In the Trenches with Rich Alexis

Aug. 15, 2002

Husky fans are certainly familiar with tailback Rich Alexis, who burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2000 with a 50-yard touchdown run to help defeat a third-ranked Miami team en route to a Rose Bowl title. An even six feet tall and 220 pounds, the Coral Springs, Fla., native cut an impressive figure in 2000, all the while cutting through opposing defenses to the tune of UW freshman records for rushing yards (738) and touchdowns (nine). After a self-described disappointing season in 2001, Alexis is in the best shape of his career, and with an outstanding supporting cast on offense is poised for an exciting season. With five days of training camp under his belt in 2002, here are Alexis' thoughts on college football, the 2002 Huskies, and the latest plotlines of his favorite soaps: What did you do this summer to get in shape for the upcoming season?
Rich Alexis: 'Actually, I played a lot of basketball and did a lot of running. Running in that hot sun will get you in shape in a hurry. I was mostly up here, working out with our new strength coach, Pete Kaligis. He's got me in great shape. Then I went back home to Florida for a little bit and played some more basketball.'

GH: Having made a concerted effort to drop weight, what is the one thing you wish you could be eating right now that you can't eat?
RA: 'Ribs, barbecue ribs! I don't have a favorite place, I'll go anywhere as long as they have ribs. Unfortunately, I've got stay away from that right now, though.'

GH: Who on the team do you think is going to surprise people this season?
RA: 'Our whole offensive line is going to be solid. Those guys have learned a lot from last year. Also, I have to mention our defensive line. Those guys aren't necessarily a surprise, but they're young and are going to play up at a new level this year, especially Terry Johnson. He reminds me of Warren Sapp with his dredlocks dangling, his toughness, and his motor running at 100 miles per hour. He's going to be the one to watch.'

GH: What are you most looking forward to this season?
RA: 'I want to have a better year, personally. I felt like I let the team down last year. It's all mental with me. When I get down, I let it dwell, so I just need to come out here and have fun. I want us to get back on top of the ladder. We want to be like the Huskies of '91, but better. That's a lot of pressure on us, but I think we can be that kind of team.'

GH: What's the best thing about playing in front of Husky fans?
RA: 'They love you. Even with the bad year I had last year, fans would still come up to me, wearing my jersey, and tell me to keep up the good work and that they can't wait to see me play. We get 75,000 fans in this place and it can get crazy, but they still take pride in you and love you. Now I want to go out there and prove to them that it was worth it.'

GH: What is it like coming out of that tunnel on gameday?
RA: 'People can never understand. You can talk about it all you want, but it's something you have to feel. It's such a rush. The stadium is moving, the crowd is pumped, everyone is outfitted in purple and gold - it's a great thing. The ground's moving, the Dawgs are barking - it's a great feeling.'

GH: If you could change any play in sports history, which would it be?
RA: 'Honestly, it would have to be a whole game. There's nothing I wish I could change more than that loss to Oregon two years ago, when we lost 23-16. We could have gone undefeated that year, but we lost by a touchdown. Seven points between us and a 12-0 season. We were coming back, though. If we could have just put more time on the clock, maybe we could have had a different outcome.'

GH: Who is the toughest player that you ever played against?
RA: 'The toughest player I played against was [former ASU safety] Adam Archuleta. I was bigger than him, but he was built like a rock. I remember one time at the goal line when he stuck me so badly that I was seeing stars.'

GH: Did you see any good movies this summer?
RA: 'I saw Austin Powers: Goldmember. That was pretty good. When I'm home, my fiancee and I sit and watch a lot of movies. I always end up watching game tape, though. I love to watch game tape.'

GH: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
RA: 'I love soap operas -All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital in particular. When I'm home, I sit down and watch those a lot with my sister.'

GH: How do you keep up with the storylines when you have to be at practice every day?
RA: (laughing) 'I ask my sister. I call her each day and she lets me know what happened.'

GH: How did you and your fiancee meet?
RA: 'We met up here as freshmen. We used to sit and talk to each other a lot. I never knew then that it would become what it has now. She's a great girl, though - she's my other half.'

GH: How did you propose?
RA: 'I proposed last April. I was a little nervous, because it's a big step. I knew that she was the one for me through thick and thin, though, and I'm glad I did it. I spent the whole week being a jerk to her so that she wouldn't expect it, then I apologized and offered to make it up to her by taking her out to eat. We went to a nice little restaurant set up on the water. Then I got on one knee and did the whole thing. About me being mean, she was like, 'why did you have to do it that way?' It all went really well, though.'

GH: So when's the big day?
RA: 'It'll probably be after we graduate, which is still another two years away. I just wanted to get the engagement out of the way and be patient with it, take our time.'

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