Letters to the Publisher

Well, it was a very business-like effort by Coach Keith Gilbertson for recruiting. He went out and signed a class that contained a full compliment of offensive and defensive linemen, signed the two best in-state players, and did so with little or no fanfare on Letter of Intent day. All in all, this class is a reflection of its coach – it has a chip on its shoulder and it is dying to be Huskies and turn the program around.

From Richard Patrick
Dear Dawgman
How is the big tackle from Bakersfield doing? Last I heard him getting ready for surgery.

A: Nathan Rhodes is done with football. His back condition will not allow him to play contact sports.
From Brian Corrigan
Dear Dawgman:
I was reading in the local paper and came across an article about Chancellor Young out of O'Dea. Early on UW had been the only school to offer him... and as the article unfolded and he listed his top three as Oregon, UCLA, and Duke, and also noted that he was disappointed that the UW had withdrawn its scholarship offer. Why did UW offer and then take it back? From my understanding Young is a more than capable athlete, especially for a class that includes no WRs. Great class, it's just tough seeing a few late recruiting battles go to Oregon (Glasper, Klovas, Jackson) thank you for the great site!

A: Washington offered Young but I don't think they pulled the offer until they realized that Young was not interested in going to Washington. Then the school went after other athletes they felt could help the program, particularly safeties and big bodies. Chancellor's father Charle was very influential in his decision and I don't think he was ever really that sold on Washington for his son. Duke was his final destination, and a good one. A Duke degree is tough to fault, particularly if you want to get away for school. Washington took six or seven receivers last fall so it wasn't a huge need, but losing Young was tough because I felt he could be a devastating linebacker when he fills out.
From Debby Krell
Dear Dawgman:
We've heard Coach Baird refer several times to the ten tough questions that are now being asked of recruits that were used to be asked by previous coaches prior to Coach Neuheisel. What are these questions?

A: The questions have never really been recited verbatim, but I can tell you they ask things like, "Will he ever quit? – Will he graduate? – Will he do anything to win? – Will he keep working when he's tired? – Will he make a difference in the community? – Was he a team captain or most inspirational player on his team?" Character and toughness is what these questions are supposed to query about. It also is an effort to get guys that are dying to be Huskies, as opposed to a team full of guys that were talked into it. That is an area Gilby is definitely addressing.
From Brenda Fisher
Dear Dawgman:
The one I find intriguing is Greyson Gunheim. Add some bulk to this player and could he be a speed pass rusher? I am baffled by the number of players recruited as safeties. Could they be used in various areas of need whether it's at safety, running back or as a receiver? I look at the football roster and I see too many question marks. So many freshmen and sophomores. The only positions I see with experience and depth is at running back. Other positions have experience, but not depth. Will Casey Paus transfer or will he learn the option plays? Moving James Sims to fullback leads me to believe more options plays. If Casey Paus does move on, who is the more accurate passer between Carl Bonnell and Isaiah Stanback? Who that is, that is who I want running the offense. Running alone won't get the job done.

A: Gunheim will definitely be a pass rusher, and I think a very good one. He's very fast. The reason Gilby took four safeties is that three of them will push for time and compete to improve the caliber of talent while a fourth will move to linebacker. Paus will not transfer, I just don't see it from a junior with as much vested in the program as he does. Bonnell is the more accurate passer between him and Stanback. Stanback has a strong arm but Bonnell's ball appears more catchable. It will be a fun competition to watch this spring.
From Randie Armatas
Dear Dawgman:
I was wondering if the Huskies are trying to recruit Lyndale Burleson, because all that I have heard about his is nothing less than great. I think that he would be a great pick-up, especially after we lose someone as fast as Curtis Allen because he is a senior. Well hopefully they get him because he is good!

A: I don't believe that Lorenzo Romar is recruiting Burleson at this time.
From Zach Volkmann
Dear Dawgman:
Looking at the recruiting class I see only one, maybe 2 corners. Will the Huskies move a current commit to that position?

A: : I think the two corners will be Josh Okoebor and Darin Harris. Add to that Derrick Bradley (who will be a true freshman all over again) and you have three speedy corners to compete with Matt Fountaine, Dre Simpson, and Sam Cunningham. Derrick Johnson has one spot locked down.
From Chris Raymond
Dear Dawgman:
When Rick hired Cozzetto last year, I thought I read several columnists rejoice at bringing in someone who would make our line tougher. Now, we are bringing back the guy he replaced. I assumed Myers was part of the problem. Was he? If not, then why has our line been unable to run block for 2 years?

A: Not answered due to interesting circumstances that will come to light shortly.
From Sweetlou at the U-dub
Dear Dawgman:
I saw a couple of practices last year and Louis Rankin looked really good. The question that everyone was asking is why didn't they play him in the 2003 season?

A: Good question. I felt he could've helped a lot of special teams, but I'm not the coach. The good news is, he now has four full years of eligibility remaining, and he's a year stronger and more mature.
From Brian Corrigan
Dear Dawgman:
With the departure of Dan Cozzetto to the NFL, who are possible replacements for him? Will Gilby reorganize coaching responsibilities or will he hire someone? Also what kind of affect will this have on recruiting OL?

A: I know you wrote this before Myers was hired to coach the OL, but I think recruiting won't suffer a bit. Brent is a mad-dog recruiter that did very well at that during his first stint here. As far as reorganizing the staff, Cornell Jackson will move to coach the running backs and there is an opening in the secondary and at wide receiver. Gilby has interviewed two very high profile candidates to date, but no announcements of a hire has been made yet.
From Brenda Fisher
Dear Dawgman:
Huskies in 2004? How about 8-3!

A: I would take 8-3 in a heartbeat. It will be a tall order though, particularly with only 8 healthy offensive linemen to begin the spring. That is enough depth to play a game, if they all remain healthy, but not enough to conduct a decent practice. That will hurt the Dawgs all year until the true frosh get up to speed in the fall. Moving Tui A to offensive line and keeping Stanley Daniels there this spring is imperative to build meaningful depth. You hate to rob Peter to pay Paul, but in this case, it's warranted.
From Alan Kaselj
Dear Dawgman:
1) Has Derrick Bradley burned his redshirt? Or will he be a true freshman in the fall?
2) Have the Huskies committed to any "big" non-conference games after 2009? I know they were talking with Tennessee and someone else. Any info.
3) This question has been on my mind for a while and no one has talked about it on the message boards: Who will play fullback in 2005? Or for that matter who will back-up Zach?

A: Bradley has not burned a redshirt, no. I am not aware of any big name opponents after 2009, and have not heard that Tennessee has been added to date. The fullback that will back up Zach will either be James Sims, moved from safety, or incoming freshman Luke Kravitz.
From Mathew Dorsch
Dear Dawgman:
I recently saw Steve Emtman having dinner with Bobby Hauck. Any rumors about Emtman leaving to take a larger assisting position at Montana? It seems crazy I know. I'm hoping Hauck was just here recruiting and they were just catching up.

A: Bobby tried to add Emtman to his staff when he left Washington, but Steve remained at Washington when Neuheisel made him an official part of the strength and conditioning team. If Steve wanted to coach, Montana would be a beautiful fit for him, but I think he's staying put for now, anyway.
From Kyle
Dear Dawgman:
Thanks for the great website, who do you believe will be the starting QB and RB for 2004?

A: I think Carl Bonnell may be ready to take the reigns in 2004. Ask me that again after Spring football. Bonnell makes terrific decisions, as a very live arm, and throws a very catchable ball. Paus will inherit the job, Bonnell or Stanback will have to take it from him, it won't be handed to them.
From Brookside Dental
Dear Dawgman:
In recruiting, is there an annual ceiling that can not be exceeded?

A: You can sign as many players as you want, but you cannot count more than 25 of them against any one year's class. If you sign over that limit, you must bounce some to the following class (grayshirt) or you enroll them early into school and bounce them forward to the preceding class. Kids that graduate high school early can enroll in the spring. Oregon's Johnny DuRocher did this.
From Kyle Kincheloe
Dear Dawgman:
In your Ask Dawgman of 1/1/04 Letters to the Publisher, you mentioned that Gilbertson lost the players for the Cal game. Why mostly does that happen? Were there some - younger players that where in revolt because RN had recruited them, had fun practices, and treated them better than other, more average, players? Or did some of the younger kids feel as if they should be playing and were by then involved in a fast train heading nowhere? Did Gilby loose his team at Cal?

A: Gilby definitely lost his team at Cal, I saw it in person and looked into the players eyes as they left the field. There was nothing there on many of their faces. Why does it happen? Tough to explain that one, other than when team chemistry falters, negative momentum starts rolling, and a team starts questioning themselves, nothing seems to be the answer. Everyone from the head coach down to the scout team kicker had to look into the mirror after that debacle at Cal. They rallied and defeated WSU in the Apple Cup, which was HUGE heading into 2004. I cannot emphasize how huge that was to this group. Also, Gilbertson is now recruiting guys that are dying to be Huskies, not guys that need to be sold so much on everything else.
From Chris Patters
Dear Dawgman:
Maybe I'm an eternal optimist but I think the Dawgs will surprise a few people next year. Just like this year when wazzu was picked to finish 7th and they were Pac-10 runner-ups, I think the Dawgs can do the same next year. I'm looking for a top 2 or 3 finish in the Pac and more importantly, letting some of the new blood of these young players transfuse into this Husky team. With Goldson, Wallace, Bankhead, etc. on defense, James, Sampson, Rankin, Stanback, etc. on offense, it's going to be an exciting year. Love your web-site and keep up the good work. GO DAWGS!!!

A: I hope you are right. I was extremely optimistic last year, too much so. I felt that a senior QB and perceived depth on the lines along with a tougher OL coach would be all the difference. I was wrong, ya think? This year the depth on the OL will need to shake out, and the safeties will be brand new. Those are two big question marks. If they go 8-3, I'd be ecstatic.

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