Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Now that it finally appears that folks are believing Rick Neuheisel when he says that he's staying at Washington, I thought it would be fun to answer some mail. Here is part one of a bunch of letters I finally got to. Happy Holidays!

From Ken Brady
Dear Dawgman: First of all this is a great site, enjoy it a lot. Curious as to who recruits Hawaii for the Dawgs, and who do you think we will end up signing on LOI day from the islands? As of this date there are not a lot of in state recruits committed to the UW due you see us signing any more in state athletes. The focus of this year's recruiting seems to be big lineman both OL and DL what will the focus be on next year?

A: Washington is going gangbusters for two defensive linemen from the Islands. Both Jonathan Mapu (Kuhuhu HS) and Donny Mateaki (Iolani HS) got the "A-treatment" and both seem to really like Washington. I think the Huskies will get both of them. I'm most confident about Mateaki, a defensive end type that could come in right away and play. There is another island product, Brandon Ala (Kamehameha HS), that the Huskies had in for a visit. He is a rush-end type player that had a great time in Seattle. If I were a betting man, I'd say the Huskies get Mateaki and Mapu, but Ala goes elsewhere.

From Sufre Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Is Dick Baird still involved with the Husky program? He seems to have a lot of knowledge/insights.

A: Dick is not officially involved in the program, but he is very good friends with the coaches and also serves as the local Husky expert on KJR radio and as a contributor to Sports Washington Magazine. He is still very connected to the program and loved by the players. He attends a lot of practices and is in the box for every game.
From Tyson
Dear Dawgman:
I was wondering how you see Washington's class? Which of the Poly four (Dennis, Wright, Justice and Bing) do you think we will get? Also do we have a chance at Booker? Also what about the Hawaii boys (ala, mateaki, mapu)? And finally I would love to see Kyle Williams and Nathan Rhodes wearing purple.

A: I love the Husky class, not only for it's quality but also because the coaches took their time before offering anyone. That means the guys they are bringing in are guys that they've scouted very well. Of the Poly guys, the most likely get is Dennis in my opinion. I'm not sure they'll get any of them, though. As for Booker the chances appear to be pretty even money. If he wants to leave home he looks like he'd be a Husky. The Dawgs are battling the hometown team (USC), which can never be discounted no matter what. Nathan Rhodes committed today to Washington and I love the chances of Washington getting Williams. Kyle will visit USC and the UW before deciding in January.
From Harberg
Dear Dawgman:
Dawgman, why in the world did the university sign off on changing the "W" logo? The old one looked so much more distinguished. It said Washington. We had tradition with it and the University just throws it out the window with Nike getting full control of the identity program. Change the logo, fine, but they went too far with the changing of the W. Programs with tradition do not change logos every five years, Like Nebraska, Texas, Usc etc. Sorry I just had to rant on that one!

A: The school actually changed the "W" back in 1994, if I'm not mistaken. I know that under Lambright and the purple helmets, the W was elongated. In fact, I know the artist that did it (don't worry, your secret is safe). The W you see now is much closer than the original one. It was altered again when the shade of mustard gold was changed on the W on the helmet in the mid 1990s. The "W" today is in "Husky Font", which should be around for a long time and is part of the identity program established last year.
From Jeff Johnson
Dear Dawgman:

A: Mapu loved his visit to Seattle and the Huskies are a good bet to get him right now. Kuresa is looking at USC and BYU pretty hard, and possibly Oregon. Washington is no longer in the running. Rhema McKnight will visit in January. Blake Mackey has committed to Colorado.
From Matt
Dear Dawgman:
What is the status of the following players as to eligibility and projected depth chart spot for 2002: Braxton Cleman, Patrick Reddick (6th year?), Jerramy Stevens, Derrick Johnson, Jafar Williams, Anthony Kelley, and Spencer Marona. Greg Carothers is a great player but seems to play more like a linebacker than a safety. Is there any chance of him moving up, possibly to outside linebacker?

A: Cleman will be a 5th year senior, most likely 2nd team behind Alexis. Reddick is gone. Jerramy will make his intentions known after the bowl game and I'll respect his wishes to not divulge them. Derrick Johnson is about a month away from being ready for full contact. Jafar Williams is working at ILB now and will return for his 5th season in 2002. Anthony Kelley will likely return for a 5th year next year, and Spencer Marona has had both shoulders operated on, so he'll have to think it over carefully and make sure he doesn't do any permanent damage if he returns. I don't think Greg Carothers will move to linebacker. He is needed at safety. It is probably the thinnest position the Huskies have right now on defense.
From Joseph McWalters
Dear Dawgman:
I was wondering what the status of Josh Williams is. I know he committed in summer 2000, but then couldn't gain admission. He's from Yakima's Davis Hi . My wife and I make about every home game and since we live in Yakima it would be nice to have a local kid be a Dawg.

A: Josh is playing hoops at Southern Idaho CC. They are a powerhouse in basketball and Josh is a power forward for them. He'll be matriculating somewhere in 2003, probably as a basketball player. He could certainly double-sport, though. Washington will be a player for his services next year.
From Frank B
Dear Dawgman:
I think the offense played as expected this year. The passing game exceeded my expectations (Cody's one tough hombre (avoiding using "cowboy"), but the running game took time to come around (it is still a work in progress and I might expect some new faces on the OL next year). My question is more on the defensive side of the ball. I expected the run D to be tougher. Roberson seemed dinged up all year, Ellis was out some, Hatem and Julian - out. I think we'll need a cover safety. So, what are your thoughts for next year? Young guys got PT, will they step up? Move to a 4-3? A JC or Fr step up? Will Hundley be replaced? (I really did not think that Lambo would go, is the only reason I ask)

A: The defensive line needs to get more pressure. That will make the defensive backs look much better than they did this year. It will also allow the safeties to play looser and not so much run support and get beaten deep. Washington needs a rush DE and a safety in this class. The DE could be Mateaki and the safety is still to be determined. You will see some position changes, quite possibly Ellis to MLB. It depends on what the best tandem of linebackers are, and if Ellis can get healthy. I wouldn't expect any JC help this year. Will Tim Hundley be replaced? Not unless he wishes to go somewhere else. Will he implement a 4-3? He could show more 4-3 than he has in the past if he feels it will be stronger against the run. It all depends on personnel. Do the Huskies have personnel better suited to a 4-3 or a 3-4 on first down? The rest will depend on down and distance.
From Jake Eggimann
Dear Dawgman:
I spend a lot of time on your site, as well as the Insiders site looking at where recruits might end up. Looking at the visits that both Lance Mitchell and Gibril Wilson had from S.F. City College and see that they are given a NR rating with 1 star on the Insiders website. Is this correct? I was under the impression that these players were quite a bit better than that?

A: I think they only got one star because the database is pretty new and the JC rankings aren't really as accurate as they should be. Also, JC kids are much tougher to rate because the level of competition can be awful. Often times you'll only get to see a guy play one or two quarters. But I can tell you that the Huskies wanted both of those players, so the coaches felt very good about them. Losing Wilson to Tennessee hurt a little bit, but life goes on.
From Tacoma Husky Fan
Dear Dawgman:
What is the future of Charles Frederick as a PR or KOR man? He seem to lack concentration and fearful of taking a hit and haven't demonstrated any of his famous move since the early part of the season. Derrick Johnson have a better future next year than Frederick. If the Huskies, Miami, Colorado are playing in Southern California during the holiday, would those other teams beside UCLA and USC compete for those high profile players away from the Huskies?

A: Frederick was named a freshman all-American by The Sporting News, for special teams. It was his first season returning kicks, I'll bet he gets better every year. I can tell you that Washington has not ever had an athlete like him on their roster. He's amazing, and I can't wait to see what he does in hoops this year as well as football next year when he gets more chances to run routes as a WR. I think he will be an incredibly exciting player. So will Derrick Johnson if he can return 100%. In terms of the high profile players from California, the Huskies appear to be in a dawgfight with USC for Lorenzo Booker. They are not competing with Miami for anyone to my knowledge, but did lose Blake Mackey to Colorado. But, I think the Huskies will get Donny Mateaki, who had once favored CU.
From HAA
Dear Dawgman:
Our offensive line showed modest improvement during the year but it has a long way to go to be able to a dominant unit. Who do you see as our best linemen for next year, and who has the most potential?

A: I think the best lineman of the group could be Khalif Barnes when all is said and done. He is smart, strong, and very athletic. Those three things are a recipe for a fine lineman. I think the guy with the most potential is probably Nick Newton. He can be so good and I think he is just scratching the surface after suffering a bad ankle injury last year. I'll bet he improves a great deal in 2002.
From Brent
Dear Dawgman:
I heard a rumor that Rich and ET might be thinking about transferring next year? Have you heard anything about it?

A: No. I've spoken with both and neither one has indicated a preference to leave Washington.

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