Q&A with Coach Steven Wilks

Jan. 5, 2005

Coach Steven Wilks was named the Huskies secondary coach on Jan. 3. Wilks worked for Head Coach Tyrone Willingham during the 2004 season as Notre Dame defensive backs coach. A 1992 graduate of Appalachian State, Wilks was the defensive coordinate at Johnson C. Smith in his hometown of Charlotte from 1995-96. He held the same position at Savannah State for 1997 and 1998 campaigns before taking over as the Tiger's head coach for the 1999 season. Prior to joining the Irish staff, Wilks was the defensive backs coach at Illinois State (2000), Appalachian State (2001) and Bowling Green (2003) and was the defensive coordinator at East Tennessee State in 2002.

Gohuskies.com: What is it like to coach with Tyrone Willingham and what can Husky fans expect?
Coach Steven Wilks:
He's one of the best in the business without a doubt. It's been tremendous working with him and he's going to bring a lot to the program. He's going to bring discipline. He's a coach that goes by the book without a doubt. He'll bring a lot of character to the program and the young men he'll try to bring in. Winning is important but it is also about bringing in quality young men that are good football players. There is so much you can say about Tyrone, but he is a person I just love being around because he just brings out the best in not only the players, but also the coaches. I've learned so much from him and he's a great fit for the program. I'm excited about being here with him.

Gohuskies.com: Besides Coach Willingham, what drew you to Washington?
Well, Washington has a lot of history and tradition without a doubt. I think you go back to 1991, the National Championship. Coming out of Appalachian State I went to a Seahawks training camp as a free agent and remember Tyrone Rogers. You guys had great football players and great tradition and that is something that we definitely want to try to bring back and as Coach Willingham mentioned in this press conference we want to bring the dawgs back. I think it can be done here. It's a tremendous city, great campus, and great atmosphere. Just sitting around those guys in there I'm getting excited right now. Watching you guys when you came to Notre Dame we saw, from a defensive stand point, a lot of talent. We are excited about getting in here and going to work.

Gohuskies.com: How would you describe your coaching style?
My coaching style, to me, I think I coach as I play. I try to go out each and every day and give it my all. I try to get better. I challenge my players to get better each and every day and in turn I have to try to do the same with myself. I'm pretty aggressive. That is my personality but I am also a teacher. That is the most important thing. We are like professors in the classroom. You have to be able to teach and get your point across, but when we step across those lines it's about going to work and getting better that day. I think as a coach your players take on your identity. Some coaches get it done in different forms and fashions. Some are laid back and they still perform well. I think that in the position that I coach there is not a lot of room for error. You have to really emphasize and do the little things right from a technique standpoint and really demand what you want each and every play. It only takes one and you know the result after that. I am pretty aggressive on the football field and I demand the same things from my guys.

Gohuskies.com: Have you had an opportunity to review footage of the players? If you have, what is your opinion?
Not yet I haven't. Just talking with Coach Hart about talent and what we have back there I think that we have a chance. We lost two great corners and some seniors, but I think the guys that we are looking at from a recruiting standpoint are going to come in and help us out. Most importantly though it's about the guys that we have here in the program. I think that we have enough right now to get done what we need to get done. It's all about improving from this point on.

Gohuskies.com: When you are recruiting what characteristics do you look for in a player?
The most important thing you try to get something that you can't teach and that is speed. You want guys that are fast, guys that are very flexible in the hips, guys that have great feet because that is where the game is right now and the edge with the corner. I think the most important thing there is to find those skill guys who fit our practice and our program. Corners are our need right now so those are things that we are looking for.

Gohuskies.com: If you could tell Husky players and fans one thing what would it be?
I can tell you right now that you are going to get a very disciplined and well-coached football team. Guys that are going to go out there and give 100% every play. I think that you are going to see a lot of improvement. Now are we going to win the National Championship of the Pac-10, I don't know but I can tell you that you are going to have a very competitive football team out there each and every week.

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