Ask Dawgman 1/11/02

Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Recruiting is in full swing, and Washington has four fine offensive linemen in the class with hopes of landing a fifth and/or sixth from Kyle Williams, David Beall, and Stan Daniels. Hang on folks, the ride is nearing the end.

From Jim McFarland
Dear Dawgman: I love your site. I am in it so many times a day from August through February it is ridiculous. I want to take this opportunity to also compliment you, Chris and Kim and the rest of your staff on your journalistic ethics and your approach to the young men who are being recruited. I really, really think you do a very honest and ethical job here. You're kind of the Wall Street Journal of recruiting reporting. Hope all you guys have great holidays and keep up the good work!!

A: Thanks for taking the time to drop a line, Jim. Thank you for subscribing and for the kind words. We've been doing this since 1997 and enjoying the heck out of it. We're glad that you enjoy our coverage.

From Arnold Aquino
Dear Dawgman:
Love the site! My question is to what you think the possibility is of Rondeau returning as the Husky announcer? It would be more than just a shame to lose him, he's part of the Husky legacy in my opinion. Also Barbra Hedges does a wonderful job as A.D. don't you think? Is there a Husky Alumni we could find to be our A.D. after Barbara retires?

A: Another company, true, purchased the Husky broadcasting rights but that company does not own a radio station. They could very well stick with KOMO and Bob Rondeau next fall. My feeling is, if it isn't broken, no need to fix it. I agree, Rondeau is a huge part of the Husky legacy. As for Barbara Hedges, she's done a wonderful job during some very turbulent times. When she retires (which may not be for a while because she's still having a lot of fun!), you might look at Rick Redman, CEO of Sellen Construction and former All-American LB at Washington in the early 1960s as a possible candidate with UW ties.
From Aloha Mike
Dear Dawgman:
A recent article stated that a weakness of coach Neu is his defenses aren't very aggressive. Is that just type of defense or lack of the right personnel? When the Dawgs do get aggressive (blitz), they get hung out to dry. Are they that obvious?

A: There is no question that the defense needs fixing. The front four didn't get that much pass rush, especially late in games, this year. And Washington hasn't had a true free safety since Tony Parrish graduated. True, Hakim Akbar played FS but he's really better suited as a strongside guy. Darnell Bing could be the answer but he's probably more of a run destroyer. The safety I'd love to get would be Mike Davis, Jr. He has already verballed to UW once, we'll see if he does it again. Mike Nixon is another true safety that Bobby Hauck would love to get but he may be a longshot. Fix the pass rush and get better safety play and I think you'll see that this defense would work just fine. Everyone could stay in their gaps and blitzes wouldn't be so dangerous.
From TD Brown
Dear Dawgman:
What do you think the plan is for Franklin Athlete Jordan Slye? I saw him play in High School and he is a tremendous athlete. I would see him as a possible WR? Also what are the plans for Isaiah Stanback, stay at QB? I see him red shirting a year to develop as a QB? Also will Evan Benjamin be competing for a starting safety spot next year? Lastly I recently watched a UW practice and saw Joe Toledo, he is a monster! Will they continue to use him at TE or move him to line?

A: Slye is a marvelous athlete and at least two area coaches believe that he could have just as much, if not more upside, than Stanback as a quarterback. I believe that Slye will definitely get a look at QB first and them moved as necessary. I think Stanback will be a quarterback and remain there until he either cracks the lineup or proves that he could be more valuable elsewhere (safety?). He's definitely a QB right now and for the foreseeable future. Evan Benjamin will challenge for the starting role next to Greg Carothers, yes. As for Toledo, he's a tight end. End of story. He dropped a lot of balls on scout team this year but he was pretty rusty after breaking his foot. I believe he's going to be outstanding in 2002.
From JSM
Dear Dawgman:
Just read the article on Barnes. I really think he has a very bright future at the UW. It also appears that in 2002 the OL could be very young again and pretty deep. I noticed the 2002 possible OL rotation. I didn't see names like Brooks, Savicky, Vanneman and Kava. Will these 4 be able to add to the depth and or rotation?

A: The OL will be very young. Deep, somewhat, as many of the kids in the starting lineup will have played significant minutes. The depth behind them is unproven, however. Brooks is included in those two-deeps. Vanneman and Savicky will have to earn their way into that top rotation of 8-9 linemen. Savicky runs so well, I'd be very curious to see what he could do on the DL. He reminds me of Travis Richardson a little bit.
From Sufre Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Have the coaches ever considered having the second string QB run scheduled series in each game? I like what the Cougs do one series each at the start of the second and fourth quarter. It would seem to have more positives than negatives.

A: I know after talking with Gilby that it would be his preferred rotation to get the second string QB some reps, but it hasn't happened. That's because Washington hasn't had any blowout games in a while. I agree with you, however, that it would be great to get the back up involved in each game so he could be sharp. To script a series for him seems to be a good idea.
From Scott Cook
Dear Dawgman:
This year was so much fun. To watch Cody grow and see Reggie fast becoming the best wide receiver in UW history however I also witnessed some real bad defense on that side of the ball. I live in California therefore I was able to attend the UCLA game. No defense and we were ripped. I attended the ASU game and they could not stop this team either. I then seen the Miami game on TV and do not have to say a thing about that game. I then attended the Holiday bowl game and was really lucky to watch a great game but once again, no defense. My question is this. Is this just due to a lack of good skilled players on the defensive side of the ball or is this a coordinator problem? I hate to point fingers but this team cannot stop anyone. If it's the type of defense. should they consider changing to a 4-3 i/o the 3-4 they are using. If it's the coordinator, would Lambright ever consider coming back due to him seeming to have a decent relationship with Rick. I await your reply and keep up the good work.

A: No pass rush, injuries at corner, and no true free safety definitely hurt. Washington was unable to cover up these holes against Texas and UCLA. Miami was just a better team and had very short fields to work with, an embarrassment to be sure. As I mentioned above, I think the defense could work with the proper personnel. Did the dawgs have it this year? No, at least not against every team. Jim Lambright might consider returning in some capacity, yes. He has a very decent relationship with Rick and the rest of the staff. He and Lynne read this site about every day, so tell him hello.
From Josh and Mike Melhorn
Dear Dawgman:
We love the site, thanks for all of your hard work. It is much appreciated. Joe Kaiser is a great writer. After watching Roy Williams burn our secondary several times in the Texas game we were wondering what types of defenses the Huskies were running. It looked like the Dawgs stayed with man coverage most of the game, but the TV coverage made it hard to tell. Were the dawgs running any nickel or dime packages or double teams on the Longhorn receivers. What do you think the problem was? Also, do you think the Huskies will bring in any new DB's that will make a Reggie Williams type impact in the secondary?

A: Washington runs a 4-3. Many believe it is a 3-4, but that insinuates that the "RUSH END BACKER" is a linebacker. He really isn't most of the time, so it's definitely a 4-3 defense they are running. They don't really have a true middle linebacker, but the "MIKE" is very close to that in that he plugs holes in the gaps created by the defensive line in front of him. Washington did play man coverage a great deal of the game against Texas, and in some cases where they were in zone, it looked like man because someone was out of position. It was a terrible fourth quarter against Texas. Washington has a need at safety. Hopefully Evan Benjamin, James Sims, RayShon Dukes, or a true freshman will be ready to step into that role. If Randy Hart can get improvement from the pass rush up front, it will make the corners and safeties look that much better.
From Kevin
Dear Dawgman:
I wondering about the status of Lorenzo Booker, I know he said that Washington was his leader, but I get the feeling he's just saying that. Is he for real when he says Washington is his favorite and, what are the chances of Booker actually being a husky, considering Coach Alford left for ISU. I know Alford was one of the reasons, he said the Huskies were the leaders for his services.

A: Washington still leads for his services. He spoke with us for about 20 minutes last night (he was nice enough to call because he's kind of ducking media right now). It looks very good for Washington right now. We'll see if that holds after his trips to USC (his other favorite) and Notre Dame. Alford's departure was a blow but Washington is such a good fit for Lorenzo, he realizes that it still may be the best school for him. We'll see how it turns out.
From Anthony Forte
Dear Dawgman:
Do the players get time off after a season ends? When do they start Winter Conditioning? Does Bill Gillespie oversee this? Towards the end of the Holiday Bowl --- why did we go away from passing to Reggie Williams and Paul Arnold? Seems like we played way too conservatively and it may have cost us. We have 12 games in 2002 for the first time. Is this just a one-time change? Will the NCAA allow each team 12 games in 2003 and beyond? Keep up the good work.

A: Washington players get time off after the season ends. They all have off-season workouts that Bill Gillespie and the rest of his staff have designed for them to do in the winter. Gillespie oversees that program. At the Holiday Bowl, Texas changed defenses. They went away from their "press" and went into zones, which confused Pickett once the Longhorns were able to get more pressure on him. That's what happened in the fourth quarter, it was a good adjustment by Texas on defense. Washington plays 12 games in 2003 as part of an NCAA rule. They will do that every third or fourth year for the foreseeable future, as will all division I teams.
From JSM
Dear Dawgman:
how many scholarships do you see the UW giving out on LOI day Feb 6th 2002? I have them signing between 20 and 22? Would that be pretty close? And any rumors that they just might grayshirt 1 or 2 signees?

A: Washington will sign 22-23 kids this year, unless they get some top-notch guys that all want to come. Then they will go all the way to 25. They would be forced to grayshirt some guys in that case, as they cannot have more than 85 scholarship athletes on roster for 2002. At least two of the current verbals are not academically eligible to date, and they would be grayshirt candidates.
From Brent
Dear Dawgman:
Why doesn't the UW go after more JC players? It seems to me that a good JC defensive lineman would fill in nicely for LT. Does Oregon and WSU year in and year out sign some good JC players?

A: Washington is recruiting the JCs much harder now than they used to. It does take time to build up relationships with the JC coaches. Both Mike Bellotti and Mike Price have excellent relationships with JCs where they've helped place some kids. Interestingly enough, Mike Price placed Kai Ellis at CCSF, but he didn't wind up going to WSU so sometimes it doesn't work out. Washington is going very hard at DL Chris Solomona from El Camino JC. They also went hard at CCSF's Lance Mitchell and Gibril Wilson, but didn't get them. They still hope to get Solomona's verbal again.

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