Feature: Washington has New Confidence

Sept. 12, 2007

Courtesy: College Football Package

So far, the surprise of the Pacific-10 Conference this season has been Washington.

Yep, the Huskies, who've dwelled at the bottom (or close to it) of the league for the past three seasons.

Washington is 2-0 and coming off an 24-10 upset victory over Boise State, snapping the Broncos' 14-game winning streak.

Along with a season-opening 42-12 victory at Syracuse, the Huskies are off to their best start since 2001.

There's been talk about Washington getting its swagger back. Coach Tyrone Willingham said the 'old-school word for that is confidence.'

'Maybe there's a return of confidence that we can do things - we can be successful. Part of an attitude,' Willingham said. 'I think there's a quote somewhere that says `What a man can conceive, it can achieve,' and if you cannot see yourself and believe in yourself doing great things, then great things don't happen.'

The Huskies have a huge challenge this week when they host No. 10 Ohio State (2-0).

Ohio State's defense has not allowed a touchdown, while collecting five sacks. But that was against Youngstown State and Akron.

'We need to get better. We definitely need to get better,' Ohio State linebacker Ross Homan said. 'Washington is a big, fast team. We just need to practice and keep improving.'

Willingham said he also expects more from the Huskies.

'We have not yet put enough bite in our bark.'

Washington has become something of an example of an improved Pac-10, with the rest of the conference chasing top-ranked USC.

'If you want to compete, you've got to get better,' Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. 'And I think you've seen that throughout our conference. Everyone's gotten better.'

The Pac-10 has gone 13-3 against nonconference opponents this season.


WEEKLY HONORS: Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, Washington cornerback Roy Lewis and UCLA punter Aaron Perez were the Pac-10's players of the week.

Dixon ran and threw for 368 yards total offense and four touchdowns in Oregon's 39-7 win at Michigan. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 292 yards and three TDS, and rushed for 76 yards and another score.

Lewis led the Washington defense in the Huskies' 24-10 upset victory over Boise State that snapped the Broncos' 14-game winning streak. Lewis had 11 tackles, 10 solo, and one interception.

Perez averaged 44 yards on eight punts in UCLA's 27-17 win against BYU. He leads the Pac-10 in punting with a 44.8-yard average.


HONORING BILL WALSH: Bill Walsh will be remembered during Saturday's game between Stanford and San Jose State.

Walsh graduated from San Jose State and also got his master's degree there. He coached the Cardinal in 1977-78 and again from 1992-94. He was also an interim athletics director at Stanford.

The game will feature a moment of silence, a video tribute and a halftime ceremony.

The Cardinal are honoring Walsh throughout the season with a decal on all helmets and a patch on coaches' shirts.

'There's a lot of significance to this game,' new Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Walsh won three Super Bowls and perfected the West Coast offense during a Hall of Fame career with the San Francisco 49ers. He was 75 when he died in July after a long battle with leukemia.


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