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October 2, 2006
It's all about momentum
The last time that the Washington football team saw its record run to 4-1, the Pickett-to-Williams offensive connection was in its infancy, the Huskies were still in the euphoric haze brought forth by a Rose Bowl victory the year before and Rick Neuheisel had yet to be fired.
Back then a 4-1 start was standard procedure, not the cause of celebration that it is today. And with next weekend's match-up against Southern California looming on the horizon, it couldn't have come at a better time.
"If we would have lost a game, it would have been hard to go into SC and really put our right foot forward," receiver Sonny Shackelford said. "Now that we've won and we keep winning, it's like putting an emphasis on what we've been saying - that we are a good team and that we can play with anybody."
Momentum is on the side of the Dawgs unlike it has been at anytime the past two seasons. Winning has almost become the norm for them.
"A lot of guys are starting to believe now," cornerback Dashon Goldson said. "Last year, we lost one or two games and everybody started getting their heads down, but this year, we've won a few games so the confidence level is building up."
In fact, Washington has found so much confidence that it is not intimidated at the prospect of playing a Trojan team that has been at the tip of the nation's tongue the last four seasons.
"A lot of people look at them as an invincible team, but we wouldn't go in there and play if we didn't think we could win," defensive end Greyson Gunheim said. "I think that they don't have as much talent as they did before, but they are still a really talented team and they play really fast. We just have to try to match the way they play."
After defeating Arizona last Saturday, the Huskies have won five of their last seven games with their only loss this season coming to Oklahoma in the second game of the year. That trip to Norman is one of the things that gives the UW the confidence to play USC this weekend.
"It doesn't get harder than Oklahoma, we've been through that, we've been through the ins-and-outs, and we just have to be ready to go," safety C.J. Wallace.
Coach Tyrone Willingham added, "we hope that the experience of going to a big-time atmosphere makes you more comfortable."
Now it is about going into the Los Angeles Coliseum and showing the world what they can do.
"Every time we win, its obviously going to open eyes and say something," Shackelford said. "Hopefully we can just go down there, play good football and have a nice trip home. I feel like things are rolling, and if we keep playing football the way we can, I don't think there is a team in the country that can beat us."
Scott White grabs Pac-10 honors
The Huskies have won three straight games and in the wake of each of those, they have seen one of their players named as a Pac-10 Player of the Week. This week, it was linebacker Scott White grabbing the defensive award.
White had 10 tackles and two sacks in last Saturday's 21-10 victory at Arizona.
"It's a great honor obviously," White said. "We won the game and that's the most important thing. Hopefully the success continues."
White has been a force for the defense since the season started. So far the senior has accrued 41 total tackles to put him at second in the conference behind teammate C.J. Wallace.
"I think it's great," junior Dan Howell said. "He's worked hard, playing through injury, the ups-and-downs of 2-9 seasons. He's played through a lot of it, I'm proud of him."
Along with White, USC receiver Steve Smith and Cal kicker Tom Schneider were named Pac-10 Players of the Week for offense and special teams respectively.
"It's exciting from all corners," coach Tyrone Willingham said. "He is showing up on the conference and hopefully the national radar."
Pete Carroll said that the status on wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett is currently unclear, and the Trojans will have a better idea on him after a doctor visit tomorrow.
Listed under the "fun facts" section of the USC press release is a little item I'm sure coach Tyrone Willingham wouldn't be too stoked to see. It says that "Willingham is 3-8 overall: 0-1 at Washington, 3-4 at Stanford and 0-3 at Notre Dame."
Willingham said that there were no serious, lingering injuries from the Arizona game. He also said that he doesn't expect either Robert Lewis or E.J. Savannah back for the game against the Trojans.