Riding the Wave of Momentum

So much optimism, so much anticipation, so much excitement: I'm talking about both Husky basketball AND Husky football. What's not to like about this year so far? A sweep of the Oregon schools along with a solid win over WSU, all on the road - as well as their sweep of USC and UCLA - sets up the Husky hoopsters for a run at the conference and the NCAA tournament. Are they exciting or what?

Lorenzo Romar has gone back to speed and quickness on the defensive perimeter and in doing so the Huskies are really defending the ball aggressively and are rotating well in their help positions. Certainly, Isaiah Thomas, has help the offense but the team is playing so well defensively that it really exciting to watch them trap and hustle and bang the boards.

Unfortunately, their win over the Ducks wasn't on TV, so most of us missed it. Still, Bob Rondeau can paint a pretty good picture and coming back home with a sweep of the Oregon schools has everyone buzzing. (Almost as much as the inauguration, but not quite.)

Realistically, Washington only needs to win seven or eight more games and they'll probably break into the 64 team tournament. 22-23 wins should allow them to comfortably make it into the Dance.

I was attending a reception during a recent Sunday with a number of prominent Husky supporters and the excitement was almost equally split between basketball and football. Athletic Director, Scott Woodward, was in attendance, and his smile and confidence in the direction of both programs was obvious. Lorenzo is off to a solid start and could easily be 17-2 had they not let a couple of games against Portland and California get away.

In football, coach Steve Sarkisian has already completed his coaching and administrative staffs and their recruiting efforts are already paying dividends. He has hired almost an entire staff of coaches who all have ties to this conference and this area of the country for recruiting. They are aggressively trying to fill the roster, and I think will end up signing 20-22 kids when it's all said and done. They're sitting on about 15 commits right now so that would mean landing 5-7 more, and right now it looks like linemen are suddenly at a premium. Getting three or four offensive linemen is critical to maintaining their balance in recruiting but I'm not surprised to see them add more corners and defensive linemen. A punter and or a kicker/punter would be great as well.

Considering the return of EJ Savannah and Anthony Gobern, and late enrollments by Demetrius Bronson and Craig Noble from last year's class, it is easy to envision an increase of about 25 new scholarship kids. Put those in the mix with some quality walk-ons and Washington could easily add 30-35 new kids by this coming fall. Depth is something you need simply for practice purposes, although I think you'll see more "Ones vs. Ones" this coming spring and fall practices.

It's just refreshing to see a more wide-open approach to recruiting. No more of this, "We only have 17 spots anyway so why sign more?" Let's make it competitive for those 85 spots. "If we can get 25, then why not?" That seems to be the attitude. Now we're talking! Go after kids who have previously committed elsewhere instead of just walking away, and that looks to be what they have done these last two recruiting weekends. Just taking a quick look at Dawgman's visit list, it appears UW has gotten visits out of at least 11 players that had already committed to other programs, and it's probably higher.

At least that way you know who you're competing against. And while you're at it, go ahead and try to sign some JC kids because we definitely need an instant transfusion. That was the case with Sark's first commit - tight end Dorson Boyce.

In any case, they certainly appear to be doing things a lot faster than either Rick Neuheisel or Tyrone Willingham did. This staff is determined not to throw away a recruiting class just because of a transition, which is exactly what happened to the last two coaches. Four years later, it haunted both of them.

Coach Gilbertson had the continuity of then-recruiting coordinator, Chuck Heater, and really produced a decent class with his transition from Neuheisel.

Still, coming off an 0-12 season, this team obviously has lots of holes.

One would have to assume that they also have USC's recruiting list and probably those of California, Fresno State and BYU, as Sarkisian added coaches from those schools to his staff. That gives them a pretty deep talent pool to draw from and many probably already have relations established with potential recruits. I really think they could add as many as 6-8 coming down the stretch.

You can bet that coach Sarkisian and his staff will go right up to signing date trying to turn kids into Huskies. I would guess that they will even sign some kids after it and would be open to transfers as well. It's all about building the roster, creating the depth and competition to make practices and playing time more intense. I think there will be obvious personnel changes this spring and we probably won't know who will fit into their two-deeps until well into fall camp.

Still, it's an overall feeling of anticipation, of finally getting better, and yes - even winning. This staff is undefeated and intends to stay that way. The players will buy in and already are. Winning games again in Husky Stadium is on the horizon.

Wouldn't it be cool if they beat either LSU or USC at home next fall? Why not? That's why we robbed the Trojans of no less than half a dozen or more people directly out of their system. We're bringing them here to beat USC and until we do, we'll never really be back. Popping LSU right out of the blocks seems like a longshot, but it's not out of the question simply because of what's unknown.

Besides, we still got Jake.

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