Ask Coach Baird - 7/23/2008

Hello Husky fans. The long summer begins, and now the football program is in the throws of self-guided workouts with no coaching other than strength and conditioning coach Trent Greener. Jake throwing to his receivers, defenses working on their coverage, everyone in the weight room doing their thing. And now onto your letters that arrived over the past few months. . . .


From Rick Drouet
Coach Baird,
: Could you please go over the rules regarding the number of scholarships available both in total (all classes combined) and in any 1 year. I thought the number for each year was a max of 25 yet I see schools with 30 or more players listed (Alabama). I am vague about "Gray Shirting" and how some players can count against the previous class. Thanks for your insights as always

A: You are allowed to have 85 players at any one time under scholarship. You are only allowed to count 25 initial scholarship players to apply to each year. Those "initials" count from the first day of practice until the last day of school so you can only sign 25 new kids per academic calendar year. Now, if some of your kids graduate or leave the team during that same year, then you may replace them if you have "initials" available or if the kids are rewarded a scholarship as a walk-on. If you don't use all of your initials then you can bank them back and use the open slots anytime during that school year. Graduation allows for this but kids quitting doesn't.

Grey shirting means to delay enrollment until mid year thereby allowing you to count ahead on the next year's initials. Of course you can never exceed the 85 total unless of course due to mid-year graduation.
From Mark A.S. Harris
Coach Baird,
: Which redshirt players you have watched during practices last fall, do you think will have a chance to play a larger role on next year's team? I am really interested in the young d-linemen and the secondary players. I appreciate your positive thought, opinions, and optimistic outlook.

A: Great question because they are some of the reasons that I feel good about the depth for fall. By my count 16 kids red-shirted from that class and many caught my eye during practices. I was really impressed with the development of the quarterback, Ronnie Fouch. He has gained considerable weight and strength and will be a more than adequate back-up for Jake. He's smart, quick with his feet and his delivery.

Defensively I think Quinton Richardson looks like he can help and a defensive lineman, Tyrone Duncan, already looks much different than when he arrived. I thought Brandon Yakaboski had the best set of hands of all the backs before he got hurt and Willie Griffin looked like a good inside runner. Body wise I was impressed all year by WR Alvin Logan and Marquis Presley showed flashes as a taller corner. One of the big linemen Armelin, Fancher, or Shugert will no doubt get into the depth along the offensive line but I think the tight end, Chris Izbicki could develop and help quicker. I don't see any of those starting but any could be backups.

Kalani Aldrich, a defensive end, has a great frame but like the other linemen may still be a year or two away. By my count 26 out of 27 in that class made it into school and are still in the program. Although not as good as this last class there were still 7 from the 2007 class who played and lettered as true freshmen. If that many from this just signed class can also contribute early then we can expect 7-8 true freshmen to play again this season.
From Kenton Gingrich
Coach Baird,
: I have been watching the progress of Matt Tuiasosopo in his baseball career. It seems he is progressing, but is not a lock to be a baseball superstar like Grady Sizemore. Michael Jordan will tell you that hitting a baseball is a hard thing to do.

Do you think he has ever thought recently about becoming a future Husky QB? Have you thought about it? I think he was really good in high school and might have a good chance of playing in the NFL.

A: I understand he is progressing ahead of where they thought he would be in baseball and that he has a future in that sport. I am sure though that if he does what Tripper Johnson is doing, both he and the Huskies would be ready. Right now they have two good quarterbacks and a few youngsters to develop. Should he decide after baseball then good luck to him, But as of today, Matt is one phone call away from the show as a third baseman. He's where he should be.
From Ney Fisher
Coach Baird,
: I love all the stories that you write on dawgman.com. But I was wondering if you know if the Huskies are planning to change their uniforms this up and coming season? Because I really liked the throwback uniforms from the USC game with the darker colors.

A: I'm not sure what the uniforms are going to look like and generally don't concern myself with it. I Like true Purple and real Gold. I'm basically a traditionalist when it comes to uniforms. I like all the kids to look the same. I don't like individualization of the uniform. I like uniform socks, shoes, and gold helmets with stripes, true dark jerseys with names on the back, with tight fitting padding and pants made of real Gold color and not Gold Lemay or light yellow. I have never had any input and don't think they are necessarily seeking my fashionable input. I agree, I thought those Rose Bowl uniforms from 1960 were awesome. Simple and strong looking.
From Ed Shaffer
Coach Baird,
: Do you think if we start doing really well again that we might get a highlight show again or a complete game rebroadcast? I miss the late great Husky Highlight show. When it was cancelled I wrote Channel 13 and Barbara Hedges and they blamed each other for its demise. The complete game rebroadcast was great but now that is gone as well. The short little magazine show they have now with a few highlights really doesn't do the job. I don't think the UW would answer my inquiry so I am anxious to hear what you might think. Thank You.



A: Washington needs to become a big deal again before FOX will put something like KOMO had, as you described, or the replay that used to occur. It's really a business decision, and unless a station can sell advertising, they won't put on a show just for fun. If Washington starts winning again and recaptures the imagination of the northwest, then you may see a return of highlight shows and replays.
From Robert Hankinson
Coach Baird,
: I wanted to know more about Eric Smiley the DT from Ark. I read that we we're one of his top schools and was wondering why we haven't offered him yet? Is it a grades or character issue? He seems like just the kind of kid size wise we need to go along with Coleman. Adding those two in the same class would be huge for us.

It seems for this coming year we're a little small on the D-line. What's your take on this? And how does Donatell compensate for this? It seemed that during spring ball the D-line held it's own against a pretty good O-line from a year ago. Also, how is Nick Wood coming along? And do you see any of the BIG freshmen D-lineman making a move this year?

A: Not sure about Smiley. I haven't really focused on that yet. He does have nice size, although I think Coleman is the guy you want. Washington won't be that small up front, with Elisara now at 295, Wood at 290, Duncan at 300, those are three good sized kids. Incoming frosh Ta'amu is 340. The only real undersized kid is when they move Matthews inside, but he is quick enough to get good angles of attack and leverage, he's strong.

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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