Highlights from Marques Tuiasosopo‘s post-practice availability Saturday morning:
(on his new role) It’s been great. There’s a learning curve there — still is every day. There’s some things I have to be responsible for and get organized. But I’ve got a great staff helping me out. And the football part is great. We have coaches here who know the team, and it’s one day at a time/
(How have the players responded?) They responded great. At practice today, they were enthusiastic, they were running around, they’re playing physical, they’re playing fast. Very few mental errors. They’re acting like nothing’s happened, and that’s what we wanted. We wanted some continuity through the change, and now I think our sole focus is heading down to San Francisco and winning the game.
(Any changes we’ll see on game day?) We have a pretty good offense this year. I don’t think you’ll see too many changes. There will be some new wrinkles, but that’ not unlike anything for a bowl game. You’ve got all this time to watch your opponent … but the nuts and bolts will be what you’re used to seeing out of the Husky offense — up-tempo and explosive.
(What appealed to you about being a head coach?) Just leading a group of young men. I’m passionate about football and I’ve always had a desire to be the best at whatever it is that I do. It’s like playing in the NFL and being a head coach — and just coaching up guys to go do that, play well. I love the game and this is an opportunity to stay in the game and share my experience with them. For some reason, that’s always been part of something I wanted to do.
(Was the success you had as a player built into that, maybe made it more of a desire?) I don’t know if that made it more so or not. I think if I was somewhere else, I’d still have the same desire in my heart to do this. I love teaching and I love giving guys some direction in life and help them achieve their goals.
(on BYU) They’re physical, they play hard and they don’t quit. They’re going to play all 60 minutes. They played a great schedule and obviously they have some marquee wins. They do pose some challenges, but I think our scheduled has helped us. We’ve played some of the best teams in the country and it’s going to be a battle. They have a great quarterback who can run it and throw it. He’s kind of leading the way for them. They have a great linebacker in (Kyle) Van Noy; their front is very good. And so we’ll have our hands full, but our guys will be up for the challenge. They’re fired up.
(History between UW and BYU — does that resonate with the players?) For me it does. I’ve played against them three times, and I’ve coached against them a couple times. Our kids know they beat Texas earlier in the year and they’ve been pretty successful that past couple years. So they understand the opponent we’re going to face, and they understand it’s a program with a rich history, like ours, and that excites them.
Notes: Redshirt freshman Cyler Miles was excused from practice Saturday morning, I’m told, while hosting quarterback recruit Jalen Greene from Gardena, Calif. … Many thanks to UW’s Brian Tom for forwarding the audio of Tuiasosopo’s interview (I could not make it to the early practice Saturday). … The Huskies are off on Sunday and will return to practice Monday morning.