Coach's Corner

Attrition is always a reality in college football. You have to expect to lose players every year for many different reasons. Some leave due to homesickness, others because they desire to get more playing time at another school, while some leave simply because they find the game overwhelming or they lose their desire to play.

Sometimes it is because of a personal crisis such as a death in the family or a pregnancy, but most often it is because of permanent injury or because they had a bad time of it at school.

A college roster is always changing with players coming and going. That is one huge reason I never thought the particular ranking of a recruiting class was important at all. Each class can change drastically due to addition and attrition.

The Huskies took a hit to their depth this summer and lost four scholarship players to academic issues, and three others due to injuries. To lose seven squad members is a major hit to anyone's depth, regardless of whether or not they were starters. Washington didn't have much margin for error to begin with.

OT Nathan Flowers, WR Charles Smith, WR Chancellor Young, and TB J.R. Hasty all got caught up by the NCAA rule that requires student athletes to make regular progress toward their degree. It used to be that summer school could be used to bail out such cases and there were players who regularly maintained their fall eligibility by simply making up their all lost credits by going to two terms of classes in the summer.

That all changed about five years ago when the NCAA members decided to put some teeth into their graduation requirements. Kids playing collegiate sports today can only use their summer term to make up 25% of failed credits.

At a school that is on the quarter system like Washington, a full-time student usually carries a 15-credit load. That usually involves anywhere from three to five classes ranging in credit from two to five hours. If they pass all of their classes each term, then they will theoretically have earned 45 credits per year. Multiply that by four (years) and your calculations should show that a student will graduate in four years with the required 180 credits for their degree.

Obviously students can take more or less than 15 credit hours per quarter if they wish. Some take more than four years to earn their degrees. So, the two items that really matter for an athlete attempting to maintain eligibility are that they must maintain steady progress toward earning their degree by:
  1. passing six credits at a minimum in any one term, while
  2. earning an average of 12 credit hours per term toward their degree, and
  3. passing 75% or their required number of credits.
In the case of the four academic casualties listed above, they either fell below the 75% pass rate or failed to pass six or more credits last term.

They can become eligible again the following season by getting over those thresholds. Depending on how far off they are, it may be pretty easy to do.

As far as the injured players that cannot compete, DL Dan Milsten's story is particularly sad. His career was ended by an illegal and purposeful clip by a Beaver lineman. DL Jasper Henry never really played a down and was never close to entering the depth since arriving at Washington, so it's hard to gage his loss other than losing another body to practice with. CB Josh Okoebor never made it back from an injury in the first game of the season last year and was no longer in the depth. Still, another body to practice with is lost.

In the big picture, the four academic casualties are the bigger hit because all would've been in the depth at some point this year. Losing them puts added emphasis on getting others ready to fill their spots. It also puts a lot of importance on getting those JC transfers into school. Wide receiver, Marcel Reece, in particular seems to be one of the most important transfers simply due to need. With Craig Chambers quitting the team and now Chancellor Young (who looked good in spring) now ineligible, Reece immediately becomes the best ‘big target' for Isaiah Stanback.

Likewise, JC lineman, Aaron Mason, becomes critical to filling the void left by Nathan Flowers who had lost the battle for the left tackle job to Ben Ossai before losing his eligibility.

The Huskies had already loaded up on JC secondary help, and if Ashley Palmer gets into school as expected, they will be better immediately because of the move of Dashon Goldson from safety to corner this past spring. He was going to start over Okoebor anyway, and with Roy Lewis and Matt Fountaine, there are three good players to play the cornerback positions. In fact with the addition of Coach JD Williams along with Palmer, Jordan Murchison, and Jason Wells, the Husky secondary might be in decent shape.

The point is this, attrition is always a part of the game and to lose these kids will have an impact if injuries rear their ugly heads. JR Hasty is the real disappointment because everyone has so looked forward to seeing this hard working kid do his thing on the field.

Hopefully he'll spend the extra time doing the necessary work off the field and return even hungrier.

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