April 5, 2010
GoHuskies.com caught up with two Huskies after practice last week, Drew Schaefer and Nate Williams. Schaefer, who will be a third-year sophomore next fall, entered the spring as the Huskies' No. 1 center, a move from the tackle position he played last year.
Williams, who will be a senior in the fall, is one of the veterans of the defense, having been a starter the last two years after playing regularly as a true freshman in 2007.
Here's what they had to say:
GoHuskies.com: How's it feel to be out here playing some football?
Schaefer: It's good. You know we worked for all winter and this is what we train for. We don't go in the weight room for no reason, we have goals. So with spring ball, ours is to polish up and get ourselves ready for fall camp.
GoHuskies.com: How's the offensive line looking?
Schaefer: Good. You know, we did a lot of off-the-field bonding this off-season, that's one thing we emphasized. We grew a lot closer as a group, and already our communication and our trust just out playing these last couple days is improved greatly from last year.
GoHuskies.com: It's been a similar group of guys on the line together for the last couple years now, how has that made a difference?
Schaefer: Like I said, we put a lot of emphasis on staying together as an offensive line. We have a lot of trust in each other, we're all really good friends--on the field and off the field--and you know we can trust each other a lot more.
GoHuskies.com: From a lineman standpoint, what's like having a guy like Jake Locker behind you with that kind of athleticism?
Schaefer: First of all, I'll talk about his leadership. He's a great leader, he takes control of the huddle, he gives us confidence, tells us exactly what we need to do, so it's fun because we know he's going to do the right things and we're going to do the right things and we're going to have success. As an athlete, it helps you out a lot. He'll make you look good even when you mess up. He's a really good guy, and I think everyone would have the same thing to say that I had to say.
GoHuskies.com: How's it feel to be back out on the field?
Williams: It feels good. We had a really good off-season in the winter. Everyone got a little stronger, a little quicker and everything. It feels really good to be under Coach Holt for the second year. I think a lot of guys are more comfortable not having to learn a whole new group of plays. I think everyone is a lot more comfortable on the offensive side and on our side of the football. We're just out here having fun.
GoHuskies.com: You're one of the older guys out here now. How's that feel?
Williams: It's a little weird. I can remember first coming out here like it was yesterday when I was a freshman. But I'm living it up. I'm helping the younger guys as much as I can because I know how hard it can be coming in here. Everything's moving fast and I'm trying to help them out as much as I can. And we're having fun still.
GoHuskies.com: How much better of a football player are you now coming into your fourth year?
Williams: Obviously the game improves a little bit as you get older. Things really start to come more naturally. I think where I've improved the most is learning my plays and learning what I'm supposed to do, and learning the whole entire defense all in one. I think that's where I've improved. It comes with time and it comes with reps.
Williams: We really have no other option. Those were our leaders last year, so those are pretty big shoes to fill, but we're up the challenge and we know we can do it because Mason and I have been playing together since our true freshman year, so we're ready for it and we can handle it.