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

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January 31, 2008 6:36 PM

Mora excited for Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

Talked to Jim Mora today about the hiring of Ed Donatell as UW's new defensive coordinator and he couldn't have sounded happier.

"I think it's a great hire,'' Mora said, adding he talked with Donatell several times the last week or so as the situation worked itself out.

"People will be really happy with what they see out of that defense with Ed in charge,'' said Mora. "I know I will. ... I'm very happy for him.''

The two have known each other since Donatell's stint as a graduate assistant at UW in 1981-82 and have kept in contact ever since. Mora then hired Donatell to run Atlanta's defense from 2004-2006.

"I know that his defenses will play with great emotion and passion,'' Mora said. "And Ed has always produced defenses that take the football away and get sacks because he stresses effort. He grades effort, he tracks effort in practices and games. It's just a big part of who he is, effort and taking the football away and effecting the passer. He's very good at it, very smart, very detailed and an excellent teacher.''

The Mora-Donatell connection may raise some eyebrows, given all the speculation of the last few months.

But Mora said none of that has anything to do with this hire.

"Ed stands on his own,'' Mora said. "There's no connection to me in terms of this one. He did what is best for him and his family and the University of Washington and Tyrone (Willingham) made a great decision in hiring him. It's exciting.''

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January 31, 2008 1:23 PM

Even more from Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

Continuing with some quotes from Ed Donatell, UW's new defensive coordinator:

On what UW's defensive front will be: "I can't tell you that (yet). Everywhere I go, I evaluate what they have. I always think players, then plays. You want to see the pieces you have and then you want to position them where you can emphasize their strenghts. That's what we will do. First, we want to get to know them (the players). We will try to mix both packages (4-3 and 3-4) because it's harder on the offense.''

On the UW tradition: "What I want to do is hold the picture in my mind, the vision of what it has been back in the past and propell our team to it. That's my total intention to work that way. It's a special place, and all of that is part of the reason I'm back. I married into three generations of Huskies, so it's fun to come back. I also feel a level of responsbility to this university because they gave me my start and foundation as a coach.''

Donatell said he was excited to work with Tyrone Willingham, saying Willingham builds a solid foundation that makes them better when he has left than they were when he got there: "I wanted to join up (with that).''

On the fact that Willingham is perceived to be under pressure to win next season and whether that was a factor in his decision: "Absolutely not. In our generation of coaching, we live on the hot seat. If you want to be in one of those top programs, you are on the hot seat. That's the way I live being in the NFL. So not saying whether that's true or whether it isn't. All I'm saying is I'm used to any kind of pressure or anything that exists. What I think is attractive is Tyrone is a foundation guy, he makes good, solid decisions.''

On signing a two-year contract: "I don't really discuss that. I'm just more excited about the opportunity. That (two-year deals) has become more prevalent. But agaoin, it was mainly the opportunity to coach and be with this university and coaching staff.''

On existing relationships with UW assistants: "I go back aways with Chris Tormey. We were grad assistants together and I know what kind of quality coach he is. Randy Hart is another coach on our defensive staff that has been an excellent front coach. and a great Husky for a long time. I knew him coming through here different times watching players or recruiting. He has a tremendous reputation. J.D. Williams, I watched him play in the NFL so I know what a great coach he is and what a great corner. ... The main thing is it's Tyrone Willingham and the integrity he brings. He's going to be the same guy every day and give you a chance to build a foundation.''

On the staff staying the same: "All of our agreements are with the existing staff.'' He later added that as far as he knows "everything will remain the same.''

He said he met his wife while he was a GA here: "I met her at a restaurant, she was working at a restaurant in the U District somewhere down in there and we began dating. She was finishing up her fifth year. She's been a great wife on this coaching journey. To come back here and see (friends and family again) is special.''

Asked whether he'd talked with ex-Huskies he knows, he said he had a brief conversation with Lawyer Milloy and also got to know Marques Tuiasosopo last year with the Jets and "he texted me. He's excited.''

On what he does now in looking at last year: "I just watch everything to look at every player and eveluate their talent and then create a plan of success for each player. That's what I'm in the process of. What happened before, anything like that, is not important. Along with that evaluation process, I'm looking at what are the offenses that exist to defend in the Pac-10. It's very diverse right now and very well-coached, so that's where we are right now. My mind works totally in the present and how can we (get back to) the measuring stick of great Husky defenses here. I say that with great respect. There have been some great ones here.''

On his relationship with Pete Carroll: "He loves football, loves college football. He's been my strongest mentor. I worked with him six years. He's a guy who can separate competition from friendship. A special guy. I appreciate that I've been able to keep sharing ideas (with him) wherever I've been. But that will stop now. ... He has the measuring stick program right now.''

On Jim Mora: "He's very positive. He loves the Huskies. He's a Husky and he said 'you can help' so that's all I needed to know. He's very supportive.''

On having to delve back into recruiting after years of not doing it: "I know how important it is to the job. That's our draft. It's something you have to do every day, 365 days a year. That's how important it is.''

On the opener at Oregon: "From what I've watched, they are doing as good a job as anyone in the United States (in running the spread option offense). They really have it going. So we've got to get to work. ... I know people in Washington expect you to win that game. That's what our full intentions are.''

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January 31, 2008 1:16 PM

More from Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here is our on-line story on the official hiring today of Ed Donatell as UW's new defensive coordinator.

And here are a few other quotes from his teleconference:

On excitement over the job (he's in Atlanta at the moment): "I wish I was there in person to let you know how excited I am to come back to the University and be part of their football program. It's a dream come true.''

On his coaching style during practice: "There will be times I will be walking around to different drills but I'll also be involved with certain positions. ... When I started at (UW) with Don James that's something you get in your foundation that you are going to be on the move, hustling and coaching with energy. That's something I have always carried through with my coaching.''

On working at UW under James in 1981 and 82: "As a young guy, this was the only place I wanted to be in the world. If you could have told me I could come right here (for the rest of his career) I would have done it. It was good for me to go out for a little while. I got to see a lot of things, it's been a heck of an education. It's gotten me prepared to (come back). I was back and looked at the place and it hasn't changed. It's a great university, a tremendous place to live.''

On how he heard about the job: "He (Tyrone Willingham) sought me out. He gave me a call. People hear you are available in the networking system. I spent a week with Pete Carroll at spring ball last year and renewed my interest in being with young people and had a great time.'' (To expand on that, Donatell has worked with Carroll for six years and said he considers Carroll his mentor. After being fired by the Falcons after the 2006 season he worked as a special assistant with the Jets. But he also had time to spend a week with USC and visit with Carroll).

On being away from the college game since 1990: "The most important thing is that people are people/ It's a people business. You are going to have to communicate, have to teach. Being a defensive coach, we spend our whole life adapting and adjusting and that's not going to change. So I'm a student of the game, that will never change. ... It's not like I've been away from the game. I've been evaluating these players for the NFL for a lot of years, so you do see things changing and adjusting.''

On what he did with the Jets in 2007: "I was special assistant to Eric Mangini and Bob Sutton, their (defensive) coordinator. What I really did was I went up and got my PHD in the 3-4 defense. I've been a one-gape 4-3 coach primarily most all of my career. After my tenure with the Falcons (2004-06) I wanted to do something totally different and expand my skill set, so we went up there. It was awesome. It's really directly tied to Bill Belichick, so you were as current as could be, on the cutting edge of what is going on. So I just thought it was a neat thing to do something totally different and expand your skill set.''

More in a little while.

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January 31, 2008 12:24 PM

Some quick Donatell notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Ed Donatell just completed a conference call with local media, and I'll have a more detailed report later.

Wanted to quickly pass along that he said the rest of the defensive staff "will remain the same.''

He said it was too early to say what scheme UW would run next year, but that it would likely combine elements of both the 4-3 and the 3-4, which he studied extensively last year while working as a special assistant with the New York Jets.

Asked for a basic assessment of his defense, he said "it's based on speed and explosion. High-energy enthusiasm, attacking style. We are ball-hawkers. That is one of the things we are going to do is create takeaways. It (the defense) will be something the kids can do. Multiple but simple.''

He talked excitedly of returning to UW, where he worked as a grad assistant in 1981 and 1982 under Don James. His wife is a UW grad (he met her during that stint) and her grandfather, Victor Morrison, played at UW in 1916.

He also talked a bit about the opener with Oregon, saying "I know people in Washington expect you to win that game, and that's what our full intentions are.''

He also confirmed signing a two-year contract but said that wasn't critical to his coming here but merely what is becoming the standard for coordinators. UW officials say it is under discussion to also give offensive coordiniator Tim Lappano a two-year contract, as well. He has worked on year-to-year contracts since coming to UW in 2005.

Donatell will be paid $334,000 a year.

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January 31, 2008 11:03 AM

Willingham on Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW football coach Tyrone Willingham confirmed the hiring of Ed Donatell as Washington's new defensive coordinator in a teleconference held this morning.

Willingham said the 50-year-old Donatell signed a two-year contract.

"I couldn't have been more excited about the hire, and on top of that, he does have what I would call a Husky background and a love and an affection for the place you will see in the way he carries himself and communicates with our young men,'' Willingham said, referring to Donatell's two-year stint as a GA under Don James in 1981-82.

Willingham said it is too early to tell what the team's defensive scheme will be next season, saying that one of the things that attracted him to Donatell was his flexibility and knowledge of many different defenses.

"I think you will see some things (different),'' Willingham said. "But the biggest thing is we are going to work right now to take a really exhaustive look at who we are and what we are and make sure (we are) giving the kids the opportunity to express the quality of players they are.''

Donatell's first official day at work is tomorrow. But Willingham said Donatell has already begun the task of looking at the Huskies "with an unbiased eye.'' He said he wants Donatell to initally look at the team and the personnel on his own, without any input from other coaches, to form some of his own opinions on where the team needs to go now.

"He will build that unbiased opinion and then put that together with the rest of the staff,'' Willingham said.

Willingham confirmed that he did first offer the job to UCLA's DeWayne Walker, and also said he talked to "a lot'' of other candidates before settling on Donatell.

Donatell takes over a UW defense that ranked last in the Pac-10 and gave up a school-record 446.4 yards per game. He replaces Kent Baer, who was fired last month.

Willingham said it is likely the rest of the defensive staff will remain intact. UW still has two open positions on its staff, for a running backs coach and a special teams/tight ends coach and while Willingham said it was possible the staff could still be adjusted, he indicated it's more likely he will simply hire a new RB coach and a new TE/ST coach.

Donatell has worked for James, Keith Gilbertson (at Idaho from 1986-88) and Jim Mora (with the Falcons), all of whom have significant Husky backgrounds. Willingham said he did not speak with any of those three before hiring Donatell but did get sterling recommendations from others he knows in the coaching profession.

Donatell has worked exclusively in the NFL since 1990, and Willingham admitted that the pro league does not have quite the variance in schemes as the college game. But he said again that he thinks Donatell's array of experiences will give him the flexibililty to adjust what he does.

Willingham said Donatell will be able "to make that adjustment, I think, very quickly. And on top of that, he is very recognized as an outstanding coach around the country and he will be able to call on those friends of his for their knowledge.''

Donatell is expected to talk with reporters later.

Willingham hadn't met with the media since before the firing of Baer, but said he wouldn't discuss that move saying it was time to move forward "at warp speed.''

He also didn't want to discuss the resignation of athletic director Todd Turner other than to say that he has "the ultimate respect'' for Turner, and still does. He said his relationship with acting AD Scott Woodward "is not a topic to be discussed right now'' while adding that "Scott and I are doing very well'' and that he is "very pleased'' that Woodward is in place.

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January 31, 2008 10:59 AM

Donatell officially named

Posted by Bob Condotta

Ed Donatell has been officially named as UW's new defensive coordinator.

Here's the release from GoHuskies.com

I'll have some quotes from Tyrone Willingham as quickly as possible.

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January 31, 2008 9:45 AM

DC hiring about to become official

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies have announced that they will have an official announcement later today on the hiring of a new defensive coordinator, expected to be Ed Donatell.

I'll have more here after the announcement, scheduled to come via a teleconference with UW head coach Tyrone Willingham.

Here's some of what we wrote on Donatell last week.

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January 30, 2008 9:57 PM

Boardman on KJR

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman was on KJR-AM earliler tonight on the Elise and Ian show, giving a lengthy interview about the series of stories published this week.

You can listen to it here.

There are a couple of other interviews related to the series also available on that link, including The Steve Kelley Show, which followed the Boardman interview and included Steve's thoughts on it all.

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January 30, 2008 6:24 PM

Boardman on the radio

Posted by Bob Condotta

Executive Editor David Boardman has begun doing interviews to give some answers to questions raised about the series that ran this week.

He was on KIRO-AM in Seattle at 5 p.m.

If you missed it, you will be able to download that interview here after 7 p.m.

Boardman will also be on KJR-AM at 7:35 on the Elise and Ian Show. Elise Woodward is a former women's basketball player at Washington whose final year was 1996-97.

Also, if you want to e-mail a question for Boardman for him to answer in our paper and on-line, you can do so here.


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January 30, 2008 12:56 PM

Breaking down the linebackers

Posted by Bob Condotta

As noted here in previous days, questions you have had about the series that has run in our paper this week will be addressed soon by Executive Editor David Boardman. He is expected to be on KIRO-AM 710 at 5 p.m. to talk about the series. He will also be on KJR-AM at 7:35 p.m. He will also answer questions on our Web site and in the paper in coming days.

As for the blog, we'll continue here as we always have, and with that in mind, I wanted to present a look at the linebackers in continuing our off-season overview of the team, as well as looking at the possibilities of shifting to a 3-4.

RETURNING STARTERS: 2 (weakside linebacker E.J. Savannah, middle linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo/Donald Butler).

STARTERS LOST: 1 (strongside linebacker Dan Howell).

KEY RESERVES LOST: Strongside linebacker Kyle Trew.

KEY RESERVES RETURNING: Weakside linebacker Chris Stevens, WLB/SLB Mason Foster.

LOOK AHEAD: This will be one of UW's more experienced groups heading into the 2008 season with Savannah, Tuiasosopo, Butler, Foster and Stevens all having significant starting experience --- a combined 27 to date. Savannah will be back as the starting WLB with Butler (who should be recovered fine for spring ball after missing four games last season with knee problems) and Tuiasosopo again battling in the middle. If the team stays in a 4-3, the most likely scenario is Foster, a true sophomore who made 25 tackles last season, most coming late in the year, moving over to take Howell's spot at the SLB. If the team were to go to a 3-4, it could mean Butler and Tuiasosopo playing in the middle together, or maybe Foster in the mix in the middle with Stevens playing outside. There will certainly be lots of options, however, for apparent new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell to consider (nothing official yet on him as I finish this).

Assuming, for now, a stay in the 4-3, a prospective two-deep heading into next spring might look like this:

WLB E.J. Savannah, Jr.
Chris Stevens, Sr.

MLB Donald Butler, Jr./Trenton Tuiasosopo, Sr.

SLB Mason Foster, So.
Matt Houston, Jr.

ALSO ON THE ROSTER: Scholarship players: Cort Dennison, RFr.; Austin Sylvester, So. Walk-ons: Josh Gage, Sr., Pete Galbraith, So., Brandon Huppert, Jr., T.J. Poe, Sr.,

POSSIBLE NEWCOMERS: Kurt Mangum, a commit from Chandler, Ariz., has said he will enroll in time for spring ball. He said last week he is likely to be either an MLB or WLB for the Huskies. (Mangum is the only player in the 2008 class listed as an LB. UW is also still recruiting Paipai Falemalu, an SLB from Hawaii, who may not make a decision until real close to signing day. It's thought UW coach Tyrone Willingham visited him this week).

COMMENT: Depth could be a bit of an issue here, especially if UW goes to a 3-4, as after the five who have played, there is little experience. Dennison redshirted last season while Sylvester played some special teams. He also spent time at FB last season but is listed solely as an LB on the spring roster. Mangum will get a head start which should only improve his chances of getting in the mix. As for the walk-ons, Gage, who played on the outside, was the most significant contributor and could also factor in.

Overall, this is a position or promise for the Huskies, one that could be a strength. Still, like the entire defense, this is also a position that has a lot of proving to do, as well. Savannah, for instance, showed a great knack for making plays, and making a lot of them, but needs to become more consistent. Tuiasosopo, while making notable improvement in pass coverage as the season progresses, still needs to get better in that department to become an every-down player there. Butler seemed to struggle against the run at times.

Given the uncertainty of just how the defense will look heading into spring, however, this looms as one of the most interesting positions to watch.


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January 30, 2008 11:44 AM

UW response to series

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's the official response today from UW acting athletic director Scott Woodward to the series that ran in the Times the last four days.

Here also is a response from UW head coach Tyrone Willingham.

Both are from GoHuskies.com.

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January 29, 2008 4:02 PM

Response from the Williams family

Posted by Bob Condotta

Among the many reponses we have received on the series of stories this week are two from members of the Williams family.

You can read them here.

The top one is from Dave Williams, who is one of the older brothers of Curtis Williams and who became the guardian of Curtis Williams after his injury.

The other is from Michelle Williams.

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January 29, 2008 11:49 AM

On Donatell and the 3-4

Posted by Bob Condotta

To reiterate what I said here yesterday, questions about the series running in the paper this week will be answered by our Executive Editor, David Boardman after the series is completed. I will attempt to pass those along here.

On a football matter, noticed there was some comment on whether Ed Donatell will bring a 3-4 defense to UW.

I'd assume it's too early for even Donatell (who has yet to officially be named DC but is expected to be any day now) to even know that.

Donatell used the 4-3 with the Falcons --- here's a story from early in his tenure there about how he switched from a 3-4 once he got to Atlanta.

But there are obvious reasons to think a 3-4 defense could be a better fit for UW next season --- notably, the experience at LB and the lack of up front. Kent Baer had mentioned possibly moving to a 3-4 after the Apple Cup due to the youth up front and the experience the linebacker spot next year.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham said at the time that every option that might improve the defense would be explored. So it's certainly something that you would think could happen, and that might make a lot of sense.

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January 28, 2008 5:02 PM

DC update

Posted by Bob Condotta

First off, I want to acknowledge that there obviously has been a vigorous, passionate and emotional response to the series being produced by our investigative team.

Many of you have posted questions here and they are being read. For now, I am not going to respond in this space. Times' Executive Editor David Boardman will address questions about the series after the last story is published.

On another matter, there is no official word today on new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, but all indications are that it is a done deal and that an announcement should come any day.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham is said to be out of town recruiting (apparently in Hawaii) and an announcement may wait until he returns.

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January 27, 2008 7:45 PM

Mackay now headed to WSU

Posted by Bob Condotta

To get the blog back to football for a minute, there are several reports tonight, including from Rivals.com and RealDawg.com, that Eastlake High's Cory Mackay, who had been committed to UW, is now headed to Washington State.

The 6-4, 216-pounder will play receiver at WSU while the Huskies were recruiting him as a linebacker.

"For me, a big reason for the switch was my desire to play receiver and that's where Washington State recruited me,'' Mackay told Rivals.com.

Mackay said further that he was "excited about staying on the offensive side of the ball'' and pointed out that he had been leaning toward WSU before Bill Doba was fired, after which he then committed to UW while not knowing what was happeing with the Cougars. New WSU coach Paul Wulff recruited him anew after getting the WSU job.

Including everybody, UW has 26 players in this class now, but with Chris Polk coming in early and Kevin Prince late, the Huskies appear to have room for one more signee.

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January 27, 2008 12:23 PM

On today's story

Posted by Bob Condotta

I see a number of you have already used this space to comment on The Times' investigative series that began today and will run through Wednesday.

And as is to be expected, the comments are passionate and running the gamut of emotions.

Feel free to use this space to express those emotions, and ask questions, and I will do what I can to address your concerns. The editors of the series are also reading comments e-mailed at victoryandruins@seattletimes.com.

The series, as noted in the credits, is a Seattle Times special report produced by our investigative team. It runs for four days and like watching a mini-series or something, is best viewed in its entirety. So while I welcome all comments here, I also encourage you to take it all in before casting final judgment.

A couple of the main questions I have seen in your comments concern its timing and whether this is being done simply to put UW in a bad light.

As for the timing, it was not aimed at the recruiting season. The timing coincides with the conclusion of the recent season, the departure of Todd Turner and the debate surrounding the future of Tyrone Willingham.

As for this showing an anti-UW bias, the newspaper has no ax to grind with UW. Many key people at the Times graduated from UW and have great affection for the school. But it is a key institution in this state and in our region, and we have committed significant resources to covering the school through the years. But as with any key institution, the paper feels it is important to shine a light on all aspects of it.

As for why we are writing now about events that happened eight years ago, the Times felt it was important to share these previously undisclosed details involving the 2000 team because the UW athletic program is at a crossroads: Its athletic director just left, its coach is under fire and the team is being challenged to become a winner while retaining its integrity. The feeling was that maybe a better understanding of what happened then will also lead to a better understanding of the challenges being faced by those trying to rebuild it now.


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January 26, 2008 7:03 PM

Compher a leading candidate at Miami

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jeff Compher, executive athletic director at UW, has emerged as a leading candidate to become the new athletic director at Miami, according to this story from today's Miami Herald.

Compher has been at UW since 2004 and was brought to UW by Todd Turner, recently fired as AD of the Huskies.

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January 26, 2008 6:34 PM

No announcement today

Posted by Bob Condotta

There will be no official announcement today of Ed Donatell as UW's new defensive coordinator, but it is expected to happen soon.

One source said that final details of his contract are being worked out and that has to be completed before anything can be announced. It is expected that Donatell will get a two-year detail similar to what UW was also offering DeWayne Walker before he opted to stay at UCLA.

Danny O'Neil, who covers the NFL for us, was able today to talk with Patrick Kerney of the Seahawks, who played for Donatell with the Falcons.

"It's not like you say he's a pressure guy,'' Kerney said. "He's not a certain coverage guy. He's a guy willing to adjust week to week to take on the opponent. He's not married to anything or too proud to adjust."

Asked how he'll fit in with college given that the majority of his experience is in the NFL Kerney said: "I think he'll be great. He'll give the kids a huge leg up as far as an opportunity to play in the NFL just what he'll make them know about the game. It will be demanding, but I think it will pay dividends."


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January 26, 2008 10:45 AM

UW still seeking state money

Posted by Bob Condotta

Despite stories a few days ago that UW's efforts to get state money for a renovation of Husky Stadium might be dead in the water, UW interim athletic director Scott Woodward said on Friday that the school will continue the fight..

You can read what he said in this story here.

Woodward officially takes over as interim AD on Friday but has been leading the charge on this along with UW president Mark Emmert.

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January 25, 2008 6:27 PM

Even more on Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's an unedited version of our latest story on Ed Donatell:

The task of reviving a Washington Husky defense that last season was statistically the worst in school history will apparently fall on Ed Donatell.

Several sources told The Times Friday that Donatell was offered the job and expected to take it, with an official announcement due possibly as soon as Saturday.

Donatell was in Seattle meeting with UW coach Tyrone Willingham and other school officials.

The 50-year-old Donatell most recently was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons before being let go when Jim Mora was fired as coach following the 2006 season.

Donatell spent last season working with the New York Jets in an unspecified position and has been in the NFL since 1990.

But he spent the previous decade working in the college ranks, including a stint in 1981-82 as a graduate assistant at UW under Don James working with the defense.

"He was a good young coach," James said. "He was one of those guys I thought definitely had a career in coaching and was going to make it. He was a hard worker and smart. I’m pleased he would have that opportunity."

Donatell's apparent hiring ends a search that began Dec. 16 when UW coach Tyrone Willingham fired Kent Baer, who had served as his defensive coordinator for the previous nine seasons, and had worked with him for 13.

Baer was let go after the Huskies allowed a school-record 446.8 yards per game and ranked last in the Pac-10 in yards allowed, ninth in points allowed (31.6) and last in rushing defense (184.5).

The Huskies initially offered the job to UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker. But Walker decided to stay put at UCLA with new Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel, who coached the Huskies from 1999-2002.
Donatell, a native of Akron, Ohio, has worked primarily as defensive backs coach or defensive coordinator in his career.

He was the defensive coordinator for four years with the Green Bay Packers but was fired after the 2003 season when the Packers were memorably defeated in the playoffs after the Philadelphia Eagles converted a fourth-and-26 play.

Some Packers players later spoke up for Donatell, including Brett Favre, who told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in 2005 that "he's a great guy. I think the players related to him really well. He was a players' coach and he was real energetic. I just have nothing but good things to say about him."

Donatell's college experience includes three years as secondary coach at Idaho from 1986-88 when former Husky head coach Keith Gilbertson was head coach.

Donatell was also a secondary coach at Pacific (1983-85) and Cal State-Fullerton (1989) before entering the NFL ranks, working with the Broncos, Chiefs, Jets, Packers and Falcons. He was the secondary coach when the Broncos won Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999.

He played defensive back at Glenville (W. Va.) State College.

FYI --- Pete Carroll was not the head coach at Pacific when Donatell was there. Carroll was offensive coordinator there in 1983 before moving on, so they overlapped one season.


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January 25, 2008 4:44 PM

James on Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm told Ed Donatell is on campus today meeting with UW coaches and other school officials. Could mean an announcement as soon as tomorrow, since word is it won't be coming today.

One thing that makes him attractive is his past experience at UW, working as a graduate assistant with the defense in 1981 and 1982. UW went to the Rose Bowl in 1981, beating Iowa 28-0, and went 10-2 in 1982, beating Maryland in the Aloha Bowl.

Don James was the coach of those teams and when I talked with him today he hadn't heard that Donatell is likely to be the new DC but said he was happy with the news.

''He was a good young coach,'' James said. ''He was one of those guys I thought definitely had a career in coaching and was going to make it. He was a hard worker and smart. I'm pleased he would have that opportunity.''

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January 25, 2008 3:13 PM

Donatell update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Doesn't sound as if any official word will come down today on Ed Donatell, but all indications are that he will soon be UW's new defensive coordinator.

Two sources have told us that he has been offered the job, one saying he was expected to accept the position to replace Kent Baer as UW's new defensive coordinator.

To clear up one fact about Donatell --- he was not out of football last season but instead was working with the New York Jets last season in an unspecified advisory capacity. He took that position after being let go in Atlanta, where he was the DC under Jim Mora, and then failing to land a spot as the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings.

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January 25, 2008 1:03 PM

Season ticket prices stay the same

Posted by Bob Condotta

Looks like this may be a day of good news for the UW football program.

As reported here earlier, sounds as if Ed Donatell is on board as the team's new defensive coordinator.

And just a few minutes ago, the school announced that season ticket prices will stay the same next season.

Here's a link to the release on GoHuskies.com.

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January 25, 2008 9:23 AM

New Donatell story

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a story I just filed for our website:

The Washington Huskies may have found a new defensive coordinator.

Two sources told the Times that the job has been offered to Ed Donatell, who most recently was the defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons under Jim Mora. He did not have a coaching job last season.

One source told the Times that Donatell is likely to take the job.

The Huskies have been searching for a coordinator to replace Kent Baer, who was fired last month after UW’s disappointing 4-9 season was punctuated by some defensive collapses.

Donatell has some history with UW having served as a graduate assistant for the Huskies in 1981 and 1982 under Don James.

He later served on the staff at Idaho under Keith Gilbertson from 1986-88.

He worked in the NFL from 1990-2006 as a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator with the Jets, Chiefs, Broncos, Packers and Falcons.


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January 25, 2008 8:32 AM

More on Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

I can't confirm yet that Ed Donatell will become UW's new defensive coordinator.

But indications are strong there that he could be the one..

"I could definitely see that,'' someone who could know told me last night.

UPDATE --- I was told by someone this morning that Donatell has been offered the job and that he is likely to take it. But there is no official word yet from the school.

As noted yesterday, Donatell spent the 1981 and 1982 seasons at UW as a graduate assistant under Don James.

He later worked for three years under Keith Gilbertson at Idaho.

From 1995 through 2006 he was in the NFL with the Jets, Chiefs, Broncos, Packers and Falcons as a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator. His last stop was with the Falcons where he was DC for Jim Mora. He did not have a job last season.

Here's a story published during his days as DC at Atlanta including some highly favorable quotes from Green Bay players, including Brett Favre.

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January 24, 2008 4:43 PM

Stadium funding package dead already?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Appears to be the case, at least for this year, according to this story posted on our web site a little while ago.

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January 24, 2008 3:44 PM

Nothing today

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lots of rumors flying about UW's vacant defensive coordinator position, but official word from the school is that no announcement is forthcoming today, with no indications when or if one may arrive.

We earlier explored the Jon Tenuta rumors when no sooner had a new name surfaced on this board and others, that of former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.

Donatell was apparently out of coaching last fall after being let go along with the rest of the Falcons' staff following the 2006 season (when the head coach was Jim Mora). He apparently tried to get on with the Vikings this season but wasn't hired.

While Donatell's most recent experience is in the NFL, he also has a lengthy college resume, having actually worked the 1981-82 seasons at UW as a graduate assistant under Don James and later serving as the defensive coordinator at Idaho when Keith Gilbertson was the head coach. So he has some ties to old Huskies and will already know his way around a bit if he's the one.

As this story points out, he was also a position coach for James Hasty, the father of UW running back J.R. Hasty, in the NFL.


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January 24, 2008 7:11 AM

Tenuta rumor denied

Posted by Bob Condotta

On my way to the airport for a trip to Phoenix for the basketball game tonight and called 790 AM in Atlanta and talked to a producer there who said the station DID NOT report that Jon Tenuta would be the new DC at Washington. Instead, they apparently merely were talking about the possibility it could happen, the rumors that it could happen, etc.

In a nutshell, didn't sound like they knew much of anything other than just the fact that Tenuta doesn't have a job at the moment and UW is among the schools that has an opening. So we'll see. For now, sounds like much ado about nothing, but on the other hand, little has leaked regarding who UW may have talked to of late.

But to make clear, the rumor that the station reported it was a done deal has been officially denied.

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January 23, 2008 10:05 PM

Exploring Tenuta rumor

Posted by Bob Condotta

At this late hour, I can't confirm anything on the comment posted by "Brad'' that he heard on an Atlanta radio station that the Huskies have hired former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta as their new defensive coordinator.

What I will say is that the radio station he cited, WQXI 790, is the flagship station for Georgia Tech football, so assuming "Brad'' heard what he wrote he heard, the people there might know something.

Also, Tenuta has not gotten any of the jobs of late in which he was rumored to be involved and is still on the market.

He was thought to have a chance to go to LSU, but the Tigers just decided this week to apparently go in a different direction (you can read about that here).

He was also initially thought headed to South Carolina, but the Gamecocks also went with someone else.

Tenuta was the DC at Georgia Tech the last six years (read bio here) but lost that job when head coach Chan Gailey was fired. Tenuta, who was also associate head coach, stayed on to coach Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl against Fresno State, a game Tech lost 40-28. He was then not retained by new Tech coach Paul Johnson.

This Sporting News story on the coaches convention a few weeks ago referred to Tenuta as "considered by many to be the best in the business.''

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January 23, 2008 8:24 PM

More on Mangum

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's an unedited version of a story I filed a little while ago on the Kurt Mangum commitment:

When Kurt Mangum needed some advice during recruiting he had a pretty knowledgeable relative to rely on --- great uncle Gale Sayers.

But unlike Sayers, who made the Hall of Fame as a running back, Mangum, from Chandler (Ariz.) High plans to be a linebacker at the college level. And Wednesday he made his choice of college official, giving a commitment to the University of Washington.

Mangum, whose father, Kurt, played at the University of Minnesota in the early ‘70s, said he made the decision a minute after the offer came from UW coach Tyrone Willingham.

''I’ve always wanted to play for coach Willingham,'' said Mangum, who said a couple close friends of the family played for Willingham previously, including David Garnett, a linebacker at Stanford.

Mangum, who said he is 6-foot-and-a-half, 220 pounds, is being recruited to play middle linebacker and weakside linebacker at UW. He also had taken a visit to Colorado State but said he fell in love with Seattle and UW during a visit two weekends ago and spent the remaining time waiting for an offer from the Huskies.

Mangum, rated as the No. 49 MLB in the country by Scout.com, plans to graduate next month so he can enroll at UW in time for spring practice.

Mangum said he had 140 tackles last fall along with two interceptions and four sacks.

He is the 27th commit for the Class of 2008, and could be the last as the Huskies appear to now be full. Letters-of-intent day is Feb. 6.

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January 23, 2008 6:27 PM

One last commit?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sorry for the inactivity on the blog today but had a couple out-of-the-office things to deal with.

Looks like UW may have gotten what could be its last commitment for the Class of 2008 from linebacker Kurt Mangum of Chandler, Ariz., according to RealDawg.com.

Mangum also had an offer from Colorado State, according to Scout.com.

Here is some video of Mangum from AOL.com

He's the 27th commit, but as we have discussed, a couple are likely to count either forward or backward so UW won't go over the 25-man limit.

Indications are that Mangum may enroll in time for spring practice making him the second recruit who may do that --- WR Chris Polk is already on campus.


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January 23, 2008 8:51 AM

ASU-UA create cool award

Posted by Bob Condotta

Nice story out of the Phoenix-area today as Arizona and Arizona State have joined forces to create a Most Valuable Player award for their annual rivalry and name it after sports writer Bob Moran, a longtime journalist in the state who covered both schools at different times.

It's not so much that they named this after a sports writer that I like, though Moran is a very deserving honoree. Anybody who covered the Pac-10 long got to know Moran, and his never-ending smile, and he was a constant presence on the conference's weekly media teleconferences, asking insightful questions of just about every coach every week. At Pac-10 media day one year, I saw then-Oregon coach Rich Brooks and a couple of others serenade Moran in the lobby with the old Beach Boys tune of "Barbara Ann'' but with Moran's name in the title, instead.

What I also like about this is the idea of creating an MVP award for the annual rivalry game (obviously in our case up here, the Apple Cup). To be honest, I thought this was the kind of thing that might be done this year with Boeing's sponsorship of the game.

But in any case, it seems like a good idea that could easily be copied up here. It would add some intrigue to the game and give some player an honor he would remember the rest of his life --- and be remembered for for as long as the game is played. It would be a fun and tidy way to further preserve the history of the game, just like is done with the MVP award of the Super Bowl where every so often all of the past winners are invited back and every year all the newspapers run the list of the winners, again bringing to life their accomplishments.

Not sure if there's a similar person to name it after up here --- off the top of my head, can't think of someone who has had the same kind of all-encompassing impact on the Apple Cup. But even if they just named it after Boeing or something, seems like an idea worth considering.


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January 22, 2008 9:45 PM

Former Husky assistant Simon let go by Chargers

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting name on the coaching waiver wire today, that of former Husky assistant coach Matt Simon, who was fired as running backs coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Simon was an assistant at UW from 1982-91, working primarily with the running backs, and then in 2005 had conversations with Husky head coach Tyrone Willingham about coming back as offensive coordinator (you can read about that here).

With the Huskies still needing a running backs coach (assuming one hasn't been hired and not announced yet) Simon could be a name to watch.

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January 22, 2008 6:58 PM

Carroll confirms commitment

Posted by Bob Condotta

Thanks to 1msfan for passing this along this story from the Contra Costa Times prep blog with a quote from Oakland offensive lineman Allen Carroll confirming his commitment to Washington.

"Coach (Tyrone) Willingham's a great guy,'' Carroll is quoted as saying. "I like him a lot. He's a very smart, intelligent individual.''

Carroll, listed at 6-4, 286 pounds, also visited Arizona and reportedly had offers from Nebraska, UCLA, Oregon, ASU and Washington State, among others.

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January 22, 2008 2:50 PM

A few notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few items to pass along:

--- Baylor hired former UCLA assistant Dino Babers as outside receivers coach and recruiting coordinator on Monday. Babers had been considered a leading candidate to be the new RB coach at UW. But indications are that the Huskies never talked with Babers. UW still has three assistant coach openings.

--- RealDawg.com is reporting that guard Allen Carroll of McClymonds High in Oakland has committed to UW, attributing it to a source close to Carroll. He would be the 26th commit in the class, though again, Chris Polk will count back and Kevin Prince will count forward, so UW could still get another one in. Letter-of-intent day is Feb. 6.

--- RealDawg is also reporting that the reason John Tate will not become a Husky is due to grades.

--- I think Jake Locker may have set another UW record --- first Husky with his own Wikipedia entry.

--- The New York Jets signed former Husky Stanley Daniels to a free agent contract last week. Daniels was with the Jets last August for a few days before being released and then returning to Seattle to continue schooling and work out.

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January 21, 2008 9:09 PM

Iweka still committed to UW

Posted by Bob Condotta

Anybody who also reads the basketball blog knows I had a chance to talk today with Rainier Beach athletic director Dan Jurdy.

In the course of our conversation I also asked Jurdy what he knew about the status of Emeka Iweka, the former Rainier Beach lineman who signed last year to play at Washington before being declared academically ineligible.

Jurdy said he had spoken with Iweka over the holidays and that Iweka is "still committed to coming back to the University of Washington. He said he wants to show his home town people that he is going to do what he said he'd do.''

Iweka is currently enrolled at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., Jurdy said. He redshirted this season while recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered playing basketball at Rainier Beach last January.

Jurdy said Iweka plans to play next season but hopes to finish his JC degree in two years so he will then have three years of Division-I eligibility remaining.

Iweka has been in contact with UW coaches and they are aware of his plans, Jurdy said.

As far as his academics, Jurdy said he has talked with Arizona Western coaches and they told him that Iweka "has passed every class so far.''

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January 21, 2008 8:02 PM

John Tate decommits

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scout.com is reporting tonight that John Tate, a running back/defensive back from Edison High in Fresno, has decommitted from Washington.

Tate told Scout.com that he decommitted last week and that it was "a mutual thing.''

Tate said he is now looking at San Diego State and Nevada.

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January 21, 2008 10:27 AM

Breaking down the defensive line

Posted by Bob Condotta

With lots of other things going on, we haven't gotten all the way through our look ahead at each position yet.

So here goes our latest installment, previewing the defensive line:

RETURNING STARTERS: 1 (defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim).

STARTERS LOST: 3 (DTs Jordan Reffett, Wilson Afoa, DE Greyson Gunheim).

KEY RESERVES LOST: DE Caesar Rayford, DT Erick Lobos.

LOOK AHEAD: Of returning players, only Te'o-Nesheim started a game last season, with the Huskies losing five of their top six at this spot to graduation. All of which makes this maybe the thinnest position, in terms of experience, on the team --- other than Te'o-Nesheim, returning players at this position made just three tackles last season (two by Cameron Elisara and one by Darrion Jones).. And given the struggles here a year ago with a veteran group, this group obviously looms as one of the biggest question marks heading into the spring. Tyrone Willingham has hinted at some position changes to possibly fortify this group, but none have been made public of yet.

So for now, a prospective two-deep depth chart heading into spring might look like this:

DE Te'o-Nesheim, Jr.
Darrion Jones, Jr.

DT Cameron Elisara, So.
Nick Wood, RFr.

DT Jovon O'Connor, Sr.
Tyrone Duncan, RFr.

DE De'Shon Matthews, So.
Kalani Aldrich, RFr.

COMMENT: Duncan and Wood each missed much of last year wth injuries, meaning each is a little further behind than would be ideal coming into their first spring. And as you can see, not a lot of experience in that group. At least three recruits will likely have chances to play immediately --- Craig Noble and Alameda Ta'amu at DT and Everette Thompson at DE. The hope will be that youngsters such as Elisara and Matthews, who each have shown glimpses of being good players in either games or scrimmages, can make a big leap forward, that Jones finally stays healthy and fills in at one end, and that some of the youngsters will also be able to contribute immediately. The wildcard is whatever position changes Willingham has in mind (Johnie Kirton, maybe?). But overall, this position looks like one of the biggest uncertainties heading into next season.

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January 20, 2008 11:35 PM

Neuheisel gets his dream staff

Posted by Bob Condotta

There were rumblings all along that this is what Rick Neuheisel promised to do if he got the UCLA job --- hire Norm Chow as offensive coordinator and DeWayne Walker as defensive coordinator.

Neuheisel has apparently done just that, keeping Walker away from the Huskies a few weeks ago, and on Sunday, reportedly getting Chow in line as the Bruins' new OC.

With Walker and Chow in the fold, some will be tempted to wonder if UCLA might not have the best coaching staff in the Pac-10. Certainly, it will only add to the excitement and expectations in Westwood and make the Bruins one of the most intruiging teams in the nation next season, let alone the Pac-10. Certainly, UCLA's visit to Husky Stadium next Nov. 15 could hardly get any more interesting.


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January 20, 2008 9:59 AM

Three recruits in

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies apparently had three recruits in this weekend, with Scout.com reporting that the visitors were Kavario Middleton as well as two players who have yet to commit --- safety Martin Bayless off Sugarland, Texas and linebacker Paipai Falemalu of Kahulu, Hawaii.

All three appeared to be sitting behind the UW bench at the Oregon State game Saturday, with Jake Locker serving as one of the hosts.

Point guard Venoy Overton pointed that out after the game when asked about one of his long passes to Jon Brockman.

"I seen Jake sitting behind the bench and I had to get one,'' Overton said.

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January 19, 2008 9:35 AM

Cougars steering clear of Husky Stadium bid

Posted by Bob Condotta

Once news broke of UW's new fundiing proposal for Husky Stadium --- asking for $150 million from the state --- an inevitable question was whether WSU might also want in on the action for its own stadium renovation.

Sounds like for now, the answer is no, according to this story we published today. As quoted in the story, a WSU lobbyist the school doesn't plan to ask for state funds its $70 million project.

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January 18, 2008 8:14 PM

Boyles in good company

Posted by Bob Condotta

Waiting around to finish up basketball writing and reporting duties today also meant I had little choice but to watch a lot of football players coming and going in the hallways on their way to and from workouts.

At one point, Jake Locker and Anthony Boyles walked down the hallway and into the locker room together, talking along the way. A few minutes later, Boyles came out walking alongside Paul Homer, also known as one of Locker's closest friends on the team.

All of this is admittedly just a real quick observation of a couple of brief moments, but just thought it interesting to pass along that Boyles --- who ranks as one of the most important newcomers for 2008 --- appears already to be forming relationships with some of the other key members of the offense.

It was the first time I'd seen Boyles in person and I'll vouch for what he himself told me on the phone last week --- he'll need to bulk up a little before next season.


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January 18, 2008 1:28 PM

Another new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta

Both RealDawg.com and Scout.com are reporting that cornerback Adam Long of St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey, Calif., has committed to the Huskies.

Long had also visited Oregon State and UCLA but it's thought that the recent move of Beavers cornerback coach Nigel Burton might have helped convince Long to become a Husky, instead.

Long is the 25th commit in this class, though at least two players will count against other classes --- Chris Polk backward and Kevin Prince forward --- so the Huskies still have room for a few more players.

Here is a photo gallery of Long from the Daily Breeze newspaper.

Here also are some results from last year's state track meet where Long finished just ahead of current Husky WR Curtis Shaw in the 200.

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January 18, 2008 9:11 AM

More on the stadium

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's our story this morning on UW's announced proposal yesterday to ask the state for money for a renovation of Husky Stadium. It's a little more detailed than the one I linked yesterday.

As you can read, state legislators seem much more receptive to giving money to Husky Stadium than to an arena for the Sonics citing the public-use nature of the facility (though I do assume the school across the state, which also is underdoing a stadium renovation, is wondering if it can get in on this, as well).

GoHuskies.com also has a version of the same story.

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January 17, 2008 10:03 PM

Interesting Bill Young comments

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wanted to highlight this post from "Greg'' who wrote in the comments section that he heard Bill Young on Sporting News Radio tonight. I didn't hear the interview but thought this was particularly interesting so I'll also put it here. Young was the defensive coordinator at Kansas who sources said was interested in the UW job before deciding this week to instead go to Miami.

According to Greg, Young said that "it was a good
opportunity for him with the Hurricanes. He said he never was offered the
job at Washington. But he inquired about it, but he said Washington wanted
to go in another direction. He also said he had contact with Auburn but
decided to take the Hurricanes job.''

Greg concluded that "after hearing the interview, I get the impression TW already has his DC.
Just not announced yet.''

I'll say that talking to people at the basketball game tonight there are few rumors of any substance floating around. Many people seem to think it's going to end up being Chris Tormey, but that's just speculation. Obviously, it won't be Bill Young, and maybe it was never going to be.

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January 17, 2008 4:00 PM

More on the stadium renovation

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's our on-line story about what is some major movement in the attempt to renovate Husky Stadium.

As the story details, the UW wants to ask for $150 million from the state to aid in the renovation.

The story also gives some details about what the renovation will entail, notably getting rid of the track and having it placed elsewhere, likely around the soccer field.

You can also see that the governor's office said it's too early to say yet whether it will be supported by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

As has been obvious since day one, figuring out how to fund a remodel of Husky Stadium figured to be the trickiest aspect of the whole thing. This is the first major step in attempting to answer that question.


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January 17, 2008 3:00 PM

State money wanted for stadium renovation

Posted by Bob Condotta

The University of Washington announced plans to ask the Legislature for state money to help pay for a $300 million renovation of Husky Stadium.

The university’s board of regents were briefed today on the proposal to seek $150 million from the state. The university says it would raise the rest from donors.

The university is still working out the details of its funding request. But it will likely include some of the same tax revenue streams that the Sonics were seeking.

We'll have more on this on-line in a few minutes.

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January 17, 2008 1:21 PM

Young to Miami

Posted by Bob Condotta

So sounds like Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young is heading to Miami after all.

Here's the latest story out of Kansas confirming the move.

Young was a consideration at UW, as well, so the Huskies will again have to look elsewhere. What this also means is that there is another good DC job open for those who are seeking one.

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January 17, 2008 11:57 AM

Quick DC update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Nothing new as yet today on Washington's search for a defensive coordinator, with reports out of Kansas that Bill Young may be staying put instead of heading to Miami.

Whether this means Young is out of the picture at UW is hard to say as Young's comments don't seem to necessarily rule out leaving eventually, just that he hasn't as of yet.

As we also noted yesterday, former Husky defensive back Nigel Burton is moving from Oregon State to Nevada, where he will become the new defensive coordinator for the Wolf Pack --- he had been simply the cornerbacks coach at OSU.

One thing this would seem to mean is that OSU defensive coordinator Mark Banker --- who some UW fans have openly pined for --- isn't going anywhere. Hard to figure why Burton would make a move to Nevada if he thought there was an imminent chance to improve his place at OSU.


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January 16, 2008 10:14 PM

Bill Young to Miami?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies may have to dip even deeper into their list of defensive coordinator candidates as it is being reported tonight that Kansas DC Bill Young is heading to Miami.

Here's a report from CSTV stating that Young spurned interest from UW to head instead to Miami, where head coach Randy Shannon is in his second season.

However, KUSports.com has quotes from Young tonight saying he has yet to accept an offer anywhere else and is still the DC of the Jayhawks.

One other reported candidate who a source said is likely interested is Tom Williams, the special teams coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars who was an assistant at UW under Rick Neuheisel from 1999-2001. Williams was linebackers coach at UW and left to become co-defensive coordinator at Stanford in 2002, where he played. Williams was a linebacker at Stanford and played there during a time when Tyrone Willingham was an assistant coach, so the two know each other.

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January 16, 2008 10:08 PM

Oregon's Chung not leaving?

Posted by Bob Condotta

I know this may be more Oregon news in a day than you need here, but since I noted earlier that Ducks safety Patrick Chung was leaving early for the NFL, figured I'd pass along the latest from the Eugene Register-Guard that he may instead be staying.

Actually, the Guard blog is a rewrite of a report on eDuck.com. So maybe the Ducks won't be quite so inexperienced in the back end on Aug. 30, after all.

Sounds, however, like this is one story where we may need to wait until Chung stands before cameras and says what he's doing before we'll really know what's going on.

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January 16, 2008 6:26 PM

Johnson, Shaw not running track

Posted by Bob Condotta

After I noted yesterday that running backs Curtis Shaw and Brandon Johnson were listed on the roster for the track and field team, I got a note from the UW track coaches that the two will not be running track this spring, after all.

No real reason, apparently, other than they simply decided not to do it.

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January 16, 2008 4:56 PM

Burton to Nevada?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting coaching news, if true, from the Inside USC blog on the Los Angeles Daily News regarding former Husky Nigel Burton.

Burton has been the cornerbacks coach at Oregon State the last five years, but according to Scott Wolf's report today, Burton may be moving to Nevada, which has an opening for a cornerbacks coach.

Burton played at UW from 1996-98 and has said several times he'd love to return to Washington someday.

UPDATE ---- Here's a story from the Reno Gazette-Journal reporting that Burton is joining the Nevada staff as defensive coordinator.

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January 16, 2008 3:53 PM

So what's an athletic director do, anyway?

Posted by Bob Condotta

After some of the recent discussion about UW's athletic director situation, one reader wanted to know what, exactly, does an athletic director do?

Here's a decent breakdown of what an AD does from Wikipedia, with some links at the bottom that provide more information.

I would say in general, an AD's biggest responsibilities these days are: 1, hiring and managing the personnel of the department; 2, raising money; 3, making sure the department stays within NCAA compliance.

There are also all kinds of other duties, as well, such as representing the university at NCAA events and conventions, or serving on NCAA and conference committees. But in general, I think ADs are judged by how well the coaches they hire perform, how well they raise money for things such as facilities upgrades, and keeping their school out of NCAA hot water.


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January 16, 2008 2:39 PM

Oklahoma loses third player to NFL

Posted by Bob Condotta

Since the Huskies host Oklahoma next season --- on Sept. 20 at Husky Stadium --- it's also worth keeping an eye on the Sooners.

Word came down yesterday that OU was losing a third player early to the NFL Draft, --- cornerback Reggie Smith. OU earlier lost receiver Malcolm Kelly --- who had a big day against UW in 2006 with two TD catches --- and middle linebacker Curtis Lofton.

As the Tulsa World story points out, OU how has some big holes to fill on defense, returning just one starter in the secondary.

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January 16, 2008 11:02 AM

Oregon defense takes a hit

Posted by Bob Condotta

Oregon's 2008 defense suffered a big loss today with the news that safety Patrick Chung has decided to declare for the NFL Draft.

Here's a link from ESPN.com.

That means Oregon has lost RB Jonathan Stewart and Chung --- maybe its best players on each side of the ball --- to early entry to the draft.

UW opens next season in Eugene against Oregon on Aug. 30.


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January 16, 2008 10:47 AM

USC favored to win national title next year

Posted by Bob Condotta

Thanks to Scott Wolf's USC blog for passing along this list of the Vegas favorites to win the national title next season from Bodog.com.

USC tops the list at 3-1.

Florida, Georgia and Ohio State are all 6-1.

Oklahoma, another UW opponent next season, is next at 8-1.

Other Pac-10 teams listed are Arizona State, Oregon and Cal, all at 40-1.

UCLA is 70-1, Oregon State 80-1, both amazingly enough are behind Notre Dame at 60-1 --- simply showing the power of the Notre Dame name.

Interestingly, BYU, considered by some the most likely of the non-BCS schools to get into the mix next season, isn't listed. All schools not listed are considered as part of "the field'' and all of those schools combined are 15-1. Washington is also part of "the field.''


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January 16, 2008 8:51 AM

More on Young and UW

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here is another reference out of Kansas to Jayhawks defensive coordinator Bill Young being in the mix for several other jobs, including UW's.

For those who wonder why Young might be interested in UW, could simply be money. He reportedly made about $220,000 at Kansas last year and UW was said to be offering in the neighborhood of $350-400,0000 to DeWayne Walker . So if UW is offering others anywhere close to what it was offering Walker, especially if in a multi-year contract, that would definitely be attractive to the right person.

As far as a timetable, word seems to be that the Huskies aren't necessarily in a huge rush to fill any of their three vacancies --- recruiting is pretty much done and there are enough coaches to do what is left --- and that it's possible the other two openings could be filled before the DC job. Often times, once things get to this point, coaches who have jobs prefer to wait until after LOI day to make a move. But all of that is speculation as there is very little real info coming out on this with UW coach Tyrone Willingham saying he will not do interviews until after he has hired a DC.

UPDATE --- For those wondering about Young's background, here are some things I've found:

--- First, here's an ad for a video he did on the Zone Blitz package which would lead you to believe that's something he likes to do --- I really didn't watch enough Kansas this year to make an educated assessment.

--- Here is his bio that shows some extensive Pac-10 experience, including at Arizona State and USC.

--- And here's a note from HawkDigest.com suggesting that Young's defenses aren't great against the spread but that people at Kansas want him to stay.

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January 15, 2008 9:09 PM

Four gridders competing for track team

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Washington track and field team will hold its first indoor meet of the season Saturday with the UW Indoor Preview at the Dempsey Indoor at 8:30 a.m.

Four UW football players are listed on the roster for the track and field team --- Cameron Elisara and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim in weight events and Curtis Shaw and Brandon Johnson in sprints.

Both Te'o-Nesheim and Elisara ran track last season, something I detailed in this story here last April. As mentioned in the story, UW coach Tyrone Willingham has no issues with his players taking part in other sports, having been a two-sport athlete himself at Michigan State (football and baseball).

In case you're wondering, there are no football players on the baseball roster.

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January 15, 2008 4:14 PM

Cal's DeSean Jackson to the NFL

Posted by Bob Condotta

Cal took a bit of a hit --- if one that isn't surprising --- as href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft08/news/story?id=3198127">WR DeSean Jackson said today he will leave.

Here is a link to all of the underclassmen who have declareed so far and as you can see, the Pac-10 hasn't suffered a lot of attrition --- Jackson and Oregon's Jonathan Stewart are the only two conference players on the list.

Not on the list is USC OL Chilo Rachal who is also thought headed to the NFL.

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January 15, 2008 11:15 AM

Tarnished Heisman web site up

Posted by Bob Condotta

Some of you have expressed a lot of interest in the Reggie Bush investigation at USC so thought I would pass along that the The book "Tarnished Heisman,'' is now out --- I actually got a copy over the weekend but have yet to finish it --- as is a website with some of the documents detailed in the book.

Here, also, are a few stories on the book --- this from the San Diego Union-Tribune; this from the LA Times and this from the Orange County Register.

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January 14, 2008 7:31 PM

More on Roussel

Posted by Bob Condotta

I talked tonight with Holenn Roussel, the father of Baton Rouge linebacker Bradly Roussel who appeared to be headed toward UW but is now committed to Tulane.

Holenn Roussel stood by the comments attributed to him in a story today in the New Orleans Times-Picayune stating that his son had a written offer from the Huskies but that UW coaches then asked him to wait two weeks due to some interest in and from other linebackers. He said the offer was in the form of a letter. UW coaches and officials cannot officially comment on the situation since Roussel remains a recruitable athlete.

But Holenn Roussel also said he has no issues with how the Huskies handled his son's recruitment and that "a lot of people are making a big deal out of something that isn't.''

"Everybody walked away very cordial and comfortable with the situation. There are no ill feelings whatsoever.''

Holenn Roussel said UW coaches called again recently to tell the family that Bradly was still on their radar depending on what happened with some of the other linebackers they are also recruiting. But Bradly Roussel visited Tulane this weekend and has given a commitment to the Green Wave.

"He wanted to come to Washington, but sometimes things happen and you move on,'' Holenn Roussel said.
"I'm not mad at Ty one bit. He's doing the job he's paid to do.''

CSTV REPORTS ON BILL YOUNG RUMORS: CSTV is the latest to report that there could be something to the rumors linking Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young to the same position at UW. I was told by one source over the weekend that he's definitely in the mix. CSTV also reports that Miami may be in the hunt for Young, as well.

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January 14, 2008 2:55 PM

Rankin, Reece invited to Texas vs. Nation game

Posted by Bob Condotta

There haven't been any Huskies playing in college all-star games so far, but that will change as Louis Rankin and Marcel Reece have each been invited to play in the Texas vs. The Nation game Feb. 2 in El Paso, Texas. The game will be televised on CSTV at 2 p.m. Seattle time.

The coaches are big-timers --- Gene Stallings for the Texas team and Buddy Ryan for the nation.

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January 14, 2008 8:41 AM

Roussel commits to Tulane

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a story out of New Orleans noting that linebacker Bradly Roussel has committed to Tulane.

Roussel had said he was committing to UW but his parents say in the story that during his visit last week he was told UW wanted another two weeks to decide whether to "honor'' the school's offer. He then decided to look around and is now headed to Tulane. One thing to point out is that this is not something UW coaches can talk about publicly since he is still a recruitable athlete.

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January 13, 2008 8:06 PM

Miami AD hunt includes UW associate AD

Posted by Bob Condotta

This is a couple days old but this is the first I've seen of it so thought I'd pass along this story out of Miami that Jeff Compher, the Executive Associate Athletic Director at UW is on the list of candidates to become the new AD at Miami.

Compher came to UW from Vanderbilt, where he had worked with Todd Turner and is a former AD at Western Carolina.

There is nothing really new at the moment on UW's search for a new AD. Scott Woodward will take over as the interim AD on Jan. 31 and sometime soon a search committee is expected to be formed to help find a permanent replacement for Turner.

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January 13, 2008 10:12 AM

Another new Husky

Posted by Bob Condotta

As some of you have already passed along, the Huskies did indeed get a commitment over the weekend from Mykenna Ikehara, a 6-3, 275-pound offensive lineman from Kamehameha, Kapalama Campus in Honolulu.

Here's a release on his commitment sent out last night by the Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance:

"Mykenna Ikehara, 6'3, 275 lb Offensive Lineman from Kamehameha, Kapalama Campus,in Honolulu, has given his committment to play for the University of Washington Huskies tonight.

Mykenna, son of Adrian and Iolani Ikehara of Mililani, Hawaii never attended a mainland football camp or clinic. He attended and received top Offensive Lineman awards at the PIAA Evaluation Camp in May 2007 - where he was first noticed by Coach Chris Tormey who recruits Hawaii for the Huskies, the Just Win Camp in 2007 on Maui, and Brian Derby Offensive Lineman Camps. Mykenna was First Team All-State and First Team All-ILH in both the Honolulu Star Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser, as well as a 2007 HUB Classic Senior Bowl Game participant. Mykenna was listed as #26 in the Scout.com West Top 100.

Mykenna said tonight 'it just felt like a good fit'. Ikehara is a full academic qualifier carrying a 3.9 gpa."

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January 11, 2008 5:00 PM

Another big recruiting weekend

Posted by Bob Condotta

The second weekend in January looms as a big recruiting weekend throughout college football and UW is no exception as the Huskies are expected to have at least 11 players in for visits, according to Scout.com.

The list includes six players who have already committed to UW, notably Lakes High receiver Jermaine Kearse, and another who is listed as a soft verbal --- Eastlake High WR/LB Cory Mackay who also plans to visit Washington State.

According to reports, one player coming in for a visit --- offensive lineman Mykenna Ikehara of Honolulu --- is likely to commit during or shortly after his trip.

Maybe the most intriguing player in for a visit is LB Donovan Carter of Birmingham High in Van Nuys, Calif. He's listed as a soft commit to UCLA but decided after the coaching change there to schedule visits to UW and Arizona State.


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January 11, 2008 12:54 PM

Gray says no contact

Posted by Bob Condotta

If Washington Redskins secondary coach Jerry Gray is a candidate to become the new defensive coordinator at UW, it's news to him.

The rumor sprung in part from posts on this message board and I finally was able to get a hold of him today to ask him about it.

"I've had no contact with anyone out there,'' Gray said, adding that "the rumor is false.'' He said he doesn't really know Tyrone Willingham other than in passing and while he had nothing but complimentary things to say about UW, he said he's heard nothing from anyone out this way.

As I reported earlier, a source told me that Kansas DC Bill Young is among those being considered.

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January 11, 2008 10:45 AM

Oregon's Stewart turning pro

Posted by Bob Condotta

No surprise here, but the news is official today that Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart will declare for the NFL Draft.

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January 11, 2008 9:10 AM

The receivers, and more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's the story I referred to last night on the new additions to Washington's receiving corps.

There is also a note at the bottom with a brief update on the search for some new coaches. I have heard a little more strongly in recent days that Bill Young, the DC at Kansas, may be interested in the UW job, and vice versa. Here's a story out of Lawrence that details Young's contract.

As for the receivers, the addition of all three is vital to a position that lost five seniors from last year's team. Anthony Boyles said he realizes there are a lot of hopes attached to their arrival.

"It's not pressure, but their expectations are pretty high,'' he said. "But I believe I can meet the goals and expectations. I just need to learn the plays and get in the weight room and I'll be fine.''

Boyles said he weighs about 189 pounds but would like to get to 205 by next fall. He also said not playing last fall got him out of shape just a little bit.

"Shape-wise, I'm at about 80 percent,'' he said.

As for Chris Polk, he is definitely lining up primarily as a receiver right now, though he said he has plans to also dabble in RB at UW.

"They are talking about me playing the slot and going in motion and running the ball a few plays, and then motion back out to receiver,'' he said. So sounds like some of those receiver reverses you saw increasingly at the end of last season (the play Oregon State runs all the time with James Rodgers) could be a perfect vehicle for Polk.

Polk arrived in Seattle last Saturday having graduated early from high school, the same as his former high school teammate, Ronnie Fouch, did a year ago.

"I was set to graduate early no matter what college I went to,'' he said, adding he'll fly back for some important senior-year-of-high-school social events.

He said Fouch told him that coming up early "was the best thing you could do so you won't be struggling when the season starts.''

MORE ON COACHES:

--- Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News has an interesting update on the UCLA staff that includes news that the Bruins may be going after former Husky defensive back Nigel Burton, who is now the cornerbacks coach at Oregon State. The story also has details of DeWayne Walker's new contract at UCLA, said to be worth $375,000 a year.


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January 10, 2008 6:53 PM

Boyles, Aguilar and Polk work out

Posted by Bob Condotta

Even though I'm in Los Angeles tonight for the UW-UCLA basketball game, I was able to get Chris Polk and Anthony Boyles on the phone after they had their first informal 7-on-7 workout since enrolling in school earlier this week. Devin Aguilar was also there.

Finally getting here has been especially emotional for Boyles, who admitted it bothered him greatly to sit out last fall after failing to get the needed test score, saying he was "stressed out, frustated, all kinds of bad words.''

This week, he said, has made him "just more relaxed and happy and excited. I remember the first day of (informal workouts on Wednesday) and I had all my stuff on like 30 minutes ahead of everybody else. I was pretty excited.''

Asked his initial impression of Jake Locker, Polk said "he's got a gun'' although he said he mostly worked with Ronnie Fouch, his high school teammate.

I'll have more in a story tomorrow.


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January 10, 2008 3:46 PM

A few thoughts on today's story

Posted by Bob Condotta

Today's story elicited some vast, heated, and mixed reaction, so I'll try to respond to a few of the general questions that have arisen.

Why now? We wrote the story now simply because it was timely now. There remained a lot of questions about what happened, and why, and since we had what we thought was some new information that would lend a new perspective to it, we published it now. Simple as that.

Why don't you write something like this about the Cougars? I would argue that we treat all the sports teams that we cover fairly, and in the same light. But for general questions about our coverage, you should ask our sports editor Cathy Henkel, whose e-mail address is chenkel@seattletimes.com.

Why are you always picking on the Huskies? I would argue, as some commenters have done, that the story isn't necessarily "positive'' or "negative'' but is simply just reporting what is there. Again, there were some questions about what happened, and why, and this is some of what we found when we looked into it more deeply.

As for the blog, happy to get back to "more mundane'' football matters now, so in that light, want to make sure you saw ESPN's list of the top 10 individual college football seasons that includes Al Worley's 14 interceptions in 1968 at No. 6. That's three more than UW had this season as a team.

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January 10, 2008 9:12 AM

Emmert on college sports

Posted by Bob Condotta

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January 10, 2008 7:53 AM

Today's story

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's the story referenced in the post below about e-mails sent to Mark Emmert, Todd Turner and Tyrone Willingham during the season.

We also conducted new interviews with Turner and Emmert and some of that is included in the article, as well.

As you can see, a lot of what was in the blog post last night did not make it in the story --- I included it in the blog because I thought it was interesting and there wasn't the space in the story. Hopefully the two items combined give a clearer understanding of what happened during that time and some of the factors involved in the decisions that were made.


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January 9, 2008 6:56 PM

Turner wanted to extend Willingham before season

Posted by Bob Condotta

That's one of the revelations uncovered in a story that will run in tomorrow's paper (and on-line) that attempts to shine some light on some of the factors weighed by UW president Mark Emmert when he made recent decisions to keep football coach Tyrone Willingham and fire athletic director Todd Turner.

The story focuses largely on the role played by boosters, and the influence of e-mail campaigns by those who both supported Willingham and Turner and those who were critical of the coach and athletic director.

In an interview for the story, Turner said he wanted to extend Willingham's five-year contract before the season began as an indication of the school's support for the coach, who recently concluded his third season.

"I thought it was the right thing to do,'' Turner said. "It was before the season started. It would show the job was just getting started, it would be a real indication of our support. I knew how tough the schedule was, how difficult it would be in some of those games.''

Emmert, however, said no.

"We talked about it,'' Emmert said this week. "I’m trying to remember the details of when it occurred. But we talked about it, and he’d expressed an interest in it, and we talk about coaches and their contractual arrangements fairly often, and one of the arguments in favor of it, of course, is to send a clear message to recruits and make it somewhat easier in that sense. And it didn’t seem to me at this time that that’s a prudent thing to do and so we didn’t do it.''

Asked if that was because of the on-field performance of the football team, Emmert said yes.

"Obviously no-one, including Coach Willingham, was satisfied with the wins and losses that were occurring there, and so I didn’t think at that point it merited an extension,'' he said.

Turner said an extension could have been for as short a period as just one season. "Even just one year, it had a symbolic nature,'' Turner said. "It said look, this guy (is doing a good job, even if he has a tough road).''

Turner said he went along with Emmert's decision not to give Willingham an extension because "he wasn’t comfortable with it. I work for him. He has the ultimate call.''

Emmert and Turner also each denied some of the rumors that have continued to linger, including whether there was a decision made to fire Willingham that was scuttled by Turner, as well as whether Turner was fired because he disagreed with Emmert over keeping Willingham.

"No, absolutely not,'' Emmert said when asked if Turner was let go because he wouldn't fire Willingham. "Todd and I talked about the Willingham situation a great deal and we talked about it all through the season, of course. And at the end of the season after the Hawaii game, I talked again with Todd, and with coach Willingham on a couple of occasions, with both of them, and Todd and I were in agreement that keeping Tyrone as our football coach was the right thing to do. And coach Willingham effectively persuaded both me and Todd that he was willing and able to make the appropriate adjustments in the team that were going to make it successful in the coming seasons. The rumor or notion that Todd's leaving his current position was tied directly to Tyrone is not accurate at all.''

Asked if he was fired because Emmert told him to fire Willingham and he refused, Turner said, after a long pause: "The fact of the matter is, it was clear to me that it was not really a great fit. And it just wasn’t going to work.''

Turner said firing Willingham "never entered my mind … well, it did enter my mind because everyone kept talking about it … but I never entertained it as an option for us, and I never recommended it.''

Asked if there was an effort by big-money boosters to help pay for a buyout of Willingham, Turner said "I don’t have any knowledge of that personally.''

Both also said an e-mail sent by local NAACP president James Bible requesting a meeting had little influence.

Emmert said he ultimately was made to feel comfortable in talks with Willingham that the coach would make the moves necessary to restore winning.

Asked what those adjustments were, Emmert said: "Anyone who was attentive to the program this year knew that we were underperforming in defense and in special teams. And I’m not a football nut and I don’t have any particular expertise in those arenas, but obviously those were areas that he was most concerned about and that he understood what he thought needed to be done there, and was going to begin to address those, and that was obviously what he decided to do around coaching changes. I know there’s also been speculation that his retention as coach was contingent upon this or that assistant coach being fired, and that’s not true either. What I did want to see, of course, was that he had a game plan in mind and that he was committed to making whatever changes were necessary to have the team be successful.''

Emmert, however, said he knows the rumors remain persistent.

"It’s quite amazing the level of interest people have in these things,'' he said. "And the need for folks to put clear, neat and tidy explanations on everything … when in fact personnel decisions are rarely neat and tidy. So people would see a decision to keep the coach, make a change with the athletic director, and want to tie things back to that.''
.


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January 9, 2008 3:23 PM

Sporting News looks at 2008

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's an early look at the 2008 season from Matt Hayes at the Sporting News that I thought I'd pass along largely because he lists three UW opponents next year as eight of his national title possibilities --- BYU, Oklahoma and USC.

He also lists Tyrone Willingham as one of eight coaches on the hot seat, just one of about a million such lists Willingham figures to make between now and next season.

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January 9, 2008 2:24 PM

Willingham named President of AFCA

Posted by Bob Condotta

As we've noted here before, Tyrone Willingham was in line to take over as President of the American Football Coaches Association for this year, and the move was made official this week at the organization's annual convention in Anaheim.

Here's a release with more details from GoHuskies.com.

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January 9, 2008 12:52 PM

Another DC candidate?

Posted by Bob Condotta

One commenter posted that he heard that UW coach Tyrone Willingham interviewed Washington Redskins assistant Jerry Gray for the defensive coordinator job over the weekend.

Haven't been able to confirm that yet --- yes, I did call the Redskins, but it's not always quite that easy. But thought I'd pass along some information on Gray, who certainly has a resume that would make him make sense as a hire, and who now has an uncertain future after the resignation of Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs Tuesday.

Here's Gray's bio from the Redskins web site.

Here's his wikipedia entry.

And here's a story from the Washington Post today on the aftermath of the resignation of Gibbs and what that means to the team's assistants that quotes Gray stating the obvious --- he may need to look elsewhere for a job soon.

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January 9, 2008 9:17 AM

Wednesday morning notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a few items of interest today:

--- First, I've heard from several places that current Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young may be a candidate for the same position at UW. I have not been able to confirm this through any official channels, so I'm passing it along here merely as a rumor. As you can see in his bio, he has some significant Pac-10 experience, having worked at USC under Paul Hackett and at Arizona State under John Cooper. As for why he'd leave Kansas, maybe money. He reportedly made $220,000 last year, or about what Kent Baer made. UW was reportedly offering DeWayne Walker at least $400,000.

--- Speaking of USC, the Atlanta Falcons reportedly want to talk to Pete Carroll about their head coaching vacancy.

--- And some might wonder if Carroll would be suddenly interested because of a new book coming out about Reggie Bush called "Tarnished Heisman'' that is promising to unveil all kinds of new allegations about that incident. Here's a review of the book from LA Times blogger Adam Rose who concludes that "it doesn't look good.''

--- Here's the Oregonian's Oregon State blog with the news that the Beavers are recruiting Greg Oden's brother as a tight end. Obviously this makes some sense with Greg now just up I-5 in Portland.


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January 8, 2008 9:27 PM

Final Sagarin ratings out

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the season over, the final Sagarin ratings are out, updated through the bowl games, so thought I'd pass them along.

Here they are.

As you can see, UW finished ranked No. 55 in the nation and eighth in the Pac-10 ahead of WSU and Stanford.

In the final strength of schedule rating, UW fell from the No. 1 perch in the nation it held most of the year to No. 2, behind UCLA. But as noted yesterday, SOS was a category the Pac-10 dominated this year --- nine Pac-10 teams were among the final 19 in the nation in SOS.

Here's the list, with their national rank:

1, UCLA
2, UW
5, Oregon
6, Arizona
7, Cal
10, Stanford
12, Washington State
16, Oregon State
19, Arizona State
29, USC

UPDATED RECRUITING RATINGS --- Speaking of ratings, the latest Scout.com rating of 2008 recruiting classes has UW at No. 10 in the nation, No. 2 in the Pac-10 behind UCLA, which is seventh nationally.

However, as some of you have mentioned, UW is more likely to move down than up as the final month of recruiting passes. UW is likely to add only another player or two or three to a class that already includes 25 commits. As other schools fill their classes, some could move ahead of UW.

UW's average player rating is 3.16 which is sixth in the Pac-10 behind, in order, USC, UCLA, Cal, Arizona State and Stanford.

Rivals.com, meanwhile, has UW at No. 25 in the nation and fifth in the Pac-10 behind UCLA, USC, Arizona and Cal.

Some of you have asked why there's a difference in the rankings. Both simply use a points system, assigning every recruit a value and then adding up the number. The difference is based simply in how the two sites have evaluated the players. At some point, I'll try to delve further into that issue.

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January 8, 2008 2:30 PM

ESPN says UW a team that should rebound in 2008

Posted by Bob Condotta

ESPN's Bruce Feldman lists Washington as one of 10 teams that could make the biggest jump in wins in 2008 in a column penned today.

Here's a link.

ESPN also has this possible pre-season top 25 that includes five UW opponents --- Oklahoma, USC, Arizona State, BYU and Oregon. ASU seems a little high at 10, in my opinion. But with just three Pac-10 teams listed next year, also appears as if the conference won't have the pre-season hype it had going into this year.

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January 8, 2008 11:02 AM

More on the schedule

Posted by Bob Condotta

I see talking about the schedule is a contentious topic so I'll wade in carefully here.

But with the final polls out, worth noting that the Huskies played six of the final AP Top 25 --- USC (3), Ohio State (5), Arizona State (15), Hawaii (19), Oregon (23) and Oregon State (25).

And next year's schedule doesn't loom a whole lot easier as the same number of teams, six, in the final poll are on the schedule for next year --- USC, Oklahoma (8), BYU (14), Arizona State, Oregon and Oregon State.

Obviously a lot of those teams will look a lot different next season. But of the non-conference teams mentioned there, Oklahoma and BYU are expected to again be poll-worthy with the Sooner s getting some early talk as a potential national titlest. In his look ahead to next season, SI.com's Stewart Mandel has Oklahoma at No. 3. He also has USC at No. 4.

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January 7, 2008 9:24 PM

Revisiting UW's schedule

Posted by Bob Condotta

The college football season ended tonight with LSU handling Ohio State in the national title game.

Ohio State was the last team left that had played UW this season, as well, meaning we can now more completely analyze Washington's schedule this season.

UW's schedule was undeniably one of the toughest, if not the toughest, in the nation this season. Sagarin had it rated No. 1 when the regular season ended, though simply being in the Pac-10 had a lot to do with it.

Seven of the top 11 toughest schedules this season were played by Pac-10 teams --- the others were UCLA 2, Cal 4, Arizona 5, Oregon 7, Stanford 10 and Washington State 11. Oregon State wasn't far off at 16. The others were Arizona State at 29 and USC at 32, the Trojans' SOS hindered greatly by the collapses of traditional powers Notre Dame and Nebraska.

Point being, simply existing in the Pac-10 this year meant you played a tough schedule.

And the, uh, vauntedness of UW's schedule took a little bit of a hit during the bowl season. The Huskies played nine teams that went to bowls this season, with those teams going 4-5 in the bowl season, including losses by non-conference foes Ohio State, Hawaii and Boise State, the shine obviously coming completely off the Warriors.

Nine bowl opponents is a lot. But Oregon, to name one other team, also played nine if you count its own bowl game (which is fair, in a way, since the Huskies get to nine by having scheduled an extra game against Hawaii --- UO and UW each played 13 games).

Oregon's nine bowl foes were all three of its non-conference foes --- Houston, Fresno State and Michigan --- as well as five Pac-10 opponents and then its own bowl game against South Florida. Oregon's nine bowl opponents went 5-4.

So while UW's schedule was unquestionably rugged, Oregon's -- just to name a team the Huskies are trying to compete with --- probably ended up being just about as tough, meaning the schedule can't be blamed for everything.


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January 7, 2008 3:49 PM

UW welcomes six newcomers

Posted by Bob Condotta

The UW officially announced today that three scholarship players have enrolled --- receivers Anthony Boyles, Devin Aguilar and Chris Polk, the latter also listed as a running back.

It also announced the addition of three new walk-ons --- defensive back Mick Connors of Bellevue who redshirted last year at the University of San Diego; OL Shaun Brooks of Sacrmento, and long snapper Brendan Lopez of Bellevue, who redshirted last season at Michigan.

Brooks is a junior in athletic eligibility, the rest are all freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

Here is a link to the official release from the school.

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January 7, 2008 12:32 PM

Neuheisel on KJR

Posted by Bob Condotta


Former UW coach, and current UCLA coach, Rick Neuheisel was a guest on the Dave "Softy'' Mahler show earlier today.

I'm assuming you'll be able to get the full thing here in a little while at SoftyCentral.com.

But I'll also pass along a few highlights.

--- Asked if he was a different person now than in 2002, Neuheisel said "there are some things I did in my past that I don't need to do again, no question. You don't need to take short cuts.'' Neuheisel said he was referring specifically to recruiting and that "we just need to make sure we do it exactly the right way and maybe be a little less hasty in the things we tried to get done and create the splash that we tried to create.''

--- In what might have been his most revealing comment about what happened on the field at UW, Neuheisel implied that he didn't ask enough of his players, especially during the recruiting process. "If I was negligent at all. I probably didn't articulate the cost of membership in this group as much as I should have. I was probably more excited in them joining the club or the school than in telling you 'okay, this is what you owe to be part of it.'''

--- Along the same lines, he admitted that when he first became a coach at age 33 at Colorado he tried to be closer to the players than he is likely to be now. "I'm going to be who I am,'' he said. "But as I get older, there is going to be more separation between myself and the players. I got my first chance to do this at age 33 and there wasn't as much separation.''

--- On his overall memories of UW he said "I don't regret my time in Washington. I believe there was a lot we got done and believe we had a good amount of success. Maybe not as much as we would have liked, but there were some things we can look back on with a great deal of pride.'' He mentioned winning some games and having the second-best graduation rate in the Pac-10 only to Stanford at the time he left.

--- Neuheisel said he would "agree wholeheartedly'' that the "49er thing was a tremendous mistake on my part and one I will forever be sorry for.'' That's when he lied about interviewing with the 49ers for a job in February of 2003. "There is no excuse for not being forthright. .... It was wrong and Washington and myself deserved better. It was a bad mistake.''

--- Neuheisel was less apologetic about the events that got him fired at UW, but said he has "been able to make peace with many of the people at the NCAA and tried to keep this thing as unpersonal as it could be so that no one went away feeling there were terrible people involved.'' Neuheisel said there were "a lot of things'' that never became public but said he didn't want to get into any of that saying "it's water under the bridge.... I'm just glad it's behind me.''

--- Asked what kind of reaction he expects to get when UCLA comes to UW next November, he laughed and compared it to going back to Colorado in 2000 with the Huskies. That, he said, "was spirited, passionate, and I'm anticipating the same. But I'll say the same thing today that I said at that time, that it's not about me, it's about two great universities competing and we'll come up there and we'll try to do our best.''

--- Asked if he knew who turned him in to the NCAA, Neuheisel said "I thought about it incessantly. I have no idea. And I've kind of let that time go. I told you there were times when I didn't know if I'd get a chance to do it again, times where I dealt with a lot of bitterness and did a lot of self-introspection, and how I could I do better. All of that helps you grow. But to worry about things like who it was is just really wasting your time and it doesn't matter now because it's behind me. But it has helped me, hopefully, to become a better person, a better husband, a better dad, and now hopefully a better coach. If anything, the guy did me a favor. I'm hopeful it will turn out that way.''


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January 7, 2008 10:29 AM

A few notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the Huskies have yet to talk with RB Dino Babers

--- Cal's Jeff Tedford also decided to shake up his coaching staff in the wake of the Bears' 7-6 season, but he did it quickly, announcing everything on Sunday. DL coach Ken Delgado has already accepted a position at Louisville.

--- For those who have asked about the beginning of the winter quarter, as noted earlier, Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar are already officially enrolled in school. Chris Polk is also expected to enroll this week. If we get official word we'll pass it along. UPDATE --- Official word today is that Polk has also enrolled. I was simply waiting for official word before I said he had, so that was the only reason for any delay in passing that along.

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January 6, 2008 5:40 PM

A few notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

I was unable to watch the Army All-American Bowl so I can't give a personal scouting report on how Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse played.

I've been looking for anything that gave stats for the game but couldn't find it, and I also couldn't find anything that mentions either of the two. So I'll take the word of those of you who said Kearse apparently had two catches for small gains and that Middleton apparently played some defense. I similarly can't find anything on the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl, in which Alameda Ta'amu and Everette Thompson played. Sorry. If anyone has anything on either game, happy to pass it along.

--- There are several reports out there that 6-foot, 175-pound cornerback Adam Long of St. Bernard High in the Los Angeles area had a good visit to UW this weekend and is close to fully commiting to the Huskies but will take a trip to Oregon State next weekend. He also visited UCLA in October.

--- Sounds as if UW's chances of landing defensive back E.J. Woods, a defensive back Encino, Calif., who committed to UCLA before deciding to look around again after the firing of Karl Dorrell, are lessening. Woods told Rivals.com over the weekend that he had a good talk with new UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel and again considers himself a "soft commit'' to UCLA. he said he will likely visit Oregon later this month and then UCLA before making a final decision.

--- As we've mentioned here before, the American Football Coaches Association convention is this week, starting today and running through Wednesday. Could be some coaching rumors, if not outright news, emanating from that gathering. One name that some of you have floated for UW's new defensive is Hawaii DC Greg McMackin, who worked for the Seahawks under Dennis Erickson and may now be available with June Jones apparently moving. However, I've seen several stories that indicate McMackin will go with Jones to SMU.

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January 6, 2008 11:14 AM

Neuheisel calls me (sort of)

Posted by Bob Condotta

So imagine my surprise the other day when I picked up my ringing phone, said hello, and heard "Hi, this is Rick Neuheisel.''

Considering the fact that I haven't talked to him in years, and the way his UW career ended, I'd almost have been less shocked to get an unsolicited call from Britney Spears.

Alas, I was simply getting one of the pre-recorded messages Neuheisel taped that the school is sending to boosters, alums and others on its official mailing list (so glad to know I can use this as proof in case anyone at UCLA ever says they didn't have my number when I request an interview).

Still, a little jarring at first, and I was too stunned to hear if he promised that UCLA would win "the Southwest championship.''

(You can find a link to the message on this blog post).

A few people jumped on this to wonder if there wasn't some sort of recruiting violation involved in case recruits happened to get any of these calls considering it's a dead period.

But as you can read here, coaches are allowed to call recruits once a week during dead periods.

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January 5, 2008 11:27 AM

Kearse, Middleton in Army All-American Game

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you've forgotten, UW commits Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse are playing today in the Army All-American Game, which started at 10 a.m. and is live on NBC.

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January 4, 2008 4:21 PM

A.D. update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Had a chance to talk with both UW president Mark Emmert and interim athletic director Scott Woodward in the past couple of days about where the search for a permanent AD goes now.

Emmert said the plan is to form a "small search committee'' in a month or so and then go about the task of finding a replacement for the fired Todd Turner.

Before then, Emmert said he plans to meet with groups of faculty, athletic staff and other such groups to get a sense of what they want in a new AD, then form a search committee.

He said he'd like to hire a new AD by the end of the academic year at the latest, saying "there's no reason not to.''

Some have speculated that Woodward, who is currently the school's vice president for external affairs, could just slide into the full-time AD's job --- he officially becomes the interim AD on Jan. 31. But Woodward said it's still too early to tell if that's even something he would want to do. "I really love the job I have now,'' he said.

Upshot is, sounds like this is a process that is going to take a little while.

EMMERT ON DC SEARCH: I also asked Emmert about his role in the search for a new defensive coordinator --- he met witih UCLA 's DeWayne Walker twice before Walker decided to stay with the Bruins. Emmert said he talked to Walker the day before the Rose Bowl --- Emmert was there as all conference presidents and chancellors are invited to the game each year --- and again at halftime of the game (Walker was also in attendance).

"My role in any of these things is just to help out the coach,'' he said. "I don't normally get involved in those things --- this is Tyrone's search and his decison. When he was interested in pursuing coach Walker, I just asked if there was any way I could be helpful and it turned out he was talking to someone in the same town (where Emmert was) so we chatted a bit.''

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January 4, 2008 2:46 PM

Thompson, Ta'amu in All-Star game tonight

Posted by Bob Condotta

Thought I'd pass along a reminder that Husky commits Everette Thompson and Alameda Ta'amu are playing tonight in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Miami.

Here's the web site with info on the game, which is billed as the last football game ever in the Orange Bowl.

The game is on Fox College Sports at 5 p.m. Pacific Time (that is channel 413 on my Comcast setup in the Seattle area).

Ta'amu is listed as an OL for the game, with Thompson on the defensive line for the West.


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January 4, 2008 9:21 AM

A little more on DC search

Posted by Bob Condotta

Very little, actually.

I didn't have a story in the paper today (in part for some space issues) but also because UW coach Tyrone Willingham informed media who asked, through a spokesman, that he will have nothing to say about the search until it is completed, refusing all interview requests until then.

Willingham is also set for a fairly busy few days in which he'll have to juggle some other activities along with the search.

The Huskies are scheduled to have four recruits in town this weekend, including three players who have already committed --- RB Terrance Dailey, cornerback Anthony Gobern and LB Bradly Roussel --- as well as LB Josh Kaddu of Vacaville, Calif. (this all according to Scout.com).

Then Willingham will take off for the American Football Coaches Association Convention Sunday-Wednesday in Anaheim. As I've mentioned before here, Willingham is scheduled to become president of AFCA for 2008 (he was first vice president this year as you can see in this link here).

There will be a lot of other coaches there, as well, so surely Willingham will be able to talk to whomever he might want during his time in Anaheim.

--- Some of you have asked about Duane Akina, a former UW player who has been the co-defensive coordinator at Texas. Despite the shakeup there, this story in the Dallas Morning News today makes it sound as if Akina is staying put. The story says Texas is pursuing Auburn's Will Muschamp and that if he gets the job Akina will remain a co-coordinator but will give up play-calling duties while also coaching the secondary.

--- Dino Babers, thought a possible candidate for the UW running backs job, is scheduled to interview with Rick Neuheisel today about staying on the staff at UCLA. So his future could be a lot more clear in the next few days.


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January 3, 2008 4:41 PM

Some defensive coordinator thoughts

Posted by Bob Condotta

So with DeWayne Walker off the board, I see a lot of people again throwing out some of the wish-list names to take over as UW's new defensive coordinator --- Jon Tenuta, Mike Singletary, Mark Banker.

One thing to keep in mind is that UW is far from the only school needing a new DC. Here's a partial list of schools with DC openings you'd figure are better jobs than UW's --- Michigan, Miami, Texas, LSU. So the really big names are going to have options.

As for Banker, he said last month he had no desire to leave Oregon State, so while things obviously change quickly in this business, he seemed pretty adamant. Singletary is going to be interviewed for NFL head coaching jobs, so dropping down to college coordinator seems unlikely. Tenuta is being mentioned at LSU.

It's worthwhile to remember the downside to this job --- the prospect of coming to work for a coach on a short leash, being entrusted to take over what was one of the worst major college defenses in the nation this year and that has to rebuild its defensive line. It may pay pretty well as evidenced by the deal being offered Walker, and some coaches might look at it as a real opportunity --- it could be argued the defense can only get better and whoever is the coordinator will get major plaudits for turning it around.

But most coaches are big on security.

There are some rumblings Willingham may now be looking at NFL assistants, and here's one name mentioned to me by a source --- Don Martindale, who has been the linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders the last four years but also has a lengthy college history, including at Notre Dame under Lou Holtz and Cincinnati. Martindale was sought after by Stanford last year to be the DC but decided to stay with the Raiders.

As I passed along last night, I've also heard the name of Jaguars assistant Tom Williams, also a former assistant at UW (under Rick Neuheisel) and Stanford.

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January 3, 2008 3:49 PM

Story on death of Locker's friend

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wanted to take a break from the make-believe of college football to pass along the all-too-real sad story out of Bellingham on the death of Chelsey Ebert, a 15-year-old at Ferndale High and a friend of the Locker family. Ebert died last week of cancer.

UW quarterback Jake Locker shaved his head last spring to show support for Ebert, which I detailed in this story here. (And I apologize greatly for the fact that I appear to have gotten her first name wrong --- have no memory of how that happened).

Jake Locker is quoted in the Bellingham story on Ebert.

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January 3, 2008 11:34 AM

A few links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As we start to figure out where UW goes from here in its quest for a new defensive coordinator, I'll pass along a few links.

--- First, here's the story on DeWayne Walker today from the LA Daily News that gives more of a UCLA perspective on his decision.

--- Larry MacDuff, co-defensive coordinator at Texas, resigned yesterday. Maybe he would be someone for UW to look at. The story also gives a good rundown of other DCs who are available.

--- Here's our prep notebook today that includes the news that Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse will play Saturday in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game in San Antonio. Here's the home page for the bowl game with more information.

--- A couple of answers to questions: School starts at UW Monday and Anthony Boyles, Devin Aguilar and Chris Polk are all expected to enroll then. Also, as of yet, none of the graduating Huskies have been named to play in any post-season All-Star games. As for Ronnie Fouch, he could transfer and be immediately eligible somewhere next year since he didn't play this season but I don't expect that to happen. I'd refer you to the comments he made here last week. I have no reason to think otherwise.

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January 2, 2008 9:30 PM

A little more on Walker

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a link to the story we've just posted on the news that DeWayne Walker is staying at UCLA.

I'll add a few more things:

--- Rick Neuheisel acknowledged that keeping the two other coaches Walker wanted to remain on staff was a part of the discussions he had with Walker today. "It was not a pointe of contention,'' he said. "I just wanted to make sure that each guy get retained on his own mertis because as you evaluate your staff, you want everybody united on the same front. I didn't want to have seven guys and then three over here on a separate page. I just wanted to take the time (to make it right).''

--- Here's a complete quote from Walker about his dealings with the Huskies. "I think they did a great job,'' he said. "I know coach Neuheisel talked about being a recruit and I felt that way from the University of Washington, and it was a tough decision. It was. I thought Tyrone did a very thorough job through the process and it was the toughest call I've had to make in a long time to tell him that I wanted to stay at UCLA. But at the end of the day, it was just the unfinished business and the family part of it and the players andn the recruits and me feeling confident that we can still do this thing. I'm just looking forward to it.''

--- As you can see, I talked with Randy Hart who said his future has not been discussed in detail but that until he is told otherwise, he is expecting to come back next season.

--- Some of you have thrown out Jacksonville Jaguars assistant Tom Williams as a possibility and that's a name I've heard before and one that makes some sense. As you can see in his bio here, Williams is a former Husky assitant under Neuheisel (1999-2001) before leaving for Stanford, where he was co-defensive coordinator in 2002 and 2003. Williams played linebacker at Stanford from 1989-92, which overlaps with Willingham's first tour as an assistant there --- Willingham was running backs coach at Stanford from 89-91.

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January 2, 2008 8:13 PM

More on Walker

Posted by Bob Condotta

As I type this, Rick Neuheisel and DeWayne Walker are undergoing a teleconference announcing that Walker is staying at UCLA as defensive coordinator.

Neuheisel called it "a great hire'' and said "obvioulsy we are elated'' that Walker has decided to stay.

In what might be the most intriguing quote of the night, Walker acknowledged that the Huskies not only wanted to hire him but UCLA defensive line coach Todd Howard and linebackers coach Chuck Bullough.

"University of Washington and Coach (Tyrone) Willingham did a great job trying to recruit not only myself but also Todd and Chuck,'' Walker said. "But I'm just happy that it worked out for all of us.''

This obviously means the Huskies had made the decision to make major changes on the defensive staff, potentially getting rid of longtime defensive line coach Randy Hart and linebackers coach Chris Tormey.

Walker said he stayed because he felt UCLA was the place he was supposed to be and he felt he had some "unfinished business'' with the Bruins.


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January 2, 2008 7:37 PM

Walker staying at UCLA

Posted by Bob Condotta

Official word has just come down from UCLA that defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker is staying at UCLA.

New UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel is holding a teleconference in just a few minutes to make the official announcement.

This is obviously a big hit for UW as the Huskies made a very serious effort to get Walker to replace Kent Baer. Another candidate, Ron English, was hired at Louisville yesterday, so it's uncertain where the Huskies go now. One option is promoting LB coach Chris Tormey, who was UW's defensive coordinator in 1994.

It's thought that the turning point for Walker staying at UCLA came when Neuheisel agreed to allow Walker to keep his current defensive staff at UCLA intact. UCLA's official release announces that defensive line coach Todd Howard and linebackers coach Chuck Bullough are staying at UCLA. They were the two defensive assistants who came to UCLA with Walker and were rumored to be coming to UW if Walker had moved north.

I'll have more later.


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January 2, 2008 5:41 PM

Walker website

Posted by Bob Condotta

Nothing new to report on the DeWayne Walker front at the moment --- official word from UW today is no official announcement coming.

Thought I'd pass along again this website devoted to Walker. No idea who runs it, but they report that other teams have gotten involved, that it should get really interesting, and something should happen soon.

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January 2, 2008 12:47 PM

More on Walker

Posted by Bob Condotta

There is no real definitive news yet on DeWayne Walker, though reports are that he is likely to be meeting with UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel today.

He may have met with UW president Mark Emmert on Tuesday. Emmert was in the Los Angeles area attending the Rose Bowl --- all conference presidents are invited to the game each year and Emmert did go.

I have also been told that current UW assistants are aware there could be additional changes to the staff, that when the moves were made last month that didn't mean that everyone else on the staff was sure to come back.

If there is more today, we'll report it here as quickly as we can.

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January 2, 2008 9:44 AM

Final Pac-10 rankings

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Rose Bowl concluded the Pac-10 football season, so it's time for one final ranking of the conference.

And just to be clear, this isn't a look ahead at next year --- we'll have plenty of time for that later --- but just a ranking of where they ended up this season.

1, USC --- Rose Bowl confirmed that Trojans might have been the best team in the nation, after all. Again we ask --- what happened against Stanford? Considering what it looks like it cost USC, might be the biggest upset in Pac-10 history.

2, Oregon --- Rip Mike Bellotti all you want, but his staff did a nice job of reviving their team --- and devising a good game plan --- for the Sun Bowl. Looked terrible for a couple games, but when completely healthy this year, as good as anybody in the nation.

3, Arizona State --- Looked bad against Texas, but 10 wins are 10 wins. If they had ever figured out how to stop a blitz might have been really dangerous.

4, Oregon State --- Had a soft bowl opponent, to be sure, but dominated more greatly than the score. Think what might have happened had Sammie Stroughter been available all year and OSU had gotten decent quarterbacking play.

5, Cal --- Inexplicable last-month skid. But bowl game showed how good these guys were when healthy and rolling.

6, UCLA --- But it's all about Rick Neuheisel now. Will be one of most interesting teams in nation next season.

7, Arizona --- Their early losses to BYU and New Mexico ended up not looking quite as bad.

8, Washington State --- Paul Wulff pumping some life into the Apple Cup rivalry.

9, Washington --- Moved up a spot since our last rankings despite not having played due to having maybe the best off-season of any team in the conference so far.

10, Stanford --- A couple nice wins this year, but overall, still looking up at the rest of the conference. Either Stanford or WSU will be picked last next season.

LAPPANO'S QB HISTORY --- Several questions have come up about Tim Lappano's history grooming QBs, so I'll try to answer that here. Lappano has been a QB coach at two previous stops --- Washington State in 1991 when Drew Bledsoe was a sophomore and Oregon State from 1999-2002 when the QBs were Jonathan Smith and Derek Anderson. At both places he worked for head coaches who are heavily involved with the quarterback position --- Mike Price at WSU and Dennis Erickson at OSU. He was aided at UW this year by graduate assistant Luke Huard who did a lot of the hands-on work with the QBs this year. Huard is expected back for another season. The rest of Lappano's career he has been a running backs or wide receivers coach.

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January 1, 2008 7:45 PM

Pac-10 finishes 4-2

Posted by Bob Condotta

USC's blowout of Illinois caps a bowl season for the Pac-10 that was its most successful since 2003.

The conference finished 4-2, winning its last four games after an 0-2 start, the best record since also going 4-2 in 2003.

The Pac-10 went 3-3 last year and 3-2 the two years previous.

MORE ON WALKER --- Also, the LA Daily News reports that UW president Mark Emmert might have been in LA today to talk with DeWayne Walker. That's something I heard yesterday but couldn't confirm well enough to go with, but since they are saying it, I'll pass it along. The Walker-Emmert report is about four items down in the blog here.

Not real common for a president to get this involved, if this is true, but Emmert is known for his heavy involvement in key football decisions at UW and LSU.

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January 1, 2008 3:42 PM

The latest on Walker

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of interesting DeWayne Walker-related things out there recently.

First, Kirk Herbstreit said during the Rose Bowl telecast --- and just seconds after an interview with Rick Neuheisel by Lisa Salters --- that he thinks Walker is headed to UW, and that the Bruins will then hire USC linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., as DC. Norton played at UCLA just after Neuheisel, but during the time when Neuheisel began his coaching career in Westwood.

The LA Times, meanwhile, reports on its UCLA blog that Walker has not accepted anything with UW and that Walker and several other Bruins assistant coaches will meet again tomorrow with Neuheisel. If true, that obviously means there will be no official announcement of anything today.

Also, Ron English has officially accepted an offer at Louisville.

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January 1, 2008 11:50 AM

No official word yet

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just a quick note to point out there is nothing official yet on DeWayne Walker, and I don't see anything else out there that really updates the situation from last night.

I did want to point out that this story from the Orange County Register mentions the three defensive assistants Walker may bring with him to UW if he gets the job with the Huskies --- defensive line coach Todd Howard, linebackers coach Chuck Bullough and maybe safeties coach Gary DeLoach, though speculation seems to be that would be more unlikely.

Here are bios for Howard --- who as you can see, played linebacker in the NFL for a couple of years and has coached at both the NFL and college levels; and Bullough --- who as you can see, coached with the Bears for five years before coming to UCLA. Both came to UCLA before the 2006 season along with Walker.

Again, none of this is official and the talk about Walker wanting to bring a few assistants with him is speculation at this point, but indications are strong that bringing Walker to UW could mean a reshaping of the Husky defensive staff, as well.

UPDATE 2:15 --- The LA Daily News blog states that a UCLA official spoke with Walker and he is still undecided about his future. Read it here.



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January 1, 2008 2:15 AM

Sporting News reports Walker to Washington

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Sporting News is reporting that UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker is coming to Washington to fill the same position, replacing Kent Baer.

There is nothing official from UW, and Tyrone Willingham had no comment about any possible moves after the Husky basketball game on Monday.

The LA Daily News, which has had the best read on the Walker situation throughout, says only that it is "headed in that direction" (meaning toward UW) but that nothing is final. The Daily News had reported earlier in the day that more than money would play into Walker's decision. While the Daily News story doesn't say it, that could possibly mean Walker having a say in decisions about the rest of the defensive staff. So there's a chance this could mean more changes on UW's defensive staff if Walker is hired. The LA Times blog hints that the issue of the rest of the assistant coaches on the defensive staff could be a factor in whether Walker stays at UCLA or comes to UW.

If Walker is hired, he is likely coming at a multi-year salary worth more than the $330,000 he was reported to make at UCLA (though I've heard the amount is closer to $360-380,000), which would make him the highest-paid coordinator in UW history. Here's an Orange County Register story that talks about how new UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel will have more money to pay assistants but also mentions Walker having talked with Willingham on Monday and that the Huskies are said to be offering him a possible bump in salary.

As the Daily News reported earlier, Walker and Neuheisel met earlier today, and Neuheisel has called Walker his number one recruit. The Daily News then reported that more than salary would factor into Walker's decision.

If Walker comes aboard, that will fill the most significant of the three openings for the Huskies, who also need to find a new running backs and tight ends/special teams coach. But if Walker comes aboard, as mentioned earlier, it could mean a reshaping of the defensive staff for the Huskies.


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