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Monday afternoon before practice the Husky players were looking pretty content with the effort they had put forth on Saturday against Wyoming. Improvements are needed, but this is a team that has yet to play it's best football and the conference race doesn't begin for another two weeks.

Senior WR Wilbur Hooks, Jr. was still amazed at what his quarterback had done on Saturday night. "It doesn't get any better than that. As long as he's making his reads and doing what coach Axman tells him to do, that's the most important thing. If it calls for him to spread the ball around then great. It's always great from a receiver's standpoint," said the Anchorage, Alaska native. "The reason there were a lot of check downs to Rich (Alexis) is we were spreading the field out and the sit routes were open underneath. Cody just made his reads, he's going to go with the ball where he feels it's best to go and he made some great reads that night."

Rich Alexis wound up being the leading receiver with seven catches. "It's kind of a cool thing. That just shows that there are a lot of weapons we can use on this team," said Hooks about that stat.

"We're getting there, the main thing is that we have to get rid of these turnovers. You take away the turnovers in these past two games and we look great. We'll put 60 plus points on the board. Turning the ball over in the red zone and stuff like that, we can't afford to be doing that. We definitely don't want to lead the league in fumbles and interceptions," added Hooks.

Now with Pac-10 play coming, Hooks wants to turn it up a notch. "You want to go against the best to show that you are the best. You'd be a fool not to get up that much more. We're looking forward to those games."

Classes will begin for the University of Washington, which will make football practice a bit more grueling. Hooks knows the drill, this being his fifth year in the program. "It's going to be a little tough, we didn't have any distractions before. It's always been about football, but now we've got school and we have to take care of classroom stuff too. But we'll get back in the groove of it. It's an advantage not having school til later. We can focus on football and work on those things that much harder and get better."

Hooks has completed his degree, so his class load may be a bit lighter now that he's already a graduate.

Junior quarterback Cody Pickett: threw for 404 yards, marking the second time he's gone over 400, and the third consecutive game of going over 300 yards passing. Those are some gaudy numbers, but he knows that the Huskies are leaving some offense on the turf. "Our fumbles . . . We had a decent day on offense. If we get those fumbles fixed there's no telling what we can do on offense," said Pickett.

His throwing shoulder was surgically repaired in the off-season but it has yet to even be an issue. Still, does it make running the option less attractive? Well . . .

"We have to keep it in there, as something else for the defenses to prepare for. Option is my new favorite thing," Pickett said, unable to suppress a laugh. "If you run it the way you're supposed to run it then it can hurt the defense pretty bad. I did audible to it last year. On the play I got hurt we had a run the other way and I audibled to an option. It worked well. We got 15 yards and a separated shoulder," said Pickett.

When Pickett plays John Madden video football, he chooses the Huskies, of course. Defensive lineman Josh Miller asks him, "Do you run yourself on the option?"

Pickett replies, "Nah, I drop back and throw deep to Reggie, Paul and those guys. Reggie never drops the ball in the game."

He doesn't do that much between the lines, either.

Pickett was pretty mum about moving up to 9th on the school list in passing yardage, moving past Mark Brunell. "We won, that's the thing. Later it will be great to look back at some records I have, that'll be a good feeling, but right now they don't mean anything if you don't win. I had over 300 yards at Michigan and two TDs, that's a good feeling in the big house. BUT WE LOST. That's the main focus right now. We're here to win games not break records. I'll get excited about it later."

Pickett will face his home state school when the Vandals come to town on Saturday. That doesn't mean he gets homesickness when Idaho is mentioned. "I love the state of Idaho so I can't really hate ‘em," said Pickett of his foe this weekend. "When we go play WSU in Pullman and we go visit Moscow, Idaho, everyone says, ‘Oh my gosh, look where you're from!' I have to hear that and try to defend myself. I tell them, ‘Where I'm from, it's not this bad.' The Boise area is not like Moscow, Idaho. If they could all come to see Boise then it wouldn't be so bad."

He doesn't mind the five drops that occurred last weekend. "It's going to happen. I'm going to throw some bad balls, too. Eddie (Jackson) had a couple drops, and he was the only guy who hadn't caught a ball yet. So on the next possession we check to a little pass play and threw him a swing, he caught a ball and the confidence is back. Eddie came over and said I'm glad you didn't lose confidence in me, but I'm never going to lose confidence in my guys, I know they're capable of making plays."

Senior WR Paul Arnold is loving spending his final season at wide receiver, a move that took place last spring. "I think the talents that I have are best shown there. I'm more of an open field kind of guy; I like to use my speed," said Arnold of catching the ball as opposed to taking it on hand offs out of the backfield.

Arnold was a more frequent receiver in game three, and found the end zone for the first time this season. "Cody's throwing great, he has a chance to be one of the greatest quarterbacks in Husky history, if not the best," said Arnold of his roommate. "You can't complain about where he's putting the ball."

Fellow WR Reggie Williams said that the dropped passes are part of the game. "We teased Eddie about it, but I told him that it happens sometimes. Either your are not ‘on it,' or whatever, but it happens. You just move on," said the 6-4 215-pound sophomore.

Williams is putting up big time numbers so far this season, but believes that it is where your team finishes the season that counts. "Its just going to be a battle, to see who wins any awards or whatever comes out at the end of the season, but the true test is who goes to the big bowl games," said Williams. "If you lead your team to a BCS bowl game then you've proved that you're one of the best receivers in the country."

Redshirt freshman safety James Sims made the first start of his career against Wyoming, playing free safety in the nickel package. "It was really exciting. For two weeks they were telling me I was starting, so I had to rise up to the occasion and stop acting like a rookie. As soon as the bye week started they told me to start acting like I knew what I was doing. The night game was really fun," said Sims.

It was a twist for the defense to play nickel on every down. And they used variations at times. "We kind of reversed it, just to try new things. The defense is trying to get some more efficiency. Basically we knew this team liked to pass a lot, and this was one of our answers," said Sims.

"We knew because this team liked to pass a lot so we had to pick up our game a lot. I think we're moving in the right direction, we're getting there. We're starting to make faster breaks on the ball and getting more confident with our defense."

Sims was thankful to get the starting nod, and may get it once again if Jimmy Newell (broken hand) is still out for Saturday."

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