Ask Coach Baird

We are almost through the month of July. The Dawgs have been doing seven on seven drills and undergoing changes in the house of horrors, otherwise known as the Kaligis/Emtman zone. We are getting closer and closer to Husky football season, folks. And now, on to the letters…

From Hawaiian Husky
: There was an article in today's Honolulu Advertiser regarding proposed changes to recruiting rules. I have several questions for you:
1) How long does it take for proposals like this to take effect on the average?
2) what are the chances that all or some of these will be accepted?
3) who's gonna define that gray line between what is luxury treatment and what isn't?
4) do Husky recruits fly 1st class?

I personally feel that some of these items are a good idea, but instead of a gray line, it looks more like a wide gray band in defining what is luxury and what is not. Would the Metro Grill now be considered "extravagant?" While flying a swim team recruit in coach is probably ok, I think it's unreasonable to ask a 6-10 forward or a 6-6, 300# DT to ride coach for a few hours.

I also find it interesting that a recruit from Samoa can be flown on a private Nike corp jet to a school (does that story quack like a duck?), but a short ride from a home on the lake to the stadium on the lake is taboo. While I can appreciate June Jones's point about leveling the playing field for some of the smaller schools, I have to wonder how many recruits really make their decision based on their luxury treatment during recruiting and would you really want him if that were the case?

A: Thanks for the link to the article. I have read it and will write an opinion for the website. Thanks for the lead.
From Bill Muench
: while there may not be much news to report on this month, I'd sure appreciate hearing about some of the ex Husky players of the past and where and what they're doing now. I graduated in '59, and still remember Schloredt and Hivner et al. I also seem to recall a Bill Douglas and the Rose bowl we lost when he got hurt. Grrrrr. It would make for some fun reading this month if someone could round some of that info up.

A: You are indeed a vintage Dawg. That was a great era of Husky football and l lived it with you only I was in junior high and high school. It is how I'll always remember real Husky heroes. I know Greg Lewis has been active trying to network the alumni who played for the Dawgs. I am sure Dawgman himself will be reading this and realize there is interest out there.

Dawgman note: Derek Johnson did one on Mark Lee and will do one on Antowaine Richardson and Dan Eearnisee shortly.
From True Dawg Jo
Dear Coach Baird,
: I know Emmert and Turner are just getting their feet wet, but how long do you think until they make renovation plans for the stadium and facilities? An 85-90,000 seat house would be easily filled, becoming one of the loudest in the country and would release the flood gates for recruiting. Dig out the track, lower the field and become a National power again. What's the time table in your view? One, two years?

A: I am positive they will begin plans immediately, but don't expect any ground breaking for at least 3-4 years, with a completion about 2010. We will see it someday because it makes too much $en$e.
From Aloha Mike
Coach Baird,
: You were the show at the Longview coaches tour. Why didn't you get more time to speak? How is coach Lambo doing? After his surgery, you said that he came through very well. Will give us an update? Thanks.

A: The Alumni is paranoid of my taking the mike and making people laugh. It's that simple. In fact, the Coaches tour is no longer really the coaches tour. They even railroaded Randy Price in Longview out of it. He got sick of their shtick. It used to be that Don, and I, and the coach who recruited that area would all attend and work the alums for jobs, help, and networking. Legally, of course. Occasionally other coaches would attend like the hoops coaches but basically it was about Husky Football and promoting the football program throughout the state. I wonder who changed it all? She's gone now.

Coach Lambright is on the road to recovery and is now only months removed from major surgery, but is adjusting to the changes. Everyone knows he is a warrior and he is battling to win. He has lots of grandchildren and a lovely wife, so he is a very rich man and feels tremendously blessed. I expect to see him at Husky games this fall. He certainly appreciates everyone's support.
From Carolina Dawg
Coach Baird,
: The University of Virginia has "17" verbal commitments and Maryland has "13". USC has "1", Notre Dame has NONE, Tennessee has "3", Penn State has "1", Oklahoma has "4", Nebraska has "2", Miami, FL "2". Georgia "2", Georgia Tech "1", Florida State "2", Florida "1", Alabama "1". Coach, what am I missing here?

A: Early commits are more common back east. That is a reality. I think it can be a good thing to wait and see myself. I really think you want to watch a kid play his senior year plus if he's not being recruited by anyone else, then maybe you're on the wrong kids. Most want to take at least another visit. Penn State learned it the hard way. They started going for the bird in the hand and had that many commits in the spring about 5 years ago. They were taking kids right before their camp and offering them a take it or leave it deal. The problem was their camp wasn't a full contact camp and many of the kids ended up being just OK players and they lost the really good ones because they never saw them play as seniors. You only have so many spots and it always hurts to stop recruiting a really good one before they even play a game. At any level, the senior year is when you expect them to be at their best. I think the Huskies have about three commits right now and if you can have twice that many by the time the season is over, then twice that by Christmas is about the right pace. It just gives you more time to evaluate. Besides, I think they have less than 20 spots this year. They will also save spots for Bankhead and whoever else has to work on their test scores.
From Snowman
Dear Coach,
: Any reason why Jonathon Stewart is not even talking about Washington as a possibility? This guy seems like a big time recruit and he has spoken about all of the attention he is getting from WSU. What do you think about the new AD and how does it fair for Gilby?

A: I think the new AD is an excellent choice because of his reputation and integrity. Keith knows he has to win games. It's that simple. Likewise I'm sure that Todd Turner knows enough about football that stability is critical and the Huskies will have a much better time of turning around the program if it stays stable. Coming in and firing Gilbertson because the Huskies don't win would be another disastrous change. He's already told Keith he wants him to succeed, and that he'll help him any way that he can. That is a big change from the last AD.

Stewart has shown no love for the Huskies to this point and appears to want to go away to school. It is that simple. However, once the fall rolls around and he can analyze the Huskies, they may have an excellent chance of landing him. Why? Because of Mom, that's why. If family is really important to a kid and to his parents, then the best decision is sometimes to stay at home and go to school where your parents can come easily. It just makes dollars and sense. I know the Huskies have offered him, and I know that they will wait for him. I know he will be given their highest priority. But still, he is being recruited by everybody including Miami, and he has been getting a steady anti-Husky barrage from the Ducks. It is uphill at this point, but it's one of those things that you just try to let run its course and not panic. They need to get a "visit" out of him first. Then bring him and his parents up to Seattle and give them the royal Seattle treatment.
From Kevin Dobson
Dear Coach,
: Coach Gilbertson, Dr. Huntsman, and Dr. Emmert;

I've been thinking about a third alternate uniform jersey for the Dawgs. Ultimately, uniforms are a minor issue for most coaches but I think they can be used, on occasion, as a motivational tool to fire up both the players and the fans. For many Husky fans, like me, the Jim Owens era was a time period when we were introduced to Washington football. I began attending Husky games in 1970 with my Dad (a long time UW employee and RABID Husky football fan). The fifties, sixties, and seventies are the decades that many Husky fans fell in love with UW football. I still remember the scent of pipe tobacco drifting through the stands, the Ballad of Sonny Sixkiller, the attitude checks conducted by Rob Weller in the student section, the varsity/alumni spring games, and the navy jerseys with rounded numbers. Last year, when Jim Owens was honored at halftime, I thought it would have been neat if the Huskies ran out on the field wearing retro uniforms from his era.

Of course they could have been tweaked to integrate the current gold color to match the pants and helmet. But , they must have the dark navy with the rounded numbers. I think the current helmet decals would have worked fine with this retro jersey. Wouldn't it be a shock to the loyal Husky fans, young and old, to see the Huskies warm up in their current home jerseys, then storm out onto the field with a uniform similar to the one worn by Sonny Sixkiller?

Can this happen? I guarantee, the stadium would explode! We need a fresh start, with a link to the traditions of the past. We need Fresno State, a national TV audience, players, recruits, etc. to see what Husky football is all about. It's time to start having fun again!

Sincerely, Kevin Dobson - Go Huskies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A:I support you all the way. At the very least bring back the colors purple and gold. I'm sick of this lavender and silver-gold trim. Nike has no right to dictate the change in color any more than Barbara Hedges had the right to OK it. While they're at it they may as well bring us back a Husky to be the mascot instead of the current ferret which now graces everything. Sometimes when you want to go more modern and keep up with the Jones, you lose a lot of what is viewed tradition and that causes a lot of damage and strife. At least let the public or fans have a say in the process. My friend Jim Lambright learned that the hard way when he changed the color of the helmet from gold to purple (even if it was a real dark purple). It was not a popular move but few realized he was actually going back to the traditions of the Owens days when the purple helmet meant 110%. People were very excited when Rick Neuheisel changed it back to the Don James gold. Well, I want to go back to real purple and gold colors and a real Husky looking dawg. I'm sick of going into my Vet and seeing pamphlets on the wall for ferrets that looks exactly like "our" Husky. I'll support your cause on the radio and in my writing. Retro is cool everywhere else. Why not with Husky football!! 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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