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

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August 18, 2008 7:15 PM

Husky nightcap, day 15

Posted by Bob Condotta

Those of you who pay close attention to the by-lines on here may realize I wasn't around today. Had to take a long-scheduled day off for the family. But am at the keyboards now, and have talked to some people who were up there today, so will try to fulfill the daily wrapup duty.

WHAT HAPPENED --- Two practices, full pads in the morning and lighter in the afternoon.

THE BIG STORY --- Obviously, it's the return of Jake Locker, giving him two full practice weeks to get back in shape, and get the timing and rhythm down with all of the new receivers. Whether it's enough time won't be known until Aug. 30, as is the case with about a dozen other questions about this team. Doesn't sound like he's back to 100 percent by any means, but that he's back at all speaks to the apparent fact that he is recovering and hasn't had any setbacks, both obviously good news.

And reports are that Locker didn't appeared hobbled in any way doing the pre-practice drills that reporters got to see, additional good news with the season now just 12 days away.

THE BIG STORY, No. 2 --- Bud Withers was kind enough to fill in today with a recap of Mark Emmert's interview on KJR. The most interesting aspect of that interview might have been Emmert saying a permanent AD could be in place by the beginning of school, basically agreeing with the assessment of acting AD Scott Woodward, who said a week ago he hopes a new one is in place by the time football season begins.

That is leading a number of people to conclude that the AD is either going to be Woodward or former UW kicker Chuck Nelson, who is now the executive director of the Boeing Classic golf tournament but has several times stated his interest in the job, and has maintained that interest to this point. The Boeing Classic is this week, so some are surmising that Nelson could finish up his duties there and then be named as the new AD next week --- Nelson hasn't said much on this topic of late. There have been few other rumors lately concerning the job, which is still listed as open on Executive Parker Search but this has been a pretty secretive process, so who knows if there may be a mystery candidate lurking out there somewhere.

PLAYER UPDATES --- Various reports have Cameron Elisara not being visible at the afternoon practice today. We'll have to see tomorrow what that may be about. Am also told that Tyrone Willingham was asked today about the status of E.J. Savannah and intimated that the fact that he isn't at practice is all one needs to know. Sounds also as if he either didn't like the subject matter, or being asked about it. May not bode well for a quick return by Savannah. Obviously, it's getting pretty late in the game now to think he could be ready for the beginning of the season.

Otherwise, sounds as if the injury news was pretty good with a number of players back in uniform, notably RBs Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski and S Victor Aiyewa. The RBs, in particular, were said to be losing valuable time in their fight for playing time at a spot that is hotly competitive this season.

A COUPLE LINKS --- A few links I found while catching up:

--- unveiled its Pac-10 preview today, including this piece from Ivan Maisel predicting bad news for the Huskies this year. You can also find links to the rest of the stories there.

--- Recruiting expert Greg Biggins of has this look at UW's recruiting to date, saying the Huskies are off to a nice start after taking a while to get going.

--- Here's another rehash of Willingham's recruiting at Notre Dame, but since the Huskies play UND this year, I figure these are still worth passing along.

--- A good way to keep up to date on UW's first opponent, Oregon, is through the Ducks' blog at the Eugene Register-Guard.

WHAT'S NEXT --- UW is scheduled for one practice tomorrow afternoon.

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August 18, 2008 12:37 PM

Emmert speaks

Posted by Bud Withers

Washington president Mark Emmert was interviewed this morning by Dave Mahler on KJR radio, addressing a variety of topics from the athletic-director vacancy to the status of football coach Tyrone Willingham.

Regarding Willingham, Emmert said, "You certainly don'tsit and say, 'Well, you've got to have X number of wins. What I want to see is what every fan and coach Willingham want to see: I want to see significant improvement in the way they play, along with the improvement we're seeing off the field. We're just going to let all this work out.

"Ty is a fabulous guy, and I'm fully supportive of him ... the fans need to be good Husky fans. They need to say, 'I'm pulling for him.' Imagine if he rips off a couple of wins early. It could be a very special year. [But] you support your people, that's what you have to do.''

Emmert said the AD search slowed somewhat with the start of summer and end of the school year.

Said Emmert, "I'd really hoped and anticipated it would be filled sooner than this ... I hope we can get it wrapped up before the school year starts. That's my goal now''

Emmert didn't rule out that the choice could be Scott Woodward, the interim athletic director.

"It's a question of whether I want to cut off my right or my left hand'' Emmert said, referring to Woodward's skills in UW external affairs. "Right now -- and my preference all along -- is to let Scott stay in the role he's extraordinary at. [But] Scott's a team player. We'll see where that winds up''

Does that mean it's possible Woodward could get the job full-time, but more likely he'll return to his old job?

"I think that's probably fair.'' Emmert said. "He's done a great job [as interim AD]. I've been asking him to do an awful lot for us. Where this winds up is an open question."

As for obtaining state funds to help with a proposed renovation of Husky Stadium, Emmert said, "I don't doubt for a minute this is an uphill slog, no question about it.''

Emmert argues that the implementation of the hotel and restaurant taxes that have helped other stadiums in Seattle would be well-suited to helping the UW's stadium effort, saying, "A Husky football game has a bigger impact on the economy, on the hotels and restaurants, than does a Seahawks game. NFL fans don't travel to games. College fans do. We think it makes some sense to have some of the tax stream to support this project''

Emmert talked about a "$250 million to $300 millio'' renovation project, and said only about half that could be supported by traditional, donor-based athletic sources.

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August 18, 2008 12:14 PM

QB Locker back, limited

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

As you might imagine, UW coach Tyrone Willingham did not get into too many specifics today about the return of quarterback Jake Locker to practice.

"No concerns there," Willingham said.

He said Locker fits into a group along with C Juan Garcia and G Casey Bulyca where "we'll be very cautious with them and limit what they can do. They will do some things, and other things they will not do."

When asked what he and doctors saw in Locker, Willingham said, "Jake. That's what we saw: Jake. Jake's eager, anxious and ready to get involved.

"There's no question, what we have to do is definitely put limits on him. Because he wants to be back, and he wants to be going. We have to be very careful, because he's what I call an instinctive player. His instincts take over, and he just goes."

As noted in the last post, Locker wasn't the only player back today.

"We said our injuries would be day-to-day for the most part, and that's exactly what it was," he said. "We had some come back today, and some that were limited in what they could do."

The team scrimmaged for an hour and 50 minutes on Saturday, and Willingham said he was most impressed with the running backs. He, as you might imagine, would not single out just one.

"They showed pretty deep that they can run the football," Willingham said. "Had a lot of broken tackles, and that's what you look for: how can you gain the extra yards."

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August 18, 2008 9:41 AM

QB Jake Locker back at practice

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Reports from morning practice Monday have it that QB Jake Locker has returned after missing 11 days and 12 practice sessions with a strained hamstring.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham speaks today at 11:15 a.m., so we'll pass on anything we hear from that about Locker.

The team, was in full pads and Locker appeared to be taking part in all activities visible to the media during the 25-minute session.

UW coaches had said they felt it was imperative that Locker make it back by game week. He now will have two full weeks to prepare for the opener against Oregon. also reported that a number of players who were out over the weekend had returned, The only players who still appeared to be out were WR Devin Aguilar, TE Michael Gottlieb, WR Charles Hawkins, DT Alameda Ta'amu and CB Byron Davenport.

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