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September 24, 2012
Coming off a bye week, which wasn't even close to having a week off, the Washington football team already had good energy Sunday for game week.
Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox thought Sunday was a good day with good energy, which the team needs to continue through the week.
"Obviously got some really good work done last week on ourselves and then started sprinkling the Stanford things, and so this week we were able to have a little bit of a head start," Wilcox said.
Since before the Portland State game, the focus has been within. Wilcox said they obviously need to know who they're going up against and the opponent's schemes, but they also need to make sure they're working on themselves.
Making self-improvements is crucial to being able to show up to play on game day. And it starts with being focused on how they execute, according to Wilcox.
We "really got to work on improving some of the things that we're deficient at, whether it's fundamentally, or alignments, or eye control, so those things have always got to improve no matter where you're at in the season," Wilcox said.
Not only do the Huskies want to improve regardless of where they're at in the season, but they also want to be improving regardless of who their opponent is.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian said they shouldn't change the way they prepare mentally, physically or emotionally depending on who they're playing.
"Our preparation is about us and doing things our way, the Husky way, playing our brand of football," Sarkisian said. "That messaging hasn't changed from us as coaches and shouldn't change the mentality of the players."
Sarkisian said that from a motivational standpoint, he thinks the players are starting to mature and understand that in terms of preparation, the team's enthusiasm shouldn't waver each week depending on the upcoming opponent.
It may be a nationally televised game, but to Sarkisian, Stanford is just another opponent, and it's just another game that they want to play well in.
"We get to play Thursday night and it happens to be Stanford this week," Sarkisian said.
And in order to put up a good showing against Stanford, Washington is going to have to execute.
That starts in practice.
Wilcox said that in order to execute, they have to play with great effort, toughness and fundamentals, and all those things have to happen in practice to come together during a game.
On Sunday, he noted that the team has to prepare really well in order to go out and execute. The Huskies did just that on Sunday, having what Sarkisian described as an "excellent" practice where guys came out and practiced with a purpose and an edge.
Part of that edge that Sarkisian was pleased with was the team's physicality. He said practice has been physical the past couple days, and that's the edge they need to bring to practice so they can translate that to game play.
"You play the way you practice," Sarkisian said.
Now that there are have been a few weeks of actual game time, here are some of Wilcox's thoughts on the young standouts on the defense:
True freshman defensive end Pio Vatuvei has been getting better every week, Wilcox said. Wilcox is also looking forward to getting redshirt freshman linebacker Travis Feeney back healthy because he's flashed during his time this season. True freshman safety/nickleback Shaq Thompson has obviously been getting reps because of his production on the field.
Wilcox went on to remind people that linebacker John Timu and defensive tackle Danny Shelton are sophomores. He said that people tend to forget they're sophomores because they seem like veterans. Wilcox said that Timu and Shelton are important for the defense and have done a nice job of taking the coaching and trying to improve every week.
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