April 7, 2009
Junior-to-be Victor Aiyewa battled through an injury-plagued 2008 season and is prepared to show off his abilities this upcoming season to Husky fans and the new coaching regime. The Texan stopped after practice recently to chat with GoHuskies.com correspondent Benton Strong.
GoHuskies.com: What was it like finally getting some sun and heat?
Victor Aiyewa: I thought because I was originally from Houston I should be able to handle this. But as practice wore on it definitely took a toll on my body. It was a great day today. To be in pads with the weather we had and the conditions we had, we got a little tougher. We did fairly well today and it's just great to have pads on with a chance to run around and hit each other.
GH.com: Is it really important to get out into the sun for these?
VA: Most definitely. Even if we don't get the sun there's a way to simulate weather. It's a beautiful day. People should be out here enjoying this sun.
You had a big hit Monday on Cody Bruns where you read his route. Have the coaches been talking to you about that?
VA: My coach has been drilling me to anticipate the quarterback and helping my overall field vision. I'm really focused on that. I checked down on my reads and saw the quarterback ready to go to that route so I jumped on it and it turned out to be the best move for me.
On the very next play Jordan Polk put a pretty good move on you. Did heactually get you or did you just not wrap up?
VA: He actually got me. Jordan Polk is a really quick guy. He is very dangerous because he's quick and fast. You've got to try to hit top-end speed as quick as you can, but then he's quick so he'll cut back on you. Sometimes you'll miss open-field tackles, but we have to eliminate that.
What are you seeing from this receiving core right now?
VA: The main thing I'm seeing right now with the receiving core is confidence. Last year there were a lot of young guys. Confidence is a key component to being a special player, especially at this level. So I'm seeing a lot of confidence. The coaches are helping them and we interact with each other to help build up the confidence of this team.
We haven't seen any scrums at practice yet. What is the intensity level in your mind?
VA: Practices have been so intense that no one wants to really get into anything with a teammate. You don't want to waste that energy. You want to use that energy to get better as a team. It's funny because you would think that with so much more intensity there would be a lot of fights, but our team is gelling. We're more closely-knit and are all working toward the same goal right now.
Where is this team now versus where it needs to be at the end of the month?
VA: Right now our team is having growing pains. We have to continue to get better. We are adjusting to the coaching change. We are adjusting to the new schemes and plays. We're adjusting to the whole aspect of everything being new pretty well. So we just have to keep improving weekly and daily.
Have you noticed a difference with having fans at practice?
VA: That's one thing that gives me more energy. I can't let that affect my play, but at the same time having fans gives me a lift. It's like a game simulation. Having the fans out here is a good thing, but you can't ever let that affect your play on the field.