Video Interviews: Coach Willingham | Roy Lewis | Robert Lewis
Aug. 15, 2007
SEATTLE - Since Coach Tyrone Willingham unveiled the "gold jersey" during fall camp last year, the daily honor for players who peform at the top level during practices has been a minor sensation.
Daily newspapers, websites and blogs that cover the Dawgs have kept track of which players have earned the gold jersey. Some days, it's just one player. Sometimes, it's several. And occassionally, no one has earned enough esteem in his coaches' eyes to wear the metallic gold jersey with the purple number "1".
This morning, however, in the first of the Huskies' two practices Wednesday, four players pulled on the gold shirt: defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, cornerback Roy Lewis, safety Jason Wells and receiver Corey Williams, who garnered the honor for the fourth straight day.
While to some outsiders, the whole affair may seem little more than a novelty, it's fair to say that the Husky players take it seriously, and that they take great pride in both striving for and attaining the gold jersey.
"When you have that jersey, especially if you're the only one on the field, people are going to be looking at you," Williams says. "It kind of makes you play more intensely. It's added pressure, but I like that pressure. I think I perform better.
"It just feels good to have all the hard work be noticed and have the coaches recognize that you're playing well," adds Williams, a senior from Las Vegas. "It's a confidence booster for me. Since the coaches have given me the gold jersey, I want to go out there and show them that they know what they're talking about -- that I am a good player, that I try to play my best in practice and go hard all the time."
Te'o-Nesheim agrees. While he's happy to have been honored, he's quick to point out that it's not a free pass and that just because he's been recognized, he can't let up.
"It means that the coaches see that you're working hard and hustling," says Te'o-Nesheim, a junior from Waikoloa, Hawaii. "You still have to get better everyday. Just because you have the gold jersey doesn't mean it's good enough."
Both Williams and Te'o-Nesheim were also united in the notion that a lot of their teammates have also been working hard and may have also been worthy of accolades.
"There are probably some other guys out there who deserve it," Williams explains, "but it's hard to get all the coaches to agree. That's part of what makes it special."
"I think if I practiced the best I could practice, I'd be getting it every day," Te'o-Nesheim says. "So would everybody else."
The Huskies will hold their second practice of the day Wednesday afternoon at sunny Husky Stadium before returning to a one-a-day schedule on Thursday. Wednesday's workouts represented the 12th and 13th practices of the 28 the Huskies will hold prior to departing for their season-opening game Aug. 31 at Syracuse.