Ask Coach Baird

Week one was difficult, but there were some bright spots on defense. The most improvement you normally see with a football team comes between weeks one and two. It is especially important for the Dawgs, as they open the conference play on Saturday. And now, onto the letters…

From Dawg fan in S. Cal
: Year two of Gilby is looking worse than year one. Why does our play calling look so bad? Paus and Stanback looked horrible throughout the whole game. Why was Bonnell put in the game so late? What are the odds of Pat Hill becoming our head coach next year. If not Hill who, because the UW Alumni will not put up with another piss poor year from Gilby.

Dick Baird, Dawgman.comA: Wow, let it out. I know, let's fire him right now. That will solve the fact that we still don't have a quarterback or a tight end for that matter, or another wide receiver for that matter. Have you ever heard the expression that you have to play the hand you're dealt? He, his staff, and his kids really want to turn this thing around, too. It's not as though they are excited about their start. But it is a long season and they have to fix the problems, not the blame. Sure it's easy to question the quarterbacks because their mistakes were just so obvious. And as long as I have been around football, everyone, and I mean everyone, at one time or another questions the offensive play calling. It's too easy and very much human nature. That's exactly why I like coaching defense. Nobody understands what you're doing on that side of the ball anyway. But don't forget that the defense is also part of Gilbertson's team and played good enough to win. I understand your concern because we have been used to winning for so many years, and hopefully you got your frustrations out in this letter and your next one we'll have more positives to discuss? We can only hope, being Husky fans.

From Aloha Mike
: Tough first game. Were you impressed with Fresno? They didn't beat the Huskies as much as the Huskies gave them the game. I was just a little disappointed with the Huskies when they had first and goal on the half- yard line and didn't try to smash the ball into the end zone. Wouldn't you want to tell your players that we will dominate the other team by ramming the ball down their throats? Just seems to me that the coaches are sending the wrong message to the kids. What do you think?

Dick Baird, Dawgman.comA: It's easy to question the coaches but seriously, not one of them turned the ball over against Fresno. Could the offensive coordinator have called different plays? Sure! And the execution of those plays may have resulted in similar results. No excuses, just another way to look at things. As far as FSU, I can easily see the Bulldogs winning nine games again this year. I think the Huskies beat them in some areas, but lost the game on the scoreboard due to 5 turnovers, three of them resulting in scores against the Husky offense. Pretty simple, there are few teams in America that can overcome three turnovers for touchdowns or 5 total turnovers for that matter. The Huskies gave this one away. Now they just need to beat UCLA to get past it and move on.

From Thomas Colby
Dear Coach Baird,
: Well coach, after the debacle at Montlake in game #1 many say the season is over already before it even gets started. Wow, where does Gilbertson go from here? I know the coach is getting trashed a lot on the message boards of Dawgman (the only site that really counts because it has more than eight fans), the news media in general, and from the fans who witnessed the game. New year, but same old story. Poor performances, some say bad coaching all around, and fans that are already booing after the first quarter and leaving games early once again. Can't be good for the coach, President Emmert and AD Turner to be seeing and hearing. How can this thing get turned around, and will Gilbertson realistically be given the time necessary to do it? What are your thoughts about all of this so early in the season?

Dick Baird, Dawgman.comA:I can feel you over the internet. Patience is a virtue that unfortunately coaches are not afforded. It is certainly not Keith's fault he has marginal quarterback play, but he's the coach and he must play the quarterbacks that he has available to him. Those kids have little or no experience at this level of play and were obviously tight for the opener. So was the punter. So were the tight ends and receivers. They laid an egg in the opener but I went in with Gilby and watched the video on both sides of the ball. They didn't get beat as bad as the scoreboard indicated. In fact, they won the game up front on both sides of the ball. That is a start. They held Fresno to under 300 yards and only 11 first downs and forced them to punt 7 times plus got two turnovers and their hands on a couple of more. If the defense can play that well for the rest of the season then they will win more games than they lose. They kicking game was solid from the team standpoint but terrible from the skilled standpoint. Poor performance from the kicker, punter, and returner. How many of their 7 punts would Joe Jarzynka have fair caught? Keith can't play anymore and can't even walk for that matter (bad hip). He is trying hard to play the hand is has been dealt. I think that given 2 more recruiting classes like this last one and they will win a Rose Bowl again. I firmly believe that. Does he have that much time? Only Mark Emmert and Todd Turner know the answer to that.

From Jim Marlow
Coach Baird,
: You are the voice of sanity for those of us outside the football program. I have been a faithful fan for over 35 years and even though it sickened me to see us lose the way we did Saturday I did see a glimmer of hope. The defense made me proud. They played tough/hardnosed football for most of the game which was my number #1 concern on the rebuilding of the program. We will see in a few weeks whether that positive trend continues or if Santa Clara is not that good of an offensive football team. The backs ran hard and there seemed to be an improvement in blocking. Punting and field goal kicking is still a problem. My question is regarding the QB position. I expected there to be some inexperience but they looked so inept. Do you think it was nerves on both of their parts that can be quickly overcome or is it a talent thing? (I am starting to dislike the Mariners for taking away a super prospect that might have played this year).

Dick Baird, Dawgman.comA: I wish Santa Clara was on the schedule. Don't panic because they are starting at the right places to turn around the program. You were absolutely correct on that, in that their defense and offensive line are much improved over last year or the past 4 years for that matter. The defense is better. The work ethic is better. The toughness is better. but unfortunately, it didn't translate to the playing field and scoreboard. Keith knows he has to win. It's that simple. That's the challenge of the profession. Hang in there and know the kids and coaches want to turn this thing around much worse than we do.

From DT MacKenzie
Coach Baird,
: we are the most devote Husky fans. However, we are living in Boise ID. What we have witnessed, would have never happened here in Boise! We need to be much more aggressive!!!! Watch, when BSU plays FSU they will attack them relentlessly. How can the Huskies adopt this style of play?

Dick Baird, Dawgman.comA: I think you may be right. Boise State beat FSU last year and probably will again this year. They even beat Oregon State, a team that is no slouch. The Huskies did in fact attack more than at any time last year, but Fresno didn't really pass that much, which kind of leashes the dawgs. It's in the package though, and we'll see more of an aggressive style as the season progresses. Face it, we'll have to try and force things to happen.

Dick Baird, 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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