Gunheim ready to make most of senior year

It's seemingly become a concern year after year for the Huskies. Can they generate the pressure necessary to take the pressure off of a young a depleted secondary. 2007 will be no different, but returning for Washington is a ton of experience up front and they're led by four-year starter Greyson Guneheim at defensive end.

Gunheim has 18 starts of the 22 games in his career and has posted 98 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss in his three years on campus. Now heading into his senior season, the young man from Sebastopol, California is the proverbial "greybeard", along with fifth-year senior DT Jordan Reffett, along the line.

"It's weird to even think about that right now," Gunheim said about his UW career coming to an end this fall. "It's hard to believe the years have gone by as quickly as they did. I'm planning on us going out on a winning note."

With his three full years of experience, the younger players are looking to Guneheim to help them in their quests for playing time.

"I don't mind being a leader for the other guys," Gunheim said. "It's not really in me to be real vocal and stuff like that, but when they ask me about my hand placement or a read or something like that, I can show them what I've learned.

"We have some really good offensive lineman in the conference so you have to be prepared for anything that can happen out there. Our line give us good competition every day in practice, so that helps us in getting ready for the season."

When Guneheim arrived on campus, Washington fired the coach he committed to (Keith Gilbertson) after hitting rock bottom with a 1-10 record in 2004. Now, after enduring two more losing seasons – 2-9 in 2005 and 5-7 in 2006 – Guneheim said he and the rest of the team are ready to go out winners.

"It's been tough, but we just keep fighting and we're getting better I think," Gunheim said. "The class I came in with is ready to win and I think, with the guys we've brought in under coach (Tyrone) Willingham they are tough and not used to losing.

"If we just keep working hard, that's what the coaches have told us over and over, keep working hard and never give up and eventually good things will happen. I think that's what this team has in it."

A couple differences in Gunheim's appearance this year were also noticed at the spring press conference last week. One was the long hair.

"Oh man I can't wait to shave this thing," a laughing Gunheim said as he ran his hand through is long hair. "I made a friendly bet with Johnny (Durocher), because he knows I can't stand long hair. He said I couldn't go six months without cutting it so we made a bet and it'll be six months on April 26th so I'll be getting it cut that day."

The second difference is the multitude of tattoos adorning the length of Gunheim's left arm.

"I'm Norwegian so I have a lot of Viking stuff on my arms," Guneheim said. "I already had a big Viking beast on my upper arm and I got a big Viking tree of life and some thorns up and down my arm to kind of blend it all together.

"It had been like two or three years since I got a tattoo and when I was going through it I forgot how bad it hurts so I think it will be a while before I get any more. That was tough."

So now, Gunheim hopes to show that same toughness as an example to the players who will look to him for the leadership this team so desperately needs.

"I'm ready to help this team however I can," Gunheim said. "If that's working with the younger guys I can do that, if it's working on my own game I'll keep doing that or if it's showing guys how to watch film I can do that.

"We all know we need to win and we need to win now. Coach Willingham has made sure we know he wants us in a bowl game this year and that we should expect to be in a bowl game. If we aren't there at the end of the year we'll be pretty disappointed."

That disappointment would also be felt by the Washington fanbase as well. Top Stories