SEATTLE – Keith Heyward watches the way Will Shamburger approaches a team meeting, and he can’t help but make sure Washington’s younger players watch him, too.
Shamburger, a fifth-year senior safety, comes to these meetings equipped with pen and paper.
“I tell the freshmen, ‘look at him, man,’ ” said Heyward, UW’s second-year defensive backs coach. “He’s a fifth-year senior that’s played a lot of ball, and he’s still taking notes.”
If Shamburger’s teammates truly do learn from him, they aren’t the only ones. The 6-foot, 192-pound safety from Compton, Calif., spends part of his week, along with teammate and longtime friend Keith Price, helping elementary school students in a P.E. class at Greenlake Elementary.
“Today we’re doing basketball,” Shamburger said with no lack of enthusiasm after Tuesday’s practice in the Dempsey Indoor practice facility.
With a 4-2 record at the season’s halfway point, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday that he addressed his team earlier in the day about the need to begin the second half of the season the same way they endeavor to begin the second half of each game – with a metaphorical touchdown.
That desire might not resonate within any player as much as it does with Shamburger, who signed with Washington after the Huskies finished 0-12 during the disastrous season of 2008.
He made that decision, he said, in part because Sarkisian extended a scholarship offer after Shamburger tore his ACL playing basketball, while many other schools shied away.
He spent most of his career as a backup, but has started each game this season at safety, and is one of a handful of defensive starters who play special-teams.
So the final six regular-season games of Shamburger’s career are upon him, though he says his goals are no different than anyone else on the team, senior or not.
“I just want victories,” he said.
First, he and the Huskies just want to beat Arizona State, which enters Saturday’s 3 p.m. matchup in Tempe with a seven-game winning streak against UW.