Letters to the Publisher
From David Bassett in Decatur, GA
This is a belated response to the article by David Samek in the Feb 2004 issue concerning Coach Gilbertson's recruiting success. I think there is general agreement that Gilbertson knows his X's and O's, and as far as I know there has never been any reason to believe he couldn't recruit. However, this doesn't mean he is going to be a successful coach at UW. Highly successful coaches have to do a number of things well. One of them is to motivate their players to play at or near their potential every Saturday. The jury is still out on whether Gilbertson can do this. Coach Tedford at Cal and Coach Doba at WSU both had their teams playing like kamikazes in their first years. Washington's talent is as at least as good as the talent at either Cal or WSU, but the performance on the field has been quite different. If the Huskies don't start showing a consistent "fire in the belly" on game days in 2004, there will be a growing concern that Gilbertson does not have what it takes to combine good coaching instincts and good players into a team that plays its best for 60 minutes every Saturday of the football season.
A: Thanks for your letter. I take issue with nothing you wrote and agree with all of it. If Gilbertson cannot motivate his team, he should not be the coach. He knows this. And now it will be his team and not one that he inherited. It will be interesting to see how they respond to him after a full year of being in his system. He has to rebuild a shaky offensive line with only 8 bodies, and that should be enough to motivate anyone that wants playing time. New OL coach Charlie Dickey will need to motivate his guys for sure, and that also will fall to Gilbertson, ensuring this happens.
I see you stated that you believe there will be a three man rotation at tailback. Is Chris Singleton back for Spring ball? I'm very excited about our depth at tailback. What are your projections for who will start the season, and back ups in order?
A: Yes, Singleton will be back. He's the lone senior (unless he takes his redshirt year, still available) so he'll want to stake his claim to the TB spot. My prediction is that that Kenny James will start as he has the best combination of blocking, hands, and between the tackles yardage. Shelton Sampson and Louis Rankin will back him up and whoever has the hot hand between those two will be the "change up" to James. I see Kenny getting 15-20 carries per game next season if he stays healthy.
From JH Programs
I am a true husky fan in Stockton California," If Louis Rankin is so FAST and BIG" why didn't he play last year! If he was all that we could have used him in a few games.
A: They wanted to redshirt Louis to give him some time to learn the offense. These kinds of moves pay dividends. Look how good James and Sampson looked when they got to sit on the bench and learn via the scout team? It was a good and unselfish move to redshirt Rankin in my opinion.
From Carolina Dawg AKA: Ken Franek
Would you give us your 2-deep for Offense/Defense concerning the 2004 team? Who do you see as the 2004 sleepers?
A: It is too difficult to ascertain before even seeing some kids before spring and knowing the injury situation on the OL. Making some assumptions about health, here is my best guess at the starters:
OL 8-man rotation: Vanneman, Meadow, Barnes, Brooks, Walker, Daniels, Macklin, Garcia
RB: James, Tuiasosopo
WR: Frederick, Williams
QB: Need to see spring ball to determine who will learn the new offense best.
DL: Mateaki, Hopoi, Mapu, Ala
LB: Lobendahn, Galloway, Benjamin
DB: Newell, Johnson, Goldson, Bankhead
K/P: Knudsen, Douglas.
Sleepers? Watch for Chris Hemphill on defense and Louis Rankin on offense.
From Chris Lohman
Tell us about Isaiah Stanbeck's ability to throw the ball. Glove or no glove, can he hit a crossing Frederick 25 yards down the field? Does he have the arm strength to hit one of our speedsters running a deep route? Personally, I would love for him to get a good a look running the option, but only if he puts up some passing numbers to keep safeties and corners honest. God I miss Tui.
A: Arm strength is not Stanback's drawback. It's making the right decision, and you'll find that true with any young quarterback. He has incredible arm strength and is very mobile, but he needs to throw a more "catchable" ball. That comes with development. Pickett didn't throw a catchable ball at all until his sophomore year.
What kind of an injury did Ol Dan Dicks suffer. Will he return?
A: Dan has had bad knees for his entire career, it was a hereditary condition and his knees were going to only get worse. He will not return, as his knees will not allow him to rehab them anymore. It is basically similar to arthritis, and there isn't a great deal he can do to improve them. It's a shame but Dicks' career is done.
From Bob Schuehle
DAWGMAN, I READ A GREAT COLUMN RECENTLY ON JEREMIAH PHARMS, HIS PAST PROBLEMS, PRISON TERM ETC. IT SAID THAT HE IS IN THE BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE AND IS HOPING FOR A CHANCE TO GET BACK TO THE NFL. IT ALSO SAID THAT HE WAS GETTING OUT IN MAY I BELIEVE. IS THAT WHATS HAPPENING? HOPE ALL THE BEST FOR HIM , AND THAT HE IS SUCCESSFUL.
A: Jeremiah was at pro scout timing day at Husky Stadium last month. He did pretty well, all things considered. He has served his time and is now going about turning his life around. He is hoping to get a shot in the NFL as a linebacker. He ran a 4.8 40 at 6-0 and 245 pounds and did well on the bench press.
From Paul Huizinga
In your 3/1 column you responded to Christopher Davison about greyshirts and mentioned the there was a 25 scholarship cap on new recruits in a given year with a total of 85 scholarship players (at least during the playing season). I also read somewhere that most teams only bring in one greyshirt athlete per year- I think only four are allowed per team. How then does one account for Oregon having 29 recruits this year? I am not bashing Oregon, just trying to understand the numbers based on what you had given.
A: You may have as many kids grayshirt as you wish. You may be mixing up "grayshirt" with "partial qualifier". You can only have one partial qualifier per year in any one sport, and you can only have a total of our partial qualifiers for your entire athletic department in total in any year. A partial qualifier is someone that has satisfied a portion of the academic eligibility requirements (IE: passed the SAT but didn't get a high enough CORE GPA, but had a learning disability). That athlete may be accepted as a partial qualifier, meaning they must sit out one year of competition (as a redshirt player does, but a partial qualifier loses that year of eligibility). The partial qualifier can earn back that final year of eligibility if they graduate within four years.
From Frank Iacolucci
I was wondering what happened to Eric Shyne for him to be dismissed? Also, what type of contribution do you think Craig Chambers will make this year? Has he increased his weight at all? Obviously he can't replace Williams but do you think he will get sufficient playing time?
A: Shyne was an academic casualty. Chambers is green but what an athlete! I think the redshirt year will do wonders for him. He has a tough job going up the depth chart with the fact that he was behind many kids that had more experience in high schools that threw the ball more, but Chambers is a terrific athlete that can run and he has good size. He has some time to develop his hands, and Steve Axman will help him do that. I have more faith in Ax's ability to teach a younger receiver technique than Bobby Kennedy. Bobby K was an amazing recruiter but several NFL scouts commented that they felt that Reggie Williams had very little help at the UW in terms of technique improvement. The NFL scout I spoke with said, "Just wait until he gets with an NFL coach, then you'll see what he's capable of. He's getting by purely on his own abilities right now, not his position coaching." That was only one NFL scout, however, so don't take that as the bible, just one opinion.
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