Ask Coach Baird feature is live for our subscribers . . . now, on to the letters."> Ask Coach Baird feature is live for our subscribers . . . now, on to the letters.">

LETTERS TO THE PUBLISHER

Thank you to those of you that submitted questions for the "Ask Dawgman" column. Well, here we are in that dead area between the end of recruiting and the beginning of spring football. Mat drills are in full force, so you know the football team is working hard. We've added Dick Baird to our staff here at Dawgman.com. His <a href=http://washington.theinsiders.com/3/askcoachbaird.html>Ask Coach Baird</a> feature is live for our subscribers . . . now, on to the letters.


From Dogge W
To John Levesque – Seattle PI:
You mentioned in your "I know what I heard" article whether Neuheisel's honesty is a non-issue to his kids. I wonder if the underhanded tactics you used to get your "story" is an issue to yours? What you've taught your kids is that it's okay to eavesdrop - you admitted that Neuheisel purposefully lowered his voice when he called his mother to prevent others from hearing him. That obviously did not keep you from surreptitiously straining to catch his every word. You've also taught your kids that it's ok to set someone up. You overhead his conversation, but decided not to disclose that when you questioned him. Instead, you asked him if he was in town for the San Francisco job knowing that interviewees are supposed to keep that information confidential. If you really wanted him to come clean, you would have told him that you thought you overhead him talking about an interview.

In short, you chose not to give Neuheisel the professional courtesy of either respecting his privacy by not disclosing the information that he obviously intended to be private, or by telling him what you overhead. Your decision not to tell Neuheisel what you overhead shows that you're more interested in embarrassing him than finding out the truth. While Rick shouldn't have lied, I hope you appreciate the fact that you're certainly not lily-white in this incident.

A: Thank you for sharing your letter to the Seattle PI, Dogge. It will be nice when spring football begins, huh?
From Hawaiian Husky
Dear Dawgman:
I couldn't help but notice that while USC and UCLA did fairly well in recruiting, neither school picked up any QBs. Do you see any significance to this? With both Palmer and Paus gone, I'd think that it would be extremely attractive for a good QB prospect to sign up with either team. Even with a good collection of QBs already in line, the Huskies still felt it important to go after another one for this incoming class. Also, I'd be interested in seeing an article from you guys on how the PAC10 teams fared in filling in their needs with this year's recruiting classes. .

A: USC will add Brandon Hance to their roster. He's a transfer from Purdue and he is said to be very proficient at running a Norm Chow type offense. Along with him will be Matt Cassel, another QB that Carroll is high on, as well as Billy Hart. UCLA has two very bright QBs returning that will only be sophomores in phenom Drew Olson and Matt Moore. Both the LA schools do have young talent already on the roster, and decided to take a pass on Dennis Dixon and wait until next year to pick up a signal caller. As for your Pac-10 recruiting wrap, that sounds like a great idea. I'll bounce it off my recruiting guy, Chris Fetters, and see what we can come up with.
From Aloha Mike
Dear Dawgman:
Do you believe a person when they tell you something? For the better part of four years, coach Neu has repeatedly told the world he is happy at UDUB. Why is it that every time a coaching job comes open, the media has coach Neu signed, sealed, and delivered. Are they(media), that hard up for news that they invent stories?

A: It is because Neuheisel is in the prime of his coaching years. He's still relatively young, energetic, and definitely draws attention. Therefore it's easy to throw his name into the ring. Also, Rick has never shied away from the limelight. That is not a bad thing in my book, not at all, but it will draw more attention to you for sure. I have not seen a media source have Neu signed, sealed, and delivered anywhere. I've seen newspapers and news outlets report informed speculation, and you always have to read stuff like that with some perspective. Does the media invent stories? Not really, but I've seen it happen on occasion, particularly on the Internet.
From Chris in Gilbert, AZ
Dear Dawgman:
Now that recruiting season is over let's be honest. How did we really fair? Did we get most of the guys who were on the board and are we deep enough to red-shirt most of these guys so they have a year to learn, mature and grow to understand what an honor it is to play husky football? Also, I have a feeling Neu won't be around much longer. Constant rumors of open coaching positions with his name coming up are always present. I know you must be politically correct but let's be honest, he is not a true husky at heart and never will be. Let him go back to California and soak up the sun while we get a coach who has Husky blood in him like Gary Pinkel or some of our other great assistants from the past. We need somebody who is going to teach you must dominate and punish the other team, not any of this fancy pretty boy game. Hell, let Emtman coach the team, at least he will scare the crap out of the guys and get in their face to challenge them. I want someone who can get in there and kick some ass. Let's fix the damn running game. I'll see you at Ohio State for what I hope to be a very huge victory on the road. OUT

A: I think Washington faired extremely well. They didn't lose one verbal this year. They didn't go down to the wire for any high profile guys like they have in the past, and that is where Neuheisel's inability to hit the road this year may have hurt. Overall, I think the Dawgs got everyone they were supposed to, with no surprises. I do like the speed and athleticism of the class. Whether or not they are football players will be answered down the road. As to Neuheisel returning to California, I doubt it. I think he's here for a while longer unless this team doesn't win. And I do think Rick will be a tougher coach this year. In fact, I know it. Coach Don James was a rarity in that he stuck with one program for so long. That is not the norm any longer. And let's not forget that James was from Ohio and Jim Owens was from the plains. Neither guy was a "Husky" until they won a lot of games as the coach at Washington. Now, both are Huskies for life and legends. Time will see if Neuheisel will join them or not. I have a hunch if he wins 12 games next year, he'll be called a "true Husky."
From West Seattle Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Really really really enjoying your site during recruiting season...you and your staff rock! I'd really like to get your thoughts on Cory Jones (the Running Back from Notre Dame). Being from the Burien area (Evergreen High school) I understood him to be the Paul Arnold heir apparent and that our losing him to Notre Dame was a real loss at the time. Now we've got him back, and I continue to hear questions surrounding all of the other kids we've had under scholarship (Singleton, James, Zach, Alexis), as well as the new kids at TB/FB from this years recruiting class, as to how or who will be the best ones to spark our ground attack. What about Cory Jones? I'd love to hear your insights. Thank you Dawgman!!

A: Jones was recruited by the UW, but as an outside linebacker, not a tailback. That is a big reason why Corey went to ND. The Husky staff didn't think he was fast enough to be a tailback. It is nice to get Jones back into the program, and at the position they recruited him for in the first place – SAM LB. If he does return to offense, I see him as a fullback. Thanks for your note, and Go Huskies and Wolverines (not the Michigan ones)!
From Sufre Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
Do you believe we missed out on any players because of coach Neu's penalties? If so, would mind naming them?

A: I think one last visit from Neuheisel may have put them over the top for Devin Stearns or Brandon Mebane. I am surprised that Washington didn't get Mebane. I thought they had that one in the bag.
From Sam Jizzo
Dear Dawgman:
I'm pleased to see that Matt Coombs (Bellevue HS) is planning on walking onto UW. I saw him play in the State Championship game and was very impressed. He seems to have a real instinct for football. He's also 3A player of the year and on a back-to-back title team. Why wasn't he recruited heavily, and why didn't UW offer a scholarship when we are trying to keep the good in-state talent? I thought he was a better player than Capital's Jordan Carey, who was recruited heavily. Thanks again.

A: He wasn't offered a scholarship and he still walked on at Washington. It sounds like the UW coaching staff had this situation sized up rather well. If you can get a player of Coombs' caliber by recruiting him as a walk-on, you have to take your hat off to the recruiting effort.
From William B
Dear Dawgman:
Is the new punter coming in from Nebraska, and since the town he's coming from is right next to a Air Force Base, is his family military related, and if so could that be the only way we could get someone from Nebraska? One more question on a scale of 1-10 how would you rank our incoming recruiting class, and would you say the offense or defense is the stronger of the recruiting class?

A: The punter from Nebraska is Sean Douglas, and he'll be the starter from day one unless something funny happens. I am not aware if his family is connected to the military or not. For the class, I would rate it an 8, or third best in the Pac-10 behind USC (10) and Cal (9). This class is perfectly balanced between offense and defense because many of the guys could play either way.
From Dennis G
Dear Dawgman:
This comes thru a friend (a Cougar) who attended a Cougar function last week where one of the Cougar coaches was the prime speaker. The subject of C. Bonnell came up. The coach made 3 points:
1-There is no written rule prohibiting what Rick did.
2-There is however an unwritten rule which is followed by all coaches--you do not contact grayshirts or others who have signed LOIs. He said Rick disregarded this informal "policy".
3-Rick is the most unethical coach he'd ever seen.
While I know I need to consider the source, it seems as though Rick, in his head coaching time, has managed to tick off his fellow coaches in both the leagues in which he's coached. I recently remarked that one good thing about UCLA's hiring of Dorrell is now there's at least one coach in the Pac-10 who likes Rick. What's your take? Also, is the concept of grayshirting relatively new? I don't recall hearing about it until the last 3 or 4 years. As always, thx for the great site.

A: I have not heard of the unwritten rule about not contacting grayshirts from other schools. As for ticking off other coaches, I'm sure he does. He is as competitive as they come and isn't afraid to play in the gray areas. He's a competitor and does not like to lose. Just look at his game face as he walks through the tunnel before games – you wouldn't believe the intensity that burns there. It belies his easy-going image. He's not paid to be liked, he's paid to win games, and that's what he'll be judged on at Washington. With the addition of Karl Dorrell, you are correct that Rick will have at least one friend in the league. He and Karl are pretty close. The concept of grayshirting is not new, but it has been used a lot more over the past 3-4 years. Thanks for your letter.
From Gotham Dawg
Dear Dawgman:
With the improvement in the California Golden Bears, there is no longer any "patsies" in the Pac-10. Do you think it is possible for any Pac-10 team to have an 11-win season in the near future?

A: Although it will be a tough order, particularly with the parity in the league, I still think an 11 win season is possible if you can avoid injuries. I think Washington could do it in 2003. The schedule sets up very well after the OSU road trip. If they can stay healthy and fix the running game, anything is possible. That includes 11 wins.
From AJ Dawg
Dear Dawgman
Wanted to ask you this. I've read on the site before that you think Washington will pull the upset in Columbus on August 30th. Ohio State returns the entire offense and only loses 4-5 people off a dominating defense. It's a road game and the humidity will be 90%. Why do you think we'll win that game? Also - if Husky stadium were going to install "luxury boxes" where would you like to see them go?

A: I think senior QB Cody Pickett will lead the team to victory. I think the running game will have improved, the secondary will have improved, and Washington has the best wide receiver in the country. I think Washington, with a senior leader at QB and an experienced AND HEALTHY senior at tailback, the Dawgs take this one. Their rushing defense was outstanding last year and should be again in 2003. As for luxury boxes, they would have to go where the cantilevers are, which means they would need to be rebuilt and bolstered. I don't think the existing cantilevers are built to have luxury boxes hang from them. I could be wrong, but I get scared when the current press box starts shaking. I'm sure the folks in luxury boxes would not like it, and I'm not sure they would be safe. You can't put luxury boxes in the horseshoe, as they would be about 400 yards away from the action. Absolutely terrible seats, unless you moved the field toward Montlake Boulevard.
From Richard S
Dear Dawgman
I wanted to send a few words along with respect to Rick. This is something I gave to the newspaper sports op page. Anyway, here is my rant. BTW, thanks to all for the continued good work on the site. It is the highest quality in every story you do.

Let Us Not Be So Quick and Harsh in Judgments

I am saddened over this event, not because of the misstatements of Coach Neuheisel, who I believe to be a man of integrity and good character, but over the actions of the media that forced this situation to become public, and, worse, over the fans who have been so quick to make harsh judgments when they do not know all the facts.

It is a sad commentary on our media that we cannot move freely and conduct business without being hounded and spied upon. What do we have to fear from the Homeland Security Spies when we have the media acting like the paparazzi chasing after everybody and listening in on phone conversations? Don't we have real work to do in this country? I suppose it is fair game to wonder if the coach interviewed or not, but I would like to think that the moral thing for the reporter to do would have been to let the coach know that his conversation was being overheard.

The point is, this is not news: it is a game of self-righteous "gotcha" all trumped up to sell papers and air time and Internet comments. Hopefully it was a sufficiently rewarding and entertaining game for all the critics crying of wounded ethics, for it damaged a fine, upstanding, and compassionate man. I would label the media and the fans in this event a bunch of hypocrites, because they have cast stones when their own hearts and lives are not clean, but then that would be judging others, and we have been cautioned 1970 years ago about judging others:

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"
Matthew 7:1-3.

A: Thank you for sharing your letter Richard.
From Chris P in AZ
Dear Dawgman
It's time to let him go. I've been feeling this way for a while and now with this whole 49ers fiasco it's evident, Neu just simply isn't a Husky. He is an imposter in purple and gold and unlike former Husky coaches who's blood ran purple and gold (James, Lambright), Neu's runs the color of money. He is making an ungodly amount of money per year at the UW and he still wants to go out and pursue other opportunities? Not only that, he flat out lies about it. How do you think these new recruits or returning players feel about him when he tells them something? In the back of their minds they have to be questioning whether he is being genuine or not. Why be so dishonest about things? No one would fault him for taking an NFL job if he were honest with the players, the fans, the school and most importantly, himself. It seems as though every month he has gotten himself in some sort of trouble and then we have to hear his story about how he will learn and change. I know you guys must be partial towards him but come on, he is not the type of coach that will lead the UW to the promised land. He racks up talent and then screws them over. It's his track record and that's exactly what he will do here. Mark my words, either we will be put on probation because of his dishonesty or he will run our program right into the ground and believe me, that is about all the running we will see from this team because they obviously haven't been impressed upon how important the running game is but why should they, he just stockpiled a bunch of wide receivers. Husky football is smash mouth, kick your ass and take no sh*t from anybody. Neu's version is mush mouth, kiss your ass and tell us how much you will learn and grow. Unfortunatley, us die-hard Dawg fans will have to suffer through it. Sorry to be so negative but deep down you know it's true.

A: Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Chris. I think that Rick's team is Rick's team, until he loses them. They are all kids that he has recruited, and they still beleive in him right now. If the team wins and goes to the Rose Bowl, this latest incident will be forgotten, or at the very least, prove to be a minor blip. If the losses mount and he loses the trust of his team, then it will be used for ammo to make a change. I'm not condoning, judging, or defending anyone, I'm just making a point. What's happened has happened, and now it's up to everyone to learn from it and move on. People will either forgive and forget, or they'll harbor resentment. I predict that mix will be directly proportional to the number of wins the UW has.
From Rob M in GA
Dear Dawgman
Neuheisel is a complete embarassment to the university of washington. How do people continue to justify his actions. Blaming the writer from the PI is a joke. If Rick didn't want anyone to hear him, he should have gone someplace more private. He has given the University atleast one black eye each year he has been at the UW. My question is, how many hits is the university going to take before they get fed up with the lies and deception of Rick Neuheisel?

A: When you look at the incidents that have occurred under Rick Neuheisel's watch, they are all minor in nature and can be explained. It's only when you look at them in combination that it appears to be a mess. As I answered above, if the team wins next year, this latest incident will be mostly forgotten. To answer your question, I don't think the school is going to have much slack left in their rope around its head coach. I also don't think that they'll really need it, though. Rick knows that the heat has been turned up significantly - credibility is a very serious issue.
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