LETTERS TO THE PUBLISHER

Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Finally, we can begin to start talking football. 49er gate appears behind us, and of course all of our thoughts and prayers go out to the men and women deployed in the Middle East, and to their families. Spring football will be a nice diversion to what's going on around the world, so let's dive into it, shall we?


From Busby
Dear Dawgman
Hey dawgman I love the site it is the best thing ever! I have a few questions in that I keep hearing about there only being two receiver's returning? Is Eddie Jackson not coming back? Also, I don't foresee Neu staying for the length of his contract, I figure at some point someone will make the right offer and he will be gone. That is the nature of things, but I could also be wrong, but if I was him and the local media ripped me for my every move I would consider more friendly situations as well. But it still comes down to winning and Neu needs to figure out how to do that with his own players. Anyway here's to hoping they can get it figured out in time for the battle at Columbus, and maybe just maybe they might actually be aggressive on defense (crossing fingers). And run the DAMN ball!!!!!!!!!!

A: Eddie Jackson is gone, but there are actually three receivers returning – Reggie Williams, Charles Frederick, and Justin Robbins. As for Neuheisel sticking around, I think he'll stay for a while longer. He likes where he lives and he makes a nice living here, but the NFL is probably his ultimate goal. I mean, it is the highest level you can achieve in his profession, and if he achieves that, it will mean that he had some huge success here at Washington. And that would be a good thing.
From Jello-Man
Dear Dawgman:
Is Joe Toledo going to go to guard or tackle? I still would like to see him at fullback!

A: Joe is going to be a tight end. He's 6-7 and 290, but Gilby was very excited about coaching him at TE this fall. He also is excited about Ben Bandel and Jon Lyon. If there is a Te that could move, it may be Andy Heater. He could play some fullback, and incoming freshman Casey Tyler will most likely wind up as an offensive tackle before all is said and done.
From SJ Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
1. I've have never heard of two coaches splitting a coordinators role. Now we have Snow and Hundley splitting the defensive responsibility. Do you see any problems here? By bringing in Snow is Neu showing Hundley the door?
2. Will Jackson or Kennedy be given a shot at coaching RB's? Both have been successful coaching RB's. Why not give an effective young coach a shot at our stable of RB's and make Heater recruiting coordinator?
3. Who will coach special teams? The lack of consistency in our special teams needs to be addressed.
4. I know you are high on Gilby. I've always been high on him as an O line coach. I'm not to sure about him as an offensive coordinator however. Axman is gone. How do you see Gilby handling the play calling this year? Will Neu help him with the play calling in 2003? In 2002 I thought Gilby's play calling was suspect, predictable and did not take advantage of the talent we had/have.

Thanks and best regards.

A: 1) Hundley and Snow are very excited to work together. Let's face it, Hundley got let down by Hauck in the secondary last year. Sure, Tim is responsible, but he is the most democratic coach you find and definitely relies on his assistants to get the job done and provide input. Snow will help greatly there and Tim is excited to have him on board. It also allows Tim to coach ALL of the LBs, a position he knows a great deal about. The linebackers will prosper under Hundley if they do this move.
2) Cornell Jackson will in all likelihood move to the secondary to help Snow back there. Kennedy will coach the WRs, and he's done a fine job there. Heater knows running backs, he was one at Michigan, and he cannot just be a "recruiting coordinator," that is illegal.
3) Special teams will be by committee, and they will succeed for fail based on Rick Neuheisel's input and attention to them.
4) Gilby's offense averaged over 30 points per game, was first in the league on third down conversions, and set all kinds of passing records. That gets overlooked a great deal when you lose, but the other thing you should keep in mind is that his offense turned the ball over way too much in October and that hamstrings what you can do. No one will deny that this team needs to get better at running the football, and Dan Cozzetto will make them better at that, but the main thing Gilby needs to work on is eliminating turnovers, and he'll do it. Then his play calling can be much more freewheeling.

From Paul in Bulldog Land
Dear Dawgman:
8/31/03 is still six months away but can't wait to meet the defending National Champions. That should be a great game. Once again, expectations are high for the DAWGS and anything less than a Rose Bowl berth is all disappointment. I for one would love our dawgs to go beyond the Rose Bowl and hopefully will have a chance to go to New Orleans. What are your thoughts on that?

Again, thanks for such an awesome website and always looking forward to the news you have for us. Dawgman.com is the by far the best website.

A: I picked them 12-0 for 2003, and I'm not going to change that prediction. I think this team will run the table with the current staff in place. A win at Ohio State will launch the campaign, and they have the depth on both lines to withstand "reasonable" injury this year. Thanks for the kind words.
From Michael M
Dear Dawgman:
What's up with Roc Alexander? he's always hurt. Do think the coaching staff will be able to utilize his amazing speed and athleticism more effectively this up coming year? My uncle played for the Dawgs in the late 80's. His name is Ricky Andrews. I was wondering if you remember him and if you had any comments about him as a player. Thanks and keep up the great work.

A: Roc will test out his new shoulder this spring with full contact to see if his torn labrum has repaired. If he's healthy and ready to go, expect him to be either a starter or at the very least an every-other series guy at corner. I remember Ricky Andrews well. He played with a great deal of heart and was a real leader for Don James' teams during a time when things were starting to get tough, before the great ride of the early 1990s. Ricky played inside linebacker and was a bit undersized but played with heart and passion. Tell your uncle I enjoyed watching him play immensely.
From NorgDawg
Dear Dawgman:
I heard it mentioned on your site that Gilby will be back on the sidelines and Pettas will be in the box on game day, a great idea I think. Do you see Gilby going into more of a role like Smith did at OSU of assistant head coach and O line and JP working with QB's and calling plays or is Gilby going to be calling play from the field with JP's input?

A: I don't think that's been decided just yet. If I were a betting man I'd say that both would be in the booth, as both work together quite well. Gilby will definitely be calling the plays though, no doubt about that.
From Big Al in Vancouver, BC
Dear Dawgman:
1) What is the latest word on Nathan Rhodes?
2) What order do you think the depth chart will be at running back come Ohio State (top 3 tailbacks)?
3) How good is C.J. Wallace? Is this a guy that will get reps at Safety as a true freshman like Akbar and Carothers did?
Thank you and keep up the good work. See you in Columbus!

A: Rhodes is expected to redshirt in 2003 and rehab his back. He has a decent chance of returning to football, as his exam went better than expected, but we'll see. I think Rich Alexis will top the TB depth chart and that Kenny James will be the main back up heading into the opener. CJ Wallace is a true freshman but I expect him to crack the two-deeps at free safety. He can run and OH MAN can he hit. I don't think he'll start unless injury necessitates it.
From Carolina Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
I just don't understand. There have been so many excellent athletes come out of the San Francisco CC program the past couple of years and all have done well except for the one we signed. Francisco Tipoti was supposed to be the best thing to come to this program in a while. Now we can't find his name on the depth chart, please explain.

Are there any other Dawg fans in the Carolinas that you know of? The folks in Georgia think they are the "real" Dog fans. I wish the Huskies would start playing the ACC or SEC. Ever since the Huskies went to Baton Rouge to play LSU and got run off the field a few years ago, it seems like they don't want any part of the SEC. I would love to hear your thoughts concerning this matter.

Final question. Do the Huskies recruit the Carolinas? Look what happened the last time they signed kids from this part of the country. They got Ed Cunningham and (I can't remember the DE's name but he had a very good career with the Huskies). Both came from the state of Virginia.

A: Two other CCSF athletes Washington signed were QB Taylor Barton and DE Kai Ellis. Ellis had a fair career, but was hampered by knee problems. The guy I think the UW whiffed on and should've taken was Jabril Wilson, a bad-ass safety, but that's in the past now. He's doing fine at Tennessee. I don't know of any other fans in the Carolinas, sorry. As for the dawgs recruiting that part of the country, they did when Phil Elmassion was here but only because he had ties there. And Phil was only here one year. Donald Jones was the DE you are thinking of, and he had connections to the area, and Ed Cunningham's girlfriend was heading over here, which is why he came from Virginia. Both had reasons to come here, and were not the result of elaborate recruiting resources.
From Aloha Mike
Dear Dawgman:
Sometime things happen that put life in perspective. On Dec. 14, my wife collapsed, heart arrhythmia, was without blood to her brain(? we don't know how long). After 4-6 min. brain cells start to die. A women's basketball player suffered the very same problem. She was hospitalized, as I understand, for one week and had an implant to control her heartbeat installed. My wife, today, is slowly regaining her strength, is remembering things, that I am her husband, better, and she started back to work, 2 hrs a day three days a week, after less than two months since she collapsed. The point is that much has been made about the Dawgs past two seasons, about coach Neu and whether he is A DAWG, GOOD coach and his misgivings. I have been a fan of the Dawgs for over 45 years. I wince when bad things happen to them. I can't watch them on TV. When they lose, friends ask " what happened to the Dawgs?" and laugh. NONE OF THIS NO LONGER SEEMS IMPORTANT NOW.

A: I'm terribly sorry to hear about your wife, and I hope and pray that she is continuing to improve. Your letter puts things in perspective, and hopefully will remind those that attack each other or take offense to one another on the message boards that college athletics are a diversion from every day problems and life circumstances, and should be enjoyed and put into proper perspective. Thank you for writing and God Bless.
From Anthony F
Dear Dawgman:
Just wanted to ask this about Nate Robinson. What skills do you think Nate needs to work on for the CB position next year? He seemed to have a good handle of things late in the 2002 season and just needs more experience IMHO. Is there anything else he needs to do? If you had to pick which sport do you think Nate has a better pro-future in - Football or Basketball? Which sport do you think he'll wind up picking?

A: Nate just needs to be consistent on every down. He has great cover skills and excellent ball skills, now he just needs more reps to get consistent. I think he could play in the NFL, but Nate prefers basketball. If things don't change from today, I predict that Nate will choose hoops. But it will be fun to watch him play receiver this fall. Maybe that will change his mind.

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