Oct. 28, 2005
The football season hasn't gone as exactly planned for Husky offensive tackle Joe Toledo. The senior made a seamless transition from tight end to the offensive line during the spring, but has been limited to just two games this year after suffering an ankle injury during the first game of the season. Toledo is now back in the fold for the Huskies and is hoping that he can help the team turn it around in their last four games of the season.
Gohuskies.com: How did it feel to get back on the feel after your injury?
Joe Toledo: "It felt good to get back out there. That is what you do all off season, is getting ready for the season, and not being able to play those first few games hurt, but it felt good to get back out there."
GH: Did your foot give you any trouble, or did you completely recover?
JT: "I am not completely healed. It still bothers me a little bit, but you have to be able to play football. You have to be able to play the game of football with a little bit of pain. I mean it felt all right. It felt good enough for me to do some things all right."
GH: Do you feel that the early injuries this season through out the whole team has had an impact on how this season is turning out?
JT: "Yeah, every time you have injuries on the football team, it going to call for some lineup adjustments, which causes people to play next to other people, and that is never going to help out the football team. But we have to be able to insert other people in the lineup, and still be successful."
GH: The team came out strong at the beginning of the USC game, and then injuries started to take a toll. Do you believe that if it weren't for the injuries, the game would have been closer?
JT: "It was possible. But in order to stay competitive with those guys, we have to eliminate our turnovers that we had. The two fumbles, and the blocked punt. That is what really hurt us."
GH: Besides injuries, what do you think is missing in this team to pull out a win?
JT: "We just have to be consistent four quarters with our effort. We come out, and we are up and down a little bit, but we just have to stay consistent throughout the game to put that win together."
GH: What do you work on in practice to be consistent?
JT: "Coach Willingham always preaches that you have to give your full effort--to play in and to play out, and take each play one at time. Also to work hard in practice, because that will carry over to the football field on game day."
GH: Did you think after last season that this team would be able to do a complete turn around?
JT: "I think in terms of wins and losses, you can't really see the improvements right now. I think we have been playing competitively against a lot of these teams, and if were able to do some more things in terms of turnovers, and penalties of that nature, we would have more wins in the winning column. And as the average fan, you always look at the team in terms of wins and losses, and you do that as a player as well. It is definitely not where we thought we would be, or where we want to be. But the good thing about football is there is always next week, which gives you another opportunity to try and get a win."
GH: In your opinion, how good is USC?
JT: "They were good. They are obviously the No. 1 team in the nation for a reason. They have got a lot of talent, they play hard, and they run the ball well. We were able to hold our own for a while at the beginning, but we just need to stay consistent, and if we were to do that, the game would have been a lot closer."
GH: How do you move on week by week, after each game?
JT: "I love to play the game of football. I love competing. I have been doing this with all the sports I have played since I was a little kid. And when every Tuesday comes around, it is just a new week to get ready for a new team, and you just have to be able to put things behind you and move on, and sometimes it's hard, but we have another opportunity this week to get better, put a good game together."
GH: How do you stay focused through out the season?
JT: "Well it is my senior year, and a lot of things are wrapping down. Football is wrapping down. I am going to be done with school at the end of this quarter. So I knew going into this quarter that I was going to have to be focused, and stay focused no matter what. Playing at a school like this, where football is big, it is kind of easy to stay focused with all the coaches and players behind you."
GH: Going up against Arizona State, playing at their home, during their homecoming, what is the strategy for the week?
JT: "We are just going to have to go in, where it is probably going to be a hostile environment. Hopefully we can go in and execute early like we did with USC, and give a good effort and put forth four good quarters."
GH: Do you think how this season is going is going to affect your chances to making it to the league?
JT: "Every time your team does well, it is going to help you out individually. But as far as I am concerned, I just have to go out and play hard every down, and let that take care of it self. I know they are going to look at the team as a whole, but hopefully they look at what I am doing individually, and make their judgments on that."