ASK COACH BAIRD

OK, this is a game that the Huskies need to not only win, but do it convincingly. It would prove a lot to themselves, and would put the Dawgs on a two-game roll and qualify them for a bowl game. Time to let the running game loose, as they did against the Ducks.


From Jack Sonnichsen
Coach,
: A couple of questions: 1. I was under the impression that Coach Gilbertson was going to pattern his practices and exchange of information with the press much along the same lines as Coach James. That being the case, why is he sharing so much information on injuries with the press? 2. With all the injuries to the OL this season, it would seem like this is a good year to be looking at the JC ranks for some immediate help. However, there does not appear to be any JC prospects on the list. I seem to recall Coach Lambright recruiting very few linemen after his first couple of classes. Are you sure Coach Gilbertson is the right guy for the Job?

A: Gilbs is the right guy for the job. Of course he is and besides, we have no input anyway. He is my friend. What do you think I'm going to say? As far a junior college linemen are concerned it's rather a risky gamble. By the time you get them and retrain them, they are gone. Makes much more sense to work with a high school kid for about 5 years. Lambo was under the gun because his boss had given away 20 scholarships before he got the job. or jobbed. Very few JCs have ever worked out for Washington at that position. Wes Call is the only one I know who ever started on the line. Sincere regards to you and Shirley.
From Henry Helliesen
: During one kickoff return at the USC game, both Scott White and Shelton Sampson were participating wearing number 7. I believe White subsequently changed to 39 for the subsequent, far too many UW kick returns. It seems to me that with 96 available numbers, after taking away the retired jerseys, that unique numbers could assigned to those dressed for the game or with scholarships. Why do we have to put up with duplicate numbers? There is probably some concession to the Student Athletes so that they can wear their "special" number. What is so cool about getting confused with your teammate? I recall reading someone's comment that the NCAA ought to do something about the duplicate numbers. Are there any current proposals? And I do not mean reducing the scholarships to 65! Mush!

A: Duplicate numbers are OK if the team has names on the back. But teams like USC, ND, etc only suit 99 kids. If you have 125 kids on the team, then what do you do? Kids should get to suit up if they go through practice, and you can't give them a blank jersey? It's no problem in the pros because they have less than 50 kids on the team. But, in high school and college where some programs have easily over a 100 then I think each kid should get a number. Even if it is a duplicate. The other problem is kids really like single digit numbers and there are only 9 of them, and you sometimes have to promise them their high school number. It's part of recruiting, Henry. You know I regularly promised numbers that someone already had when I was the recruiting coordinator. You have to do what you have to do.
From Gerald Weishaar
Dear Coach Baird,
: I think BIG changes should be made at U DUB. Starting with a new A.D. who wouldn't allow to get into trouble with the NCAA and over haul the football coaching staff. Get a new head coach and staff that will not be out coached by the opponents. Lets look at the head coach of Boise State and at Nevada. Get people who can coach and not complain that we don't have the talent. That's my opinion.

A: I partially agree with your letter (guess which part)?, but don't accept the coaching part, I think you're a bit harsh. Gilbs is my friend and so I think you're way off base there. Sorry.
From Alex in Seattle
Dear Coach,
: Hey, coach thanks for doing a great job. How about those dawgs shutting up Keith Lewis? I had a question about the huskies and their possibility in playing in a major bowl game. Right now, USC seems unbeatable and will likely play in the Sugar Bowl for the National championship. If the Pac-10 champ doesn't play in the Rose Bowl, who will? That does mean the 2nd place team would go to the Rose Bowl. 2nd place is well within reach right now. Is the Pac-10 guaranteed a spot in the Rose bowl or can they pick another at-large BCS team. The Rose Bowl can't be the grand daddy of them all if its not Pac-10 vs. Big-10. Thanks for your time coach.

A: That was my immediate thought after the Oregon win. I had it all figured out how the Huskies were going to play in the Rose. However, it appears that the ultimate is now the Holiday Bowl which is fun but we never win there. Losses to Texas, Kansas State and Colorado haven't made San Diego my favorite bowl but It's a great place during winter and a fun trip for the kids. Right now they have to win the Arizona game and really aren't good enough to be thinking about anything except winning the next game. The Rose Bowl is still tied to the BCS, a major reason I'd like to see us get out, and therefore is obligated to take the next highest ranked team to pit against the Big Ten winner. The Pac-10 is screwed again.(just like all our bowl tie-ins.) The rule is you have to have 9 wins which is impossible for the UW. I'll go to whatever bowl Gilbs goes to, even if it's the toilet bowl, and I've been there a few times with him already.
From Steve
Dear Coach,
: Coach, wow what a win against the Ducks!!! My question is will our offensive philosophy next year be determined by who wins the starting position at the qb spot? I just don't see Paus running the option and I don't see how we don't run the option if Stanback is the starter. How will the coaches determine who starts since it appears that the 2 are so polar opposites? One, a prototypical drop back passer, the other an incredible athlete that should run the ball a lot. Thanks.

A:. I think Casey can run the option but probably not as well as the other two. There is going to be great competition next spring and into the fall. Hopefully we will have four to pick from if the youngest Tui comes here. He's special, and he's Gilby's number one target right now, no question.
From Aloha Mike
Dear Coach,
: Where has Owen Biddle been hiding? Didn't he start some games last year? Why did he lose his starting position? Don't the coaches know that he will leave it on the field EVERY GAME? He just makes plays where ever he plays. Was I dreaming or did the crowd at "The Dawg House" make lots of noise on Sat. nite?

A: The crowd was big time and I hope it's the same for the Cougar game. I think we need little megaphones for all Husky fans for the last game. That was one of the funnest things about that night game. The fans were ready. In fact, except for the Ortege Jenkins leap, the Huskies are always tough in the dark at Montlake.
From Josh in Anchorage
Dear Coach,
: I was curious, I keep reading and hearing that when Greg Carothers caught the ball that slipped out of Fife's hand and ran it back for a TD, it was ruled a fumble. Wouldn't it be an interception, because he caught it in the air?

A: They ruled it a fumble because the ball was going backwards, so it was a lateral. If the ball hits the ground on a fumble, you can recover it and advance it, but if was ruled a pass then you would have to catch it in the air in order to advance it. Either way, Carothers caught the ball in mid-air so it was a slam dunk TD. The ruling on the field was a fumble return, and was correct.
From Phil Skarston
Dear Coach,
: Like you, I have counted Paus out as a contender for the starting job next year. Now, all of a sudden, the kid shows us all that the job is his to lose. Are you ready to re-evaluate your prediction that it will be either Bonnell or Stanback next year? All of a sudden it looks like a log jam. All three look to be deserving of consideration. Bonnell might be the most willing to wait his turn, but if Paus is chosen then what does that mean for Stanback. Will he ever see the field as a QB in our system, or do you see a 2 QB system like the one that worked so well for the Ducks last Saturday against the Huskies?

A: I too was really impressed by Casey doing his job. He was ready and before we anoint him the heir apparent, let's consider that he only threw the ball 8 times. We won with the run and that is exactly how we will win games for the rest of this season. Casey did not turn the ball over and was a definite factor in the win. But the position is still wide open and still could be changed to more of a running, rollout, option style attack. If it is, then the other two are definitely better runners and I'm not sure if Bonnell doesn't have the best ball amongst the three of them. We know who the best athlete is and we know who will have the most experience, and we know who is the oldest, and we know who is the fastest. We just don't know who the starter will be, but we know there will be good competition. Personally, I hope we get the younger Tui because he could be as good as any of them. Did you see him on ESPN2 the other night at the Elite 11? Wow!


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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