April 4, 2005
Lately, new Husky cornerback Roy Lewis' life has been a waiting game. The sophomore transfer from San Jose State sat out all of 2004 after deciding to leave the Spartans' football program after the 2003 season. It may be a good thing that he had all of that time off to conserve his energy because Lewis won't be able to take much of a breather during spring football practice.
Lewis, Matt Fountaine, and Kim Taylor make up the trio of scholarship athletes at cornerback for the Huskies, giving them a bulk of the repetitions during practice. Reinforcements will come once fall camp starts, but for now, Lewis is busy shaking off the rust.
"Right now we just don't have the bodies at the cornerback position," said Lewis. "We're just going to do a good job of staying in shape and hopefully be able to stay with it through spring ball. It's been awhile since I've been on the field, so I'm just trying to get my technique back down and master my craft and go out there and execute. Right now, it's kind of a hectic time."
Hectic is an apt description of the last two years for Lewis. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder from Los Angeles arrived on the UW campus in September with the Husky season already underway. Out of high school, he originally committed to the University of California, but changed his mind before signing his letter of intent. He started as a true freshman for the Spartans but felt from the get-go that it was not the right fit.
Lewis packed up his bags and decided to head up to Washington where his second-cousin, Chris Hemphill, and former high school teammate at Narbonne High School Dashon Goldson were already on the roster. He was looking for some stability after a tumultuous start to his collegiate career.
"It's always a plus to go into a new situation with friends and family that can actually help you get through it," said Lewis. "They know the ropes and have been here through the years and the different changes. It's definitely a plus."
Little did Lewis know, but he'd have to endure a coaching change and get acclimated to the fourth defensive backs coach in his short career before he even stepped foot back on the field. At first, Lewis was nervous about more uncertainty, but quickly realized that he was in an ideal situation with a chance to shine early.
"I have some great things planned with Coach Willingham and we should do exceptionally well this year," said Lewis. "I've got three more years of playing under Coach Willingham. I'm very excited about that and I've got plenty of time to grow."
With time finally on his side, the wait is over for Lewis. But only time will tell if that wait will be well worth it.
"I've been excited since the day I left San Jose State to become a Husky," said a gleaming Lewis. "I'm ready for the season to get underway today."
Noting the Huskies
Washington coach Tyrone Willingham announced that freshman safety Chet Sanders has not practiced this spring and will no longer be a part of the team. He remains enrolled at the University. He said the team has not experienced any new injuries since spring practice began last week.
Time for Pads
Saturday marked the first time the Huskies put on full pads for practice. Willingham said that about 30 percent of the session was dedicated to full tackling.
"It was a good start," he said. "There seems to be sufficient energy especially when you consider there is a lot of learning and personality adjustment to get used to. They seem to be doing well."
Willingham said that after the first week of practice, he has given the team an idea of what he is looking for in his players.
"I want more in terms of how we play the game of football," Willingham said. "It is possible for me to expect them to be able to do everything in our system, but it is not realistic. What we can do. What we have to do better, we have to play the game of football with a certain amount of energy, with a certain amount of focus, with a certain amount of enthusiasm. That should be there regardless of a new coaching staff or an old coaching staff or if you know something about the position or don't know anything about the position. That's what I'm expecting."
Willingham said that while there have been no new position changes since spring practice started, it should not come as a surprise that those types of moves take place at some point.
"We will look at anyone to see if it benefits the football team, at any position," he said. "If it makes our football team better, and gives us a chance to win, then you could see anyone at any position."
Willingham's schedule will not allow him to watch tonight's NCAA men's basketball championship game between Illinois and North Carolina.
"I don't think I'll see it (the game) tonight, and that's a shame," said Willingham, who grew up in North Carolina. "We'll be working. I'm sure a couple of the guys will peek at it to see what is going on. For the most part we'll be working."
Willingham indicated that he plans on watching a tape of the game Tuesday evening with his son.