We’ll begin with the note that we’ll hold our weekly live chat here today at noon.
And we’ll begin with the links with my story today on defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, chronicling his transformation the last few years into a potentially dominating player as a senior in 2011.
In a couple of quotes that didn’t make the story, here’s Nick Holt talking about how Ta’amu needs to continue to push himself:
“Sometimes he’s his own worst enemy and he’s maturing and I think he is going to hopefully be really good for us and a great leader and finish his senior year really strong, because he has worked hard and come a long, long way and I’m really proud of him. But he needs to keep taking that next step every day. It’s not the opponent, it’s him.”
Here’s defensive line coach Johnny Nansen talking about how Ta’amu stopped trying to do too much as last season wore on:
“That’s so much easier when you just worry about what you are doing and not what everybody else is doing. We had a veteran group and the guy that really tried to do more than his own job is Everrette (Thompson). But when you look at Everrette, he is experienced enough and ‘Meda is experienced enough to the point where he does understand everybody else’s role. But it helps from last year just focusing on just one thing that you need to get better at, and you look at the last four games that’s what happened — he just played out of his mind.”
Here’s Ta’amu talking about his expectations for the season:
“My biggest expectation is to make the D-line better and hopefully I get better at my game and help most of the D-lineman get better at their game. Those are my goals and hopefully I reach them, so I come in just hoping to be on people’s radar and hopefully make All-Pac-10 or something.”
Here’s Ta’amu talking about how he has stopped depending on other players around him to make plays and how regular bowling outings have helped develop trust among all of the defensive linemen:
“I felt earlier in the year I felt that I was always feeling like I needed to depend on somebody. My freshman year, I depended on Te’o (Daniel Te’o-Nesheim) to make plays. As (last year progressed) Cam (Cameron Elisara) was getting hurt and me and Everrette looked at each other and said ‘this is our D-line now. We are about to be the oldest ones on the team.’ And we had to step up as leaders. So it was just getting us together, the boys, and building a relationship with everybody, being able to trust. And that just made everything better, especially on the field. We go bowling together and just hang out. We all bowl together all the time.”
Here’s Ta’amu talking about his motivation to redeem himself in the Holiday Bowl for the first Nebraska game:
“I had to play better. It was embarrassing for me just knowing they ran up the middle, that most of the yards were up the middle — that mid-line lead was killing us. And I’d never been embarrassed like that, ever. So I just wanted revenge, revenge is what I wanted. … You come out there, you play. Either you go hard or you don’t. The way it came out, we found out who the better team was (that night). But we play them again, so we’ll see.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— The official UW site looks at Garret Gilliland’s emergence as the starting weakside linebacker.
— Here’s an overview and a brief video clip of Jake Locker’s appearance on Jon Gruden’s QB Camp.
— Here’s another Locker-Gruden video.
— More on Mason Foster’s visit with the Rams this week.
— UW is holding its coaches clinic this weekend.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller with more on Arizona State’s new uniforms.
— Mike Leach will be one of the featured speakers at WSU’s coaches clinic this weekend.
— The Oregonian’s Paul Buker assesses Oregon State at the midway point of spring drills.
— A few Pac-12 mentions in this Rivals.com list of the worst FCS-FBS/Big Six matchups of 2011.
— The stats made it clear that USC’s Matt Barkley wasn’t as good in the fourth quarter last year as he needed to be.
All for now. Chatting later.