: While everyone is in shock over the present melt down, don't you think it is time for grading the recruitment of the players over the last four or five years from the state of Washington? Wasn't it Don James who said--in his biography--that he had to take the best players in the state of Washington to maintain a nationally ranked team? Well...I am no fan of WSU, but I would have to say that Mike Price just flat out beat us in the last four or five years with the exception of Reggie Williams. I don't have to mention the in state talent that WSU has, but I would have to venture to guess that some one who is evaluating talent for the Huskies is dropping the ball in Lake Washington! I am very frustrated. We should have the talent equivalent of WSU's line and not our present line. I do remember that most of our offensive line recruits--as slim as they were-- came with great fan fare. On the other hand WSU's recruits were unheard of, and look what happened! Finally, now that I have moved to the Vancouver, Washington area, has our recruiting powers completely forgotten Southwest Washington? The U of W has not gotten a quality recruit out of this area since Dean Kirkland, but look at what WSU, Stanford, Oregon, and USC have done. Certainly Gilby knows Washington state better than that to know where the local talent is. I will tell you this, someone forgot about Billy Knotts who is from here. I have also seen a couple of the WSU recruits, and they don't look that bad. I have not written this article to support WSU, which I do not. There is no one a better fan, who bleeds purple and gold, but I am losing it. This is some constructive criticism of what I believe is the "hens coming home to roost." I sure hope our in state evaluations get turned around.
A: Hang in there buddy. It is not a dismal as you think. Sure the Cougars have gotten some good kids particularly after the transition of coaches. They have done a nice job of going hard on some in state kids that the Huskies were soft playing. I promise you that Gilbs will make in-state recruiting his highest priority. It's not as though the Cougs are selling a bad product. They have something unique going on over there the past 3 years and give them some credit for their evaluations. As far as the Huskies and linemen are concerned I believe Gilbs will always sign 9-10 linemen each year whereas Rick usually did 6-7. After 3-4 years that will make a difference. The Knotts boy had strong WSU ties to begin with and SW Washington has never been a real loyal Husky area anyway. South of Longview has been real tough recruiting through the years but I know Coach Hart works the area hard. Recruiting will pick up this year and I believe the Huskies will take 25 kids with 10 being linemen. Half will be from this state. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
From Vino Orsley
: I know Cody is having a down year, but are we forgetting where football starts........THE TRENCHES. He is under tremendous pressure and since he is only human (I believe).that can wear on you!!! Look at where our offensive line has gone...WE ARE MOVING DEFENSIVE PERSONNEL OVER FOR DEPTH!!! Everyone in the PAC-10 is going to have athletes....but the trenches .. Anyway, coach I like where we are recruiting the HOGS heavily up front, but how are we going to get that rush end....(JUCO)?
A: Totally agree with you on the trenches. One way to solve the rush problem is to recruit big fast linebackers and convert them. JC is an answer but it's so hard to get them admitted to the UW. Nothing we can do now except keep coaching them up for now. I do think the UW will look in the JC ranks for help but the track record hasn't been good.
From Phil Skarston
Dear Coach Baird,
: With all the talk of the depletion along the offensive line, I would think that Tipoti's name would start coming up. It isn't. When we recruited him, we were really counting on his contribution. He' starting to look like a wasted scholarship. Will he be able to contribute at all this year which I think is his last.
A:. Francisco has had a long journey and has not played to his own expectations but did get into the last couple of games. I personally like him and realize that he isn't very quick. He is certainly in the depth right now. Also, no scholarships are wastes as long as the kid stays in the program and tries. He at least hasn't quit the program. Nearly 30 others under Rick's watch have done so.
From Joel Carambus
: You're right about this year and there not being any big play artists such as a Larry Tripplett, Lester Towns, Tony Parrish, Jason Chorak or Jabari Issa. I also remember Joe Jarzynka as one of the greatest special teams player ever at Washington. So, there have been so really good play makers but it seems like over the last few years they have lacked the big play artist either on the back end or up front. Coach - I would think you would agree to me that, besides all world Reggie W., that Nate Robison at CB was on the few "big play artists" that we could have had this year - I think back to the interception versus WAZZU in last years Apple Cup. He gave me excitement, similar to watching Lawyer Malloy make big jarring hits in the secondary or Lester Towns crunching a RB out of the back field. Any chance he will give Football a try again next year?
A: , I have heard that it is very likely that he will return to the team next spring. He is indeed a big play artist and could see him playing both ways or returning kicks with ET. He is a play maker. Must have been, because he was the only one in his class to play last year. I'm with you. I hope he will come back.
From Kirk DeGrasse
: Rather than focus on the troubles on the field, I'd like to ask you some X's and O's and terminology questions. First off, what would be the most accurate description of our base defense? They appear to be in a type of 4-3, but is their version given a particular name? I remember when Tim Hundley came in with Rick Neuheisel that the defense was called a 3-4 despite the fact that one of the outside LB's lined up in a down position. Secondly, some terminology questions; one of our ends on the line is termed a "Rush-End Backer" or REB – what (if any) difference is there in this position from a standard Defensive End? He plays in a 3-point stance like a DE; does he have pass-coverage responsibilities beyond what would occur in a zone blitz? Is there a difference in his assignments in containing gaps or getting upfield or containing the QB? Also, one of our Defensive Tackles is called a "3-Technique" based on the term for lining up on the guard's outside shoulder. Where does the other DT line up in the Huskies' scheme? What are the differences in responsibilities between the 2 tackles, and what would be the characteristics a coach would look for in deciding which players fit those positions the best?
A: I want to suggest that you attend the Huskies annual spring clinic and it would give you an excellent opportunity to learn their terminology and alignments. You are correct that the Huskies play a 4-3, 2-deep safety look. The (Strong, Sam or Stud) backer, Carothers, goes to the passing strength. If it's a tight end then he aligns outside shade, which gives the appearance of a 5 man front at times. This is their base look. If it's a slot then he walks away to the slot and plays off the LOS. The line is either over or under and that is they aligned either to a strong side shade on the guard with a nose on the opposite side of the center, or simply slide shading guards and tackle strong or weak. I would rather sit down and draw it up rather than try to explain it in words, but hopefully this helps.
From Mark Harris
: Coach, I really appreciate you taking time to answer Husky fan's question, and I like the optimistic outlook you have. It is too easy to be negative, and I, like you think (hope) Gilby is the man. My questions are about the book you said you are going to write: Are you actually writing it at this point? Will it include what happened leading up to the Huskies being put on probation? Will it be "no hold barred" at recruiting, including tactics that other coaches and schools use? Finally, if there is no publisher interested, would you consider doing an on-line version?
A:. My book is really going to be about a life in football. It won't be exclusively on my experiences as a Husky. I have started and am really sort of waiting to see the outcome of changes in the department after a new UW president is named. I am collecting all the transcripts and notes of the trials and tribulations of the investigation and subsequent sanctions. My organization may just be based on personalities and stories about football in our state and specifically the rise and fall of the Dawgs. And, no I hadn't thought of an on-line book but am currently writing pieces for the Bremerton Sun every Thursday. I appreciate the interest.
From Tom Colby
: I am not really sold on Gilbertson. I mean this fellow has been in the program for a long time. Many of the linemen passed his scrutiny and acceptance before Neuheisel offered and they accepted. Newton was one of his boys!! There are others too. The frustrating thing is seeing these kids he wanted not perform. Much of this blame also rests on his shoulders as the past Head Coach. First, I would like to see his line lose weight and get faster like the line of the Denver Broncos. I think something could be said for faster guys in the trenches who can stick somebody, seal the block and drive the opponent so that our backs can hit the crease and go. I just see way too many of our linemen that are so large and slow they can't carry out what is expected. If this is a failure in recruiting we got to call a spade a spade. But these kinds of mistakes can't go on. Gilbertson has to know this. I too, think he can be the right man for the job, but so far it is not working. I want to see adjustments made by him and his coaches that show variety, skill, and definite thought. This is lacking big time. Imagination is what this staff has also lacked. I know when it goes it all goes at the same time, and yes this husky football team is not very good. In fact, one of the worst of all time. However, the boosters, alumni, and deep pockets are restless already, and I fear that a disaster at 3-9 will mean Gilbertson is gone. Then the real test will be to see if Stoops (Mike), Urban Meyer, a young genius with a hell of a pedigree, Chris Tormey (Obvious) or even possibly a Jeff Tedford would be coerced to come to Montlake. These guys are the young guns the new turks that are hot, imaginative, impressive, and really sell the program to athletes. They have all done wonders at their schools and will continue to do so. Anyway, what are your thoughts on these ramblings and what does the future in your opinion hold for the dawgs given the sorry state of affairs that now exists????
A: Maybe you shouldn't drink and smoke dope when you are writing, or maybe I need to in order to understand you complete and heavy negativism. Goodness, look at some of the positives. You mention no innovative or creative coaching and I just watched the Oregon State game full of it. A lot of personnel and strategy changes that literally won the game. I also saw a marvelous 1st half against UCLA. Throw out the Nevada debacle and these kids are playing better than they did the last two years. Sure he had input the past few years but now he has more than just input. Tom, this is not a great team. They are working hard to be a good team right now and need the fans to realize they WANT to win each and every game. Is the team getting better? I say YES.
From Jack Sonnichsen
: I apologize for my comments last week and questioning Jack Thompson's integrity. I am certain that he is playing within the lines. To tell you the truth, if I were a college football stud today I would certainly give the cougs a very serious look. It will be interesting to see how Gilby does this year recruiting against the beavers, cougars and ducks. Regardless of the outcome, I just don't want to hear anymore whining like we heard a couple of years ago. Best always and I love your work.
A: Jack Thompson is a class act and a man of integrity. He is also a Cougar and will do anything (within the rules) to help them.
From Aloha Mike
: In the fourth quarter, the Husky D sacked the Nevada QB three times. Why after three listless quarters was the D able to get pressure on the QB? The coaches changed the defense for the DB's. The DB's played close and up front. This allowed the rest of the defense to bring that pressure. With the QB running for his life, he could not find an open receiver. END OF STORY!!!!!!!!!!! Will the defensive coaches see this at last and go for broke. PUTTING THE DB'S ON AN ISLAND TO SHUT DOWN THE OTHER TEAMS RECEIVERS AND LET THE REST OF THE DEFENSE BRING PRESSURE?
A: The health of the starting corners have not allowed the coaches a lot of options. I don't think we can get in Williams face and still defend him this game. But, I too liked the man pressure in the late Nevada game.
From Go Da
: I am curious about your feeling about coaching styles. After watching "the Husky experience" last Thursday, I noticed the coaches, particularly Snow, screaming and yelling at the players. A lot! In contrast to what I see coach Romar doing in calmly communicating with the players even after a bonehead mistake. I think yelling would further reduce confidence of the players. Additionally, it appears our defense has gotten back to the "oh no" style instead of the "take no prisoner" style.
A: Yelling and screaming are not real big in basketball but do happen in football. It's is not all yelling and screaming, but when it is used properly, the kids do listen. Also, sometimes it gets really loud on the sidelines and you have to yell. There is a lot of intensity going on right now and I believe the kids understand that these coaches are not going to allow them to be flat again.
From Taft Ring
: Coach B...great win for the players and program on the road. Moving John Pettas down to the field obviously was a winner. Who will be calling down from the booth what the USC D is giving him at Husky Stadium so John can make the offensive calls from the field?
A: Bobby Kennedy switched places with John and is the eye in the sky and also reminder guy for game plan and tendencies. He and Chuck Heater are upstairs. I liked it and it seemed to work for Cody.
From Kevin Hull
: I'm curious what your prediction is regarding who will be the starting QB next fall. Bonnell? Paus? Stanback?
A: I think it will be Stanback, and I think they will change the philosophy more to a running quarterback. That bodes well for Bonnell but maybe not Paus. Next spring will be interesting, but for now Paus is the backup.
From Robert Cunningham
: I did not get to watch much of the Husky game on Saturday night and I was having a hard time remembering if Terry Johnson was lining up on the right side or the left. I believe it was the right and if so is this going to cause more problems for a left handed quarterback such as Matt Leinart. Thanks in advance for the feedback.
A: Terry actually lined up on both sides as he was playing to the tight end side, wherever he lined up. It definitely put him in more one on one situations rather than facing a double all night. Plus he really took away the off tackle run.
From Scott "Feel the bite"
: What an absolutely SWEET WIN! Thank you lord! I don't really have a question but I was wondering if we could get this thing started right NOW! Let's bring back that thunderous stomp that used to start somewhere in the North Upper deck and would just strike fear into opponents!...and PLEASE DAWGFANS WEAR PURPLE! Beat SC!
A: I'm with you. If you can't clap, then stomp your feet. Whistle, yell, or whatever it takes to make noise. This is it. THE game. Let's at least do our part and help these kids.
| Dawgman.com columnist and KJR 950 Sports Radio personality, Dick Baird.|
Dick Baird was an Assistant Coach (Linebackers) and Recruiting Coordinator at the UW from 1985-1998. He has joined the Dawgman.com staff as a featured columnist for both the web site and Sports Washington magazine. In addition to his regular editorial columns, Coach Baird will try to provide some of his unique perspective by answering a few of your selected questions online. If you would like to send in your questions, please CLICK HERE.
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