Back-to-back sacks by Chris Stevens and Caesar Rayford to end the game in favor of the Dawgs? I have now concluded that this is the wackiest season EVER in the Pac-10. Arizona, one foot in the grave comes out and beats three very good teams, the last two ranked highly...Oregon State takes out USC...the Huskies, after arguably the worst performance ever in Husky Stadium come back a week later and just make play after play after play. At the very least, Washington can now hold their heads up high, knowing they didn't let WSU win three-straight on their watch.
Does it just feel like the Huskies have been storing away their big plays like acorns, only to use them in this Apple Cup? Pretty amazing stuff.
End of 3:
Again, just a matter of the 'sudden-change' plays going Washington's way, giving the Huskies a double-digit lead. Stevens' big play is the last time a punt was blocked for a TD since Dana Hall did it in the '91 Rose Bowl.
The last series by UW might be the one we talk about if they can hang on to win. Bonnell was able to manufacture a few first downs to get to mid-field, completely changing the field-position game. It also allowed the defense to get some much-needed rest, so they should be ready to go for the rest of the game.
Huskies take the lead courtesy on another sudden-change play courtesy of Carl Bonnell and Marcel Reece. Watching Bonnell, it certainly seems hit or miss, but the ones he's hit on have been huge. And also give credit to the receivers for stepping up and catching the ball and making something happen upfield. Dashon Goldson is not playing right now on defense, not sure where he sustained the injury that's keeping him currently out of the game. Wallace is back.
With UW getting the ball to start the second half - and Louis Rankin starting to heat up a little bit running with the ball - the Huskies just might be able to produce a sustained drive...something they were definitely unable to do against Stanford. The big key to the Huskies' game so far is keeping Bonnell in the game with solid pass protection and good blitz pick-up when the situation requires it. They certainly seem to be very aware of where Mkristo Bruce is at all times on the line of scrimmage.
If UW can keep Carl upright for the rest of the game, it would bode very well for their chances at finding a way to an improbable win.
The 'sudden change' plays are hailing down like rainmakers from Mike Tyson in his prime. Tie score and it looks like UW could have the 'Big Mo' going into intermission. But don't think the Cougars are going to sit on the ball here. I fully expect them to drive downfield and try to get some more points before halftime.
3:24/2: And just like that, a 'sudden change' goes in the opposite direction. The one thing that's been clear so far for Carl Bonnell's 2006 season; you're going to get those plays made by the other team, it's just part of the bad that comes with the good things Carl does. Frankly I'm thrilled he's still standing upright. I figured he'd already be out of the game because of all the pressure WSU is throwing at him.
6:42/2: A bolt of lightning hits and the Huskies tie things up. The only way they can stay in this game is if things go their way on those 'sudden change' plays that Willingham always talks about.
The last thing UW wanted in this game is a long, time-consuming drive for the offense, and that's just what WSU is in the middle of. The Huskies have to take advantage of every opportunity to get the ball back, and right now they aren't doing that.
End of 1: Not sure what Willingham is thinking...50-yarder with the wind is doable, but they let the clock run out without using a timeout, and now won't even try a field goal because it's out of Braunstein's range. That's a time management blunder by the coaches, IMHO.
Still a battle of field position, which I'm sure suits UW just fine...Sean Douglas definitely has some pop in his leg today, hopefully it'll come in handy in situations other than when he's kicking from mid-field. By applying pressure to WSU's first kick, I think it affected how the WSU kicker went after his second kick. It would be nice if UW could get after the Cougars' punter and maybe force a 'big change' play in their favor.
10:48/1: UW got their stop, but couldn't convert as the run game continues to get stuffed on first contact. Michael Bumpus did help WSU get a first down on their first series, so he'll be a player to pay attention to.
Gametime: UW wins toss and defers...Stanback, Goldson, Shackelford and Wallace are captains...team didn't huddle in front of the tunnel, just basically ran straight out. The Husky defense is going to have to be relied upon heavily if the team is going to stay in the game, and nothing would help their cause more than a three-and-out right from the start. Jason Wells is starting for Chris Hemphill.
20 minutes to gametime:
Stuck in the worst press box in the Pac, fingers already starting to go a little cold, and both teams have left the field. Watching Felix Sweetman warm up was interesting...threw a pick during 7-7's but kept talking to Lappano after every throw and by the end it looked like he had a good handle on things...Bonnell looks very good - we'll see how that changes after Mkristo Bruce gets after him for the first time...Husky band now out on the field....giant 'W' facing the WSU students' section...looking for players that may have traveled but won't play, like Isaiah Stanback...he is here...but no Johnny DuRocher.
(11/16/06 4:26:34 pm):
Afternoon practice notes
Not too much...
Half the team was in pads, the other half not - it appeared as if the young players were the ones in pads, so there could have been a bit of the freshman scrimmage they had last year happening, but not during the time the media was allowed to watch.
Scouts from the Titans and 49'ers were there. The only players that were there that definitely appeared to be 'out' were Stanback, JWF, Ala, Kava, Lukevich, Perkins.
(11/16/06 3:36:28 pm):
Willingham afternoon notes
No change in the status of Braunstein and Hemphill.
Jason might start, but should play at least. Donald Butler will play and Luke Kravitz may be available. Donny Mateaki is 'still hobbled', but could possibly play.
Johnny DuRocher is not expected to play, but will travel. Even though UW can travel an unlimited number of players to Pullman, expect the number to not be far off what they would normally travel to a Pac-10 game.
Right now it's Carl Bonnell/Felix Sweetman/Sonny Shackelford at QB.
Said that, since the game is just for pride and bragging rights, it should allow UW 'certain liberties'. 'We'll keep them guessing'.
The team won't do a walkthrough on Friday, but they will visit the facilities and check them out.
Asked about WSU blitzing a lot because of the tenuous situation at QB, and Willingham said that he doesn't expect them to blitz any more than usual, but that's a lot - up to 50 percent.
Asked about Cody Ellis being on the Pac-10 All-Academic team for the third-straight year - the only one in the conference to do that - and he said that Cody has 'really turned it on' in college and done some 'special work'. 'He's set himself up where he could do it four years in a row, which is extremely impressive'.
Asked about yesterday's practice inside, and he said that it went well. 'It went OK, which means it sets us up to get ready to play on Saturday'.
(11/15/06 3:44:35 pm):
Willingham afternoon notes
Team will go inside today, to ensure they get the quality reps they need while preparing for the Apple Cup.
Asked about the frosh scrimmage that they held last year during their bye week, and because they don't have a bye week this year it's been hard to fit activities like that in, but Willingham said they might try to do a little bit of that even today.
Asked about injuries, and he said that basically he'd be surprised if Johnny DuRocher was cleared to play on Saturday, meaning that Carl Bonnell will start, and he'll be backed up by Felix Sweetman. Normally visiting teams can travel 64 players, but because this is UW's traditional rival Willingham said the team could travel as many as they wanted to.
Asked about having any qualms with putting in Sweetman if he has to, and Willingham said no. 'It's always exciting when someone gets their first chance to really play a game. But I think Felix will settle down and go after it with everything he's got.'
Asked about the mood of the team bouncing back Tuesday, and Willingham said that he felt they have bounced back well, having a good practice.
Asked whether Isaiah Stanback would be in the stands or on the field on Saturday, and Willingham said he would be on the sideline because he's a team captain. 'It's nice to have him there to have another set of eyes for the QB and he can communicate to them too.'
Asked if the players need any extra motivation from the coaches for Apple Cup, and Willingham said that except for the frosh that haven't been around it, the others understand the nature of the game. 'It's hard to miss the magnitude of this game, it's all around us'.
Asked about Stanford, and he said that they just didn't get that spark, the energy from the offense at key times to get them over the hump. 'And in games like that, you always have to eliminate the turnovers. We've had way too many interceptions lately.'
Asked about the status of Michael Houston, and Willingham said that he's still suspended, but he's attending class and doing everything else and still a part of the team - he just isn't able to practice.
Asked about whether or not Braunstein or Hemphill would be going to Pullman, and Willingham said that if there was a change in the status of either player, he'd let us know.
(11/15/06 2:21:58 pm):
Spoke with LB Kyle Trew...
...and being a born-and-bred western Washingtonian, he has very early recollections of the Apple Cup and the rivalry. Said that at his elementary school they'd have Apple Cup assemblies, where teachers would dress up as Coug fans or UW fans. 'I had a teacher, Mrs. G, and she was a Cougar, and she would get into fights with another teacher who was a Husky, pranks and all that kind of stuff. But it was all in good fun.
He said now that he's been playing in the Apple Cup, he understands just how emotional, physical and intense the game is. 'It's all about pride and showing your true colors'.
Asked, as a fourth-year junior, about what went on with Chris Hemphill and Mike Braunstein, and he gave his own experience of dealing with the 'new regime'. He came in under Rick Neuheisel and then Keith Gilbertson, both said that the players would get five years.
Said he redshirted as a frosh, and then played special teams under Gilby. Last year he didn't play under Willingham, so he wasn't sure what to do. 'I wasn't sure if I should transfer or stick it out.'
He also said that when Willingham made it clear to the players that a fifth year was not guaranteed, he wondered if he was going to be asked back. And he continued to wonder all the way up to the Stanford game, but once he realized his name wasn't called that he was going to be coming back.
Apparently those that were 'on the bubble' were the ones that Willingham took meetings with, so as long as you didn't have a meeting with him, you were in good shape and had nothing to worry about. Trew never felt like it was ever going to be a question for him, because he's done everything the new coaches have asked of him.
'They gave us a list of four things...to do well in school, to be a good person, to do what the coaches ask, and to be a good person in the community'.
'Everything they asked me to do was reasonable.'
(11/15/06 2:06:07 pm):
Spoke with DB Coach J.D. Williams...
...and I asked him about Matt Mosley and the progress he's made, and JD said that he's 'found a home' at DB and not a moment too soon, as he's going to be expected to contribute next year. 'He came in 14 practices behind, and he's had to play catch up in terms of technique and terminology'. That being said, Williams said Mosley reminds him of a shorter Harrison Smith, the DB for Cal. 'Matt has long arms and he knows how to use them. He just needs to get stronger'.
Asked about how his DB's have improved over the year, and he said he couldn't be prouder of them. 'There's been a lot of adversity for them and they've given me everything they've got. Dashon (Goldson), C.J. (Wallace), Jason Wells - what can you say about those kids. Matt Fountaine had an injury he's had to fight through...they've battled for us every week.'
Asked about how the expectations put on the players from the coaches is starting to take root, and he said it's definitely happening. 'They are always in watching film right now and they're in at 6:30 lifting. We're going to be good. It's just a matter of growing. It's a process.'
Asked about Chris Hemphill, and whether or not his inclusion as a senior against Stanford has affected his performance, and Williams said that he hoped it hasn't. 'Whatever happens, the next guy always has to step up and play. If Chris wasn't in the game, it would be Jason Wells making the tackles. Or someone else. That's just how it works'.
(11/15/06 1:41:02 pm):
Spoke with DC Kent Baer...
...and he said that when WSU has their two receivers healthy (Jason Hill and Michael Bumpus), they are pretty good. And even if they aren't 100 percent, he expects WSU to throw more vertical routes at the Huskies than what they've seen in the last six games combined. 'They've got a lot of skill talent'.
Asked if that might be a decent matchup for the Huskies considering how well the DB's have been playing the pass of late and he said that he likes where the DB's are at, but 'we have no depth in the secondary. We've been able to get through the last couple of games without losing anyone and we are going to get Jason Wells back - probably not at 100 percent, but he'll be OK'.
Also asked about Donald Butler and Baer said that he's not full speed but that he should be able to play. Same with Donny Mateaki. 'That one is probably a game-time decision'.
Asked about Alex Brink's game last year and Baer said that he had a 'heck of a game'. 'There are some routes in that system where, if you aren't dead-on, it's going to get intercepted. He's had a good year and he's a tremendous football player'.
Asked about how much of the Apple Cup is going to come down to will because both teams are pretty beat up, and he said it's like the old-school attitude of 'there's no such thing as an injury in your last game'. 'You'll probably see a lot of guys play on Saturday that normally wouldn't play if it was a game in the middle of the season just because it's a rivalry game and it means so much and they can get healthy in the off-season'.
He also talked about how, in Arizona's case, for instance - a bye week allowed them to get healthy and basically turn their season around. Same with the Portland State game Oregon played. 'It wasn't a bye week, but that kind of game allowed them to play players that they normally wouldn't play.'
Asked about Stanford, and Baer said his team gave great effort. 'Almost the first thing we grade when we see film is loafs, and there weren't many, if any.' He added that he was disappointed UW didn't match Stanford 'play for play', but the defense probably played as hard as they have all season.
Asked about the young offensive linemen that his first team has had to go against, and Baer had nothing but praise. 'A year ago they weren't giving us what we wanted to see, but this year it's like night and day. They have all done a great job.' He added that he remembers having to line up as a frosh against a SR All-American and how daunting it was. 'They are a very good young group, but there's only 5-6 of them. We need about 5-6 more of them'.
Asked about his new DL, and he mentioned De'Shon Matthews, Derek Kosub, and Cameron Elisara, and how they all have the capability to help next year. Also mentioned Matt Houston and Matt Mosley as guys that are getting better and better. 'We don't have as many as we'd like to have.'
Said in general, the guys that are coming in are getting with the program quicker than last year's class because it took a while for the team to understand just how fast the coaches want to run practice.
Asked about motivating players during a rivalry week, and he said that if you have 'any thread of competitve nature in you' you should be up for this game. 'If not, you shouldn't be here, just because this is a big deal to so many people around here'.
(11/14/06 4:34:45 pm):
Afternoon practice notes:
Braunstein was at practice today, joking around and certainly not looking the part of a disgruntled ex-Husky. Chris Hemphill was also there, working out and practicing normally.
Victory Club - Dan Howell, Tahj Bomar and Jordan Reffett.
Jordan White-Frisbee was there on crutches, with his right foot pretty bandaged up. Apparently his most recent surgery was a success.
Donald Butler, Jason Wells and Luke Kravitz were all practicing.
(11/14/06 3:08:30 pm):
Spoke with OL Head Coach Mike Denbrock...
...and he said that all the offensive coaches have 'scrutinized' every detail of the run game the past few weeks to make sure they are doing everything they can to get the run game going.
Said that Erik Berglund and Casey Bulyca are 'close' to getting to the point where they can come into the lineup without any dropoff, but even with as much of a physical toll as the season has taken, the team still has their best chance of winning with the five that have played all season long.
Asked about the young guys (Habben, Tolar and Sedillo) and Denbrock said he 'couldn't be more pleased with how they are developing and the way they are practicing and picking up schemes', adding that he feels all should be in a position to contribute and compete for starting spots in 2007.
Said that Cody Habben has made a lot of progress and he 'has a chance to be a solid football player'. 'I look for great things from him'.
Said that Ryan Tolar has an 'attitude and approach' to the game that he likes. 'He's also done a good job of changing his body. He knows now that he has to be athletic and physical to have success at this level'.
Said that even though Matt Sedillo was a late commit to the program last year, he never had any doubts as to his abilities as a football player, and all he needs to do is to continue to grow and develop - the ethic is already there.
He added at the end that he expects to take a 'good number' of kids for the next recruiting class, and numbers for next year dictate that they can't make a mistake with anyone'.
(11/14/06 2:53:23 pm):
Spoke with OG Stanley Daniels...
...and he said that the Apple Cup is all about 'pride'. 'It's a pride thing, that's all it comes down to.' He added that the game is always about preparation, how hard you work in practice and how well you execute the gameplan. 'We're going to try and bring the Apple Cup back to Seattle and win a game'.
Asked about the Hemphill/Braunstein situation and whether that had anything to do with the team's poor play on Saturday and he said that it probably had something to do with it. 'But you have to prepare as an individual'.
He added that when he came here he was recruited with the promise of five years to get his education and 'to play great football'. 'Coach Willingham has his policy and we respect his policy, but it's unfortunate that he chose to enforce his policy on the guys that he did'.
Asked about possibly seeing Felix Sweetman in the huddle on Saturday and he said that it would be great. 'We call him 'Herc' for Hercules because he's so strong, and you wouldn't expect that out of a quarterback. I hope he gets his shot to play, especially after what we've gone through as the '02 class.'
Asked about the new guys coming in and how they've done and Daniels said that he has been very impressed with alll of them.
Tolar - 'He's really strong and athletic and he's going to be good. He's one of the strongest squatters on the team, and you normally don't see that out of freshmen.'
Habben - 'He's really athletic and very smart too. He's also got a little bit of a mean streak in him.'
Sedillo - 'He's got that mean streak too, but that's because he's a San Diego guy'.
Said he's also been very impressed with Cameron Elisara. 'He's the one I go up against in scout, and he's made things tough for me. During the Cal week, I told him about Brandon Mebane and what he does. It felt like I was going up against Mebane!'
Also talked about De'Shon Matthews and Derek Kosub, and he thinks they are going to be good too. Said they call Kosub 'Paul Wall', but couldn't say why, other than 'it rhymes'. 'He's going to be really good. He's a guiet guy, but he's really big.'
(11/14/06 2:41:48 pm):
Spoke with OC Tim Lappano...
...and he said that Carl Bonnell should be OK right now, said that he's getting more range of motion in his leg and it's starting to loosen up.
Johnny DuRocher will not practice today and Lappano said that it wasn't a small concussion he suffered. 'He took a pretty good one'. He has not been cleared, and won't be if symptoms don't go away.
Right now Felix Sweetman is backing Bonnell up, and the coaches are also making sure that Sonny Shackelford gets some reps 'as an emergency situation'. 'We want to make sure he gets a couple of reps so he knows what to do'.
He added about Felix that he'd love to get him in the game regardless on Saturday because 'he's been so good for us'. Said that his work with the scout team pre-dates him coming to UW, and he's 'the epitome of a team guy. The game is so important to him'.
Said that since the forecast Wednesday is for a 'monsoon', there's a good chance the team will practice inside then, but they'll practice outside on Tuesday. He said that the forecast for Pullman on Saturday is '40's and windy'.
Asked about having confidence putting Sweetman in the game, and Lappano said yes. 'It'll be fun and interesting. He's a competitor and a winner and he believes in himself. He throws the ball well, but his mobility hurts him a little bit.'
Said that the Apple Cup is a 'big deal' to all the in-state kids and 'it's our bowl game. That's how we have to spin it. It can be a great springboard into our off-season and it can also be a great springboard for our recruiting.'
Said that, for the offense to have success on Saturday, it all starts with the run. Said that WSU is only giving up 104 yards per game, and even though they are 7th in the conference in total defense, they are 2nd in red zone defense because they come after you. Said that with WSU's injuries, they don't know if the Cougars are going to line up in a 4-3 or an odd-man front, because they are expected to lose one DL but also expected to get back two more for the game. 'Because we don't know what they'll do up front, that means we have to prepare for more schemes.'
If they see the odd-man front, the work they put in against Stanford should help them because they've seen it recently. 'It won't be brand-new and with the fixes we've made it should be smoother'.
Said that losing Isaiah Stanback completely changed how defenses came at UW. 'He posed a lot of different problems for defensive coordinators. You didn't see a lot of man against him because if things broke down and they were man-on-man, he'd go for 30 yards. Now teams are lining up in the box and daring us to throw. And we have to make plays.'
He also said that 'we have to be at least a little stubborn with the run' or they become way too one-dimensional. 'We can't check out of it all the time' Added that they had opportunities for players to step up and make plays against Stanford, but they 'broke down' in a couple of areas.
Said that this week the team should be very loose and just 'let it go'. 'We're pretty beat up, but they are too.'
Asked about some of the frosh that have been toiling behind the scenes, and he said that he's been very impressed with D'Andre Goodwin. 'They call him 'The Flea' because he's as quick as a flea and he can really get in and out of breaks and create separation.'
He also mentioned Cody Habben and Ryan Tolar as two frosh OL that have impressed. '(Kent) Baer said that they have really picked it up and have given the defense great looks.' He also mentioned Paul Homer and what he's already done for the team this year.
Asked about JR Hasty, and Lappano said that he looks good. 'I think he's lost a little bit of weight and he looks to be in good shape.'
(11/14/06 2:23:43 pm):
Spoke with QB Felix Sweetman...
..it was pretty cool. Fifth-year walk-on QB and every member of the media requested an interview.
He started off by saying he suffered a little stinger playing special teams against Stanford, but it was 'nothing major'. Seemed like he was fine today in talking with him.
He was asked about the play in which Johnny DuRocher had to come out with a concussion, and he said that he was told to warm up and get ready, so he did. 'I got in the huddle and was about to read the play off my (wrist) band, but then Carl (Bonnell) came back in.' Added that he had very mixed emotions, because he was glad to see Carl back and healthy enough to play, but at the same time he was seconds away from fulfilling a dream.
'It's always been a dream of mine to play. I came in as a walk-on and I've always been at the bottom. I've been going to games here since I was six or seven. I used to sit in Section 8 in the bowl.' Said that just thinking about getting a chance to play in the Apple Cup makes him lose sleep. 'I can't eat either'.
Since DuRocher isn't going to practice Tuesday, the coaches are telling Felix to prepare just like he was going to play, so he spent a bunch of the day Monday watching film and then talking with UW OC Tim Lappano about the game plan and then he spent Tuesday morning watching more film.
To play Saturday would be 'awesome', according to Sweetman, espcially for his family, who have been to every game. Said that these last five years have been the 'fastest five years of my life' and that if you can't get up for the Apple Cup, 'something is wrong with you'.
Talked about his career at Lakes HS under Dave Miller and how he could have played at a place like Central Washington and been debt-free, but he wanted to be a Husky. 'My parents always told me that the money will come and go, but you can't buy the memories I have of those guys in the locker room. I don't regret my decision at all. I love Washington and I love my teammates and I love being a Husky.'
He got pretty emotional when talking about why he wanted to come to UW.
Said the final play at Stanford was the third play he's ever run in his career. He also took a play at Arizona and also Idaho. Said that it's also been interesting imitating guys like Matt Leinart and Aaron Rodgers on the scout team.
(11/14/06 1:23:51 pm):
Spoke with TE Johnie Kirton...
...and he said that he's expecting to get more runs this weekend in the Apple Cup, based on what he did this past weekend. 'I hope they try to use me in all aspects. We want to make them remember this Apple Cup'.
Last week he even practiced a little bit with the scout team, and he said that he's expecting to probably practice half at RB and half at TE this week. Said he wants to remain as versatile as possible, because it helps get him on the field to make a big play and it also will help his stock as an athlete at the next level.
Said that moving back and playing running back hasn't been that tough a transition, because 'once you learn the offense, knowing each position is pretty easy. But to earn that spot, you have to be consistent the whole week of practice'.
(11/13/06 5:41:39 pm):
Spoke with QB Carl Bonnell...
...And he said that the team didn't come out the way they should have against Stanford. 'I'm not sure you can pinpoint just one thing. I wasn't very accurate during the game, so I need to go back and work on that and get some completions'.
Asked about the time when DuRocher went down against Stanford, and he said that even before that the coaches and trainers were telling him to stay on the bike and stay warm and ready to go. 'I didn't know what the coaches were thinking, but I was in constant contact with the trainers, and I told them that I wasn't 100 percent, but I could go back in the game if need be.'
Asked what's hurting more - shoulder or thigh - and he said that his thigh has had a little swelling, but it should be OK in a couple of days. 'The shoulder, I've been dealing with that for a month now, so it's not too bad. I have no doubt that I'll be playing this weekend - whether it's at 75 percent or 100 percent.'
Asked about whether or not the physical barrier has been difficult for him to overcome ever since he went down with the shoulder sprain against Cal, and he said that it might play a part in it, but for the most part the opportunities have been there to complete passes and move the offense, and he just hasn't gotten it done.
Asked about what the Apple Cup means for him - especially for an in-state player whose brother went to WSU and who also started his career at WSU, and he said that it might be actually easier for him to play because of the stakes. 'Just having a lot of motiviation to play my best...my family will be there and I think most people know my story. I expect that I'll get some ribbing from their fans, and it should be an exciting game.'
Added that he really didn't think about Apple Cup too much when he left WSU for UW. Added that he doesn't think that a lot of players like to be in the role of spoiler, because that means you haven't been winning. 'For the most part, we have to look at ourselves and we have a lot to improve on'.
He also added that this rivalry is such that it could be the 'best team in the country playing the worst and it's still going to be a close game, just because it always is'.
(11/13/06 5:28:56 pm):
Spoke with S C.J. Wallace...
...and he said that he didn't expect to 'go out that way' in his final game at Husky Stadium. 'It was hard. It hurt. You have to be a man, learn from it and come back for the biggest game of the season, which is the Apple Cup'.
Asked about resiliency, and he said that they looked over the Stanford film, got their things corrected. 'We felt we played really good, we just gave up a couple of big plays.'
'Just knowing what we can do, we did a lot of good things in the game. We just need to shut out the big play. We're not going to put anything on anyone else though - we're just as responsible as the offense. We can score too'.
Asked about making that decision in high school, coming out of Sacramento, and he said that one of the biggest reasons he came to UW was Rick Neuheisel, but when he came up that summer it was 'frustrating' because that's when Neuheisel was leaving. 'I just stuck with the program and I grew to love it. I wouldn't change it for the world. I love my teammates and coaches and I love Husky football.'
(11/13/06 5:22:50 pm):
Spoke with LB Scott White...
...and he said that when he was walking off the field against Stanford ('it was pretty empty') he said he felt a lot of anger and disappointment at the way they played.
'Hopefully we can ride off to the sunset (with a win) and I can get ready for the next phase in my life.' He's hoping it'll be football.
Asked about motivation to knock WSU out of a bowl, and White said that it's more about getting a win for themselves. 'It really springboards us in recruiting. It gives us a better feeling going into the off-season, it gives you a lot more positive momentum going into winter conditioning and then into spring'.
Asked about the resiliency, and he said that he's already started the process of getting ready for WSU. 'Stanford is over with. Film review was bad, but it's never as bad as you think it might be. On the defensive side of the ball, we did some good things. It was nice to see Tahj (Bomar) probably have his best game of his career'.
Said WSU is explosive passing the ball downfield and do some things in the running game that can hurt UW, so they have to be ready to go.'
(11/13/06 5:17:23 pm):
Spoke with S Dashon Goldson...
...and he said that Stanford came ready to play, and UW's defense came out ready to play too, but they just couldn't stop the one big play when they needed to. 'All those yards (Richard) Sherman got were on three plays. Before that, they had nothing. But he came out and made those big plays'.
But because they did play pretty well against Stanford, Goldson thinks that there should be some momentum that can carry over to the Apple Cup. 'We need to shut them out'.
Asked if the team can bounce back, and he said yes. 'Without a doubt. And not just because they might be able to go to a bowl, but this is WSU. We are talking about Washington and WSU football right now. This is the Apple Cup. The first year I wasn't sure about how big it was, but now I know.'
Asked about how much fuel was put on the rivalry with the skirmish that happened at the end of last year's game, and he said 'a lot'. 'They came out and they danced on our 'W', and they remember that and we remember that. We're going to bring our 'A' game this weekend'.
Asked about the choices he had coming out of Coffeyville JC in Kansas and how he ultimately chose the school he signed with, Goldson said he has no regrets. 'I love being a Husky and I'm going to always be one. I don't regret that at all'.
(11/13/06 4:56:02 pm):
Spoke with DT Jordan Reffett...
And he said that losing last year to WSU stung a little more just because 'they are our neighbors' and since he grew up on the east side he grew up around a lot of WSU fans. 'Even my family, so it's a big thing to keep the Huskies on top and reverse this trend of losing games to the Cougs'.
Asked about Stanford, and he said that it was 'just an unfortunate game, one of the lowest points since I've been here. Stanford was excited to come here and play and they made plays and we didn't. We couldn't get it done'.
Asked about resiliency, and he said 'without a doubt'. 'It's tough, but in college football a lot of crazy things happen and the Cougs are looking for a bowl game and we're looking to finish our season with a win. It should be a good game.'
He added that it's important for a team that can't go to a bowl game to act as spoiler for someone else. 'Right now we'd love to spoil the Cougs chances of getting to a bowl game'.
Asked about why his game has suddenly shot off the charts, and he said that he's just been working hard and doing 'what I'm coached to do and trusting my coaches'. 'I play hard all the time, I think that's my key attributes'.
(11/13/06 4:10:32 pm):
Spoke with WR Sonny Shackelford...
...and he was asked about possibly seeing Felix Sweetman on Saturday, and he said that he's a good QB, and while walkons don't get the 'limelight', he has a good arm and knows the offense. 'I trust he'll get me the ball. He's a good QB. If he gets a chance to shine, you never know what happens.'
Asked about Stanford, and he said that the defense put the offense in great positions, but they would just go three-and-out. 'We just played terrible football on offense, but we have another week to practice, to watch the film and work out the kinks and come out against WSU and try and put a hurt on them'.
Asked about the news about Braunstein and Hemphill affecting the team's performance against Stanford, and he said that it didn't because they are still playing at UW, and they are 'still part of the family. That had nothing to do with what happened in the game.'
Asked about getting that game out of their system, and Shackelford said that they've lost two in a row to WSU and they want to bring the Apple Cup back to Seattle.
(11/13/06 4:00:47 pm):
Spoke with RB Kenny James...
...and he said that 'if you can't get ready for this game, you shouldn't be playing'. 'This game means a lot to this program and a lot to the players. The seniors have a chance to finish out the right way and the underclassmen have a chance to get thing off to a good start for 2007.'
He added that he's already ready to play the Apple Cup. 'This is not just a regular game. This is a rivalry game.'
Asked about the run game, and he said that it's a 'mind thing. You're either going to get it done or you aren't'. Said the rest of the offense suffers when you can't run. 'My job is to make sure it doesn't happen again this week'.
Said that spoiling WSU's chances of maybe going to a bowl game would be sweet, but they are more focused on doing what they can do to win. 'We've left a lot of points and a lot of yards on the field some games. And this is a last chance for us to show people what we can do and have the seniors leave right'.
Asked about how much of the offense's current struggles had to do with Isaiah Stanback getting hurt, and he said that anytime you lose someone like Isaiah, it's going to hurt, but 'we have players that can step up. Carl did a great job of stepping up and we need to have players that can rally around that'.
Asked about having any regrets coming to UW, and he said 'none at all. It's been a crazy five years, but I wouldn't change it for anything. I don't regret anything. I enjoyed playing up here and playing at Husky Stadium and I just want to finish it off right with a win'.
Asked about high schoolers that are in the position he was coming out of high school thinking about UW, and he said that the program is on the way up. 'Coach Willingham has done a great job of recruiting and we have the right players and the right tools to get the job done, and we should be competing for a Pac-10 championship in a couple of years and maybe even a national championship, you never know. It can only get better from here.'
(11/13/06 3:41:05 pm):
Spoke with LB Tahj Bomar...
...and he said that the team was ready to go, but for some reason couldn't get it done against Stanford. Said that this is the last time to come out with a victory and get things started for next year. 'That's the only way to get the approval of your fans is to get a win'.
Said that it's movtivating that WSU could win three straight. 'Last year was a tough game. They made some plays we didn't.
He said that all the players that have played in the Apple Cup make it special - Kai Ellis, Cody Pickett, Reggie Williams, Jason Gesser. 'That's what makes it so good is all the great players and great games that have gone down to the wire.'
(11/13/06 3:21:38 pm):
Tyrone Willingham press notes:
He said that, starting this week, 'we play the biggest game of the season'. He added that, when he got to Washington, he was told the Apple Cup 'is it. Everything is either UW or it's Cougar. Everything is clearly defined. This is a great week to get our team back on track.'
Asked about Juan Garcia, and he said that if you know where Juan has been and how much he has overcome, it's a 'fantastic story'. He added that, with as much as Juan has played this year, he's like a 'quarterback on the line'.
Asked if this was the toughest job he's had since becoming a head coach, he said yes.
Asked about Stanford, and he said that after film study, 'it was obvious. We had opportunities to take advantage and I could have put my team in a couple of better positions.'
Asked about bouncing back again after another loss, and he said that he hopes they are not a fragile team, and thinks they are capable of continuing to battle all the way to the end. "I think there's some passion and fight left in our team. We need to make sure we send our seniors out the right way and also kick things off for 2007.'
Asked about defensive play, and he said that if you take away their three big plays, Stanford has 106 total yards on Saturday. 'The effort was there in places'.
Asked about the health of Carl Bonnell and Johnny DuRocher, and Willingham said that if they were practicing Monday, DuRocher would not suit up. He was taken to the hospital for a CAT scan after suffering a concussion Saturday. Bonnell suffered a thigh bruise in the first quarter, but came back in to finish the game after DuRocher got hurt.
Asked if senior walk-on Felix Sweetman could start the game on Saturday, and Willingham said that it would all depend on Carl and Johnny and whether or not they'll be available.
Asked about the 'fourth-year redshirt' situation with Mike Braunstein and Chris Hemphill, and Willingham said that when he first came to UW, he spelled out exactly what he expected out of everyone on the team. There were four things:
1) Be a championship football team
2) Be a championship student ('I don't want that to sound like each player has to be a 4.0 student, but they need to be the best they can be')
3) Be a championship person
4) Be young men that have fun the right way
'I expect 100 percent in each area'. 'If my timing was off in delivering those announcements, it was only because they should have the opportunity to walk on the field for the last time. I don't want to ever be dishonest with our young men.'
He said that scholarships are renewable, so there's no guarantee.
When asked if it looked like he had singled out Braunstein and Hemphill, Willingham said no. He said that talks with all the players in that situation had been going on, for as long as a year ago. 'You never want to deprive them of an opportunity'.
He was also asked about how his policy toward a fifth year might impact recruiting, and he said that 'everything is clearly articulated in the recruiting process and clearly laid out, including the goals and expectations. We are upfront and straightforward about it, and it's part of the reason recruits look at us'.
Said that for the right way for this team to go out this year is to do it with a win, no matter what the circumstances are. 'Overcoming great odds is one of life's great lessons'.
Asked about the Hawaii game, and would he want it back now. He said that if he knew then what he knows now, he'd consider it, but he felt that the bowl was the right goal then and he felt that he made the right decision for the team.
Asked about Stanley Daniels and he said that he's shown a lot of toughness and desire being one of those lineman that's basically played the entire season. Added that once he really got to know Stanley and learn about his story, how hard his upbringing was and everything else, he's made 'tremendous growth'. 'His ability to work with the system and have confidence in the system means that he's really grown. I love what I've seen out of him. His outlook on the world is much different now. He's lost that cynical edge and is now seeing a broader perspective.'
Asked about Washington State and Willingham said that he sees a good, solid defense that's anchored by a 'spectacular' player in Mkristo Bruce. 'He's definitely one of the better players in the conference'. Said that Alex Brink is an 'all-around good player, and except for losing a couple of very good receivers (Hill and Bumpus), they are a solid offense.
Asked about Bill Doba, and he said that he knows Bill 'fairly well'. 'When I think of him I think of this past summer, and the difficulty he had. He's been a great example to me and to his team of someone who has battled adversity. He's straightforward, humorous and very competitive.'
Asked if it meant anything to him that a UW win might deny WSU a bowl game, and he said that he'd 'like to be able to do that'.
Asked about UW's lack of a running game during the last half of the season, and he said that 'our timing has just been off a little bit. We're not maintaining our blocks and not being as good as we need to be.'
Asked about Johnie Kirton and continuing to explore options in the run game with him, and Willingham said that they would be doing that,. 'We're trying to find that kick or punch to get us going, but he can't do it alone. It has to be a total team effort'.
Asked if, looking back on things, is the program where it should be, and he said that if everything had broken the way he wanted things to go, UW could have been a bowl team last year, and since they haven't gone to a bowl game in two years, things are definitely not where they should be. 'But our focus right now has to be on the Apple Cup'.
There was only one Pepsi Player of the Week - Tahj Bomar. Service team awards went to Desmond Davis (Special Teams) and Josh Gage (Defense)
(11/13/06 2:35:12 pm):
Bill Doba Press Notes:
Opened by saying that they are a little banged up but 'that's football, and we can't use that as an excuse.' Added that they've been beaten five times but those five games were to good teams. Said he could see the ASU game coming because of their OL and how they've improved over the year. Said for Apple Cup week, they are going to try and get healthy. 'It's a big game for us and we know it is for them too.'
Asked about losing Jason Hill and Michael Bumpus and he said that Bumpus is going to try and test his ankle by practicing on Tuesday and Hill is going to do the same on Wednesday. 'Neither one is expected to be very effective', he said if either one was to play in the Apple Cup.
He added that Ropati Pitoitua and A'i Ahmu are going to try and get back this week if they can.
Asked about maybe getting to amped up to play the Apple Cup, and he said that the first time he was head coach they tried to downplay it, 'and we got our butts kicked that year. I got some hate mail.'
Added that they need to find a happy medium so that their guys aren't flat by the time the game starts, but also understand that this game is definitely not the same compared to other games. Made a point of saying that his coaches were watching UW QB Carl Bonnell throw a poor pass and they said that he wouldn't do that in the Apple Cup. 'Everyone always seems to play better'.
Asked about Washington, and he said that he feels DE Greyson Gunheim is an 'all-conference' defensive end. 'Anyone that plays under Randy Hart has got to be tough'. He added that so much of the game on Saturday is going to depend on who has the mental edge - 'who is going to be up, be sharp.'
Added that the Stanford game, the Cardinal only had one bubble screen and one interception for a touchdown and that really was it. 'Anybody can beat anybody in this league. You have be ready every week. And on top of that, you just have to have plain old luck. Things like dropped passes and whatnot cost the Huskies last week, and it's hard to explain. It happens on this level just like it happens at the next level.'
Asked about the maturity of his team this year, and he said that last year, when they were close and could feel a game slipping away, it was like 'oh,oh...here we go again'. 'We had to try and get past that, and what helped more than anything else was the Baylor game. To go on a game-winning drive like that helped us prove to ourselves that we could finish. We've put an emphasis on 'finish' during the spring, this fall and the season. We also have more experience than a year ago, which helps.'
Asked about a possible 'three-peat' against Washington, and Doba said he would talk about it with his guys and he expects Willingham to talk about it with his guys. 'It would definitely be something to tell your grandkids about'.
Asked about Alex Brink, and he said that he's 'not 6-8 or flashy', but he makes good reads and checks and gets the offense into good plays and he throws a very catchable ball. He's got enough arm strength to force defenses to respect the long pass, and he's a good leader.
Asked about the post-game 'skirmish' between both teams after last year's Apple Cup, and he said that last year there were a couple of guys that were taunting and probably responsible for most of it and they are gone. 'We want it to be first-class.' Added that if it appeared as if his team was being more than just a little exuberant, it was because it was a big win for them.
(11/6/06 2:03:00 pm):
Washington State's two-deep depth chart, as announced by WSU's Sports Information Department:
OFFENSE SE 86 Charles Dillon 6-0/190/JR 15 Benny Ward 6-3/186/SO 22 Michael Willis 6-2/213/SO LT 70 Bobby Byrd 6-7/316/JR 72 Derek Hunter 6-3/280/SO LG 73 Sean O'Connor 6-6/290/SR 63 Justin Luafalemana 6-0/275/SR C 69 Kenny Alfred 6-2/293/rFR 61 Josh Duin 6-4/306/SR RG 60 Dan Rowlands 6-5/290/SO 54 Jacob McKinney 6-3/278/SO RT 55 Charles Harris 6-6/320/SR 76 Micah Hannam 6-4/292/FR TE 80 Cody Boyd 6-8/262/SR 41 Jed Collins 6-2/251/JR 46 Tony Thompson 6-2/237/rFR 47 Jesse Taylor 6-3/250/SR 48 Ben Woodard 6-5/249/SO SB 5 Michael Bumpus 6-0/195/JR (INJ) 2 Chris Jordan 6-0/213/SR (INJ) QB 10 Alex Brink 6-3/215/JR 17 Gary Rogers 6-7/234/SO 18 Cole Morgan 6-2/198/rFR 8 Arkelan Hall 6-1/203/rFR RB 31 Dwight Tardy 5-11/212/rFR 20 Kevin McCall 5-11/218/JR WR 4 Brandon Gibson 6-1/204/SO 3 Finas Rabb III 6-6/190/JR 84 Scott Selby 6-5/231/SO DEFENSE WE 94 Mkristo Bruce 6-7/249/SR 93 Kevin Kooyman 6-5/236/FR LT 40 Bryan Tarkington 6-4/320/JR 75 Ropati Pitoitua 6-8/291/JR 65 Adam Hineline 6-2/305/SO RT 40 Aaron Johnson 6-7/317/JR 75 Matt Eichelberger 6-4/312/SO SE 9 Lance Broadus 6-2/219/JR 96 Mike Graise 6-3/214/SO SLB 42 Scott Davis 5-11/230/SR 45 Andy Mattingly 6-4/229/FR MLB 52 Greg Trent 5-11/219/SO 43 Brian Hall 6-3/245/SR WLB 49 Steve Dildine 6-1/240/SR 38 Cory Evans 6-1/227/SO 44 Alex Hamill 6-0/222/SO RCB 12 Tyron Brackenridge 6-0/186/SR 27 Ryan Kensok 5-8/164/SO 32 Markus Dawes 6-0/196/JR SS 37 Eric Frampton 6-0/202/SR 24 Christian Bass 6-2/213/JR FS 23 Husain Abdullah 6-1/178/JR 26 Xavier Hicks 6-0/196/rFR LCB 25 Don Turner 6-1/197/JR 28 Brian Williams 6-1/167/JR 36 B.T. Walker 5-10/175/JR SPECIALISTS KO 19 R. Abdollmohammadi 6-0/228/JR PK 19 R. Abdollmohammadi 6-0/228/JR P 8 Darryl Blunt 6-0/184/SO 32 Reid Forrest 6-2/175/FR LS 46 Tony Thompson 6-2/237/rFR 59 Peter Hill 6-1/233/SO HLD 17 Gary Rogers 6-7/234/SO PR 86 Charles Dillon 6-0/190/JR KR 4 Brandon Gibson 6-1/204/SO 86 Charles Dillon 6-0/190/JR
(11/13/06 10:05:00 am):
Here are the official Washington Huskies two-deeps for the Washington State game, as released by UW Media Relations.
OFFENSE WR 5 Anthony Russo 5-11/185/JR 18 Corey Williams 6-2/195/JR 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 86 Michael Gottlieb 6-5/245/SO 37 Johnie Kirton 6-3/270/SO 81 Robert Lewis 6-5/245/SO 92 Walter Winter 6-5/250/SO QB 11 Carl Bonnell 6-3/210/JR 12 Johnny DuRocher 6-4/225/JR 17 Felix Sweetman 6-2/225/SR 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 30 Paul Homer 6-0/225/FR WR 21 Sonny Shackelford 6-2/180/SR 29 Cody Ellis 6-0/185/JR 83 Marlon Wood 5-10/185/JR 3 Marcel Reece 6-3/240/JR DEFENSE DE 66 Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 6-4/245/rFR 85 Caesar Rayford 6-7/242/JR DT 95 Jordan Reffett 6-6/295/JR 91 Donny Mateaki 6-5/285/SR DT 74 Wilson Afoa 6-3/290/JR 77 Erick Lobos 6-3/285/JR DE 7 Greyson Gunheim 6-5/265/JR 91 Donny Mateaki 6-5/285/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 22 E.J. Savannah 6-2/222/rFR FS 3 Chris Hemphill 6-5/235/JR 26 Jason Wells 6-2/210/SO SS 1 C.J. Wallace 6-0/210/SR 23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2/205/SO CB 8 Dashon Goldson 6-2/205/SR 6 Matt Fountaine 5-11/180/SR CB 28 Roy Lewis 5-11/187/JR 8 Dashon Goldson 6-2/205/SR SPECIALISTS P 17 Sean Douglas 6-2/230/SR PK 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 83 Marlon Wood 5-10/185/JR FR 83 Marlon Wood 5-10/185/JR 21 Sonny Shackelford 6-2/180/SR