Ask Coach Baird

This week is a real gut check Dawg fans. On the road against arguably the best team in the conference, and taking the field without the offensive leader, Isaiah Stanback. It's a tall order, but that's why they play the games. Before I head out to Berkeley, I thought I'd better empty the mail bag. And now, onto the letters . . . .


From John Young in Kirkland
Coach Baird,
: Its so easy to be a Monday quarterback and normally I keep my opinions to myself, however, I have to wonder about a certain situation that kept re-occurring during the SC game. What was surprising were the poor snaps from Garcia to Stanback when in the shotgun formation. Obviously when the snap goes back, on the ground, the quarterback looses a second or two trying to pick up the ball and in the process loses precious time in viewing the play as it begins to develop. This has to be very frustrating for the quarterback. In this game, the poor snaps continued all the way through the game. I'll just guess there were 15 bad snaps. My question is, why didn't the coaching staff attempt to correct this deficiency at half time, or, at least, in the second half where it was becoming more obvious and affecting the outcome of some of the plays?

A: You are so right and obviously Coach Denbrock said something to Juan Garcia as well as Bob Simmons to Danny Morovick on kick snaps. I watch practice this week and didn't see one bad shot gun snap. Maybe it had to do with real grass or maybe Isaiah was too deep, whatever, it has been addressed and you must remember that is usually a blind snap in shotgun as the center also needs to be concerned about blocking and USC employed a tilt with their nose guard and that obviously had to be a factor. Garcia seems to have taken the responsibility and has fixed it. One of the reasons many coaches like Dennis Erickson refuse to use the shotgun. Personally I think it was perfect for Stanback if done right.
From PrrBrr
Coach Baird,
: Coach, I am curious on off season coaching visits to other schools. You mentioned a long time ago that the UW football staff would visit and watch other teams' spring practices and pick up ideas. I believe Ms H severely cut back the funding for those visits, but what is happening now at the UW. Is the staff getting out there to see what the successful schools are doing or are we still not funding these visits for our coaching staff. Also, when you used to visit, did you go en masse to one program or divide up to hit several programs. Thank you in advance for your answer.

A: I think Coach Willingham likes staff exchanges in the spring but has been trying to get his own system implemented so I'm not sure if they exchanged or not. I do know that most of the coaches know coaches from other programs in the same position areas and regularly talk. When we went out we would usually go as a defensive staff which we did to Florida State, NC, Va Tech, Alabama, Syracuse, and Texas A&M. We did split up a couple of times and went Nebraska and Ohio State, Boston College, and Utah. We also had at least 25 other schools visit us during my tenure so we got a great cross section of how to play football. Most of these visits were during winter and spring and we would study film, watch practice and do chalk sessions. This practice was eliminated by Ms. Hedges when Neuheisel and Gilby took over so I'm not sure if they still do it or not. I personally though it was wonderful and really of value.
From David "speedy" Heath
Coach Baird,
: One of the things that I have noticed about that current Husky team is that they seem to lack a vertical passing game. They did have the 56 yarder to Russo, but VERY few over 10 yards (sure there were more than just the 56'er). It seems like a pass of 8 yards is a big pass play as they seem to throw a lot horizontally. I swear that Marcel Reece was only on the field for 1 play in the Oregon State game. Why is this? Is he injured? Does Coach Willingham not believe in him? I think he would be a huge help in the vertical passing game. Am I wrong in thinking that? I would just like to know what is going on with Marcel. As always, thanks for responding to my emails. You're awesome.

A: Marcel is still adjusting to the rigors of the college game including being on time for the bus. He is talented and is getting into shape and is earning his playing time. I believe we will see more of him the second half of the season because he is a talent. Basically there are only a few receivers who have high end speed for the vertical game. Wood is one but he is buried in the depth.
From Darryl
Coach Baird,
: This is Darryl again asking about Quintin Daniels. I read a nice article on him in Friday's Seattle times, but since the Arizona game he has not touched the ball after running that touch down. Is he hurt again? I don't understand because he seems to pick up the first downs which we did not do in our two losses. Neither Corey Williams, nor Marcel Reece has touched the ball. We were winning when all the receivers were making catches.

A: During the game against Oregon State I had written a note; No Daniels, No Reece, No Williams, No TE's catching the ball. All I can tell you is that when you go into a game, there is a certain rotation or game plan for personnel. For whatever reason, these players did not fit. I too was surprised, especially in light of the fact that Shackelford and Russo were having trouble getting their releases vs. the press coverage by the Beavers corners. I would expect Cal will use the same technique. Coach's decision.

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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