Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. So there's a new sheriff in town, and he goes by the handle of "Gilby". I am very excited about the change. Not necessarily how it came about, but the end result should be one that Husky fans will embrace in short order. And now, onto the letters . . .

From Chris Patters in Gilbert, AZ
Dear Dawgman
Gilby said, "We're going to be knocking the hell out of everything that moves!" Now that's Husky football!!!!! Go coach Gilby, Go Dawgs and finally we can watch what Husky football is all about!!

A: Yep. Washington football is in for a little "tough love." I don't think it's going to hurt ‘em. Look for a return to a more aggressive defense and a return to some semblance of a running attack.
From Bob Wack
Dear Dawgman:
I have wondered what the NCAA's position has been during all the talks regarding Coach Neuheisel stature as a coach in the NCAA organization? Have they ever said or written to Neuheisel or the University of Washington and said that he could not coach, or be involved with any university controlled by their organization? It seems logical to me, if they control all actions of any college coach, they would, or should, step forward and declare him ineligible to participate for 'x' number of years. If the NCAA had done this, that would have ended all actions by Neuheisel and his attorneys and made it very simple for the University of Washington's legal position. If the NCAA sets the standards and supposedly controls them, then they should have also made the decision regarding his rights to continue coaching – not the University of Washington. If the NCAA is the governing body -- let them govern.

A: The NCAA was going to suspend Rick Neuheisel, it was obvious. They have not yet, but I'm sure that they will. It kind of forced the UW's hand, unless they wanted to take on the NCAA (which they did not – if you thought this was ugly, you wouldn't have wanted to be around to watch that fight). What you were asking for above is what was going to happen, and Washington appears to have made a preemptive strike to show the NCAA how serious they were about compliance and rules. We'll see if it has an impact on what sanctions, if any, the NCAA metes out to Washington because of the compliance irregularities (IE: "the memo").
From Sam Jizzo
Dear Dawgman:
I'm getting real restless about this season. It can't come soon enough. One word...serious withdrawals...okay, two words. Anyhow, I was curious...Why is Pickett the holder on field goals and PAT's? This duty takes time away for him to practice other things and also creates more chance for injury, particularly his hand. Why wouldn't another player or back-up QB take this role, like they do in the NFL? Thanks. I'll be in Columbus...Hope to see ya there. Go Dawgs!!!

A: Pickett is the holder because he is the best on the team at that duty. John Anderson was used to Pickett's holds, so it didn't make sense to change. If there were going to be a change in holders, it should be this year when a new kicker is being brought in.
From Shane Ourada in WASH DC
Dear Dawgman:
I am a former UW student and huge Husky and fan from the Northwest, what do you think their chances are in Columbus this September? Thanks for you time.

A: Washington will win this game. A senior QB, an experienced offensive line, and the best WR in the country will not be intimidated in Columbus. It will all boil down to how well the Huskies can stop the run. I believe they can hold Claret to under 150 yards and will win a close one at The Shoe.
From Barry Stangl
Dear Dawgman:
Now that Rick is gone, is there any chance the Dawgs may play defense? I don't think put enough evidence on the defensive side.

A: Absolutely. Keith likes Phil Snow and what he brings, which is a more aggressive, less "personnel matching" scheme that Neuheisel seemed enamored with. I think the secondary will tighten up a lot under Snow, and Hart did a great job with the DL the past two seasons. He's dealing with a little bit of a depth issue right now, but I trust Randy.
From Jack Neufer
Dear Dawgman:
I totally agree with what Eugene Husky had to say in your last "Ask Dawgman" letters, about there being a left and right side fan base. When the huskies come on the filed you should stand up and cheer or clap make some sort of noise. But then you feel bad because you got that old fashioned (left side) talking behind your back asking you to sit down because they cant see. I am not trying to break apart the fan base. Just letting all the old fashioned fans now how I feel when you guys don't cheer. I got a lot of friends that would rather have your seat if you don't want it, and all you really have to do is stand up sometimes. A while ago I remember reading that Rich Alexis was loosing weight to be a little quicker and not such a power back. Just want to confirm that is true and not something that I read. RN I thank you for bringing back the gold helmet.

I think you have made the best Husky site and I like what you have done with it.

A: Thanks for the kind words. As far as fan base, I think you'll find that it's still rabid, but a bit more "corporate" in nature now. That goes with rising ticket prices and who has the money to afford the good seats. Alexis was trying to drop some weight, but the biggest thing he needs to do is stay healthy. He needs to either not get injured, or learn to play when he's dinged more. I like him and his ability, and hope that he goes out with a bang. He is certainly capable.
From Big Al in Vancouver
Dear Dawgman:
A few questions:
1) When the Huskies are in Columbus, who will be starting at linebacker - which guys will be on the field, and who will be waiting in the wings.
2) Will Matt Fontaine be ahead of Chris Massey? What has happened to Massey he was promising as a Freshman.
3) What role do you envision for Chris Chambers? Will he be brought along slowly or will he have to make big catches against the Buckeyes (just like Justin Robbins did versus Miami in 2000)?
Great job and we'll see you in Columbus!

A: The LBS will be Lobendahn, Cooper, and Carothers. Fountaine will back up the opposite corner that Massey does. Craig Chambers will be asked to absorb as much of the playbook as possible, because the opportunity for playing time is certainly there. He'll compete against Corey Williams, Bobby Whithorne, and Sonny Shackelford for minutes. I love all three of those kids and think all will play early on special teams at a minimum. Whithorne's route running is awesome, Williams is just a stud, and Shackelford has the demeanor of a kid five years older than he is.
From Jack Sonnichsen
Dear Dawgman:
Great responses to the last set of questions!! For what it's worth, I also am surprised on the nature of Rick's exit although I must admit 20-20 hindsight finds me thanking the "suits" as termed by Dick Baird for taking Rick down. I want to remember Rick's for his handling of the C-Dub situation, he showed me a lot. But I also agree with those that said he did not do much for his $1.4 million/yr. Also, I am not going to miss all his excuses and cry baby tactics - geez. Rick was not what I would call a "stand up" guy and call me old school but I can never respect a football coach that isn't a stand up guy. In closing, thank you and all your staff, Dick, Hugh and Mr. Fetters (can't remember his first name) for helping us though this troubled time.

A: Thanks for the letter and the kind words about the site and my staff. We just try to report as even-handedly as possible, and as accurately as possible. No sense in us being in the news, the sideline suits us just fine. It was a terrible off-season, but it's time to move forward now. Rick handled the C-dub situation with incredible aplomb, and for that Husky fans should be eternally grateful.
From Shawn Cox
Dear Dawgman:
As a former player at the school it is very embarrassing to see what is going on at UW. I can't believe that whoever sent out a letter to say it's OK to gamble on NCAA sports is not suspended. How can this person be in charge of compliance rules? I do want to make a comment on Rick (I'm in it for the long haul at UW). If he would've come back, everyone knew after this embarrassment that he would jump ship at the first job that was tempting. If I'm a recruit, I would've kept this in the back of my mind and signed with USC or Oregon. Every coach in the Pac 10 would've reminded recruits that there is no guarantee that Rick would be there long. I know first hand Gilby will do a great job.

A: Thank you for your letter Shawn. I, too, believe that Gilby will do a great job.
From Mark Edmonds
Dear Dawgman:
You know you have the best Unofficial Site on the Net. One of the reasons that I check out your site is that it is non-partial in the fact that you let everybody post whatever they want, whether they are out of their minds or not (me included). It kind of makes me think of what the 60's in San Francisco were reputed to be like. Having read the posts from your previous "Ask Dawgman" column regarding Rick getting the shaft, I would like to ask a question. How can anybody say that Washington has been a well-coached team under him? Have they not seen the Husky Defense? In the 4 years RN was here, they gave up 26, 23, 32, and 26 points per game! Last year when they were 3-5, he comes out and say's, "If I would have seen this coming, I would have prevented it". I'm thinking to myself, you gave up 32 points per game last year, you make no changes, and you didn't see it coming? That's absurd, isn't it? How can a guy who coaches football in Seattle not have a Running Game in October and November when the Southern Teams come in to play with the wind and the rain coming off the lake? You would think that would be his first priority on offense! What happened to Washington's Special Teams, by the way? At best, that guy is a mediocre Coach right now who is suppose to be smart, and even if that were true, how can he be so foolish at times? Thanks. Your Opinion on those statements?

A: I think Rick was still learning to become a great football coach, to be honest with you. He was still developing, but now we'll never get to find out how he would've developed here. The running game was abysmal under him, and Colorado fans warned Husky fans that it would happen. They turned out to be right about that. As for the defense, some of that can be explained by the changing of the league. Compare the stats over the last 10 years and the fact that all defenses are playing with 9 guys in the box, it's become an embarrassingly pass-heavy league that is perceived as soft on a national scale. USC is turning that perception around and hopefully Washington won't be far behind them on defensive pressure schemes. I know that Jim Lambright has been asked by Gilby to come in and address the team about toughness. He's the guy that knows all about that, having played DE at 160 pounds, and having coordinated all of those tough defenses. I've rambled enough. Thanks for your nice comments about the site.
From Steve in Everett
Dear Dawgman:
I'll take Eugene Husky's message even further. The media also includes KJR, supposedly the Huskies Broadcasting Network! I can't believe how fast these guys gave their opinions on Rick Neuheisel. The so called "Husky Honks" from this station, with the support of Groz and Gas in the afternoon, showed their true colors after Rick's allegations were first made public. I know talk radio is supposed to generate discussion and heated debate, but their coverage of this whole debacle was pretty much a slam on Rick Neuheisel's character. Maybe there was still some hurt feelings because Rick wasn't forthright with Gas after the San Francisco interview.

Now this program needs to move on. We have unbelievable talent at the school, talent that in my opinion has not played up to their full potential, maybe because Rick was to lenient. I don't think it's going to be just the Reggie and Cody show this year. I will be at the Ohio State game and the remaining games. I want to see the Dawgs kick some butt and I believe we have the talent for 10 wins. Although I believe Rick was wronged, it's also time to move past the Neuheisel era; they aren't going to bring him back. I hope the team goes into The Ohio State University and wins one for Rick. GO DAWGS!

A: I think the guys at KJR, Hugh Millen and Mike Gastineau, were angry at Rick not only for lying to them, but also turning many Husky fans against them by calling the KJR story a lie (when in fact it was as true as the blue sky). That created some bad blood. Even though KJR is the Husky flagship station, they still have a responsibility to generate discussion and report on stuff, even if it's unpleasant for the UW. Millen was told, flat out, by someone in the 49ers organization that Neuheisel was being interviewed. For Rick to deny it is one thing, but to listen to Husky fans bash Hugh for sticking by his story (which turned out to be correct), and blindly accepting Rick's story without question, was tough. Hugh is as diehard of a Husky as you get, and he took it on the chin for that one. I will say that I do think that Rick's' character was unfairly maligned by many, however. He is a nice man and it's difficult to see a nice man take personal abuse in the news. Now it's all over. As for a 10-win season, I will be very disappointed if they don't win 10. VERY. Gilby is stepping into the fire, but he's ready.

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