Hart of the matter

When Randy Hart learned that he would also be an assistant head coach during the 2003 season, I'm sure he took some time to evaluate his good fortune. And I suspect that moment lasted all of about 3 seconds. For Hart, who has the longest tenure of any Washington football coach, going 16 years strong, his career has never been marked by fancy titles or grandiose achievements.

It's been marked by mud spots on his clothes and a lot of blood, sweat and tears digging in the trenches as Washington's defensive line coach. And he wouldn't want it any other way.

"Without a doubt it's too close to when the guys are coming in and we've got to get going," Hart told Dawgman.com about a clear sense of urgency within the Husky staff. "The area is clear. There's a direction to go and we've got to get there."

Deep down inside, the 2003 season could be Hart's sweetest when it's all said and done because the Dawgs are heading back to his alma mater, Ohio State, for their opener. He'll never admit to it however, simply because he's been down that road too many times and knows success can be fleeting. "Because I played there it's still not as big a deal as winning for the University of Washington," Randy said, prioritizing the emotional baggage he'll surely be carrying into Ohio Stadium August 31st. "We've been back a couple of times and didn't win last time we were there. This is an ongoing competition, and obviously with their success last year it's going to be an exciting game."

Hart is in a bit of a quandry. Not so much due to off the field distractions, but more to do with on the field injuries. "If we were playing tomorrow I wouldn't really know who would be playing," he said, matter-of-factly. "These two-a-days are certainly going to be more experimental than I thought. Guys like Graham Lasse at a defensive end, Jerome Stevens at a defensive tackle, Tui Alailefaleula has to come along at tackle. He's a guy that has to have a good year this year and he's got to get his weight down and he understands that. It has to be the time for him to get going. Terry Johnson certainly has to have his best year of football and Manase Hopoi is a guy we're excited to have in there. Those are the guys that have had the most playing time that we've got to get playing good. I think they've had a great summer conditioning. We'll find out when they come back and we test them.

"For the newcomers, you're excited about a guy like Danny Milsten. I hope we get the guys like Donny Mateaki and (Mike) Mapu, the JC guy - he's got to come along. Jordan Reffett, we'll see how far along he is, as well as Stanley Daniels and Brandon Ala. Those guys don't have a lot of experience, but once they put the pads on hopefully they'll bring it and do a good job."

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