Ask Coach Baird

Countdown to football Saturday! It is close now, Dawg fans, so I thought I'd better clear out my mailbag before the season begins. Here are the latest rounds of letters . . .

From John Berkowitz
Coach Baird,
: I don't know if this question has been asked lately but have you approached Coach Willingham about reestablishing the Husky Hunters Program that was so successful under Don James?

A: I really try to leave Coach Willingham alone. I only intrude when asked to do so. I do remember Pete Carroll making the statement that his greatest selling point at USC is his alumni. They use theirs and so do other schools but maybe Coach is a little gun shy when it comes to booster help. I can't say I blame him the way the ND alums treated him. There are legal ways of getting help without having an organized support group. The Husky Hunters was very legal and very helpful, but an incompetent AD disbanded it. Will there be another one? We'll see.
From Lexington Dawg
Coach Baird,
: During fall training camp how often does the first unit defense play against the first unit offense? It seems to me that if our offensive line is young and lack experience we should be putting them up against our more experienced DL. Your thoughts? Dawgs Rule...

A: They have no choice but to put the young offensive line against the first string defense simply because of a numbers issue. They are forced to face each other, and hopefully it will only make both better. That said, I really believe they need to bring in a whole offensive line in this next recruiting class. They need it for practice purposes more than anything else.
From Kristen Kuhn in Bellevue, WA
Coach Baird,
: I first want to say that I firmly believe that Coach Willingham is bringing Husky football back to the Don James type of great teams. Time is required to do so. However, a great coach does make things happen. I knew Lorenzo Romar was the perfect coach for the Husky basketball team. He did it, and so can Coach Willingham. With character in our coaches, there are great things Husky fans can look for and our pride and our hearts which have been hurting these last two years will be restored under Coach Willingham. And, that will make us even better fans because tasting sweet success tastes even sweeter after two years of tasting sour fruit. My question to you is that along with rebuilding our team through great recruiting, I am also curious about the latest news on the renovation plans for Husky Stadium. That is another rebuilding program we need to make Husky Stadium even more impressive, loud and intimidating for opponents. I would like to see the track removed and have a separate facility. I would like to see the stands then moved up so the fans feel they are literally on top of the action they are so close. I would like to see the field lowered to make the opponents fear Husky Stadium more than any other place to play football.

A: I totally agree with you on the character issue for both coaches and players. Like you, I firmly believe we have the right person to do the job. The wins will come but the character building is already here. These Huskies are fortunate to have the privilege of playing for such a fine gentleman. He is a true sports-educator and I know he is doing things the right way. As far as the stadium renovation, it will happen but I think the momentum isn't there yet. I'm not sure how far away that still is.
From Gar Jeffers
Coach Baird,
: Is it true that Gar Jeffers is the greatest football player in UW history?

A: Dear Gar, If not one of the greatest players at least one of the greatest guys.

From Bill Downing in Puyallup, WA
Coach Baird,
: My dad started attending UW games in the 60's. Then when I was a small child I started going with him. I remember my first game. It was against USC in the rain. Now, my daughters have become fans and attend regularly with dad and me. One "homer" to another, I always enjoy your readings. Thanks for all your efforts and keep up the great work! My question is this: I haven't heard anything for a week so on Ashley Palmer, Chancellor Young or Sir Aaron Mason? Can you give me a status on these guys? Does it look like they will make it into school? Thanks, and Go Dawgs!

A: They are all transfer students so it has to do with their transferable credits. Young was at least here for the spring and looked like he could help but the other two have never put on the gold helmet. I wish I could tell you something positive. I am still hoping for Palmer because I think he is probably a special player who could help at safety this year. The offensive lineman looks like they would red-shirt him anyway and the competition at wide receiver would make it hard for Young to see the field. Hopefully all three complete their paperwork and are part of the team in the near future. I know the season is right around the corner but it would still be great to have Palmer in time for league play to begin. Hopefully that happens because let's face it, the UCLA and Arizona games are counters, and are still a month away. One positive - they haven't been rejected from school yet. 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. Top Stories