The Washington Huskies lost their season-opener on September 1st to the Auburn Tigers. Washington had a 16-15 lead in the fourth quarter and had Auburn caught in a tough third and nine situation deep in their own territory; however, Gus Malzahn’s crew found a way to move the chains and would eventually score the go ahead touchdown on that drive. When Husky defensive back Austin Joyner spoke to the media after practice Tuesday, though, he was encouraged with the way his teammates have responded to the loss.
“We’re good. We are focused and we are determined and we have to bounce back,” Joyner said.
The Husky defense started slow in the season-opener, but held Auburn to just one score in the second half. According to Joyner, the key was not changing the game plan, but honing in on the details.
“We made some minor adjustments,” the junior defensive back mentioned. “We knew what they were going to do for the most part. We were not dialed on the little details, so we cleaned up some details at half time and came back out and executed those details better.”
The Huskies played their first game on a neutural field in at Atlanta; however, the location of the game created a road-like environment for the Huskies, with thousands of more Auburn fans than Washington fans. Coming back to Montlake for the home-opener on September 8th will mean more crowd noise when the defense is on the field. Joyner explained how the defense is preparing for to deal with the volume.
“It’s going to be louder as you know. Our communications, a lot of it is non-verbal and sign base. It’s not going to be too difficult. We just have to do what we have been practicing.”
Washington is going from playing Auburn, another top 10 team, in their first game to playing North Dakota, and FCS team, in their home-opener. There may be a difference in fan appeal for those games, but Joyner is not concerned that the Huskies will have any drop off in energy.
“Not at all. We’ve been doing this for a while. This is not our first week of practice. We keep that same energy and keep it no matter what and we’re always trying to improve what we’re doing,” he explained. “That’s our focus. Everyday that we come out here and practice, we’re actually trying to get better. We don’t have all the emotions from a game the past week. We’re just focused on right now and getting better from here on out.”
Joyner talked in depth about defensive communication, Washington’s season-opening loss to Auburn, and bringing the energy for the home-opener.
You can listen to the full audio interview below.