With Darren Gardenhire no longer on the team, who do you project as the starting corners next year?
Very good question. I would have slotted Gardenhire in, but obviously he felt he would be successful somewhere else, so that opens up two corner jobs, assuming Sidney Jones goes pro (which I’m 100 percent sure he will). My guesses early would be Jordan Miller on one side and Austin Joyner on the other. But don’t forget about all the redshirt freshmen out there, especially Byron Murphy. I get the sense sitting out this season, especially given how successful the season has gone, has been tough for Murphy. He’s a guy that loves to be in the mix, so I expect he’ll be champing at the bit to get going. Between Miller, Joyner, Murphy, Brandon Lewis, Myles Bryant, Isaiah Gilchrist and Kentrell Love, the UW cornerbacks are in good shape moving forward.
The past few recruiting classes have included guys who didn't really participate in camps and 7 on 7 tournaments. Two guys in particular, Taylor Rapp and Jake Browning didn't do much of that at all. How Important are those camps and off season activities?
I think they can be very important, especially for the skill players. It’s ironic that you mention two skill players, and you’re right. But I would have thought the lack of those off-season activities would have bode well for the bigger guys, the linemen. There’s very little for them in terms of offseason camps that do more than just some position work and some one-on-ones. With skill players there’s 7-7 tournaments, summer leagues, etc… it’s become big business.
But to answer your question specifically, Michael Neal is an example of a player UW found at a summer camp that they were able to coach in, so the camps can be vital for those prospects that can’t afford to do the ‘world tour’ in the summer, meaning hit each school they are interested in for a day or two to unofficially see everything they have to offer. By allowing coaches to coach off-campus, you create camps where prospects don’t necessarily go too far from where they live, but they can be seen and coached up by schools from all over the region, and in some cases, nationally.
How has covering the team changed for the media over the past 10 years or so?
A lot hasn’t changed, ironically. Most of that has to do with continuity with the Sports Information Director and consistency during how the team is covered during a game week, as well as during spring ball, for instance. Not much has really been tweaked over the years.
I’d say the biggest thing has to do with how things have changed with technology. Everyone has the ability to tell their own story now via social networking, so that has pushed our focus in a different direction. Ten years ago it was all about getting the scoop, getting the news ahead of everyone else, especially in recruiting. But that is irrelevant now. When news breaks, everyone knows about it instantaneously. And, on top of it, when a prospect wants to make a verbal commitment to a school, they just post it on their own social networking accounts. That makes our jobs easier in one respect: we don’t have to track them down on the phone incessantly to try and confirm what we might be hearing through sources.
So now the focus of the business in terms of covering the team is not breaking news anymore, but telling fans why it matters to them. What does it mean? Why is it relevant? What does it matter going forward? So it’s so much more analysis and detail than the news itself. I think that’s the biggest change.
Why wasn't the frequent offsides PAT penalty during the ASU game not considered a free play like it is during a routine play?
I took a look at the rules, and didn’t see anything specific for offside on a point after touchdown, so I suspect it has more to do with either 1) unabated to the holder because they are in a pretty defenseless position, or 2) forcing their opposite lineman to move, causing a dead ball like they would in a normal play. So those are my best guesses.
How much of a blow for Apple Cup is Gardenhire if McIntosh can't go? What would dime package look like without those 2?
Well, Gardenhire isn’t going to be available, so it’s going to hurt the depth for sure, but I’d argue his biggest impact was in special teams. His strip/recovery early in the ASU game on a punt was fantastic. But, as Chris Petersen has said a lot the last few weeks - Next Man Up. As far as McIntosh, it sounds like they are hopeful he’ll get to play, but if not Brandon Beaver, Trevor Walker and Ezekiel Turner have all played a bunch this season. In fact, Turner was part of Pro Football Focus’s College Team of the Week for his play against the Sun Devils.
If you were to guess, how many underclassmen will declare for the draft. No names just an estimated count.
No names? Okay. My guess is four. Three on defense and one on offense.