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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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December 31, 2007 4:17 PM

The latest on Walker

Posted by Bob Condotta

The LA Daily News reports that Rick Neuheisel met with DeWayne Walker this morning before his press conference but that nothing has yet been decided.

So sounds like that's a decision that may still be a few days away.

For what it's worth, Tracy Pierson of Scout.com wrote in a premium story here today that "Walker has told sources close to him that he intends to stay at UCLA.''

People I've talked with at the UW basketball game today haven't heard anything definitive and say that no official announcements about anything are planned any time soon. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything as these things happen quickly. UW coaches are officially out of the office until Thursday, though that doesn't mean things aren't happening behind the scenes.

Tyrone Willingham is at the game today and when he was shown on the big screen he got a pretty good ovation.

UPDATE 5:50 --- The LA Daily News blog has a new item on Walker saying that the tide may be turning on his staying at UCLA, which would obviously mean maybe UW's chances of getting him are getting better.


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December 31, 2007 2:47 PM

Good day for the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

Cal has won its bowl game today and Oregon is en route, helping the Pac-10 rebound in the post-season --- the conference is now 3-2 in bowl games with USC a heavy favorite to beat Illinois in the Rose Bowl tomorrow.

The way Oregon is playing today also makes UW's opener down there next August look that much tougher. The Ducks will suffer some significant personnel losses --- hard to imagine Jonathan Stewart returns --- but the Oregon coaches also showed they can adjust to some new players, putting some new wrinkles in the offense to fit the new quarterback.

In other words, the Ducks showed today there may be some life after Dennis Dixon after all.

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December 31, 2007 10:52 AM

Monday morning update

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few quick links on my way to the basketball game this afternoon:

--- Rick Neuheisel's press conference at UCLA is scheduled for 2 p.m. As Brian Dohn reports, Neuheisel and DeWayne Walker are set for their first face-to-face meeting today, as well. Dohn speculates that meeting won't result in any decision, but maybe Neuheisel will have something to say at his presser about it. Walker has said little publicly the last few days (I have been trying for those who have asked).

--- Bud Withers of our staff writes about the Neuheisel hiring at UCLA and says it will inject some needed life into the Bruins football program.

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December 30, 2007 9:49 PM

Neuheisel says he got "good vibe'' from Walker

Posted by Bob Condotta

The LA Times reports that Rick Neuheisel said he "got a good vibe'' when he talked with DeWayne Walker today about staying at UCLA as defensive coordinator.

Neuheisel also is quoted as admitting that Walker is being pursued by Washington and also has an interesting comment at the bottom acknowledging that the Huskies "got away'' from running the ball the way they needed to in his final year at UW.

As we noted that there were rumors of a week or so ago, the story also says that Neuheisel would liken to talk with Norm Chow about coming to UCLA as offensive coordinator. That would be Neuheisel's first big victory at UCLA if he can pull that off.

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December 30, 2007 6:21 PM

A few links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Doesn't look as if there is any DeWayne Walker news coming today, if for no other reason than Rick Neuheisel had to complete his duties with the Baltimore Ravens today as they finished their season by beating the Steelers.

Brian Dohn of the Los Angeles Daily News has a little timeline of when UCLA may complete its staff in an entry in his blog and that Walker's status could be known within the week. Dohn also notes that the team's current offensive coaches don't think they are coming back, which may make RB coach Dino Babers available to UW --- he has been rumored as a candidate though he said recently there had been no contact yet.

--- Speaking of Neuheisel, CoachesHotSeat.com has this not-too-flattering breakdown of his hiring by UCLA.

--- Bill Plascke of the LA Times chips in with this column making the point that this is Neuheisel's last chance.

--- In recruiting news, UW's Class of 2008 is now rated No. 7 by Scout.com.

--- In some quick Pac-10 news, the Oregonian has this story on Jonathan Stewart ducking questions about the NFL, which probably means he's gone. That's the conventional wisdom out there, anyway.

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December 30, 2007 1:56 PM

Blaine says goodbye

Posted by Bob Condotta

Been traveling most of the day so don't have anything new on UW at the moment.

But wanted to make sure you saw the final column today from longtime Seattle Times columnist Blaine Newnham. Blaine retired from full-time writing a couple of years ago but had continued to write a Sunday piece. But he will no longer do that, either, as he explains in the column.

Blaine has been a great mentor and sounding board to me for years. He has also been one of the most avid and knowledgeable columnists about all things Husky --- be it football, women's basketball or crew --- during his years with the Times. His writings will be missed.

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December 29, 2007 8:28 PM

More on Neuheisel

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lots of interesting reaction out there on the hiring of Rick Neuheisel at UCLA has already surfaced so thought I'd pass some of that along, as well as some of my own thoughts.

First, here's a news story from the Orange County Register that notes that DeWayne Walker also has interest from LSU and Texas. So it may not be as simple as UCLA or UW for Walker. This story from the LA Times focuses solely on the Neuheisel-Walker angle and points out that keeping Walker will also be key to keeping UCLA's recruiting class intact.

Michael Ventre of MSNBC.com says that UCLA will eventually regret the hiring of Neuheisel while Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News says hiring Neuheisel may not matter much for UCLA if the school doesn't decide to pay its assistants more as well as loosening academic standards. Pete Fiutak of Fox Sports says Neuheisel is "a proven winner,'' a point some of you might debate.

A couple of thoughts of my own:

--- First, I haven't heard anything from this end on Walker other than a general consensus that no one will be surprised if he stays at UCLA. His job security is probably better doing that than anywhere else he could go, which could be pivotal given his son's status as an incoming freshman.

--- The Neuheisel hire could also impact UW's search for a running backs coach. Dino Babers, a member of the UCLA staff under Karl Dorrell, has been rumored as a favorite for the spot even though he said last week he has had no contact. But his preference is probably to stay at UCLA and he has a previous relationship with Neuheisel, who tried to hire him at UW on at least one occassion (that was the one assistant position during Neuheisel's UW tenure that changed quite a bit). Another name I've heard for that spot is Kelly Skipper, who was WSU's RB coach for a few years under Bill Doba and is now with the Oakland Raiders.

--- Hard to imagine a time when the lineup of coaches in the Pac-10 has been more interesting --- Pete Carroll, Dennis Erickson, Neuheisel, Mike Bellotti and Tyrone Willingham have all coached teams to BCS bowls (all but Willingham on that list have won one) and then throw in Jeff Tedford, Mike Riley and promising newcomer Jim Harbaugh, and it's hard to imagine a time when it's seemed more interesting top to bottom.

--- Some of you have already pointed out that Neuheisel went 3-0 against Willingham while at UW. Those were some of the most memorable games of Neuheisel's UW career, as well. In 1999, UW beat Stanford 35-30 when Marques Tuiasosopo had his 300-200 game, and in 2000 UW came back to win the game when Curtis Williams was tragically injured. The 2001 game was interesting, as well. Stanford went 9-2 in the regular season that year, losing only to Washington State at home and at UW, a 42-28 Husky win that's closer than the final score indicates --- the Huskies scored a clinching TD with 10 seconds left.

--- Neuheisel was 33-16 at UW but what many close to the program think is more relevant is that he was 8-9 in his last 17 games. That was the period when the Huskies began not to be able to run the ball well --- they never topped 200 yards rushing in any of his last 23 games as UW's coach; and began to give up points in bunches --- UW gave up 30 or more points in eight of those games. One person close to the UW program once told me that they thought the best thing that ever happened to Neuheisel's coaching reputation was that he was fired in the manner he was, his theory being Neuheisel might have been fired in a year or two for on-field performance. Being fired for something else --- and at the time he was --- allowed him to merely point to his overall record of 66-30 as evidence of his coaching acumen instead of the fact that both UW and Colorado began to lose more the longer he was in control. Certainly, you can wonder forever what would have happened at UW had he stayed. The question I've always had is how much different the QB situation in 2004 --- the biggest factor in that team's going 1-10 --- could possibly have been? Neuheisel recruited all of those guys (Isaiah Stanback, Casey Paus and Carl Bonnell) and it was under Neuheisel's watch that Stanback was first moved to receiver. This isn't to be positive or negative about Neuheisel, merely to wonder what it was that he would have been able to do to make those guys succeed where Keith Gilbertson couldn't.

--- I recently talked to someone close to the UW program who told me that Neuheisel told him after the 2002 season that he (Neuheisel) knew he had to get tougher, acknowledging that discipline was an issue. That's why he went out and hired Phil Snow as co-defensive coordinator and Dan Cozzetto as offensive line coach, each tough, no-nonsense type of coaches who weren't the prototype "Neuheisel'' guys. Snow is now with the Detroit Lions, Cozzetto back with Erickson at Arizona State. Neuheisel was fired before UW fans got the chance to see how that mix would have worked. But it will be interesting to see what kind of staff Neuheisel puts together at UCLA.


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December 29, 2007 4:19 PM

Walker to stay at UCLA?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The big question for UW now is whether DeWayne Walker will stay at UCLA and work for Rick Neuheisel, or come work for the Huskies.

This story from the LA Daily News speculates that Walker may be leaning toward staying.

If so, UW's search for a new DC will have to turn in different directions as another candidate, Ron English, may be on the verge of accepting the same job at Louisville after having been fired at Michigan. English denied today that he has already accepted the job but admitted he's interested in Louisville which may just mean nothing will be official until after Michigan's bowl game.

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December 29, 2007 1:06 PM

Neuheisel named UCLA head coach

Posted by Bob Condotta

That's the word from ESPN, anyway. So we'll see now how that impacts DeWayne Walker's potential hiring at UW.

What we do know is that the UCLA game at UW next year will be one of the most interesting of the season --- maybe ESPN's Gameday will finally show up for that one. The teams will play in Seattle on Nov. 15.

UW has just one Neuheisel recruit left on the team --- center Juan Garcia, who is returning for a sixth season.

UPDATE --- Here's the official announcement from UCLA's web site.


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December 29, 2007 11:39 AM

Ron English to Louisville

Posted by Bob Condotta

One potential candidate for UW's defensive coordinator vacancy is no longer on the market as Ron English is headed to Louisville (read more details on that here).

UCLA's coaching search, meanwhile, continues to expand with reports that the Bruins are interested in talking with Oregon State coach Mike Riley (you can read a denial from the OSU side about that here) and maybe even Carolina Panthers coach John Fox.

By all accounts, DeWayne Walker --- who appears to be UW's No. 1 candidate for DC --- is continuing to wait to see how the UCLA job unfolds before deciding on any other job.

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December 28, 2007 4:24 PM

Will Walker stay at UCLA if Neuheisel is hired?

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've spent all day traveling to Baton Rouge for the UW basketball game tomorrow against LSU so I don't have as much football news today.

The most interesting thing I've seen is this piece from Tom Dienhart of The Sporting News that DeWayne Walker is likely to stay at UCLA even if Rick Neuheisel is hired as head coach.

If so, that will obviously throw a wrench in UW's search for a new defensive coordinator as Walker is considered the No. 1 target. So much so that Walker is reportedly likely to be offered a two-year contract with the Huskies. I wrote the other day that I couldn't remember the last time UW offered multi-year deals to assistant coaches, but a little research (which I should have done first) revealed it really hasn't been that long --- Phil Snow got a two-year deal when he came to UW after the 2002 season, hired by Neuheisel to be co-defensive coordinator along with Tim Hundley by Rick Neuheisel in the wake of some big defensive blowups that season.

Snow stayed just two seasons, getting fired along with the rest of Keith Gilbertson's staff after the 2004 season.

Ron English, formerly of Michigan, has also been mentioned at UW if Walker stays put, but rumors are circulating that he is headed to Louisville.

As for those of you tired of the Willingham-More debate in the comments section, not much I can really do about that. I try to throw out topics --- what happens from there is up to you guys. Unfortunately, it's a debate for which there will be no real answers until next fall, obviously. That's the same risk Mark Emmert took when he decided to bring back Willingham --- there's really no way to tell if it was the right move for at least 9-10-11 months, and until then, Husky nation figures to be a bit fractured. I guess what's happening on the comments section here is evidence of that.

UPDATE 5:30 --- Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News is now reporting that John Harbaugh, the brother of Jim Harbaugh, got a second interview today for the head coaching job. So that seems to be further muddying things in Westwood.


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December 27, 2007 6:04 PM

New tight ends coach found? UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

Rumors are out there --- notably, in the comments section of this blog --- that the Huskies may have settled on a new tight ends coach --- Alex Wood, currently on the staff of Arkansas but out of a job after the Cotton Bowl as he is not being retained by new Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino.

UPDATE --- However, Arkansas sports information director Kevin Trainor said tonight that Wood says "I have not accepted a job with anyone,'' so there is apparently no truth, at least yet, that Wood has been offered and accepted the job.

Still, Wood (here's his bio) makes a ton of sense as a potential candidate as he has a long history in college football, including serving as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator under Dennis Erickson at Washington State in 1987-88 and then following Erickson to Miami, where he worked through 1993.

He also has spent five years working for Dennis Green in the NFL at Minnesota and Arizona --- UW coach Tyrone Willingham and Green are longtime friends as Willingham worked as an assistant for Green at Stanford.

Here's a story detailing how Wood's contract ends Dec. 31.

The Huskies are looking for a replacement for Bob Simmons, who was fired earlier this month. Simmons also handled special teams.

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December 27, 2007 5:22 PM

Middleton honored by USA Today

Posted by Bob Condotta

Missed this yesterday, but wanted to pass along that UW recruit Kavario Middleton was named this week to the All-USA second team as published in USA Today.

This is probably about the highest-such honor a UW recruit has received since Jake Locker was named to several similar teams, notably the Parade All-America team.

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December 27, 2007 11:25 AM

Walker to get two-year deal at UW?

Posted by Bob Condotta

That's what Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News says is being rumored as the Huskies try to court DeWayne Walker, Bruins' defensive coordinator.

If so, he'd be one of the few --- if not the first --- UW assistant in recent times to get a multi-year deal.

As has been reported earlier, former UW defensive coordinator Kent Baer made basically $224,000 a year, the same amount as OC Tim Lappano. Walker made $360,000 this year at UCLA, so if the Huskies are talking about paying him more, that means they could be on the verge of just about doubling the pay for a DC. Under Tyrone Willingham, the coordinators have always gotten the same pay, so there could be implications here for Lappano, as well.

All of this is moot, of course, should Walker get the head coaching job at UCLA

For all you'd want to know about Walker, here's a web site originated by some UCLA fans who want him to get the head coaching job there.


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December 27, 2007 10:50 AM

Fouch says he's not going anywhere

Posted by Bob Condotta

A story published today in the Highland (Calif.) Community News that hinted that UW backup quarterback Ronnie Fouch may be thinking about leaving the Huskies in search of a better chance at playing elsewhere isn't true, Fouch said today.

"No, that won't happen,'' Fouch said this morning. "I don't know where they got that from.''

The story intimated that Fouch might be concerned about his chances of playing with Jake Locker entrenched as the starter for another two years or so. But Fouch said "everything's fine. There's no reason to be unhappy about anything. Most quarterbacks redshirt their first year and I'll get a chance to compete this year, so I'm fine.''

With Carl Bonnell having graduated, Fouch looms as the backup to Locker next year, standing the obvious "one snap away'' from having to play.

Fouch was headed to a golf game today with his father, but said he has kept in contact with former Redlands East Valley teammate Chris Polk while home for the holidays. Polk recently committed to UW after having earlier committed to USC. Fouch said Polk plans to come to UW on Jan. 5th to enroll and will be on hand for spring practice, likely to compete for immediate playing time at receiver.

"He's just a scorer,'' Fouch said. "He knows how to score.''

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December 27, 2007 9:53 AM

Waiting for UCLA

Posted by Bob Condotta

By all accounts, that's what the Huskies are doing right now in their search for a new defensive coordinator.

A number of stories out of LA today on UCLA's coaching search mention that DeWayne Walker also talked with UW football coach Tyrone Willingham on Wednesday --- something Husky athletic officials won't comment on. Here's the LA Times take on that, as well.

Walker is obviously going to wait to see what UCLA does before deciding anything on UW, and as this story points out, he'll have other offers, as well, so it's not a slam dunk that he's coming to Washington if passed over by the Bruins.

On that same front, there are rumors today that Ron English could also be headed to Louisville as the Cardinals' new DC, though he is also apparently possibly in the running at UW depending, apparently, on what happens with Walker.

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December 26, 2007 6:32 PM

Breaking down the offense

Posted by Bob Condotta

We've been a little lax in getting a projected depth chart ready for next season.

But here goes our best attempt, beginning with the offense and including a brief overview of each spot.

UPDATE --- Realizing I made this confusing as I was attempting to do just a two-deep except at those spots where I see especially intenese competition (RB, TE) or QB, which is obivously the most important position so I felt it worth pointing out everybody. But I'll add a few players to the original roster since I've gotten a few e-mails from people wondering why I left certain people out. I'm now going to take out all incoming frosh (other than those that should be arriving in the spring) since I seem to have created confusion by including a couple earlier and not making my parameters on this clearer. Think of this as a spring depth chart.

QUARTERBACK:
Jake Locker, So.
Ronnie Fouch, RFr.
Taylor Bean, RFr.

COMMENT: Maybe the most secure position at the top, and the most uncertain below it. By all reports, Fouch had a solid redshirt season. Still, that's a big dropoff from a player of Locker's stature to a freshman who has never played, so it will likely need little saying that keeping Locker healthy will be a huge key to next season.

TAILBACK
Brandon Johnson, So.
J.R. Hasty, Jr.
Willie Griffin, RFr.
Brandon Yakaboski, RFr.

COMMENT: One of the big positions to watch in the spring as the Huskies look for a replacement for Louis Rankin. Johnson had some good moments. But he is a different kind of runner than Rankin, unlikely to be quite the same kind of breakaway threat --- his yards per carry average was 3.8 compared to Rankin's 5.6. Maybe that will come with experience. After that, the only experience is the six carries Hasty got early in the year --- he never got another carry after quitting the team briefly. One would think that Hasty either makes a niche for himself this spring or may never create one at all. Griffin redshirted this year but coaches seemed happy with his progress. There will be lots of other candidates here in the fall, and a possible wildcard is Chris Polk, who will arrive in time for spring ball and may get a look at running back though he is coming here to play receiver first. Brandon Yakaboski was having a decent camp until he was hurt.

FULLBACK
Paul Homer, Jr.
Luke Kravitz, Sr.

COMMENT: One of the most solid positions on the team. A question for the spring will be determining a position for Austin Sylvester, who dabbled here a bit this year when Kravitz was injured.

TIGHT END
Michael Gottlieb, Sr.
Johnie Kirton, Sr.
Chris Izbicki, RFr.
Walt Winter, Sr.

COMMENT: I'm sure a lot of you will ask why I don't have Izbicki and Kavario Middleton 1-2 here. But while they are each talented prospects, and it's fun to get excited about the new guys, those are still big leaps to make, especially for Middleton just coming in from high school. Still, if there is ever a time when the team will look at new blood at this spot, it's now, given the disappointing production last season and the seeming lack of progression from one year to the next (the changes in offensive scheme haven't helped, either). The wildcard here is in who gets named as the coach --- hard to get a complete read on it until a new coach comes in and has a spring to work with these guys. There have been rumors about Kirton moving to defense so we'll see.

OFFENSIVE LINE
LT Ben Ossai, Jr.
Skyler Fancher, RFR.
LG Ryan Tolar, So.
Jordan White-Frisbee, Sr.
C Juan Garcia, Sr.
Matt Sedillo, So.
RG Casey Bulyca, Sr.
Scott Shugert, RFr.
Morgan Rosborough, Jr.
RT Cody Habben, So.
Mark Armelin, RFr.

COMMENT: This might have been the most improved position on the team this season, and there are essentially five starters returning --- Habben started four games and played regularly in all of them. Early conjecture is that he'll move to RT to take the place of the graduated Chad Macklin, the only significant loss at this spot. But once again, experienced depth is a concern as only White-Frisbee of any of the reserves listed has played significantly (Sedillo saw some brief action, including a memorable one-play injury replacement for Garcia when UW scored against USC.) Guessing a little on the backups at tackle but coaches said late in the year that both of those players (Armelin and Fancher) were working at both tackle spots. That figures to be something that gets worked out in the spring. Shugert was said to be one of the stars of the Scout Bowl during the bye week and he could make a quick move up the depth at guard. Rosborough wasn't on the two-deep by the end of the year, having fallen to third-string behind Sedillo at RG (Sedillo was listed as the backup at both G and C but).

RECEIVER
WR D'Andre Goodwin, So.
Anthony Boyles, TFr.
Tony Chidiac, Jr.
Charles Hawkins, Sr.
WR Curtis Shaw, So.
Alvin Logan, RFr.
Devin Aguilar, TFr.

COMMENT: Maybe the most intriguing position on the team. There's lots of young talent here, and even more coming in the fall. But for all the excitement over the fresh faces, reality is that the Huskies will have one of the most inexperienced receiving corps in the nation next season with just a combined 11 catches among its returnees ---- six by Goodwin and five by Shaw. Really hard to get a read on any of the new guys quite yet --- as good a prospects as many of them seem to be, none seem to be of the Reggie Williams-type to make a certain immediate impact. That 2001 class is a good example of the unpredictability of freshmen. UW brought in two of the most highly-touted WRs in the country --- Williams responded by setting a school record for catches by a frosh with 55 while the other, Charles Frederick, didn't make a single catch the entire season. With the depth issues, walk-ons such as Hawkins and Chidiac could have a chance to earn some real time (Hawkins was put on scholarship midway through last season but those were one-year awards so we'll have to see if he's a walk-on or scholarship guy this year).

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December 26, 2007 12:58 PM

Coaching updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

Reports are that Temple's Al Golden has pulled out of the job search at UCLA, news that apparently comes on the same day that DeWayne Walker had his second interview for the same position.

If so, that could mean UCLA is now down to Walker and Rick Neuheisel, meaning the Bruins are either about to hire UW's former coach (Neuheisel) or the man many think could be UW's next defensive coordinator (Walker). UPDATE --- Walker and UW coach Tyrone Willingham are apparently meeting today, as noted in the Daily News story.

UCLA is beginning to take some heat for the length of its search so school officials may feel some pressure to make a decision quickly. Either way, it's a decision that will be of great interest to UW fans, so we'll continue to follow it here

BABERS SAYS NO CONTACT YET: Speaking of UW openings, I was able today to speak with Dino Babers, UCLA's running backs coach who could be looking for work based on what happens with the head coaching job there. Babers has been rumored as a possible replacement for Trent Miles at UW. But he said that "I haven't had contact with anybody up there.'' Babers will be a candidate to stay in his current position depending on how it works out at UCLA, as well.

With UW's recruiting class close to wrapped up, and the defensive coordinator position one that holds more urgency, it's possible (and probably likely) that UW coach Tyrone Willingham will concentrate first on filling the DC job and then move on to the other two openings (running backs and special teams/tight ends). The American Football Coaches Association convention runs Jan. 6-9 in Anaheim and that tends to be a place where a lot of job interviews are held.

By the way, here's a schedule for the convention. Wonder if any of the UW defensive coaches will go to Mike Bellotti's address on "Quarterback Fundamentals in the Spread Option Offense'' on Wednesday afternoon?

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December 26, 2007 10:53 AM

Why it will be harder than you think to ever have a playoff

Posted by Bob Condotta

Seems like most fans I know would like for there to be a college football playoff someday, and I always hear (and receive via e-mail) all kinds of seemingly quick-and-easy suggestions for how it can be done.

Here's a great story that ran yesterday in the Orange County Register that details exactly why it will never be quick, nor easy, to get a playoff.

The story breaks down the complex financial entanglements and relationships that are at the core of the college bowl system, and don't figure to dissolve without a lengthy fight.

The best nugget --- the Music City Bowl spent $7,203 on an office miniature golf tournament in 2003 (we took 10 kids to Riverbend for like $100 a year or so ago).

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December 24, 2007 10:49 AM

A few Christmas Eve notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm admittedly out of the loop a little for a few days as I try to do some family Holiday stuff.

But I'll pass along a few things, and answer a quick question:

--- First is this story from ESPN.com that features the first comments I've seen from Tyrone Willingham since the firing of Todd Turner (though that isn't mentioned at all). Willingham hasn't made himself available to local media since Turner's firing. Nothing really revelatory, though I'd dispute the idea that UW hasn't been a consistent contender for the Pac-10 since 1992 --- the Huskies were pretty darn competitive through the 2002 season. You could also debate the note about attendance --- I think it jumped this year due to the schedule, but overall, it's not at the levels it was before the 2004 season, which is probably a more relevant indicator of where things are.

--- Reports out of LA are that DeWayne Walker will not be interviewed for the UCLA job until Wednesday. He's one of the leading candidates for the UW defensive coordinator position, as well, and he's unlikely to make a decision on that until he knows what happens with UCLA. This LA Times story gives a good overview of the whole process and also indicates there's a chance Walker stays at UCLA even if not named head coach if Rick Neuheisel gets the job, instead.

--- Speaking of Neuheisel, here's our story on his return to Seattle Sunday with the Baltimore Ravens.

--- RealDawg.com reports that Willingham was on the road yesterday and interviewed fired Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English.

HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE DID JASON WELLS MAKE?: In the wake of the item on Kent Baer, a few of you thought the loss of Jason Wells was a key to the season. I wouldn't argue that losing a starting free safety isn't critical. However, Baer himself said late in the season (after the Cal game, actually) that Darin Harris might have been the most consistent performer in the secondary once he moved into the starting lineup, seeming to contradict the theory that the breakdowns were all the result of losing Wells.

Wells was hurt in the first half of the USC game and UW's overall stats were better at that point --- the Huskies allowed an average of 403.25 yards in the four full games Wells played this season. But that includes giving up just 207 against Syracuse in the opener. UW allowed 481 yards to Ohio State and 537 to UCLA in the last two full games Wells played this season. This isn't to pile on Baer more, just to point out that I think it's a lot more complicated than saying it was all due to the loss of one player (or even three, as mentioned in the article in question). And injuries, also, are part of the game. I didn't break it down specifically, but it seemed to me that UW suffered fewer injuries than just about any other team in the conference this year. Every week doing injury reports it always seemed as if the opponent had more key players out than UW.

This may be it until after Christmas so happy holidays to everyone.


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December 23, 2007 11:50 AM

Baer speaks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Fired UW defensive coordinator Kent Baer declined requests to speak to us on the day he was let go.

But he recently spoke to his hometown newspaper in Logan, Utah, a story you can find here.

Nothing too revelatory other than Baer's assertion that maybe he and Tyrone Willingham were simply together a little too long.

You could probably also dispute a little whether those three injuries "devestated'' UW's defense. The injuries in reference were to Jason Wells, Donald Butler and, I guess, to Dan Howell, though only Wells and Butler were fulltime starters forced out of the lineup for lengthy periods (Howell missed one game and then was hobbled a lot of the season.

Really no point in heaping more criticism on Baer for what happened, but I'm sure a lot of you could argue whether things would have really been that much different if those guys hadn't gotten hurt. Maybe, but UW had some issues even before those injuries occurred.

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December 22, 2007 10:28 PM

Walker on hold for a little while?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just how available UCLA defensive coordinator/interim head coach DeWayne Walker will be to the Huskies apparently won't be known until after Christmas.

Reports out of LA are that Walker won't have his official interview for the open head coaching position at UCLA won't come until later in the week.

Walker is regarded as UW's top choice for defensive coordinator but word is that even if he doesn't get the UCLA head coaching job he could stay on there, and also could have other offers that would at least parallel Washington's.

Walker's top choice, obviously, is to become the new head coach at UCLA, and at least one columnist thought Walker showed enough in guiding the Bruins to a gutty loss against BYU tonight that he should get the job.

All of this also figures to make Rick Neuheisel wait a little while longer before he finds out his future, as well.

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December 22, 2007 2:43 PM

A couple quick notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Hate to just keep linking papers from Los Angeles, but right now one of the most interesting things for UW fans to watch is what is happening at UCLA --- whether Rick Neuheisel gets the job or whether it's DeWayne Walker.

Brian Dohn's blog is a good one-stop shop and the LA Times also has as good blog.

One person told me the rumor in the coaching ranks is that Neuheisel is going to get the job in the next 24-48 hours, which means he could be in Seattle when he gets the news if that happens --- the Baltimore Ravens play the Seahawks here tomorrow. I don't know if that's ironic or not, but it certainly would be interesting.

Now on to a few more questions:

What is the NFL status for UW's seniors?

The quick answer is this --- not good. One draft analyst told me recently none of UW's seniors is assured of being drafted this spring and that Juan Garcia would likely have been the best prospect had he chose to come out (Garcia has said he is staying for a sixth season). Several players are sure to get long looks, notably Louis Rankin. So far, I have yet to hear of any Huskies playing in any post-season All-Star games. None are listed on the West roster for the East-West Shrine game and rosters for games such as the Senior Bowl have yet to be announced.

Wouldn't Jon Brockman have a great career as a football player, maybe even better than basketball?

It's an interesting thought, since Brockman obviously has the body and mentality to play football. But I would disagree with the assumption that he doesn't have any NBA future --- I've heard scouts like him a lot as a guy who can make a roster and contribute for a long time, though they think he should stay in college four years. I asked Brockman last year about playing football and he said "I loved it'' noting he played until he was a freshman in high school, when he decided to dedicate his energies to basketball. He said he had the most catches for TDs in his middle school and also had a lot of sacks. He actually said he'd love a chance to play football again, but I don't think it's practical to think it would ever happen at UW.


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December 21, 2007 2:14 PM

Good DeWayne Walker story

Posted by Bob Condotta

UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker appears to be the top target for the Huskies in finding a replacement for Kent Baer with sources saying UW has already sent feelers his way.

Here's a good look at Walker from the LA Daily News. UCLA plays BYU tomorrrow in the Las Vegas Bowl, a game that figures to be of great interest to UW fans --- not only for all the coaching reasons, but the Huskies host both the Bruins and Cougars in Seattle next season.

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December 21, 2007 12:09 PM

A few answers

Posted by Bob Condotta

First, sounds as if Mike Bellotti is staying at Oregon. So is it back to Rick Neuheisel?

Also, here are some more answers to some of your questions, a process interrupted a bit by the overhaul of the blogs. So here we go.

Did Jake Locker have surgery? There are rumors that his arm is in a sling?

No, he didn't have surgery. A UW spokesman said Locker had an infection in his arm, apparently the elbow, and was treated with antibiotics, so his arm was apparently in a sling for a day or so. But it's nothing serious, a "run-of-the-mill infection'' so absolutely nothing that would impact him long term.

What happened with Emeka Iweka?

As far as I know, he's at Arizona Western Junior College with plans to play there next season. He didn't play there this year as he was still recovering from an Achilles injury suffered last winter playing basketball. By the way, Keauntea Bankhead played at Arizona Western this year and made 32 tackles as a defensive back after suffering a hamstring injury early on. An Arizona Western school spokesman said he did not know of Bankhead's future plans but it didn't sound as if he had a lot of offers, and nothing apparently from any of the local Pac-10 schools.

Whatever happened to Chancellor Young?

We've detailed this before, but Young was declared academically ineligible heading into the 2006 season and has not been with the Huskies since and won't be. As far as I know, he is no longer enrolled in school and I haven't heard if he has any plans to play football anywhere else. But there is apparently no thought of him playing at UW again.

Are there any concerns about the eligibility of any of the players who have committed to UW for the Class of 2008?

Not a lot, which is one of the things that could make this one of the better classes at UW in quite some time. As always, there are a few players who have some work to do, but as of now, there is a chance that every single one could be eligible for next season. We'll know more in a few months.

Has any school ever had two 1,000-yard rushers, something UW came close to having this year with Louis Rankin and Jake Locker?

Yes, it's happened four times in the Pac-10 alone. WSU in 1988 (Steve Broussard 1,280, Richie Swinton, 1,018); Cal in 1990 (Anthony Wallace 1,002, Russell White 1,000); Oregon in 2001 (Onterrio Smith 1,058, Maurice Morris 1,049); and USC in 2005 (Reggie Bush 1,740, Lendale White 1,302).


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December 21, 2007 10:27 AM

Friday links, notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

For those of you complaining about some of the changes on the blog, I'm told the tech guys are continuing to work on some things and that some tweaks (to use a football term) are still to be expected.

As for what's going on out there, everything you might want to know about Mike Bellotti's dalliance with UCLA can be found here.

One of the best pieces is this column by George Schroeder in the Eugene Register-Guard attempting to explain why Bellotti would want to move.

I also wonder if Bellotti looking at making such a move doesn't point out that for all it has done the last decade, there aren't still some inherent differences between schools like UCLA and schools like Oregon. Would a guy who'd been a successful coach at UCLA for 13 years ever think to leave for Oregon?

A good place to keep up-to-date with it all is here on the LA Daily News' UCLA blog. I like the comparison of coaching records of Bellotti and Karl Dorrell the past five years --- Bellotti is 25-17 in Pac-10 play the last five years and Dorrell is 24-18.

--- Obviously, the Bellotti news has implications for UW's search for a new DC with DeWayne Walker's future uncertain. Haven't seen anything yet that addresses what kind of plans Bellotti might have for Walker, unlike Rick Neuheisel, who has apparently said he'd try to keep him at UCLA.

--- With Neuheisel and Bellotti apparently now competing for the same job, hard not to remember some of their "tiffs'' from their days coaching against each other when Neuheisel was at Colorado and UW. Wonder if Bellotti gets the job if he'll tell Neuheisel "resume, baby.''

--- Here is an update on the Cougars from our paper today that includes a couple of Husky-oriented notes, so I'll pass it along, specifically a comment from new coach Paul Wulff on how he'd like to put some fun back in the Apple Cup rivalry, hence his comment about not liking the color purple.

--- All of Michigan's assistants have been fired meaning defensive coordinator Ron English will need a new job and could be a consideration here.

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December 20, 2007 10:03 PM

Bellotti to UCLA?

Posted by Bob Condotta

So this one came out of the blue --- the Oregonian reports that Mike Bellotti is a candidate for the UCLA job.

The LA Daily News also has some info on Bellotti and UCLA as well as an update on Rick Neuheisel including a quote on what happened at Washington.

The LA Times also has this on Bellotti and UCLA.
So if Bellotti gets the UCLA job, how about Neuheisel to Oregon? I'm not sure the UW-Oregon rivalry could handle that.


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December 20, 2007 5:36 PM

Former Bellevue star to walk-on at UW

Posted by Bob Condotta

Got a hold of Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff, who confirmed reports that former Wolverine Brendan Lopez is leaving Michigan to come to UW.

Lopez, who was the Kingco 3A Co-Defensive MVP as a linebacker at Bellevue in 2006, is a walk-on linebacker and deep snapper at Michigan, having gone there along with good friend and former high school teammate Stephen Schilling.

"He wants to come back home,'' Goncharoff said of Lopez, who earlier talked about his decision with RealDawg.com.

Goncharoff said Lopez was offered scholarships by Illinois and Oregon State to be a deep snapper out of high school. He may have a chance to earn one at UW. He redshirted this year at Michigan so he will have four years of eligibility left at UW. Current Husky deep snapper Danny Morovick will be a junior next season.

Lopez is listed at 6-foot, 244 pounds.

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December 20, 2007 10:18 AM

Still working out the kinks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Many of you have mentioned trying to comment and not being able to.

I was told there would be a few kinks to work out early on with our new format and this is apparently one of them. I'll try to let you know when I'm told it is fixed for good.

Anyway, I wrote today about UW's recruiting class, a story that also includes a chart with the ranking of every UW class since 2002 --- several of you had asked to see how this class compares to some of the recent ones in terms of perception, so hope that helps.

As for the rankings themselves, already gotten some e-mails about reading too much into them. I agree that too much can be made of them, but they are also just about all we have in terms of trying to judge these things ahead of time. Obviously, the ultimate proof is what happens five years down the road. The Class of 2002 is a great example --- it was a top 20 class nationally that for a variety of reasons only had one player who ever played in one bowl game (Nate Robinson as a true frosh in 2002 when every other player was redshirting).

Speaking of the Class of 2002, the man who brought it here --- Rick Neuheisel --- will be back in town this weekend with the Baltimore Ravens. Danny O'Neil of our staff wrote about Neuheisel's return today.

Speaking of Neuheisel, here's the latest on the UCLA situation from the LA Daily News including some news on Bruins' defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, who could be a candidate for the same spot at UW. However, Walker figures to have a few jobs to choose from once this season ends.

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December 19, 2007 9:11 PM

Back in business

Posted by Bob Condotta

The blogs are up and running again here at the Times, so I'll post a quick one with a few notes and thoughts to get it going once more.

Sure most of you who've gotten this far have probably already seen it, but I wrote today about how UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker appears to be the leading candidate to replace Kent Baer.

But it may not be just as easy as offering Walker the job. As I reported today, UW will likely have to come way up in salary to match what Walker is making at UW --- and bump up offensive coordinator Tim Lappano to match, since the Huskies have, under Tyrone Willingam, paid each of the coordinators the same.

Walker also figures to be highly sought-after. First off, UCLA is sure to try to keep him no matter who the Bruins hire as head coach --- and Walker is a candidate, as well, and could get the job if UCLA performs well in the Las Vegas Bowl against BYU, which is widely viewed as his audition.

Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News also reports that Walker will likely have all kinds of other offers should he decide not to stay at UCLA. Also worth keeping in mind that Walker's son, Kevan, is a commit to UCLA.

All of this is on top of the fact that the UCLA situation is fascinating for UW fans to watch to see if the Bruins might decide to hire Rick Neuheisel as head coach. Should that happen, we'll have lots of time to discuss that.

And for tomorrow's paper, I'll have an overview of UW's recruiting class to date, including some charts comparing how this year's class ranks with class of the past six years.

AND BY THE WAY, let us know what you think of the new format.

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December 17, 2007 10:12 PM

Going on a brief hiatus

Posted by Bob Condotta

The blog is going on a brief hiatus so the tech guys can overhaul a few things.

Not sure what, exactly, but it's being done to all the blogs here at the Times, and it requires taking the blogs down for a little --- told it could be up to a couple of days.

So if you don't see anything on here for a few days, that's why, and we'll talk when it's back up.

As for the events of the past day, you'll be able to find all of our coverage here.

You can also keep commenting here on our Husky Football Forum

As for what may happen the next few days, I'm thinking it could be slow. With Kevin Prince committing today, may not be any real recruiting news.

And any new coaching hires may not happen until after the first of the year, and maybe not until after the annual American Football Coaches Convention Jan. 6-9 in Anaheim.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham figures to be a busy guy there, and not only because he could have three openings to fill and lots of coaches in attendance who will be looking for jobs. Willingham is also moving up to become president of AFCA this year after serving as first vice president this year.

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December 17, 2007 4:40 PM

Prince commits

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies finally got a commitment today from Crespi High quarterback Kevin Prince.

Prince said he made his decision last week but was hoping to wait until this week and commit to UW along with his high school teammate, safety E.J. Woods, who is committed to UCLA but is now also considering UW with the Bruins coaching situation uncertain.

But Prince said Woods needs a little more time --- apparently wanting to see who the new coach will be --- and that Prince "wanted to make it public for myself'' so he decided to tell reporters today.

The 6-2, 205-pounder says no matter what happens, he won't be enrolling at UW in time for the 2008 season. He either plans to grayshirt next season so that he can continue to recover from a knee injury --- he tore his ACL this fall--- and mature more, or will take a Mormon mission and not enroll until 2010.

"That's the second decision I have to make now,'' he said, saying UW assistant Chris Tormey --- who handled his recruiting --- told him he has until the spring to decide.

Prince is the third QB to commit to UW this year, but as detailed won't count in this class.

Prince, who is more of a pass-first QB but with solid mobility, said he liked the school and atmosphere at UW and also was impressed with the direction of the program, saying he thought it a good sign the team was able to bring in the kind of recruiting class it has despite this season's record.

"That's real encouraging,'' he said.

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December 17, 2007 2:01 PM

Simmons also fired

Posted by Bob Condotta

The UW has officially announced the firings of Kent Baer and special teams coach Bob Simmons.

More in a few minutes.

But that appears to be the extent of the staff changes.

UPDATE --- Here is our story on both moves.

And here is the official release from GoHuskies.com.

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December 17, 2007 1:55 PM

Official statement coming soon

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just a quick note to report that an official statement on the firing of Kent Baer should be coming very soon.

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December 17, 2007 11:33 AM

Baer gone

Posted by Bob Condotta

A source has told me that UW defensive coordinator Kent Baer is out.

The school is not yet confirming or denying anything but some information is expected soon, as well as whether any other defensive assistants were impacted.

More to come.

---- Sorry, this got posted on the basketball blog initially.

UPDATED (11:45 a.m.) --- The school says at this moment it has "no announcement on any changes'' at this moment.

UPDATED --- We have a story on-line with some details. For now, what I have on this is in that story.

This is obviously the move everyone has been waiting for. Hopefully some official confirmation will come in the next day or so that will also clear up what is going on with the rest of the staff, if anything.

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December 17, 2007 9:48 AM

A few links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more links of interest:

--- Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News caught up with E.J. Woods, the UCLA commit who has reopened his recruitment and is now also considering UW (apparently the only UCLA commit now considering the Huskies, as far as I can tell). The item on Woods is a couple down. As you can see, some pretty heavy-hitters on Woods' list now as he also says he's looking at Ohio State, LSU and Colorado along with UCLA and UW.

--- UTEP AD Bob Stull says he hasn't been contacted about the Washington job and has no comment since they haven't. But this doesn't really mean much. A UW spokesman said the school will likely form a search committee, which won't happen until next year, so the school hasn't even gotten close to the point where it would start contacting anyone. Could be a month or two before that happens. So don't figure on a lot of news on the AD front for a while.

--- Ken Goe at the Oregonian has an interesting (and probably unpopular to this audience) take on what has happened at UW the last few years. Sure a lot of you won't like Ken's views on this, but he is as good and respected and fair a writer as there is in this business.

--- May not be much recruiting news for a while, either, as this is now a dead period (see calender here) which runs through Jan. 3. That means coaches are limited to one call per week to recruits, with no personal contact. Here's an old, but good, explainer of the dead period.

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December 16, 2007 7:08 PM

Everette Thompson update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Kennedy High defensive end Everette Thompson, the last major in-state recruiting prospect for UW, apparently had a good trip on his official recruiting visit to Oregon State this weekend.

"I'm really glad I went,'' he told Scout.com, which reports that Thompson said each of his three finalists --- UW, Oregon and Oregon State --- are "all the same right now.''

Thompson also told Scout that he will probably make his decision in the next week or two.

Thompson said watching OSU's bowl practice was the highlight of his trip, something UW obviously couldn't offer when he visited the Huskies last weekend.



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December 16, 2007 11:54 AM

A few links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links today:

--- Blaine Newnham writes today that Jake Locker could be better than Tim Tebow and also throws in a few comments from Mark Breuner about Tyrone Willingham.

--- Jacory Harris, the highly-touted QB from Miami rumored to be taking a trip to UW next month, hurt his knee in the Florida state title game last night.

--- E.J. Woods, the defensive back who is committed to UCLA but is now looking around and has said he may consider UW, apparently spent the weekend at Colorado, according to Brian Dohn.

--- Dominuqe Blackman, the Carson High QB committed to UW, had a tough game the other night as his team was routed in the LA City championship game.


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December 15, 2007 9:23 PM

A few answers

Posted by Bob Condotta

So many questions on the questions thread the other day that it makes more sense to give out a few answers at a time, so that's what we'll do.

ON THE BLOG FORMAT: There have been a number of questions about the blog itself. One quick answer to all of those is that I can't do anything myself to the blog. The Times has a number of blogs that all have the same format and the desire is to keep them uniform --- the technology is the same for all of them. Some of the tech people at the Times are talking about some changes now that we are few years into this and I will bring up your suggestions in those meetings. As for people impersonating other posters, I keep hoping that people will behave and try to follow the rules. When we can, we will delete posts of those who don't. Some of you have been good about pointing out people impersonating you and I have taken action when alerted and will continue to do that. But I'm really hoping we can avoid spending a lot of time on matters like that.

DOES DON JAMES HAVE ANY INTEREST IN BEING AD, OR AT LEAST BEING AN INTERIM? HAS JAMES SAID ANYTHING ABOUT JIM MORA'S FITNESS TO BE UW'S HEAD COACH?: Part of that is moot as UW has already named Scott Woodward as an interim AD. But James is happily retired and I don't think he has any intentions of taking on any kind of full-time job again. Plus, he'll be 75 years old on Dec. 31. I think it's time to let James be retired in peace. As for what James thinks of Mora, I'm sure he'd be a great coach. But James is the last guy who would say anything to undermine the current Husky coach, even if he felt that way, so I don't think you'll hear James pumping up a Mora candidacy anytime soon.

WHEN DO THE CONTRACTS FOR THE ASSISTANT COACHES RUN OUT? ANYTHING NEW ON THEIR STATUS?: As for whether there is anything new, trust me, the minute there is concrete news we'll report it here as quickly as we can. As for their contracts, they run out June 30, 2008. It is standard at UW for all contracts to run on the fiscal year, meaning July 1-June 30, and that is the case with the contracts with the assistants. But that really doesn't mean much in terms of their future --- if Tyrone Willingham wants to make a change, their contract status doesn't matter much other than ensuring that that person will get paid through June 30. But that wouldn't preclude a change.

IS THERE ANY THOUGHT OF CHANGING THE DEFENSIVE SCHEME FOR NEXT YEAR?: Well, first we have to see if there are going to be any coaching changes on that side of the ball, especially with the coordinator. If there is, it will be up to that person to decide in concert with Willingham. If not, however, Kent Baer has already said publicly that he might consider going more with a 3-4 look next season to take advantage of the team's abundance of linebackers and make up for the lack of experienced defensive linemen. I would think that would be the most logical major scheme change you might see as UW will return five LBs who have started --- Trenton Tuiasosopo, Donald Butler, E.J. Savannah, Mason Foster and Chris Stevens.

IS DINO BABERS GOING TO BE THE NEW RUNNING BACKS COACH? Babers, now at UCLA, sounds like a real good candidate and word is he's very interested. However, word also is that he might be interested in staying at UCLA under a new head coach, so this one could depend on what the Bruins ultimately do.

ANY POSITION CHANGES FOR THE SPRING? Nothing has been set yet, according to Willingham. But he said he is specifically considering some moves to beef up the defensive line, which leads to inevitable conjecture that maybe Johnie Kirton moves to that side of the ball to play end.

DO RECRUITS WHO ENROLL EARLY LIKE CHRIS POLK COUNT AGAINST LAST YEAR'S CLASS OR THIS YEAR'S? They can count against either one. But in UW's case, it helps them most to count against 2007, so that's what I would think will happen here.

More later.

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December 15, 2007 7:25 PM

Good Chris Polk story

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a good story on Chris Polk from the Redlands Daily Facts, his hometown newspaper.

And here's another take on Polk's commitment from RealFootball365.com

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December 15, 2007 10:40 AM

Some Pac-10 news

Posted by Bob Condotta

Was reading the "Truth and Rumors'' section on SI.com this morning and realized every single item on this page involved the Pac-10 so figured I'd pass it along here.

Includes news on UCLA's coaching search, a USC forward who may transfer, an ASU QB recruit, and the fact that Lute Olson is getting paid during his time off.

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December 14, 2007 8:48 PM

Cougs make run at UW commit

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scout.com is reporting that UW commit Cory Mackay a linebacker/receiver from Eastlake High, will take an official visit to Washington State next month.

Mackay (see his profile here) had been seriously considering WSU before the school fired Bill Doba and he then decided to commit to UW.

The Huskies want the 6-4, 216-pounder as a linebacker while WSU is looking at him as a receiver. Mackay is quoted in the story as saying that position won't be the ultimate decider, but that he probably prefers offense to defense.

However, he also said he considers himself committed to UW but that he wants to "reassure myself that I'm making the right decision.''

He's scheduled to visit both schools in January --- UW the second week, WSU the third week --- so this one may be in a little bit of limbo for a while.

So far, Mackay appears to be the only in-state UW commit who may also now consider WSU with the Cougars now having a coaching staff in place.

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December 14, 2007 2:20 PM

Questions, questions

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's been a really busy week in Husky sports --- a really busy last few months, really.

But again, I'm sure I've missed some of your questions along the way, so for the next few days, let's put any that you have here and I'll get to them as soon as I can. And let's try to save this for questions and not comments, which you can put on the other threads.

Thanks.

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December 14, 2007 10:59 AM

USC to fight for Polk

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News reports in his blog that the Trojans are going to continue to recruit Chris Polk

Polk committed to USC early last year before deciding to re-open his recruitment and committing this week to UW.

Polk sounds pretty committed to UW now, but then if you read the stories from last winter he sounded pretty committed to USC back then, as well.

Wolf also has an interesting rumor that Rick Neuheisel did indeed try to get an interview at Washington State but couldn't get the Cougars interested, and that he hears Ed Orgeron's next move is most likely the NFL and not college (Orgeron coached at USC before heading to Mississippi).


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December 14, 2007 9:09 AM

A few links

Posted by Bob Condotta

For a Friday morning:

--- First is our story today with more on the commitment of Bradly Roussel. Hope this story answers the question of how a kid from Louisiana ended up comitting to UW --- and yes, to answer a question, he is the first commit from down south since Charles Frederick in 2001. As it was explained to me, Roussel knew once he wasn't getting offered by LSU he began looking around, and when UW showed a lot of interest, he got interested in UW and liked what he saw. One thing he told me that didn't make it in the story is that he was impressed by the quality of UW's incoming defensive tackles and figured that will make life easier as an LB. He is UW's 23rd commit but with Chris Polk enrolling early, I think UW has at least three scholarships left to give.

--- I was remiss yesterday in not linking our feature on UW recruit Johri Fogerson, who was named as our State Player of the Year. Also included in that package was our All-State Team that includes nine players who have committed to UW.

--- Derek Johnson's web site has an interesting interview with former Husky Jason Chorak.

NEUHEISEL TO UCLA? The LA Daily News is reporting today that Rick Neuheisel will interview for the vacancy at UCLA. Maybe he'll finally get the job he wanted so badly when he was here in 2002 (and don't kid yourselves on that, either --- he wanted to leave UW for the Bruins then but it didn't work out and the Bruins hired Karl Dorrell instead). UCLA plays at UW next Nov. 15 in what would be his first return to Husky Stadium should he get this job. It's not a huge surprise that he's getting an interview as I've heard that the same group of alums who were so pushing for him in 2002 are pushing for him again this time.

REMINDER --- Also, please don't cut-and-paste full stories from other sites of any kind. You can paraphrase and link to it, but no full texts please. Thanks.

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December 13, 2007 1:50 PM

Yet another new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies have reportedly gotten yet another commitment, this from linebacker Bradly Roussel of Baton Rouge, La.

Scout.com reports that Roussel also apparently had offers from Tennessee, Kansas State and Tulane. The Baton Rouge Advocate also reported on the commit.

Roussel would be the 23rd commit for the Class of 2008, though as we've detailed, the Huskies may have room for more than two more commits with Chris Polk enrolling early.

Roussel is projected as a middle linebacker.

He was recently rated as the No. 33 prospect in the state of Louisiana by DandyDon.com. But remember that Louisiana typically produces a lot more players than most states.

UPDATE 3:45 P.M. --- I was able to talk with Roussel's father, Holenn, who confirmed that his son has committed to UW.

He said UW linebackers coach Chris Tormey spent two-and-a-half hours in their home on Monday and that when it was over his son said "I want to play for him. Of all the coaches he had met, he wanted to play for him, and for Tyrone Willingham.''

There's no apparent tie to the family and UW other than the normal recruiting process --- the family got a recruiting letter, sent back some film, UW was intrigued, and it went from there. "It was a BCS school, and coach Tormey did a good job recruiting him,'' Holenn Rousell said. "They really hit it off pretty good.''

And while there are rumors about what may happen with UW's defensive coaching staff, Holenn Rousell said he has no doubt his son will be playing for Tormey.

"The coaching staff is going to stay intact from what I understand,'' he said. "That won't be an issue.''


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December 13, 2007 10:46 AM

Anthony Boyles update

Posted by Bob Condotta

While the Huskies continue to get commitments from high school receivers for the Class of 2008, the highest-touted recruit in the Class of 2007 says he remains on track to soon join the roster, as well.

Anthony Boyles said today that he has cleared all of his final academic hurdles and is enrolled in school (he is listed on the school's official enrollment sheet) and will come to UW to begin his career on Jan. 6.

"It's all taken care of,'' he said, adding he visited UW the weekend of the Cal game to finish off the final paper work. "I'm just excited to get to school, finally.''

Boyles said he has been working at UPS, helping in deliveries and loading boxes, while waiting to come to Washington. "I've just been working, chilling, to bypass the time,'' he said.

He said he has already made plans his first full day here to watch film with Jake Locker and then work out catching passes, something he said he hasn't done much of lately. In fact, he said he hasn't caught a real pass since the All-American all-star game last January.

"I've been lifting but not really running,'' he said. "I've got to start doing that.''

He hopes to get with some QBs at his old high school, Junipero Serra in Gardena., Calif., to get some work in before coming to Washington.

Once at UW, he said his goal is "to catch 300 balls a day.''

Devin Aguilar is also listed as officially enrolled.

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December 13, 2007 9:22 AM

AD update

Posted by Bob Condotta

My main story today concerned the AD situation and what happens now.

As the story details, the plan is to form a search committee to help in the process, and that won't happen until sometime early next year. So that means there may not be much substantive news on this for a while. Several people who may loom as candidates said yesterday they hadn't been contacted yet, but that shouldn't really be a surprise this early in the process. That may not happen until the search committee is formed.

Still, the reaction of former Oregon AD Bill Moos yesterday was interesting. He had his lawyer respond to interview requests and he didn't rule out being interested in the job, saying only it would be "inappropriate'' to respond to rumors or to hypotheticals about what he might do if approached considering his non-compete clause.

I'll reference a story from Jan. 2004 where Moos did talk about why the UW job would interest him.

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December 12, 2007 9:09 PM

More on Polk, Prince commits?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scout.com has also confirmed the decision by Chris Polk to become a Husky and includes the details that he chose UW in part thinking that he will have a chance at immediate playing time at receiver and that he will graduate this month and enroll in January.

If he sticks at receiver for UW, even though he's rated as the No. 9 RB in the country by Scout, he would be the fifth WR in the class for the Huskies, a position that is of obvious need.

Arriving in time for spring obviously means he will have a big head start on the others in the class and will also make that position maybe the most interesting to watch during those workouts if you throw in the expected arrivals of Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar.

UPDATE: Also, the LA Times is reporting that QB Kevin Prince of Crespi High has committed to UW, as well. I haven't seen confirmation of this elsewhere, however, so we'll wait and see. However, Prince isn't expected to enroll anywhere for several years as he is expected to take a mission first before entering college.

UPDATE 10:50 P.M. --- Several other sites are reporting that Prince says he hasn't committed anywhere, so maybe the LA Times got it wrong, or is at least premature.


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December 12, 2007 5:29 PM

Another new Husky?

Posted by Bob Condotta

RealDawg.com is reporting that Chris Polk, a running back/receiver from Redlands East Valley High, has committed to UW.

He has been regarded as a soft commit to USC after having given them a solid commitment last February, then deciding he wanted to take some trips.

The 5-11, 195-pounder was set to be a receiver for the Trojans, but he rushed for 34 touchdowns this season at Redlands East Valley, the same school as current Husky QB Ronnie Fouch and CB Marquis Persley.

Here's a profile of Polk from the LA Times that lists him at 6-1 (so we'll have to see how tall he really is) and also talks about how he played RB out of need this season but is a receiver by nature.

Polk would be UW's 22nd commitment for the Class of 2008.

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December 12, 2007 3:37 PM

Schedule changes announced, more

Posted by Bob Condotta

The schedule changes we wrote about here the other day have become official.

Here is the list of changes for UW and all other Pac-10 teams as announced by the conference today:

Washington:
Washington at Oregon - move from Sat., Sep. 13 to Sat., Aug 30
Oklahoma at Washington - move from Sat., Sep. 20 to Sat., Sep. 13
Washington at California - move from Sat., Oct. 11 to Sat., Dec. 6

Arizona State:
Oregon at Arizona State - move from Sat., Oct. 18 to Sat., Oct 25

California:
Washington at California - move from Sat., Oct. 11 to Sat., Dec. 6

Oregon:
Boise State at Oregon - move from Sat., Aug. 30 to Sat., Sep. 20
Washington at Oregon - move from Sat., Sep. 13 to Sat., Aug. 30
Oregon at Purdue - move from Sat., Sep. 20 to Sat., Sep. 13
Oregon at Arizona State - move from Sat., Oct. 18 to Sat., Oct. 25
Oregon at USC - move from Sat., Nov. 22 to Sat., Oct. 4

Oregon State:
Add game at Penn State on Sat., Sep. 6
Oregon State at Utah - move from Sat., Sep. 6 to Thu., Oct. 2
USC at Oregon State - move from Sat., Sep. 27 to Thu., Sep. 25
Oregon State at Stanford - move from Sat. Oct., 25 to either Thu., Aug. 28 or Sat., Aug. 30

Stanford:
Oregon State at Stanford - move from Sat., Oct. 25 to either Thu., Aug. 28 or Sat., Aug. 30

USC
USC at Oregon State - move from Sat., Sep. 27 to Thu., Sep. 25
Oregon at USC - move from Sat., Nov. 22 to Sat., Oct. 4

ON ED ORGERON: A lot of you have asked about former Mississippi coach Ed Orgeron, wondering if he could land at Washington should the Huskies have some defensive coaching openings soon.

Bruce Feldman of ESPN, who knows Orgeron well through the writing of his book Meat Market, which detailed Mississippi's recruiting last season, talks about Orgeron's future in his blog today and writes that he could be next in line to be the DC at South Carolina working for Steve Spurrier, an idea also floated in this story with some comments from Orgeron.

Feldman writes that Orgeron is going to "sit and see what actually is his best option, whether that's move to the NFL or staying in the college game. I know he'll be tempted by the NFL and the change of pace where it's 'just ball' but I suspect passing up a good college offer would be very hard for him.'' Feldman says Orgeron's name has surfaced at "a bunch'' of different schools.


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December 12, 2007 11:04 AM

Turner's letter to his staff

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW AD Todd Turner made his views pretty clear when he met with the media yesterday.

But for another view, here is the letter he sent to athletic department employees Tuesday explaining the situation:

December 11, 2007

Dear Friends,

It is with very mixed emotions that I write to you today. After careful consideration and thoughtful reflection on our time here since you welcomed us to the UW, Sara and I have decided that now is the right time for us to leave the University of Washington and return to our Southern roots. This came after lengthy discussions with President Emmert where it became clear that changes in leadership needed to be made. He has accepted my resignation from my position as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics effective January 31, 2008.

I will continue to serve in my current role as AD until I leave next month. As you might expect, much of my work will be dedicated to insuring a smooth transition for the next AD. Fortunately, we have a strong team of leaders in place to carry on the work we have begun. I have recommended to President Emmert in the strongest of terms the importance of maintaining the leadership model that has taken us this far.

I want each of you to know that I feel very good about the work we have accomplished together here during my tenure. When I arrived just over three years ago, the President's primary charge to me was to create a culture of integrity in athletics and to reconnect the athletics program to the mainstream mission of the University. This is something we have worked at every day and, I trust, you will continue to do so as you go forward. I do believe we have made great progress. Along the way we won national and Pac-10 championships. We have achieved academic performance measurements that are among the highest when compared to our West Coast peer institutions. We have created life-enriching opportunities for literally hundreds of young men and women student-athletes. Most importantly, we have established a principle-centered, compliance-sensitive culture in the Athletics Department. Plus, we've had a lot fun.

You have inspired me with your dedication to the well-being of our student-athletes, your commitment to each other, your competitiveness, and good cheer. Together we have reestablished the UW athletics program as one of character and integrity. Thank you for that. Continue doing this and the foundational phase of our mission will be complete. Now, it's up to you to put the final touches on this endeavor with more than a few championship banners. I trust that you will.

I can't encourage or challenge you enough to maintain and build upon the mission and values we have affirmed for athletics at Washington. Creating an environment that develops winners on the field, in the classroom, and in life...that's what it is all about. We have done this together. It is our mantra, our focus, our unifying purpose. Be true to it and the student-athletes will experience what they came to the UW to get...a world-class preparation for a successful, productive life.

Frankly, I've grown concerned recently over the growing imbalance between what the public (i.e. fans) expects and the true purpose of intercollegiate athletics. It's a frightening time to be in your positions if you truly believe in the ideal of the student-athlete within the framework of higher education. It will take exceedingly strong leadership to hold us true to this ideal. In recent days, I've seen a side of athletics that sickens me with the incessant interloping of uninformed, unenlightened, self-anointed experts who look upon intercollegiate athletics solely as entertainment to satisfy their own self interests. That's why competitive success at the UW without compromising values, character, and integrity is so essential. Someone has to be the example. It might as well be the Huskies.

I know some people would think me goofy to keep hammering away on this. But, it has been my life's calling. I learned this in my earliest days as a young administrator at the University of Virginia and it has stuck with me. I cannot give it up. In some ways, that's really at the core of why I am stepping aside...not to give up the fight, but rather to find another platform to underscore the cause. I need you with me on this, so when and if I ever call on you, please step up!

So, after nearly 32 years in this wonderful enterprise, 21 of which were as an Athletics Director, what is a fellow to do to further identify his purpose in life? At 56, there are many productive years ahead for us to enjoy new experiences and exciting challenges. These may come in the world of intercollegiate athletics or some other related or entirely different enterprise. Regardless, the lure of intercollegiate athletics, its value to our young people, and its influence on our society will always be somewhere near the core of what I do. Sara, our children, and I will take some time to reflect on the events of recent months before refocusing upon our future. Along the way, we'll have a few laughs, spend some needed time together, and follow the Huskies with great interest and considerable pride.

On a personal note, I want to thank each and every member of the athletics staff for accepting me and my family as your friends as much as you did me as your colleague. We will be Huskies for life! I will be forever grateful. Sara and I will carry many wonderful memories with us as we pursue a new direction in our lives.

Go DAWGS!

Respectfully,

Todd

Dream - Achieve - Win - Grow - Serve

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December 12, 2007 10:39 AM

Turner coverage

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just want to make sure you saw our coverage today of the resignation of Todd Turner.

Here's our main story, a column by Jerry Brewer, a look at who might be next, a glance at some of the major moves of Turner's tenure, and Turner's letter of resignation.

I had planned to begin doing some off-season blogging, looking ahead to next year, etc., and I'll still get to that, but all of this has delayed that a little bit. But those of you who have asked some questions regarding next year, etc., promise to cover that territory soon.

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December 12, 2007 9:11 AM

A running backs coach candidate

Posted by Bob Condotta

A reader floated the name of UCLA assistant Dino Babers as Washington's new running backs coach the other day.

And rumblings are that Babers would indeed be interested --- he may need a job as UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell was recently fired, though his staff remains in place through the team's game in the Las Vegas Bowl against BYU. Word is that most of the UCLA assistants are waiting to see what happens with the new coach there before making any decisions about moving on.

As you can see from his bio, Babers has a long history in the Pac-10 working the last four years at UCLA and six at Arizona.

UW needs a new running backs coach to replace Trent Miles, who left to become head coach at Indiana State.

There have yet to be any other changes to UW's staff for next season, with all other current assistants said to be handling recruiting duties, though rumblings persist that some changes may be in the offing, particulatly on the defensive side.

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December 11, 2007 10:30 PM

A little more on Turner

Posted by Bob Condotta

Well, didn't see that coming.

Had planned to get the postseason haircut and all that today when instead, another bomb dropped on Montlake with the resignation of athletic director Todd Turner.

There had been rumblings that there was some discontentment, but Turner had until June 30, 2009 on his contract so there seemed little reason to think this would come to a head this soon.

Certainly, few in the athletic department did.

The coaches I talked with all expressed surprise, and most also expressed disappointment -- they clearly like Turner, who is eminently likeable in person. He was always very fair, cooperative and accessible with those of us in the media, and while that may not be important to you out there -- and understandably isn't to many, if not most -- it was much appreciated by us.

Digging through the e-mail, the number one question is obvious -- why?

UW president Mark Emmert said "it's not any one thing. I know people always want to look for that one thing here or there, but that's not what this situation is about. It's about overall general fit around the entire package of activities.''

But Turner made it clear that things came to a head during the discussion of whether to keep football coach Tyrone Willingham, saying that "it just was enlightening about where our society, culture and support group has gone in their expectations of what constitutes a quality program on a campus of higher education.''

Essentially, Turner said he hadn't thought, or realized, there was such a win-at-all-costs mentality here, especially when it comes to football.

Certainly, the 12-35 record of the football team under Turner --- and 11-25 under Willingham, the coach he hired --- is the biggest reason he's not the AD anymore. Just about everything in an athletic department like Washington's revolves around football, so other things that are perceived as problems would have likely looked a lot better if the football team were winning more --- namely, the effort to get the Husky Stadium renovation project off the ground, which was likely the second biggest factor in what happened today.

Turner said on KING-TV tonight that his advice to his successor would be to "win more football games'' a pointed comment that he didn't make quite that bluntly when talking with us earlier in the day.

But Emmert also seemed to essentially say that while Turner was a good fit for what UW needed in 2004, in the wake of the Rick Neuheisel and Teresa Wilson scandals, that a different kind of AD --- maybe a little more aggressive and progressive, to try to read his mind --- is what is needed now.

So where do the Huskies go from here?

Well, one thing you can't say is that the Huskies didn't have all their, uh, ducks in a row today. Before anyone even knew about any of this --- most coaches said they didn't find out until a meeting this morning --- UW had already announcced Turner will stay through Jan. 31 and Scott Woodward, the VP for external affairs, will serve as interim AD from that point on.

Woodward, 44, has been with Emmert since joining him at LSU, and he told me tonight he will begin working with the athletic department right away, holding meetings with some of the coaches as soon as tomorrow.

While Emmert will want to work as quickly as possible to find a successor, he will also likely feel comfortable with Woodward in charge.

I listed some candidates in the earlier post and a few of you asked where those names came from. Largely, these are guys whose names just seem to make sense, have connections to UW or Emmert, were interested in the job before or simply are in the rumor mill.

But unlike coaching searches, these don't tend to be overnight processes. Barbara Hedges retired in mid-January 2004 and Turner wasn't hired until mid-June.

This one could move more quickly as that search was delayed a bit by the fact that UW was also hiring a president during that time, with Emmert getting hired in March --- he took over in time to oversee the final stages of the hiring of Turner and said today the hiring of Turner was his idea.

"I don't regret the decision to bring Todd here at all,'' he said.

But then he said again that circumstances had changed.

A lot more quickly than most of us imagined.


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December 11, 2007 4:26 PM

Turner speaks on "resignation''

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's more on today's big news as this is the story that should be posted on-line soon. This story includes some quotes from Todd Turner.

University of Washington athletic director Todd Turner resigned this morning, effective Jan. 31, 2008.

In a quickly called news conference, UW president Mark Emmert said that he had not been pressured by boosters, and that "there wasn't any one thing" that caused Turner to resign, instead saying he was no longer the "right fit'' for what the school needs know in an athletic director.

"We've got a lot of things going on right now, and again, Todd and I have been talking about it for some time,'' Emmert said. "He's been our AD for three-and-a-half years and he's done a lot of good and important things for the university. The program was in many ways in great disarray and Todd's done a great job of turning that all around. But we also have a lot of other things that need to get done in the athletic program, and for me this is a question of Todd, and for Todd as well, is this the right fit for Todd at this stage of his career. We concluded it would be better for the program and the university to make a change and if we were going to do it, there was no point in sitting around and doing it later.''

Scott Woodward, UW's vice president for external affairs, will step in as acting director when Turner leaves. A national search will be conducted for Turner's replacement.

Emmert said the controversy over last week's decision to keep Tyrone Willingham as football coach, something Turner wholeheartedly supported citing Willingham's rebuilding of the culture of the program as much as the won-loss record, was not a major factor in the decision.

When asked if Turner was more supportive of football coach Tyrone Willingham than he was, Emmert said that was "an inaccurate observation and people are making too much of that.''

"There was not any connection to coach Willingham's situation,'' Emmert continued. "He's going to be our football coach next year and I'm very happy about that.''

Turner, however, said the discussions about Willingham played a factor in the events of Tuesday.

"For me it did,'' he said. "It was just was enlightening about where our society, culture and support group has gone in their expectations of what constitutes a quality program on a campus of higher education.''

Turner said he was disappointed to no longer be the athletic director but agreed that the decision was mutual, saying the last few months had worn away some of his desire to keep the job.

"I just came to the realization that there is too much controversy in the air,'' he said. "It's taken a lot of the fun out of it for me and made it very difficult on the president and I'm at a point in my career where I don't have to be an athletic director to be happy or be successful.''

Turner was hired in 2004 to hired to help clean up the department after some scandals that led to the resignation of Barbara Hedges and Emmert lauded his work in that role Tuesday in helping the department get past the gambling-related firing of football coach Rick Neuheisel and a drug scandal that cost the job of softball coach Teresa Wilson.

Turner, 56, was hired in June, 2004, six months after Hedges had resigned. His contract ran through June of 2009 and he was paid a base salary of $345,000.

Turner will be paid his full salary through the end of his contract, a UW official confirmed.

But Emmert said the attributes that would allow someone to be a good fit "shifts over time.''

He hinted that what the school needed now was someone who could better raise funds for the department. Sources told the Times that some of the big-money donors to the school had also had doubts about Turner's ability to raise the funds needed for big projects.

Turner, however, defended himself on that account, saying that the athletic department's reserve had increased from $13.7 million when he arrived to $19 million today. He also said contributions had increased from $14.6 million to $26 million.

"If that's poor business management from a financial standpoint then I'm hard-pressed to understand your definition,'' Turner said.

Some also wondered if Turner's fate was sealed by the apparent struggles to make headway with the renovation of Husky Stadium, a project that remains in the early planning stages. An initial estimate of $415 for the project caused a review committee to decide that only a first stage costing $130 million be recommended to the UW Board of Regents --- UW has yet to raise any money for the renovation.

Turner defended the Husky Stadium project as well, however, saying the project is intentionally "being done backwards'' because of complexities of a SoundTransit station being built on Montlake.

"There's a thought that it hasn't gone as planned, but the stadium renovation is being done backwards and the reason is because of SoundTransit and no one is paying attention to that,'' Turner said. "We would never have talked so in-depth about what our vision was and what the timing was if we weren't up against a time frame that is not out of own making. .... We've not asked one person for one nickel for the football stadium by plan and the president has been with me 100 percent all along the way in that regard. So if there is disappointment about our progress on that, I've just got to say to you it was by design. ... They just didn't like the numbers, but those numbers are what they are --- no one invented them.

They were prepared by professionals and based upon a vision for the stadium that had lots of input from lots of people.''

Turner was also known to have rankled some Husky boosters in October when he used Oregon as a comparison for the kind of football program that UW needed to aspire to be --- a few disgruntled fans had recently begun Web site, firetoddturner.com.

Turner said he didn't think the comments were an issue with Emmert but admitted they were with some boosters.

"It wasn't meant to be disrespectful,'' he said. "It's just a fact that we've got to get better and there are people in our own league who are investing in their programs and doing things that give them a chance to take the leg up on us and we've got to respond to that.''

Some fans also questioned Turner's commitment to winning, citing his support of Willingham's changing of the culture of the program while going only 11-25 in three years at UW.

Turner said he would never say winning is not important, "but the message that our students hear, that our coaches hear, that our leadership hears from the general run-of-the-mill fan is that the only thing we really care about is how many games they win. And I have to look at that after 32 years of doing this and say 'wow, is that really what we are all about? Have I been that naïve all this period of time? I have been spending all my time on the student-athlete experience and trying to create better lives for people and the proper place in higher education when all I should have been worrying about is how many games we've won.' Why didn't I go to the NFL if that's all it's about.'''

Potential replacements for Turner could include:

*Former Oregon athletic director Bill Moos, who now lives in eastern Washington but would have to forfeit a $1.85 million 10-year non-compete deal made when he left the Ducks.

*Scott Barnes, UW assistant athletic director in charge of fund raising.

*Bob Stull, athletic director at UTEP whose ties with Washington date back to coaching under Don James from 1975-84.

*Mike Cragg, an associate athletic director at Duke and a 1986 graduate of Washington who is in charge of the Duke Basketball Legacy Fund.

*Jim Phillips, associate vice president./director of athletics at Northern Illinois, and a finalist for the UW position when Turner was hired.
*Chris Hill, athletic director at Utah, and also a UW finalist when Turner was hired.
Emmert said there was no timetable but that a new AD would be in "hopefully by spring.''

Turner said he had talked with Willingham and that the coach "was surprised.''

That was the reaction of many coaches, most of whom heard about it for the first time at a meeting Tuesday morning.

UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar praised Turner's handling of the department and said he was disappointed but that "I do understand that tough decisions have to be made at times.''

UPDATE --- I should also add that Woodward is a likely candidate for the AD job. another possibility is former Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart, someone Emmert knows well from SEC days.

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December 11, 2007 12:10 PM

On Turner

Posted by Bob Condotta

For now, I will refer you to our story on-line for what we know about the resignation today of Todd Turner.

I will have more later, but due to the suddeness of this, have some other duties that will keep me from responding to a lot of your questions for a little while.

UPDATE:

--- The Turner story above should be updated. It includes the name of someone I would think will be a very serious candidate to take his place, Mike Cragg of Duke. Here's his bio and you can see he's a 1986 UW graduate. He was interested in the job when Turner got it in 2004 and recently was featured in this UW Alumni Association profile.

--- Here are a few other possibilities: UTEP AD Bob Stull, the former UW assistant coach; Utah athletic director Chris Hill, who was a finalist last time; and Northern Illinois AD Jim Phillips, also a finalist last time.

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December 11, 2007 9:53 AM

Turner out as UW athletic director

Posted by Bob Condotta

University of Washington Athletic Director Todd Turner announced his resignation today, effective January 31, 2008, the school announced in a press release here.

I'll have more on this later.


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December 10, 2007 5:32 PM

Couple quick notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

First, it was reported last week that Jordan Reffett was the first Husky to ever win the Guy Flaherty Award, UW's most prestigious post-season award and given to the team's most inspirational player, twice.

In fact, Don McKeta (1959, 60) and Tom Wand (1911-12) also won it twice.

Second, several of you asked about scholarships and if UW might renege on some of its offers to players who have already committed now that recruiting seems to be going well and maybe more players are interested. In a word, no. That's something rarely done by anyone but certainly not the kind of thing Tyrone Willingham would do.

So UW has 21 reported commitments and I would expect all 21 of those players to get scholarships. Schools are allowed to sign 25 in a class, so there are officially only four left, though sometimes schools oversign and fit in the players in another class, possibly grayshirting some so they can enroll later, or moving them back a class if they enroll early, etc. So we'll see how it shakes out.


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December 10, 2007 1:48 PM

Reggie Williams making his move

Posted by Bob Condotta

Haven't had time to link a lot of UW alumni stories of late, but now that the season is over we might do more.

A couple I noticed today focused on Reggie Williams, who was the subject of a lot of stories in the pre-season speculating that his career might be in jeopardy.

Instead, after another TD catch yesterday, he's being praised as Jacksonville's best playmaker at receiver in this story (it's a few questions down the list) while this story also focuses on his recent surge in production.

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December 10, 2007 9:37 AM

Schedule moves in the offing

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington is working on several moves to its 2008 schedule to create what would turn out to be three byes, changes that could become official this week.

The moves would consist of:

1, moving the Sept. 13 game at Oregon to Aug. 30, the season opener for both teams;

2, moving the home game with Oklahoma on Sept. 20 to Sept. 13;

3, and moving an Oct. 11 game at Cal to Dec. 6.

If all of that is approved, then UW would have byes on Sept. 20 (in between home games against Oklahoma and Stanford), Oct. 11 (in between games at Arizona and home to Oregon State) and Nov. 29 (the week after the Apple Cup).

The Huskies wanted to create some byes to avoid playing 12 games in 12 weeks, as they did during the 2006 season. And in years when the Apple Cup is in Pullman it takes even more creativity as WSU doesn't want to move the game from its Saturday-before-Thanksgiving date due to the fact that students are off the following week and attendance would suffer.

Aside from creating byes, UW athletic director Todd Turner said he also likes the revamped schedule because "it spreads out the year and it keeps you playing right up until the last part of the season, so if there is a post-season in your future, you've kept your team sharp. The other piece about it is that if probably opens up some TV opportunities for us. I think we will have some pretty good TV exposure.''

There was talk of playing the Oregon game on Aug. 28, a Thursday night, but that couldn't be worked out, Turner said.

Turner said there was no real discussion of changing any opponents for next season --- UW will host Oklahoma, BYU and Notre Dame in non-conference play.

Turner noted that UW already asked Oklahoma once to move its game, from the 2007 season to 2008.

"I just didn't think we could go back to them again,'' he said.

He also said all of those opponents are ones UW would like to continue playing in the future and simply canceling contracts, etc., wouldn't be fair.

All of this is subject to Pac-10 approval, which could come this week.

If approved, it would create the longest regular season in UW history in terms of the time span from the opening game to the final game.

Here is the 2008 schedule as currently constructed and before any of the proposed changes.

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December 10, 2007 9:10 AM

Last of the Neuheisel era

Posted by Bob Condotta

One note I meant to throw in the Juan Garcia story the other day is that his return means there will still be a link to the Rick Neuheisel era on the roster next season.

Garcia came to UW in the Class of 2003, which was signed while Neuheisel was still head coach ---- Neuheisel was fired in the summer of 2003, so while none of those players ever played for him, they were brought to the school by him.

Every other remaining member of that class is now gone except for Garcia, coming back for a sixth year.

But overall, the influence of recruiting classes brought by other coaches is now very little.

There are just 11 players left who were brought to UW by Keith Gilbertson --- Casey Bulyca, Mesphin Forrester, Michael Gottlieb, Darin Harris, Johnie Kirton, Luke Kravitz, Jovon O'Connor, Trenton Tuiasosopo, Jordan White-Frisbee and Walt Winter.

All but Gottlieb are members of the Class of 2004. Gottlieb arrived that fall as a walk-on and was given a scholarship late in that season in what was about the last personnel move by Gilbertson as head coach.

The small presence left of that class, however, means UW won't have many seniors next season.

Those 11 will be fifth-year seniors and Garcia will be in his sixth year.

UW will likely have just one four-year senior who never redshirted --- linebacker Chris Stevens, a member of the Class of 2005.

The only other seniors (not counting those who might be listed as seniors but would still have eligibility left) would be JC transfers Byron Davenport, Jared Ballman, Jordan Murchison and Jason Wells.

So that means UW could have just 17 scholarship seniors next season.

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December 9, 2007 5:48 PM

Recruiting update, Sunday

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a little info for you:

--- Doesn't sound like there were any new commits this weekend.

--- Kennedy High DE Everette Thompson apparently didn't start his visit until Saturday morning, so he may not be done yet --- visits can last up to 48 hours.

--- I did talk to Bellevue High center David DeCastro, who is officially a Stanford commit, and he said his visit this weekend was good and "definitely helped in terms of the UW side. It was good to see it and just cool to hang out with the players and get a different view of football and life and all the people and the social aspect and stuff.''

DeCastro said he still considers himself committed to Stanford but that he also isn't closing the door on UW.

"Stanford is still there, but you never know,'' he said. "I'll take some time. I don't know what is going on in my mind right now.''

DeCastro said Stanford coaches were at his house today and that he will have a home visit from UW coach Tyrone Willingham and line coach Mike Denbrock later this week.

DeCastro said he might not make his final decision until signing day on Feb. 6.

"When I sign, I'll sign,'' he said.

DeCastro said he'll likely take the holiday period to think about his decision some more. Coaches can have no contact with players from Dec. 17-Jan. 3 (you can see the recruiting calender here).

"That will be really, really nice,'' he said of the dead period. "I'm looking forward to it. There's lots of pressure from everybody. But we'll see what happens.''


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December 8, 2007 5:16 PM

Recruiting update

Posted by Bob Condotta

No new news, but I noticed many of the recruits sitting behind the UW bench during the basketball game.

Both RealDawg and Dawgman.com are reporting that there are 15 recurits in for visits this weekend.

Ten have already committed, so for them, this is mostly a reaffirmation, a chance for parents to meet the coaches and get acquainted, etc.

The five listed as not having committed yet are: DE Everette Thompson of Kennedy, WR A.J. Pickens of Chino, Calif., guard Allen Carroll of Oakland, C David DeCastro of Bellevue and center Jonathan Solomon of Lawndale, Calif.

So if any news breaks over the weekend, it will likely involve some of those five.

Solomon and Thompson are each listed as having high interest in UW, making them the most likely to give a commitment this weekend.

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December 7, 2007 8:56 PM

My Heisman ballot

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Heisman Trophy will be given out tomorrow, and maybe someday soon that will be a local story for us out here.

For now, it's something to watch only from afar, though I do so with great interest every year as I am a voter.

This will be a fun one because I think there is some genuine intrigue this time, as this story details well.

My ballot looked like this.

1, Tim Tebow, Florida.

2, Dennis Dixon, Oregon

3, Colt Brennan, Hawaii

All quarterbacks, I know, which is something I struggled with. Then again, it is the most important position on the field, as Dixon's injury at Oregon --- and UO's subsequent inability to win a game --- revealed clearly.

Had Dixon not gotten hurt, I would have voted for him No. 1. I thought about doing it anyway --- the way Oregon collapsed after he was hurt only seemed to illustrate that much more clearly how great a season he was having.

I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone operate an offense better than Dixon did at Husky Stadium this season.

But it's hard to ignore that he essentially missed three games --- obviously not his fault, but that is part of the game and has to be considered when you judge a season.

Once I decided I wasn't voting Dixon No. 1 I sided with Tebow. Who cares that he's only a sophomore? That's one of the dumbest reasons for not voting for someone I've ever heard. If he's the best player, he's the best player.

And Tebow's numbers are impossible to ignore --- 51 touchdowns, 29 passing, 22 rushing, at least one of each in every game. Also hard to ignore was his consistency --- he never threw more than one interception in a game (he had just six all season), completed less than 50 percent of his passes just once, and had 60 yards or more rushing in eight of 12 games. He also had a long pass of 37 yards or more in every game, indicating that he wasn't just dinking and dunking in charting a 68.5 percent completion percentage rate for the season.

That left Brennan for third, and I have to admit I was influenced by being in Hawaii a week ago and seeing him lead a comeback from 28-7 down against the Huskies. We all know the weaknesses of UW's defense this season. Still, I was impressed the way Brennan kept his composure and led his team when it all seemed to be slipping away --- that was a lot of pressure he was under in that game with all the talk of it being the biggest game in school's history and the fervor gripping that state.

I considered the schedule Hawaii played and the fact that Brennan missed one game and most of another, and also had a couple of bad outings (five interceptions against Idaho) which is why he wasn't higher.

That obviously means I left off Darren McFadden, who had a wonderful season. But I guess I just didn't feel he was quite to the level of other Heisman running backs. If I had a stat to back that up, it would be that more than half of his touchdowns --- eight of 15 --- came against Florida International, Troy, North Texas and Chattanooga.

MOORE TO FLORIDA? --- Rivals.com is reporting that Carl Moore, a JC receiver who visited UW for the Cal game, is heading to Florida, instead. Moore is apparently the only JC player the Huskies were recruiting this year and it was hoped he would bring some instant help to what will be an inexperienced position next season.


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December 7, 2007 12:51 PM

Garcia on his decision to return

Posted by Bob Condotta

Talked to Washington center Juan Garcia today about his decision to return to the Huskies for a sixth season.

It's a big boost for UW's offensive line, which will now have four of five starters returning next season led by Garcia, who was named to the All-Pac-10 second team this season.

He said he didn't make up his mind until Thursday when he read the newspaper accounts of the decision retain coach Tyrone Willingham. Garcia could have decided to leave and enter the NFL Draft but instead will return for a sixth season.

"I put a lot of thought into it and I wasn't really sure,'' he said. "Then I had made up my mind that if coach Willingham wasn't coming back then I wasn't coming back. I was going to take my chances. But when I heard coach Willingham was coming back and especially (offensive line) Coach (Mike) Denbrock, I decided to come back.

"I wasn't going to go through a whole new coaching change and all that crap. If he was gone, then I was gone, too. I still wasn't sure until I read in the paper that he was coming back and I said 'you know what? If he's coming back, then I'm coming back.'''

Garcia said he talked to Willingham for about an hour on Thursday to affirm his return to the Huskies for next season.

"It's in the best of my interests,'' he said. "And it's like the O-line is still young. They need me, I need them, so it works out good for both sides.''

Garcia said the situation weighed heavily on his mind the last three weeks, saying it kept him up at nights.

"The last three weeks, I just couldn't go to sleep,'' he said. "I was confused. Like I had the chance I always wanted, a shot at the NFL. After that, I can live life knowing either I'm good enough or I'm not. I don't want to be one of those guys saying 'I could have done this.' I would have had my shot. But now I'll come back next year and see what happens.''

Garcia said the way the season ended, with a 4-9 record and losses to WSU and Hawaii, only confused the issue.

"I didn't want to leave it like that,'' he said.

Garcia also said he had been invited to the Hula Bowl All-Star Game in Honolulu next month.

"Being in Hawaii, that place is heaven,'' he said. "I was over there thinking 'I could come back here for five days, all expenses paid, and all I have to do is say yes.' But if everything goes good, I'll be back in Hawaii next year. But that was kind of hard, the way the weather was. It was tempting, but. ....''

As a player with a sixth year of eligibility, Garcia could have waited a while to make his decision. But he said he decided to get it over with once the news broke that Willingham would return. He was on campus Friday trying to get some academic stuff worked out for next quarter.

Garcia said criticism of Willingham is off-base.

"Its not coach Willingham's fault,'' he said. "He has brought back the fight in us, and I talked to him about that and thanked him for that. I said he is the reason we have our fight back. I told him 'we haven't won many games and people are doubting you but that you are a great coach.' I said 'next year when we are winning and everything is good again and everybody is patting your back and saying how good you are, we have to remember this day when everybody doubted us, doubted the Huskies, and doubted you.' So if you are one of the people doubting us, watch out because we have a good team coming back next year.

"You look at this year, we either beat ourselves or we just didn't make the plays. Other years, we got ran through and it was just bad being a Husky. There is no good thing in losing, but at least you can say you lost with pride. Other years we would lose and your manhood would be taken away.''

Garcia said another key in making his decision to stay was the blessing of his mother, a native of Mexico who settled in Yakima where she has spent years picking fruit.

"I told her 'Mom, I want to buy you a house and if I come back I may get injured and not have that opportunity,''' Garcia said. "And she said 'I don't care about that. I want you to be happy. Just hearing that, it was like God will take care of everything so if it's meant for me to play at the next level and do that I'll play at the next level and if I get hurt, it's for a reason. Just to hear my mom say 'I want you to be happy,' she knows how much stress I've been through that meant a lot to me.''

One last push to stay, Garcia said, was all that he heard from fans saying "one more year.'' One fan sent him a letter imploring him to stay, he said.

"From every angle I got it --- we need you one more year --- so that just made me feel appreciated,'' he said.

Garcia said now he is only looking to next season when he thinks the UW could have one of its best lines in years.

"I can leave here saying I played with one of the greatest O lines in school history, or even in the Pac-10,'' he said. "I don't care how much money is out there. That's something I can always remember for the rest of my life.''

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December 7, 2007 12:09 PM

Locker named Sporting News second-team All-American

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW QB Jake Locker was named to The Sporting News Freshman All-American second team today.

Here's a link.

SOME OTHER NOTES:

--- A few of you asked about the health status of Donald Butler and Jason Wells. UW coach Tyrone Willingham said Wednesday that their status for the spring remains uncertain, Wells more than Butler. Wells has had surgery while it sounds unclear if Butler will have surgery to repair the knee injury that held him out the last five games of the season, but sounds like it could be a possibility (sorry for the vagueness, but that's what I got). But sounds as if the rest of the team avoided major injury this year and most everyone else should be ready for the spring. The off-season will also allow Locker to fully recover from what was a rough season for him at times. Other than the neck, his main injury was the hit he took to his left shoulder against Stanford.

--- Some recruits are on campus already for what is UW's biggest recruiting weekend of the year with 13 expected in. Eight of the players have already committed. As I mentioned yesterday, UW coaches wanted as many players to come together this weekend to begin the bonding process with this class.

--- Here's the latest I could find on E.J. Woods, a defensive back commit to UCLA who had said he might considering other schools, including UW, with the firing of Karl Dorrell. In the story, published today on ESPN.com, Woods says he is still committed to UCLA and is excited about the prospect of some of the big names he has heard as possible replacements. But he also says in the story he plans on taking all of his visits, including to UW.


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December 7, 2007 10:46 AM

Garcia to return

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW got even more good news at last night's banquet as center Juan Garcia told a crowd of about 500 that he will return next season.

So that solidifies the offensive line for the Huskies heading into next season.

Among UW's other good news Thursday was the landing of two more recruits, detailed here.

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December 6, 2007 9:23 PM

Ta'amu says "definitely I'm committing to UW''

Posted by Bob Condotta

The commits just keep on coming for the Huskies.

Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu of Rainier Beach, one of the last big in-state recruiting targets for UW, said tonight he will sign with Washington next February.

"Definitely I'm committing to Washington,'' he said.

Ta'amu will take his official visit this weekend along with at least six other players. But he said he has already told UW coaches of his plans to become a Husky.

He took a recruiting visit to Hawaii last weekend and said that while he enjoyed it, he just couldn't see spending the next four years of his life there.

He said he was also sold by Husky coach Tyrone Willingham and the news this week that he will remain as coach.

"He's a great coach and a big reason I'm going there,'' he said. "I know everybody's complaining about him but just give him more time. I think we'll be way better next year, hopefully.''

He also said he was swayed by the relationships he has built with the two assistants who handled his recruiting, defensive line coach Randy Hart and linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Chris Tormey.

"The relationship I have with that staff is real good,'' he said.

Ta'amu said he's been told he will play defensive tackle for the Huskies. He said he's 6-3, 330 pounds and hopes to get down to about 315 by next season.

As a DT, he figures to have an opportunity for immediate playing time if he can make a quick adjustment as the defensive line is an area of need for the Huskies with the top three tackles graduating.

With the earlier commitment of RB Johri Fogerson of O'Dea, UW now has 21 commitments for the Class of 2008 including 12 from the state of Washington.


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December 6, 2007 9:08 PM

Team award winners announced

Posted by Bob Condotta

Defensive tackle Jordan Reffett took the top honors as the winner of the Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Player Award at UW's annual football banquet tonight.

Reffett is only the second Husky to win the Guy Flaherty Award twice.

You can find the full list of winners here.

RB Louis Rankin and DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim were named offensive and defensive MVPs in votes of teammates.

Rankin and Reffett were also honored as two of six season captains --- the others were Juan Garcia, Greyson Gunheim, Roy Lewis and Anthony Russo.

Here's a full list of the awards

Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational
Jordan Reffett

101 Club Academic Award
Cody Ellis

Team MVP Award
Louis Rankin (Offense)
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Defense)

Sports Radio 950 KJR Players of the Year
Jake Locker (Offense)
E.J. Savannah (Defense)
Chris Stevens (Special Teams)

KING-TV Most Improved Player
Marcel Reece (Offense)
Darin Harris (Defense)

John P. Angel Lineman of the Year
Juan Garcia (Offense)
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Defense)

L. Wait Rising Lineman of the Year
Jordan Reffett

Earle T. Glant Tough Husky
Paul Homer

Chuck Niemi Big Hit Award
Paul Homer

Tyee Sports Council Community Service Award
Carl Bonnell

Bob Jarvis Offensive Scout Squad MVP
Ronnie Fouch

Mark Drennan Defensive Scout Squad MVP
Cort Dennison

Brian Stapp Special Teams Scout Squad MVP
Quinton Richardson

Travis Spring Most Outstanding Freshman
Jake Locker (Offense)
Nate Williams (Defense)

Husky Fever 12th Man Award
Cody Habben & Luke Kravitz (Offense)
Mason Foster (Defense)

Academic Excellence Award
Dan Howell

Captains Award
Juan Garcia, Greyson Gunheim, Roy Lewis, Louis Rankin, Jordan Reffett &Anthony Russo

Kurt P. Gegner Memorial Award
Jeff Broadwell (Equipment Room Staff)

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December 6, 2007 6:14 PM

Fogerson commits to UW

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Tom here, and I just got off the phone with O'Dea RB Johri Fogerson, who confirmed he has committed to Washington.

The Huskies were one of the last teams to come in with an offer to Fogerson, but he said, "I really wasn't counting them out. I was just weighing my options."

Proximity seemed to carry a lot of weight for Fogerson, who, as we wrote in an Oct. 24 story, is extremely close to his family, particularly his mother.

"My mom had a big role in it," Fogerson said. "Also, coach Willingham's a great person to play for because he's going to be there for you."

Fogerson said he committed to Ohio State last Saturday, but he decommitted because "it was just too far away from mom."

Last Friday, Fogerson ran for 297 yards and four touchdowns in the Class 3A championship game. He said that performance not only brought an offer from the Huskies, but Louisville and Virginia Tech also entered the fray, too.

He said, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal and Arizona State had already offered him.

On the season, Fogerson ran for 2,545 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. He made the Star-Times all-area team, and he'll surely be one of the favorites for the Times' state player of the year award.

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December 6, 2007 4:11 PM

A few notes UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the Tyrone Willingham issue settled, time to begin looking ahead.

--- Several of you have asked about next season's schedule and whether there is any chance of changing any of the opponents --- UW is scheduled to host BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame next season. Official word is that there are no plans at trying to change any of those. It's hard to do this late in the going (changing dates can be done relatively late, but changing opponents is trickier at this stage). Plus, UW already moved the Oklahoma game once, from this season to 2008, replacing the Sooners with Boise State in an effort to lessen the load this season. What is being worked on is changing some of the dates on the current schedule to potentially open with Oregon on Aug. 30 and also maybe move another game to the first Saturday in December (though apparently not the Apple Cup) to create a couple of byes in the schedule.

--- This is a big recruiting weekend for UW with at least seven players due in for visits, including Kavario Middleton, who will reaffirm his commitment. Also coming in is Rainier Beach OL Alameda Ta'amu, who is expected to commit while on his visit and give UW 20 commits for the Class of 2008. Ta'amu took a visit to Hawaii last weekend but apparently spent much of his time at the game trying to talk with UW players and coaches (UW coaches could only say hello due to NCAA rules). Also in this weekend is Kennedy DE Everette Thompson, who could also be close to committing to UW.

--- Also coming in this weekend is Bellevue High C David DeCastro, who confirmed to the Times that he will make a visit. He is committed to Stanford but said he wants to check out UW to make sure.

--- Husky coaches wanted as many of the local players to visit this weekend to create as much of a bonding with those players as possible.

--- UW's annual awards banquet is tonight and we'll try to have the results here as soon as we can. They will also be available on GoHuskies.com this evening.

FOGERSON COMMITS

--- RealDawg.com is reporting that Johri Fogerson has committed to UW. Scout.com has confirmed it as well. We'll have something up as quickly as we can. He will be the 20th commit for UW in this year's class.

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December 6, 2007 12:34 PM

Emmert interview on KJR

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW president Mark Emmert just concluded an interview with Dave Mahler and Hugh Millen on KJR-AM.

Unfortunately, our blog format here crashed and killed most of it, so this won't be as extensive a report as I had hoped. (I'm sure it will be up here soon if you want to listen to it).

But here are some highlights:

--- Emmert said he never talked with the NAACP and that was not a factor, nor was the $3 million payout, saying it would be "penny wise and pound foolish'' to worry about money when making a decision like this.

--- Said the ultimate decision was his.

--- Said everybody has to remember that he's a Husky and he hates to lose as much as anyone else but that after talking with a number of people (UW AD Todd Turner and other school officials, etc.) "I agreed with Todd that the correct choice was to let coach Willingham have another crack at this.''

--- Said the recruiting success this year was a factor in his decision as was the fact that things are going well off the field. Also said he was worried about causing more disruption to the program by making another change said that "the kids have been sort of in a foster child situation'' the last few years with so many changes.

--- Said ultimately "it was a decision I was comfortable with because I want to see Ty finish out this thing and see what he can do with mostly his players out on the field next season.''

--- Said he did talk with Willingham and that they agreed that some changes needed to be made to the defense. But Emmert said they didn't talk about specific coaching changes and that those would be Willingham's call. "He obviously recognizes that the performance on defense was inadequate so he is going to have to make some changes, but what those are are strictly up to him.''

--- Said "they've got to win more football games next year and that's an expectation he has of himself and of his team and I and everyone else has of the program, so he is going to have to do what it takes to get there.''

--- Said there has been no talk of an extension and that he's not worried about Willingham potentially being a lame duck coach next season, saying coaches are coaching for their jobs every day as a reality of their profession.

--- Said he doesn't know Jim Mora but has heard good things about him.


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December 6, 2007 9:12 AM

Thursday links, Willingham's staying edition

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are our two stories for today's paper on the events of yesterday:

--- a news story that includes some quotes from Todd Turner you didn't hear at the press conference, notably talking about how he had numerous meetings the last few days with key campus officials and others close to the program before the decision was made;

--- and Jerry Brewer's column saying the Huskies did the right thing.

I almost wrote that this would at least quiet the debate on this topic for a while now that the university has made its decision, but obviously nothing will really do that until the Huskies start winning games.

The first chance next year figures to come at Oregon on Aug. 30, as UW is still working to change its schedule to put the Ducks game up front (nothing official is expected on that for a little while).

No better way to show the program is getting back on track than by winning at Oregon --- while a loss would be the ultimate tough way to start the year, losing to a most heated rival before September.

I'm reminded that Oregon has always proven critical in judging UW coaches:

--- Don James got what he considers one of the biggest wins of his career there in 1977 when UW beat the Ducks in Eugene 54-0 which came after a 1-3 start and put the Huskies on the road to the Rose Bowl;

--- I always thought one of Rick Neuheisel's biggest wins was a victory over Oregon at Husky Stadium in the Pac-10 opener in 1999 as a loss would have made the Huskies 1-3 while the win instead propelled UW into staying in the Pac-10 race all season. And his win at Oregon in 2002 is one of the defining moments of his career and one that makes his tenure look a lot better as without it, UW would have likely suffered a losing record that season;

--- and who knows what might have happened to Jim Lambright had he not lost to Oregon four times in his last five seasons? Simply reverse two of those and he might not have been fired when he was.

So the debate will continue with each side really getting no new tangible evidence to state its case --- this year's recruiting class doesn't really figure to change much in tone now --- for nine months. At the least, next year's season will have a clearly defined theme.

OTHER LINKS:

--- In the wake of the decision, John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury news points out that Willingham and Charlie Weis have the exact same number of Pac-10 wins the last three years.

--- Finally, CoachesHotSeat has an interesting take on UW's decision to retain Willingham as well as a not-so-optimistic take on next season.

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December 5, 2007 5:50 PM

Some quotes from today

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a few of the more pertinent quotes from today's press conference:

From UW athletic director Todd Turner:

Overview of the decision to retain Tyrone Willingham: "I think it's clear that none of Husky nation is thrilled to have only four wins under our belt the past year, but the body of work I have observed and the university leadership has observed the past three years gives clear evidence to me that that record will change in the very near future. In fact, we are committed to that and feel stongly that coach Willingham has provided the kind of leadership that's gives us the base to make that bappen.

"The charge that Tyrone had when he arrived was to put in the building blocks for a program that can sustain itself over a long period of time, and by any measure the foundation we believe is in place to alllow the wins now to take care of themselves''

On the process: "We approached this situation as business as usual and as I always do, coach Willingham and I began visiting almost immediately, even before the end of the season, talking about things that he needed that we could provide that would enable his team to have better success.''

"As always, I involved (President Mark Emmert) in my evaluatoin and discussion and he had some good conversations with me and Tyrone individually and me and Tyrone together and we call came out on the same page that the building blocks are in place and with continued vigilance and creative and good thinking and hard work and continued investment, the next step of the rebuilding of the Husky football program will not be far away, and that's winning games.''

On what some of those building blocks are: "First and foremost, you've got to look at the recruiting class. We're really encouraged about the reception that our staff has received, particularly in state, from some of the better players, and I think that validates in many ways the hard work and effort that's taking place over a period of time to change some of the perceptions and images of the football program here. Frankly it's been a challenge for all of our programs in every sport to create the kind of trust and reputation for athletic programs at our university that are consistent with our values and actually consistent with what we really are. So I think we're starting to see some fruition of that. I hope our basketball coaches and other coaches could validate that for you. I think their recruiting successes have been improving as time goes on and likely that will continue to occur in football.

"And the attitude and experience of the players as has been exemplified in some of the things that they have told you (reporters) points to some quality in their experience that's only missing a few more victories. Their performance in the field was gutty, they never gave in. That's a credit to the leadership, not only of the players, but to the coaching staff that put them in those positions. Could we have won a few more games? Yeah, sure we could have. But we could also have given up at any time, and that never happened. I think that's a credit to the leadership of the program.

"I think too the context of knowing that the Pac-10 is as good as it's ever been, that success is not a guarantee for anyone. This is a tough league, and competing in it requires diligence and consistency and patience over time. We will be there, and I'm convinced of that. Otherwise we would be having a different conversation today. We feel really good about where we're going. We're not pleased about where we are. We're very concerned about building upon that, and we're doing all that we can to give our students the experience that Dr. Emmert outlined in his comment.''

His comment to fans who didn't want Willingham retained anymore: "First of all, you've got to love your fans. The fact that they'll take the time to express their opinion--what would worry me is if nobody cared at all. We track pretty closely the feedback that we've gotten from the fans over the outlets that are available to them, and we heard from a lot that were not very happy and we also heard from quite a few that were proud of the University of Washington's football program. They were proud of the way we competed, they were proud of the way that they were being led, and they encouraged us to stay true to our values, true to our vision and to serve the broader mission of the university in the proper way. At the end of the day, I think our university leadership felt the same way.''

AND FROM WILLINGHAM:

General statement: "Our football team, as I've said, I believe is poised to do some good things. I share the disappointment our president echoes from our fans, our boosters and our supporters. There is no one that wants to win badder than Coach Willingham or the team. And what we will continue to do is endeavor to do that by making the right decisions in our program to put us in a place to win.''

On what are some of those decisions: "The No. 1 thing we have to do right now is continue the excellent job of recruiting that we got started. Todd mentioned the reception we've been receiving I think is excellent. I think we're doing an excellent job in state and a fine job out of state. We got to secure those guys we already got commitments from and cont the process of adding to them so that we have a team that can be better in the future. And the other segments in the evaluation of our program will be as we normally done each year. We sit down and try to evaluate each segment of our program and make decisions at the appropriate time.

On whether there will be staff changes: "That will be part of our normal evaluation process that moves us forward. We will look at all those things because I've said this many times --- I am committed to Husky football, to do the things that are right and appropriate for the program. We will evaluate as we normally do and make the appropriate decisions.''

On whether there is a timeline to making those changes: "There's not. If something has to take place you'd always like it sooner than later.''

On whether he listened to the debate the last few days: "Having been in the business as long as I have, there's always going to be something nipping at the coach's heels. So I have been very fortunate that I have been able to maintain my focus in these processes because unfortunately I've seen them before. I would imagine, hopefully not a situation like this again, but there's going to be something. So it's always difficult, but if you can keep your eyes on your prize you'll maintain focus and be okay. And I think I've done that.

On whether there was a point where he knew he was keeping his job: "The whole process is that as you go through it... I said even before the season that a coach is always in that position. For me, that is probably a very comfortable feeling to have because it means you never put your guard down, relax or get comfortable. You keep trying to do your job the best you can. But with our conversations over the last couple days that always have, then put things in the proper place, the forces spoke and we moved on.''

On what he would say to fans who didn't want him back: "My message to them is, 'please hold on.' We've had some rough and turbulent waters to navigate when I arrived and hopefully we are in the process of getting through those difficult waters and punch through to be the kind of football team I think we can be and -- to me ...quot; that's exciting.

On whether he feels this is any more of a challenge now: "For me, I've lived in a daily world of doubt, but I don't think that's a bad place to be at that you wake up every morning with a little chip, something to prove. I think I've always been that way. Sometimes it makes you hesitant to let people in when you are that way, but at the same time, it's a great way to make sure that you are always on your game.''

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December 5, 2007 3:50 PM

Updated story

Posted by Bob Condotta

Our story on Tyrone Willingham has been updated with quotes from the press conference.

You can find it here.

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December 5, 2007 2:39 PM

Emmert statement

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here is the statement from UW president Mark Emmert today affirming the that Tyrone Willingham will remain as Washington's coach.

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December 5, 2007 12:30 PM

Willingham to return in 2008

Posted by Bob Condotta

I have confirmed that all of this means that Tyrone Willingham will be back as UW's coach in 2008.

More later from the press briefing.

Here's a link to our story on-line.

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December 5, 2007 12:11 PM

Willingham to meet press at 2 p.m.

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW has sent out a media advisory that Tyrone Willingham will meet the media at 2 p.m. for what the school says is his usual end-of-season press briefing.

UW AD Todd Turner will also be there. Am also told a statement will be distributed by UW President Mark Emmert.

All of this would seem to point to Willingham staying around.

Willingham has two years left on his original five-year contract, and is 11-25 with the Huskies, including 4-9 this season which led to much conjecture about his future. Turner told the Times yesterday there had been no discussion of a contract extension.

The press briefing will be carried live on GoHuskies.com.

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December 5, 2007 9:38 AM

Wednesday notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm back from Hawaii, where the weather never really did improve, to now take the temperature of the UW program.

We'll see what unfolds the next few days.

--- Bud Withers compiled our story for today, indicating that nothing happened yesterday that appeared to clear up much of anything.

--- Got around to listening to Tyrone Willingham's interview on GoHuskies.com and most of it was what you would expect --- he liked the progress of the offense, the defense really needs to improve, etc. But two things caught my ear --- he said he'd like to make a position change or two to help add depth on the defensive line, and he said he doesn't know if Juan Garcia is coming back, saying "we need Juan to come back.''

--- Jim Mora is a candidate for the UCLA job, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
However, one columnist is stumping for Rick Neuheisel and makes the common mistake of saying that Neuheisel "won'' his lawsuit with the school, which he didn't ---- he settled, and for not much from the school when you consider he had to pay money UW to settle taxes on the whole deal.

--- Several of you have asked for a prospective depth chart for next season. That's among the things I'll try to get done now that I'm back.

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December 4, 2007 6:19 PM

Meeting over, apparently nothing new

Posted by Bob Condotta

Word is the meeting has ended, and that there was nothing of major import revealed to the players other than the usual stuff --- who is hosting who on recruiting visits this weekend, etc.

All the usual end-of-season stuff.

But I'm told Tyrone Willingham did not talk to reporters afterward.

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December 4, 2007 6:10 PM

Ellis named to Academic team for fourth season

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW's Cody Ellis was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team for the fourth straight season.

Other Huskies named were FB Paul Homer and LB Linus Chou.

To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0
overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant substitute.

Here is the entire team
FIRST TEAM
Pos. Name, School Yr. GPA Major

QB Alex Brink, Washington State** Sr. 3.55 Sport Management
RB Anthony Kimble, Stanford* Jr. 3.31 Science, Technology & Society
FB Paul Homer, Washington So. 3.50 Pre-Arts & Science
WR Cody Ellis, Washington*** Sr. 3.75 Sociology
WR Evan Moore, Stanford Sr. 3.34 Sociology/Political Science
TE Jed Collins, Washington State Sr. 3.41 Accounting
OL Chris Joseph, UCLA** Sr. 3.95 Geography
OL Brent Newhouse, Stanford Sr. 3.82 Management Science/Engineering
OL Alex, Mack California Jr. 3.54 Legal Studies
OL Tim Mattran, Stanford Sr. 3.46 Sociology/Science, Tech.&Society
OL Micah Hannam, Washington State RFr. 3.63 Undeclared
DL Chris Horn, Stanford** Sr. 3.31 Management Science/Engineering
DL Michael Marquardt, Arizona State* Sr. 3.31 Urban Planning
DL Nick Reed, Oregon Jr. 3.39 History
DL Matt Mullennix, Washington State Sr. 3.30 Management and Operations
LB Spencer Larsen, Arizona* Sr. 3.70 Regional Development
LB Mike Nixon, Arizona State So. 4.00 Political Science
LB Linus Chou, Washington Sr. 3.52 Computer Sciences
DB Keenan Lewis, Oregon State** Jr. 3.04 Exercise/Sport Science
DB Alterraun Verner, UCLA So. 3.47 Undeclared
DB Corey Hall, Arizona Jr. 3.43 Pre-Business
DB Austin Yancy, Stanford So. 3.10 Undeclared
PK Jason Bondzio, Arizona Jr. 3.69 Finance
P Thomas Weber, Arizona State RFr. 3.17 Kinesiology
*Two-time first-team All-Academic selection
**Three-time first-team All-Academic selection
***Four-time first-team All-Academic selection
2007 pac-10 football all-academic - 12/4/07

SECOND TEAM
Pos. Name, School Yr. GPA Major

QB Dennis Dixon, Oregon Sr. 3.33 Sociology
RB Justin Forsett, California Sr. 3.03 Interdisciplinary Studies
FB Trevor Theriot, UCLA So. 3.25 Political Science
WR Scott Selby, Washington State Jr. 3.19 Global Justice/Security Systems
WR Taylor Kavanaugh, Oregon State So. 3.16 Construction Engineering
TE Matthew Larkin, Oregon Jr. 3.43 Business
OL Jeff Byers, USC Jr. 3.27 Business Administration
OL Andy Levitre, Oregon State Jr. 3.25 Sociology
OL Aleksey Lanis, UCLA So. 3.48 Business/Economics
OL Brandon Rodd, Arizona State Gr. 3.32 Business/Education
OL Joe Eppele, Washington State RFr. 3.36 Undeclared
DL John Allen, California Sr. 3.30 Political Science
DL Gustav Rydstedt, Stanford Jr. 3.38 Computer Science
DL Cameron Elisara, Washington RFr. 3.28 Pre-Social Sciences
DL Pernnell Booth, Oregon State Jr. 3.13 Sociology
LB Greg Van Hoesen, California Sr. 3.23 Art Practice
LB Will Powers, Stanford So. 3.39 Classics
LB Emmanuel Awodadweju, Stanford Sr. 3.21 Communication & Science
DB Austin Hall, Oregon State Jr. 3.01 Business
DB Jay Angotti, Washington RFr. 3.07 Pre-Social Sciences
PK Jimmy Rotstein, UCLA So. 3.92 Sociology
P Aaron Perez, UCLA Jr. 3.04 Sociology

Honorable mention for UW were: LB Donald Butler, So.; OT Cody Habben, RFr.; QB Jake Locker, RFr.

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December 4, 2007 4:00 PM

Turner says "we're just going about our business''

Posted by Bob Condotta

I talked with UW athletic director Todd Turner a little while ago and he said again that in his mind, Tyrone Willingham will be the coach at UW next season.

"I'm not saying anything different than what I've said all along,'' he said, adding that "we're just going about our business'' today.

However, he said that UW president Mark Emmert could have a different opinion. When asked if Emmert could come to a different conclusion, Turner said "that would be his prerogative.'' A spokesman for Emmert said today that Emmert was not available to the media until he had something to say.

Turner said he wouldn't elaborate further on the coaching situation saying he had said all he intended to say in earlier interviews.


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December 4, 2007 1:41 PM

Brief update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Word is there is a team meeting for the football team later this afternoon.

I would caution that the mere existence of such a meeting isn't necessarily newsworthy --- the team always conducts such a meeting a day or two after the season ends to lay out the schedule, etc.

Coaches will be busy with recruiting the rest of the month, players with exams, and then Christmas break means everyone scatters, so this is usually one of the last chances for the entire team to gather.

It's possible coach Tyrone Willingham wanted to meet with the players before holding his end-of-season press briefing, as well.

MILES MADE OFFICIAL: The news on Trent Miles taking over at Indiana State has become official. Here's a link.

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December 4, 2007 10:54 AM

Miles to Indiana State

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW running backs coach Trent Miles will be introducted as Indiana State's football coach at a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Seattle time, according to ESPN Radio in Terre Haut.

Miles is an ISU grad, so this makes sense for him for a number of reasons.

He has been UW's running backs coach since 2005, coming to Seattle with Tyrone Willingham.
.


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December 3, 2007 10:42 PM

A new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington appears to have its 19th commitment for the Class of 2008 as Eastlake High receiver/linebacker Cory Mackay is reported to have accepted an offer tonight, according to Dawgman.com and RealDawg.com.

Mackay was recently named to All-Kingco 4A team for both offense and defense.

According to Scout.com, he also had offers from Idaho State, Montana and UNLV though he also apparently had high interest from Washington State before Bill Doba was fired.

Scout.com reported that Mackay said the Huskies had offered him with the intent that he will be an outside linebacker --- he's listed at 6-4, 215.


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December 3, 2007 8:05 PM

No press conference tomorrow

Posted by Bob Condotta

We had been expecting to hear from Tyrone Willingham tomorrow (Tuesday) as the Huskies had said that was the day he would conduct his usual end-of-season press conference.

The Huskies usually hold one on the Monday after the season ends that is just with the coach to discuss the season and look ahead --- I've been covering the team since 1997 and one has been held every year that I can recall except 2004 when Keith Gilbertson had already been fired. This one was scheduled for Tuesday with UW being in Hawaii and not getting back until tonight.

A spokesman said it is being postponed for a day or two because Willingham simply doesn't have the time to do it tomorrow. I know lots of people will read a lot more into it, but the official word tonight is not to do so, this is merely Willingham having to do some other stuff tomorrow (apparently some recruiting, etc.) with no time to meet the press.

The team arrived home about 8 p.m. with the trip back apparently a lot easier than the trip here.

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December 3, 2007 7:23 PM

Locker named Pac-10 Frosh of Year

Posted by Bob Condotta

Been away from the computer for a while and know this may be old news on Jake Locker being named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, but I'll pass it along here anyway for comment.

Here are the full awards and teams

Offensive Player of the Year: Dennis Dixon, QB, Oregon
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Sedrick Ellis, NT, USC
Freshman of the Year: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Coach of the Year: Dennis Erickson, Arizona State

2007 ALL-PACIFIC-10 CONFERENCE FOOTBALL TEAM
First Team Offense Second Team Offense

QB Dennis Dixon, Sr., Oregon QB Alex Brink, Sr., Washington State
RB Jonathan Stewart, Jr., Oregon RB Yvenson Bernard, Sr., Oregon State
RB Justin Forsett, Sr., California RB Louis Rankin, Sr., Washington
WR Mike Thomas, Jr., Arizona WR DeSean Jackson, Jr., California
WR Brandon Gibson, Jr., Washington State WR Lavelle Hawkins, Sr., California
TE Fred Davis, Sr., USC TE Jed Collins, Sr., Washington State
OL Alex Mack, Jr., California OL Geoff Schwartz, Sr., Oregon
OL Max Unger, Jr., Oregon OL Juan Garcia, Sr., Washington
OL Chilo Rachel, Jr., USC OL Andy Levitre, Jr., Oregon State
OL Roy Schuening, Sr., Oregon State OL Eben Britton, So., Arizona
OL Sam Baker, Sr., USC OL Alex Fletcher, Jr., Stanford
OL Mike Pollack, Sr., Arizona State OL Fenuki Tupou, Jr., Oregon

First Team Defense Second Team Defense
DL Sedrick Ellis, Sr., USC DL Bruce Davis, Sr., UCLA
DL Lawrence Jackson, Sr., USC DL Dexter Davis, So., Arizona State
DL Nick Reed, Jr., Oregon DL Lionel Dotson, Sr., Arizona
DL Dorain Smith, Sr., Oregon State DL Jeff Van Orsow, Sr., Oregon State
LB Spencer Larsen, Sr., Arizona LB Joey LaRocque, Sr., Oregon State
LB Keith Rivers, Sr., USC LB Alan Darlin, Sr., Oregon State
LB Robert James, Sr., Arizona State LB Derrick Doggett, Sr., Oregon State
LB Rey Maualuga, Jr., USC LB Zack Follett, Jr., California
DB Antoine Cason, Sr., Arizona DB Terrell Thomas, Sr., USC
DB Patrick Chung, Jr., Oregon DB Justin Tryon, Sr., Arizona State
DB Kevin Ellison, Jr., USC DB Brandon Hughes, Jr., Oregon State
DB Chris Horton, Sr., UCLA DB Troy Nolan, Jr., Arizona State

First Team Specialists Second Team Specialists
PK Thomas Weber, Fr., Arizona State PK Alexis Serna, Sr., Oregon State
P Keenyn Crier, Fr., Arizona P Jay Ottovegio, Sr., Stanford
KOR Matthew Slater, Sr., UCLA KOR Jonathan Stewart, Jr., Oregon
PR Kyle Williams, So., Arizona State PR DeSean Jackson, Jr., California
ST Jahvid Best, Fr., California ST Wopamo Osaisai, Jr., Stanford
ST=special teams player (not a kicker or returner)

Offensive Player of the Year: Dennis Dixon, QB, Sr., Oregon
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Sedrick Ellis, NT, Sr., USC
Freshman of the Year: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Coach of the Year: Dennis Erickson, Arizona State

Honorable Mention
UW also had three players named honorable mention --- Locker, Fr.; DT Jordan Reffett, Sr.; WR Anthony Russo, Sr.

COMMENT --- Of the four UW honorees, four were Rick Neuheisel recruits and only one from Tyrone Willingham --- Locker. Also, Brink is a little surprising on the surface given the season WSU had and the criticism Brink took from his own fan base. I kind of figured Rudy Carpenter might get the second-team nod.

UW has had just one first-team player since 2003 --- C.J. Wallace last season --- a shocking dropoff that could be used to defend all sorts of positions --- that Willingham hasn't had any talent to work with, or that he hasn't brought any in himself developed what he's had to get to that level.


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December 3, 2007 10:42 AM

Miles to Indiana State?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lost in all the other hubbub is that UW running backs coach Trent Miles reportedly remains a candidate for the head coaching job at Indiana State --- his alma mater.

Here's a recent story on that search, and word is an announcement could come as soon as Tuesday.

Here is his bio showing his Indiana State background.

UPDATE --- I'm still in Hawaii so I may not have as much regular posting on here, but if any news breaks on this or anything else I'll get it up as quickly as I can.

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December 2, 2007 11:40 PM

Ranking the Pac

Posted by Bob Condotta

This is, obviously, the final regular-season edition. So here we go.

1, USC --- If we had a playoff, the Trojans would be my pick to win it all. And another great job by Pete Carroll to keep this team together after the mid-season struggles.

2, Arizona State --- Will Dennis Erickson win a Pac-10 Coach of the Year Award with a third team? Think he deserves it.

3, Oregon State --- OSU has 18 wins the last two seasons, more than any Pac-10 team other than USC.

4, Arizona --- Sure, the Wildcats finished 5-7. But right now, this is where I think they stand. But you'd think Stoops needs a winning record next year.

5, Oregon --- If the Ducks get to nine wins that's still not a bad season considering this was the No. 6 team in the Pac-10 pre-season poll.

6, UCLA --- A new coach here could be a bad thing for the rest of the Pac-10.

7, Cal --- Will Cal's late swoon may make Jeff Tedford a little less marketable?

8, Washington State --- New coach will also have to find a new QB.

9, Stanford --- Did anybody see even three conference wins when the year began?

10, Washington --- Faint praise, to be sure, but this is one of the better last-place Pac-10 teams we've ever seen. UW is 12-35 since the 2004 season.

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December 2, 2007 8:46 PM

Some more thoughts from the Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a few other quotes from players and coaches after the Hawaii game:

UW QUARTERBACK JAKE LOCKER

OVERALL THOUGHTS ON GAME: We just weren't able to pull the game out. It was a tough game. It wasn't really that last play that it came down to. We didn't score in the second half. Our defense gave us the opportunity to win the game, and we didn't take advantage of it.

HOW DID HAWAII LIMIT THE RUN IN THE SECOND HALF?: They boxed up a little bit more to stop our run and for the most part they were pretty efficiencent of doing that.

THOUGHTS ON CRITICISM OF WILLINGHAM?: We're all behind coach. We all like what he's done here. We have a lot of respect for him. There's not a game that we went out when we didn't play for each other and play for him and play for the coaches. We're a team, and so everytime we step on that field we're playing for everybody as part of the team. Obviously we're out there playing for him, and we support him.

UW CORNERBACK ROY LEWIS:

WHAT CHANGED IN THE GAME: I think we did a good job mixing up coverages and disguising things (early). We came out at halftime and made some more adjustments. The whole thing was just trying to keep Brennan confused about what defense and what coverages we were in. That worked for the majority of the game, but when it came down to it, they just made some key plays.

HOW WOULD HAWAII DO IN PAC-10? Probably last. To really be honest. They're a good team for the conference that they are in, but the Pac-10, I think there are just too many heavy hitters. Once teams get their number and have the right plays called, that system, like all systems, can be broken. You can find glitches in the system. They run their system very well, don't get me wrong, but there are some glitches that can be put out there.

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO HAVE IT END THIS WAY? It's very frustrating. I'm at a loss for words. I just believe so much in this team, and I think so many people believe in this team, but it's not going to happened until everyone just decides that, hey, we've had enough and it's time to go out there and play like we know how to play. Hopefully us seniors fought hard and set the tone for these young guys. It's heading in the right direction, but in order for this program to rise to the top like I know we can, these guys just have to come in and work hard, and they'll reap the rewards next season, I guarantee it. I love this team to death, and this team is going to be a great team in years to come.

THOUGHTS ON THE CRITICISM THAT TYRONE WILLINGHAM IS RECEIVING:
I think Willingham just came in and turned this program around a complete 180. If you knew realized where this program was when he took it over, even the mindset of the players. So it goes far beyond the winning records and the actual results of the game. Just remember this. Coaches can't play the game, players have to play the game. This year was a bust. We had some opportunities to really compete on a higher level and show what we can do. Next year has to be the year, it just has to. There's nowhere else to go.

UW OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TIM LAPPANO:

OVERALL THOUGHTS: I thought we were going to win the game. We had the two-point play ready to go. I think he was going to go for two. He asked me if I had a two-point play. I still don't know really what happened. I thought he had a chance to catch it, and next thing I know they're yelling and I see the ball going the other way. I thought Jake made two really nice throws in the two-minute drive. He hit the tight end against a two-safety look down the middle and then threw a fade on the left side there, and I though he might score on that.

ON THE OFFICIALS: You knew that was coming, we all knew that was coming here. Everybody knew that was coming. But we didn't make enough plays. We had opportunities a couple of times on third down to make a couple of plays and didn't make plays. We can't do that. They fought all the way to the end.

ON JAKE LOCKER: He did a lot of good things. We've still got to get him a lot more accurate. They pressured a little bit more in the second half and disrupted us a little bit in the passing game and they got a lot of heat on him. Overall, he was a second-team All-American, the freshman of the year and all of that, but we've got some work to do with his release and with his accuracy still.

WHAT DOES LOCKER NEED TO DO TO NEXT YEAR?: The first thing I want to do is get him more accurate, then we'll worry about all of that stuff. I want to get his accuracy better this winter. Get his release up, get the ball up higher. Those are the things we've got to get done first, but yeah, we'll look at some things like that. ... He's not far away. He's made some good deep throws this year and he's made some good intermediate throws, and he's missed some. He missed the one down here for a touchdown. He'll make that nine times out of ten next year. We'll get him on line.

ON WHERE THE PROGRAM STANDS RIGHT NOW: I think we've made some improvement. We've recruited a lot of good football players. We're at 18th in the country now, and we've got three or four more known guys that we know are going to commit to us.
I think we've made a lot of progress. This program's a lot better now that it was when we got here. It is. I know there aren't enough wins yet, but I think we've done some pretty good things.
I think that's half the problem with Washington. If you look at the turnover, there is no continuity and consistency.
If we had inherited a program that had a lot of draft picks"how guys have we had drafted the last three years? If we had players getting drafted and all that kind of stuff, then you've got to say 'Wait a minute now,' but I think we are really close to doing some great things. I think the recruiting thing shows that. We played a good football team in here. Some people thought we were going to get blown out of there, and we played out tails off for the most part.
Who blew us out this year? Nobody quit. We never quit. They played hard in every game, we just didn't make plays that we need to make to win some of these types of games, and it happened again tonight. I know you guys are saying, 'Well you've said that for 11, 12, 13 weeks now,' but we'll turn the corner. We will.

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December 2, 2007 11:35 AM

Grading the game

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sorry for the delay but here they are:

QUARTERBACK: Pretty typical Jake Locker game --- he again opened up a lot with his running but missed on a few throws that might have made a big difference, such as the long pass to a wide-open Anthony Russo late in the second quarter that might have put the Huskies ahead 35-14. Instead, Hawaii then came down to make it 28-21 before halftime. Locker knows it as well as anybody, but he obviously needs to work on his accuracy in the off-season to take that next step. GRADE: B.

RUNNING BACKS: Louis Rankin had a few great runs and finished with a solid day --- 145 yards. But like the rest of the offensive players, he didn't have much of anywhere to go in the second half --- he was 9-43 in the second half after 12-102 in the first. Luke Kravitz and Paul Homer ran strong in goal-line situations in that heady first half when things seemed to be going so well. GRADE: B-plus.

RECEIVERS: Other than the drop by Marcel Reece, not a bad day considering that they weren't used a lot at times. Quintin Daniels might have been the hero of the day had the officials not overuled that play, where Locker was said to be over the line. But looking at Hawaii's receivers all night also made it evident there's a little bit of a difference between a standout crew like that one and UW's. GRADE: B-minus.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Great for a quarter, then pretty good but not quite to the dominating level the Huskies needed to put together one or two more drives to put the game away. UW as held to 72 yards rushing on 20 carries in the second half. The third-quarter series where UW had a second-and-one following a Hawaii penalty and couldn't get it on two runs showed that the tide was turning. GRADE: B.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Like so many areas, good early as UW got a lot of pressure early, which seemed to wane a bit as the game went on. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (five tackles, sack) had a nice game in his home state as did Wilson Afoa (two TFLs). But Greyson Gunheim again struggled. And ultimately, it wasn't good enough. GRADE: C-plus.

LINEBACKERS: Just repeat what I wrote about. Some nice moments at times, especially early, but seemed to wear down late, missing some tackles and not in position to make plays on short routes. GRADE: C.

SECONDARY: A bit torn on this one. Hawaii has some great receivers and the Huskies basically held the Warriors to their average (450), allowing 442 passing yards. Given UW's struggles in other games, I actually thought the secondary played better at times given the opponent and setting. But ultimately it's the final results that matter and the Huskies didn't get it done. GRADE: C-minus.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Some decent moments (a long return by Rankin to start the game) but the blocked field goal was a killer and indicative of this team just not seeming able to make the key play at the right time. GRADE: C.

COACHING: For a quarter, this looked like one of the best coaching jobs seen in a long time. Considering the long travel day Friday, coming off the Apple Cup loss, and coming into this setting, UW's first-quarter run was really impressive. But the last three quarters unfortunately revived all the criticisms of this staff --- getting beaten in the second half, the team just seeming unable to make key plays when most needed, etc. There's no question the message of this coaching staff got through to this team until the end --- the effort was never a question this season. So the question may be whether the message is good enough. GRADE: C-minus.

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December 2, 2007 2:07 AM

Post-game notes, thoughts

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sorry to be away for a while but had to do player interviews and handle other post-game duties, which wasn't easy as this was a chaotic setting afterward.

Security appeared to be letting everyone on the field except for a few of us Seattle media types who wanted only access to the locker room, located behind the end zone, forcing us to slog our way through the crowd to another entry.

As for the game, here's my main game story here which isn't appearing in any newspapers but is a web-only story solely due to the deadlines involved. That story has a lot of the nuts and bolts of what happened so I won't rehash any of that. It also deals with a little of the speculation of what may or may not happen now.

I can't imagine there won't be a change or two on the defensive coaching staff --- defensive coordinator Kent Baer did not talk to the media afterward and also skipped his regular Wednesday meeting with us this week so there was no chance to ask him what he's thinking. As for anything greater than that, as my story said, president Mark Emmert was here today and said only he was still evaluating the season. He's due back in Seattle Sunday while the coaches and players are staying until Monday, an extra day that won't be quite as fun now the way this one ended.

A FEW QUICK NOTES:

--- Jake Locker finished with 76 yards rushing for the game --- he needed 90 to get to 1,000 for the year so he came up just shy.

--- Cody Habben suffered an ankle injury in the first half and sat out the rest of the game and had his foot in a boot.

--- The Huskies had 130 yards rushing in the first quarter on 24 carries and just 131 on 26 the rest of the game --- just 72 on 20 in the second half. UW coaches and players said Hawaii tightened its defense after the first quarter to take away the run and forcing Jake Locker to throw, the same drill everyone eventually gave the Huskies this season.

--- This was an especially frustrating defeat for the Huskies. Several players, including Juan Garcia, left the locker room in full uniform after the locker room was opened and walked down a tunnel to watch the celebration on the field, surely wondering when something like that will happen with them. Garcia didn't talk to the media afterward so no chance to ask about his future though coaches expect him to return.

--- This was the eighth game this year UW led at halftime, losing four. This was also the third fourth-quarter lead lost in the last six games --- Arizona, Washington State and Hawaii.

--- Hawaii became the sixth team this year to gain more than 500 yards on UW, and the Huskies set school worsts for points allowed and average yards allowed per game, on course for both coming into the game.

--- Willingham said the travel mixups Friday had no impact on the game.
"Our guys played a heck of a football game. The travel did nothing. The travel was a heck of an opportunity for our guys to do a little more bonding. They sit around, had fun, played cards. It's not the ideal location playing in the airport terminal, but our guys are resourceful, they know how to handle themselves and they made a good situation out of it.''

--- Asked about the defense, Willingham said "The truth is we didn't do well enough. That was the tale of the tape. We didn't do well enough offensively, we didn't do well enough defensively, even though I think we played a heck of a football game on both sides because that is a very talented offense. They do a lot of things very well.''

I'll have grades in a little while.

ONE MORE QUOTE TO ADD:
--- UW's Roy Lewis wasn't that impressed by Hawaii. Asked where they would finish in the Pac-10 he said "probably last. To really be honest. They're a good team for the conference that they are in, but the Pac-10, I think there are just too many heavy hitters. Once teams get their number and have the right plays called, that system, like all systems, can be broken. You can find glitches in the system. They run their system very well, don't get me wrong, but there are some glitches that can be put out there.''


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December 1, 2007 8:13 PM

Hawaii game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta

HAVE TO DO OTHER STUFF NOW --- Sorry, I now have to devote myself to other duties but I'll check back after the game.

HAWAII TIES IT UP --- And UW has now officially blown a 21-point leade. We'll see if they can come back.

LOCKER BACK --- He took a shot to the midsection and is now back in the game.

BEND BUT DON'T BREAK NOT BREAKING --- I know it gets criticized a lot, but the whole point of this defense is not to get beat on long plays, and it's working so far in the second half as UW keeps holding Hawaii once the field shortens and Hawaii has now missed two FGs.

HUSKIES HANGING ON AS THIRD QUARTER ENDS --- A scoreless third quarter, which seems hard to believe after the way the two teams moved the ball in the first half. UW is hanging on, which I also think is a big victory considering the way the first half ended. If the running stats are right, UW held Hawaii to 21 yards in that quarter.

LOCKER READY TO GO BACK IN? --- Looks that way.

HAWAII STOPS EM --- I'm sure a lot of you have already commented about the third-and-two pass call when UW seemed to be running at will. Could be a turning point now as Hawaii blocked Perkins' field goal and now has the ball again.

LOCKER HURT --- Locker has gone out of the game with an injury of some kind. Carl Bonnell is in and picks up a key first down on a third-down scramble. UW coaches had talked about him playing at some point in this game but it had not happened until it was necessary.

LAPPANO NOT ON WSU LIST --- In case you missed this, Tim Lappano is not on the list of finalists for the WSU job, according to the Spokesman-Review.

BRENNAN'S STREAK STOPPED AT 19 --- And now a big fourth down. Hawaii calls time out.

HUGE STOP FOR UW --- Halftime seemed to lull the crowd to sleep, and the Huskies took advantage by stopping on that first drive with many fans still outside on the concourse doing whatever.

BTW --- The officials are from the WAC. This is a straight home-and-home deal with Hawaii coming to UW in a few years, so it will be Pac-10 officials then.

BRENNAN HAS COMPLETED 17 STRAIGHT --- And Hawaii will get the ball to start the third quarter, so the Husky defense will be put to the test quickly.

UW has 189 yards rushing on 30 carries while Hawaii has 94 on 10.

Locker is just 5-10 passing for 51 yards while Brennan is 22-26 for 224 and three touchdowns.

His 17 straight completions is a new school record.

Hawaii has also punted just once to three times for UW. Hawaii punted after its second series but since then has been stopped only on turnovers.

BRENNAN WAS 16-16 PASSING IN THE SECOND QUARTER --- That's pretty amazing. He threw for 179 yards and three scores in the quarter.

UW LEADS 28-21 AT HALFTIME --- Hawaii has gotten back in this one as maybe you thought they would given the struggles of the UW defense this season.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham said in his halftime radio comments that he was not happy with the officiating, saying "my biggest complaint is they are screwing it up. This is a hell of a football game and it is not being done the way it needs to be done.''

Of the defense, Willingham said UW is missing too many tackles: "We knew this was an explosive offense, what we had to do was tackle, tackle, tackle ... don't give up the big runs after the catch. Unfortunately we have allowed that to happen.''

Willingham said he was happy with the running game and that he hoped that can continue: "We've got to keep our defense off the field and the best way to do that is for the offense to stay on the field and score.''


HAWAII SCORES AGAIN --- This is getting interesting now. When the reversal of that TD was announced that was one of the loudest single roars I've heard in a long time. Hawaii now has 311 yards of offense after UW was dominating early.

HAWAII COUNTERS QUICKLY --- UW's defensive dominance has ended after those first few series as the Warriors are moving at will on the Huskies now, cutting the lead to 28-14. A big last 4:11 now as Hawaii will get the ball to start the third quarter so UW needs to maintain, or increase, this lead.

HUSKIES TAKE 28-7 LEAD --- Big drive by UW there to regain the momentum and Paul Homer was the star of that one with the big block that sprang Rankin on his 44-yard run, then his 10-yard catch that should have been a TD and then his one-yard run for the score. Locker obviously wanted Homer to get the score there as he leaped up and down, punching the air with his fist twice, as Homer scored.

GETTING WEIRD NOW --- A man dressed up as Santa Claus sauntered onto the field and strolled from one end to another before security finally got to him.

HAWAII CLOSES GAP --- But as I type this, Rankin runs 44 yards up the middle. This looms as a big drive for UW to re-establish momentum and so far, the Huskies are doing just that.

UW AHEAD 21-0 END FIRST QUARTER ---- It's all going UW's way as we end the first quarter with Hawaii losing three fumbles.UW has 131 yards, all on the ground, going 20 straight plays at one point without a pass.

RAIN IS FALLING --- And pretty hard now, a further dampening of the spirits of this crowd after UW recovers a fumble. There's a long way to go, but Hawaii has a long way to go to get in this one. UW has 123 yards, all rushing.

UW UP BIG NOW --- This is pretty shocking as the Huskies have built a 21-0 lead by simply having their way on both sides of the lines. Other than the penalty for too many men there has been nothing fluky about this.

HUSKIES JUST DOMINATING --- No other way to say it, and with Brennan now ailing, everything is trending Washington's way.

HUSKIES TAKING IT TO THEM --- An incredibly fast start for the Huskies, who have jumped ahead 14-0 and are dominating the lines. For those who wanted blitzing, you got it with Nate Williams breaking through to force the fumble on Brennan. And UW silenced the crowd by getting that fourth down.

UW has 72-3 edge in yards, all on the ground. The crowd seems stunned.

FAST START FOR HUSKIES --- UW showed it can run the ball on Hawaii there, moving right down the field after getting a break with the penalty on the Warriors. Locker looks in mid-season form running.

THIS PLACE IS ROCKING --- Almost too much for those of us out-of-towners in the press box. This is a rickety stadium and when the crowd roared during the Anthem, the box shook a little bit. It'll be up to the Huskies to keep it from shaking from now on. Hawaii is introducing its starting lineup much like you see an NFL team do, with the players coming through a big floaty helmet and smoke. More of that kind of feel here than your traditional college atmosphere.

PRE-GAME --- We'll start the game thread here as there are 22 minutes to kick off.

The stadium is quickly filling up and the Hawaii players got the fans jazzed up by concluding their pre-game warmups with the traditional Ha'a, which is a Hawaiin version of the Haka.

Also, looking at UW's warmups, expect to see a lot of the special pass defense that includes Chris Stevens as a down lineman, something the Huskies have pulled out a few times the last few years.

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December 1, 2007 7:32 PM

More pre-game notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Kickoff is about an hour away --- it is officially at 8:41 Seattle time.

Sadly for UW, the Huskies will start the game knowing they will finish in sole possession of last place in the Pac-10.

UW was assured of that designation when Stanford beat Cal today a result that also takes a lot of the shine off of what might have been Washington's most impressive win of the season.

It is the second time in four years UW has been in last all by itself (2004 the other).

HUSKIES WEARING HOME UNIS --- When the game starts, you'll see UW wearing its home uniforms. Apparently, Hawaii wanted to wear its home whites saying it was simply a look they liked. UW agreed after getting assurance that there wasn't some "gamesmanship'' involved, such as having a "white-out'' night imploring all the fans to wear white.

ALSO --- Most every Husky is here, including players who are redshirting, save for players who are hurt. There is a departmental policy that covers all sports against traveling players who have no chance of playing due to injury. Among those left behind as a result of that are Donald Butler and Jordan Murchison.

In fact, 94 players made the trip with only six staying home, all either injured or sick.

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December 1, 2007 5:48 PM

At the stadium

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm here about three hours prior to kickoff and it's pretty serene right now --- a little windy but sun poking through and no rain, and the UW band practicing.

But locals say a front could come in at any time, and the crowd will be revved up for this one --- not every college stadium I've been in that sells margaritas.

I'll post more later.


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December 1, 2007 10:30 AM

Saturday morning notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As I wrote in the below note, UW got in around 9:30 or so Hawaii time last night after their plane was delayed leaving Sea-Tac for about seven hours or so Friday.

So we'll see if that has any impact on the team's play today.

The weather seems better today as I type this at about 10:30 a.m. Hawaii time. There is blue sky and sun, and no rain at the moment.

But there was a ton of rain last night --- enough that many lanes of the road bordering Waikiki were flooded which caused us a huge delay trying to get back to our hotel room last night after we went to the North Shore for a luau, where there were a number of UW fans (and one guy carrying arond one of those "100'' bags given out at the Apple Cup luncheon last week).

And the forecast for the rest of the weekend isn't great with some rain and wind expected each of the next three days.

But there is a ton of Warriors fever around. Tickets are reported to be fetching quite a hefty fee.

And everyone is talking about the Warriors --- one of the singers in our luau stopped at one point to wish the Warriors good luck and predict a victory over the Huskies. And a bus we followed for some long minutes stuck in traffic last night had a blinking sign that alternately gave the route number and then "Go Warriors.''

SOME MORE NOTES:

--- Here's a story we had today with more on the commitments of the Lakes High duo.

--- Here's a front-page story in the Advertiser today on how Hawaii is attempting to carry the flag tonight for college football's "have nots.''

--- Here's a quick story in the Advertiser on the Huskies.

--- And here's a good story on the UW players from Hawaii from the Star-Bulletin.

--- And here's the game preview from the Star-Bulletin.

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December 1, 2007 9:49 AM

Huskies in Hawaii

Posted by Bob Condotta

My story today on UW's game with Hawaii had a little mixup on the time that the Huskies departed and arrived here.

It should have read that the team departed Seattle around 6:15 Seattle time and landed about 9:30 Hawaii time.

So while it was a long day for the Huskies -- they sat at the airport for about 7 hours or so --- it wasn't quite as long as my story indicated.

The error was mine.

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