Fall practices kicked off yesterday and Willingham shares his thoughts on the day in general.
"Yesterday was a good start for us, obviously a lot of good things that took place, and I think you saw many of them. But probably the best thing, from a coaches standpoint, was the fact that we did our conditioning test, and most of our football team ran pretty well. You follow that up with a full-fledged practice, which means you get the maximum stress on them as possible, and I thought they did a nice job of handling what potentially is a stressful mental situation. So, I enjoyed what they did yesterday and our seniors did a wonderful job for the most part in leading, and I thought our young guys, the freshman class, picked up the pace right along with them, so it was all in all a good day."
The heart and soul of the offense, six year senior center Juan Garcia is recovering faster than expected from his Liz Frank injury and was on the practice field yesterday in a limited role. Plus Freshman Alameda Ta'amu left practice early and didn't return until 15 minutes remaining. Safety Jason Wells has also been slowed by injury and Willingham touched on all three.
"He [Garcia] is fine, and that's all part of our plan, we will be very cautious and very deliberate with what we do with him. But everything we've seen so far indicates good days ahead and also the same the case was with our freshman, Alameda Ta'amu, who basically had the same kind of day. Jason Wells did similar, so there will be quite a few guys in those situations that we think the best thing is slow progress with them."
"He continued on about Garcia, "A great deal of what we do is because he's had no setbacks at. But obviously, once again, the word I've used earlier and I will use it again, we are very cautious in what we do with him. So, that means we build in natural restrictions that don't allow him to do to much."
Alameda Ta'amu gives UW the big body they have been lacking along the defensive line. Willingham address the prospect of seeing the 348-pound freshman play early.
"Players always determine that [playing time]. Obviously we said our defensive line had some turnover and not having the experience there, it creates opportunity. But what the individual does, if he's able to gain momentum in terms of practice time, then obviously that opportunity will present itself. Right now, we're very pleased, we're moving very cautiously forward with his progress."
True Freshman Chris Polk has been turning heads ever since he got to campus this spring. He could start as a freshman at either running back or slot receiver and that decision could be a camp long one.
"We have some guys like that," Willingham said in regards to players being able to play multiple positions. "probably one of the key jobs for us as a football staff will be determining those roles and responsibilities for not only Chris Polk, but several other guys on our team. Exactly where they should be, where they're best suited for, what best allows them to have impact on the game and positively affect our football team. So we'll be going through that process probably for the next week and a half, not with just Chris Polk, but other guys on the squad also."
Chris Izbicki recently got two misdemeanors for unlawful trespassing and minor in possession during the KUBE 93 Summer Jam. It appears all suspensions will be in house and he has participated in full during fall practices.
"Obviously I've talked to Chris about that situation and we are aware of it. Chris obviously is very remorseful about what took place, obviously the embarrassment to himself, the embarrassment to his family and definitely to his football program. He is willing to take the proper steps to ensure those kind of things are just a one time occurrence as a member of this football team and he will be disciplined within the structure of our team."
DeShon Mathews has moved inside to defensive tackle and has gained some weight in preparation.
"We looked at him obviously playing in a lot of spaces and places, and that was by design. We're not sure where all of those places will be that we'll use him. What we'll do is look at the best combination of guys up front that will give us our best play, right now we're looking at tackle, but it could be outside or inside and that is determined by their role, their participation, their play and how well they perform."
6-foot-2, 278-pound redshirt freshman defensive tackle Tyrone Duncan has the versatile to be moved along the defensive line. Willingham thinks he could be used in multiple roles.
Fall practices kicked off yesterday and Willingham shares his thoughts on the day in general."Right now Tyrone is a tackle. I won't say tackle, I'll say inside. In the spring, we used him outside some also, and we could flip a lot of those roles and responsibilities. You asked a question regarding Chris Polk, kind of defining where he is at, what he will do, what will be the best spot for him, where will he get the most emphasis at. I stated that there will be a lot of guys on this team that will be working to make those decisions and that's what your camp is about, that's what you take the time to do, to figure out where all of them plug in at to make your team the strongest."
Willingham touched on redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch.
"I think Ronnie is very knowledgeable about the game and I onsider that a strength. I consider his ability to throw the deep ball and pass the ball a strength. His weakness is probably his ability to run the ball, yet if you remember times last year, in one of the spring scrimmages, I think he had like a 70 yard, 80 yard run or something of that nature
My thought was that he came along far enough last year that it was probably in our plans to get him experience. He has shown himself and put himself kind of in a position that he's doing some awfully good things. Anytime you can do that, and that would allow us to give Jake some rest, and put him in a more advantageous position."
Willingham touched on redshirt freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch.
"I wouldn't measure it off one day. I've been pleased with those two guys. I've been watching Ronnie since he stepped on campus, jumped off a plane and started in spring practice right off the bat. I thought he's done a marvelous job of growing, developing and accepting the challenge. Obviously Jake has not batted an eye in terms of his determination to be the best. That's a wonderful duel to have as a quarterback, two guys that have that kind of presence."
****Freshman Alameda Ta'amu is bothered by an injury sustained as a senior in high school. Willingham wouldn't clarify on the severity of it, but he looks to be participating.
****Alvin Logan and D'Andre Goodwin were again lined up as the number one unit receivers. Curtis Shaw and Devin Aguilar were running with the number two unit.
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