LETTERS TO THE PUBLISHER
From William D
Thanks for your usual excellent job. I have two questions. First, has the change in weight coaches brought any appreciable improvement in the number and types of shoulder injuries? Secondly, since spring football is just around the corner, could you give us some idea of what to expect and who to look for among last year's recruits. Thanks again and I really hope your enthusiasm for this years team lives up to all our dreams
A: Shoulder injuries appear to be right where they were the past two years, but I don't know if you can see the type of correlation you are looking to draw from just one year under Pete Kaligis. He was a football player and knows what it takes to train athletes for football. Steve Emtman will be a fixture in the weight room from now on as well, and that could make a difference. Let's see what happens in another year. As far as spring and who to look for from last year's class, watch DE Brandon Ala on defense and OL Clayton Walker on offense. Both are waiting to explode sooner rather than later.
From Robbie D
I have followed husky recruiting as best I can for quite a few years now, and this year it just seems like we are losing players to USC, UCLA and also teams out of the Pac-10. Now I know because USC is recruiting hard for these guys doesn't mean necessarily that they are going to be great, but if the UW is seriously interested in these players then how come they keep losing out? I don't buy into the fact that these players are going to SC or UCLA because Southern Cal is warmer than Seattle, so what's the deal? It is a mild concern although I am not too worried, as long as the UW keeps the in-state studs home. Great site, keep it up, I am holding down Canada spreading the husky nation. WOOF!
A: Washington has lost out on players every year. This year is no exception. USC is hot, particularly for kids that don't want to leave home. That area around USC is a hotbed for talent because of how populous it is. UCLA has a new coaching staff and that excites kids that are looking to "turn the local school around," just as Joe Steele and Michael Jackson did in 1975 under Don James in his first year. ASU has an incredible campus life that is appealing to many, and their program is on the rise. It has been a sleeping giant for years. Cal has a great young head coach in Jeff Tedford and he has the Bears believing. It's not necessarily climate-related, but rather environmental. Every school in the Pac-10 has something to offer that's different than the other. What appeals to some kids will be different than others. I honestly believe that this Husky staff does a great job of showing off the strengths of the UW campus, academics, football program, and the city of Seattle. It will appeal to some, but not enough to others to want to leave home. It is much more important to keep the top athletes in the state at home, as you mentioned. Then you augment that base with 10-12 athletes from out-of-state that are interested in leaving home for school. Thanks for the letter from the Great White North!
From DC Dawg
Again great job covering this year's recruiting happenings and events. Best site on the web. I check it daily. Considering all the early commitments, could the Huskies run into a numbers issue this year? I was pleasantly surprised to read that Q. Daniels is now leaning the Husky's way. Another WR, but apparently a good one. Assuming Rankin stays committed, bringing in a DL would raise the number of commits to around 28 or 29. As you know probably better than anyone, there can be surprises, either positive or negative, come signing day. And normally two or three current commits do not qualify academically. In looking at this class, I get the feeling the number of possible late de-commits is lower than it has been in past classes, although I could be wrong. In fact, it looks as if, given the number of prospects still uncommitted, that the surprises, if there are any, could be more positive than negative. I would like to hear your opinion. And if the number of commits reached 29 or 30, given all of them qualify, how would the Huskies handle this situation? How will it conclude?
A: The Huskies will definitely run into a numbers issue this year. It will need to be handled by attrition and/or grayshirting (delayed enrollment). The magic number is 25 scholarships in any one class and 85 total in any year. They are currently at 65 scholarships, leaving room for 20 IF THERE WERE NO ATTRITION. Quintin Daniels, Louis Rankin, Wilson Afoa, and Matthew Malele will all have scholarships waiting for them if they do want to be a part of this class. The bottom line is, if there is an athlete that Washington believes can help them, they will make it happen. There will need to be some attrition beyond what we've already heard about. Daniels has verballed to the Dawgs now. I will predict that Washington closes with Afoa and Rankin, and I'll predict that Malele goes to Cal. Afoa sure appears like he wants to come, now it's up to a meeting of the minds with his parents. Will that happen? I think so, but it's just a prediction for now. We spoke with Rankin just last night and although he has a school in mind, he's just making sure that he explores every option and does it carefully because you only get one shot at a decision like this. He is counseling with his Uncle, former NFL player Webster Slaughter, about his decision. Things have changed a bit since Uncle Webster went through things, and he is making sure that his nephew doesn't rush it. It's a wise strategy. I do predict Rankin will be a Dawg, though, if he and his family are left alone to think things over. He told us flat out that he's tired of getting hounded and pestered incessantly on the phone, which made me very proud that our staff stuck to only calling him once per week. We will continue to respect his privacy and wait for him to phone us when he's ready to decide. As for Malele, two recent deaths in his family have changed his perspective on things and I'm predicting that he sticks close to family and home and picks Cal. Dixon? Not sure there is room for him anymore.
From Lo J
Love your site Dawgman. Your favorite husky offensive players included Mo Hill. I remember him when I was a kid, fun player to watch. I heard a story on how he acquired the nickname "Mo", a playground supervisor at his grade school noticed that every recess he was the best at whatever he was playing and thus gave him the nickname "MOE" which she termed Master Of Everything. Have you heard of this story? I'm just curious since I see "Mo" a lot instead of "MOE".
A: I was not aware of that story. Thanks for sharing it. I've seen it spelled "Mo" ever since I can remember, so that is how I spelled it as well.
From Matt W
What is up with this Dennis Dixon guy? I see that the LA schools are backing off him. Why? Is Dixon a threat to run? What ever happened to the kid from Florida (same HS as Alexis and Anderson) saw that he had a soft verbal to Florida but was still very interested in UW. Also the Ware kid from Texas MLB I think was listing UW as his top choice but was never offered a scholarship I think you need to take a chance once in a while on these guys from anywhere but the west coast. If you can recruit countrywide you can only be better off right?
A: Dixon is definitely a double threat, as he has very good speed. The LA schools appear to be taking a pass for whatever reason on him, and each will take a QB next year instead. Washington is still recruiting him but I think they'll run out of numbers and not be able to take him. The young man from Florida is Dwight Stevenson, and he will play his college football at Notre Dame. Kurt Ware committed to Wisconsin and wasn't really courted by Washington. As far as national recruiting goes, I think it's too risky unless you are a small private school with no "base." Washington has a built-in base to recruit from in the state, and should always look there first. Then they should augment it with the best 10-12 athletes from out of state. To set up nation-wide recruiting takes a lot of resources, more than Washington has. Like it or not, Washington doesn't carry the same national credential as a school like Notre Dame or Stanford. But Notre Dame and Stanford don't really have a built-in base because they are so small, so they are forced to go all over the nation in search of talent. They can do that with their academic reputations. I think Washington is better suited to lock up the in-state guys they want, then look at California, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, and Hawaii, the states where they have the best relationships with the high school coaches. When you drift into unknown areas, the coaches have no prior relationship with you and that puts you behind from the get-go. The only reason Washington was able to get into Florida was John Anderson. His coach, Terry Geogh, is now very familiar with coach Neuheisel and his staff, thus Neu and his coaches can go into that area starting with more even footing. Geogh is now the head coach at a much bigger school in Florida, so Washington's reach just got a little longer in that state. It's a question of resource management, and how much bang can you get for your limited buck. For Washington, their ties are much better on the West Coast, thus making their dollar go farther than if they tried to recruit the Midwest against Ohio State and Michigan, or the south against the entire SEC. If they spent a lot of time there, it would reduce their effectiveness elsewhere.
From Hawaiian Husky
In reference to your all-time favorite Husky team, (it's) too bad you never had the pleasure of watching Bob Schlorett quarterbacking the huskies in '59 and '60 seasons. He was never an all-American type, but his inspirational leadership was similar to Tui's and brought the Huskies to the Rose Bowl in '60 and '61. I recall he got hurt early in that second season when Bob Hivner took the team to the championship, and Schlorett polished off the Rosebowl. The Huskies also had an all-American center in the mid 60's.....can't recall his name now. But I recall watching him several times flattening the DT and then going out and getting a LB for good measure. Is there a website or source that shows the team's rosters through the years?
A: I never did get to see the one-eyed QB, I wasn't born then. But I have read many fond recounts of his time at Washington. The center you are thinking of, could it have been Roy McKasson? The UW media guide is a good resource for what you are looking for. You can order one through the school, and some of the information is available at the school official site: www.gohuskies.com.
From S. R. J
Man the site is a nice supplement to my day and thanks for keeping it posted with up to date and varied items. My concern is the talent level of the players on the team? I want to believe that the talent is there to take the program to the level of FSU, Miami, Oka, OSU, am I wrong? It seems to me that if there was such talent on the roster that it would have played more last year simply because the guys on the field were not getting the job done. I understand the benefit of redshirts but if there are better guys sitting than those playing, in my opinion there is a major problem with assessing talent. If the talent is there, what are the coaches, specifically RN, waiting for? To me, injuries did not seem to be the problem they were last year but even with less injuries, we did not see the performance improve. If anything there seem to be more blunders. Is the talent really there? I want to believe it is, and if it is, then it seems to me the issue is the coaching? I am more interested in discussing answers than pointing fingers, so I look forward to your response.
A: The talent level is there, but they have to prove it now. That comes with coaching, luck (staying healthy), and believing. I think that redshirting last year's class (with the exception of Nate Robinson) was a good move. I'm not absolutely convinced that there was anyone on the bench that was better than who the Huskies had out on the field. I do think that the talent is there, and if this team doesn't win 10 games next year, I'll be shocked. If they go 7-6 again, there will be some serious issues to be resolved. The OL has to be fixed and the tailback has to gain yards. Those two issues, above all else, must be fixed before this team can move forward. I believe it will get done.
From Chris in Gilbert, AZ
I would like to switch sports and talk a little husky basketball. What is the deal with this program? They seem to always be "a year away." Why? They lose games they shouldn't and sometimes win ones they shouldn't as well. They are the most Jekyl and Hyde team I have ever seen. Do you think Romar will turn this program around or will we hear "wait till next hear" forever? How is recruiting going for husky basketball? Any good prospects to look forward to? Love your site! Go DAWGS!!
A: Keep in mind that this team is still a work in progress. Romar is only coaching one of his recruits, and that's Bobby Jones. The rest are really still Bob Bender's team. Once Romar gets another year of recruits into the program, I think it will be much more stable and the chemistry will be better. These guys didn't seem to like each other much under Bender. Under Romar, it's a different story. It will take time but you are already seeing a group that is playing more like a team. They do play good defense, now they need some shooters. I think Jensen is a great shooter and can help be a threat from outside once he gets more comfortable. Romar needs to bring in a three-point threat, though. Washington really has no zone busters on this team yet. Curtis Allen is capable but his shot hasn't fallen for him as much as he'd like. The guys that you should watch for in recruiting are here: CLICK HERE. The two in-staters, Burleson and Williams, are definitely keepers.
From Sufre Dawg
For the years '02 through '00 who was honored as the top scout team performers for each of those years for offense, defense and special teams? I am trying to determine a correlation between scout team honors and varsity performance.
A: The winners of the Bob Jarvis (offense) award for 2000 were Matthias Wilson and Sean Sweat. In 2001 it was Robin Meadow and in 2002 it went to Clayton Walker and Shelton Sampson.
Winners of the Mark Drennan award (defense) in 2000 were Tim Galloway and Zach Tuiasosopo. In 2001 it went to Will Conwell and Manase Hopoi. Dan Milsten and Matt Fountaine won it in 2002.
Winners of the Bran Stapp (Special teams) award in 2000 were Brian Cook and BJ Newberry, and in 2001 it was Matt Griffith In 2002 it was Ryan Campbell and Matt Grifith.
From TC in SoCal
I was wondering if Junior Brignac is still going to play football? I read an article last July that said the 24 year old would be a freshman? Is he still going to play, and if so is he any good? Also what is going on with Demar Baisy, is he going to be a husky next year?
A: Brignac will play football for Cal. He wanted to play at Washington, and even committed to the Dawgs, but after one informal summer workout with the Huskies, he went back into Neuheisel's office and asked him, "I thought you said you needed help at receiver? You guys are loaded!" Thus he went to Cal, a school much closer to home. As for Baisy, he is checking out JC options and will matriculate to the UW after he receives his AA.
From TS in Auburn, WA
Is there talk about moving Zach T back to LB and moving Alexis to FB. Zach seemed to get lost and didn't look comfortable. Alexis could be better utilized as a blocker and receiver. It seems to me with Kenny James style of running he would be more suited for the option. Thanks
A: I would personally love to see Zach tried at REB or ILB, I liked him on defense. And it would get Eriks on the field. Alexis wouldn't make a good fullback in my opinion. His shoulders wouldn't withstand the punishment. I think Alexis is more suited to the option when he's healthy. Just look at what he did when he wasn't dinged and the UW committed to the run. James is more of a between-the-tackles guy in my book, and I hope he gets a lot of carries there. He reminds me of Willie Hurst, only a little bigger and faster.
From Larry O
Five WRs recruited and now going for a sixth? Do we have anyone on the coaching staff that can recruit linemen? What about Snow?
A: The staff recruits by geographic area, not so much by position. This year they aren't going to bring in many big bodies, true, but count on it next year, when there are at least five D-1 linemen in the state. It will be addressed.
From Lakes Grad
DO you think that Aaron Butler can improve on 02? Will we see any of Felix Sweetman, Matt Griffith or Anthony Russo anytime soon?
A: Butler will undoubtedly improve. He was hampered last year with a very sore knee. Sweetman is a walk-on QB, so I don't see him finding the field unless it's a blow out. Russo will be either a tailback or a safety, but hopefully will redshirt first. He's fast and now just needs to add more muscle and get some experience.
From Adam R
OK, rare is the day that I disagree with you, so we'll just call it a difference of opinion...as much as I smiled when reading your "Names that make you smile" column (and yes, I smiled a lot!), I have to air out on five names that I found glaringly absent
1. Mark Jerue - Much of how you described Chris O'Conner (old school, heady, never out of position, etc.) could be said about Jerue. He came in and saw extensive playing time as a pure freshman in the fall of 1978 as a 225 lb. noseguard (will we ever see a 225 lb. noseguard again???).He set the tone for the defense with his guts, his head, and above all else, his unmatched intensity.
2. Tim Meamber - Could 1984's Orange Bowl have been a Husky victory ever been recorded without this Inside LB leading the fearsome "Purple Reign" defense? I don't remember this guy ever being out of position. I have several friends who saw extensive time on the offensive scout team that season, and they swear that in the days leading up to the game against Oklahoma, that they knew the Dawgs were destined to destroy the Sooners based on Meamber, alone!
3. Greg Lewis - Not the fastest or most talented RB (see Napoleon Kaufman for those accolades!) around, but as exciting as Brunell was as a Sophomore QB, I believe that without Greg Lewis' leadership, carrying the offensive load, and gaining the tough yards play after play (I never remember him getting stuffed for a loss...he always seemed to get back to the line of scrimmage) that got the Purple and Gold back to Pasadena in 1991.
4. Corey Dillon - Only one season in Husky Stadium, but OH, what a season! In a time when all seemed dismal at Montlake coming off an embarrassing Sun Bowl and Lambo leading us to seemingly nowhere with a Freshman QB taking over for the injured upper classman, Dillon had the best season by a UW RB in school history while starting only eight games!
5. Billy Joe Hobert - Say what we (myself included) will about the guy, he was 17-0 as a starting QB.
A: Great Huskies, all of them. Thanks for sharing your picks, and please, disagree with me more often. Letters like this are awesome!
From Mike in Eugene, OR
Just a quick note about the site and my pick on honorable mention for the all husky team. I love the site and since I live in Eugene it is my little refuge from Duck propaganda machine. Now my only suggestion for at least honorable mention to the all husky team would be Charles Mincy. He was a great shut down corner. Keep up the good work.
A: Chuck was a joy to watch, no doubt. He actually started at safety, and was a fine one at that. But he was outstanding on the corner. Great choice, thanks for sharing it.
Thanks for continuing the terrific site for the 'sport junkies' of the world! I follow Husky sports every day on the site and am amazed at how quickly coverage occurs when news happens. My first question has to do with the volume of commitments the Dawgs are accepting. I understood that the maximum number of scholarships awarded in any one class could not exceed 25. Is that correct? The Husky commit list has now hit 26 and the staff is still actively trying to tie down one or two more commitments. How will they handle this to pare the number down to the allowable limit? Second, what are the Dawgs going to do with the two kickers they recruited, one from Arizona (Braustein) and one from Nebraska (Douglas). Is one to be a punter and the other the kicker? Or are they interchangeable in these two positions? What will happen when the current punter returns from his Mission in two years? Does he still count as a scholarship now and does he plan to rejoin the team then?
Please keep up the good work in our behalf and GO DAWGS! See you in Columbus in August for the first big upset of the season!!!
A: Thanks for the kind words, Bob. Schools can sign as many athletes to LOI's as they wish, but can only count 25 scholarships against any one class. Additionally, they can only have 85 total athletes on active football scholarship during any one season. It will be interesting to see how Washington makes the numbers fit. Don't worry though, they'll do it. It will most likely be a combination of attrition, academic casualties, and deferred enrollments. Braunstein is going to be solely a place kicker, while Douglas will punt exclusively. When McLaughlin returns from his mission, he'll be a recruitable athlete. If he returns to Washington, he'll most likely compete with Douglas (or others) for the punting job in 2005. McLaughlin's scholarship is not counted against the active 85 while he is on his mission.
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