Ask Coach Baird

What lies ahead for the Husky athletic program? All of these uncertainties make me nervous, but at least we're going to have a president that isn't out to get the Athletic Department and a new AD that won't have current players coming into his office to concoct stories of wrong-doing. Nope, those days are over. And now, on to the letters….

From Gerald Weishaar
: I think Lorenzo is doing a great job. After reading in the media how some of the high school basketball coaches are suggesting their top players look out of state, what do the high school coaches think of Lorenzo and the U DUB?

A: I totally agree with you about Lorenzo but can't exactly pinpoint why basketball kids enjoy going out of state. I don't think they are looking beyond basketball and ask themselves, "What degree will help me the most?" If you were born and raised here then the Washington degree is by far the best for you in the long run, especially if you plan on living here. But with continued success and a deep run into the NCAA tourney could change things. Certainly Lorenzo is the right choice even though he was Barbara's fourth pick. Go figure, but I am extremely happy for him because he is one of Marv's guys and a good human being to start with.
From Rodney Fisher
Dear Coach Baird,
: It sounds like the state of Washington will have a banner year with the number of blue-chip football players in the class of 2005. How do you think the Huskies will do in terms of keeping some of them home to play? Do you have any names?

A: I must be honest and tell you that my main focus is now on guys that are already in the program, unless they are guys that I've seen play, covered, or looked at on film. I talk regularly with Randy Hart and Scott Pelluer and they recruit this state, but the guy to talk to who really does follow this stuff is our own Chris Fetters. He goes to games, breaks down film, and talks to people all the time. Even the UW coaches know that when it comes to recruiting for Washington, Fetters is the guy in the know. Why else do you think they all subscribe to this site? Anyways, I have seen the kid Jackson from Pasco and I really like him as a safety and the running back. Stewart from Olympia looked pretty good to me, although I don't know if he is as great as his publicity is, but still very impressive. I like the linebacker from O'Dea named Felder and really like another linebacker from Bellevue named Savannah. I will be going to the UW camp to watch the kids for a day or so but other than that will probably leave all the recruiting analysis to Chris.
From AJ Dawg
Dear Coach,
: 1.) Where did you play HS football? How did your team do during your tenure there?
2.) Who do you think the new AD will be?
3.) It's been said that the most critical part of success for the 2004 Huskies will be keeping the OL healthy. From you're experience, what's the key to keeping OL (or anyone else really) healthy? Is it pure luck? Can anything be done to minimize injuries and keep people playing in top form? What do you think?

A: I played high school at Roosevelt in Seattle and we were undefeated champions my senior year. My junior year however we were 1-4-4. That's right, four ties. Obviously they changed coaches. The same group of guys actually won championships in the 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades together and was undefeated just about all those years. I know it's after the fact on your second question, but I kind of knew that Todd Turner from Vanderbilt is going to be the new AD. About offensive linemen, they often all wear knee braces so they don't get rolled up on with the inside play of people falling down or rolling sideways into them. Other than that it is usually not one of the higher injury positions in football. I think the O-line will really surprise a lot of people next fall as will the whole team.
From Erik Baker
Dear Coach,
: Now that that old shag carpet has been removed, will my $50 ticket premium "for the student athlete" be used to improve husky stadium? I'm all for the facility improvements for all student athletes, but come on, lets quit this political correctness, title IX, campaign for the women's' lacrosse team movement. I thought it was for 5 years? It's time to either give me my $50 back, or build-up husky stadium? Don't you think it's time to pay the loyal FOOTBALL fans back? Through all of Bab's neglect, this community kept the football program afloat, which in turn kept the department from taking-on-water. Can't Gilby just use you as a consultant on talent? It's clear that you had an eyeball for spotting talent? If a position came open, would you take it?

A: I whole heartedly agree that the ticket buyers donation should also go to improving the stadium. I could never figure out why we haven't expanded to 85,000 years ago. No real reason not to, as you could have the revenue from really big gates be the best in the Pac-10. Certainly building the upper decks around to meet each other would make Husky Stadium the best and most awesome stadium in the conference. It would also be a great recruiting tool. Believe me they would fill it for USC, WSU, Oregon etc. It would also help fund even more women sports and the loyal football fans would see where their money was going every game day. Also, Erik, be sure to let me know when you have room in your boat for Coach Lambright and myself. We'd love to go fishing with you.
From Kurt from Tacoma"
Dear Coach,
: I was wondering if Emmert has expressed his thoughts on Gilby or what Emmert is expecting from the 2004 team. Emmert being a true Football pres. He has to love what Gilby is doing and has to be able to see that next year has some questions but you can't deny that 2005 and beyond look amazing.

A: The new president will be watching Gilbs real close this coming fall. That is why I think it is important for Gilbs to have a decent year this coming season. His team is picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference so a winning record would certainly be the measuring stick. I really think if Keith can nurse this team into a bowl game this year and maybe a Rose Bowl in the next few years that he will be here as long as he wants to. I am pleased that the new president believes in the value of a solid football program as well as all sports for that matter. I like his hands on approach. I am confident that Gilbs will respond and the kids will play hard this coming year. He knows when you have this job that people expect you to win. I'm really rooting for the whole program to come back to the elite level it was at for so many decades. columnist and KJR 950 Sports Radio personality, Dick Baird.
Dick Baird was an Assistant Coach (Linebackers) and Recruiting Coordinator at the UW from 1985-1998. He has joined the staff as a featured columnist for both the web site and Sports Washington magazine. In addition to his regular editorial columns, Coach Baird will try to provide some of his unique perspective by answering a few of your selected questions online. If you would like to send in your questions, please CLICK HERE.

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