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September 26, 2003
There?s good news this year?so far?in Husky Football. That being that Husky fans are getting to take a look at the future on Saturday?s when the 2nd and 3rd string players get into the game. That?s not something to take for granted, considering the fact that during the Tuiasosopo years, Cody Pickett barely (if ever) saw any snaps due to the continual 4th quarter battles.
This year, after 3 games, the back up quarterbacks are getting some good looks, and Isaiah Stanback is becoming what Husky coaches had envisioned when they recruited him?
"I?ve progressed a lot I think", Stanback told Realdawg.com, "Llast year I was doing a lot of guessing."
When we first covered the recruitment of Stanback on Realdawg.com, the article, named "The Story of Isaiah", started like this:
"Have you ever heard the tale of the 14 year old who one day was walking by a football scrimmage, watching others play, and someone throws him the ball?now this kid has never played a down of football in his life--But somehow, he takes the challenge and goes long; while others look on and wow at the precision and strength at which this ball was thrown. Beginners luck?"
Fast forward to 2003: Stanback is beginning to settle into the game of college football, and that long ball is still as huge and powerful as ever, "I?m learning to set back and watch a lot", Isaiah adds, "I stand and make reads when I?m not in."
"Last year I didn?t really know the plays, and I didn?t know the receivers", he added.
This year, he?s not only a quarterback, he?s also a receiver, which is only helping his game at quarterback.
Stanback has been putting in time here and there at slot?the biggest reason from those on staff being that he is so gifted athletically, it?s hard to keep him off the field.
But the bigger benefit may be that Stanback might get a better feel for the intermediate passing game, which has been something he?s struggled to improve since he?s been at Washington.
"Intermediate stuff is the hardest stuff", said Stanback, "Throwing the long ball is easy--It?s the intermediate passes we spend the most time working on."
That time showed itself as paying off during last week?s game against Idaho.
Sampson got into the game during the 4th quarter on a 2nd and 12 and completed a perfect toss out right to freshman receiver, Corey Williams, which kept the chains moving into the redzone for the Huskies, who scored 5 plays later.
"I think that the more time I spend in there just getting use to all of the different things that are going on, the more I learn and the better I get", he said.
The biggest question will be, who wins the starting job next year?
"I don?t really talk to the coaches about it", Stanback concluded, "I just keep doing what I do, day in and day out."
During his recruitment, Stanback had a cell phone with one of the more entertaining voice mail messages we heard in 2002. With his most perfect Bob Marley imitation, Stanback's voice mail message would say, "EH-LO--DIS IS ISAIAHHHH."
Stanback's dreadlocks get longer and longer every year, "I'll never cut them off", he says with certainty."
Stanback was the MVP at the USC camp the year he was being recruited, a feat that no other high school quarterback has ever accomplished from the state of Washington. He finished ranked 6th in the country, and was an All American.
We enjoyed covering Stanback while he was being recruited, and still enjoy his personable approach to interviews. We broke his commit here on Realdawg.com, and that night he called and simply said, "Hello Ruth, I'm going to the Dub..." But what we really enjoyed was Stanback's accessibility. While some prospects can be terribly hard to get a hold of, even on their cell phones, Stanback almost always picked up--in fact--one time he picked up during one of his own football games, and did an interview right on the sidelines....