September 24, 2008

Willingham Not Taking Stanford Lightly

Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham addressed the media Wednesay to discuss the current in's and out's of Husky football.

Willingham opened up by discussing injuries.

"There is still no word on Darin Harris - exactly what his timetable will be or when he'll be ready. Other than that, most of our bruises have started to heal and mend, so we look like we'll be in good shape."

When asked the coaching staff will see true freshman Craig Noble practice today, Willingham responded.

"We probably will. Monday evening, he kind of officially arrived and just tried to get himself situated as much as possible - that's kind of a whirlwind the way that it happened. We're excited that he's here. I think he's eager to be here, eager to get started and get most of the fundamental things in place, so he can go ahead and start to be a real active part of our football team."

When asked if it's too late in the season for Noble to see playing time, Willingham said.

"No, certainly not. It'll be a matter of how well he adjusts, how well he learns, how well he handles all of the collegiate environment. We would have loved to have him here much sooner than this, because it would allow him to get acclimated in a much easier fashion than he's being thrust into right now, but we'll see. We'll be very patient, understand the difficulties and the challenges that he has and try to move forward at a pace that he's comfortable with."

Willingham continued to discuss Noble.

"I'd like to see him play at his own pace or play when it's exactly right for him. Obviously we had great thoughts of him and what he would add to our front. All of those guys that are in that class have done well so far, so we anticipated that he would be at the same pace, but we'll let him determine was that pace will be from this point on."

Willingham discussed the progress of true freshman safety Johri Fogerson.

"I feel pretty good, but Johri's been one of those guys that's been hobbling just a little bit on an ankle problem. Other than that, he's practiced, he's worked every day, but that's probably slowed him down more than anything else. But I think he'll do very well."

Willingham mentioned that both junior linebacker Josh Gage and senior wide receiver Charles Hawkins have been placed on scholarship for the season.

Willingham discussed the situation of true freshman cornerback Tony Gobern, who did not participate in Fall camp due to injury.

"He has decided along with us, it was a mutual agreement, that he would withdraw from school at this time and return in January. It probably has more to do with his injury and looking at what might best fit his situation. It allows him to be able to return to school with an entirely clean slate, and that is very similar to what would happen if he were greyshirting. Yes, along the same lines [of what happened with Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar] - very similar with where the end product will be basically the same."

Willingham mentioned that true freshman running back Chris Polk had surgery today.

When asked if the Huskies can make Stanford one dimensional by limiting it's running game, Willingham responded.

"I don't think you can definitely say that. I think obviously they've got some excellent athletes at a lot of places. They've done some good things, played some good games and won some big games. So you have to be aware that even if you're fortunate enough to limit them to one dimension, they still have the ability to strike and strike very well at that dimension. What it does, if you're capable of doing that, it gives you more cards in your deck than they have, and that's what you want to try to do is put as many on your side as possible."

This week's game against Stanford is one of the biggest in Wilingham's career. When asked to discuss other big games in his past, Willingham replied.

"I think playing in the Rose Bowl is obviously a big game, there's nothing small about that game in any measure. So that would be the one that I would look at, point to and say that is a big game."

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