Huard happy to play good cop

SEATTLE - Tyrone Willingham doesn't need someone to bring him coffee in the morning. For one thing, he doesn't like the stuff. He certainly didn't bring in Luke Huard to peddle caffeine products, or shuffle reams of paper. He brought the former Interlake Head Coach into the Washington football program with the idea of helping Tim Lappano out with the development of the Husky quarterbacks.

Huard - one of two new graduate assistants brought in this spring - is relishing his time at Montlake. It's a bit ironic, considering his two older brothers - Damon and Brock - both played quarterback at Washington - but it's the young pup who played his ball in Chapel Hill, North Carolina who is the B.H.O.C. (Big Huard On Campus).

"I think that some GA situations in other schools, you're treated like a second-class citizen, and that just hasn't been the case here," Huard told Monday. "I haven't felt that way at all. I think it starts at the top, with the way Coach Willingham treats you. It's been great. I've learned a lot and it's been fun.

"He brought me on to help the quarterbacks, but not having any experience coaching college ball, I'm trying to learn as much as I can about everything. Like an internship, you try to learn as much as you can about the business you're in. It can open up future opportunities, and this is a good place to do it, given the amount of experience on this staff."

Despite four years heading up the Saints' high school football program, Huard was getting restless at Interlake, and wanted to accelerate his ascent up the coaching ranks. "I enjoyed that (high school) level," Huard said. "My Dad (Mike) coached for 26 years at that level, but this is where my passion is. I want to be football 365 days a year, and you can only do that at the college and pro level. I like the college level because you can make a tremendous impact. It's been great being around Coach Willingham, because you see what he can do for kids, both on and off the field."

But it's his relationship with Lappano and the Washington quarterbacks that is currently taking center stage. Let's characterize it as 'Good cop, Bad Cop'. Taking all the negative ramifications out of the metaphor, it's one that seems to be quite applicable to the situation at hand.

"It's tough love with me - even with Jake Locker," Lappano admitted on Monday. He (Huard) is the guy they can go to when they know I'm mad. He can calm things down. He gives him that loving shoulder.

"I'm serious!"

"I don't think it's anything we actually sat down and discussed," Huard added, when asked about the 'Good cop, Bad Cop' relationship. "It just kind of worked out that way. When I work with the quarterbacks, it's going to be more mellow than loud, because you don't need a couple of guys doing that. We never sat down and talked about it as a strategy. I think Coach Lappano does a fantastic job. I've been around coaches that yell a lot more than he does, and I think he does a nice job of finding that balance with the quarterbacks, and they respond.

"Our quarterback meetings are tremendous. It's one of the best working meetings I've ever been around. There's a lot of trust between the quarterbacks and Coach Lappano and that's one thing I'm trying to develop. So far they've shown me a lot of respect, and it's been a pleasure to be around."

"He's good for those kids, and they know they can go to him when they don't want to be around me - which was this morning," Lappano quipped.

Lappano's comfort level with Huard is readily apparent. He's even gone to the point where he will leave the quarterbacks' individual drill period to walk around and follow the other offensive skill groups - something he's never been able to do in the past. That's putting an awful lot of faith in a new graduate assistant to teach the quarterbacks the building blocks that will become the foundation for their success.

But Huard has the tacit approval from the top dawg.

"When I hire a man to do a job, let him do his job," Willingham said. "Let them be involved. You are supposed to be teaching them how to let them coach."

"You know that when you want to put the overall group in his hands, you know that nothing will be missing. And that allows our coordinator to spread himself around and ensure that things are going in the direction that we want to go."

So now Huard has the opportunity most graduate assistants would never get - a real chance to coach. Every day during fall camp, he is responsible for the 20-minute individual period, so Huard scripts out each and every individual period the quarterbacks go through. "We've kept some of the routine they did last year, but we'll try to incorporate two or three new drills - a lot of footwork drills, accuracy drills, things to help them work on their release point - just some standard stuff that I've done over the years," he said.

"I played for four different quarterback coaches in college, so I saw a lot of different styles and philosophies. So I've taken stuff I've liked over the years and applied that to the different drills we incorporate. And it's stuff that's also relative to the offense. We don't do drills just to do drills. We want to do a drill that can translate over to what we're doing in 11-11 or 7-7 situations."

So no matter what road his GA career takes him at Washington, Huard will never have to worry about whether Lappano wants a latte or a cappucino.

Unless he's playing the good cop. Top Stories