Letters to the Publisher

Happy New Year Dawg fans!! We at Dawgman.com want to extend the happiest of holiday wishes to you and your loved ones. And we thank you for your continued patronage of the best Husky website on the Internet since 1996. And now, on to the letters . . .

From Dogge Washington
Dear Dawgman
What happened to Aaron Klovas? Why isn't he interested in UW? I thought he was a key recruit for UW. Any chance Gilby can change his mind? Thanks for a great site and all the best in 2004.

A: Klovas wants to leave the state and get away from home. It's very hard to recruit a kid that doesn't want to live near the school. Those are the breaks, just as Washington gets those kids that want to leave California for their college experience. Klovas is impressive and I think he'll be sorely missed, particularly if he winds up in the Pac-10.
From Ian Davidson
Dear Dawgman:
What happened to Chris Singleton? I know he was injured early in the year, and that he was out for the season. With all the talk about Kenny James and Shelton Sampson (for obvious reasons), and the excitement that Louis Rankin has already brought in coming to Washington, where does Chris fit in? Will he be healthy in time to play significant minutes his senior season? If he is, will he get an opportunity with all of our depth at RB? That last one may seem like a dumb question, as Gilby strikes me as one who is loyal to a fault and would go to the mat for a hard working senior. I just haven't heard anything about Singleton in a long time. I like to see guys who commit to come here get their shots.

A: I think Chris Singleton will get some carries if he stays at tailback. I think he'll stay at TB given that he's an upper-classmen. He has the size and speed you love in a tailback, however he didn't earn the trust of the coaches enough to get the reps with the ones. Alexis always had the edge over Chris on both blocking and receiving.
From Drew Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
I am very excited about the recent commitments by the likes of Matt T., Dashon Goldson, and R. Goodrum. However, we all know how long it can take a new player to acclimate himself to a new team, system, school, and coaching styles. My question is, who are the leading candidates to make an impact for next year who are already on the roster? Will Louis Rankin be given a shot at the starting spot, or did James and Sampson do enough to secure most of the carries? What about Stanley Daniels? Is he going to go back to defense? I also was wondering if Mike Mapu was still considered a potential impact player. Thanks for the great work. Go Dawgs!!!

A: Watch for Rankin at tailback, Garcia on the offensive line, and on defense watch for Mapu on the end and Wallace at safety. Mapu came in out of shape and that cost him, but he redshirted so he's still got two years. He is envisioned as a terror from the outside, if he can get down to playing weight. I'm betting that he will. As for Stanley D, my guess is that he'll move back to defensive line. He was moved out of an emergency need because Gilby needed eight healthy bodies last year. A defensive player to watch already on roster is Chris Hemphill. At 6-5 and 225 but growing, he could be the REB of the future.
From Brianna Shirley
Dear Dawgman:
I have heard a lot different rumors about Nate Robinson but I wanted to get some updated info on if he is still part of the program, and if he is going to play this upcoming season.

A: Nate is a full-time basketball player this season. He has never said that he wouldn't return to football, and has told us that his gridiron days aren't over. We'll see if he returns this spring or next fall. A lot can happen between now and then.
From Brenda Fisher
Dear Dawgman:
It's great Matt Tui. committed to UW, but I'm not satisfied with one quarterback. Get Rocky Hinds! There's no guarantee Tui won't be playing pro baseball. UW is getting commits from quite a number of safeties. Is that their projected positions?

A: Hinds won't come here now that Tui is in. And frankly, Washington got the better quarterback. Washington will try both Goldson and Bankhead at safety to begin with, and perhaps Forrester. The dawgs need a big hitter that can intimidate to emerge from this group. I'm betting that Goldson winds up on the strong side and that Bankhead winds up at free. Forrester could play multiple positions.
From Rick Fillman
Dear Dawgman:
How many commitments will we be taking this year? Will Gilby take more kids than we have room for with the expectations that some may not qualify/some may gray shirt etc. or will he not do much of that? The class looks very good so far, but are we still going after some Linemen? Thanks for a great site and thanks for the info.

A: Gilby will take 25 this year. They don't currently have the room for that many but with a combination of attrition and gray-shirting, they'll all fit. That won't be a problem. This class will have a bunch of linemen in it, probably 10. I count five OL and potentially four DL already and the class still has about another 25% to go.
From Kurt Anders
Dear Dawgman:
What is the word on Johnnie Kirton from Mill Creek's Jackson High who gained almost 2, 700 yards and had 34 touchdowns this season as a senior? He doesn't seem to be on any of pre-season recruiting lists. I would love to have a guy who is 6-3 and 248 playing for Huskies who uses not only speed, but size to get the tough yards. He said he was looking at Oregon, UW and WSU. How interested are the Huskies in this guy, I hope they don't overlook a guy in their own backyard? You can never have enough good running backs as we well know with all the injuries we sustained at that position this year. Also, I don't think Gilby is going to make any changes with the assistant coaching staff unless there are people out there who are head and shoulders better than the coaches he already has. I know Chris Tormey and Tom Cable are available if any openings occur, who have coached with Gilby before and who he has a lot of respect for. The thing that this program needs more than anything is continuity and stability and Gilby should be given a free hand in doing whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Recruits are going to be getting an ear full from other head coaches about our program, so our coaching staff needs to present a united front. And as far as the Huskies not playing in a bowl, I am more than okay with that fact. They didn't play good enough to be invited to a bowl in the first place and if they had played in one of the low level bowls who's to say they would have played hard enough to win anyway.

A: Kirton is being offered as a running back by Gilbertson. It's my understanding that the Huskies are his only scholarship offer that has promised him that chance, so if he truly wants a shot at running back to begin with, Washington is a slam dunk choice. Whether or not he stays there will depend on how much he grows. Your point about hiring assistant coaches is solid, Gilby won't pull the trigger unless there is someone out there that would improve or help him implement his big picture plan. Keith should be given a free hand, I totally agree, and he hasn't had that yet. Tormey would come in a heartbeat. I'm sure Cable would as well, but I don't know where you'd put him. His area of expertise is the OL, where Dan Cozzetto currently hangs his hat.
From From Brent Buchmeier
Dear Dawgman:
Do you know what kind of an off season practice and training schedule the coaches require the players to participate in? I think they should have optional workouts that aren't really an option. The coaches should challenge all players that are serious about playing UW football to make a commitment to the program.

A: The players must all go through the "mat drills" and then go through what you are referring to "optional" off-season workouts. The players realize that these workouts are optional, but they also realize that if they don't participate in them, their coaches know about it. Their teammates also know about it. There is significant peer pressure to participate in them. This should be a much "more normal" off season for Washington football, one would hope. Last year's cluster&*%& through the summer was incredible and hopefully one very bad anomaly.
From Sumner Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
I am interested in knowing about all of those receivers we recruited last year. It seems that only two (C. Williams & S. Shackelford) saw the field. We had heard early on that they were very impressed with Whithorne's route running abilities and his hands. Chambers, the most touted of the bunch really has a longer ways to go than any of them! What do you for see with last years group of receivers and which of them will we see in 2004? Thanks for your comments!

A: Whithorne looked the most polished out of the box, but when two-a-days broke and they got into fall camp, Sonny Shackelford and Corey Williams really jumped out. It was also hard to ignore Quintin Daniels speed. Those three went to the front of the line, but Anthony Russo is a guy that Gilby loves as a returner, and should get some looks there. Whithorne still runs polished routes, and should be another year stronger in 2004 after the weight room and a redshirt. The guy I never really saw much of was Charles Smith, due to injury putting him behind everyone else. I think he may wind up on defense. Chambers will be fine, he's a physical specimen. He just needs to learn how to run routes and get used to the speed of the game. Corey Williams is really going to be special.
From Brent Buchmeier
Dear Dawgman:
I think Gilby needs to get blue collar players that want to be a Husky and show the ability to be able to learn and be coached at their position. I hope the coach and his staff are realistic about the players they can get and not let the ones with potential get away and go to WSU anymore. Do you think with the Cougs losing about nine defensive starters that they will be able to contend for the Pac 10 title?

A: Gilby is asking the "10 tough questions" again, like the Don James and Jim Lambright staffs did, in recruiting character and toughness. It shows in some of the guys that they offered early. Guys like Casey Bulyca, Ryan Bush, and Tyler Ashby are nasty and unrelenting. Their may be higher rated OL, but those guys fit "the pattern" Gilby is looking for. I think the Huskies will get 10 of the top dozen players in state that they've targeted. WSU will continue to contend for a while because their recruiting on the lines has been solid, and they develop kids in their system very well.
From James Irvin in Kennewick
Dear Dawgman:
Excellent site, great Apple Cup this year, I was there and it was SPECIAL to have all that emotion emanating from the field, stands and sidelines. Question regarding injured players and some players that I thought would have more prominent roles this year. First, injured players, what is the status of Nathan Rhoades, Junior Coffin and Josh Miller and the possibility of them returning to the Dawgs next year? I think Miller not being available, in particular, hurt our defensive efforts this year. Second, what about Dan Milsten and Jordan Reffett, it sounded early on that they were looking good (Spring), but neither contributed much this year, what's their story? Thanks for the great site and keep up the good work!

A: Nathan Rhodes won't play football, due to a back condition. Junior Coffin won't return either, unless something changes. Josh Miller has a back condition as well and has lost a great deal of weight due to the fact that he hasn't been able to work out. I'm not ready to count him out yet, but certainly he's got a long road back if he can rehab. Milsten looked good in early fall, but in reality, he wasn't supposed to be in the mix until his redshirt sophomore year. He was looked at early as a potential starter because Mapu wasn't in shape. Milsten needed another year of Emtman and Kaligis, and he got it. Reffett looks like a beast and should be a great one.
From Aloha Mike
Dear Dawgman:
Were the Dawgs motivated in the Apple Cup? Not yes but HELL yes. I saw Husky senior players actually encouraging his team mates to play harder. That leadership, in my opinion, is one of the many things missing from this Husky team. An interesting comment on your site Sunday eve stated that in a meeting held by the Husky team before the Apple Cup where Gilby asked his players if they wanted to play or not. The answer was that they were not playing hard because they didn't want to get hurt!!!!!!! Are the Huskies back? No, probably not . Are they more confident today? Yes, more than likely. The injuries were bad(13 starters), but add to that the o-lineman that quit, the d-lineman that started last year and are finished playing football, and the kids that left the program. This number of players that were with the team last year that aren't this year created to many holes to fill for this year. Your site is just too good.

A: Thanks for the letter Mike. Happy New Year and here's to a better 2004.
From Chris Lohman
Dear Dawgman:
Thanks for the year-round quality insight on our beloved Dawgs. With that being said, how did we lose the recruiting battle for Aaron Klovas as badly as we did? What part of this sentence was not conveyed - "With two years of conditioning, lifting and meetings, you could start for your hometown Washington Huskies at left tackle and protect Heisman trophy candidate Isaiah Stanback for his junior and senior years." How do we not even finish in his top five? When was the last time that a local blue chip recruit had the UW out of the top five. I want to know who should accept responsibility for this fiasco. Nice recruiting.

A: Klovas wanted to get away for school. Gilby is the one to blame if you are looking to fix it, but it's kind of hard to do that when a kid wants to go out of state for his one and only college experience. The last blue-chipper I can remember leaving the state was Larry Stevens, who went to Michigan. He was very highly rated, perhaps the tops in the state that year.
From Husky Cliff
Dear Dawgman:
I met Marvin Buenconsejo today at a Husky Alumni Apple Cup function. He told me he played in the Husky band along side of you. One question for you...how bad was Cody hurt this year? I'm guessing he was not 100% and played hurt the whole season. I hope the Husky nation stays the course & has the patience to support Gilby. I have been as disappointed as any Husky fan these past several years. I've talked to a couple of former players who Gilby coached and they all have positive things to say about him. In spite of all the negative posts by some of the Dawgman members I think he knows what it will take to bring the Huskies back. I can only guess that there was a divided team once Rick got canned & a lot of things Gilby had to put up with this past season that a lot of people don't know about. Hopefully a new competent AD will be in charge soon! At any rate, thanks to you & the entire Dawgman staff for keeping die hard Huskies here in Hawaii connected with the program. Marvin gave your site a big plug on Honolulu TV.

A: A huge hello to Marv. He's my man on the islands for sure. I love him like a brother and am very proud of where he is now. Cody was hurt badly. The pectoral muscle swelled terribly from the Idaho game on. He got through it but he was in unbelievable pain. Your points about being patient with Gilby are very salient. I too am willing to give Gilby a fair shot before calling for his head. He did put up with a lot of stuff this year both on and off the field.
From Chris Raymond
Dear Dawgman:
Even though I disagree with you about keeping Gilby (I think we need a clean break from the scandals, and like him or not, Gilby is caught up in them and they are not going away), I understand the position of keeping him on. I have two questions about next year:

1. What level of success should Gilby be held to? What record in 2004 is good enough for him to stay for 2005? I think we need some standard in mind to judge him by. Those people who say give him 3-4 years to recruit his own players seem to be saying 0-11 is ok in 2004. So, as a supporter of keeping him, give us a record we need next year to show progress.

2. I think that we need to focus on one offensive strategy in the off-season to give the O-line the most reps. If we practice option and power running and west coast and spread, we will not be very good at any of them. Since Paus and Stanback are so different in style and need their own systems to emphasize their skills, is there any chance Gilby will decide on a strategy early to allow one to transfer? Specifically, if we are going option and moving the pocket to take advantage of Stanback's athleticism and for the future with Bonnell and either Tui or Hinds, will Paus stick or will he go?

A: I think Gilby should win eight games next year, but it will be a tall order. Seven, or even six, are possibilities with no senior at quarterback and youth up front. I see a tough season in 2004, and I predict that if Gilby doesn't win at least seven, he'll be asked to step down, fair or unfair. However, if he goes 0-11 as you inquired, he'd get fired no matter what. That will mean that he lost the team entirely and that they are not buying into the new direction. He lost them against Cal, but got them back to play hard in the Apple Cup. That was huge entering 2004. As far as a quarterback transferring, Gilby would not stand in their way if he felt that it's what was best for the kid. He is an outstanding man and would go to bat for anyone that felt that their well being would be better served elsewhere. He'd help them, I know it.

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