Dick Baird has been so good at answering his mail, I feel bad. I finally got around to reading through all of mine, and have replied to most of them. Thanks to those that wrote in, and I hope that you are enjoying being able to write to a former UW coach, in addition to a lowly website mediot (that would be me). And now, on to the letters…

From Paul in Bulldog land
I've noticed in one of your articles a player mentioned Steve Emtman's name. What kind of role does he have with in the coaching staff? Is he even a coach or is he a strength trainer like Pete Kaligis? With his legacy at the D-line position, you would think he would make a good coach in that position, what are your thoughts on that? Will he eventually move on to coaching if he isn't one yet?

A: Steve is an assistant strength and conditioning coach, working for Pete Kaligis in the weight room. He knows a great deal about playing defensive line, and despite an earlier preference to not get into coaching, who knows? He may just do that one day. I can't think of many that would be better at motivating young men.
From CAM
Dear Dawgman:
what number on the depth chart do you think CB Sam Cunningham will be and will he ever be a starter?

A: Sam will not be a starter. He will likely begin the year as either a two or three. Roc Alexander and Chris Massey are battling at one corner while Derrick Johnson and Matt Fountaine hold down the other. Sam will start the fall behind these guys. He could push for one of the starting roles by 2005.
From Jack Neufer
Dear Dawgman:
Does the 2003 football team look better then the 2002 team at this point of the season last year and what is the attitude of the player at this point? Will the football team get some style and start wearing their uniforms like LAWYER MILLOY? I don't think the Huskies have ever beaten a #1 team is that correct and could it be possible in Columbus?

A: The 2003 team will be better than last year's team because they'll have a senior QB and experience on both lines. Also the coaching staff has been upgraded. No one will wear their uniform like Lawyer did, unless the NCAA relaxes their rule about how a uniform should be displayed. Lawyer, Tommie Smith, and Andy Mason, to name a few, used to wear their uniform so that their midriff showed. That isn't done any longer. Washington has not defeated a #1 team in the last 43 years to my recollection. When the Dawgs defeated Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in 1985, the Sooners were ranked #2. The Dawgs did beat Minnesota in the Rose Bowl back in 1960, and the Golden Gophers were ranked #1 at that time, I believe.
From Brett
Dear Dawgman:
How can anyone not like the Dawgs? This team has got to be the fastest Husky team of all time, with speed at every position. I have a few questions though. Why aren't they sticking Ty Eriks at LB permanently. He would be a difference maker on defense. What is the story with Donny Mateaki? When he was recruited word was he could be an impact player? And last but not least, our offensive line seem to lack explosiveness in the running game, is Clayton Walker the guy to provide that? Thanks Dawgman.

A: I love this team. They are fast, and finally getting deeper. Eriks is perfect where he is, at fullback. He had never played defense before and looks much more comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. Mateaki is struggling with a sore shoulder. I'm not sure how badly it's injured, but he did have surgery last winter, so he was still nursing it this spring. The OL does need more work but I'm convinced that Coach Dan Cozzetto is the right guy. Clay Walker had a nice spring but may be another year away from being the impact player the coaches envision.
From TC
Dear Dawgman:
Now that Nate Robinson has quit football what happens to his scholarship? Does UW lose it like they would if a player leaves school early, or do they get it back to give to another player? Also what is going to happen to Alexis for getting into the fight at the frat house?

A: His scholarship is open for football, but taken for hoops. Neuheisel gets an additional scholarship while Romar goes down by one. UW doesn't lose scholarships when a player leaves early. They are allowed to backfill for those losses. Alexis will be disciplined, but only Rich and Coach Neuheisel know what it will be. I don't anticipate it being a lengthy penalty, as Rich has already made peace with everyone.
From Scott in Portland, OR
Dear Dawgman:
I can't help but think about the possibilities of this team. The Pac-10 winner traditionally has a Senior QB and a favorable schedule, and the Dawgs have both. They have maybe the best QB in the country, and definitely the best WR, and have UO, USC, and the Cougs coming to Husky stadium. With all that said, and your prediction of a victory over Ohio St., the Dawgs have a real shot at the national title. What are your thoughts? Also, will Kenny James become the feature back by the end of the season?

A: If Washington beats Ohio State in the opener, they'll run the table. Mark my words. Kenny James will have a definite impact in 2003. He and Rich Alexis will be the top producing backs in my opinion. Both will be featured. Shelton Sampson is another year away before he'll be able to block at the Pac-10 level, but he's going to make a difference.
From Joey
Dear Dawgman:
Will Kyle Trew and Casey Tyler be seeing any action this upcoming season.? They are both seniors at Edmonds Woodway High School.

A: Both should redshirt in 2003. I think Tyler will grow into an OT, which will take a couple of years. Trew, if he plays LB, could see the field as soon as next year because of his speed. He could add some special teams depth.
From Joon
Dear Dawgman:
I understand bringing in new coaches for specific areas but why are the coaches being moved around from defense to offense (Heater) or moving responsibilities from the entire secondary (Snow) to just corners/safeties (Heater/Hauck)? I know we've hired coaches to address certain positions/areas, but it seems that we've had a revolving door of coaches and moving responsibilities during Neuhiesel's term. This seems to benefit the coaches because they're able to gain experience at more positions to eventually move into a head coaching job, but it hurts the players because they have to learn a new system/philosophy every year. Afterward, the coaches leave for better positions elsewhere – how does that benefit the team and the development of the players?

A: The staff moves usually to make room for the other coaches, and to ensure that the best coach available is at each position. Snow is clearly a secondary coach, and Heater is a better fit at running backs because he was one under Bo Schembechler at Michigan. Also, the movement of Jackson to the secondary was a good one because the secondary needed the additional scrutiny, and also Tim Hundley taking over all of the linebackers made it doable. These are all great moves. I did love Neuheisel's original staff when he got here, but the fact that Dorrell is now a head coach and Williams is now a defensive coordinator pretty much tells you that they were great coaches that moved up the chain for better opportunities. Neither of those guys moved around positions, they just earned their promotions and there wasn't much the UW could do to keep them.
From Chris Patters in Gilbert, AZ
Dear Dawgman:
It's been a long time since you've answered questions and my eagerness is growing as the Ohio State game is moving closer and closer. I must admit, I've been pretty hard on the Husky Football program but it's only because I expect so much. What was your assessment of the spring practices and games? How can we actually gage how this team will fair until we get all the recruited talent together and practicing as one? I know the running game wasn't spectacular, but we were also missing Alexis and James. Who do you think will have the biggest impact this year at RB? Will the offensive line get nasty enough from now until August to at least make the running game a threat? Could it be that the defense is just that much improved that it was hard going for the 1's on offense? Looking towards the future, what happens if Stanback gets the starting nod after Pickett departs? Do you think Paus will transfer? I just don't ever hear much about him and really don't know that much except that he was highly recruited. What about Carl Bonnell? What does he offer and who will give us the better chance to be successful? From all I've heard, it sounds like Stanback just has what it takes when it's game time. He's a playmaker like Tui was. See you in Columbus.

A: I think spring went OK, but wasn‘t spectacular. Injuries to Kenny James, Josh Miller, Todd Bachert, and Donny Mateaki hurt their development in some areas. I think James will be a big impact this fall, but missing all of those practices will cost him some timing and experience, had he gotten the work. If Stanback wins the job from Paus in 2004, it will be interesting to see what happens. Paus will be a junior by then. Bonnell gives another good arm and very mobile QB in the mix, and also a very heady player. All of them have a ways to go, though. Stanback had difficulty throwing a spiral this spring. Pettas will need to work on that, as his ball is not very catchable when it is wobbling, even when it's on target. But he is very much a playmaker, as you say. His upside is tremendous and if his mechanics develop, he could be very special. See you in Columbus.
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