Talking offense with Tim Lappano

Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano stopped by late this afternoon to answer questions about his offense (guess the OC wouldn’t be answering questions about the defense, eh?)

Anyway, here are some highlights:

How is Jake Locker progressing?

“I think he’s really good… Right now I’d say he’s really, really close to 100 percent. He’s pushed it a little bit more the last couple of days that I wanted. I tried to blow the whistle but he didn’t stop on the damn thing.”

Lappano said that this week should be back to normal for Locker at practice

“Full speed ahead,” he said. “Let’s go.”

And how has Ronnie Fouch done filling in for Locker in practice?

“The positive thing in this is that Ronnie got all the reps, and Ronnie grew tremendously. This was really good for him. He made a lot of improvement… He threw the football extremely well. I think gained a lot of confidence and I think his teammates gained a lot of confidence in him, knowing that we have a backup quarterback that can win at the Pac-10 level. Not everyone can say that in this league.”

Will Fouch play this season?

“He could. This is a 12-week schedule with three byes, so this is almost like an NFL schedule. It’s a long time, people get tired, people get beat up. Yeah, you could see some Ronnie Fouch.”

Asked about the tailback position, Lappano said, as he did last week, that the team will use three tailbacks. Chris Polk is listed as the starter, and Brandon Johnson figures to be the backup. David Freeman and Willie Griffin appear to be the other two battling for that third spot, though Lappano said that six or seven guys could be used by the end of the year.

Lappano repeated something he said last week, saying that the tailback position, a concern coming into fall camp, has developed into a strength of the team.

When Chris Polk met with reporters earlier today, he admitted he has work to do as a blocker. Lappano agreed, but also likes some of the things he sees from Polk.

“He’s willing, I think that’s where you start,” he said. “Some guys aren’t willing, and we’re not going to have any of that. If you’re going to play tailback and the University of Washington, you’re going to block. His willingness is there, his toughness is there, his technique is good, it’s not good enough yet, but it’s good and he’s getting better at it. But I like it because he’s willing. He’ll go in there and put his face on you… Those young tailbacks are all willing, and that’s a start.”

The Huskie have four receivers listed on their depth chart (not counting Jordan Polk, who will return kicks), but Lappano said more than that will play.

“I think you’re going to probably see six play. I think that’s fair to say,” he said. “Most of them, if we’re going to travel six or seven of them, normally they have to contribute on special teams.”

Lappano said he isn’t too worried about the freshmen and other young players adjusting to the intensity of the college game.

“I really believe that these kids are competitors,” he said. “The freshmen that are going to play in this game proved that at the high school level, I think they proved why some of them were highly recruited, and I’ve seen why they were. I don’t think the bright lights and the 74,000 people in Husky Stadium, I don’t think it’s going to affect them. I think that’s why they came here, I really believe that. That’s why you come to a place like this, that’s why you come to Washington. You’re not going to play against a Division I AA school, you’re going to play against Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU. That’s why you come here, and I don’t think it’s going to be too big for them. Are they going to make mistakes? Yes. Everybody makes mistakes. Jake Locker made mistakes last year, but he also did a lot of brilliant things. They’re going to make mistakes, but they’re also going to make some plays where you guys are going to be going, ‘we’ve got this for three more years.’

“I know them pretty well now after 26 practices, I think I know how they’re wired, and I think they’re wired to perform on the big stage, and that’s why they were highly-recruited kids.”

Alvin Logan, a redshirt freshman, has flown a bit under the radar this fall, but is at the top of the depth chart at one receiver position.

“Alvin brings experience,” Lappano said. “He knows what he’s doing, he knows the system pretty well. He’s a guy that can play inside or outside. He’s a guy that’s pretty physical, can be a pretty good run blocker on the perimeter for us. He’s a pretty big target on some of the intermediate stuff. We wouldn’t play him if we didn’t think he brought something to the table. He brings size and I like him on the perimeter in our run game.”

Logan and the rest of Washington’s starters will have their hands full against a talented Oregon secondary.

“That’s a pretty good test for us early,” Lappano said. “We’re going to have to find out and see where we stand. Obviously if we can have success against them, then we’re pretty good, because that is a good secondary.”

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