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August 9, 2008Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham addressed the media on Saturday before the Huskies were to take part in Washington's Picture Day. Willingham began by saying that he had not seen Jake Locker's MRI and that "they're not a big concern for me."
Sophomore running back Brandon Johnson is still recovering from surgery to repair a PCL and torn meniscus. Willingham discussed Brandon's progress.
"Brandon was a little slower today - just some complications with it. It's no different than what we've said with all of the guys. You try to monitor what they do. You're very cautious with them, move them along at the right pace. The right pace for one guy is a different pace than somebody else."
The Huskies participated in a late afternoon practice on Friday before doing the same early Saturday morning. Willingham discussed how his team responded to the situation.
"They did very well. They're starting to get into the rhythm of camp. Yesterday, [they] picked it up. Today, had wonderful energy - some enthusiasm there."
Sixth year senior Juan Garcia has been through much throughout his life, the latest being a Lisfranc injury he is currently recovering from. When he was asked if having Garcia out on the sidelines during practice inspires the team, Willingham responded:
"I believe a great deal. You could start with his basic story - it's a pretty good one. It's a pretty good testament to a young man fighting through a lot of adverse situations and finding a way to be successful. This last one - he's just continued that personality. If you're around him, you have to gain some strength from just his presence and knowing the story."
Willingham gave his initial impressions of redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch taking reps as the first-team quarterback.
"I's been good. It's difficult for me, because I don't expect it to be anything but that. What Ronnie Fouch is doing, is what we've seen from him before. His spring two years ago - he showed some wonderful things in there, showed some leadership, some enthusiasm. This year, it's the same way. This is nothing new, nothing unexpected."
Willingham discussed mixing and matching veterans and freshman alike, to get the most out of his players.
"There are so many things going on - one of the things is when you have younger players. What environment allows them to best respond and best see what their talents are? Sometimes it's matching the young guy with an older guy. That kind of elevates them, and sometimes you've got some competition with certain guys, so why not make those kinds of switches and those kinds of adjustments. There's a lot of things that go into it. It may be almost more individual with each player than just a total package from one group to the other. Different combinations, different levels of communication. Who communicates well with this guy? With that guy? You try those combinations. There will be a multitude of things that we'll be doing that won't just be one particular reason for making a switch, adjustment or change. It can have nothing to do with changes in the depth chart, just things we need to do, we need to see as coaches, to build our football team."
When asked how the wide receivers have been coming along, Willingham responded:
"They have their up moments and their down moments. They're doing some things well. For the younger guys, there's still a lot of learning taking place. But overall, I've been pleased. I've been pleased with all of them. There's not a disappointment there in the group."
The Huskies began practicing in full pads yesterday, and Willingham discussed the transition for the true freshman.
"I don't think the fact that we've added equipment has changed their approach. The major change for them, is simply the information overload - that's where they'll struggle. I think this is a very confident group of young men that are confident in their abilities to perform. It's just a simple matter of them learning what to do, and that's where they struggle at usually. As the offense is adding information, so is the defense. So that makes their adjustments, their changes greater, and that complicates things. But they seem to be doing well."
Willingham responded when asked if Fouch will receive the lion's share of snaps in practice.
"Obviously with one guy down, they all pick up a few more numbers, but Ronnie gets the lion's share."