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Tyrone Willingham Press Conference Quotes
Release: 08/29/2005
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Aug. 29, 2005

On problems that Air Force presents for Washington's defense: "It is unique in how they are an option-based offense. This will be the one team that will definitely run that style of offense. It makes our preparation extremely difficult because there is not a lot of carry over from all of the other practice sessions and all of the other teams that you see. They have excellent personnel. They have a quarterback who makes all of the difference in the world and they are very comfortable with him. In fact, I think that they have two quarterbacks that they are comfortable with to run that style of offense. It demands great discipline from our defense. We have to be extremely patient and make sure that we take each of our responsibilities seriously. They don't just do the option; their quarterback also throws over a 60 percent completion percentage passing in an option-based offense. It gives you a lot of demands on all parts of your defense, but I think that discipline will be the most important thing for us to maintain."

On Air Force's offensive line: "Any time that you can have your offensive line come back, it's a good thing. I have always said that I think the most important position on the field is the offensive line. If you can get all of them back, matured, with the ability to execute your system, then I think you are in good shape. I think the surprising thing is the size of their offensive line. It is not exactly the profile that you would think a fighter pilot would have."

On coaching experience versus Air Force: "It helps. It is one of those things that I think we are going to have to rely on pretty heavily. Our coaches have seen them before to some degree. Their coaches have obviously made some changes from the way that they ran their team a couple of years ago, but what they have really improved on is passing the football. They get you up playing the option, but now they have the ability to step up and throw the football. It is extremely difficult to defend."

On putting Notre Dame behind him: "It is impossible to say that your past is completely behind you. I think that I will have some of that with me no matter what time of life I am in. I am the University of Washington coach and I am excited to be here and I am excited about our opening ball game."

On whether he'd prefer to play a more standard team than Air Force to open the season: "You would always prefer to play someone that you know more about. I think it is definitely an advantage they have against us. We hopefully will be very well prepared."

On any effect not naming a starting quarterback might have on the team: "I don't think that it has affected our football team because they have had ample time to work with both quarterbacks. I still haven't decided on one yet, but I will by the end of the week."

On starting kicker: "I haven't decided yet. That has been as an intense competition as some of the other positions on our team. We are working on developing that guy as we get closer to the ball game."

On keeping focus as coach: "The focus part was very easy. I have always believed that it's always about what you do today. You have to stay focused on the moment, but I don't think that we can actually say that we have had a great turnaround until we start to do great things. I like a lot of things that I have seen from the young men in our program. I am excited about that."

On unpredictability going into first game: "I think that is the greatest thing about the opening game of the season. There is so much that you don't know in all of the areas of the game. It is difficult to predict what is going to happen until you have gained that experience from previous games of that season. You feel like you can rely on that experience, but we have a brand new staff and basically a brand new team so it will be exciting to see what we can accomplish. We are trying to do something a little bit different than what has been done in the past. With that, we will put our best foot forward."

On setting a tone in the first game: "When you come in during the spring you have to have faith in the program. You have to have people that can believe in what you want to accomplish and if we can get off to a great start we will be right there with all of the things we have been doing during the spring."

More on quarterback decision: "I am excited to finish up with the work that we have started. I need to make sure that what I have seen so far, as we get closer to the game, I am able to validate my decision. Preparation for a game is different than preparation for spring practices. All of those internal and external forces that work on us, hopefully I can view those in the next couple days as I move closer to making my decision."

On slower-than-expected ticket sales for Air Force game : "I am not surprised. I think that Husky fans love Husky football and they love Husky football at Husky Stadium. It is not a surprise to me, because you have one of the top-10 stadiums in the country to play in."

On reps for quarterbacks: "I will start to take it back just a little bit as we start to move towards a probable starter. I haven't told either one of them who will start. I think it is to our advantage, because we are giving them the least amount of information about our football team for the game on Saturday."

On Craig Chambers: "Craig has done some good things and right now he is behind a couple of other guys on the depth chart."

On wide receivers: "I anticipate that we will play with five or six receivers."

On improvements since arrival: "I think our overall job of how we do things has improved. How we practice has improved with the tempo because it is more like a game tempo now. Also our ability to communicate has improved a lot and I think that is essential if you want to be a successful football team."

On feeling during practices towards team making mistakes: "You usually can tell where your guys are by how many mistakes they make during practice. Usually mistakes that you make during practice are going to be made during games as well. Our biggest thing this week is just the word discipline. It is such an easy word to throw out and such a difficult thing to possess. During the course of a game our players' eyes will see a lot of things, but their ability to stay disciplined is the key. That is a hard skill and you learn it each day. There is something good that happens every day and there is something bad that happens every day. You don't let yourself succumb to it and you just have to keep going. In all honesty, the good is just as good as the bad, because you can learn from it. You have to keep a very balanced head about what you are doing."

On using last year's frustration and anger to motivate: "I have nothing to do with that. If they generate something from that, then that is wonderful. My job is to keep them focused."

More on the quarterbacks: "We have always said that the most important thing for this staff to do is to lead us to victory. We don't care if the pass is thrown end over end, as long as the pass is completed. We are looking for a young man that can put this football team in one circle."

On possibility of quarterbacks splitting time: "I have always said that my preference is with one quarterback. I won't rule it out, but I would rather stick with one quarterback."

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