August 12, 2008

Coach Quotes and Practice Notes - 8/11/2008

Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham addressed the media on Monday.

"Practices have been good, have been spirited. A lot of good energy going around. We'll continue our progression of working through the things that will take us to the Oregon game. We'll prepare for the Oregon game in terms of sequencing of situations. We've continued that and the progress has been good so far."

When asked if Husky fans should be concerned with sophomore quarterback Jake Locker's hamstring injury, Willingham responded:

"No. Any injury is always of some concern. But a major concern? No."

The race for place kicking duties is still an open one, and Willingham responded when asked if anyone is in the lead for starting kicker.

"No. We've just let them really kind of kick last week. Now I think, in my eyes, I start to get serious now. Last week we had new holders that really hadn't worked. We've concentrated on keeping the holding down in that group within itself. That's always somewhat of a concern, when you just do that. This week, we start to get a little bit more serious, I think, about that aspect of it."

Willingham responded when asked who's in charge of holding duties, and also discussed the holder position in general.

"You had really all of the kickers holding except Ryan [Perkins], so all of them hold for each other. You like that from one standpoint, but it is also a concern from the other standpoint. We had some receivers often do it, and we still may be working our way in that direction, but right now, we've just started with letting them do the majority of the holding. The one thing that you like about that is the fact that they can do it all day, so they can get a lot more reps than a quarterback can that's occupied with different responsibilities, or receiver or any other position."

Willingham discussed senior center Juan Garcia's recovery from a Lisfranc injury and preparing backups in case Garcia isn't ready to go when the season opener comes around.

"Right now, our anticipation with Juan is pretty good that he'll be where we'll need him to be. But I think you've always got to have that plan B in effect, especially when it involves someone that hasn't done that. [Ryan] Tolar hasn't been a center, so you want to make sure that you give him plenty of repetition at that, even as we work all the way through, because the smart thing might be to kind of rest Juan at certain points and limit his activity for a while."

Willingham discussed senior Jordan White-Frisbee's progression and also responded when asked if sophomore Ryan Tolar's move to center was due to the Huskies' depth at the guard position?

"First of all, Jordan White-Frisbee has done very well. He has been, at times, very impressive. The power that he brings to that position is just amazing. He really has some impact there and can move people and do some things. He's still learning a great deal and improving, but he has been pretty good. Having a few more capable bodies at that position does allow us that luxury of involving Tolar more at the center spot, so we're getting stronger there."

Willingham responded when asked why White-Frisbee has not played more in the past.

"I'd probably say more involved with injury as much as anything else, and that's been kind of a stubborn, painful one over his career that really hasn't allowed him to progress the way that you'd like him to. But this is probably as good of a stretch as he's had, kind of being semi-healthy. The combination of being semi-healthy and having an opportunity to get into one position is, I think, allowing him to surge."

Willingham described the job of a lineman in general.

"That's what the life of a lineman is all about. It's about putting the load on your back - you've just got to bare it. You've got to take it and you've got to run with it. You're basically carrying the load for the whole team."

Willingham discussed the young running backs and addressed the advantage of having a deep group of backs.

"I think they've all shown themselves pretty well. [David] Freeman is showing himself well, [Johri] Fogerson is showing himself well. Those guys are doing pretty good, but when you say young running backs, you shouldn't exclude the guys that were already here. You're talking about [Brandon] Yakaboski and you're talking about [Willie] Griffin. Those guys are also doing some good things. Right now, it's just a very nice position to be in, to have that number of guys, especially when you look at the fact for some years we didn't have that number to work with. Now we've got a pretty good number to work with. Anytime you have numbers and some ability, it ups the competition at the position."

When asked about narrowing the number of running backs down, Willingham responded:

"As you know with me, I always like to have a workable number. If we're not at that number, I'm very patient about when we get there. With all of those things, what you want to do is have it decided as soon as possible. But at the same time, it's really not critical until you get to the game, that you've got the right one. Right now, we're not in a rush to have one's and two's, but it's nice if we do, because it gives them more time to work together."

Notes:

Issaquah High School offensive lineman Christian Rennie was in attendance.

True freshman cornerback Tony Gobern was still wearing a red jersey.

Locker was held out of participation for the third day of practices in a row.

Byron Davenport (ankle), Brandon Johnson (knee) and Josh Gage (sickness) did not participate in practice.

True freshman offensive lineman Mykenna Ikehara was seen participating with the centers.

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