October 30, 2008

Foster talks future

When Mason Foster plays, fans watch. When he talks, hopefully his teammates listen. Foster, only a true sophomore, is the leader of a young and struggling Husky defense. He leads the team with 60 tackles, which ranks him No. 2 in the Pac-10 and No. 49 in the nation. Foster was recruited by head coach Tyrone Willingham and when he got the news that his leader, was gone at the end of the season, he was surprised, hurt and still a bit confused.

"It definitely caught me off guard and the though of coach Willingham not being here hasn't even really set in yet," explained Foster. "It will be tough because I love coach Willingham, and he's one of the main reasons I came here. But, we have no choice but to keep working and try to finish the year strong. He's still here and he's still working so we need to just keep fighting."

The rest of the team needs to listen. This season is not over and the young players could gain a lot by tasting victory. The players are still playing for pride, for the perception of possible recruits, and most importantly for experience.

But did the news of Willingham change the tone of practice this week? Did it relieve the team of the added distractions or did it cause more?

"It was wierd because when he's talking to us at the meetings and during practice you realize that he's not going to be around next season. There will be someone new, with a new style of coaching. We still had a good practice and we are just getting ready for USC," said Foster. "From his point of view I understand where he is coming from. Everyone has been asking what is going to happen to coach Willingham, so for him to clear things up is the right thing to do. I don't focus on those things though. That is for the coaches and the administration to deal with and I just need to focus on playing."

Foster did admit that it will take some time to get used to it all. He's ready to play for coach Willingham and hopes that things don't change too much, except the losing.

"We need to play for him, play the University of Washington and play for ourselves. We are at the point now where we can only go up," said Foster. "We just need to get something done and start to give people hope around here. We can't allow this season to be a complete dud."

That won't be easy since the Huskies travel to the Coliseum to play USC this Saturday. The Trojans are favored by more than 40 points, but Foster and his teammates have played USC close the last few seasons and Foster welcomes the challenge.

"It is a new game and a big game against one of the best teams in the country. I love the competition and I love to play against those guys [USC]. Playing in the Coliseum it's going to be an exciting and emotional game. After last years game and the game my senior year in high school we proved we can play with them. We just need to prepare ourselves like it is the last game we are ever going to play."

No matter the outcome of this Saturday's game, or the four to follow, when the dust settles this will still be a program in transition. Can positives be drawn from such a negative time in this programs history?

"I can only speak for myself, but in a way it does help to know that we will get a fresh start next season. However, we are close to Willingham and he's the guy that recruited us. Willingham is a great coach and a great person. It is tough times right now, but I still respect and love coach Willingham just the same. I guess this is just part of life."

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