Ask Coach Baird

Well it's good to be home. Washington takes on ASU this afternoon in a crucial game that has bowl implications for both schools. Before the game kicks off, I answered my emails before hopping onto the Husky pre-game show on KJR 950AM. And now onto the letters . . . .

From Chuck Munson
Coach Baird,
: Dick Baird is generally considered a cavalier character and, off the field, I believe this is an accurate assessment. However, on-the-field, I remember, Dick Baird could get genuinely enraged; Dick Baird, as a coach and a player (most people don't realize) was a very tough guy. And that contributed a great deal to Dick Baird's success. Which leads to my question - great teams have great character, mental toughness. After watching the OSU game, I questioned our character and was impressed with OSU's. OSU was a much tougher team than Washington. Lord, Dick. Who would have ever imagined that? What can be done to fix this? Perhaps another "Death March?" Your thoughts?

A: I appreciate your comments about toughness. It is a badge of courage and it took me years to channel it correctly. I believe it is mental as much as physical and that is part of the change going on at Washington. This is a no nonsense program, Chuck. They are teaching toughness again and they are developing the necessary attitudes, work ethic, and belief systems. There is no need for a death march besides they don't have enough bodies. Don't let the second half of the Beaver game totally blind you. Sure it was a bit of a collapse but you do have to hand it to the Beaver players, they simply wanted it more. It's over, they have moved on and lost again, but still committed to winning.
From John Young in Kirkland
Coach Baird,
: Coach: Time for me to vent again. After the OSU game I read in the Times where one of the OSU players was quoted he liked playing in the Husky stadium where they had the home field advantage. What Gall. I'll try and work this into a question in that will our coaching staff use this quote as motivation when we play at Corvallis in 2007? I hope this guy is a junior so our players can seek him out and ram a football in his mouth. I'm kind of kidding.

A: I appreciate your commitment but don't put much stock in those sort of "honor" type insults. The games are won on the playing field. Leave it there. What you say can and will be used against you. What goes around comes around. It's best to try and have dignity in both winning and losing. Never lose respect for your opponent. Don't stir the pot.
From Allan Hamilton
Coach Baird,
: It was unfortunate what happened to Isaiah Stanback - especially since he seemed to finally had become more consistent in his play and staying away from making turnovers that have plagued him in the past. How do you think Carl Bonnell will fare now? I personally have confidence in him and hopefully he can stay healthy and lead us to enough wins to get us to a bowl game. Do you see Jake Locker getting any time? If they do use him I hope they give him substantial time and not just mop up duty and waste his redshirt. Lastly what time are you on KJR 950 talking about Husky football? I would be interested to listen to you but do not know what day or the time you are on. Thanks for your time.

A: I agree that it was sad for Isaiah but he will persevere. He will meet this challenge and try to keep his dream alive. Carl Bonnell will win some games coming down the stretch. He is a good running quarterback and will probably start the rest of the way unless he gets hurt and then and only then will we see Jake Locker. The Husky Honks are on Wednesdays at 11am and run to noon or half past. 950 AM
From Jack Sonnichsen
Coach Baird,
: What ever happened to Leon Jackson? Last I read he had left Nebraska and was looking for a new home.

A: I saw him play in high school and would have recruited him myself because he was a tough guy. He liked to hit in the games I saw and was pretty fast. It is against the rules for the Husky coaches to comment on him because he is a recruited athlete again and he falls under the same restrictions. Besides unless they get an authorized transfer release, they can't even talk to the kid. Last I heard he was at a CC keeping a very low profile.
From Kristen Kuhn in Bellevue, WA
Coach Baird,
: After many months of hearing about HOK (Husky Stadium renovation architects), we have little news about their proposed renovation which we would expect a sketch and full details. What is the problem? When can we expect to find out the full specifics of their plans? It is getting frustrating to wait and wait and never hear any news. Help!

A: We ask the Husky AD administrators that same question every week on our Honk Show on KJR and they tell us the same thing. It all seems to hinge on what the state intends to do with the whole 520 exit plan. We were told that the artist's renditions and proposed changes of phase one will be coming shortly and I know they intend to do it in parts. And then when they increase their seating to use that to borrow more. I personally would like to see them remodel but not change dramatically the actual stadium itself. Take out the track, lower the field, and add seats to make it more of just a football stadium seating 80,000 plus. But right now I just want to see them get their next win.
From Tod Jones in Virginia
Coach Baird,
: As an avid Husky fan for over 30 years now I've seen some incredible high times for the program and the recent LOW times. With this I remember back in the late 80's when UW played a Cornelius Bennett led Alabama team in the Sun Bowl and got spanked. The reason was the speed of the Alabama team in comparison to the UW at that time. If I remember correctly, that's when Coach James and the staff decided to go fast instead of "Big 10" big. Obviously the tactic was extremely successful. Now the current team seems to me to be pretty slow in comparison to the competition, is Coach Willingham's philosophy to be "Big" or is he going for the "Fast" (Obviously Big and Fast like USC would be nice as well)? Also, I have a friend that's a pretty large booster for USC and he made a statement to me recently that in their recruiting he's pretty positive that NCAA violations are the norm as well as while the athlete is with the team. How is it that they're able to get away with this and do you think that it's true? Then, what can we do about it? Thanks for your input and I wish you were still recruiting for UW, I think we would get those 4 and 5 star guys that we need. Oh, one more question, why is it that O'Dea kids don't usually want to play for UW? Does the coach there push the kids in other directions and if so, why? We've missed out on some outstanding kids in the past 15 years.

A: The speed factor is important and certainly a major criteria, but so is big. The key is to find big-speed because those guys can play a lot of spots. Speed is an important part of Coach Willingham's job as a recruiter. He is fully aware of the importance, trust me. As for myself I'm probably too old to relate to the kids these days. I thought that was one of my best things as a recruiter. I liked the kids. I didn't like the stress. I have retired. In regards to O'Dea, it is a sound high school football program that turns out lots of college prospects. The UW has indeed seemed to lose their big time, big name recruits. We have gotten some great ones from that school as well. More importantly almost every O'Dea kid that came to Washington has gotten his college degree. There have been a number of walk-ons who really helped the program as well. I would guess close to 15 ex-Irish played there when I was there. You can't worry about the ones you lose. 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