Aug. 11, 2008
SEATTLE - Faster than you can say "hut" the first week of fall camp at UW is over.
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That first week, when veterans barely have their legs under them, can be rough on a guy who has never done it before. And such is that week each year for an incoming freshman.
"It's been intense and that's all I have to say," said freshman Mykenna Ikehara. "It's faster and it's a different style of learning -- ust a whole different level."
During that first week players go through intense testing on their conditioning and strength. There are meetings to go to and orientations to attend. The information they have to retain is both abundant and never-ending.
They go a couple of days without pads before hitting each other and then the young players get to understand what intensity really is.
"Everyone at this level is good," said senior Mesphin Forrester. "Everyone is on scholarship."
For some the biggest change is just that football is all-of-the-sudden their lives for 24 hours each day. They are in camp, living in the dorms and not yet in classes, making football their sole focus.
"There is nothing going on but football," said freshman tailback Johri Fogerson. "But really the speed of the game is what is different for me. It took me about three days to realize that these holes open and close in the blink of an eye. You really have to move."
For a guy like Fogerson, this particular camp carries even more pressure. The 6-foot-2, 190 pounder from O'Dea High School is battling for a playing time among a young and relatively inexperienced group of tailbacks.
"It hasn't been a problem for me," head said. "I am just working hard and trying to be myself. That is all I can do. We don't know who is going to play so we all just have to go out there and earn it. I'm not used to having things handed to me and I wouldn't expect that here."
The Huskies' highly-touted recruiting class included four tailbacks, so this group is going through the learning curve together.
At the end of that first week the group also gets to have a little fun together at the annual Picture Day. For one Saturday there are kids running all around the field looking for autographs and time with their heroes and role models.
"It was different from high school," Fogerson said. "There were little kids coming up and asking for things and showing how much you mean to them. We got to meet our teammates' families and it was a good experience."
But it's back to work on Monday and the grind continues as the Dawgs push toward the season opener against Oregon. Talk about a way to initiate a freshman: Autzen Stadium in Eugene in a heated rivalry. And they thought the first week was tough.
NOTES: The Huskies went through their second day of two-a-day practices Monday after a day off from practice on Sunday. The team will have two-a-days each Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week and next ... the next fan activity for the team is the annual Kickoff Luncheon. This year's luncheon will be held on the floor of Bank of America Arena on Mon., Aug. 25, a mere five days prior to the season opener at Oregon. For more on the Kickoff Luncheon, click here.