Huskies Get Down to Business

Aug. 29, 2005

By Benton Strong

Players used words like confidence, discipline and attitude.

Then they talked about getting down to business.

The University of Washington football team officially kicked off 'game week'Monday with a press conference in the Founders' Club at Bank of AmericaArena, before heading down to Dempsey Indoor for the annual KickoffLuncheon.

After having spent the spring and summer answering questions about adisappointing 2004 season, the Huskies' players are excited to return toaction Saturday vs. Air Firce at Qwest Field, and begin a new chapter inHusky football lore.

'[When] you come off a 1-10 season your confidence is going to be down,'said senior offensive tackle Joe Toledo. 'We have to learn how to winagain.'

Many players said that the team's fall camp, which included two-a-daypractices on alternating days and hours of meetings and film study, hasinstilled confidence and helped the players focus on being successful rightout of the gate in 2005.

'We had an incredible amount of meeting time and split practices,' saidsophomore quarterback Johnny Durocher. 'It was almost like we were doingtwo-a-days everyday.'

Senior linebacker Evan Benjamin agreed, stating that Washington's facilities-- including the state-of-the-art Dempsey Indoor, recently-remodeled lockerrooms, and brand-new Conibear Shellhouse and Student Life Center -- played ahuge rule in helping the Huskies prepare for the 2005 season.

'Having top-class locker rooms, practice facilities, lunchrooms and academiccenters right here certainly makes it easier for us to just focus onfootball,' Benjamin said.

Later Monday, Benjamin and his UW teammates had their first opportunity toadjust to a new facility, Qwest Field, which will host Saturday's UW-AirForce matchup -- originally a home game on the Air Force schedule.

Most players are excited about the chance to play at Qwest Field, butrecognize that it's the game that matters, not the arena.

'A football field is a football field,' Toledo said. 'Once the ball getssnapped, a lot of those things just kind of fly by you.'

Benjamin agrees: 'Qwest Field, that's great,' he said. 'But most of all,playing Air Forceis the number one thing.'

With most of the roster and position battles sorted out, Washington'splayers can focus now on starting the season off with a win, something thatevery player agrees is paramount to the team's success this season.

'We have to get the first one,' Durocher said. 'It's important that we comeout and put a good foot forward.

No player seemed worried that this Husky team would have a problem doingjustthat. The camp has built confidence and restored the winning attitude of aproud program.

'We're a confident group,' Toledo said. 'We had a good spring, we had a goodfall and all we can do is go out there and play hard.'

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