Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Well, recruiting heated up late this year, which is actually a good thing. The coaches prefer it, as it gives them more time to evaluate talent. The more time they get, the more margin for error there is. And now, on to the letters . . .

From Mark E
Dear Dawgman: I see where Bobby Hauck is possibly interviewing for the head coach position at University of Montana. Do you think he would be a good head coach? How much of a loss do you think he would be for the Dawgs? Thanks for your site!

A: He has everything you look for in a head coach. He is a solid recruiter, a smart guy, and media savvy. I think he would be a great coach, and Neuheisel would have a big hole to fill in both the secondary and in talent evaluation if he were to lose Hauck.
From SufreDawg
Dear Dawgman:
In his career how many games has J Anderson won or sent in to OT?

A: My recollection is four games. He hit a 56-yarder against UCLA to tie it back in 2000, He beat both ASU and USC on the last play of the game, and this year's Apple Cup he also sent that one into OT, and won it there.
From TPC
Dear Dawgman:
Gilby told me a few years ago that "as long as I'm here we will take 5 o-lineman per year to assure no depth problems." So your comment of three o-lineman goes against their strategy. How do you think will be their 5 this year and how do you see the interior d-line class shaping out? We won the NW by our line play, which is surprising considering how bad they (the UW line on both sides) were against UCLA. Especially the way you saw the Cougars dominant UCLA at the line. We dominated the line with the WSU but not UCLA.

A: They have four linemen in the class now with Erik Berglund, Juan Garcia, Chad Macklin, and Jordan Reffett. Three will start out on the OL and Reffett will start out on defense. I think they'll take two more linemen, maybe three more. I think they have a very legit shot at RJ Willing from Hawaii and Sam Baker from Tustin will visit this weekend. So will OL Louis Solis. I also think that Brandon Mebane will be a Dawg when all is said and done.
From Poi Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
It seems like the Huskies are just stacked at receiver with Williams, ET and a few others returning. Do you see Craig Chambers or any of the other incoming receivers in the three-man rotation next year? Is Chambers in the same league that Williams was in when he came out of high school? Can we afford to red shirt Chambers? Do you see all the incoming receiver recruits playing receiver or will any of them end up on D? Also, do you remember how close UW was to getting Timmy Chang out of Saint Louis (HI). Can you imagine having both Chang and Pickett, (both 4000+ season passers) on the same team (not to mention Barton and the other young QB pups).

Mahalo and Aloha

A: I think Bobby Whithorne is the most polished of the three that have committed thus far. Chambers may be big time but his senior season was severely limited by injury. He should be fine at the UW as it was not a nagging thing. Putting him in the same category as Reggie Williams before he sets foot on campus is not fair. Reggie is probably the best receiver to ever don the Purple and Gold, whereas Craig had a very difficult senior campaign. I have no doubt that he has all the physical tools, now he just needs to turn them loose and take in what Bobby Kennedy has in store for him. I'll bet he winds up a great one, but to compare him to Reggie is not fair at this time. About Timmy Chang, UW did offer him. Axman liked him, but he wanted to stay home and be part of what June Jones is creating on the Island.
From Malipug
Dear Dawgman:
Reading your last column, I saw you had listed Nate Robinson and Derrick Johnson as starting cornerbacks for 2003. Have you discounted the fact that "Roc" will be back?

A: Nope.
From Jell-O man
Dear Dawgman:
I think we have to give credit to Hundley, and Hauck for regrouping and fixing some of the leaks the last five games. The pass efficiency defense improved a lot. I have high expectations next year, but it seems to me the whole Pac 10 is REAL YOUNG also. It looks to me that all most all the teams have a lot of returning starters. Let me know your thoughts on that? Also congratulations to Rien Long for the Outland. Keep up the good work DAWGMAN!

A: Credit where credit is due. Tim Hundley's defense does work when the linebackers get their drops, the line gets some push, and the corners look to make plays with the ball in the air. A lot of talent returns, too. If they can get someone to step up where Kai Ellis is leaving, it could be a great year. I feel good about the linebackers.
From Myra R
Dear Dawgman:
Next year, Ohio State seems to have all their beef back including their leading passer, receiver, and runner. Do you think Washington will be able to compete in the horseshoe?

A: I think Washington's offense will be too much for Ohio State, and I feel great about Washington's ability to stop the run enough to keep them close enough for Pickett to deliver the death blow. UW by six.
From Cowgo Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
It seems that one shortcoming of this year's football team that showed little improvement this season (except for a solid effort in the Apple Cup) was the offensive line. Despite having four starters return, including Zajac, who was injured most of the season, our offensive line played far below expectations and rarely opened big holes for our running backs. I recall in '99 when Coach Gilbertson was the OL coach and the OL played exceedingly better than they were expected--instead of being a weakness, they ended up one of the team's strengths. Those offensive linemen gushed in a Seattle Times article about how knowledgeable a coach Gilby was about the nuances of being a lineman, and one remarked how he "learned more in one practice from Gilby than he had all of high school," or something to that effect. So it seems we have an outstanding OL coach on our hands-- sitting in the booth as the offensive coordinator. I know Gilby is an accomplished OC as well, so I don't want to mess with that-- but what I want to know is-- how do you think we can best take advantage of Gilby's talents, especially in regard to the OL? Can one person coach the OL and be the offensive coordinator at the same time? I would think that would be difficult, with the OC sitting up in the booth on game day, and not able to talk to his linemen during the game. Go HUSKIES!

A: I couldn't have answered your question better myself. It is absolutely impossible to coach the OL and be in the booth. You have to be at field level and need to be able to communicate to your OL on every break. If Gilby did both OL and OC, he'd need to be on the sidelines and have another set of eyes for him up in the box, pointing out tendencies and formations that work.
From Shirley and Jack S
Dear Dawgman:
Just a note. I also think there is a fairly good chance that the Dawgs could run the table next year. They have a great home schedule and catch only Arizona, OSU, UCLA and Cal on the road. Not having ASU on the schedule could be a good thing but since we would have gotten them at home it might work against us. Having the Cougs, ducks and Trojans at home will be awesome. Our schedule next year looks very much like what the Cougs had at home this year and hopefully we can have the same success.

A: Excellent points. I think they will run the table. That opener at OSU is the lynchpin for the entire season, in my opinion. They win that, they don't lose again for the rest of the year.
From Richard S, writing to the Seattle Times
Dear Seattle Times:
Your anonymous editorial bashing Rick Neuheisel was unfair, unfounded, and unbelievable. Others will address the despicable nature of the writing. I just assume people proceed on good faith, and thus the writer must have been badly mistaken in making a number of assumptions about Coach Neuheisel.

First, he did not have a "short timer's attitude and reputation" when he arrived. To the contrary, he had turned down UCLA to remain at Colorado, and all of his vision at Washington has always been focused many years ahead.

Second, your anonymous writer likely believed a story in an L.A. paper that stated R.N. was "very interested" in the job. Now if your writer had only relied upon the Internet or sports radio for his news, he would have been kept current. Coach appeared on KJR early last week and denied any interest in the job, and denied the L.A. story, mocking the concept that UCLA had been in touch with "his people" ("I am it; I have no 'people'.")

DAWGMAN.COM carried references to that interview. Then again on Friday morning Coach appeared on KJR and once again flatly denied any interest in the job. If your writer would have paid attention to the media where the news is current, instead of the newspaper, surely he would not have released the editorial.

Just after that last R.N. interview, the writer of the L.A. story was laid bare on KJR by Hugh Millen. Turns out the most he could come up with is an unnamed source who would liken Coach's actions to "dipping his toe in the water to test the interest". Hardly translates to "very interested" does it?

As both a graduate of Colorado and a TYEE member, I have made close observation of this man over the years, and I can state without reservation that Rick Neuheisel is a man of the highest personal and professional integrity. His conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety. Is that why you believe him to be insincere: because he appears too good to be true?

I have found that he always speaks with frankness, but also with sincerity and sympathy. His deed follows his word, and Coach always thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own. His self-control is equal to all confrontations: witness the ugly close up attack on his players outside the WSU stadium on the path to the lockers.

The epitome of a true gentleman, Rick Neuheisel is a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.

A: Thank you for sharing your letter with us Richard. Have a happy holiday.
From Hawaiian Husky
Dear Dawgman:
I thought that Rick was restricted to only on-campus recruiting, but from your interviews I take it that his in-home Sunday brunches are ok too? From looking at the latest list of commits, things are shaping up for the future. What are the chances of any of them changing their mind before January? Still read your website even before the morning paper comics... keep it up.

A: Neuheisel can conduct visit activities, which include his home, as the Sunday brunch is part of all UW recruiting visits. You are asking me if there will be any decommits, and that is a tough question to ask. Each year there seems to be one. High school guys that have committed to UW only to change their mind include S Mike Davis (told RN that he'd be a dawg on the phone but wound up reaffirming his commitment to ASU), DT Jonathan Mapu (committed to RN on his visit and again to Tom Williams during an in-home visit, but later changed his mind and went to Tennessee), LB Joseph Lobendahn (committed on his visit but then wanted to think about things and took a visit elsewhere before reaffirming to UW), S RayShon Dukes (committed to UW, changed to Texas A&M, and then changed back to UW after Neuheisel called him), and then there are the well chronicled stories of JC players Chris Solomona (Oregon), Marcus Roberson (UW), and this year Donte Nicholson's saga is an interesting one to watch unfold. The bottom line is, you never know until the names are on the dotted line. All of these stories were shared at our recruiting banquets over the past couple of years by those that would know the true behind-the-scenes stories. There are some doozies, and Dick Baird has some incredible stories of commits that never stuck while he was the recruiting coordinator. Sometimes it's pretty funny, other times it makes you shake your head in amazement. Thanks for visiting our site, if you visit is before Dilbert, that is true dedication indeed!
From TDBrown3
Dear Dawgman:
Love the site, I watched Jordan Carey from Capital play in the Quarterfinals and in the championship, and he is a VERY impressive player, is the book closed on him to Oregon? Also, it seems the KingCo conference has a lot of talent in the class of 04, Matt Tuiasosopo, etc. Can you give a rundown of the top 5-10 in state players for next year. Thanks.

A: I consulted with Chris Fetters, our recruiting guru on this one, and here is what he said:
"The book is never closed until signing day and the Huskies have offered Jordan, but it would take something very strange for him to change his mind. Top 10 in state next year? Here's one man's guess: Keauntea Bankhead – Ballard, Bobby Dockter – Kamiak, Javon Butler - Archbishop Murphy, Gary Rogers – Kamiak, Trenton Tuiaosospo – Mariner, Matt Tuiasosopo – Woodinville, Kyle Carson - RA Long, Chancellor Young - O'Dea, Jordan White-Frisbee – Inglemoor, Mitch Reffett - Moses Lake."

From Duncan W
Dear Dawgman:
We have wondered why Steve Emtman is not on the coaching staff in some capacity given his obvious love of the Dawgs, talent and return to this area.

A: Steve is running a private gym full-time, and doesn't have an interest in coaching, to my knowledge. He has never really expressed interest to get into it as a profession.
From Robert V
Dear Dawgman:
It seems to me that the final battles in the "recruiting wars" are still to be fought and won or lost. The weekends of December 13-14 and 20-21 will have seen no less than 33 prospects and commits come to the UDub campus. It's true, is it not, that Coach N. is free to recruit while these guys are on campus?

I've attempted to rank the Pac-10 recruiting classes through 12/12 based on total verbals and those with a national rank of 4 stars or more: #1 - USC Total 18/4* or more 6; #2 - UW 12/3; #3 ASU - 8/3; #4 - CAL 14/1; #5 (tie) WSU & UCLA - 8/1; #7 - STANFORD - 7/2; #8 - UO 7; #9 (tie) - OSU & ARIZONA - 4. Please give your views on these classes.

Donte Nicholson - a former 'commit' at the UDub & JC grad. He visited ASU in December, was quoted as being "blown away" by that visit, and committed. Now I see he's a solid verbal at Oklahoma; what's with this guy? Will he ever get his head on straight and live up to his potential? I wish he'd stayed with the Dawgs but maybe he was more trouble than he was worth.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year - thanks for the wonderful web site. A "Total Access" subscription is all I want for Christmas.

A: Rick can recruit as actively as he wants while the recruits are in town. Your rankings are pretty good. USC has by far the best class, and no one will catch them. ASU and UCLA will wind up with strong classes, especially after UCLA names a new coach, guys will start jumping on board. I think Washington will wind up somewhere between 3-7th, which is fine, as long as they develop the talent they are pulling in. Guys like Chad Macklin, Juan Garcia, and Erik Berglund are two-three year projects that could pay huge dividends (or not). That is what makes ranking a recruiting class so difficult because it may be excellent on paper but if it doesn't translate to the field, it means squat. Donte is a great kid who is having trouble saying no to anybody. His head is on straight, he's just young and enjoying the process. I don't see any harm in that. I think the Huskies would take him in a New York minute if he wants to come here. I think he'll wind up a Trojan, though. Happy Holidays, Robert!!

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