A few links for you as Tuesday turns to Wednesday ...
--- First, our story in today’s newspaper, which features Elijah Qualls’ search for feedback from opposing offensive linemen.
SEATTLE -- As Elijah Qualls discussed his team’s loss to the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday night, the topic turned, unsurprisingly, to Stanford’s massive offensive line. And to senior guard Joshua Garnett, in particular.
Qualls, the Washington Huskies’ starting nose tackle, was impressed. He knew Garnett was a likely All-American and an NFL prospect, but it was clear that Qualls respected him even more after bashing heads with him for four quarters.
Qualls called Garnett “a hell of a pass blocker,” and said “he got me stuck on a few.”
And then the 6-foot-1, 311-pound sophomore said something … different.
“I told him after the game, ‘I’m hitting you up later, and I want you to tell me what I need to do better,’ ” Qualls said. “ ‘What did you feel like were my weaknesses, and what did you feel like were my strengths?’ ”
That’s a new one. Athletes seek constantly to improve and refine and mature, searching endlessly for the slightest advantage over the opponent. But it’s not often that you hear of a player who possesses the necessary humility to ask that opponent for pointers.
Watching film one day, Qualls said, the idea simply came to him. Coaches watch copious amounts of film, then identify and correct as many errors as possible before next week’s game. Players watch more film on their own, obsessing over technique and consistency.
That’s all plenty constructive, Qualls says. But then, he thought, “why don’t I just ask the person I went against how I can get better?”
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple