Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. How about that finish? Three in a row over the three northwest schools! Rick Neuheisel has gotten tougher and according to Elliott Zajac, will be more disciplined in his approach. It sure worked. Now it's on to a bowl game and building for 2003. Recruiting is over half done already. Here are the latest letters . . .

From Paul in Bulldog land
Dear Dawgman: What a game!!! Best one I've seen. Too bad some cougar fans had to ruin our party by throwing bottles on to the field. Hopefully our fans are a lot classier than that. Anyway, since we've clinched the mythical Northwest Championship, what is in store for our beloved Dawgs? Where do you anticipate them going? These wins have been very special and I think this is a preview of what is in store for us next season. With Cody, Rich, Reggie and ET coming back, again our expectations are high. Your thoughts?

Thanks for all the hard work. Won't know what to do with all the bulldog paraphernalia here in Fresno if it wasn't for your site.

A: The post-game melee was a disgrace, and I can tell you from personal experience, it was painful. Glass, when propelled from the stands, is a dangerous weapon. I was lucky as I was only nailed in the shin. Craig Hill was not so lucky. Next year's team is loaded on paper. With the OL beginning to gel, the secondary solidifying with Nate, and a senior QB and all-American WR returning, the future is very bright. I think Washington will wind up in the Insight.com bowl.
From Udub Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Already looking forward to whatever bowl we end up in, then the recruiting banquet. Next year, with PA, Reddick and Hooks gone, that leaves Reggie, ET and Eddie Jackson at WR. We need at least one more WR for the rotation. What is Justin Robbins status? Has his unfortunate series of injuries diminished his speed and agility, as happened to Chris Juergens? Or is Robbins back to 100%, but we were so deep at wideout this year that he redshirted? If Robbins cannot play anymore, what do you think about Shelton Sampson or Jordan Slye at WR? Or do you think any of the incoming true freshmen could crack the two deeps at WR?

A: Glad you're going to make it to our annual recruiting banquet. Last year's was a blast, as you got to see the film, learn the "behind the scenes" recruiting stories, and the real story behind the decommits that occurred. That event is a lot of fun. Justin Robbins will be back by spring, he's had a run of bad luck with his knee, but it's not a chronic thing like Chris Juergens' was. Of the two you mentioned, I would love to see Slye tried at either WR or TE. Of the incoming frosh, Whithorne looks the most polished right now. He gets in and out of cuts without losing any speed, and that's the stuff that coaches love.
From Joe in Seattle
Dear Dawgman:
First things first... You're site is an addictive force that's destroying my career. :-) A couple questions regarding next years team. It seems with the emergence of Nate Robinson and the return to form of Derrick Johnson that we have flexibility at the corner spot that's been missing for some time. However, one thing I think that is missing from our defensive backfield is speed at the safety position. What do you think the chances are of moving Roc Alexander to Safety in his final year? He looks like he could add ten more pounds and you just HAVE to get athletes like him on the field. Imagining Nate, DJ, Even Benjamin, and Roc in the secondary would scare the jock strap off me if I was a QB. Also, do you think we'll see Carothers in more of a LB role next year? Thanks and keep up the good work!

A: Roc has a bad shoulder, and playing safety might be tougher on it than playing corner, but he does hit hard when he's healthy. He also has that speed you love. James Sims is also a very fast guy with great upside, and has spent two years at the position so he knows it. Carothers had two marvelous games at strong safety against Oregon and WSU. I like him at SAM in the nickel package but I think his leadership in the secondary has been crucial, and will be beneficial next season. Unless there isn't another SAM LB that pops up this spring or next fall, then you have to try him there if his shoulders can take it. It was nice to see him healthy this year, as last year he tackled in pain.
From Jay S
Dear Dawgman:
I wanted to ask you about something that's bothered me all season. Two weeks ago, against Oregon, the Dawgs finally brought the option out of mothballs and ran it 5 or 6 times, and with great success. Not only were the able to get the ball outside and around the corner for the first time all season, but you could see how the threat of it opened up the inside running game as well. With this success, I expected to see even more of it in the WSU game, but instead they ran it only a couple times. In fact, all season long I've felt like the option would have been a good way to address the problems the Dawgs have running the ball. Since his freshman year, the one thing that Rich Alexis has always done well is getting around the corner and running downhill with an option pitch, and though he's no Marques, Cody has good speed and does a fine job running it when he gets the chance. With all this in mind, why have we seen so few option plays this season? Is it strictly a matter of concern over keeping Cody healthy? Or just a fear of the turnover risk inherent in pitching the ball around all the time? I don't buy the Cody-injury argument, because, while I love him and he is an excellent quarterback, were he to get hurt, in comes Taylor Barton, who may well be the best backup quarterback in the nation. It seems to me that the advantages gained by forcing a defense to prepare for an offense that both throws for 350 a game and runs 8 or 10 options plays a game outweighs the risks. What do you think?

A: The option is good for teams that struggle to run the ball, as it opens things up a bit more. I think they were reluctant to get Cody's shoulder taking pops during the season, but against teams that pack 8 in the box, it works well. Also, it would work better if the fullback was more of a threat. They didn't really establish Zach as a running threat this year, and that detracts from the option some.
From Jell-O Man
Dear Dawgman:
I called it when I wrote to you on 11/6 WIN THE NORTHWEST! They have come along ways since USC game. Two years ago when we won the Rose Bowl, we very well could have been 6-6 instead of 11-1 without the MOJO. This year we very well could have been 10-2 with the MOJO. Only bad loses were to Arizona St and USC, and as badly as we played we were there in the 4th quarter. A lot of improvements were made in the last 5 weeks. D-line is playing fantastic, secondary has made great strides. The O-line comes alive, like I think they will, the DAWGS are going to go places next year! We had a player named Levi Madarietta that started some as a true freshman a few years ago that was a real banger, he would have been a good leader in the secondary, what ever happened to him? What do you think of Boise St. saying the DAWGS aren't a worthy team to play? And that DUMB ASS Bellotti comparing Long to EMTMAN!! Keep up the great site.

A: You called it, Jell-O man. Way to go! Levi Madarietta transferred to BYU and played outside linebacker. Boise State talking smack is pretty rich. I loved that. As far as Mike Bellotti comparing Long to Emtman, I never thought much of it. It is so easy to be taken out of context when you are being quoted that I just thought that he was trying to say something nice about Long. It's really a compliment if you think about it, and I'm not sure why Husky fans got so mad about it. Long is very good, there is a reason Dick Baird recruited the heck out of him.
From Sufre Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Will we see any tangible proof that the Dawgs strong finish will impact recruiting? I have my doubts. I will not give up.

A: Tangible proof? Not sure. You are correct in assuming that on the field results don't always correlate to strong recruiting years, because of the variables involved. You have to recruit to needs and often times, the needs are in places where the talent isn't ranked as high. That doesn't mean it's not as good, just that recruiting services' evaluations aren't as sold, which doesn't mean anything. I think Washington will sign 20 athletes that are very capable of helping this team. The key is, can this staff develop that talent once it arrives? I think they can. I also think that the Dawgs can fill their needs at DT and safety this year.
From Chip
Dear Dawgman:
First, what do you attribute Alexis's up and down season to? Was it due to his off and on injuries or did it just take time for the line to develop? Second, Why was Kenny James redshirted? This kid put up gaudy numbers in high school. Did the staff feel he needed a full year in the program? Was his high school competition sub par?

A: Alexis had trouble finding holes, and when he found them he struggled a bit. He was running extremely hard at the end of the season, though. He set himself up nicely to have a big senior season. Kenny James was redshirted so that he wouldn't blow a year of eligibility on 30 or 40 carries, like what happened to Chris Singleton. Now he gets to have a freshman year where he's a year stronger, wiser, and quicker. Rick made a commitment to redshirt everyone he could. I think Nate showed why he wasn't redshirted. He is one of the best corners on this team.
From Brenda
Dear Dawgman:
What happened to the Williams kid from Yakima who was a defensive line prospect? Is he currently attending a JC?

A: Josh Williams was at a JC in Idaho playing hoops. I don't know if he'll play football again, he has played exclusively hoops at Southern Idaho. He could be a nice DT prospect if he does. He is currently in Seattle, so it might be an interesting situation...
From Big Al
Dear Dawgman:
What has happened to Rayshon Dukes? I notice he is not on the roster What criteria does a player have to meet to receive a letter? What has happened to Justin Robbins? He must really be banged up. Does it look like we will ever see him again in a Husky Uniform?

A: Dukes transferred out of the program last year. To letter, a player must have played in four quarters, I believe. Justin Robbins tore his ACL and had it surgically repaired. He should be back in the spring.
From Lone Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Thanks for a wonderful web site! It's a daily routine for me. Now the attention naturally turns toward recruiting. What linemen, defense and offense are being recruited by the Huskies? Are the Huskies not getting the interest as much as in the past? And since Neuheisel has been banned from leaving campus to recruit who will do the in-home visits now?

A: Washington just picked up two OL/DL this week. Yakima, Washington's Juan Garcia and Beaverton, Oregon's Erik Berglund are going to be Dawgs. Both will spend a couple of years in the weight room before you hear about them, but both are guys that fill needs (DT and OT). The interest level is about the same as always in Washington. Finishing strong will hopefully give them some momentum as they go into December. Spirits are high. The in-home visits will be handled by the assistant coach that recruits the athlete since Rick will not be allowed to partake.
From Earl B
Dear Dawgman:
What are our chances on picking up Dwight Stephenson Jr. and Chris "The Freak" Barrett? Are we in serious contention or just an after thought.

A: Stephenson is going to visit, and you can never count out Washington when they get an athlete to come see the place. He also is a PJP guy, like Anderson, Alexis, and Frederick. He is committed to Florida but it'll be an interesting thing to watch when he visits in January. USC is the school to beat for Barrett, but he says' he'll visit Washington as well. If he does visit, don't count him out.
From Adam R
Dear Dawgman:
Thanks for all of your continued hard work on the site! Three issues for you...first, I'm concerned with the lack of playing time given to the backup QB's this season and. We were lucky that Cody survived the pounding he took this season without injury, as Taylor Barton took, what, two dozen snaps this season and Casey Paus never saw the light of the playing field. What message does this send to Paus that if Cody stays healthy again next year, that the best he can hope for is occasional mop-up duty until 2004 at the earliest? What about Stanback...how long will he be mired on the bench, and what message does that send? How about to potential recruits? I know that times and fortunes were different back in the early 90's, but when Hobert or Brunell were starting, the other typically received several series per game to run the offense, assuring that the other player was always game-ready. Will Paus and/or Stanback even stick around until 2004, knowing that they're stuck in a mop-up role for another year? Second, watching UCLA's Tyler Ebell made me think of former Husky RB Sean Sweat, a player of similar size and stature. Had he stuck around, what type of an impact might he have had this year with our lack of depth and success at RB? Where did he finally land after departing Montlake? Finally, looking into the crystal ball, we hear an awful lot about the future of Kenny James, but what about the future of other star recruit at RB, Shelton Sampson? Is his future at RB, and is he ready to compete next year? Thanks for your time!

A: Washington will enter 2003 with no proven back up to Cody Pickett, you are correct. That is a concern and hopefully the Huskies can get either Paus or Stanback some snaps early. I don't think there was a message behind it, and if there was one, it was that this is Cody Pickett's team until he graduates next year. I think Sean Sweat could've been a nice between the tackles back if he would've stuck around. He also was great on special teams. Sean went home to San Diego last we heard. I think Kenny James is the future at TB right now. Shelton Sampson is fast but I hope he gets a look at corner in addition to TB. His speed is necessary on the field, sooner than later.
From Serbian Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
On 12/6, Jason Goodman from Great Falls, MT is coming. He's 6'4' and weighs 230#. Is he going to get an offer? My friends say he's the best in Montana and the real deal. On 12/13 & 12/14, the "T Boys" from Edmonds-Woodway are coming! Tyler is a huge TE @ 6'6" and 265# while Trew @ 6'2" and 215# looks like a strong LB prospect. Do you think they'll go to college as a tandem if they are offered? On 1/10/2003, the visit list includes a DE named Dwight Stephenson from Boca Raton, FL - out of the same school as Alexis and Fredericks. He's small @ only 220# but what do you know about him? Is he serious about coming here and will he get offered?

A: Tight end is a need, with Kevin Ware off to the NFL. Goodman could be a nice fit for that spot, if the Dawgs don't go the JC route. Goodman is being recruited as an "athlete", meaning he could wind up as a DE as well. Casey Tyler and Kyle Trew will wind up Dawgs, in my opinion. Trew will take more trips but I think he'll stay home when it comes down to deciding. Stephenson is part of the PJP pipeline and is scheduled to visit in January. Will there be a spot left when he visits? I believe so. He could be a REB or an outside linebacker.

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