Aug. 10, 2010
The Husky football team returned to the field at Husky Stadium Tuesday for the second practice of fall camp Tuesday afternoon.
Sunny skies and an occasional, welcome breeze greeted a contingent of fans, UW mascot "Dubs" and the Dawgs themselves, who worked out in helmets and shorts for a second straight day, per NCAA acclimatization rules.
"I thought it was good," Coach Steve Sarkisian said of Tuesday's workout. "I thought the intensity was really good today."
Sarkisian noted that being in helmets only for a second straight day, coupled with the natural enthusiasm that comes with the start of camp, means the players can tend towards the slightly over-zealous.
"In this format, they start clamoring," he said. "They want to get the pads on."
"The offense was efficient," Sarkisian continued, "and I've been impressed with a lot of our defensive players."
The coach said he's has been pleased with the play of several of his freshmen on the defensive side of the ball. He called out by name Sione Potoa'e, Princeton Fuimaono, Cooper Pelluer, Sean Parker and Gregory Ducre, noting that this list was only off the top of his head.
Polk and Cooper each provided a highlight play Tuesday. Polk caught a screen pass at his feet for a nice gain while Cooper maintained his balance by putting a hand on the ground on a run up the middle in a nice display of his agility.
Other highlight plays included a nice catch in traffic from receiver James Johnson and a solid interception from Ducre on a tipped pass.
The Huskies return for another 3:00 p.m. practice Wednesday afternoon. They'll be in helmets and shoulder pads.
Q & A WITH Austin Sylvester
There's plenty of opportunity available for Austin Sylvester this season. With the departure of Paul Homer to graduation, the Huskies have a starting job available at fullback. Sylvester, a senior, is perhaps the leading candidate, but he understands the competitive nature of the Washington program means he has to bring it each time out during fall practice. The Reno, Nev., native - who went to high school in Princeton, N.J. - spent most of his summer here in Seattle working out to prepare for the season. GoHuskies.com correspondent Kyle MacDonald caught up with Sylvester after the team's first practice to ask him about the start of camp.
GoHuskies.com: How is this first day of practice different than previous ones you've been through?
Austin Sylvester: The tempo and excitement that everyone has is unparallel to what's been happening, this is the best year by far since I've been here.
GH.com: Do you feel different as a person and a player knowing this is your last season as a Husky?
GH.com: After being behind Paul Homer last year, what's it like being the man at your position?
AS: More responsibility, but at the same time me and Paul were always in a race with each other. It's still a race now, don't get me wrong. I come out here every day like I could lose my job any day. I'm not under any allusion to that because that's how this team operates and that's why we're so good and why we're going to be great because everybody has to play hard every day to keep their position. With Paul it was that race--he always pushed me to be better than what I was and never let me settle, and I never let him settle. In a way, it was like a symbiotic relationship that was frustrating at times but made me a better player, and I thank him every day for it.
GH.com: What did you do to make yourself better in the offseason?
AS: A lot of lifting and running and trying to eat right and stretching. It's mental too. You watch film, and watch yourself in the spring game and take notes of things you need to work on. As far as being with the team, our optional afternoon workouts were the best I've seen since I've been here. We had at least 80 guys every time, and it was almost a mini practice. It takes some programs three years to get where we're at, and we got there in a year and a half.
GH.com: Did you have any fun this summer?
AS: There's plenty of time to have fun. We work out and then go jump in the lake. We'd have Wednesdays off at the beginning and the weekends. We got a week off before camp to go home and see our families. It's like any other kid, they have a summer job. We have our summer job to work out and go to school and take care of business.
GH.com: How are the expectations this year?
AS: We believe more in ourselves than anything. We know we deserve much better. We're playing like we do now. Last year was a great comeback from the year before, but it wasn't good enough for us. Every guy on this team--you can see it in their eyes--they want more. That's what's great about it. We're all working to this common goal, and that's to win the Pac-10. That's our goal.
GH.com: Is there any added pressure being the last line of defense for Jake Locker?
AS: You can't think about it like that. If you put pressure on yourself, that's when you mess up. You just have to go out and play. Jake's such a great athlete, I just have to get him an inch and he can get out for a mile. It's another blessing to be playing with a guy like that. It's very rare to play with a guy that has the potential to be the first pick in the NFL draft. I have that this year, so if I have one year starting, it's going to be the best year ever.