Letters to the Publisher

Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Well, while the bowl prognosticators try to figure out just where in the heck the Huskies will wind up the post season, recruiting is in full swing. And now on to the letters . . .

From JSM
Dear Dawgman: What is going on with Nathan Rhodes? Is there any chance he'll be a Husky come 8/15/03? And this shoulder problem at the UW has me concerned. Where do you see the health of Daniels, Mateaki and Alexander come 9/1/03? And is there any chance Robbins is healthy come 9/1/03? And I would think this young man has a great shot at a 6th year, right? Thanks for any info on these 5 young men.

A: Rhodes will be up at the UW in January attending classes. His future depends on how he responds to the surgery to repair his disc condition. Mateaki and Daniels will both be fine, as they had preexisting conditions cleaned up, nothing more. Roc Alexander is a bit more iffy, we'll see how his torn labrum responds to surgery. That is a surgery you can only have once, as it can become a permanent condition. Spencer Marona suffered from that same injury. Justin Robbins should be 100% for 2003, and I'd expect he'd be in the three WR rotation with Reggie and ET.
From Eric in West Linn, OR
Dear Dawgman:
If WSU beats UCLA, and USC is not selected for an at-large berth in a BCS bowl, I think it would force the Pac-10 to assess our affiliation, because I feel every team in the top 5, even the top 10, deserves to play on New Year's Day. If I'm not mistaken, our conference has had 5 teams in the last 3 years finish the regular season in the top 10, yet we are only guaranteed one New Year's Day bowl. I just don't think it's fair, and feel the only remedy is to either attempt to negotiate with the Cotton Bowl for our second place team again, or maybe the Holiday Bowl could be moved to Jan. 1, which may be a logistical problem because of the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. I just look at the numbers, and there are what, 8-10 games on Jan.1? At least two teams from the Pac should be assured of playing that day......

A: USC is now #4 and is guaranteed a BCS bowl game no matter what WSU does. If WSU wins, they'll also play on New Years Day, so that will be two Pac-10 teams in the BCS. I love the Pac-10, as it is a competitive conference that plays the most exciting football on the planet, and it generates great revenues for all of the member schools. However I'm not a big fan of commissioner Tom Hansen. I'm not sure he gets the most bang for the conference's buck when it comes to post season. I don't like the BCS to be honest with you. It detracts from all of the other bowls. You mentioned the Cotton Bowl, which is a perfect example. That once proud bowl is now nothing more than something to watch until a bigger bowl comes on TV. It used to be a big deal, but the BCS has killed it. I know I'm in the minority on this, but that's how I feel. It's all about money and the BCS generates a ton of it, so it won't go away anytime soon.
From Josh
Dear Dawgman:
I'm writing this letter to all the Husky fans or followers that are still whining about the WSU student section's actions after the Apple Cup. First, what in the hell are the UW fans doing on WSU's field?? Did the Huskies win a national championship??? No they didn't! They are 7-5 ! Big Deal! You might ask what WSU fans were doing on UW's field in '97??? Well, the Cougs clinched their first Rose Bowl Berth in 67 years! (Reason to celebrate!) Maybe one reason why UW students weren't throwing anything at WSU fans and students in '97, is that the fans are so far away from the field. Martin Stadium, along with other stadiums, bring a football atmosphere where the fans are closer to the field. Husky Stadium has a track around the field, which is the opposite. Second, the purple people on the field after the game started chanting "Over rated - Over rated!" What the hell! The Huskies get a little luck their last few games, salvage a losing season, and think their something! Maybe they better check the rankings..... UW is "Not Rated! Not Rated!" The Huskies are going to the Humanitarian Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, or something! Maybe that is the reason for the UW students acting the way they did! BIG DEAL! Husky fans and students were as guilty as WSU students after the game! I'm not sure if you heard or saw what went on, but the bottles being thrown on the field were being thrown back into the stands too! So before the beloved Purple and Gold followers point fingers, maybe they should look at the whole picture. Thanks for your time.

A: Washington fans went onto the field to celebrate the fact that their team had just beaten the #3 team in the country on the road, and had just turned what looked to be a 4-8 season into a 7-5 finish. Your point about the track being around UW's field is taken, but I honestly don't think that the folks in Seattle would shower the Cougars and their fans and dignitaries with bottles. I really don't. It just wouldn't fly in Husky Stadium (pun intended). Recall the Apple Cup when the Husky students tried to take the goal posts down in Seattle after beating WSU, and they were denied. Security at Husky Stadium is much tighter than it was in Pullman, I can tell you that first-hand. There was no security in Pullman, they didn't even make me open up my laptop before heading to the press box. You are correct, UW is not ranked. However they did defeat the #3 team in the country and finish 7-5. That is what they are celebrating. Being mad about getting pelted by bottles is understandable in my book, regardless of whether or not it was right to be on the field. To justify tossing projectiles at someone in a deadly (YES, deadly) fashion is ludicrous. I did see the bottles getting thrown back into the stands, and that was reprehensible. No excuse or justification for that, either. I was nailed by a bottle, a glass one, but the thought never even popped into my head to toss it back. It was a sorry spectacle to witness, particularly when I was standing in the middle of it. WSU alum Jim Moore was embarrassed by what he saw, and PI writer Ted Miller said it was worse than anything he'd experienced at Autzen or even Miami. Something must be done about security because the bottom line is, you can' t throw a bottle if you don't' have one. Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion, I do appreciate hearing from you.
From Brenda
Dear Dawgman:
If college football teams are changing from 11 to 12 game schedules, then what's the problem with a playoff system. It is hypocritical to say they don't want to add extra games onto the season. They are doing it already. Besides it would be beneficial to teams like Washington who finished strong. Then teams in second-rate conferences like Boise State or Marshall would have a legitimate shot at the national title. Having said that with the thumping USC put on Notre Dame, the BCS would be BS if Notre Dame received a BCS bowl over USC or Iowa. Providing of course WSU goes to the Rose Bowl. Then Notre Dame would live the 2001 Fiesta Bowl all over again. Playing some opponent they don't belong on the field with.

A: I don't like the BCS, as I said above. But I don't like a playoff system, either. This year teams played 12, even 13 games, and it took its toll. Many athletic directors and coaches are talking about how much work it was. I mean, players reporting for practice in July and playing into December, which is a long season. Too long for some school officials around the country. I preferred the old system, and I could care less that the national champion was named by a vote. As long as the UW makes the Rose Bowl, everything else is gravy. I'm afraid I'm very much in the minority there, though. And as long as the BCS makes money, it's here to stay. A playoff system will be implemented if there is money to be made, that is the bottom line of college football today. OK, I'll get off my soapbox now.
From Aloha Mike
Dear Dawgman:
Now that the season is complete, it seems to me that when Nate started to play that the d-backfield started to play much better? They started to turn to look back to see if the ball was, in-fact, coming. They also started to knock the ball down and sometimes intercept it. It sure is nice to hear nothing coming from the Oregon schools and Wazzu!

A: Nate was certainly a catalyst for the secondary this season. His attitude and exuberance were infectious and I think the older guys fed off of it. Derrick Johnson picked up some confidence and it helped his game immensely. When Roc Alexander returns, it will be interesting to see where he plays. Safety would be a good guess, but can his shoulder withstand the abuse that a safety dishes out? We'll see.
From Alan W
Dear Dawgman:
Nate Robinson was the only true freshman to play for the UW this year. Who were the freshman that made the biggest impact for the other teams in the Pac Ten? Thanks.

A: Jarrod Page for UCLA had a marvelous year at safety. I loved the way he looked back there. Teammate Drew Olson beat Washington as a true freshman quarterback on the road, never an easy feat. Oregon played some true freshman in their secondary and it showed big time. Michael Williams was hands down the top frosh in the conference, however. He's a man-child.
From Diego Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Do you think the huskies have a chance at Reggie Bush? He's been hurt but still put up some big numbers. Also there's a kid from here in Poway named Jason Relyea, He could be a stud at fullback. Have you heard anything on him? I'm glad to see you made it out of Pullman alive. Keep up the good work.

A: I do believe that the Huskies have a shot at Bush. Whenever Rick can get a kid to visit, it's a legit shot. Stanford and Notre Dame will be the main competition. Also, having former Husky FB Darius Turner in his ear will help. Darius is Reggie's uncle. I don't believe the Huskies are recruiting the other young man you mentioned.
From Sam Jo
Dear Dawgman:
Hey Dawgman, what's going on? Great season...Well, great second half of the season anyway. I'm stoked about the bowl game and the 2003 season. I can't wait! I'm sure Cody's gonna be the man at the helm next season, and a good Heisman candidate, but what about Paus? He was recruited as one of the top QB's in the country and was thought to be a great player in college b/c of his size. But with Pickett here next year and if Stanback turns out to be the stud everyone thinks he is, will Paus ever see the light of day? Or will he transfer to a program where he'll get some PT? I feel bad for the guy. Also, the one player I really felt bad for was Taylor Barton. I know Cody's the man, but come on...At least a few snaps. He's a great QB and could have been a potential pro QB if he'd had more PT. He was recruited and loyal to Rick and played only 2 full years of college ball (non Div 1). I think he should've gotten a shot and I really hope someone gives him a shot at the next level. What are your thoughts?

A: I think Casey Paus will have to wait his turn and battle Isaiah Stanback for the back up job next year and then for the starting job in 2004. It is a very level playing field right now for both of them. Will Paus transfer if he is beaten out? Maybe. I doubt Stanback would if he's beaten out because he can play other positions if necessary. A 6-2 200 pounder with 4.4 speed is a weapon no matter how you slice it. As for Taylor, it is a shame he didn't get more reps at Washington, I agree. But lets face it. This is Cody's team. Barton will be a great coach somewhere, I have no doubts. He's bright and a real student of the game.
From Bubba
Dear Dawgman:
What about moving Carothers to Linebacker for next year?

A: I think he could make a great SAM if his shoulders can stand the punishment. I do love what he did in the last three games at strong safety, though. Particularly against WSU, Greg was outstanding from his safety position. The guy I'd like to see get a shot at SAM next year is Tyler Krambrink, but there's no question that Carothers looks good at SAM in the nickel packages.
From Bulldawg from WASH DC, via Boca Raton, FLA
Dear Dawgman:
I was from Florida and have followed John Anderson , Rich Alexis and ET Fredericks for a number of years in High school and now in college. All three of these kids have grown into fine young men, which is a tribute to the coaching staff at UW. Everyone from UW should be proud of the individual progress made by these student athletes, they have grown into fine young men many miles away from home. I wish everyone could have seen Rich and ET entertain my customers who I took to the Michigan game. They were totally respectful and conversant and represented the University extremely well. They capture the hearts of three professional high-ranking fortune 500 managers who now follow the Huskies weekly. We should all be proud to have Coach N and his staff. In my book they are one of a kind and I would trust them with my children and their development into men. I realize that winning is everything in college football and we have had our share but going beyond the winning is the future development of these kids and their place in society after football. Thanks Coach for doing everything you said you would do for these kids. Trust me they will never forget you! Please publish this note, all Husky fans should read this

A: It was my pleasure to publish this letter, and it was a pleasure to meet you and your wife in Beverly Hills this year.
From Rick
Dear Dawgman:
There is always attrition in the assistant coaching ranks it seems, at least one a year leaves for various reasons. Williams, Dorrell, Moses, the Iowa State shuffle, etc. I won't bother to speculate on who could leave after this season or why, it almost always is a surprise anyway. But my question is, what is the protocol involved in replacing someone who leaves? Does Rick just pullout the rolodex and start calling assistants that he knows?

A: There is an interview process. The school will ask for applications and coaches will apply and will be contacted in regards to job openings. The protocol is to notify the other school's athletic director and coach about contacting one of their staff members about potential jobs. The coaching fraternity is a tight one, most know each other from various conferences, meetings, and networks.
From Joe
Dear Dawgman:
I am already looking forward to next year. Who do you see filling the starting positions being vacated by graduating players? Would Nicholson coming in predicate a move by Carothers to LB? And could you see Zach moving back over to defense to play the REB again?

A: I think Zajac's spot will be filled by Clayton Walker, I see Kevin Ware's spot being filled by Joe Toledo, and I see Paul Arnold's spot being filled by ET. On defense, Brandon Ala will replace Kai Ellis, Joe Lobendahn should fill Ben Mahdavi's spot, and the SAM linebacker spot is wide open. If Donte Nicholson comes, he may play free safety. If that happens, expect Carothers to stay at strong safety unless James Sims can beat him out. Then Carothers would likely challenge Tyler Krambrink for the SAM spot. I think Zach will stay at fullback.

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