Browning: "The longer you’re here, the more it is, OK, if you want to get that 1-percent better, it takes that much more effort. You’ve got to fight (against) the routine and proactively find stuff you’ve got to get better at.”
Jake Browning didn’t have much to say about what’s going on with his shoulder. He was happy to talk about what’s going in his stomach.
Three months after having his right shoulder surgically repaired, the Huskies’ star quarterback said he is throwing “pain-free” and is “back in the full swing of things” during this final week of spring practices.
“I was supposed to be just barely throwing at the beginning of spring ball, and by the end be going full go, which is what I’m at,” Browning said Wednesday in his first interview of the year. “It feels good, feels exactly how it’s supposed to, and it’s going exactly how it’s supposed to.”
Browning was back leading the Huskies’ No. 1 offense practice this week, and should do the same at Saturday’s spring preview, set for a noon start at Husky Stadium. He didn’t want to discuss specifics relating to his shoulder injury, though he did acknowledge it will take awhile to build up his arm strength again.
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There’s time for that, and time too for him to adjust to a new, healthier approach to his diet.
The improved menu is part of his overall goal to get better and stronger going into his junior season next fall. The need to do that became clear to Browning in analyzing the Huskies’ loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff.
“I didn’t think there’s anything scheme-wise or mentally that they had on top of me,” said the 6-foot-2, 205-pound quarterback. “I just thought, I got out there and they were bigger, stronger, faster than me personally, so that’s something I want to work on.”
During the offseason last year, Browning prioritized film study. That’s the one area he believed was lacking during his true freshman season in 2015, when he felt defenses too often “tricked” him into throwing interceptions.
Now that his shoulder is healthy, his priority this summer will be to improve his physical conditioning.
“Obviously you still have to watch film, but if I have 30 minutes of extra time it’s probably, OK, I’m going to do some weight-room stuff and eat healthier and stuff like that,” Browning said. “I know from seeing Budda (Baker) and those guys going to the NFL, something they had to change right away was they were on top of their nutrition a lot more. So that’s something I try to do, because it’s something I never did. I just ate whatever.”
Browning injured his shoulder during the Huskies’ 44-18 victory over Arizona State on Nov. 19, and even among players on the team the injury was a well-kept secret. Browning played through it for the final three games, leading the Huskies to their first conference championship in 16 years, tying the Pac-12 record with 43 touchdown passes and finishing sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
“A lot of people would’ve tapped out, I think,” running back Myles Gaskin said. “Jake didn’t make a noise. He went to treatment to see the trainers, but never made it known to the team that much. He just went about his business. He’s not going to complain. …
“When he got the surgery, it was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to keep playing for this team, I’m going to keep playing for my guys.’ And I think that pushed all of us: ‘If Jake can do it, we can do it too.’”
Browning promises to continue push himself this offseason.
“You want to get better,” he said. “And I think the longer you’re here, the more it is, OK, if you want to get that 1-percent better, it takes that much more effort. You’ve got to fight (against) the routine and proactively find stuff you’ve got to get better at.”