Ask Coach Baird

Well, the boys wound up winning five. A lot of people (Dawgman himself) said the Dawgs would only win four, so in some ways, they exceeded expectations. But they didn't go to a bowl and that was disappointing to them as that was their goal. Now they have to take the momentum earned from an Apple Cup victory and turn it into recruiting prizes. And now onto the letters . . . .


From Mike Hovey
Coach Baird,
: Coach Baird, speaking of our dawgs needing skill position players, are either of these two incredible running backs here in Vegas being recruited? Foothill HS running back," D'Angelo Jones, " just finished his high school career breaking the Nevada state rushing record with 7843 rushing yards!!!! His last two games he rushed for 739 yards and 11 touchdowns!!! Also, Del Sol Hs running back " Tim Johnson " rushed for 2330 yards and 26 touchdowns this year. Please tell me we are pursuing these types of fantastic athletes, these two in particular! Purple and Gold forever.

A: Coach Bob Simmons recruits Nevada and definitely knows of these two recruits. Whether or not they are on the Huskies "A" list remains to be seen. They are two kids that are definitely "known" in recruiting circles though. You can read more about them in the Scout.com database, I have provided links to them if you click on their names.
From Positive Purple
Coach Baird,
: You probably won't touch this question but it is worth trying. What if they had hired Pinkel or Tormey when they hired Neuheisel? Where do you think we would be now? Would we have still gone to the 2001 Rose Bowl? Would we have had 1-10 and 2-9 seasons? The world is upside down when the Ducks are where the Huskies used to be and the Huskies are where the Beavers used to be. Thanks for your interesting columns.

A: I think that if they had really done their research they would have found the chinks in Neuheisel's armor. As personable as he was, he still had a reputation for stretching the rules at Colorado. There were many of us in the profession who questioned his ethics but never his personality. He was gregarious and a great communicator and was extremely confident. Unfortunately, he was the wrong choice for Washington, particularly when she could have gotten Pinkel or Jim Mora jr. or Tormey or Charlie Weis. All of these men contacted Barbara about the job. I would like to think that Gary or Chris would have retained me and there would not have been the disruption caused to recruiting. I really think that with each turnover in coaching that recruiting always takes a hit. How can it not?
From John Young
Coach Baird,
: Before the season began, all the experts assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the team zeroed in on the offensive line and the lack of experience there. I agreed there might be some issues with the line, however, I kind of forgot about this one point until mid-way thru the season when it was mentioned by you or other KIRO commentators that the Coach in all games up to that point, had stayed with the "ones" and was not substituting. If this was true, then I assume he wanted the best players on the field, meaning, I guess, that the other backups wouldn't measure up. My question to you is, knowing that we had some noted lack of experience with the offensive line, why not take into account that those other non-playing linemen (the twos and threes) also need to play to gain experience. At least in a limited way. Build for the future. Am I wrong?

A: Good observation with regard to the o-line. I would totally agree with you about getting some snaps for the two and threes, unfortunately, there are no threes. That is the point about taking a full class especially of linemen. This program is terribly lacking in depth. They are actually 10 under the scholarship count although I'm sure they have rewarded some walk-ons. Regardless, everyone should understand the woeful state of the personnel depth at Washington. Of the two biggest classes brought in by Rick Neuheisel in 2002 and 2003 close to half never made it in or were washed out of the program. The attrition rate has been way too high and depth has therefore suffered. It will take Coach Willingham at least two more full recruiting classes to rebuilt this team with the proper depth of the type of players he is looking for. That's what I think.
From Mark Harris
Coach Baird,
: I was wondering what you think of Nate Williams as a running back. The so-called experts on this site seem to think he will be moved to safety or linebacker. Having seen him play, I wonder if he might not surprise some fans, and be a fine running back at the next level. What are your thoughts on this young man?

A: I too think he is a running back. I can't imagine them not giving him a shot there, especially considering the situation at running back right now. I think he has a chance to be like Greg Lewis. We'll see. They will probably sign at least three backs this class.

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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