan, to watch him play,
and hopefully Lorenzo feels the same way about watching him play football.
<< Shelton Sampson: A gifted young man. You can just tell how fast he is. He
is just really, really wired for speed. He is going to be a very explosive
player. Shelton is another guy that can play a number of positions. He
wants to be a tailback and we're certainly going to give him that
opportunity, but he can play a number of places and be an impact guy. Those
are the kind of fun problems for a coach to have.
<< Jordan Slye: We've got him lined up right now as a free safety. He can
probably line up at wide receiver or line up at quarterback and look pretty
natural. He's very smooth and makes things look effortless. He's a very
wiry, a very skilled player. I'm really looking forward to watching and
moving the chess pieces around into positions where they can impact the game
in a very efficient fashion.
<< Isaiah Stanback: I obviously had a lot of wonderful things to say about him
after we finished recruiting him, and I still feel that way. Just a natural
player. He's got lots to learn about playing the position of quarterback
and lots of fundamental things that can be worked on and so forth, but if
you give me and Coach Axman a guy like him with those natural tools, you've
got a chance to put together a masterpiece. I'm excited about watching him
evolve in our program.
<< Felix Sweetman: He is a neat kid that will help us with our depth at
quarterback and service the practice field. Felix is a Johnny-on-the-spot
guy ready to go. His sister is a manager in the program, so it's a family
affair. The "Cat" is ready.
<< Kim Taylor: Kim is another neat story in that he had to wait an entire year
to get here. He was in our recruiting class from a year ago, was unable to
reach the NCAA minimums, kept working, and in his last opportunity got his
test score up to a place where now he can become our partial qualifier. He
is a great kid. Nobody understands how fortunate they are to be here until
they are faced with an alternative plan, so Kim understands how good of a
deal this is. He's very eager to please and get started.
<< Clay Walker: Was the offensive lineman of the year in the state of Arizona.
He is a great looking young man. We think that he's going to be a
tremendous asset to our program.
<< Scott White: A very gifted kid. He was one of those guys that came on an
early visit last year and committed in December and then became like a
coach. He called me almost on a daily basis to see who was in and who
wasn't and so-forth. He has natural leadership skills. He's obviously very
skilled moving laterally. I think he's going to be a quality linebacker.
The other thing that's intriguing about him is that he has the make-up and
the natural ability to be a fullback for us, but right now he's going to be
a linebacker. We're glad that he's come to the University of Washington.
Walkin' in Montlake: There were four walk-ons that participated today: Scott
Ballew, Ryan Campbell, Eric Hass, and Felix Sweetman. Because of roster
limitations, the rest of the walk-ons won't be able to join the team until
the Monday following the first game of the season, when the roster size is
increased to 105.
Center of Attention:
The graduation of center Kyle Benn and move of
sophomore Dan Dicks to guard has left a lack of depth at the center
position. Today Neuheisel stated that he is going to give Stanley Daniels,
Clay Walker, and Robin Kezirian all a chance to play center. "We will find
out who's the most natural center through the course of our drills, and make
that determination at a later date," said Neuheisel.
Neuheisel said today that after having a conversation with
last week, he has decided to give the athletic Floridian
another chance to return to the University of Washington.
"Charles is going to return, and I'm going to watch carefully his progress
in the first two weeks of camp and go from there," said Neuheisel of the
sophomore receiver. "There are two issues with Charles. One is his
commitment to football. It's easy to say one thing and your actions
demonstrate maybe another. And number two, I want to watch closely his
relationship with the rest of our football team. I think Charles would
maybe be the first to tel l you that there is some repairing to do with
relationships. I don't want any one person on our football team to be a
devise influence, it's not worth it. It's up to Charles to make sure that
everyone is excited that he's on the team. The way to do that is for him to
be very consistent and to show that he is as committed, if not more so, than
the next guy.
Ready or Not:
When asked about which players would likely have a chance to
play early in their Husky careers, Neuheisel had this to say: "I'm hoping
that Eddie Jackson is going to contribute right away. When you go and get
junior college players, you foresee a need for them. I'm also hopeful that
we are at the point in our program where we won't need freshmen to play.
There's a need and there's ready. There may be one or two or three or four
guys who just burst onto the scene and you can't keep them off the field
because they are so ready, but that remains to be seen."
Who said it was Two-a-Days:
While still recovering from injuries, Justin
, Pat Reddick
, Kai Ellis
, and Derrick Johnson
will all only practice
only once a day during two-a-days, Neuheisel said, to avoid too much of a
pounding and, in turn, let their bodies heal.
Kai Ellis sat out spring ball while recovering from two swollen
knees. Neuheisel said updated his condition today: "There has been no
swelling in the knee in the past six weeks. There have been no flare-ups.
We are going to use caution and do everything we can to continue for that to
be the case."
Home is where the Heart Is:
After three years at Evergreen State College,
the Huskies will conduct its fall camp at the University of Washington this
year. It's a change of scenery that Coach Neuheisel says has it's
advantages and disadvantages.
"We had a great experience at Evergreen. Unfortunately last year we got
caught in some bad weather and the field was just not ready. Who could
expect it to be during the deluge. It was just a downpour for a number of
days. If that were to occur this year, obviously our field is much better
off given the field turf to handle that, not to mention the indoor practice
facility. That, coupled with our meeting rooms being done and all the ease
of not having to travel, makes more sense to be here. The downside is that
we are going to miss the camaraderie that is almost forced to happen when
you are stuck with one another and there is not much to do off the football
field. Here there is much more familiar surroundings. If they've got free
time, there is not much to keep them from going some place. We're going to
try to encourage that they stay together and that stay on campus so we don't
lose the camaraderie here."