June 20, 2005
While school is out for most University of Washington students, Monday marked the return of summer workouts for the Husky football team. The non-mandatory summer sessions are geared to keep the team in shape and provide a foundation for solid team chemistry heading into fall camp and the season-opener versus Air Force on Sept. 3.
With the thermometers reaching the 80s, the mood in the locker room was jovial prior to the team hitting the field. Hugs were exchanged, hand shakes shared and friendly barbs were traded, making it feel like a reunion. But when the pads were strapped on and laces tied up, it became business as usual.
"It's going to be no joke," said senior quarterback Casey Paus about what he expects the summer workouts to be like. "Coach (Willingham) and the strength staff have talked about it and they expect a lot from us this summer. I know everyone on the team understands that and we'll see after the first day how committed everyone really is, but I think we'll be just fine."
Coming off a 1-10 season and a coaching change, the Huskies will use the summer working with the strength staff, working on timing and reinforcing drills. With the coaches out of the picture for the workouts, the seniors on the squad will be running the show. Paus, who will be in his fifth summer of workouts at Husky Stadium will be one of the main guys orchestrating the workouts.
"I've been here since the summer of 2001 and I know it makes a huge difference being here, being part of the program and being committed," said Paus. "I think everyone realizes that and has jumped on the boat."
While summer workouts will be regimented, the down time will be spent bonding with each other. Different classes and positions plan the activities, all with the purpose of promoting team unity. The seniors paved the way first by organizing a paint-ball outing, while the offensive linemen followed up with an organized bowling evening. Throughout the summer, the team plans on numerous barbeques, trips to Wild Waves and anything to help beat the summer heat and prepare for the upcoming season.
"Any time you can have the team together it is a plus," said senior fullback Ty Eriks. "Whether it be workouts or team functions, it all helps to bring everybody together. You can't ask everybody to be the best of friends, but the more people are around each other, the better they know how to work together."