LETTERS TO THE PUBLISHER
From Mark Haldi
Has Cody been bothered by that pectoral more than we know? He seems tentative and lacking the steam on his passes that we grew used to. How bad has this hurt his draft status? Also what are the draft prospects for ET?
A: I really can't discuss Cody's injuries. What Keith Gilbertson gives us at practice is what we report. Let's just say that he's a lot tougher than most. He's playing in a lot of pain. His draft status remains to be seen, but he'll certainly be drafted. The NFL scouts all know the real story, and also will see him for themselves in pre-draft workouts.
From Aloha Mike
When the replay of the Husky game is shown on Sunday, are the people doing the telecast live or do they do a voice over the next day? Some times the announcers seem to be sitting with the scene of Husky stadium in the background.
A: They do the play-by-play live while they see the action, not on tape delay. The announcers sit in the media overflow area, and lake can be seen right over their shoulders when the camera turns at the right angle.
From Taylor in LA
I am a Husky alumnus who lives in Southern California. USC and UCLA always seem to attract the top blue chip players. Whey can't the Huskies attract top players? Neuheisel was a good recruiter but still could not get the top 50 type of players. Now with Gilby in command, things look bleak like the Lambright years. Hopefully, the NCAA will not impose any major sanctions for the gambling of Gilby and the Team Physicians. Barbara Hedges should be accountable for all these problems. She should be terminated. Additionally, when will Husky Stadium be expanded. The major colleges have 90,000 to 110,000 capacities. This is a big draw for HS recruits who are in awe of such large crowds. Do you really think that Gilby is the right Coach for the Dawgs? Wazzu, Oregon ST and Oregon have all caught up talent wise and will surpass the Dawgs if this slide continues. Seasons of 7-5 and 6-5 are not acceptable anymore. What are your thoughts about a major college program like Washington in turmoil?
A: NCAA sanctions would certainly impact recruiting, so keep your fingers crossed. I don't think Rick had problems recruiting so much as keeping kids in the program and developing that talent. Attrition was just too high in terms of departures, and in terms of kids never getting into the program despite signing LOIs. Husky Stadium won't be expanded, but it will be renovated sometime in the next 10 years. It shouldn't be expanded in my opinion. 75,000 is plenty. I do think Gilby is the right guy for this job that needs to get done, yes. My thoughts about Washington's turmoil are not good, the "Dr. Feelgood" episode was an embarrassment to the entire department.
From Brenda Fisher
It is beautiful seeing the Huskies run the ball so successfully. Saying it was effective would be understating how well the Huskies ran. After Oregon's first drive, they really didn't do anything. The long td pass was a gimmie considering Cunningham fell down. Will Cunningham lose his spot once Massey is healthy? It will be interesting if Cody is able to play next week. Do you suppose Casey Paus will get a lot of practice time in. Just in case? On recruiting will the next Tui be coming to UW? I've heard he's regarded highly as a baseball prospect. Where does UW fit with Chancellor Young? Same goes for Matt Eichelberger. He has the size the Huskies need in the middle.
A: I think that Cunningham will stick as a starter, but the Dawgs rotate corners a lot when they are all healthy. Paus will take a lot of snaps this week, you bet. Matt Tui will come to Washington in my opinion. I think Scott Pelluer will get it done and keep him home. Matt is a highly regarded baseball prospect but it won't stop the UW from recruiting him, HARD. Matt Eichelberger has a lot of size, true, but it remains to be seen whether or not he'll be an elite recruit for the Dawgs. Matt will need to really show what he's got this year.
From Rich Harberg
I loved the uniforms we had in 1994 before Lambo got a brain cramp and Babs got stupid trying to copy Oregon with the Team identity program. We used to look like we were tough at least but now we look goofy and soft in my opinion. Any hope in going back to the look Don James brought? That was tradition! John Robinson did this when he came back at USC the second time and changed their helmet back.
A: Never say never. Uniforms tend to go in cycles, a lot like fashion. I mean, who would've thought some of the hideous clothes from the 1970s would come back in style? Uniforms are the same way. Don James killed the tradition of the purple helmets by instituting the gold ones, as I recall, and Husky fans don't seem to mind that change, because James won. And won a lot. I hated the mustard yellow pants, to be honest with you. As much as I hated the purple helmets with the original mustard yellow W. My thoughts are that if the Dawgs win, the fans will love whatever they are wearing. But I will say that the purple, on television, winds up looking very soft. It is anything but striking.
From T and A Neal
Obviously the program is hurting and everyone is skeptical of our current talent and recruiting in the last 4 years. Does it concern you that Gilby, Hart, Hundley and Heater have been with the program the past 4 years helping Neu make these poor recruiting decisions and evaluations? What makes us think they will suddenly improve their abilities and strategies to recruit? Where were these assistant coaches the last 4 years when the UW made decisions to not recruit certain positions such as safeties, running backs and quarterbacks on a regular basis? Isn't Heater the recruiting coordinator? Why did he help make the decision to recruit 3 linemen a year? It doesn't seem like the UW football staff had a game plan when it came to recruiting. My feeling is you have to lay some of the blame on the current staff who stood by and watched this happen, in addition to Neu. Do you agree we should recruit 2 qb's, 3 rb's, 1 te, 3 wr's and 5 o-lineman, 3 d-lineman, 4 lb's and 4 db's every freakin' year! The solution is to clear house with these old assistants that have been part of the problem and replenish the staff with new talent. Would like to hear your detailed thoughts on this subject. Thanks for your insight and let's start the 2007 respectability campaign now.
A: Yes, those coaches were here when Rick signed the current players. However Rick was about as heavy-handed in the recruiting business as you'll find in a head coach. He made the final call on every one, regardless of how the evaluations went. It made sense, because of who Rick is and how good he is at the game of recruiting. He is wonderful at it, and did it well. He made the assistant coach's jobs in recruiting very easy, to be honest with you. He closed almost all of the deals for them. Lambo went the other way and let Dick Baird handle the recruiting coordination and commitment strategies. I think Gilby will be somewhere in the middle of those two approaches once he gets it going. The position breakdown you make is a good one for a roadmap, and the Dawgs did try to follow one but often times the best laid plans don't make it to the final cut. James used to make Baird take huge projects on the OL, "just in case he'll play by the time he's a fifth year senior, and he'll give us a big body to practice against." Neuheisel never did that, but then again, with 85 scholarships, you probably can't take as many projects. I think Gilby will try to get more big bodies into the program though, and develop them. I don't think Gilby needs to clean house to do that.
From Chris Patters in Gilbert, AZ
Thanks for your great insight on who to watch out for on next year's Husky squad. I have a question about our tight ends. Wasn't Jon Lyon one of the highest rated tight ends coming out of JC? Whenever I watch him play he seems to do a good job. Why are Joe Toledo and Ben Bandel playing in front of him? Are they just that much better? Joe Toledo and Bandel, as one Ron Martin in this week's "Ask Dawgman" put it, look like they are running in the sand and have waffle iron hands. I really laughed when I read that but it seems to be true. I think Jon Lyon plays the best out of all these guys. Also, does Lyon only have 1 more year of eligibility left or does he have 2? Now for my last question, is Matt Tui going to be that good of a quarterback? Do you really think he will come to the UW? Do you have insight on that or is it just a feeling you have? Love your site and see you guys next week when we stomp the wildcats in Tucson.
A: The number one priority of a tight end is to block, and that is where Toledo and Bandel get the edge over Lyon. Lyon certainly has the edge in speed and spreading the field. Remember, he is only a junior and has one more year left to prove he should be the starter. Matt Tui is going to be an outstanding quarterback, and I do think that he'll come to Washington. See you in Tucson, the dawgman crew will be there to cover the game! Nice press box they've got there.
From Gerald Weishaar
Read your column all the time. Great information. My comment. Let's stop making excuses and admit that our talent and coaching staff is sub par. Let's start over with a new A.D. and put the head coaching job up for grabs. This would include looking long and hard at the head coach of Boise State. Boise State is tough and the last two wins the offense have scored in the 70's and 50's. We need to out coach our opponents and not be out coached. Keep up the good work.
A: The head coach of Boise State, Dan Hawkins, is very qualified. However I think that Gilbertson deserves a chance as the Head Dawg. He has the offensive lineman mentality that I love in a football coach, and I'm willing to give him a fair shot. He cares deeply for this program and the kids all believe in him. Gilby is the right guy, and I think he'll prove it.
From Mitch Hellum
Ok, Gilby has been here the last 4 years, but he wasn't the boss, Rick was and he had to follow his lead as far as the philosophy. I've heard many times about the difference in talent in the USC game, but I'm not sure I agree. I thought the biggest difference in the game was the line play on both sides, they dominated there and that will always have a ripple effect in the game. We have been hurt by injuries and lack of depth on both lines, and I think that has to do with focusing on recruiting athletes instead of football players. (referring to Focus) I don't see it productive to pick on the kids we currently have, not only because they are probably good enough to win with but we haven't given Gilby enough time to make his stamp on the program. Maybe you recall the scene on ABC several years ago, The camera showed the UW offensive line, and Olin Kruetz and Benji Olson next to each other where Benji turns Olin and yells "he tired of seeing us"(something like that), referring the All American Nose Tackle Arizona had at the time. They just pounded him into submission! Granted, we're talking about two talented offensive linemen, but it was also the attitude of the offensive line then. It seems we don't have the same desire to not only dominate and if possible humiliate the other person on the other side of the ball.
A: Thanks for a great letter Mitch. I have nothing to add to it, except to thank you for sharing it.
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