Letters to the Publisher

Thanks to those that wrote in. What a crappy season this has been. I honestly did believe that the Huskies had a legit shot at 12-0 before the season started. Given the schedule at the time, the change in OL and DB coaches, and a senior QB, it all made some sense. And then the drugs wore off . . .


From Jim Gregson
Dear Dawgman
How does Hedges still have a job? Fundraising, politicking, new facilities, crap. The NCAA is going to nail us to the wall for all these minor violations sooner or later. I for one think we're getting the tip of the iceberg. FIRE HEDGES IMMEDIATELY! Thanks for the great site nonetheless.

A: Barbara has done a lot of good in the department, and some of the upper campus folks recognize it. It is the big picture. But if you were to look at the revenue picture, the football and men's basketball programs are the ones that matter most. That is where she is taking the big hits, in those two programs and how badly they've fallen. In retrospect, Bender and Neuheisel, her two chief hires, did not pan out, and that will be her legacy, fair or not.
From Mitchell Thompson
Dear Dawgman:
I hate to say I was right but damn dude, Gilbertson, has single handily turned this program into an SMU, Buffalo and so forth, I told you a coach in his position should have left status quo, until he could have a full spring to implement his program, but now he has athletes who do not buy into his philosophy and never will. If we lose the opportunity to get Mike Stoops, Norm Chow or a few more younger, better recruit ring coaches we will be suffering many down years. Dawgman, your way off on Gilbertson, living in Texas and watching OU, UT, K-State, LSU we see what the inbred of good coaching produces. Gilbertson is 10 years out of the loop. If we want to lose to bottom tier of the PAC 10 than keep Glibly, if not hack him and Hedges. Nice people or not football is about Wins not losses, look at the grand ole man at Penn State, good person that has stayed way long. Let's not turn into cellar dwellers!!!!

A: I may very well be way off base on Gilbertson, but I'm willing to give him another year or two to prove I'm wrong. He has some big changes to implement in the off season. I'd say two or three coaches and as many as 6 players will be leaving after this year due to transfer. Gilby has a lot of work to do, and he'll probably only get one more year to prove that he is or is not the answer. It's a tall order.
From Michael Culver
Dear Dawgman:
As a UW alumni from the class of 1995 and a Husky football fan since the 80's I've experienced first hand the incredible success of the Washington Football Program. My fond memories range from the pinnacle, the 1991 Rose Bowl victory and subsequent national championship, to the simple pleasure of watching UW greats such as Lawyer Malloy, Napoleon Kaufman, Dave Hoffman, etc. As a fan I, like most Husky supporters, have had it easy supporting a program which has not finished below .500 for 26 years. The recent knocks the program has experienced and the resulting cajoling from rival fans I, as a fan, have been subjected to are a small price to pay for the years of enjoyment Washington's Football Program has supplied. Now is not the time for Husky fans to turn on one another or the football program, but a time for the Washington faithful to renew their support for a tradition of football excellence at UW, rivaled by few in the college football world. The university and its program are comprised of winners who will no doubt persevere through recent events and I implore Husky fans to stand resolute during these dark times.

A: That's a nice letter, Michael. Thanks for sharing it. It is not easy to remain upbeat and resolute at this time, I admire your courage.
From Alan Kaselj
Dear Dawgman:
What has happened to Dan Dicks? Why is he not starting? I've noticed B.Vanneman and C.Walker getting most of the reps. Also, what are the chances of UW getting Keauntea Bankhead?

A: Dan Dicks is rotating in at both guard positions, but Brad Vanneman is playing more, you are correct. Nothing has happened to Dicks, I think you are just seeing more rotation. Washington has a good chance at landing Kea. He knows he could start next year at safety.
From Charity Roop
Dear Dawgman:
I'm not only here to vent, but also tell you that this team as of now has no heart and no guts. I'm longing for the days of Steve Emtman, Shane Pahukua, Beno Bryant, mark Brunnell and the rest of the crew of the early 90's, the National Champions. That is the Huskies I remember not these soft hitting, tackling with your shoulders we have on defense. Along with our weak offense that seems to be too conservative because we only have one playmaker on the offense and he is leaving at the end of this year (Reggie Williams). Question, why is it that our corners play 10 yards off of the receivers? Answer, because the coaches know that if our corners play man-to-man they would get beat every time. I'm sick and tired of watching a 3rd down and long play and know for some reason that the opponent will get a first down. It happened all this year and last. It's sick to watch this team drag its tail every game. I'm a Seattle native and grew up on Husky football, but I moved down to Arizona for a year and was lucky enough to see that game. I left there sick to my stomach because I saw a team that gave up well into the 2nd quarter. No heart no guts. I feel the Huskies dropped the ball on the coaching decisions as well as the staff and I would have to blame Barbara Hedges for that one. First off they brought in coach in, that wasn't a part of the family Neuheisel, (Barbara Hedges) and made him and offer nobody could refuse, (Barbara Hedges) second he brought in his soft coaching mentality to go along with his soft recruiting style. This in turn ruined the team from the beginning because we should have listened to the press and fans in Colorado about his antics off the field as well as on it. He was and always will be a terrible coach. My other concern is why in the heck did they hire Gilby? I can understand he is part of the Husky family but he is not a coach. Why, look what he did while coaching Cal nothing. He is and always will be a great assistant coach and that is all he will be. In the wing after they fired Newy we had a coach ready to take the Huskies to a new level and in the process dropped the ball on that one as well. (Barbara Hedges). He was packed and ready to become the new coach and yes he is a part of the family. He has brought a Missouri team to a new level and can make a Husky team be reckoned with once again in the Pac 10. Gary Pinkel is my pick for the job. He has the coaching ability and mentality like Don James did to make the team a contender for the Pac 10 title and possibly a National Championship year in and year out. It starts with recruiting and Newy fumbled the ball on this and now that Gilby is in as coach he will fumble the ball also because no recruit will want to play for a team that plays with no heart and no guts. Now is the time to make the change because if they don't we are going to be watching a team that will be nothing but mediocre and that is being generous.

A: Your point on the 10-yard cushions the corners give is a good one. It indicates that they don't trust the safeties to cover over the top. I'm not ready to pull the plug on Gilby yet, but thanks for your letter. You make some good and tough points.
From Allison Tadeo
Dear Dawgman:
I was reading the post-game player quotes after the Cal game and Cody Pickett says that he would never ever question his teammate's effort. My response to that is "WHY NOT?" A real leader will question the effort put forth when the result was as dismal and disappointing as the Cal game. There was no TV coverage and living in California I don't get Fox Sports Northwest and therefore can't watch the replays - so I can't comment on the game not having seen it. But when your team gives up 50+ points and 720 yards and on offense only manage 7 points - you have to question people, if only to ask "did you give your best effort, did you leave everything on the field?" You can't tell me that Cal's players are so significantly better than ours that this outcome was to be expected. No way is Cal 50 points better than us. I've been so disappointed in Cody this year - he so physically talented but he doesn't seem to be much of a leader - he doesn't seem to inspire and rally his troops the way Tui did but I know that's unfair comparison. Still, he just hasn't cut it - he hasn't won a bowl game for us. I wish him well in the next level but I'm looking forward to someone new in the QB spot. I guess no real question here just venting about the UW's god-awful season. And one last thing, Gilby deserves all the chances (at least two years) to turn this thing around. Remember USC was in the same sorry state just a couple of years ago.

A: Be glad you didn't witness the carnage of the Cal game. I had to sit through that crap in person in the press box and it sucked. It was far from a best effort. I too have been disappointed in Gilby's inability to get through to this team. But I think he deserves a little more time.
From Ivar Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
I hope I am not in an impossible minority. From my perspective, talk about dismissing Gilbertson is farcical. Could any other candidate for Head Coach be interested in a University unwilling to give him time to both recruit his kind of players and get a present squad focused into his system? That's the message firing Gilbertson would send. I do not accept the notion that the present players are lacking in toughness. In focus, yes. But, that will change. I hope Gilbertson will bite the bullet and replace Coordinators, both Offensive and Defensive, together with Down Linemen Defensive coaches. Players must be more than just tough. They must be committed to schemes that well define the roles they must play with intensity and skill.

A: Thanks for your letter Ivar. I think you will see some changes, and I liked your point about what firing Gilbertson would say about the school.
From Jerry T
Dear Dawgman:
OK, I had been patient with the Washington coaching staff this year, until yesterday's historic loss. All week, we heard coach Gilbertson saying he would not allow Cody to play poorly before pulling him for Casey Paus. We have heard Cody is a better athlete, he knows the offense better, etc., etc., etc. In my opinion, you can have the best athlete in the world, but the intangible is fire and fire wins games. Remember the Oregon game? When Paus was brought in to replace an injured Picket, the team rallied around him. Casey was fired up and that fire, in my opinion, was transferred to his teammates...and we won the game...easily. Isn't that also what Gilbertson has been saying this team is missing, fire? Desire? Drive? Why then, did Gilbertson keep Picket in after trailing 19-0? He waited until it was too late, the fourth quarter to replace him. At that time, the score was 40-7. I don't understand that, especially with what we have been hearing from the Washington coaching staff for the last two weeks. I realize the defense was also an issue in Saturday's game, but if Paus was brought in, that could have sparked the entire team, not just the offense...it also would have served another purpose: getting Casey ready for next year. I just understand why Gilbertson waited so long? It makes me question his coaching abilities and where this team is heading...

A: I, too, think that Gilby left Pickett in too long. However, it wouldn't have made much of a difference in the game. That defensive effort was the worst I've ever seen. Gilby has his work cut out for him, and a lot of people question his coaching abilities. I question his ability to coach Rick's team, which is really what this is. I also think he needs to be more flexible to changing his tactics. I'm willing to see if he can make the necessary changes and make it his team. If he's not able to do that, then you can probably say, adios, Keith.
From R Engel
Dear Dawgman:
In your report on the Cal game you asked the question, who can motivate this team? The answer of course is NEUHEISEL. When things went bad last year he didn't blame the players like Gilby prefers to do, instead saying he and the other coaches needed to do a better job of coaching. He was wrong about one thing though. Sometimes tough times do last. Especially when coaches do not hold themselves accountable. 3 months ago you thought this team would be 12 and 0. Recently you stated it would be 2 years before Gilby would return the Huskies to prominence. After the debacle on Saturday do you still think that?

A: I totally agree that Rick could've motivated this team. It was his team. He was much better at coach-speak than Keith, you are correct. But anyway, I did say that this team could go 12-0, and did recently admit that this team was in need of major rebuilding that could take two years. I still think that, yes.
From Dawgfan 95
Dear Dawgman:
Love your site. I'll get right to it: do you still think Gilby is the right guy? It seems painfully clear to me that he has no ability to prepare his team to play or make adjustments during the game. He hangs his head during the game when things aren't going well. He blames his players publicly, yet doesn't accept any blame for himself or the other coaches. Frankly, I think he was in over his head from the start. Some of the most disappointing and embarrassing losses in school history occurred on his watch (which currently is only 11 games). When you sift through the clichés offered by the players after each embarrassing loss, and focus instead on the team's on-field performance and demeanor, it is clear he has lost this team. When a coach loses his team, he can't get it back. Ask Coach Mackovic about that. I recognize the program needs stability, but we will not achieve stability with a coaching staff that isn't getting through to the kids and is routinely under-prepared and out coached. Let's not confuse stability with perpetual mediocrity, which is surely where we're headed with this coaching staff. Some fans say we should give Gilby a chance to see how he does with "his guys" and "his kids." But let's not ignore that he was an assistant for four years and much of the current personnel already includes some of his guys and his kids. I have seen enough to know he is not the guy to fix this mess. Look at Bill Doba as a point of comparison. At the beginning of the season, Doba's situation was almost identical to Gilby's. But Doba isn't struggling; he doesn't need four or five years to demonstrate he can win. He is winning now! In fact, he's quietly on his way to another 10-win season and a return trip to Pasadena in January. The Huskies were picked by many before the season to win the conference this year (and we all know how good you thought they would be). So why are we 5-6 (and likely headed for our first losing season in 27 years) while Doba has two losses and is in the hunt for a back-to-back Rose Bowl appearance? Let stability begin with an entirely new coaching staff -- a proven coaching staff, not a band-aid, stop-gap coaching staff that, in part, was assembled out of necessity as a result of bad timing surrounding the termination of the previous head coach. We did that in 1993, and we know how that story ended. And I'm pretty sure I know how this story ends if Gilby stays on.

A: I respectfully disagree that Gilby's and Doba's situations were the same. I don't even consider them remotely similar. Doba knew it was his team all through spring and summer work outs, while Gilby waited and his team sat rudderless. Your points about being out coached and not prepared, I will not refute. However, I am willing to let Gilby have an honest crack at coaching his team, and I'm not sure he's been given that just yet. Thanks for your letter, you raise some great points to ponder. Particularly the one about losing a team and never getting it back.
From Chris Patters
Dear Dawgman:
I'm sure what I'm about to write is what all other die hard Dawg fans are writing in about. The team quit and the coaches have failed to reach this team. I know that you support Gilby 100% and so did I until this game. How in the world does he let Pickett stay in the game for 3 quarters? Why wouldn't you at least try to put Paus or Stanback in to energize the team? Why doesn't he pull the players who play with no heart and insert some of the guys who will at least try? Maybe it's because the whole team lacks heart!! Cooper and Fredericks seem to have been the only guys worth mentioning that played worth a damn. The bench is a good motivator but only to those who care about how they play. I'm tired of this. Where in the hell is this discipline he was talking about prior to the start of the season? I'm afraid you and I were both wrong about Gilby. The AD needs to look long and hard at where this program is headed. I don't care what happened regarding Neu in the off-season, Gilby never should have lost this team like he did the past 2 weeks. He sat idly by while the two worst teams in the Pac-10 kicked our ass. He kept the same players in and expected the same results from a bunch of quitters. Those players should have the "W" stripped off their helmets as they have no idea what it means to play Husky football. In addition, all these injuries are a joke! It can't be just mere coincidence that all these players are going down injured. I guess that's what happens when you worry more about not getting injured than winning the damn ball game. In closing, I know the coach wants to be loyal to Pickett and some of the other seniors by letting them play but where does the ultimate loyalty really lie? With one or two players or with the future direction of the program?

A: You may be right about Gilby, but I'm not willing to judge him just based on this one weird season. I'll admit that Gilby lost them, though, just as Rick did last year when they were 4-5. He found a way to get them back, and Gilby now needs to do the same, and he'll only do that by making some very difficult decisions, like firing a couple of his coaches and asking some players if they really want to be Huskies, and if they don't, asking them to leave.
From Patrick Sandlin
Dear Dawgman:
First of all, I love the website & go Huskies! In last week's letters you stuck up for Gilby, but you must realize why so many of us are upset after a 54-7 loss at CAL. This was a place where the Huskies don't lose..., especially to a then losing team (Cal was 5-6 coming into the game). If Oklahoma beats us 54-7 then I say, "There is some work to be done." However this was a 5-6 CAL team that made the Huskies look like a Division III school by rolling up over a million yards and pounding our offensive unit into the soft grass at strawberry canon. I'm a Gilby fan. I wanted him to do well as our Head Coach, but its not working out. The team always seems unprepared and gets beat (badly I might add) to teams with far less talent. Under Neuheisel this team found a way to respond and earn a bid in the Sun Bowl. This year's Huskies (with a better running game) don't respond to whatever Gilby is doing. Even with a win in the Apple Cup I'm not sure the Huskies will receive a Bowl invitation. Even if they do, I can't say they deserve one.

A: I agree, this team has look unprepared and got rolled by lesser teams. Gilby has a lot to prove, but I'm willing to give him the time to prove that he's the guy, or not the guy. I don't think this year, with all of the extraneous bullcrap that's gone on, is enough to judge him yet. I know I'm probably in the minority, but that's how I see it.
From Patrick Harris
Dear Dawgman:
Hey Dawgman- I am writing you during the third quarter of the Cal game. What an embarrassment! I didn't want to dump on Gilby, but this is way out of hand. The Huskies are better than this. He is getting paid to motivate this team as well. I don't think they have the best talent these days, but 40-7 in the 3rd against Cal! This is rock bottom. I hate to say it but this program needs a fresh start. New athletic director, new coach, new doctors, and new anything to change this destroyed football program. I don't want the UW to wait it out with Gilby. If he can't get the team motivated enough to avoid getting crushed by Cal, then goodbye Gilby! We have to have higher standards for this program then the ones that are in place now. So yes, this one game alone should be enough to fire the coach and clean house in my opinion. I have been following the Huskies regularly since the mid-seventies and I can tell you without hesitation that this is by far the lowest the program has been. This is a nightmare! Love your sight though.

A: That game was the worst one I've ever seen, and I've seen some real porkers. A lot of fans share your enthusiasm for getting new blood into the program. You are not alone. I'm not sure that Gilby has had a fair shake just yet to prove if he's the guy or not. Just for the record, I don't have to kiss his butt, as I get my media credential (the only all-UW site that does, by the way) whether I like him or not. Just wanted to add that, because a lot of people seem to think that unless I agree with the coaching 100% of the time, we somehow will get denied access. Not true, we've earned that access with our reputation and reporting ethics. Well, you knew my view before I babbled on and on, but thanks for sharing yours. That's what this forum is all about. Here's to better times.

Link to past columns of Ask Dawgman

Click the button above to ask dawgman a question. You'll need to have your browser's e-mail capability enabled for this button to work.

Dawgman.com Top Stories