Letters to the Publisher

Thanks to those that wrote in. Well, Husky fans, these are some dark times. My 12-0 prediction turned out to be an awful pipe dream. The improvements I saw this spring and fall on run blocking, and in Snow's defensive philosophy of playing simple base defense instead of personnel confusion substitution, are now distant memories. Gilby has his work cut out for him. But on the bright side, the Dawgs have only lost one Pac 10 game . . .

From Purple Sabbath
Dear Dawgman
I think we are going to win this game, I really do. I think Cody will show his senior leadership and I hope team is angry. We were 3-3 in 1999 with brand new coach. We were just humiliated by Sun Devils at home. Huskies turned the season around and only defeat from UCLA prevented us from going to the Grand Daddy. This is far from over. My question to you is do YOU believe this can be turned around? You have a great site, thank you,

A: A similar turnaround to what happened in 1999 would be nice. Do I think this team can turn it around this year? Not right now, no. However a road win in Corvallis would go a long ways in getting a lot of monkeys off of this team's (and coach's) back. Gilby needs a road win, the program needs a road win, and this team needs something to feel good about. Thanks for visiting the site, Ivan. Keep your head up, things may get a little worse yet, but they'll undoubtedly get better.
From Steve Bowman
Dear Dawgman:
My question is this: How long do you think it'll take to get a team that wins over six games? The reason I ask is this. I've got to bring up objectivity. Like you, I Bleed Purple. And like you, my heart has overruled my brain. But even with Purple glasses on, I couldn't see the team winning more than 8 games this year. At the beginning of the year, I asked why Dawgman was so high on this season, specifically, "What's different, especially with the defense?" You shared what I was missing. And you've backed Ricky? Ricky was never a good coach. I watched key Colorado games. First, he inherited a national championship team from Bill McCarthy. Once McCarthy's guys were gone, the Buffs tanked (Sound familiar?) In the first couple of years he miss used the talent by losing a Big 12 championship and not playing in another. With a couple of minutes on the clock in both games, leads of a couple points, he decided to throw, turned it over, and lost rather than running the clock out. (Sound familiar, Michigan 2001?). The Man was and is a disaster for the program. Perhaps the main culprit is Barbara, USC, Hedges. She hired Ricky; she could have had Gary Pinkel or Chris Tormey. I wrote letters of protest about Ricky boy at the time but no one in Montlake wanted to hear it. Until the Trojan Gal and Ricky's boys are gone, we're at best a 500 team. It'll be a long dark night, perhaps 2005 before we see an 8 win season. In the mean time, objectivity, and support for the small painful steps to rebuild the program from the ground up is important. An example is all this fire Gilby crap. Keith has nothing to do with this mess and I hope Dawgman builds an objective case for the impossible job he was handed. Would Pinkel or Tormey been better choices? Perhaps. But this is the time to stick together and be real. Us telling each other the latest blowout is yet another freak isn't going to help. There are going to be lots of blowouts and seas of loses. So keep up the good work, keep the faith and please be realistic!

A: Thanks for your letter. I clearly based my 12-0 prediction too much on the impacts Snow and Cozzetto were having this spring and fall, and experience returning at all of the key positions. Injuries, chemistry, and frankly, too much uncertainty surrounding the program, proved to be way too much. Still, this team is only 3-3 with six games remaining. They could still catch fire and find themselves. I think it's asking a lot, but sometimes when you are staring into the abyss, it's when you find out the most about who you are. Gilby is at that point right now. The job he has is a very difficult one, and this team is not his just yet. I agree with you on the "fire Gilby" crap, it is ridiculous, but you have to remember that Husky fans are very passionate, and that is often a double-edged sword.
From Paul in Bulldogland
Dear Dawgman:
This is something I forgot to mention or ask. Why is it that we haven't been throwing to the TE more often? During the DJ and Lambo years, they utilized the TE like there's no tomorrow. In reality, he's our third or 4th receiver out there. I remember the likes of Aaron Pierce, Mark Bruener, Ernie Conwell, Jerramy Stevens. What's up with Cody not throwing to him? In the UCLA game there were 2 or 3 plays where the TE was in the middle of the zone coverage with no one around him, instead of throwing to the TE he tried to force it in double coverage. Same thing for the UNR game, again, the TE was wide open but no pass towards his way. If they are double teaming RW there's gotta be someone open. I know it falls back to our Oline and if they're not giving Cody time to throw then Cody can't go through his progressions. This still doesn't answer the under utilization of the TE position. Any opinions on that?

A: The tight end hasn't been Cody's favorite target this year, true. I think it has to do with Toledo being hurt and Cody not having as much timing or confidence in Lyon or Bandel, but Lyon had two big catches last Saturday. Neither guy will remind you of Jerramy Stevens, but both are very capable receivers. I think Gilby will develop that more as time goes on.
From Shawn Cox - former UW player
Dear Dawgman:
I can't believe we lost to Nevada. I'm back East on vacation and I'm embarrassed to mention I played for Washington. If this team can't win with the talent it has now then we are really hurting in the future. Name a stud recruit in the last few years? A legitimate All-American kid. Can't. At least the kids we will be recruiting will know the coach isn't going anywhere. Remember that the first and third quarters are a reflection of the coaching staff. It's been forever since this program has played well in the first quarter. I'll give it to them in the UCLA game but they should of scored more points to put them away. The turning point in the UCLA game was when the opening kickoff of the second half is returned with a second delay from 4 yards deep in the endzone. We return it to the 6 yard line and get sacked for a touchdown on the first play. That was the momentum swing that this fragile team can't come back from. I had hoped that we benched Roc for that play. I didn't watch the Nevada game but I guess he fumbled a kickoff this week. Set a precedent and bench him from these duties so an underclassman won't do it in the future. Sorry for so much complaining but this is pathetic.

A: I think the WR recruiting has been very solid, to be honest with you. Reggie and ET are legit. Other than that, I'll just thank you for your letter and hope that things improve.
From Jesse Crowley
Dear Dawgman:
This is Desert Dawg from Tucson, who was an active member of the Rosebowl mailing list during the mid to late 90s. I am a C4-C5 tetraplegic, who has been a Husky fan from the time the players visited me in the hospital in the late 70s. The Washington Football team have been heroes to me ever since. From the 1977 team no one believed would make it to the Rose Bowl, the players and coaches helped me realize that no matter the odds greatness can be achieved. No one believed that I could regain movement in my hands and arms, but the boys in Purple & Gold inspired me to never give up. The Husky spirit continues with me today. I am a Software Engineer at Raytheon, who strives to live up to the Husky standard each and every day. The memory of Warren Moon, Joe Steele, Paul Skansi, Dennis Brown, Greg Lewis, Chris Chandler, Cary Conklin, Jason Chorak, and Mario Bailey gives me the strength to accomplish the impossible. The Husky mystique is not imagined it is real. It would mean a great deal to me to meet the newest legends. I realize game day is probably very busy for players, so I would be more than happy to be at practice :). I should be good for a pretty rousing speech.

A: Thanks for your letter Jesse. I remember the old Rosebowl list well. I'll send your letter to Jerry Nevin, Director of Football Operations. Your story is a very touching one, thanks for sharing it.
From Chris Patters in Gilbert, AZ
Dear Dawgman:
WOW!!! This one is tough to swallow. I have been writing Dawgman for over 3 years now. I have called for the ouster of Neuheisel since he was hired and wanted the replacement to be a true Husky with ties to the glory days of Husky football. I love Gilby as a head coach but I think what the Husky football team needs is a complete overhaul. B. Hedges, gone, Gilby, gone. We need a coach who has no ties to the past Husky greatness because all I and a lot of other fans ever do is expect that these players will become the '91 Husky squad. We need to forget those times and forge a new era of Husky football. Look at Oklahoma, they had their glory years when they ran the wishbone, then, they had a rough time for a while. Now, they have re-invented their team and are a dominant force once again. Husky football needs to be re-invented. We need a spark and someone to light the fire under these players. I believe there is a defensive coordinator for Oklahoma who may fit the mold. (Mike Stoops) I love Gilby but I just think that this is bad timing for this great man to be the head coach. Secondly, the leadership from the big three (Pickett, Williams, Alexis) is pathetic. Cody puts up big numbers but what has he really done team-wise since he has been the starter? I'm not going to bash them but their leadership is suspect. This is a real emotionally fragile team and I believe that all comes from the top down. The off-season mess with that rat Neuheisel really screwed this team up. His style of coaching made this a soft bunch and now we are raking what we sowed. Lastly, I appreciate your so called "purple tinted glasses" view on Husky football. Why else be a die-hard fan if you didn't think the Dawgs would win nearly every game? I love HUSKY football and will endure these tough times and continue to support this team whether or not they win another game this season. As true Husky fans, that is what we all should do. Yes, we have every right to be critical of things and bitch and complain when we lose, but we need to still support our team, they are just young men still learning. As for the so-called fan who wrote last time that he was going to support WSU over the UW now because they seem to have it all together, why don't you just move to Pullman while you're at it?

GO DAWGS and the whole Pac-10 schedule is ahead of us. See you in Tucson.

A: Thanks for your letter, Chris. You were very consistent in your calling for Neu's ouster for the past couple of years. You got your wish, but I think you are knee-jerking too hard on Gilby in wanting his ouster. I'd give him at least a chance, and so should you. Keep your head up.
From Taylor from California
Dear Dawgman:
This year's Huskies lack "Heart & Tenacity". Loosing at Husky Stadium to a WAC team Nevada is not only a shock but signs of the times. Even Neuheisel's teams only had one good year at 11-1. Gilby is NOT the right Coach to take the Huskies back to the next level. Barbara Hedges made another huge mistake buy not looking for a premier Head Coach like a Bob Stoops or Mack Brown. I have been a loyal Husky fan but predict more also ran seasons of 7-4 or 6-5. This is a crucial time for UW, how to do they get through this season. They just might loose the remaining 6 games and tank. What are your thoughts?

A: I do think that these are tough times and they may get tougher, but I think Gilbertson can do the job and will do the job. Bob Stoops wouldn't come here, get real. You'd be surprised to find out that the UW job is not as hot of a property as many alums would like to think. Oklahoma is a great gig right now, and I can't see Stoops leaving it. Mack Brown might leave Texas, and after having 60 hung on his team at home by Oklahoma, he may just be looking for work. Nope, I want to see what Gilby can do if he's given the support that the school is capable of giving him. I'm willing to give him a fair shot.
From J. Bartlett
Dear Dawgman:
Gilby needs to go. He's a terrible coach. Look at the box score, why are we running the ball that many times when we were behind the whole bleeping game? Hello?

A: Oh boy. It's funny because many wondered why Gilby abandoned the run that was working so well. Clearly this guy can't win, unless his team wins. That's pretty much the bottom line, and I think Keith knows it. Even if he is a terrible coach (grin).
From John Adams
Dear Dawgman:
After Cody's poor games against UCLA and Nevada, among others, do you believe Gilby will start phasing in Stanback? At 3-3 the season is essentially over as far as a top bowl and the program needs to start thinking about the transition forward. Cody seems like a fine young man but he has had a terrible season and is not getting it done. The interceptions and fumbles warrant at least an opportunity for someone else to see if they can spark the team. What are your thoughts? Great site. Enjoy your coverage!

A: I think the players would disagree that the season is over at 3-3. However, I'd love to see Stanback get a series at QB. It might do Cody well to watch a series or two from the sidelines, and give him a little different perspective. Stanback would also present an interesting wrinkle for defenses to observe.
From Seattle Dave
Dear Dawgman:
I have played with and seen the ability of Chancellor Young and he has great talent and even better speed. Please do not miss out on him like they did Nate Burleson. You said that he may be hard to keep in state, but why do you think he is not getting more recruiting attention. Also look for the next great player out of O'Dea to be Taylor Mays, he is starting and tearing it up as a sophomore and is the son of former Husky and NFL player Stafford Mays. Thanks for the great site, have been a subscriber for years.

A: Washington is very aware of Chancellor Young, don't worry. They missed on Nate Burleson because Rick Neuheisel didn't offer him a scholarship after Dick Baird told him all about him. They will go hard after Young, don't worry. But his blood lines are closely tied to the California schools, so it's going to be tough.
From Digits
Dear Dawgman:
The Huskies are now 3-9 on the road since The Warrior graduated. UW is getting outscored 476-265 in those games. These games aren't even close! My theory is that the UW's struggles, taken as a whole in recent years, is due to the fact that we do not have the type of nasty players we have seen in past Husky squads. Players like Olin Kreutz, Jerramy Stevens, Jeremiah Pharms, and Frank Garcia. Why are we no longer having success signing these types of players, like Chino Rachal, whose straight outta Compton? Speaking of SoCal, how did we lose our L.A. recruiting connections? I pray the Huskies will one day again resemble the type of intimidating, ferocious team that has been associated with UW football since its inception. GO HUSKIES!

A: You raise a great point. Washington hasn't had those types of nasty guys on their team in recent years. Those guys you mentioned were downright mean, and it rubbed off. Olin Kreutz scared the hell out of anyone he faced. Neuheisel did try to address the LA recruiting area by putting two guys down there, and it's helped. There is more emphasis down there now than there was before by Husky coaches.

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