Huskies Prepare For Sun Devils Following Off Week

Oct. 9, 2007


Quarterback Jake Locker hopped in a motor home, did all the usual tailgating activities and watched his best friend play at Western Washington in Bellingham.

Defensive back Jordan Reffett followed suit, taking in his brother's game at Central Washington. Some of Reffett's teammates joined him, making the two-hour trek to Ellensburg to watch some former Huskies now playing at the Division II school.

And coach Tyrone Willingham immersed himself in homecoming activities at his son's high school.

The Washington Huskies enjoyed their week off.

'It was a good time to have a couple of days off,' Reffett said. 'It's exciting to think about what we can do this second half of the season.'

'Guys are really dialing in, really trying to make this a mission these last eight games.'
UW Defensive Tackle Jordan Reffett

Now, it's back to work, and the road ahead doesn't look any easier than the previous month has been for Washington. The Huskies will play at undefeated No. 14 Arizona State on Saturday night, the fourth time in the last five games Washington will have played a ranked team.

After the Sun Devils, the Huskies return home to face No. 9 Oregon. Four of Washington's final eight games will come against teams currently ranked in the top 16 of The Associated Press Top 25.

'Guys are really dialing in, really trying to make this a mission these last eight games,' Reffett said.

Some consider the Sun Devils unproven despite their unblemished record, opening the season with four consecutive games at home against San Jose State, Colorado, San Diego State and Oregon State. They routed Stanford on Sept. 29, then pulled out a 23-20 win at Washington State on Saturday to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1996 and just the seventh time in school history.

Willingham said the traits the Sun Devils showed in their Pullman win only confirmed his previous opinion of Arizona State as a solid team worthy of its ranking. He also dismissed the notion of the Sun Devils' 6-0 start being a product of a weak schedule.

'I would love to be 6-0. I don't think it necessarily matters who you play,' Willingham said. 'Developing confidence is one of those things that's important. I think they have that confidence going in to their ball games from this point forward. And that's important.'

Washington spent its bye week focused mostly on younger players who had yet to see much playing time, helping Willingham and his staff come closer to making decisions on who may or may not redshirt this season.

As for Locker, it was mostly a week of rest for the redshirt freshman, who took some big shots in the Huskies 27-24 loss to then-No. 1 USC on Sept. 29. After making a splash in his first two starts, Locker struggled in the Huskies' three consecutive losses, completing just 47 percent of his throws, including six interceptions.

'Obviously, you've got to complete more passes, especially on third down and give ourselves a chance to keep the sticks moving and put drives together and put us in better situations and opportunities to score points,' Locker said. 'We wanted to get healthy, but we were able to work on a few things.'

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