Husak Coming Back?

Tuesday afternoon's practice brought a face to The Farm we have not seen in some time. Famed Rose Bowl quarterback <b>Todd Husak</b> was on the rail observing both players and coaches with more than just passing curiosity. He is shifting gears in his professional career, and one path might bring him back to Stanford...

As if Cardinalmaniacs did not already have enough weighing on their minds with the admissions process and how it impacts recruiting and the future of the Stanford Football program, here is one more "blue chip recruit" to add to your wish list.  Beloved Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak, who led Stanford and their record-breaking offense to the 1999 Pac-10 Championship and 2000 Rose Bowl, is applying to The Farm all over again.

Husak has spent most of the fall training in Cleveland in hopes of getting picked up by an NFL club, after the Browns cut him late this summer.  He has already traveled the country, and the world, playing professional football for the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and NFL Europe.  Still in great shape and possessing a live arm, Husak should still have several more years of pro ball left in him.  But he told The Bootleg yesterday that he wants to close that book and start a new chapter of his life.

"I want to get into coaching," he reveals.  "That's the plan."

To start himself down that path, the former Stanford signal caller is exploring options for a position as a graduate assistant coach in a high-level Division I program.  The assistant coaches you most often here about in college football are the nine professionals who are allowed to join a head coach on staff, but a school may also enlist two enrolled graduate students to aid in the active coaching on and off the field of its players.  The grad assistant position is a common springboard for young aspiring coaches who lack experience at the college level.  It is an apprenticeship, where the student gains as much in learning from the coordinators and assistants as he gives back through film study, game planning and overall quality control.

On the current Cardinal staff, several coaches got their start at this level through graduate assistant positions.  Jay Boulware stayed on at Texas after finishing his undergraduate degree and took a grad assistant position with the Longhorns.  Similarly, Tom Williams stuck with Bill Walsh at The Farm after he finished his playing days and was a graduate assistant.  In both cases, the two young coaches jumped to other parts of the country for their first full position as an assistant, though occasionally circumstances and performance can keep you on in the same program.  Steve Morton stayed in Pullman after his eligibility ran out, and that Washington State grad assistant gig turned into a decade-long job coaching the offensive line and tight ends.

But before Husak can dream of where he will land his first full coaching job, he has to land on his feet in a graduate position.  NCAA rules do require enrollment and degree progress in a graduate program, and Stanford has admissions requirements just as stringent in many of its graduate schools as we all know for undergraduate entry.  The former Card quarterback will apply in the next couple months and find out in the winter if he can gain admission.  Ideally, he would like to get a quick start - at Stanford or elsewhere - in the springtime.

Though Husak would love to work with Trent Edwards and T.C. Ostrander come spring practices, he knows the uncertainty surrounding Stanford admissions and is starting to explore a wide range of options.  A Southern California native, Husak would love to work in a Pac-10 program, though he also has an "in" with a program in the Midwest.  His former head coach and offensive coordinator both currently reside in South Bend (Ind.), which makes Notre Dame a real possibility for him.  Husak maintains a good relationship with Tyrone Willingham and has recently spoken with Bill Diedrick.

His chances of hooking up with Buddy Teevens at Stanford depend on a number of factors, and Husak just came on campus this week to start down that road.  As for his admissions prospects, he stands confident.  "I had pretty good grades while I was at Stanford," he offers.

Todd Husak led Stanford to a storybook season in 1999 with 2,688 yards and 18 touchdowns in 10 games, ending in the school's first Rose Bowl in nearly 30 years.  He did not play in the San Jose State game and sat out most of the preceding game against UCLA with bruised ribs.  That season still ranks 9th on Stanford's all-time passing yardage list, though Husak's best year statistically came in 1998 when he eclipsed the magical 3,000-yard mark (3,092 yards - 3rd all-time).  He still holds the single-game record for Cardinal quarterbacks with the 450 yards he put up against Oregon State in 1998.  For his career, Husak threw 6,564 yards and ranks 5th in the Stanford record books.  He never redshirted at Stanford and played out his eligibility in four years.  Redshirt plans were torched when Tim Carey transferred out of school just one week into preseason training camp in 1996, catapulting Husak into the #2 position suddenly behind fellow frosh Chad Hutchinson.  When Hutchinson was signed to a pro baseball contract by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998, that paved the way for the unheralded Husak to step forward.  The rest is history, though if the Stanford slinger makes a return to the program this spring, his Cardinal chronicles could grow once again.


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