Willingham and Player quotes - 4/21

The offense got off to a rough start on Saturday, but eventually they picked it up. Head coach Tyrone Willingham, along with a few players met with the media to talk about the scrimmage and how the spring is progressing.


On E.J. Savannah: "Little stinger the other day so we just kind of limited some of his activity. Different side. Regardless, you're always concerned when you have one of those, especially if there's a history of having those, so you want to take the safer and more cautious ground with those."

Thoughts on the practice: "Moderate success in some areas. Not so in other areas. When one side did good, it was a typical Saturday for me, because when one side does good you're not so happy with the other side. It's just the normal Saturday afternoon of love and hate for what happens out on the practice field."

On the offense picking up steam as the practice went on: "I thought that the whole group got a little better as it went. You have to understand though, that you're putting a couple of tough situations, you start the day out with two-minute, which isn't exactly easy. You have a limited amount of time, it's ‘rush, rush' and speed the clock up and doing all those kinds of things and that's not the normal tempo that you probably start a football game in, but that's why I do it for those reasons.

"I anticipated we'd probably settle down and do things a little bit better as we went though the day and that's about what happened."

On the big plays: "A couple of them, obviously there were a couple of long passes that you had miss tackles on that could have resulted in the play having a little bit more yardage than it should have.

"Then you had a couple of runs, we obviously know Louis (Rankin) is going to give you big runs, you know that's going to happen, but you hope that's not the result of some missed tackles and I think a couple of those were in there.

"I think there were some good plays. I think the lead portion of those plays was good, but the finish was not for one reason or the other."

On the tight ends: "I thought coming in we might be a little bit by committee and that could be the case, but I'm willing to accept someone that steps up and clearly shows themselves to be that great blocker, that great receiver and be able to execute all the roles in our offense."

On his expectations of Corey Williams: "That's one of the biggest problems that any athlete ever has to deal with is expectations. Especially those of others. That's something you have to have a lot of maturity to deal with and when you've gone through the ups and downs that Corey's had in his career that's tough, but I think he's on the rebound right now and he's having a good spring.

"I was really pleased because I think he had a drop early (in practice) that in past years I think he never would have rebounded from, but I think you saw him come back and have some other big plays in the course of the day and I think he's a lot different player than he was maybe the last two years and that's a welcome sign because I think he can do some good things."

On consistency: "The biggest thing is, if you went and looked across the board at our receivers and our running backs and our offensive line and our defensive line and our entire football team, the word that will continually pop-up is ‘consistency'. That's it and it's such a dynamic word as it relates to football because the moment you get consistency you don't have the bad plays, you don't have the penalties, you don't have the things that take you out of drives and you start to have a methodical march down the field and your execution is really good.

"Obviously we're not there, but that's what we're seeking and we've got the get our players to grab that and move in that direction."

QB Jake Locker

On the drops to begin practice: "The good thing about a dropped ball is they ran the right route, we got the ball there, so everything was executed to that point. Sometimes the ball doesn't come out of my hand as well, or it wasn't a spiral so it makes it harder on them, and so I take some of the blame for those as well so it's not just on them.

"I thought we did a really good job of overcoming starting off really slow today and I thought we did a really good job of bouncing back and practicing really well toward the end and really finishing out strong."

On his familiarity with the wideouts: "I don't think I'm trying to look for anyone in particular when I'm out there. We have a progression that we go through and depending on who's out there I think it comes down to the progression we stick to instead of looking at the people who are split out. I feel like everybody is playing up to their potential which makes our jobs a lot easier. As a whole I'm comfortable throwing the ball to any one of our receivers and today we saw some guys make some plays and we have some big-play potential in our wide receivers."

On not getting hit: "That one's kind of a tough one for me. The reason I like playing football is because of that aspect. I believe it's different from any other game because of the physical aspect and that's one of my favorite parts of it. It's hard because I haven't really been hit in a year-and-a-half, coming up on two years pretty soon, so that's been a hard part for me to get used to."

On the first chance for Husky fans to see him play: "I think we have a really great fanbase here and they support us and really back our football team really well. I'm not really going to go out there and try and put on a show for anybody. I'm going to play within the offense and do what we're coached to do to the best of our abilities and I think the big plays and the success and the execution will come through that."

"I'm not going to try and go out and do anything I haven't done in the past. I'm just going to go out and play and have fun and I think everything will work itself out.

"I realize there are high expectations and a lot of people will be there, but it's just like I've said before, I have expectations I want to live up to and I'm going to set goals for myself next Saturday and that's what I'm going to try and accomplish."

On his struggles this spring: "A lot of the problems I've had throwing the ball this spring have been with my feet. I need to get my feet in the right position to throw the ball and I think I was all over the place on a couple of those throws (today) where I need to get set and make sure I'm bending my front leg and really getting over top of the ball and bringing it down.

"It's something I didn't have a lot of exposure to until I got here with a five-step drop and a three-step drop and that's something I'm really going to need to work on this summer – spend a lot of time on the footwork aspect of it because if you're feet are right the throw will come."

C Juan Garcia

On him looking more comfortable: "It's probably the experience because last year I had never played and it was a new thing and I didn't know the system as well, but this year I know it and I know how it feels to play and so that helps a lot."

On being the leader of the line: "It feels weird because I've been here for a while and I've seen a lot of faces and now I look over and I see some of these guys and I go ‘man these are some young bucks' and it's kind of weird.

"You look back and I never thought I'd be in this situation where I'd be a fifth-year senior and when you're in the locker room, before people might tell you to shut up, but now people listen when I say stuff so it's cool."

On making line calls: "It's a lot different this year than last year because last year the two guards were the experienced ones and they were used to doing it. This year, (the new guys) know what they're doing but it's a little bit different. They ask me, sometimes we'll go to the line and I'll be like ‘you've got this guy and I've got this guy and you go here', I just know it off the top of my head and now they're saying ‘thanks Garcia thanks'."

CB Roy Lewis

On the improvement of the offense: "Our offense is just getting better. There's a lot of young players back there and with Jake back there they're just getting smarter and better and that's definitely a good sign that they played better this week."

On defending Marcel Reece: "Marcel definitely has a size advantage and he catches the ball real well. With him you definitely have to have a plan going in on how you want to defend him and with a big receiver like that, physical-wise you know I think you have to game plan against guys like him different.

"Coach J.D. (Williams) gives us different techniques and tools to guard all the different types of guys whether it's tall and slender or the bigger guys like Marcel."

On the young secondary: "We all just have to work hard. Our numbers are limited and everybody has to step up and we all know we have to step up and make plays and have the confidence that the guy behind us is good and we need to trust them.

"The secondary is going to be the key for our defense. Our linebackers and line has depth but we just have to come along and play because our numbers are limited and we just need to get out there and play."

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