Kennedy gearing to go

When the Huskies got the services of 35-year-old coach Bobby Kennedy in early February, they got an up-and-comer with an impressive resume. Kennedy came to the University of Washington after a one-year stint at the University of Arizona.

The stop in Tucson was preceded by stops at Penn State under Joe Paterno, Wyoming while under Joe Tiller, and more recently, Wake Forest, where he coached from the mid-90's until 2000.

Now Kennedy moves into the Husky coaching staff. He was hired when Tony Alford returned to Iowa State after the season to become the Cyclones' assistant head coach.

Although Kennedy coached the running backs for the Wildcats, he's handling the wide receivers for Washington. That position has not had a full-time coach since Karl Dorrell took off for the NFL, and even then, Dorrell had the double duty of coordinating the offense. For the most part the receivers have been handled by graduate assistants since Rick Neuheisel arrived back in 1999.

Given the opportunity to coach players like Reggie Williams and Paul Arnold, Bobby Kennedy finds himself anxiously awaiting the start of fall.

"Reggie (Williams) and Paul (Arnold) are great players," the new coach said after spring football had ended.

"And I can't wait to get Wilbur Hooks, Pat Reddick, and hopefully also Justin Robbins back and work with them."

The Husky receiving corps was shorthanded during the spring, playing without the services of the injured Hooks and Robbins, and Reddick, who was finally awarded a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.

Adding to the lack of depth was the loss of Charles Frederick, who was suspended indefinitely from the team at the end of the spring, which left his status and future with the team undecided.

With Williams and Arnold as the only two healthy bodies in the two-deeps, former QB and walk-on Matt Griffith asserted himself in the rotation with a solid spring.

"I've coached receivers in the past," said Kennedy. "Making the move to receivers coach just comes naturally and I'm really enjoying it. We've got a great group of guys and I'm looking forward to seeing how they improve over the summer leading into fall."

Kennedy has been fortunate enough to work with many terrific athletes over his coaching career. At Wyoming, he coached Ryan Yarborough, the nation's second-leading receiver in 1993, and Marcus Harris, who led the nation in receiving yards per game in 1994. At Penn State, he coached All-Americans Troy Drayton and Kyle Brady, two dominating tight ends. And at Wake Forest, he tutored Desmond Clark, the leading receiver in Atlantic Coast Conference history. Last season, while coaching running backs at UA, he tutored Clarence Farmer to a league-leading 1,229 rushing yards for the Wildcats.

Kennedy knows talent and he really likes what he's seen from the super-talented duo of Williams and Arnold.

"They both have so much talent that it puts them in position where they can be great leaders," said Kennedy. "We're talking about two athletic guys that are threats every time they touch the ball."

Williams is 6-4, 215 pounds and has sprinter's speed while Arnold, at 6-1 205 pounds, can run a 4.4 and has posted a vertical leap of over 41 inches.

After those two, there are questions that need to be answered.

Will Wilbur Hooks return to full-speed after missing spring to rest chronic shoulder injuries? Will Pat Reddick return to his 2001 form and produce at the same level after missing spring practices? Will Justin Robbins be back in 2002 after missing all of last season as well as this spring? Will Charles Frederick return to the team, and if he does, will he be a difference maker?

Two other players that Kennedy may take a long look at this fall are freshman Shelton Sampson, a running back with sprinter's speed and good moves, and Jordan Slye, a tall, athletic quarterback with smooth strides and nice hands.

Despite all the uncertainty regarding depth at the position, Kennedy feels confident that the offense will be just fine. With a dual quarterback threat in Cody Pickett and Taylor Barton, an assortment of talent at tailback, an experienced offensive line returning four starters, and two proven receivers split wide, the opener versus Michigan couldn't come too soon for the new Dawg coach.

"It's going to be fun to get it going when we can put all this practice from the spring into use." Top Stories