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

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February 1, 2008 9:34 AM

Wrapping up Donatell

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wanted to pass along the final version of our story on the official hiring of Ed Donatell yesterday, a move that appears to solidify UW's defensive coaching staff for next season.

A lot of info was passed along here yesterday with all of the conference calls, announcements, etc., so let's hit the high points of what this teams:

--- Both Donatell and UW coach Tyrone Willingham said the rest of the defensive staff will return. So in the end, the only change made was to the coordinator with DL coach Randy Hart, LB coach Chris Tormey and DB coach J.D. Williams all due back. They'll have their work cut out to revive a defense that allowed 446 yards per game last season.

--- Donatell got a two-year deal worth $334,000 annually, the most for an assistant in UW history and the first assistant of the Willingham era to get more than a one-year contract. It is also expected that offensive coordinator Tim Lappano will now get a similar deal. Lappano has been working on one-year deals since arriving at UW in 2005, but under Willingham, the coordinators have had identical contracts. Word is that the school is working with Lappano on a new deal.

--- Donatell said the two-year contract wasn't a necessity to come to UW, that it is simply becoming par-for-the-course for college coordinators. It's true multi-year deals are becoming increasingly common, but in this case, UW seemed to have little choice to whoever it was offering the job due to the hot-seat nature of next season.

--- UW still needs to hire running backs and tight ends/special teams coaches. Willingham gave no real timeline on it, but it likely will wait now until after letter-of-intent day, which is Wednesday.

--- Donatell gave no specifics of what the schemes will be next season, saying that it's too early to decide that yet. But he said it is likely to be multiple, meaning use of both the 4-3 and the 3-4. He explained he's been a 4-3 guy most of his career but studied the 3-4 last year while working as a special assistant with the Jets. He also said he thinks adaptability is one of his strengths, something echoed by the likes of Jim Mora, which seems like a necessity with this team right now. The defense still lacks experienced personnel in a lot of places and the trick will be finding the best schemes for their talents.

--- Given everything, this seems on paper like a hiring that will be well-received. Donatell has a proven track record but also has ties to the school and familial ties to the area that make him seem truly excited to be here for as long as can be, not just taking another job somewhere as could have been the case with someone else. No doubt tracking the progression of the defense now becomes the focus of spring football.

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