A few of you have asked about the Huskies' slow second halves this season, and wondering what kind of adjustments the UW staff is making.
So far this season, the Huskies have outscored their opponents 55-29 in the first halves, and have been outscored 70-56 in the second halves.
We asked coach Willingham about that at today's week-opening press conference:
"Your concern – and I think naturally so – is are you making adjustments and those kinds of things, and yes we are, we're making adjustments," he said. "But obviously ours aren't working. The thing that we're doing is still not completing the task that we're trying to complete. … You just keep working at it, because it has worked it has done things, and we've got to get ourselves in better position, and that's the job of the coaches, that's my job to get us in better position, and then we've got to make more plays. Some of those we can make, some of those we should have made. We just have to get it done."
Willingham added that he doesn't think the second-half problems are related to lack of depth.
He added that once the coaches make the adjustments, it is naturally up to the players to go execute properly... and made clear that didn't always happen Saturday in the loss to UCLA.
"We have to get our defense in the best possible position, and once in that position our guys have to execute their responsibility," he said. "We probably had, I thought, Saturday as many missed tackles as we've had in a while that showed up in some of the big places – that was part of the kickoff return, that was part of the long run, where we had the opportunity to make that play we didn't make."
Some of you also have asked about Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar -- the UW receivers who weren't enrolled with the rest of this incoming class due to SAT scores. We also asked about those, because I had thought Willingham had said he might have something to report about the time the fall quarter begins ... and now classes begin Wednesday. However, Willingham said he had no news and that he can't do anything to affect the timing.
A few other notes:
*Willingham said he knows of no new injuries that should keep any Huskies out of the USC game. However, he added that he would know more by mid-week.
*The Huskies will become true student-athletes this week as classes begin Wednesday.
*Players of the week selected by UW coaches are Russo for offense and special teams, and linebacker Dan Howell on defense.
*UCLA's Matthew Slater was selected Pac-10 special teams player of the week today after returning three kicks for 127 yards against the Huskies, including an 85-yard touchdown that proved to be the winning score.
Finally, we also got some access to USC coach Pete Carroll today. He tried to recruit Jake Locker down to Southern California, and today he seemed as high on Locker as ever:
"He's decisive, he's got a great arm, he's naturally accurate," Carroll said. "He has the abilities to throw different types of throws: He can stick it when he has to and he can lay it up when he has too. The variety of things that they've done have given a real nice spread to their offense and they count on him to be a good dropback thrower, as well as a guy he can do it on the move. He's just as much of a threat as a guy can be right now."
Naturally, opposing coaches always say good things about the team they're about to face. But Carroll went way beyond that today. This is a guy who should know plenty about top-level quarterbacks, and he just seems in love with Locker.
By the way, my Tuesday story will be about Locker hitting on a couple of long balls Saturday night, and what they might do to back off defenses that have been pushing forward to try to limit his running threat.