Pac-10 media day offered a chance to get in some time with UW coach Tyrone Willingham. I got in some one-on-one time with him to talk about officiating for a story I'll have in the Friday paper. Specifically, I talked to him about whether an NBA-like officiating scandal could occur in college football. His answer -- and the answer of most everyone I spoke to –- was yes.
Otherwise, there wasn't much pure Husky news released. Tops might be Willingham's seemingly optimistic attitude that the loss of a couple of his key recruits will be only temporary. He seems to have faith they will show up on campus by the time school starts.
Meanwhile, here are a few of his comments to the big group of Media Day reporters:
ON THE SCHEDULE
The Pac-10 plays one of the most demanding schedules in the nation, and I think we have all of those tough teams on our schedule. I don't think there's anyone that has a tougher start than our first three games, but we also think our conference schedule is demanding. Syracuse is an important game for us to play on the road, and then we have to turn around and play against Cinderella darling Boise State, followed by Ohio State. There is no question that it will be very challenging, but it is an opportunity for us to go out and prove ourselves."
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You have a very positive situation when you have a nationally dominant team, as well as a conference that is as competitive as we will be this year. I said this when I came back from Notre Dame: I think the teams have gotten better and you have to be prepared to play your best games no matter who you are facing each game. It's a very competitive conference."
ON BEING PICKED NINTH IN THE CONFERNCE RACE
"Is it a fair assessment? I don't know, it's never crossed my mind. It is important where we finish at the end of the season; and I think that some years ago projections had been slightly off as far as who finished where. But we are excited. The team is starting to understand the character it takes to be a champion."
Each team also brings a player along, and UW selected defensive end Greyson Gunheim. He also was asked about the schedule and the conference.
"It is a challenge, a big opportunity, for us to play three big teams in three huge games. We are excited to go out there and prove how hard we've been working this summer. ... I think the conference is so competitive, every game if you don't bring your A game, you are in a lot of trouble. Games go down to the last second or one big play. I think we are in the best conference, and I'm really excited. I love playing the big games."