Spring Football Report: Toledo Adapting to Change
April 1, 2005
By Brian Tom
UW Media Relations
Joe Toledo may not look too different from last football season, but he is definitely a changed man. Not only is the senior from Encinitas, Calif. adapting to a new coaching staff like the rest of his teammates, but Toledo is entering spring giving his best shot at a new position.
Toledo, who caught 19 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns as a tight end in 2004, is trading in his receiving gloves to try his hat at weakside tackle on the Huskies' offensive line. According to Toledo, it's a welcome change that will take some time getting used to.
'It's a little different in that you're blocking on every play and not going out on any routes or catching the ball,' said Toledo about the position change. 'It was partially my decision and partially Coach (Tyrone) Willingham's decision. I came in and talked to him and asked him where I could help out the team most. He thought that playing the weak tackle position would help us out a little more. It's a little different, but I think it will help out our team in the long run.'
The position switch may also pay dividends for Toledo's NFL future. Toledo has bulked up to 315 pounds from his playing weight of 285 last fall, but has retained most of his speed that made him a receiving threat. But the NFL is down the road and Toledo's concern right now is with the current Huskies.
'People that I've talked to seem to feel that way,' said Toledo about the way the position switch will improve his NFL draft status. 'I'm not really concentrating on that right now though. I'm more concerned about improving on last year and getting some wins.'
In order to get more wins, the offensive line will have to gel quickly and be able to replace graduated senior and probable NFL first-round draft pick Khalif Barnes, who was a stalwart on the line for most of the past four seasons. Barnes was responsible for protecting the quarterback's blind side, a job that will now be in the hands of Toledo, sophomore Chad Macklin or junior Jason Benn.
'It a sense of pride,' said Toledo about the assignment of protecting the quarterback's blind side. 'I'm glad we're doing this in the spring though so I can get the 15 practices under my belt and try to improve. But I'm not going to back down and I'm not intimidated at all.'