Dawgbytes - 9/2

Nearly everybody is healthy and everybody is on campus and ready to go. When it comes to Sunday's historic tilt between Fresno State and Washington, the storylines have been drawn. The matchups are set. Now it's just a matter of getting to game-time without a hangnail or headache. The preparations are almost complete.

The Huskies finish work today with their last practice in pads, but with only two days to go until gameday, there's not much more that needs to be worked on.

Casey Bulyca is now officially on campus and is raring to go. The 6-5, 300-pound frosh from Woodinville will redshirt, giving both offensive and defensive lines a completed look.

"He was not here, then he was here," Gilbertson said Thursday of Casey's battle with the Clearinghouse. "Then he was not here, then he was here. Then he wasn't, but now he's back here again.

"He'll redshirt. "He's so far behind, he'll redshirt. But with him, (Nathan) Flowers, Jovon O'Connor, (Tyler) Ashby and (Ryan) Bush - that's a good-looking offensive line. And then you put them with Jasper (Henry), (Caesar) Rayford, (Greyson) Gunheim, (Erick) Lobos and (Jordan) Frisbee - that's a pretty good-looking defensive line."

Even though Rayford will also redshirt, Gilbertson's keeping an eye on the youngster from Bethel High.

"He needs a year of working out in the weight room," Gilbertson said of Caesar. "I need to keep (Lorenzo) Romar away from him. I saw him talking to Lorenzo, and the last guy he did that with (Nate Robinson) I haven't seen him since."

Rayford was also a standout hoopster for the Braves.

Casey Paus continues to work with the ones, but Gilbertson has not seen any change in demeanor in the junior signal-caller from New Lenox, Illinois since being named starter.

"Titles don't mean much to me," he said. "You want respect or loyalty, you have to earn it. You want fear - you gotta earn it. Regardless of your position, nothing is given. Even the President of the United States has to earn peoples' respect and loyalty, got to earn their votes and their trust. It's no different, even from a coach. Just because you've got a title, you still have to earn those things from the people you coach. That's what I think."

"He's always kind of had that," Gilbertson added when asked about Paus' ability to get guys to rally around him. "He's always been a confident guy, studious and bright. He knows what we are doing."

The one questionable player for Sunday - tight end Joe Toledo - appears to be moving closer to 'possible' status come game-time. "He's much better today," Gilbertson said. "How much he'll do, I don't know. I have to see him move around. And it wouldn't surprise me to not see him do anything in practice tomorrow."

Other than that, Gilbertson proclaimed his team healthy, but considering what happened last year it's still not making the Husky Head Coach rest any easier.

"The secret is to keep them up for eleven games," he said. "We were really healthy going into the season last year, and after the first two games we were a totally different team. So I'm thrilled they are back, now they need to stay back. With (Rob) Meadow, Joe (Lobendahn), (Joe) Toledo, Charles (Frederick) every other week, Chris Singleton, Tusi (Sa'au) - it just wore us down. We lost a lot of guys. That was hard on us. But so far, so good."

So now that things on the football field are in a 'let's wait and see' mode, Gilbertson took time to address Husky fans in attendance Thursday at the Kickoff luncheon at Dempsey Indoor.

"One of the things we sell big in recruiting is the fact that people are so involved here and really care about the program," he said. "I don't know of anybody else that has a Picture Day that's as well attended as ours. I've never been to the south, but I don't know anyone on the west coast that does. And we have the Kickoff lunch today with 800-1000 people. It's quite a positive thing. People really care about this team and I think it impacts the young kids. They don't know what a big deal it is until they get here and see it."

New University President Mark Emmert took time to talk, as did new Athletic Director Todd Turner. Emmert singled out former UW Football Coach Jim Lambright, as Lambright was Emmert's 9th-grade PE teacher in Fife.

"I'm going to ask Jim what he gave him for a grade," joked Gilbertson.

Junior Coffey was also at the luncheon. "That man could play," Gilbertson said of the former Husky tailback, who was Washington's leading rusher in 1962. "He was a great football player."

Two people, Gertrude Peoples and Bruce Richards, were honored at the luncheon. Peoples is the 2004 recipient of the Frank Orrico Award, given to a non-letterwinner for her service to the athletic department, and Richards is the 2004 recipient of the Dave and Ruth Cohn Award, for service to the athletic department by a former UW letterwinner.

"It was a nice tribute to Gertrude," Gilbertson said. "She is revered by the former players. She is like a Mom to a lot of them. And there are still kids that are intimidated to come around her that didn't finish. She did so much for Husky football, it's incredible. She's the greatest."

Gertrude has been involved at Washington for the past 33 years, starting first for Student Athletic Services from 1972 through 1995, and then was brought into the football program as a Special Assistant at the behest of Rick Neuheisel in 1999.

Gilbertson was the catalyst for Peoples' hire.

"When I came to work for Rick Neuheisel, he said, 'Who do we need that isn't here right now?' and the first person I mentioned was Gertrude Peoples. So he said, 'Tell me about her', so I did and I told Rick about her and met her and she came back to work for the athletic department. The football program, really. She's terrific. Rick was really good about bringing her back."

Dawgman.com Top Stories