Q&A with Running Back Paul Arnold
Oct. 3, 2000
What are your thoughts on the loss at Oregon? How much was the crowd a factor?
Arnold: "The Oregon game was definitely a rough one, because we lost it. The crowd was a factor for the team. We knew we would not have very many checks, because we wouldn't be able to hear them. The couple of times we did check plays, good things didn't happen. For me, I can't hear the snap count anyway. It was kind of the same for me, but I could tell overall that it affected the whole offense."
How do you feel about your personal performance in the Oregon game?
Arnold: "We did not get a "W." As far as the running game, we are still waiting to have a breakout game. Obviously, I did not play up to the level that was expected. I did some good things, and did some things that probably could be worked on. I am going to go out to practice this week and hopefully get them solved."
What are you going to do at practice to help you get past those things?
Arnold: "I think that the running backs have been getting a lot of good work done in practice lately. I think last week was one of our best weeks of practice so far since we have been together. I think we just need to keep doing the same things we are doing and just hope we have a better outcome this week. They say you practice how you play and I think that is true. If you go out and have a good week of practice you feel better going into the game, and things work out for you a little better."
Going into the Oregon State game, with them being 4-0 and coming off a big win against USC, how does that play a factor in this game?
Arnold: "They are coming off of that big win and they have a little momentum going. They obviously want to come up here and get a win at Husky Stadium. And we are trying to rebound off of a big loss. I think both teams are going to be ready to play. It is definitely going to be a good game."
How does the fact that the Oregon State game is a night game play into it?
Arnold: "The only thing different about night games is that it seems like you are waiting around all day and getting a little more anxious to play. I remember we had a night game last year and it seemed like it took forever for it to come around. That is really the only difference, you have to wait around all day to play."
Have you seen or heard anything about Oregon State that could affect your opportunities against them?
Arnold: "We know that they have a good defense. They are 4-0 right now, and coming off of a big win over USC. They have had some impressive wins and that doesn't happen without a good defense. So, we know we are going in to play against another good defense. We have to execute this week and have minimal mistakes, so we don't shoot ourselves in the foot. As the running backs, we need to hit the holes. We have to play a complete game, and produce numbers. That is the biggest thing. At times, we have played well, but we have not put up great numbers. We just have to put up numbers."
Does having a home game coming off of a loss help a little bit, having the home crowd and more familiar environment?
Arnold: "It is definitely better playing in your own territory. We won't have a noise problem this week, for the simple fact that we are playing with our crowd. We have 75,000 strong. Hopefully, that will disrupt their offense a little bit. I think we are playing with somewhat of an advantage being at home."
Looking at the season thus far, you have a respectable 3-1 record, how do you think the team has played? Does the loss effect any of that?
Arnold: "It is always hard coming off of a loss, but at same time we are 3-1 right now. We have obviously been doing some good things, but I don't think we have played our best ball yet. We are still waiting for that game when we play our best ball."
What is it going to take for everything to come together?
Arnold: "It is going to take us a good week of practice. The biggest thing will be for us to minimize our mistakes in all three aspects of the game."
With a younger crop of receivers out there, does that put any more pressure on the running backs?
Arnold: "I think there is pressure on everybody. You can't run if you can't pass, and you can't pass if you can't run. We have to find a combination where we can do both. That way we take the pressure off of them (receivers) with the running game, and they take the pressure off of us (running backs) by catching balls. And that makes it a lot easier for Marques (Tuiasosopo) as well. Everybody needs to help each other out."
How does this year compare with last year, your freshman year as far as the team and getting to be in the game rather than watching the game?
Arnold: "Right now, we are 3-1, last year, we were not in the same position. We are ranked pretty high and we are doing well, so it has been the best for me. I came here to win games and right now we are doing that. Last year, I was able to go out and see the defenses and get a chance to see what was going on. Then we would make all the adjustments and I was able to go into the game when things were a little smoother. Now, I am out there, going through the adjustments."
Going into the Oregon State game, is there anything in the back of your mind that you are trying to concentrate on in order to have a better game?
Arnold: "The thing that I think about every week is pass protection. That was a concern for me last year, so I am trying to focus on that. I try to evaluate the linebackers, and see their styles. I want perfect pass protection. I do not ever want to give up a sack."
What do you do before or after a game to relax and/or get ready?
Arnold: "I just sit back and put my headphones on and just listen to the music. It is like a meditation. I just think about things that calm me and relax me. Then I try to think about the game. I think about outrageous situations like having three carries and they are all 99-yard touchdowns. I just visualize great things happening. I think about the game, and things I need to do. And I pray. I just try to set myself up for a good game and go in relaxed."
How important is prayer for you going into a game?
Arnold: "Prayer is really important to me. I probably pray five or 10 times before a game. I never pray for a win, just that I can go out there and play the game I know how to play and that every one will come out of it injury free."
Why did you choose the University of Washington?
Arnold: "I am from the area, and I wanted to play in front of the people who watched me grow and supported me, and stay close to my family. And I know this the place I want to live the rest of my life. It is a good business community, and UW is a top 25 university, academically. If I stay here and go to this university, whether football be my future or a job, I will be taken care of well, coming from here."
What do you like to do off the field to relax?
Arnold: "I like to play video games and I am really into music now. I like to go out and buy CDs, relax with friends, and hang out at the dorms.
What genre of CDs are you buying? Rap? Rhythm and Blues?
Arnold: "I am going through my rap phase right now. A little while ago it was R&B and gospel. I probably have around 150-200 CDs right now, and the collection grows every week. It is killing my wallet, but when I drive past a CD shop, and new CDs are coming out, I have to go pick one up."
Who is your favorite athlete, and why?
Arnold: "Barry Sanders is probably my all-time favorite. But I like to watch the rookies that are just going into the NFL, like Shaun Alexander. And I have been watching the Olympics lately. I am a big Michael Johnson fan. I just really look at the guys that are having success in their own right. I try to see what they are doing and try to follow after them in a certain way."
Speaking of the Olympics, when you watch do you watch as a fan, or see that as a level you would like to aspire to?
Arnold: "Both. I am a fan of track and field, and I also like to watch the gymnastics. Success is universal, it does not just apply to one thing. When I see somebody having success with what they do, I try to watch what they do, how they carry themselves, and the things that make them successful, because maybe they could work for me."
Why do you like gymnastics? What track and field events do you watch?
Arnold: "I am a self-proclaimed gymnast. I like to do flips too. I can do back flips and things like that. Growing up, I always used to do flips. So, I like to watch and say, I can do that, or I can't do that, those sorts of things. I like both men's and women's gymnastics, but I think the women have better toys to play on than the men do. In track and field, I like to watch the long jump, but mostly the sprints."
There has been a lot of trash talk going on with Michael Johnson and others in the Olympics, what do you think of that, and how much is it a factor for you on the football field?
Arnold: "I try to use things like that for motivation. If somebody tackles me and then gets up and starts yelling at me, I think in the back of my mind, `I will see you later on.' I use that as my motivation to have a good game. It is really not my style to trash talk, I like to show them with my play. If I am playing well, I don't need to say anything, because my play says it all."
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
Arnold: I like "Money Talks" and "Rush Hour," because I like Chris Tucker. I probably watch those movies three times a week. I also have a lot of the Def Comedy Jam tapes I recorded. I am a big comedy fan."
Do you have a favorite sports team?
Arnold: "When I was younger, I used to be a Steve Young fan, so I like the 49ers. But after he stopped playing I don't really watch teams anymore, I am more for individual players. I could probably find an individual player on every team that I like."
Do you typically watch football on Sundays after playing a game on Saturday or do you want a break from it?
Arnold: "Sometimes I will watch it for a while, but I would rather just go play video games or something else. I try to catch Corey Dillon as much as I can though. There are certain teams I like to watch, like the Minnesota (Vikings) and the (St. Louis) Rams. I will watch football, but not too much. I would rather watch the Sports Center highlights than watch the whole game."
What was the inspiration behind your unique hairstyle? Does it cause a problem with your helmet?
Arnold: How the hair started was, I needed a haircut one day and I did not get one. Somebody told me to cut my hair, and I said no, just being stubborn. And they asked if I was growing an afro, and I said yes. They told me it would be ugly, so I did it just because they told me not to do it. That is how it got started. I am so stubborn that when people tell me to cut my hair, it motivates me to keep it. There is no particular reason other than that.
"I had to get a longer facemask this year to cover my face up because my helmet sits pretty high. I thought I was going to have to cut (my hair) at camp though, because I wasn't able to fit it in my helmet. And safety comes first. But we found a facemask that would work for it, so I was able to keep it."