Ask Coach Baird

Fall camp is going on and I like what I see thus far in practice. And now onto your letters . . .


From Josh McMahan in Tacoma, WA
Coach Baird,
: What ever Happened to the Texas Transfer Running back Matt Houston I know we are thin at RB until the fall camp what is his status with the team.

A: Michael Houston decided to transfer and it was a two way street. He had gotten into some trouble at Texas and found more of it in Seattle. This is why they signed 5 running backs in the incoming class because of the need factor.
From Allan Hamilton
Coach Baird,
: I have been a long time Husky fan ever since Don James was the Coach. One thing that I enjoyed about his teams was his offensive lines and the way they wore teams down and he was able to use the backups and get them needed experience. I have two questions concerning this year's group. What was your impression during the spring of the top two offensive lines and did anyone stand out in your mind? Also do you see any of the back up guys seeing the field this coming year? Thank you for your time.

A: I really think the offensive line has improved immensely over the spring and think will be deeper and more effective this season. They are huge and should be good at run blocking because of that. They run more in practice so therefore are getting better at it. I really think that Chad Macklin will be one of the best and if he continues to improve will probably get a chance to play on Sundays. Getting another older guy back in Garcia also really helps and they have some young linemen like Ryan Tolar who will allow them to substitute more and get more experience. It looks to me like there are about 9 solid offensive linemen who are ready to play with another three who are close. I would imagine that OL coach Mike Denbrock will go with an 8-9 man rotation to keep his kids fresh. They are definitely improved up front. It was disheartening to see some guys arrive out of shape this fall, however. But the depth is getting there.
From Robert Cunningham
Coach Baird,
: Has Coach Willingham been asked whether or not it's any easier to recruit kids to come to Washington as opposed to Stanford and ND?

A: As far as academic admissions, both Stanford and Notre Dame have amongst the hardest of any colleges in America. Washington is right behind them along with a number of other the more elite academic universities. Because Washington has no JC programs in state that play football they are at a distinct disadvantage because there is no direct in-state admission as in California. This however, does not help Stanford because it is a private institution. The Cal Bears use this as a direct pipeline to any kids who attend JC's in their state and even though they do not have PE as a major they can admit kids because of their connection. Cal has completely turned their program around with this loophole and now recruits and admits more JC's than Stanford, ND, and Washington put together. Coach Willingham lost a number of JC recruits his first two years here because Washington could not get them admitted. Consequently, he probably sees the same difficulties he had at both the other schools.
From Kenton Gingrich
Coach Baird,
: I am wondering what happened with Rick Fenney? I read he was prosecuted for an illegal money scam. Did he get sent to prison? He was one of my favorite Huskies and had a decent pro career and like all of us we get into trouble once in awhile. This was a bit shocking to me.

A: Fenney worked during the 1990s for Norwest Investment Services Inc. and then briefly for Merrill Lynch & Co. in a San Diego suburb. In 2001 he opened a hedge fund operated by Fenney-McLean Capital Group Inc. He ran the fund until 2004 but didn't stay within bounds. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court in San Diego, admitting he stole up to $2.5 million from the fund. Fenney agreed to make restitution and faces up to 20 years in prison. As a coach you always feel terrible when things like this happening to your ex-players. I will always really like him as a man and wish him well on his return to society.
From Richard McCann
Coach Baird,
: Did you coach football and track at Mt. Rainier HS in the 70s?

A: That was me. I very much enjoyed my time there. To work with young people and teach them about sports and life's lessons is a wonderful occupation, I was very lucky to have done it for as long as I did.
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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