Ask Coach Baird

Hello Dawg fans. July is here, meaning we are almost through the summer conditioning period and getting ready for fall camp to begin. Well, OK, it's another six or so weeks but nonetheless, the time to strap on the chin-strap is close. And now, onto your letters . . . .

From Bill Muench
Coach Baird,
: After reading some recent Dawgman articles on some QB's the Huskies are looking at, as an ex-recruiter yourself, I have a question for you: With someone like Jake Locker coming on board and with all the hype he's gotten, how do you talk to future QB prospects like Killsgaard, Brewster, or Kavanaugh as far as encouraging them to choose UW? Particularly now that Fouch is in? While Jake probably just laughed at that article, I personally think that Jim Moore's "savior" article hurts more in recruiting than anything else. I enjoy your articles.

A: Having other local quarterbacks is not a bad thing. We signed Tui when we already had Brock and we signed Damon Huard when we already had Billy. You look for competitors. Guys who want to come in and compete. If you lose a kid because he doesn't want to play second fiddle, then so be it. Drew Bledsoe made that choice when we had already signed Billy Joe. You need 4-5 quarterbacks in your program on scholarship. I remember standing on the sidelines with Damon during spring ball right after he had signed when Mark Brunnell went down with a knee. I turned to him and said, "You're now number two on the depth chart". That is precisely why the NFL carries three deep at that particular position. I've seen two of the current quarterback prospects already and would offer either or both.
From John Young from Kirkland, WA
Coach Baird,
: I was wondering about Coach Willingham's decision to not schedule the game with the University of Hawaii in early December, 2006. I thought it would have been a great thing for the loyal fans, and especially for the athletes. Sort of a reward for everyone for all of the evil we have experienced for the past couple of years. Taking into account now that the NCAA is allowing schools to schedule 12 games, why not do this one? One last question, I really look forward to future scheduling and plan my vacations accordingly. In the past I have been able to see three years out but for some reason the UW will only provide the schedules for 2006 & 2007, but not 2008. Can you help?

A: I too was disappointed in not having the Hawaii trip as with my KJR job I would have gotten to go. Knowing Coach Willingham he is very concerned about important things like family, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that this game may have prevented his kids from having Thanksgiving with their families. I don't know for sure, but that seems to be a logical reason. Television and the school pocketbooks don't give a damn about the kids. That is precisely why I think all conference games should end the same weekend - before Thanksgiving. Enough kids miss Christmas with their families already. But, I'm a family first person and my values are not always in sync with college football.
From Ron Siegel
Coach Baird,
: A BELATED 60TH BIRTHDAY. I'M A FULL SUBSCRIBER TO SCOUT.COM, THE ENTIRE PACKAGE. ENJOY YOUR COLUMN (S). IF YOU NEED. ANYTHING, PLEASE FEEL TO GET IN TOUCH. WORKING ON MY ALL-STATE TEAM, TOO MANY QB'S AND NOT ENOUGH RUNNING BACKS THIS YEAR.

A: Good to hear from you Ron. I'll contact you off-line.



From Chuck Munson
Coach Baird,
: I'd like your perspective. This coming fall, 1) what is your personnel forecast for the O-line and linebacker two-deeps, and 2) how would you compare personnel at both positions this coming fall with similar personnel during your last year on the Washington coaching staff?

A: From looking at practice and knowing the existing depth I would summarize the two deep as follows:
OL: Stanley Daniels, Clay Walker and Chad Macklin all have started before and there is no reason to suggest that all three will be back in the lineup. I really like Ben Ossai and believe he and Juan Garcia will be in the mix as well. Sophomore, Nathan Flowers is finally strong enough to help and certainly Casey Bulyca shows a streak of meanness that should give him a chance to compete. The giant, Morgan Rosborough, is slowly transforming himself and his size alone should make him a candidate in a year or two. He has made great strides since coming to Washington. Ryan Bush is a bit undersized but is a bulldog and will give depth. The return of Erik Berglund and William Kava to the program is still to be determined as to their roles. One would have to think that the JC kid, Aaron Mason, could contribute should he make it into school. He was highly touted out of Santa Monica JC and considered one of the top 100 JC prospects in the nation.
LB: The fastest are the youngsters Chris Stevens and EJ Savannah, but Scott White is the savviest and the most experienced. It will be hard not to see him and fellow senior Tahj Bomar not on the field strictly due to experience. Bomar filled in well when Joe Lobendahn went down last year and will be fighting off Trenton Tuiasosopo at the MIKE or middle backer position. I have always liked and have been waiting for Dan Howell to break into the mix and think that he, like Stevens and Savannah, also gives great speed to the depth. Kyle Trew has been in the program for a number of years and is due. A walk-on kid really caught my attention in the spring. Joshua Gage appears to have earned himself a spot at least on special teams. Incoming freshman, Donald Butler, looked good on his video and will be interesting to watch and if they use Matt Houston there as well then look out because he too can fly. That is the thing I really like about Chris Tormey's kids is that they all can really run. I think this group has as much potential because of the speed that the group we had in 1998. There is no real thumper yet, like Lester Towns or Ben Mahdavi, but a lot of them remind me of Darrel Daniels who ended up a pretty good backer . All of them have better speed than Lester, Marques Hairston, or Todd Johnson. White is very similar to Johnson but has yet to make the number of big plays that Todd did.
From Brett Johnson
Coach Baird,
: Thanks for continuing to be positive with this program, I truly believe they will have a winning season this year, and Stanback will be the surprise QB in the country. Were Palmer, Reece and Mason able to attend school this summer? Also, any update on whether Jefferson will be eligible this fall?

A: Palmer, Reece, and Mason are all in summer school and are on schedule to matriculate to the UW if all holds. Jefferson isn't a good bet to make it. Not at all.
From Steve Bowman
Coach Baird,
: In reference to your article, "Don James didn't quit." I want you to know, you, Don, Jim and the players were not the only ones that cried when all this crap from the upper campus came down. The real Huskies, that played football, and understand what you gave us, cried as well. That summer of 1993 was God awful for us too. Please know the real Dawgs love all of you and wish you the best. God bless you for your old school values and toughness! The question is this: Is the liberal upper campus still at threat to the program? You mention in your article that Don's conservatism got him in trouble. You also suggested that opposition from the upper campus liberal establishment is still there. (Football is not PC or gentile.) The only way out of this downward spiral is the truth. I know this is a loaded question, but your candor is deeply appreciated.

A: First of all I think that all college campuses tend to be more liberal than conservative with the exception of maybe Oral Roberts and other private church schools. I firmly believe that it was a personal jealousy that created Coach James problems with upper campus at that time. They also wanted to get their hands on Mike Lude's treasury. Secondly, I really believe there is a more positive relationship between upper and lower campus today than any time in the past 30 years. The current UW administrations appears to be on the same page and President Emmert sure seems to understand the window through which the public often views a university, that being athletics. Just look at Oregon State for example. Their recently won NCAA baseball championship is about the biggest thing ever for that campus and school. Maybe it was just my own paranoia but I felt there were some on our campus who resented our success in football. However, I have always accepted that as a reality within the educational world. Many consider sports extracurricular where as I have always viewed it as an extension of the classroom. I think the pieces are in place to see a complete turn around in the UW football program. They will go back to the Rose Bowl under Tyrone Willingham. Mark my words.
Dawgman.com 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 Dawgman.com 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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