Coach's Corner

Hello Dawg fans. Sweet 16! And how sweet it is, two years in a row our Huskies have given us much joy in March. Now the Dawgs get another shot at UCONN. On paper it looks daunting, but that is why they play the game. Lorenzo will have something cooked up, rest assured. And now onto the letters . . . .

From Gerald Weishaar
: The Huskies have a few players that went from high school to prep school. Who pays the tuition, room and board for these players: scholarship, private funds or other?

A: A very good question and I'm not sure I can answer it correctly but I'll give it a shot. Prep schools originally were designed sort of like a junior college to prepare you for college (academically). They were always more prevalent on the east coast where people wanted to give their kids a second shot at getting admitted to an ivy league school. When the NCAA brought in Prop 48, however, many prep schools immediately put their names on the map by recruiting and retaining hoops stars for their teams. Most of the stars receive some sort of assistance in the form of scholarships and grants plus their collegiate eligibility clock doesn't start ticking yet. Consequently, they are still going to high school, playing against other high schools or prep schools and try to get their test score up so they can go straight to a 4-year school rather than going the JC route. With the recent NBA rule change of not allowing 18 year olds to enter the draft, I'll bet they become even more popular for the kid who doesn't qualify. There are only a few that play football but almost all of them have a hoops team. I think the name fits perfect. They "prep" them for college. To think that any private school doesn't "recruit" is being naïve, and if you can play hoops, you'll qualify for assistance. I think they are good for the kid who needs that extra preparation for college admittance.
From Jim Gregson
Dear Coach Baird,
: I know we should be over this by now but what the hell? How can Ohio State get away with violations, acknowledged by the university, in several athletic departments, and get off with a fine? This is ridiculous! Is this just further proof that Barbara Hedges was the biggest disaster in the modern era of Husky sports? Schilling, you made the wrong choice.

A: The Buckeye punishment seems like peanuts compared to what was given to the Huskies. Remember when Cameron Dollar screwed up his first year by seeing a kid at the wrong time? You'd have thought he committed a felony, and the punishment was almost the same that the Buckeyes got for paying their players. To see their team in the tournament after getting caught giving away extra benefits (Hell they paid their players just like California did a few years ago) but got half the penalty and still got to go to the tournament is a joke. This by the same school that has just admitted extra benefits to their quarterback and running back in football. Do I sense "lack of institutional control?". What a crock. The "fab five" of Michigan was all on the payroll at Michigan as well so at least the Big 10 is consistent. I really think that Washington was weak in the 1990s. Combine that with the fact that the Pac-10 conference turned on them and therein lies the discrepancy in punishments. Heck, Joey Galloway got busted right before they played us one year, and so did BIG Daddy Wilkinson, but nothing ever became of it. That is one school that has made an art of defending itself, and NO ONE can call them weak. My comment on Steve Schilling is that he went for the same helmet and left because Washington had fallen on tough times. Had the Huskies continued to win the past couple years they probably would have gotten him to stay.
From Chuck Johnson
Coach Baird,
: I just read the article on Ohio State's 3 yr probation on their Basketball team. It seems to me to be a slap on the wrist compared to what the Huskies received both in the Don James & Rick Neuheisel cases. What do you think? I enjoy your articles.

A: I totally agree with you. I thought the exact same thing but it goes to show you what defending yourself will do. Ohio State did, we didn't. Also, it is important to realize that their own conference didn't turn on the Buckeyes like the Pac-10 did against Washington. Also, remember they just got in trouble for paying their football players extra benefits and with everything that came out of the Maurice Clarett scandal, you have to be amazed at how little of a penalty their school actually got. That is the difference between a strong conference and one that drifts like the Pac-10. The Big 10 has balls and the Pac-10 has pebbles when it comes to power. It still goes back to defending your coaches and kids. Notice that the penalties followed the assistant coaches who left to go to other schools. In our case though, no assistant coaches committed any crimes with the exception of myself, who gave kids fruit baskets and welcome signs. The big difference is that Ohio State's administration didn't turn their back on their teams the way Washington's did on Don James.
From Vino Orsley - "Husky Heat"
Coach Baird,
: I totally agree with some of the thoughts around defense and how it can have an impact on Husky stadium. I also know that the key to the DAWGS will be the corners!! I thought they improved later in the year, but what are your thoughts on our corners? How do you see the secondary shaping up come fall?

A: The corners will be much better this coming year due to experience alone. I really like Roy Lewis and Matt Fountaine, especially if they can stay healthy. Matt and I go back thru family because his brother, Jamal, played for us in the nineties. I really like his folks and he is a wonderful young man who should be much improved. Roy and I got acquainted his first year after he transferred from San Jose State. He is a real hitter besides being very quick. They are both returning starters and should be more effective in one on one man coverage. They picked up a JC corner (Jordan Murchison) out of SFCC and you'd hope he could help as well. We'll see, once he gets on the field. I have always thought that Dashon Goldson could flourish as a cover guy if given the chance, but he has been playing free safety. If Ashley Palmer, another JC signee, is as good as I think he is, Goldson might end up helping the Huskies on the corner. I know Defensive Coordinator Kent Baer would like to be able to depend on single man coverage in order to be able to put more pressure on quarterbacks. I think the corners will be up to the task and you will see more coverage packages, more disguise, and more of an attacking style out of the secondary come fall. Remember that solid cover corners are probably the hardest players to find, develop, and refine once they get into your program. Good question, long answer. 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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