Ask Dawgman - 10/26

Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Here are the answers to the some of the most recent questions. Washington is 5-1, still very much in the hunt for a great bowl bid if they can finish strong.

From Dawgster
Dear Dawgman: While it is important that the offensive line work as a unit, I assume the coaches are still grading out individual performance. How are four new starters grading out relative to each other, strongest to weakest? If you can't share the coach's opinions, can you give yours? I get the feeling that Barnes and Newton need the most improvement. Next year, with Tipoti available, who do you think the starting five will be? Of the 2nd stringers, which players are farther along in their development such that they could challenge for a starting spot next year? Also, how does Meadow rate against the 2nd stringers and does he have a shot at starting as a RS Freshman? .

A: I think it's a safe assumption to say that the young offensive line needs improvement. They'd be the first to tell you that. I think that Todd Bachert is probably in need of the most improvement, but not for the reason you might think. He plays the most demanding position on the line and this is his first season at the crucial WT position, protecting Cody's blind side. He has performed admirably considering the injuries he's had to deal with (cannot discuss) and for being so new to the position, and I think he'll be a very good WT. This is his learning under fire season and he's doing that. Of the second stringers, I think Aaron Butler is hands-down the furthest along. Robin Meadow is also going to jump up next season and make some noise. He will definitely challenge for a starting role, and I think it may be at OG. Remember, Bachert could move back to center next year after Benn graduates, if Myers wants him to. Todd is extremely intelligent and athletic and would make the move with very little problem.
From Chip G
Dear Dawgman:
What do you think is the reason for the lack of production from Rich Alexis. Is it all on the O-Line or a lack of commitment to the running game? Also, I thought the staff was going to recruit to fit a 4-3 style of defense. Thanks and go Dawgs!!!!

A: Rich has had trouble finding holes because they aren't always where they're supposed to be. This is an entirely new line he's running behind and Rich has only played football for three years, so there is a learning process at work here. He'll be fine. As for a 4-3 defense, Washington lines up in that scheme at least 40% of the time. Hundley never uses the same defense more than 50% of the time. It's a 3-4 base, true, but with the REB always with a hand down, it's really a 4-3 with no true MLB if you think about it. The one thing Washington would require if they did go to a true 4-3 with only one MLB is a linebacker that would be capable of dominating the inside like Robert Thomas does for UCLA or Lance Briggs does for Arizona. It has to be someone that could get off blocks, read very quickly, have great foot speed, and be a very sure tackler. Tim Galloway is probably the closest prototype Washington has to that type of linebacker and he's still pretty young.
From Stanwood Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
I'm rather disappointed that AW didn't qualify. To win this year Bender needs bodies to hold down the middle defensively. I know Dixon has had problems staying out of foul trouble. I think he's ready for a breakout year, but if he needs a break, Jeff Day is all you can go to. I really like him, but it might be too soon for him to be the only guy at the 5 on defense. I still think this is going to be a great year on the court for the dawgs. My question is whom are they recruiting for next year besides AW and Brandon Roy?

A: It did hurt that Anthony Washington didn't make it in, Dixon could've used the bigger body to practice against this season. AW is raw and wouldn't have helped much in games, but he sure would've helped in practice and I think his development would've been greater. The Dawgs are going to miss not having DeMarcus Williams to challenge Dixon at practice this year, now that falls to Jeff Day, a very raw but athletic kid that needs to put on weight. He has tremendous upside though. Marlon Shelton's absence means that Day will play this year, and that's not really fair to Jeff. A redshirt season is such a benefit for a young player. Washington is recruiting another big man named Julius Lamptey out of Oklahoma. Byron Boudreaux is recruiting him.
From Al
Dear Dawgman:
This is probably a silly question but why isn't Charles Frederick getting more playing time at wide receiver?

A: Charles is still learning the system. I know that Neuheisel would like to get him more into the flow but the passing game has been outstanding so far with Elstrom, Hooks, Williams, Reddick, and Arnold all contributing. Frederick will get his turn, it just might have to wait until next year. Until then he'll be a threat returning kickoffs and punts, which is a great role. By the way, your question is not silly. Not at all. Getting the most talented guys out onto the field is always a priority. Now it's up to the coaches and ET to figure out how best to get him into the offense.
From Joshua
Dear Dawgman:
I wanted to first thank you for your site. I look forward to checking it out every day!!! I have a question for you regarding WLB Ben Mahdavi, do you think he has a future in the NFL if he finished the season as strong as he has started?

A: Ben is certainly athletic enough, the question will be if he has the instincts. He is just a junior and would need to show that he could carry about 10-15 more pounds and still move like he already does. Ben has been an active tackler this year and has made some big plays but the inside of the Husky defense has also given up a lot of rushing yards and part of that falls on the inside linebacking group, where Ben is one of the leaders. Will he make the NFL? It remains to be seen, as he has one more year after this one. A lot can happen between junior and senior years.
From Husky Fan
Dear Dawgman:
Great site!!! Enjoy it very much!!! Could you tell me what is the different between official and unofficial recruiting visit; especially for out of state recruit? Who pick up the tab on these out of state recruit? It seems to me that some are there at every home game as well as the in state recruit. Thank for the answer.

A: An unofficial recruiting visit is taken at the expense of the family of the recruit. The university pays for an official visit and the recruit is allowed to spend up to 48 hours on campus. The school pays for lodging, meals, and usually has activities planned where the student athletes will meet other Huskies. There are rules as to what the school may pay for (meals, lodging), and what they may NOT pay for (souvenirs). When a student-athlete comes to a football game, it is not necessarily a visit. It may just be that the young man was in town and requested tickets for the game. Hope this helps.
From Bob
Dear Dawgman:
I just joined your site. I was expecting a similar format to what you guys had at, but was disappointed to find no "prospect search" by position. Am I missing something, or do you just have the 2-3 daily stories on recruits? I liked the rating system with stars, the school recruiting class ratings, the statistics on the kids (40-times, height, weight, bench).

A: You are asking about a database of recruits. Our network,, is due to launch that database on the first of November. There will be a free trial period where you'll be able to check it out and see if it's something you'll be interested in for this recruiting season. It will be part of the Recruiting Pass, and the database will be maintained by Student Sports's Brentt Eads, Greg Biggins and Chris Fetters (West coast and Hawaii), Jamie Newberg (Southeast), Chris Pool (Midwest), David Garvin (Southwest), Gene Williams (Florida), and Kevin Lustgarten (JCs). Max Emfinger also will be part of that group. We hope you enjoy it, it should be an upgrade from the database that had last year, since it is being built by the same people that built that one. The proof will be in the pudding though. Let us know what you think when it arrives.
From Dawgster
Dear Dawgman:
I am disappointed in the lack of improvement shown by John Anderson since his freshman year. With restrictions on the number of coaches, the UW obviously does not have a kicking coach and it shows. How does a young kicker get the instruction he needs to improve? The special teams coach wouldn't have the kicking expertise to help Anderson. Can the UW bring in kicking specialists to help train kickers? What are the rules?

A: John has struggled, no getting around that. The special teams coach is Bobby Hauck, and I'm not sure how much he can help John, as you suggest. Anderson's private coach is Nick Gancitanno, a very well respected kicking coach who has put 12 kickers into various D1 programs. Gancitanno also kicked against Washington when they faced Penn State in a bowl game in the mid-80s. There is a restriction on the number of coaches, yes, but Anderson can work with Gancitanno or anyone else on his own time with no repercussions. Anderson also has worked with Norm Johnson, former Seahawk. I'll bet he gets it turned around. He has not missed one kick that he absolutely had to make this year and I still have total faith in him. Remember, placekicking is a three-person event, and the long-snapper, holder, and kicker all must trust each other. They'll get it worked out. Anderson is too talented to stay in this mini-slump for long.
From Joel
Dear Dawgman:
When Neuheisel first took the reigns of Husky football two years ago, Dawgman writers said that due to the new coaching staff communication amongst coach was not great -- hence all the illegal substitution penalties. Well we're going on three years and still these exasperating illegal substitution penalties. Also we still seem to get the plays sent in to the quarterback in a less than timely fashion. What gives?

A: Clearly the illegal substitution penalties are troubling. It has involved the wide receivers both times that the huddle broke with 12 men. Washington coach Rick Neuheisel felt that the receiver that left the field had left the huddle in a timely fashion but the officials didn't see it that way. Neuheisel said at the last press conference that they would work on that. The wide receivers are still learning their rotations, as the Huskies are using six in their rotation, sometimes moving back and forth between the flanker and split end positions. They'll get it solved. The delay of game penalty against Arizona, Cody Pickett felt it was his fault, not the bench. As long as they break the huddle with between 12 and 10 seconds remaining on the play clock, that should be ample time to get the play off.
From DeVry Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Do you have any idea on husky scholarship offers? Also, how many CC players do you think we will take? A free safety might be nice.

A: Washington currently has approximately 25 scholarships offered to various prospective student athletes, but some are obviously conditional. In other words, if a PSA doesn't accept the offer before another recruit commits, the spot might disappear. The offer will then be extended to someone else. This happens at every school. I believe the Huskies will take three JC athletes this year. One OL (Francisco Tipoti), and the other two will be a defensive lineman and/or a safety. The safety from CCSF would be a nice get (Gabril Wilson).
From Rod
Dear Dawgman:
Just a comment I really appreciate the expanded coverage on Husky hoops. Thank you very much and please keep it up.

A: Thanks Rod. Joe Kaiser will be at every home game this year and will attend some practices as his class schedule allows and report on those as well. Dawn Van Diest will also do some hoops beat writing. Thanks for reading. It's going to be an exciting hoops season for both the men and women.

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