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

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August 12, 2008 8:40 PM

Husky nightcap, day nine

Posted by Bob Condotta

A recap of the day that was:

WHAT HAPPENED --- The Huskies held one practice, going in full pads in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- Another day, another injury. this one to tight end Michael Gottlieb, who suffered a hamstring injury on Monday.

Interestingly, Gottlieb described the injury this way: "It's similar to Jake's (Locker). I just tweaked my hamstring a little bit, but not as severe. I should be back in a couple of days.'' UW coach Tyrone Willingham, meanwhile, hinted that Gottlieb's was worse than Locker's while saying that Locker could be back any day.

Either way, that meant that the Huskies practiced today without three projected offensive starters heading into the year --- Gottlieb, Locker and Brandon Johnson --- with Juan Garcia also still not 100 percent (though admittedly way ahead of where anyone thought). Throw in the depature of Curtis Shaw and the loss of E.J. Savannah, and that's six potential starters in varying states of unavailablity at the moment.

Considering that all but Shaw and Savannah could be back or healthy soon, it's too soon to panic. But this is a team with little margin for error, and with each day lost to injury for a key player, that margin gets a little slimmer.

Also out today were Brandon Yakaboski (hip flexor), DB Anthony Gobern (leg) and CB Byron Davenport (ankle).

THE BIG STORY, NO. 2 --- The apparently temporary loss of Gottlieb means a new starter at TE for a little while, and Willingham said that as of today, that would be fifth-year senior Walt Winter. Winter was one of the more highly-rated recruits of the Class of 2004 but has struggled to find his niche, starting out on defense, then moving to tight end.

But Willingham said the wait may finally be paying off for Winter.

"Walt has been a very good receiver the entire time he has been (a tight end),'' Willingham said. "Now he's starting to show some signs at being better at all the other responsibilities at tight end, and that comes with experience. He's starting to know things and understand things. He still has some growing to do, but I like where he is going.''

The injury to Gottlieb could also open the door for Kavario Middleton to get into the mix. Willingham said Middleton is having a good camp. "He has not disappointed,’’ Willingham said.

BACK IN THE SWING --- Talked to Chancellor Young for a little while today seeing how his return to football has been going. With Shaw leaving, there is even a greater chance for Young to see the field as a receiver.

Young said he thinks it's going well, something WR coach Charlie Baggett also said, saying Young has had some good moments. He's playing both inside and outside at WR and his size (6-0, 220 pounds) makes him one of UW's biggest receivers.

"I'm just trying to get the rust off,'' he said. "But it's not too bad. I've got the feeling now like I know what to expect.''

I asked him if he'd taken a big hit yet to get reacquainted with that feeling and he said no.

"We haven't really been like 'just let it go' yet because we're trying to keep everybody up,'' he said. "The banging hasn't been too bad.''

QUESTION OF THE DAY --- A reader asked today "Is it just me, or have the Huskies had an abnormally large amount of personnel issues so far with ineligibility and injuries compared to other teams and past years?''

A: That's a little hard to answer since I don't follow other teams as closely to really know how many personnel issues they have. I know USC and UCLA have also had QB issues, WSU just lost one of its best receivers for up to two months, OSU had a safety leave the team shortly before the season, etc. In other words, every team has issues, they can just often seem magnified when they happen to your team. That said, as mentioned above, this is an unusually young team without a lot of experience that needs all the practice time together it can get. And obviously losing playmakers like Savannah and Shaw hurts a team with this many personnel issues. As for the injuries, we basically need to see what team lines up on Aug. 30 before we answer that.

WHAT'S NEXT ---The Huskies are scheduled for two practices today, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

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August 12, 2008 4:24 PM

On those duplicate tickets

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've received a few e-mails from fans saying that they received two sets of season tickets when they got their package in the mail this week.

UW officials say about 2,000 to 2,500 season-ticket holders received duplicate tickets due to an error in printing. The thought is that there was an initial printing run begun that then got corrupted. When it started over, some were printed again, resulting in two sets of ticketes.

UW officials say that all duplicate tickets were sent to the same ticket-holders, meaning two ticket holders did not not receive the same tickets. Some ticket holders simply received two copies of the same tickets.

UW officials are asking that fans who received duplicate tickets destroy the extras or send them back.

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August 12, 2008 4:01 PM

Afternoon practice notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just back from the media availability portion of practice today and here's what we saw:

--- The Huskies were in full pads looking ready for some heavy work.

--- The list of those not in full pads was: QB Jake Locker (hamstring), RBs Brandon Johnson (knee) and Brandon Yakaboski (hip flexor), DB Anthony Gobern (leg), CB Byron Davenport (ankle) and TE Michael Gottlieb (hamstring). All have previously disclosed injuries and are apparently all "day-to-day.''

--- Among the visitors to practice was two of the top recruits in the state --- Prosser WR Kirby Moore and Skyline WR Gino Simone. Locker talked to the pair for five minutes or so while the rest of the team was warming up.

--- Locker looked like he tried to jog for a second after being called to the practice field but resorted to a fast walk, instead. His leg was still heavily taped.

--- There were no apparent position changes.

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August 12, 2008 12:20 PM

Willingham afternoon notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW coach Tyrone Willingham just addressed the media here and revealed that starting tight end Michael Gottlieb has suffered a hamstring injury.

Gottlieb, however, said he doesn't think the injury is serious and anticipates being back in a few days. Gottlieb said he suffered the injury in Monday afternoon's practice and that it initially seemed pretty bad but that it seems to be healing quickly.

With Gottlieb out for a little while, Willingham said fifth-year senior Walt Winter will move up to No. 1 on the depth chart at tight end. After that is a trio of redshirt or true freshmen, including heralded recruit Kavario Middleton. Willingham said Middleton is right in the mix for playing time saying "he hasn't disappointed.''

In other news:

--- Willingham said he expects WR Curtis Shaw, who left the team yesterday for personal reasons, to come back someday. "At some point, yes,'' Willingham said. But when that would be, he said, he doesn't know,

--- Despite the loss of Shaw, Willingham said he thinks the team has enough depth at WR and won't be moving any players to that spot. "There's no reason to make adjustments there,'' he said.

--- Willingham said QB Jake Locker "is still day-to-day'' and wouldn't give a timetable for when he will return. "All of his focus is still rehab,'' Willingham said. When asked about a date for a return, he said "no, there isn't. We'll let him and the doctors determine it.'' Pressed further, Willingham said "we're pleased with where he's at and he's day-to-day.''

--- Willingham echoed the comments of DC Ed Donatell yesterday in saying that he expects a heavy rotation on the defensive line. "I anticipate we will see a lot of guys play there,'' he said. One of those could be Alameda Ta'amu, whom Willingham said hasn't been bothered much by a pre-existing foot injury. "It hasn't been (a problem) since camp,'' Willingham said. "He's a massive man,'' Willingham said. "He brings that to the table and that's a great start.''

--- OL coach Mike Denbrock said that incoming frosh Allen Carroll had some minor off-season knee surgery that has resulted in him not being in optimum shape. It is not expected that any of the true freshmen OLs will play this season.

All for now.

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August 12, 2008 11:43 AM

More on new potential Seattle bowl game

Posted by Bob Condotta

I talked this morning with Ralph Morton, the executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission, who confirmed that his group is putting together a proposal for a new Seattle Bowl football game that would begin in 2010.

Morton said the process is "in the early stages'' but that the feedback so far has been good and he thinks t here is a chance it could happen.

Morton updated Pac-10 athletic directors on the proposal on Monday with the ADs in town for their annual late-summer meeting. Morton hopes to secure a commitment from the Pac-10 to send a team to the bowl, which would be played at Qwest Field.

Morton said commission is putting together a business plan, attempting to secure some sponsorships, before deciding whether to apply for certification with the NCAA, which can't happen until the spring of 2009.

"We're just taking this one step at a time,'' he said. "We still have a long ways to go.''

Morton said the bowl would be a fundraiser for Children's Hospital in Seattle with the hope that the game would also attract attention to that organization's efforts.

There was a previous Seattle Bowl played at Qwest Field in 2001 and 2002, but this group is not connected with that effort, which was run by a private promoter. Pac-10 teams played in each of those games --- Stanford losing to Georgia Tech in 2001 in what was Tyrone Willingham's final game with the Cardinal before leaving for Notre Dame; and Oregon losing to Wake Forest in 2002.

The Pac-10 currently has seven bowl contracts, but many are short-term deals and Morton said there would be an opportunity to get into the mix by 2010 if the bowl can secure the needed funding.

Morton said he thinks "there is strong interest'' from the Pac-10. "They are very interested in the proposal where it's about a cause, about a lot more than just trying to make money,'' he said.

Morton said the goal would be to create a bowl that would be among the upper tier of the games not affiliated with the BCS.

"We want to make sure that if we are going to do this that it will be a major event for Seattle,'' he said. "Otherwise, we won't pursue it. We're setting the bar high, in other words.''

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August 12, 2008 8:30 AM

Tuesday a.m. links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Olympic-sized edition:

--- For our main story today I wrote about Ronnie Fouch and how he is filling in as the starting QB with Jake Locker out. Assuming Locker is really back in a day or so, this could turn out to be a long-term good thing, in a way, by giving Fouch a lot of seat time with the offense. One of the biggest questions about this team is what happens if Locker goes down for any extended period. This, at least, is giving Fouch some preparation if that happens.

--- ESPN's Bruce Feldman calls Locker one of the most indispenaible players in the country.

--- The Tucson Citizen looks at backup QB issues around the conference, with a spotlight on Arizona.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller has his daily look around the Pac-10. Of most note in there may be that it sounds as if OSU isn't having much of a QB competition and the starting job is Lyle Moevao's.

--- While UW has closed practices and we really don't know much of what the Huskies are doing, Oregon's are open, so here's a report from the Eugene Register-Guard on what the Ducks did Monday. We'll see if all the secrecy helps the Huskies come Aug. 30.

--- Here's a look at some Raiders' depth chart issues with a note on Louis Rankin.

--- I'd wondered if the Locker situation had impacted the Vegas odds any. But it doesn't appear to have much as the Huskies are still listed as 13- or 13.5 point underdogs in the opener at Oregon, actually a point or so better than the opening line.

All for now.

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