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August 8, 2012

Next play mentality




It was another competitive day of practice, sans pads, on Tuesday at the University of Washington fall football camp.

Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox noticed this competition starting up - his players are hungry.

"There's quite a few battles. We've got a long way until the first game and there's a lot of positions that are going to be very, very competitive," Wilcox said.

Wilcox is excited to be back out working with the team and to expand upon what they accomplished during spring. He said he wants to work from the ground up, fundamentally and schematically.

Redshirt sophomore defensive end Josh Shirley appreciates Wilcox's ability to teach his players schematics.

"He's a schemer. He knows what he's doing and he knows how to put his players in the right situation to win," Shirley said. "If he wasn't a great coach he wouldn't be here, and I'm glad he's my coach."

Wilcox, defensive line/defensive run game coordinator Tosh Lupoi and head coach Steve Sarkisian have stressed the next play. Sarkisian said this has become a team motto, not just a defensive mindset, and that this was their focus coming into Tuesday's practice.

"We just understand from a mental standpoint, good, bad or indifferent, that that last play is over and we've got to focus on the task at hand, and that's the next play, so I thought the guys did a nice job at it," Sarkisian said.

Going into fall camp, Shirley has a grasp on what this concept means for a player.
"You can't focus on the past, you have to move forward," Shirley said. "You fix those problems after the game."

Shirley said that when a player can focus their energy on the next play and learn from their mistakes, then the "next play" mentality can be used every play.

Sarkisian, Lupoi and Wilcox would be happy to hear their motto is getting through to such a disruptive player on their defense.
Shirley was highly disruptive during spring ball, and it's no surprise he plans to continue that this fall. Sarkisian doesn't seem to doubt his ability to continue his disruptive playing style, either.

But Tuesday's practice was more about the offense, which came back after yesterday being more impressive from the defensive side of the ball.

"When you get knocked down you got to…see what you can throw back, but I think the offense bounced back great today. It's just a great day of competition," Shirley said.
Sarkisian agrees.

"They created some good plays down the field," Sarkisian said, as well as some "good lessons to teach young players the value of the ball."

Sarkisian was talking about the fact that the ball was stripped from players a couple times, despite also some great receptions and runs from new players like Jaydon Mickens and Kendyl Taylor.

But guess who stripped the ball not once, but twice?

Another freshman, cornerback Brandon Beaver.
Shirley seems impressed with some of these young players.

"They play fast," Shirley said. "You can't coach that. You can coach the game, but you can't coach effort and energy."

The quarterback position continued to leave some excitement about the potential there.
For the second day in a row, Sarkisian was pleased with the guys behind Keith Price.

"I thought the young guys, they do such cool stuff. Cyler (Miles) had a great throw over the top to James Johnson, Derrick Brown had a couple throws, Jeff (Lindquist) had a couple throws, and then they had some great learning experience plays, too," Sarkisian said. "They're doing some stuff that is obviously putting a smile on a lot of guys' faces about the future of that position."

Coaches and players will be excited to start practicing with pads on later to really see how some of the new and rehabbing players handle practices.

Quick hits:

Erik Kohler, whose knee cap popped out of and then back into place at Monday's practice, wore a brace on that right knee today and didn't practice. Sarkisian said he will be out for a couple weeks, but it shouldn't impact his season.

Deontae Cooper took today easy, since Sarkisian said they gave him enough Monday. Through his rehabilitation process, Sarkisian said they will just get him going again later.

Bishop Sankey and Jesse Callier looked solid again Tuesday. So did Keith Price and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Travis Coons hit 5/7 of his field goals. The two missed were over 50 yards.
Freshmen Kendyl Taylor, Erich Wilson II and Jaydon Mickens all looked fast and strong again Tuesday.

James Johnson made receptions look easy and seemed pumped to be out running plays.
Derrick Brown is still learning, and seems to be on a fairly level playing field with the two freshmen quarterbacks, Jeff Lindquist and Cyler Miles.

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