Monday Rick Neuheisel Press Conference

At today's press conference with press from the Puget Sound and Ann Arbor areas, Barbara Hedges was the first to speak. She announced that Washington has amended football coach Rick Neuheisel's contract that increases his base salary by $200,000 and raises the total cash compensation to $1.2 million per season.

Under the terms of his enhanced contract Neuheisel will make $425,000 in base salary from the University. Other compensation from Nike, Fox, Verizon, a car allowance, a housing allowance, a country club membership to Broadmoor, a $150,000 annuity, and a travel allowance for his family brings the total cash compensation of Neuheisel's package to $1,212,000 per year.

Also included in the new contract are academic and performance incentives. If UW football players that have exhausted their eligibility reach a 75% graduation rate, Neuheisel will receive $60,000. If they achieve a 90% or higher rate he'll receive $100,000. If Washington makes it to any bowl game Neuheisel gets another $40,000, but if the Huskies make a BCS bowl he'll receive $100,000. If Washington plays in the BCS championship game he gets $150,000.

If he reaches all of these incentives his total compensation will be $1.4 Million. It's interesting to note that he reached every single one of those benchmarks last year. Washington athletes that have exhausted their eligibility have graduated at an 85% rate, and under Neuheisel the football team's mark has been 90% for the past two years. Athletes that transfer are not included in the calculation of that rate because they didn't exhaust their eligibility at Washington.

The contract was finalized over the past two weeks. Rick Neuheisel said that the pace of the negotiations never bothered him. "There was no sense of urgency. I'm where I want to be so it wasn't a knock-down dragged out process," said Neuheisel.

He is in the third year of a five-year contract that may be extended two additional years if the UW and Neuheisel mutually agree to do so. The enhancement to the contract did not extend the length of the original contract.

"We focused on academics and performance," said Barbara Hedges this afternoon. "Those were important to both Rick and President Richard McCormick."

Neuheisel said that there would be plenty of time to discuss extensions since there were three years remaining on his contract, and reiterated that he was, "Where I want to be."

After discussion of the new contract ebbed, Neuheisel turned his attention to the upcoming game Saturday against #10 Michigan.

"We've got so many players that will be in their first game, under the scrutiny of a national television audience. Hopefully we'll take the field and look like a team that wants to be considered with the top programs in the country, like Michigan is," said Neuheisel.

"Like last year, we'll need to ‘find a way'. It wasn't always pretty last season but we always found a way in the fourth quarter, and hopefully that's what we'll do against Michigan."

Is there an advantage to Michigan for having one game under their belts or does the advantage go to Washington for being rested? Neuheisel weighed in on that subject. "There's a school of thought that says the most improvement in a team happens between the first and second games. There may be a slight advantage to the team that's played already."

Of his Husky team, Neuheisel compares them to last year's squad in terms of perhaps a higher ceiling. "We are certainly less experienced, but maybe more explosive. We may have more speed on this team. If we can weather the storm and mature quickly, hopefully as soon as this Saturday, I think we're going to like the finished product," said Neuheisel.

True freshmen receivers Reggie Williams and Charles Frederick are both going to see action, although Williams is certainly further ahead in terms of having the offense in his head. Frederick is just two days back from a camp holdout.

"He'll play," said Neuheisel of Williams. "He's been what we've expected and there's no reason to save him. He deserves it, and 20 to 25 snaps is a possibility for him."

Of Frederick, Neuheisel was a little more guarded. "He's a young player that's a long ways from home. Hopefully he's turned the corner. He's got a big smile on his face and we're hopeful he can get some experience this weekend as well."

When asked if there was any advice that a former Pac-10 quarterback could impart to Cody Pickett to calm him on Saturday, Neuheisel quipped, "Throw it to the purple jerseys."
Husky Notebook:

Michigan leaders: Running back BJ Askew had 20 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown last weekend. Quarterback John Navarre completed 19 of 32 passes for 205 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions. On defense Victor Hobson had two tackles for loss and had one of the three Michigan sacks.

Hail to the victors: Michigan first began playing football in 1879 and have compiled an all-time record of 806-262-36.

Ones that got away: Michigan safety Charles Drake was a big time Husky recruiting target three seasons ago. Now a junior, Drake is a starter and had six solo tackles last weekend. The other big miss Washington had in recruiting, of course, was Tacoma's Larry Stevens. Stevens had two tackles and a sack last weekend from his defensive end position.

Super frosh: Michigan Cornerback Marlin Jackson enters the Husky game after becoming just fourth true freshman to start a season opener under Coach Lloyd Carr. Charles Woodson started 12 games as a true freshman under Carr in 1995. Top Stories