You and Roy (Lewis) kind of came at it from different angles him from the rebuild, and you from back in the glory days. From your perspective, what did that Holiday Bowl win mean to you?
Yesterday when I was sitting at home watching, I felt like I was back in time. There really was no doubt as far as the Huskies controlling the game the only time there was a scare was when Jake was on the ground. But the defense stepped up, and the guys played hard and hit hard. The offense the guys played nasty and stepped up in the running game, and then Jake did his thing and played his game. Late in the year, theres been a big difference for him, just staying true to himself and leading his team either with his legs or with his arms. It was a big part of the progression of the Husky Nation.
You mentioned that you saw some glimpses there of your days with the program?
It was exciting, because you werent just holding your breath waiting for something to happen you knew it was going to happen. That was the difference. Everything was just clicking, and guys were into it. The coaching staff has done an excellent job getting the guys into that position. And late in the season, it seemed like Nick Holt got a lot more aggressive with the defense. In the last four games, hes just let em fly, and that was a big difference.
How many people did you have over at your house for the game?
I had my family, and Roy came over. One of my friends there were about 6-8 people. When Im that focused on a game, I dont like having a lot of people over, talking a bunch of stuff that doesnt matter beyond the game Im watching. I dont like a lot of distractions; you know what Im sayin? I had my purple and gold on, sitting on my couch, cheering and having a good time.
Do you see any parallels between what the Huskies have done and what the 2010 Seahawks are trying to do this Sunday to take a program out of the doldrums, but as an underdog on a national scale?
I guess there are some ironies there. Obviously two totally different platforms, but Im hoping that we can be the team that is more hungry than the other team. Going into the playoffs, wed probably be in the same position every game the Huskies were in everybody overlooking you, but continuing to get better and stronger together in each game with more confidence. Thats where the game is played — on the field, not in the analysts booth. If you have a shot, you just go out there and maximize your opportunities. Sometimes, the little guy wins the big trophy.
Any thoughts on Jake Locker as a future NFL quarterback?
I wish him the best. Obviously, hes going to have to fine-tune some things, especially in the passing category. But as far as leadership and athletic ability, he has everything it takes to be a successful NFL player for a lot of years.
You see all the intangibles in him?
I definitely see all the intangibles there. Defenses are a lot more complicated (at the NFL level), and this offseason will be crucial for him, but thats one thing about him being under Sark (coach Sarkisian). Sark was tutored by Pete Carroll, and just the things hes done for the program, I know Jakes going to get the best preparation possible leading into the draft, and hopefully, he gets into the right situation.
Do you talk to any of the kids over at Montlake these days? Are you a mentor to any of them?
I do. Sark wants the older players around. He loves tradition. Hes excited, and were excited, Over the last two years, this is the most reunited theyve been with past players, and were so excited about the direction the programs going. Thats a credit to him and his coaching staff. The door is open, and thats big. That also allows us to be the mentors for the kids in that locker room. Talking about when they get to the next level, and how you go about it. I tell them, just make yourselves proud, and well be proud.
What do you think they draw from your experience?
Well, at any level, I try to lead by example. One thing I learned very quickly when I walked through the doors of the University of Washington was my approach to football. If you love something so dearly that you give it your all, at any level, that will take you where you want to be. Its simple.