Aug. 17, 2005
SEATTLE - Depending on how you count things, you could say that Wednesday marked the middle of the Husky football team's preseason camp. It was their ninth day of practicing and, with, essentially, nine more to go before entering game-week mode, it's pretty much the halfway point.
Regardless, you can bet that first-year head coach Tyrone Willingham is much less concerned with marking such minor milestones and more more interested in developing his team.
In his daily meeting with the press today, Coach Willingham stressed, as he has frequently during his UW tenure, that attitude, enthusiasm, effort and competition are keys to this camp period. And, in saying that, he's quick to note that few of the positions battles on the team have been settled.
Most curious observers would love to know who's the favorite to earn the starting quarterback job for the season opener vs. Air Force, Sept. 3 at Qwest Field. Willingham has an answer for those folks.
"I don't think there's any one that's said, `Coach, I'm your quarterback' yet," Willingham said. "They're all getting good reps, they're all doing good things and, in some cases, not so good things."
Willingham was also asked whether he'd narrowed down choices for punt and kick returner. Essentially, his answer was "no", but he was quick to point out: "We'd like to find somebody that scares opponents."
The coaches continue to operate under the notion that competition will bring out the best in the student-athletes and lead to a better overall team.
"What they know is that it is very much a competition," Willingham stated. "I think if you look up and down our roster, you'll find that.
"I don't know that it's a coach fostering competition," Willingham continued. "I think on good teams, you've got a lot of competition. The lesser the team, the lesser the competition you might have."
Wednesday, the team held a pair of split-squad afternoon practices. The Huskies will return to a two-a-day schedule Thursday, practicing as a full team in both the morning and the afternoon.