Aug. 25, 2010
REMINDER: Thursday's MORNING practice (8:45 a.m.) is the lone remaining fall camp practice that is open to the public. Thursday afternoon's session is closed to ALL.
SEATTLE - The Huskies have just nine practices remaining until they hop on a plane to Provo, Utah. But judging from the intensity and quality of their workouts so far, everything about the 2010 version of Fall Camp has been in line with the team's goals.
It was the quarterbacks stole the show at practice on Wednesday, drawing a bulk of the praise from Steve Sarkisian afterwards. The Washington coach particularly admired how well Keith Price - who is battling for the No. 2 spot - handled the last 11-on-11 drill of the afternoon, leading the offense to a touchdown in spite of some razzing from the reserve defensive players. But Price wasn't the only one who impressed.
"I thought all three quarterbacks played really well today," Sarkisian said. "Not just to single out Keith, but I thought Jake (Locker) did some nice things and I thought Nick (Montana) did some really nice things. They've been throwing the ball for the last week at a very high level."
But those weren't the only highlights during the midway point of Fall Camp's final week. Devin Aguilar reaped the benefit of the QB's accurate throws, making numerous catches during drills. Defensively, Victor Aiyewa continued to display the form that earned him a starting job with a sack. Erik Folk, who has been having a tremendous Fall Camp, was 4-for-4 on field goals, including a long of 48 yards. The pass of the afternoon, though, might have come on the long gain from Locker to Johri Fogerson, who slipped behind the defense out of the backfield.
There were some notable visitors at practice on Wednesday. Former coach Jim Lambright paid a visit to Montlake, as did Montana's Hall of Fame father Joe. Also in town were the Mendiola sisters (Giuliana and Gioconda), both of whom starred for the Husky women's basketball team during the early part of the decade.
In the Wednesday Q&A, GoHuskies.com correspondent Kyle MacDonald chatted with senior linebacker Mason Foster. As one of the proven commodities on defense, the Seaside, Calif., native has been able to quietly go about his business this fall. But his impact will be felt when the Huskies travel to BYU and Foster - considered one of the best at his position in the Pac-10 - is able to hit someone in a different colored jersey. He also reveals the real secret to his success might be in quality breakfast products.
GoHuskies.com: How has it been adjusting to a new look linebacker crew with Cort (Dennison) moving to the middle and Victor (Aiyewa) coming over from safety?
Foster: It's not really too tough. We have great athletes in our linebacking core so I feel like if you can't fill in, we've got a lot of guys who can make plays in different situations, whether it's Brandon Huppert coming in or it's Matt Houston coming in and rushing we have enough guys in our linebacking core to make plays so it's no big problem.
GH.com: If a younger defender doesn't know a play, is it your job as a senior leader to teach them?
Foster: Yea, you know all of us older guys-- between Nate Williams, Cort, me, (Desmond) Trufant, everybody--we're just trying to help out the young guys any way we can because they're the future of this program so we're trying to help them out any way we can, giving them little tips on defense and help them turn into a more well rounded football player.
GH.com: You've played in every game possible since you got here, what have you done to keep yourself healthy?
Foster: Really I don't know. I just eat a lot of Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts. That's my secret right there. Really it's just going to all the workouts, stretching, and listening to strength coaches. I feel like that's one of the biggest things. We have great strength coaches here and they're just keeping me healthy and keeping me strong.
GH.com: How has more of a national spotlight affected the team?
Foster: I think it raises our level. Everybody knows that you're going to be watched. Everybody's watching you so it makes you work that much harder in practices and workouts, and you study harder because you know any little mess-up you do is going to be on the national stage. So we're working hard and we want to take the opportunity of the national spotlight.
GH.com: In the last scrimmage, the defense had the offense's number most of the time. What was the key to success?
Foster: I feel like with the defense, we have a lot of great chemistry out there, a lot of guys have been playing together for a long time now so we just want to do good for each other. If it's not me making plays, then it's Cort. If it's not Cort, it's Nate. If it's not Nate, it's me. We just want to do good for each other, so if one of us does good we all do good, and we just play like that, and I think you can see it.
GH.com: How much can draw from that in terms of how good the defense will be?
Foster: I think for the most part we hold each other accountable in all aspects--working out, studying, getting everything right and I feel like just that by itself is going to help us be successful this season because we hold each other accountable. We don't want to let each other down for the most part; we want to do good for each other so I feel like that's going to be one of the keys to us doing good this year.
GH.com: Has national attention on you--being a preseason Butkus Award candidate--put any added pressure on you or given you more motivation?
Foster: It hasn't really bothered me either or, made me think about it either or. It's cool to be on the list. They put a lot of guys on the list but for the most part it makes me want to keep doing better. I just want to do good for my team and whatever happens after that happens so if it means I go out there and play as hard as I can and I make the most plays and I end up getting the award, or if it means I don't make any plays but my team wins. I'm just doing my job, and I want to do what's going to help the team regardless of the award or not.
GH.com: Can you describe an average day of fall camp?
Foster: Camp is just long days. I wake up, brush my teeth, listen to some music, come down and eat the breakfast. It's just the whole thing. You just do it over and over again so it's kind of like second nature. You don't even look at your schedule anymore. It's two-a-day, one-a-day, two-a-day, one-a-day. So you kind of get into a rhythm now but these are things you love, things you're going to look back at and remember--hanging out in the locker room with everybody, watching Jerry Springer and playing Smash Brothers and stuff like that, watching ESPN. Those are things you're going to miss so I love sitting here, jumping around with these guys all day long.
GH.com: What would the ultimate senior season include?
Foster: Ultimate senior season would include being successful, getting to the Rose Bowl, winning the Pac-10 championship, finishing out strong, bringing tradition back to Husky Stadium; to the Huskies. That would be great--winning; everybody doing well; everybody reaching their personal goals on this team. I think that would be what I envision as a great season.