Nov. 8, 2005
Coming into the 2005 season, the tight end position at Washington was a question mark. Sophomore Robert Lewis has managed to step up and answer many of the questions about the position, teaming up with Johnnie Kirton to combine for 25 catches and provide stellar blocking. Lewis recently sat down with Gohuskies.com to talk about the season.
GoHuskies.com: With this season not going as planned, and with only two games left, what are some positives you can take from this season?
Robert Lewis: "I think we have gotten better as a team. We just need to put things together and learn how to win. We know we can play with any team in this conference, we just need to learn how to play all four quarters to win. I think our confidence is building more now, we just need to succeed and win."
GH: Do you believe this season was another learning experience?
RL: "Yeah it was learning experience. We had a lot of first year starters, like me for instance. This is my first year starting, so it is a learning experience for me as a tight end. This is Isaiah's first year starting every game. And our running backs, we have Louis Rankin, and James Sims starting for the first time. We have a lot of first year starters. But I mean, there are a lot of growing pains, and we just have to learn how to win, and step it up."
GH: How do you respond to the negative comments about the team this year?
RL: "We don't really listen to that. It is just us against the world. The only people who believe in us are our true fans, and the people on our team. So yeah, we don't really listen to that."
GH: How different is this season compared to last season, besides the new coaching staff?
RL: "I think we are playing a lot better as a whole than last year, but still we haven't learned how to win yet. Last year, I didn't think we had as good of an offense going, and we didn't have anything put together, but this year we have things put together. And again, we just have to learn how to win."
GH: As a player, and a team, you are supposed to be able to improve, learn from mistakes, and move on with each game. Do you feel you guys still were able to do that, even with the losses?
RL: "Some of the mistakes that we make in the games, have been the same mistakes we make every game. As a player, at their positions, have to learn how to break those bad habits. And we do see those bad habits, and that is what we are doing right now, is working on our bad habits."
GH: Going back to this weekend, what are your thoughts about the game?
RL: "We actually watched film yesterday, and I don't know about the defense, but as for the offense, I don't think we played as physical as Oregon State did. Everybody that was on the field didn't play physical at all. Oregon State just played more physical than we did, and they beat us in the trenches."
GH: You guys did not allow Oregon State to score a touchdown the entire game. Even with the lost, in your opinion is that a huge feat?
RL: "Oh yeah, that is a big deal for our defense. I feel our defense showed a lot of confidence out there, and they are just going to keep that confidence going against Arizona."
GH: What other good things happened this weekend?
RL: "The only good thing I saw out there was our defense stepping up."
GH: Do you believe that the elements--the rain, wind, and the cold--affected your game plan?
RL: "I wouldn't say that is an excuse for our loss. But it was difficult to pass for both teams. Our passing was not on. I believe our passing game is one of the strengths of our offense, so when you take away our passing game, we were forced to have to run. But both teams were at a disadvantage."
GH: At this point, going into this next game against Arizona, what is going to be focused on the most in practice this week?
RL: "A win! That is going to be our main focus."
GH: Since you guys are such a tight-knit group, what do you do personally to make sure the group stays that way, with the season unfolding as it has?
RL: "I just try to hold my position down. I try to do everything I can to be that play maker, because before the season started they said something about how the tight ends weren't going to play a big part. I just want to change what people think about me, and be a play maker."
GH: Speaking about the tight-end position, and what people said about it the beginning of the season, it is obvious that you and Johnie Kirton have stepped up, and proved them wrong. In a broader sense, what does that say about you, but also about the rest of the team?
RL: "They say we have a bright future at this position. This is Johnie's and I first time getting a lot of playing time at this position, and I know next year--the next couple of years we are going to get a lot better. There are going to be big things coming to this team I the future.'
GH: After this season is over, what are you going to take from it?
RL: "I am just going to take this as a learning experience. I have to try and break bad habits. That is the main thing. I have a lot of bad habits since I am not very experienced at this position, but every week I am growing and getting better at it."
GH: You have two games left, one being the Apple Cup. What are your immediate thoughts that come to mind when you think about the last game, at home, against Washington State?
RL: "We have to protect this house. We can't let them come into our house and take over."