Ask Coach Baird

OK Dawg fans – the Huskies are 4-1 heading into Los Angeles. Tell me that you aren't proud of this team, this coaching staff, and this awesome coverage that Fetters and crew have provided this year? It's been an outstanding first half of the season thus far. I had time to answer my letters before flying off to LA. Here we go . . .


From Kenton Gingrich
Coach Baird,
: What happened to Alex Mercier? I thought he had a great spring and was thinking he would play some this year? I also wish that Ty would put the players' names back on the uniforms. I understand there is no I in team, but for a fan with aging mental functions it would make it easier to follow the players. As far as the replay officials are concerned, why are they not sequestered form the game? My thought is to put them in a sound proof trailer and when it comes time for them to make a decision, they only get to see the play. They should have no idea what the score is or anything about the game. What do you think?

A: Alex Mecier is stuck at a position of depth and because of that he is down in the order. I was like you in that I thought he had a great spring and looked like he could help. Unfortunately, it was probably going to be as a punt returner and Marlon Wood has clearly won and earned that job. I believe he is a back up there and helps the team as a scout team player. As for names on the jerseys I have now adjusted. USC doesn't have names and neither does Notre Dame, Penn State, and a lot of other good football programs. It's a coach's decision. As for instant replay, I don't like it. The game was played for 100 years without it and to say you want to speed up the game and then add replay is a joke. It slows everything down and changes the flow of the game. Another issue I have is only certain things are reviewable. Sure officials make mistakes, but that is just the human part of the game. Blaming officials for a loss is stupid. Period.
From Cory Brewer
Coach Baird,
: Prior to the broadcast at Hec Ed on Saturday, they were showing WSU vs. USC on the screens and most of the Dawg fans were rooting against the Cougs. I feel that a loss by USC this past weekend would have helped the Dawgs on their way to an upset next weekend. What do you think about Dawg fans blindly rooting against the Cougs, as opposed to taking the game into context and (gasp) rooting FOR the Cougs if it is a positive thing for UW? Not to mention...the Huskies recruit against USC, and if we ever want to be kings of the Pac-10 again, USC is the team that's gonna have to start losing.

A: I think that it is just the WSU rivalry talking and I'm positive had it been the Ducks they would have booed them also. Having been the Cougar captain my senior year, I wouldn't have booed but have you ever been to Martin Stadium? Anytime a Husky score is announced the whole stadium cheers if the Huskies are losing and boos if the Dawgs are winning. They absolutely hate the Huskies in Pullman so I guess it all evens out. My own opinion has always been to root for the team that can help the Huskies in the conference standings. Maybe they were booing the Cougs because they want Washington to be the team to knock of the Trojans? Right….
From David Mackenzie
Coach Baird,
: Hey Coach, any word on if the Dawgs are recruiting Keauntea Bankhead? And if so, how much eligibility does he have left?

A: I asked about Bankhead the other day. He is still trying to get his grades and life in order to play again. It's a shame because he had a lot of talent coming out of high school. Unfortunately, all of those kids from Ballard have struggled since their great year and none have really developed as top flight division-one players although the running back Dietrich still has a chance.
From Rick Drouet
Coach Baird,
: I know you have discussed this before but again we have lost some JC player/recruits because of academic entrance requirements. It seems that every year now we loose 2 or 3 recruits that commit to us and then find out they can't get into school any way (Ashley Palmer). And hasn't hurt our total number of scholarship player numbers? Should we continue to try and bring those players in?

A: I think they have learned the hard way, and the answer is probably that they will back off signing so many JC's in the future because the UW just can't accept the transferring credits in PE. Unless they move a kid up here and put him in a Washington JC, they can't monitor his academic progress. I've heard that Palmer is still trying for the credits but have no real knowledge of his situation. I think from now on they will be more selective and go after JC's who are already transferable or were qualifiers out of high school. I don't see them ever taking 7 JC's in one class again. Of course, the school could add Sports Management as a business major like Oregon and solve the problem, but I don't see the UW compromising anything for sports reasons. By the way - they ended up getting 5 of the 7 so it wasn't a total disaster.
From Darryl
Coach Baird,
: I have notice the improvement in the receivers as a group, but one seems to quietly making major contribution and we don't hear about. Looking at the stats, Quintin Daniels has moved up to be the third most productive receiver with only 5 receptions but key ones. I noticed in the UCLA game he picked up the first down on a catch and run for 17 yards that led to our first touchdown. Then in the AZ game, he scored a touchdown on a catch and run for 55 yards. He seems to get good yardage after the catch. He is healthy again? Do you see him getting more catches as the season progresses?

A: Quintin Daniels came into the program with the 7 wide receiver signing class of Rick Neuheisel and at that time he was the fastest amongst the whole group. He was in the rotation as a freshman but had a bad leg injury his second year that essentially has shelved him ever since. He has finally, after years of rehab, gotten himself back on the field and has come up big on all of his catches so far. It looks as though he has moved ahead of Cory Williams now and will play regularly the rest of the season, now his senior year. He deserves this success because of all the hard work he has put in just to get back. You're right, he is playing real well.
From Dan Stevenson
Coach Baird,
: I am really excited about the game this weekend. I think we can pull it off if Isaiah has the game of his career. I have always wondered why Washington never uses Johnie Kirton in the backfield inside the 10 yard line?

A: Johnie is not a banger type of back and not quick enough to the hole. They tried it and it didn't work. He is in the right position now. The Houston kid could be the banger type of back that you are looking for – wait until next year to see.
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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