Ask Coach Baird

Hello Dawg fans! The Dawgs are nearly complete with the spring camp, with the final scrimmage culminating on Saturday. I've seen definite improvement, and there is a lot to be optimistic about. Can't wait to get to Syracuse for that opener. And now onto the letters . . . .


From Larry Sparks in Bothell, WA
Coach Baird,
: Why did Coach TY not allow some the 5th year players to stay on the team. Some of these players would have added depth and had game experience.

A: Those kids knew a year before that they needed to do things right in order to maintain their scholarship status. That included all on and off the field responsibilities. Sometimes there is addition by subtraction. Better have a smaller group that is together than a larger one that isn't. Coach Willingham is a no-nonsense person when it comes to education and doing things right. He knows why he is making the individual decisions he makes. He knows what he expects in terms of a team commitment.
From Finny Matua in Tacoma, WA
Coach Baird,
: Have you heard anything about the possibility of changing the current colors of the uniform, to the colors we had in the early 90's? If you look at the colors we had back then, they were a true royal purple color and a true gold color, now they seem more like a darkish blue, and beige instead of gold…You're the man Coach Baird!!!

A: I have heard that they are considering both darkening the purple and putting names on the backs. I like both moves if they happen because the school colors are purple and gold and not lavender and pale yellow. Of course I detest the Nike influence but I went through this before when Lambo changed the color of the helmets. A good rule of thumb is to just try to concentrate on whom is wearing the jerseys as opposed to what the jerseys look like. I do hope that they change back, though. I'm old school.
From John Smith
Coach Baird,
: How on earth could you go from being a Cougar to being a Husky Coach and Honk?

A: I have always said it was economics and lifestyle. I am a fan of both schools but more so the UW because they paid me a lot more. I also got to coach for a long time right where I grew up. This is interesting because as I write this my parents are selling their home they bought in 1945 and it is a little over 1 mile from the UW. I grew up hearing Husky Stadium on game day and dreamed of playing there. I was told I could walk on for the Huskies but Coach Clark at WSU told me I was going to get a scholarship. Easy decision based on economics. I immediately had the extra incentive to beat the Huskies because they overlooked me. In retrospect, their recruiting evaluation was correct in that I was a 6-2 185 LINEBACKER. (Later in my career, I made the same mistake on Pat Tillman, same exact size coming out of high school).

I started coaching with Jim Sweeney and Sam Jankovich and then went into high school and JC coaching for about 15 years. I interviewed twice with the Cougars when they had coaching openings and was passed over both times, when Coach James offered me a chance to join his staff. Once that day happened, I became a Husky. But I never deny my Cougar roots. Once you go there, you know what it's all about. I root for them as long it doesn't adversely affect the Huskies.
From Jeff Taraday
Coach Baird,
: You mention the Hawaii game in your recent column. Didn't that game get dropped?

A: It got dropped last year and added this year and will be the first weekend in December. I think it is a really tough game and it is hard to fly all that way and play well much less the distractions of Honolulu.
From Frank Iacolucci in Renton, WA
Coach Baird,
: I keep hearing about the returning Seniors at Receiver. Russo, Williams, Daniels, and Reece. But what about Ellis. Cody Ellis has the speed and consistency to make him one of our top slot-receivers. Just wondering why I never hear his name being mentioned in any of the spring workouts or possible receivers for next fall. Just curious because he has great hands and would be more consistent than probably about 3 of the others I mentioned. Let me know what your feedback is. Keep up the good work and look forward to hearing you on husky honk this season. Go Dawgs!

A: I think Cody Ellis is having a good spring and should be mentioned as one of those who will be playing a lot next fall. Cody has really good speed and you are right about his contributions so far. I think he is working hard to be more consistent in his catching (as are all the receivers) and is trying to develop as a blocker. He is definitely one of the top five at this point and remember, he won the state 200 meter in high school. He is a little slight of build, much like Russo, and reminds me of a player who played for me named Joe Kralik. Joe was a little more polished coming in and Cody has a little more speed but both came from Puyallup and both are battlers. I write based upon my own impressions and often miss kids who are obviously good players. I didn't mean to leave Cody out if that's what you are implying. I just want to see all the catchers simply catch the ball. If the receivers had just done that last weekend then the offense would have really been impressive. There have been too many drops the past few years and all the receivers are determined that it won't happen this coming season.

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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