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

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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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