Hasty returns, vows to seize his opportunities

SEATTLE — Less than a week after making news for quitting the team, J.R. Hasty was on the field at Husky Stadium Tuesday, back at practice after rejoining the team.

The biggest recruit of Tyrone Willingham’s first class in 2005, Hasty left the team last week, deciding he wasn’t getting enough opportunity to play (he had six carries for 18 yards this season). After talking things over with his parents, and meeting with Willingham Sunday, Hasty decided to come back.

“It was just coming back and sitting down with the coaches at a meeting with me and my parents a couple of days ago,” Hasty said when asked why he came back. “We cleared the air up, we all spoke our opinions on the whole situation. After listening, I took some time to think about, and I was just like, well, I don’t want to leave the team. I have a strong relationship with the team and this state. I’m just going to grind it out, take care of my mental mistakes and take advantage of the opportunities I’m given.”

Hasty talked last week about a lack of opportunity. On Tuesday, he spoke of seizing opportunity when he gets it in practice.

“When my turn comes I’ve just got to take advantage of that,” he said. “Make sure I’m perfect when I go in there, so I give them the confidence in practice to trust me on game day to put me in.”

Willingham said the meeting between him, Hasty and Hasty’s parents went well.

“It simply was, a young man and his family needed a little time to reflect,” he said. “You kind of work and talk your way through certain things, and it worked out that he was able to visit with his family and make the decision to come back, and I thought it was the right decision for him to do that.”

Hasty said his teammates’ and coaches’ reactions to his return have been positive. He said he has been welcomed back by his teammates and is ready to chase the same goal as the rest of a team stuck in a five-game losing streak.

“I’m back now and we’re not going to dwell on it, let it hurt our team,” he said. “We’re just going to stay focused and get some wins, because that’s what we need.”

Three walk-ons awarded scholarships: Linebacker Josh Gage, receiver Charles Hawkins, and offensive tackle Erik Berglund were all awarded scholarships recently.

Berglund, a fifth-year senior, originally came to Washington on scholarship in 2003, but left the team prior to the 2004 season. He came back as a walk on in 2006, and started one game last season. Gage, who played significant minutes at linebacker against Arizona, came to Washington as a walk-on in 2005 from Huntington Beach, Calif., while Hawkins, who is from Chicago, transferred from Graceland University to Washington part way through last season.

“These guys are guys that have really sacrificed to be a part of the program,” Willingham said. “Financially it was very difficult for all of them, and they made a commitment and I thought it was very nice to reward.”

Huskies too cautious? Willingham said part of the Huskies’ problems might stem from a lack of aggressiveness.

“I think our team may be playing just a little cautious,” he said. “That’s coaches, that’s players. Maybe we’re not being as aggressive with some of the calls as we need to be.”

Willingham noted the 98-yard touchdown pass against Arizona as an example of the aggressiveness his team needs.

“If you’re cautious, you don’t make that call, you just kind of grind it out and try to keep yourself on the field,” he said. “I want our coaches to be aggressive, I want our players to be aggressive and not play cautious.”

Two gold, one red: Jake Locker and Ryan Tolar were the only players who earned gold jerseys for their play in the Arizona game. Wilson Afoa, whose injury is not known, was the only player at practice in a red jersey.

Contact Herald Writer John Boyle at jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more on University of Washington sports, check out the Huskies blog at heraldnet.com /huskiesblog

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