Ask Dawgman - 3/11

Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Here are the answers to the some of the recent questions from the past two weeks. The "mat drills" are now over and the football team is headed for their off-season individual programs that will prepare them for spring testing.

From JSM
Dear Dawgman:
Dawgman, you make it sound like Derrick Johnson is back and that is just great news!!! But how are some of the other injured young men doing as of the middle of March and how they might be come August 31st 2002? Kids like Pickett, J. Williams, Toledo, Singleton, Cleman, Newell, Ellis, Krambrink, Dukes, Harrison? And is there any chance Robbins might be back by August 31st 2002? Could he be granted a 6th year maybe and come back in 2003 with 3 full years left? And what do you really feel the chances are of getting Reddick another year man that would be great!

A: Derrick looks fantastic, quite a bit thicker than he was and looks to be moving well. Everyone you mentioned should be at or near full strength by August 31st, with the exception of Justin Robbins. He's going to be a question mark, but if his heart is any indication, he'll be back. That's one hard working young man. We have not heard one way or the other on Pat Reddick's eligibility, so for now we are assuming that he's completed it. However, he spent so much time on the bench with injuries, a 6th season is not out of the question.
From JSM
Dear Dawgman:
In my mind we and we being the UW are known playing catch up to the UO in all phases of the athletic departments at each school! What is your take on this? I will go to bat that we have had a top 25 type football program over the years for the most part but our men's basketball program isn't even a tier 2 type program! WHY can't the UW be a top basketball program over the long haul or at least a high tier 2 program? We and we being the UW should be embarrassed over this. You can't tell me the UW has the money or the resources to have both football and basketball be contenders year in and year out! I'm not talking championships every year but a men's basketball program that goes to the NCAA's or the NIT year in and year out or comes very close year in and year out! I would think the UW has the money and the resources for that or we all have been fooling ourselves for years! So what are your answers to these questions Dawgman?

A: I share your opinion that there is no excuse why Washington cannot have a men's basketball program that challenges for a tournament bid every year. Oregon is definitely the top of the league right now, having won both the football and men's basketball crowns in the same year. It has been pretty amazing to watch the Washington men's hoops program go from two deep tournament runs to three straight losing seasons. It needs to be fixed. The facilities are in place, the talent appears to be on the rise, now the coaching staff and team have to get on the same page. I would love to see some picks set for Josh Barnard next year. He is the best outside shooter this school has ever had, but you'll never know it because he never had a pick set for him all season. Then he sat on the bench because it's tough to be a shooting guard in an offense that doesn't set good screens. Doug Wrenn is the real thing, but if the offense could be more imaginative and help him out, he would be even better and not feel so much pressure to shoot. Can the UW become a top basketball program? Of course. The facilities and talent are there. The Pac-10 is a deep league so you cannot expect them to win the championship every year, but they should challenge for a NCAA berth every other year and an NIT berth every year. If they do that, hopefully fans will show up to watch them. The crowds at Hec-Ed have been pretty apathetic and quiet. It's somewhat understandable given the three losing seasons in a row, but still disappointing. The program needs to be fixed, and Barbara Hedges has some tough decisions to make. She is definitely up to it; no one hates losing as much as she does. She'll do what's right for the program, of that I have no doubt. There is some great potential on this team with Jeff Day coming on and Anthony Washington entering next year. Wrenn will get some help.
From Matt G
Dear Dawgman:
What are you thoughts on Nate Robinson, the DB out of Rainier Beach? After watching him this past week at the state basketball tournament I believe that he would be an awesome fit at corner. He may be a bit short, but with his speed and 43" plus vertical I think he would do great. Washington desperately needs help at defensive back and I think he would be a great help. He is an incredible athlete, something that the Washington secondary needs. Thanks.

A: I would love to see Nate at slot back, but corner could be a great fit. Height can be a hindrance but Nate could make up for that with his vert and timing. Clifton Abraham played some awesome corner at Florida State and he was no taller than Nate. It's all timing and athletic ability once the ball is in the air. He will also undoubtedly return kicks, and was the best player I saw in either the AAA or AAAA tournaments in hoops. He's a freak.
From Ken S
Dear Dawgman:
The Seahawks recently unveiled their "new look" - a more aggressively styled hawk with slightly different colors. The local news enjoyed broadcasting Brock Huard's comment that the new look for the Hawks was much better than the new dawg that Nike designed for the Huskies. I have yet to meet someone who likes the new dawg - it looks more like a purple coyote or at best a wolf rather than a Siberian Husky (or an Alaskan Malamute as the case may be). I love the new colors, but hate the purple wolf. Do you know if Washington will consider dropping the latter in favor of a mascot that actually looks like King Redoubt or Turbo Carrera?

A: Ken, I hate to say it but you have just met someone that likes the new dawg: me. I think the new Husky logo is great, it reproduces well on shirts, stationary, hats, you name it. It is definitely a departure from the old "rendition" style Huskies that Washington has used in the past, but as far as a logo goes, I really like it. It is the first true logo the school has had that includes a mascot. The others were cartoon renditions that didn't screen well (but embroidered fantastically). I don't think Washington will drop their identity program, no.
From Sufre Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
What do the existing players think about the hoopla surrounding recruiting? The recruitment of N Robinson seemed to be a knee jerk reaction to someone else dropping us. He was barely mentioned and all of a sudden he is signed.

A: The current football players get a kick out of recruiting hoopla, and love nothing more than to hound those guys. They all pay for it in the fall, just ask Reggie Williams, who had his head and eyebrows shaved. As far as Nate Robinson, Washington really did recruit him late. They had to get him interested in them first, and that took awhile. For a long time, it looked as if he would go to USC and play hoops. Then Washington was finally able to turn a corner with him and get him to take a look. He had never been on campus before his official visit, so there was significant work to do. I didn't view it as a knee-jerk, but definitely a late close, and a good one.
From Larry Olsen
Dear Dawgman:
I've been a fan of Husky football for over 40 years. I'm an alum ('68). I can't figure out why with so much pressure to win in football, our AD and Pres. are content with a mediocre basketball program. Bender seems like a nice guy but is either a lousy recruiter or half-assed coach. Time to get someone new who can recruit and compete with the other Pac10 schools!!!

A: The pressure to win in men's hoops definitely went up when they rebuilt Hec-Ed. It wasn't done so it could sit half-empty and quiet. The program needs a fix. Whether it comes from within or outside the program is up to Barbara Hedges. I do think that Bender can win, he's proven that already. However three losing seasons in a row is tough for anyone to stomach. Hopefully Mike Jensen's return to health and Anthony Washington's entrance will help bolster the inside game so Wrenn won't be double and triple-teamed next year. That would make a huge difference. I also think that Charles Frederick, if he gets a chance to play and develop, could be an incredible point guard.
From RBK
Dear Dawgman:
Dawgman, I really enjoy your columns!! When will spring practice start, what is the date of the spring game? Take care and have a GREAT DAY!!

A: Spring ball for Washington begins on April 4th and the final scrimmage will be held April 27th. Thanks for writing.
From J Hemstreet
Dear Dawgman:
Now that the recruiting for 2002 is closed and hopefully your staff has had a chance to take a deep breath, do you expect to do and updated profile of the recruiting class as you have in the past? Thank you for providing such a great site.

A: Most definitely. We've done that for the past three seasons and we'll do it again. Now that many of the incoming recruits are in spring sports (baseball, track), we'll catch up to them and find out how they are doing from time to time.
From Brenda F
Dear Dawgman:
For the 2002-2003 season will Anthony Washington, Brandon Roy, and Nate Robinson be the only new faces? What is the scenario of the Stewart twins going to Washington? It appears Washington is getting depth at the guard positions but bare at power forward and center.

A: Washington has one more scholarship to give, and are hoping to give it to Julius Lamptey. There is serious competition for him, however, but Washington is still banging away. He is a big man that could address the hole you mention in the paint. Also, the return of Mike Jensen will help a lot. The Stewart twins are both guards, but their talent is undeniable. I would love to see the Huskies keep them home because they are local and very talented.
From Ivar
Dear Dawgman:
I, too wish to say thanks for your continuing 'good stuff.' I am a daily reader of Especially January through March while Snow-Birding in Indio, California. My question? Recognizing and acknowledging that successful coaches will be the first considered by programs needing a new head person, and, as a Neuheisel fan, I grow weary of the purported offers to lure him from U-Dub. Are those offers really something to be concerned over? And, might this not be a 'back-door' way for other recruiters to lure prospects from seriously considering casting their lots with the Dawgs? Our experience of prospects decommiting in favor of another program clearly says to me that there is little honor of verbal commitments. And, especially in the last hours before LOI day. Are there NCAA rules in place to protect Verbals from being pursued?

A: Rick Neuheisel will be wooed by the have-nots as well as the NFL for as long as he wins. It's a fact of life, so I wouldn't worry about it. It means that he's winning. If he quits being contacted, then I'd be concerned. It may get used against him in recruiting, but it's nothing that he cannot allay in a face-to-face meeting with parents and PSAs. I don't see it as a negative at all, really. As far as verbal commits go, they are not binding until they fax in their signed letter of intent. Until then, all verbals are fair game. For anyone. Thanks for the kind words.
From Terry F
Dear Dawgman:
As a longtime Husky fan I have mixed emotions about the men's basketball program. Sure I'd like to see them win 16-17 a year at the minimum than the 10-11 the last three years. I see Bob Bender doing a good job since he's been here. I recognize they're not winning but he's getting local basketball players to go to UW instead of elsewhere. The criticism Bob Bender is getting shows people do care about the men's basketball program. I doubt that was the case before he came. In support of Bob Bender, people need to recognize to build a solid basketball program you need continuity. You need to keep the state's best basketball players in-state. You need leadership from the players. You need experienced players. Having Dan Dickau and Senque Carey transfer has held the Huskies from having that leadership and experience. Curtis Allen and C.J. Massingale have had to get that from year one. Will Curtis Allen transfer if he's not the starter? What was the reason for Dan Dickau transferring when he was at UW?

A: Great point about continuity. It's a balancing act to decide when to be patient and stay the course and when to say "enough is enough". Bender has done a nice job of keeping the local talent home in recent years. It is a shame that both Dickau and Carey transferred out, as both would be starters. Dickau transferred because he wanted a smaller college-town environment, and he was reunited with high-school buddy Zach Gourde and others. He's much more comfortable there, and he has the green light to shoot at any time from anywhere at Gonzaga. Right or wrong, he didn't enjoy that same freedom at Washington.
From Paul A
Dear Dawgman:
I've been browsing this website almost everyday for the past 2 years now and I've enjoyed reading the articles you have in here. Being a Dawgfan in Texas is very difficult but your website is a Godsend. I have 2 questions - 1) With the porous defenses that we've had in recent years, do you think that the Dawgs will ever have a defensive unit like the Purple Reign and Purple Haze defenses? 2) Since our defensive lines in the past 2 years have not put pressure on the QB will there be a huge difference in our defensive scheme this coming season?

A: Thanks for visiting the site Paul. I think Washington can have a dominant defense again, but I'm not sure you can hold them up against the Purple Haze of 1991. Those guys were one of the best defenses in college football over the past decade. No one has come close to that, although Arizona's desert swarm was a pretty good facsimile. Will it require a scheme change? Unless the front four can get more heat on the quarterback without selling out (read: BLITZ), a scheme change may be necessary. It was the switch to a 46-attack that vaulted the '91 defense into history. However by 1994, offensive coordinators had figured it out and were beating it regularly. Everything goes in cycles. Four years ago the zone blitz was the rage, but it's now almost passé. Washington has the potential to be a great defense if they can get more pressure up front and get good safety play. The athletes are good enough, for sure.
From Ken C
Dear Dawgman:
I have enjoyed reading your column and wild recruiting season that has just ended. I have a couple of questions for you. The first one, is Derrick Johnson going to be 100 by next fall? I know our secondary could really use him back! The second question has to do with Cody Pickett. Could he be the first University of Washington athlete to letter in football five different seasons? Thanks Dawgman, see you at Husky stadium!

A: Derrick appears to be well on his way to being 100%. We'll see how much contact he takes this spring and how he responds to it. As for Pickett, even though he only took 12 snaps as a true freshman, the media guide lists him as a letter winner that year. If he did, in fact, letter, then he would be the first player that I can remember to letter five times in football.
From Aloha Mike
Dear Dawgman:
Aloha Dawgman. It seems that the dawgs on the defensive side need to re-build. Seems that if the opposition could handle Tripplett they did place a real strain on the DBS. How will Hopoi and Mateaki figure in the defensive scheme? How much will the departure of the two coaches affect the continuity of the team for next year? Look forward to seeing your site daily.

A: I believe that Hopoi could be a HUGE addition to the front four, probably at REB or DE. Mateaki is a true freshman but if he reports in shape, he could help, too. It all depends on how big Mateaki gets in the off-season. He's about 280 now. The departure of Tom Williams is significant in that he had a lot of input on the defense and his linebackers. With Cornell Jackson replacing him, the defense will undoubtedly change. The departure of Tony Alford won't be as significant because he was only part of Neuheisel's staff for one season.
From Mick in Seattle
Dear Dawgman:
Dawgman, this site is still awesome. Still. Three years for me and it keeps getting better. Thank you very much and your great staff. Tui A from anchorage he looked a little out of shape this year and kind of slow. Was it my imagination? Also could our D-line be borderline or dominating by the 2003 season?

A: Thanks for the great words Mick, and thanks for visiting the site. As for Tui A, he did report heavier than Randy Hart would've liked and it may have set him back a little bit. Still, the expectations for him are great. The defensive line has a great deal of talent returning. Could they be dominating? If Hopoi adds as much as I think he will, yes. They could very well dominate. But they'll need more out of Jerome Stevens and Terry Johnson. Both have a year under their belts now, and will be fun to watch.

From Jonathan Tallariti
Dear Dawgman:
What a great site you have, always the best information! How do you think Rich Alexis will fare this year? How many yards is he capable of with the now experienced O line. Will he even get enough caries with the passing game supposedly one of the best in the country?

A: I think Rich will do great. He will not report as big as he did last fall, he'll stay lighter. And hopefully his shoulder will remain 100% so he can be more punishing. He could go for 1000 yards if the offensive line does their thing. All but one starter return on the OL, and game experience in the trenches cannot be underestimated.
From Dawg93
Dear Dawgman:
I haven't heard much talk of E.T. with regard to next year, nor have I heard the effort goes on the hardwoods. How's he doing? I certainly hope he decides to stick it out and unleash his potential.

A: Charles didn't play at all this year in hoops, but he's having fun at school. I think he'll stick around and I think he'll be awesome. Washington has had very few athletes like him in terms of athletic abilities. Some inside the program feel he is the best point guard on the Husky team, and he was named freshman All-American for his return prowess on the football field last year. He's only going to get better and should crack the WR rotation this year.
From Julie S
Dear Dawgman:
Which Recruit will have the biggest impact next year? What about Isaiah Stanback? He'll redshirt next year, we know that, but will he jockey for a starting role as a Sophomore?

A: I think that Donny Mateaki could have the biggest impact this year, if he reports in shape and ready to go. Stanback is an amazing athlete who's upside is unlimited. I think he could definitely challenge for a starting role as a sophomore, but he'll need to develop quite a bit. He knows this, and is ready for the challenge. He and Casey Paus give Husky fans a lot to be excited about for years to come at QB. It's a nice one-two punch and both are very different from the other in terms of what they can bring to the table. It's an ideal situation.

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