Before the Huskies took the field for the first time this season, there was a question-and-answer session with the media in which coach Tyrone Willingham:
&bullsaid his team should "think big" when it comes to goals for the season. "I don't see any problem with this football team wanting to be the best team in this conference, wanting to be one of the best teams in the country," he said. "I think that's a good starting place and you adjust from there."
&bullconfirmed that freshman receivers Anthony Boyles of Gardena, Calif., and Devin Aguilar of Denver aren't yet academically qualified to join the team. "We'll be very patient," Willingham said. "We know those young men are doing all the right things. …. It's not beyond reason to expect that we could have one of both of them at some point." He added that defensive lineman Anthony Atkins, an academically ineligible juco transfer, "will not be with us this season."
&bullrepeated that redshirt freshman Jake Locker begins camp as his starting quarterback. 'I like the work that I've seen from Carl (Bonnell,)" he said. "I like the work that I've seen from Jake. It will be exciting to see what comes out of it." (Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano later added that Locker's advantage over Bonnell isn't as great as the difference between starting tailback Louis Rankin and No. 2 J.R. Hasty.)
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&bullsaid it would be a good sign if tailback Louis Rankin has "a huge season" because it would be a byproduct of success of the offensive line and would likely be accompanied by a byproduct good performance by the quarterback and receivers.
&bullsaid it is "a possibility" that the players will have their names on the backs of their jerseys this season.
&bullagreed with a reporter's assessment that the secondary is one of the areas that needing improvement this season, but he stressed that he considers the offensive line the most important unit.
&bullrefused to name any position or unit as more competitive than another in terms of playing time. "Competition is the invisible coach that makes everyone better," he said. "It takes less prodding on my part and my assistant coach's part to get the kind of excellence that we're looking for. So I hope that we have competition at every spot."
&bullrepeated his philosophy that he will use the best players regardless of class or experience and that freshmen will dictate their playing time by their own performance. "Which of our freshmen seem to adapt to the system mentally, which of them have the best opportunity based on depth," he said. "Some of them will walk right into positions simply because we don't have depth. One of those running backs will probably be third team when we start practice."
&bullsaid every player opens camp physically able to perform. He singled out kicker Ryan Perkins of Olympia as having done "a tremendous job" getting ready to compete.
&bullwelcomed the UW schedule, which includes six teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 coaches poll and is ranked among the toughest in the nation. "It is not just coaches speak to say it's a challenge," he said. "I think our guys are excited about that. I think we've got a core of our football team that really looks at it in that manner: It is a challenge, it is an opportunity."