Ask Coach Baird

Hello Dawg fans. Things are falling into place for Tyrone Willingham and his troops. The position battles are nearly over, but there are still some academic hurdles to clear for some guys. And now, onto your letters . . . .


From Josh Shaver in Alaska
Coach Baird,
: I thought Scott White, along with Goldson as the most potential for making the NFL as a late round pick or free agent this year. Before he apparently quit, would you have agreed with that? As the backup, and with his experience how much time do you think he will get? Why is it that some of the players don't understand that it is time to win and Willingham keeps saying over and over that all positions are open and the players who show the most in practice will play? What's your take?

A: I just found out that Scott White has rejoined the team and is putting it behind him and hopes to contribute anyway he can to help. I can't say that I agree with your assessment of his NFL potential simply due to (lack of) foot speed. He has played well at times but it is obvious to me that Howell is a better athlete and has been pushing Scott all thru spring. I also think all kids consider quitting at one time or another. It doesn't surprise me that he is disappointed but as a senior he should know to be more guarded when dealing with the media. What you say can and will be used against you. To tell you the truth I really think that there are 5-6 youngsters on the team now at linebacker who are much better looking players than the older guys. I also believe competition at every position is important especially when you're trying to build a winning attitude.
From Doug Miller in Belfair
Coach Baird,
: I feel a little dismay concerning the disqualification of J.R. Hasty, Charles Smith, Nathan Flowers, and Chancellor Young. Also the problems concerning the junior college players are disturbing. I was wondering why Coach Willingham doesn't appoint someone to keep track of the students progress in the classroom. He is such a proponent of school first, I can't understand how the problem arose. Also, why are Nathan Flowers and Chancellor Young no longer with the team and J.R. Hasty and Charles Smith are still with the team on scholarship? I've been bleeding purple since 1960 and hope coach Willingham can bring us back.

A: I really don't want to fix the blame on anyone with regard to academic ineligibility but to me it falls directly on the shoulders of the kids involved. That is their job and number one priority. Go to class, take notes, participate, do your assignments, and get your credits to earn your degree. Passing 6 credits means you only have to pass 2 classes. It is my understanding that maintaining academic progress means you have to have completed 75% of the credits you take or an average of 12 credits per quarter. It is my understanding that this only applies to competition and not necessarily financial aid, so answer to the question why some stayed and why some left is hard to answer. I also know that for every kid who quits or leaves it opens up another scholarship for next year. Hang in there Doug, this team is getting better.
From Vegas Dawg Fan
Coach Baird,
: Thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions during this heavily anticipated season. I have two questions, one question I have and I'm not sure if you answered this before but why are we back playing in Oregon again this year? And what are your thoughts on Palmer, Atkins, Mason and Myers becoming academically eligible and playing this year?

A: I think Bill Moos is in charge of Pac-10 scheduling. Just kidding, but some things just don't add up like how many times the Huskies have to play ASU there and why do the Huskies always play the Ducks there. With the new schedule of playing everyone in the conference now, these sorts of unfair things will stop. As to the JC kids, Atkins was here in the spring and obviously had trouble with classes. Mason and Palmer are really needed so I hope they get their situation cleared up quickly. It sounds like they will. The freshman Myers situation is hung up in the clearinghouse. If Palmer makes it in then I would expect him to be right in the hunt to start but he is the only one in that situation. The others will add necessary depth.
From Devin Tonseth
Coach Baird,
: What is going on with the academics of some of our key young players? Academically ineligible players that come from Bellevue and O'Dea seems unheard of. I don't understand how Coach Willingham can't get through to kids that have been in programs where academics are at the forefront. Are these guys (Hasty and Young) so focused on being ready to play ball that they didn't do anything school wise this summer? Being a recent graduate of UW I know that it is pretty difficult to fail unless you are trying. What's the deal?

A: Being from Bellevue or O'Dea high schools is no guarantee you are going to be a good college student. All the academic casualties have nothing to do with Coach Willingham or the academic services, they are simply because the kids failed to meet the requirements. Plain and simple, it rests on the shoulders of the kids. Each position coach is responsible to track and encourage his kids and I know nobody likes to flunk out but if you don't go and do the expected work then this will happen. Sooner or later these kids will realize Coach Willingham is a no-nonsense coach who holds you personally accountable for your own actions or lack of. Go to class!
From Taylor Kerwin
Coach Baird,
: Hey, with the situation that UW football is in would you say that the recruiting of JC players is a key factor in getting the UW football program back on track. I know the JC guys usually only have 2 years of playing eligibility but they can come in an make an instant impact and help us out immediately and help turn things around ASAP, as the high school kids you recruit need time to develop get stronger and faster to be able to successfully compete. I mean if the JC guys can get it done and give UW that boost it so desperately needs and help us win more games that should generate a lot more interest in the UW program from a high schoolers perspective?

A: JC kids are needed at programs that have depth problems like Washington. However you are seeing the risks now, as Tyrone awaits getting Palmer and Mason into the program. Without a PE program, getting JC kids into school will continue to be difficult because of the Core Credits issue.
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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