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Husky Football Blog

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

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March 31, 2008 1:47 PM

Spring bashes scuttled by NCAA

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote four weeks ago today about a proposal Washington considered to beef up its spring game weekend.

Sounds like it's a good thing the Huskies didn't alter their schedule to fit this in as the Gridiron Bashes that were scheduled at other schools have been postponed due to what USA Today says are "concerns over an NCAA interpretation of athletes' involvement.''

Here's the USA Today story detailing the problems with the bashes.

UW had considered hosting one of these events, which would have meant holding the spring game April 19. Instead, the game will be held April 26.

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March 31, 2008 9:52 AM

Official site looks at defense, special teams

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington's official athletic web site is continuing its look at spring practice with this preview of the defense and special teams.

In terms of the personnel listed, there's nothing new --- no position changes apparent or anything.

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March 30, 2008 9:17 PM

Ducks, Beavers kick it off

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sorry, but between Bruce Springsteen concerts (awesome, even if he didn't play Jungleland) and fantasy baseball drafts (nowhere to go but up after last year's Devil Rays-esque season) I didn't spend a lot of time in front of the computer this weekend.

But even though some of these stories are a day or so old, though it worth passing along some good primers on two other UW opponents who are kicking off spring drills this week --- Oregon and Oregon State.

The Ducks will be the first opponent for UW this year, on Aug. 30, and they begin spring practice Tuesday.

According to this story in the Eugene Register-Guard, the Ducks will have a heated competition to replace Dennis Dixon at quarterback. Nathan Costa, the presumptive heir apparent and the one who most resembles Dixon in style, is out for the spring while rehabbing a knee injury. So that has sophomore Justin Roper, who threw four TDs in the Sun Bowl, atop the depth chart this spring.

Oregon has six QBs on the roster this spring, including BYU transfer Cade Cooper, leading coach Mike Bellotti to say that the QB position "is going to be in great hands for the future.'' UW has to hope that future begins after Aug. 30.

The QB situation is also the focus of this story in the Oregonian.

Oregon State, meanwhile, begins spring practice Monday looking to replace eight starters, as the Oregonian reports here. "Big-time holes to fill,'' is the way coach Mike Riley puts it in the story.

The Corvallis Gazette-Times has this preview of OSU's spring pointing out that this is the first time every player on the roster has been recruited by Riley.

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March 28, 2008 8:10 PM

Five goals for spring

Posted by Bob Condotta

Spring ball is now less than a week away so it's time to really start examining what the Huskies hope to get accomplished during those 15 practices.

Here's a look at what I think are five of UW's biggest tasks this spring.

1, Rebuilding the defense.

This one couldn't be more obvious, but it's also as important to Washington's season as anything else. A lot of the curiousity will revolve around seeing what changes new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell makes to the scheme. He has said repeatedly that he will likely use both the 4-3 and the 3-4 next season, and I think the spring will be a time of a lot of experimenting to see what will fit best with the talent on hand.

Donatell has said he is "more about players than plays,'' meaning fitting the scheme to the talent. I don't think there will be any definitive "this is exactly what we are going to do in the fall'' type statements coming out of spring. For one, it makes sense to keep opponent as on-guard as possible. But I also think there is simply so much new that they will need the summer to evaluate what they saw in the spring and then make a firmer plan for fall camp.

2, Refining the passing game.

Another obvious need for improvement after the Huskies ranked 107th in passing efficiency last season (though I'd forgotten Stanford, Oregon State and UCLA all finished behind UW meaning four Pac-10 teams ranked among the bottom 12 in the nation, something that hasn't happened often in this conference).

Much of the focus will fall on Jake Locker, whose accuracy problems were well-documented last season. An even bigger issue, however, may be finding replacements for the five graduated receivers. There appears to be a lot of talent on hand, but questions will linger until they actually start producing. The Huskies also need to get the tight end more involved since there is some experience returning there.

3, Finding a running back

Louis Rankin might not go down as the most popular running back in school history given the eternal debate over his style, as well as his struggles in short-yardage situations. But you can't deny he was ultimately productive last season, rushing for 1,294 yards and 5.6 yards per carry. The yards per carry was the best for a UW running back since Rich Alexis went for 6.4 yards per carry in 2000 (and it equalled the average of Corey Dillon in 1996 when Dillon set the school record for yards in a season with 1,695).

Certainly, Rankin was helped by the presence of Locker, and he also was frustratingly erratic from game-to-game. Still, his final numbers can't be ignored, and while there are a number of exciting youngsters waiting in the wings, I think it's dangerous to assume the next guy will be able to step right in where Rankin left off. Brandon Johnson is the obvious leader to take over, and he showed a lot of promise in the Cal game. But he also doesn't look yet like the breakaway threat that Rankin was --- Johnson averaged 3.8 yards per carry and in the Cal game when both broke 100 yards Johnson had 121 yards on 23 carries to Rankin's 224 on 21. None of that is to knock Johnson, just to point out differences in their styles and production last season.

After Johnson comes J.R. Hasty, of whom it's impossible to know what to expect, and then redshirt freshmen Willie Griffin and Brandon Yakaboski. The wildcard in this is Chris Polk, who is listed as both a receiver and an RB, but in the eyes of some observers has a better future at the latter. One recruiting expert told me he was surprised UW was using him as a receiver because he has such a great future as a back, saying he was the best HS running back on the West Coast last season.

Also worth watching this spring is the impact of new running backs coach Steve Gervais. The biggest help to the running game, of course, is the return of Locker and a veteran O-line (four of five starters are back).

4, Identifying some defensive linemen

Aside from Donatell and whatever changes he may make schematically, the biggest area of intrigue on the defense this spring is the line, which must find three new starters, and lost five of its top six players from last season. The only real known commodity is DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, the lone returning starter and the only linemen returning who made more than two tackles last season. Like the running back spot, there appear to be some promising young players on hand, notably DT Cameron Elisara, and DEs Darrion Jones and De'Shon Matthews and the Huskies will be looking for those players to step up and show they are ready to consistently contribute.

Reality is, however, the line will remain in flux until the fall when true frosh such as Everrette Thompson, Craig Noble and Alameda Ta'amu arrive --- all may see significant action next fall.

5, Renovating the special teams

The third new assistant coach, Brian White, will begin to put his stamp on the special teams this spring. He at least has two experienced kickers returning in P Jared Ballman and PK Ryan Perkins, with Erik Folk also getting back into the mix after his injury-plagued freshman season.

His biggest task will be improving the coverage teams and finding some new returners. UW actually led the Pac-10 in punt return average last season at 11 yards per attempt thanks to Anthony Russo (10.1), who reallly hit his stride late in the season. UW wasn't very good in kickoff returns until Rankin took it over late in the season and averaged 24.4 yards per attempt, including the 89-yard TD against WSU.

Johnson got 13 KO returns last year and figures to be a candidate for that job again, but there figures to be a lot of experimentation in the return game this spring.

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March 28, 2008 4:38 PM

Official site looks ahead to spring

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick note that GoHuskies.com has its official look ahead to the beginning of spring ball.

Here it is, with the first installment centering on the offense.

Maybe the most interesting thing is that some rumored position changes (such as Johnie Kirton to defense) don't appear to be in the offing since Kirton is still listed as a tight end.

FYI --- I'm finishing up a look at five things to watch this spring that I should have posted soon.

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March 27, 2008 1:24 PM

Benji Olson retires

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Husky offensive lineman Benji Olson has decided to retire after 10 years in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, having battled back injuries the past two seasons.

Here's a link with more details.

By any measure Olson is one of the best OLs in UW history, earning All-American honors in 1996 and 1997.

I'm not sure UW fans ever really saw Olson at his best, however.

My first year covering the team full-time was 1997, Olson's fourth year in the program (he redshirted in 1994 and played three years before turning pro). He battled back problems all season in 1997 and started only nine games (which made it somewhat surprising that he was named an All-American that year by both the AP and the Walter Camp Football Foundation).

He was particularly slowed late in the year, one of many veterans who were out or less than 100 percent at the end, which played a part in the three-game losing streak that concluded the season, kept UW out of the Rose Bowl and helped lay the foundation for the firing of Jim Lambright the following year.

Like a lot of the vets on that team, Olson got healthy for the Aloha Bowl against Michigan State and the Huskies won in a rout, 51-23, making a lot of people wonder where that team had been all season. The reality was, however, a lot of it had been on the sidelines during the three-game losing streak that turned a 7-1 team into a 7-4 team.

Olson felt good enough at the Aloha Bowl that he laughingly bragged at one point of having gone surfing the day before.

Still, the back injury played a part in his dropping to the fifth round of the 1998 draft (it also played a part in his deciding to leave early, not wanting to risk another college season).

Olson's retirement leaves Khalif Barnes (Jacksonville), Olin Kruetz (Bears) and Joe Toledo (recently signed by Green Bay) as the only active UW offenisve linemen in the NFL (other than Bryan Pittman, technically a center but who is almost solely a long snapper for Houston)

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March 26, 2008 3:25 PM

Notre Dame set to open spring

Posted by Bob Condotta

And that's relevant because one of the highlight games on Washington's schedule this season is an Oct. 25 visit from the Irish, just the fourth time ND has ever visited Seattle.

I'm a little reluctant to mention Notre Dame on this blog for all that name often elicits, specifically the inevitable comparisons between where the two programs are three-and-a-half years after Tyrone Willingham was fired by one school and hired by the other. But since the two are playing this year and next, it's unavoidable, and keeping tabs on Notre Dame will be as relevant to UW fans as following any other Husky opponent (though hopefully we can keep this as on-point as possible).

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis held his pre-spring press conference today and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune has a good overview here including the news that Weis and his special teams coach plan to meet with Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, long known for the strength of his special teams.

And here's a good look at Notre Dame entering the spring from Blue and Gold Illustrated including the observation that the Irish will have a bye the week before facing the Huskies in Seattle. UW, meanwhile, will play Oregon State in Seattle the week before facing Notre Dame, a contest that figures to be pretty emotional and heated after the events in Corvallis last season.

But emotion shouldn't be an issue for either team when UND comes to town. The Huskies are 0-6 all-time against Notre Dame, having lost three times in South Bend and three in Seattle, including a 36-16 win by the Irish at Husky Stadium in 2005.


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March 25, 2008 3:40 PM

Former Husky hired at Oregon State

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Corvallis Gazette-Times is reporting that former Husky Reggie Davis could be hired soon at Oregon State to become the Beavers' new running backs coach. Here's the link.

Davis has been working at UNLV and that school's web site has official confirmation of the move here.

Davis is best remembered at UW for being on the receiving end of the 63-yard Hail Mary pass from Brock Huard that beat Arizona State in the season opener in 1998. Here's a YouTube clip of that play.

Here's Davis' UNLV bio showing his career path since leaving UW.

(And belated praise to reader Dave for the tip).

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March 25, 2008 10:13 AM

Spring practice on the horizon

Posted by Bob Condotta

We're now just nine days away from spring practice beginning at Washington, and we'll start ramping up our coverage here in the next few days with a look at some of the key position battles and questions facing the Huskies.

Until then, here are some spring notes from some of UW's opponents this fall:

--- Oklahoma returned to the field this week after taking 11 days off for spring break. Here's a good look at all that has happened at Oklahoma so far this spring. The Sooners will have an open scrimmage Saturday.

--- Arizona has also returned to the field after taking some time off for spring break.

--- USC begins spring practice today and the LA Times presents this primer.

--- Arizona State also starts this week and the school's web site has this overview.

--- UCLA begins its first spring under Rick Neuheisel next week on the same day as the Huskies.

All for now.

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March 24, 2008 9:52 AM

A look at Pac-10's double losing seasons

Posted by Bob Condotta

The realization a few days ago that this is the first time in 50 years UW has suffered losing records in football and men's basketball (thanks to this note from Seth Kolloen over at Enjoy the Enjoyment ) led to some other inevitable questions.

Specifically, when's the last time that's happened for every other team in the conference?

So during some NCAA Tournament down time --- they really didn't show that Britney Spears commercial often enough --- I did a little research.

Here's the list, and the parameters are that the losing seasons happen during the same academic year, meaning 2007 football season, 2007-08 basketball basketball season, etc.

We'll put them in order of most recent:

Washington 2007-08 (4-9 football, 16-17 basketball)
Washington State 2005-06 (4-7, 11-17)
Oregon State 2005-06 (5-6, 13-18)
Arizona State 2003-04 (5-7, 10-17)
UCLA 2003-04 (6-7, 11-17)
Cal 1997-98 (3-8, 12-15)
Oregon 1993-94 (5-6, 10-17)
Stanford 1985-86 (4-7, 14-16)
USC 1983-84 (4-6-1, 11-20)
Arizona 1980-81 (5-6, 13-14)

Obviously this is a bad time for UW right now.

On the bright side for UW fans, the Huskies had a streak 23 years longer than anyone else in the conference avoiding the double el foldo before this season.

The next step would be to figure out how many times all those other schools did it during the 50 years the Huskies went without doing it once. I may save that for the Sweet 16 commercial breaks.

I do know this --- UCLA also did it just once during that span. UCLA has had only two losing basketball seasons since 1946, and had a losing record in football only one of those two, the one mentioned above.

I also know USC did it just once during that span, the 1983-84 season refererenced above. Interestingly, USC also did it during the same 1957-58 academic year when the Huskies last had losing records in both (and what an anamalous year that was as it is also the last time Oregon State won titles in both sports).


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March 22, 2008 10:11 PM

UW apparently not in running for Montgomery

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Sacramento Bee published a story the other day on James Montgomery --- the one-time UW commit who played the last two years at Cal but is now transferring --- and Washington was not on the new list of schools he said he is considering.

Here's the story, in which Montgomery lists Washington State, Florida and another, unnamed SEC school, as in the running for his next destination. This jibes with what I've heard that Montgomery isn't likely headed to Montlake.


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March 21, 2008 3:24 PM

Ranking the schedules

Posted by Bob Condotta

A post a few weeks ago elicited a spirited discussion about non-conference scheduling.

So I thought I'd list the non-conference schedules for all the Pac-10 teams this fall and rank them in order of toughness.

1, USC
at Virginia
Ohio State
Notre Dame

Comment --- Trojans always play a tough schedule and this one is no different. Virginia not expected to be as good as last year but that's still a tough trip, and the others need no explaining.

2, WASHINGTON
BYU
Oklahoma
Notre Dame

Comment --- I put USC ahead of UW mostly because Trojans have to go on the road for one game while UW gets to stay home for all three. Second straight year UW will have one of its best home schedules ever. In the rankings for both USC and UW here I'm assuming Notre Dame makes somewhat of a return to its old self.

3, CAL
at Michigan State
at Maryland
Colorado State

Comment --- Only Pac-10 team playing two road games at BCS schools.

4, OREGON STATE
at Penn State
Hawaii
at Utah

Comment --- Hawaii will be a shell of the team it was last season. Trip to Penn State continues OSU's attempts to upgrade its schedule. Two road trips makes it a little tougher than UCLA's.

5, UCLA
Fresno State
Tennessee
at BYU

Comment --- Nothing easy there but at least two are at home.

6, STANFORD
at TCU
San Jose State
at Notre Dame

Comment --- Harder than it looks remembering that TCU won at Stanford last year and San Jose State is a rival game that's always intense.

7, OREGON
Utah State
at Purdue
Boise State

Comment --- A good chance for a 3-0 non-conference season there.

8, WASHINGTON STATE
Oklahoma State (in Seattle)
at Baylor
Portland State
at Hawaii

Comment --- OSU a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 team and Baylor will be picked last. Any game at Hawaii is dicey but without Brennan, those receivers and a new coach, Warriors won't be what they were.

9, ARIZONA STATE
Northern Arizona
UNLV
Georgia

Comment --- Georgia a marquee early-season non-conference game but other two are easy wins.

10, ARIZONA
Idaho
Toledo
at New Mexico

Comment --- New Mexico won in Tucson last year so that's no gimme, but the other two should be.

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March 20, 2008 10:27 PM

A few more notes on the roster

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says:

--- After listing players solely by their academic year last season the Huskies will now list them both by academic and athletic eligibility, as you can see on this roster here. Part of the reason for doing that is to make sure that players can be adequately considered for honors that might come their way due to their class, such as Freshman All-American awards, things of that sort.

--- After reviewing the roster released Thursday again I come up with 61 scholarhip players and 21 walk-ons for a total of 82. That includes designating WR Charles Hawkins as a walk-on. While he was put on scholarship for last fall, he is still officially a walk-on, meaning he hasn't been permanently moved to scholarship status.

--- If I counted right, a breakdown by class for this spring shows 20 seniors, 12 juniors, 20 sophomores and 30 freshmen. Obviously, the Huskies will likely have one of their smaller senior classes ever next year due in large part to the smallish Class of 2005 signed in the wake of the firing of Keith Gilbertson and the hiring of Tyrone Willingham.

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March 19, 2008 3:18 PM

Mangum expected for spring, Richardson to CB

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple quick notes to pass along as UW has prepared an official roster for spring practice, which begins April 3.

--- Kurt Mangum, a linebacker from Chander, Ariz., is listed on the roster as he is expected to enroll in time for the beginning of spring drills. He signed with UW in February. He will be one of two members of the Class of 2008 to participate in the spring --- Chris Polk, who is already enrolled, is the other.

--- Speaking of Polk, he is listed as an RB/WR, indicating he will get some use at both positions.

--- As has been noted elsewhere, Quinton Richardson is now playing cornerback and is officially listed at that position on the roster.

--- There are no other position changes, though that doesn't mean things may not still change at some point for some players. But for now, all other players are listed at their usual spots.

--- There are 83 players on the roster, 19 walk-ons.

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March 19, 2008 10:37 AM

BYU focusing on defense

Posted by Bob Condotta

Had the Huskies not moved their game at Oregon to Aug. 30, they would have opened the season at home against BYU.

Instead, the BYU game comes second for UW, on Sept. 6 at Husky Stadium.

And that looms as just as dicey a contest for the Huskies as the Oregon game as the Cougars return 13 starters from a team that went 11-2 last season and will be a consensus top 20 pick heading into 2008.

BYU began spring practice this week focusing on rebuilding a defense that returns just four starters.

Here's a good breakdown of BYU as it enters the spring from the Provo Daily Herald.

And here is a bit more on BYU beginning the spring:

--- A preview with more on the efforts to rebuild the defense.

--- Another story that quotes BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall as saying he thinks the defensive line is in good shape but there will be a lot of open jobs elsewhere on defense.

--- A story on BYU moving one of its tight ends to linebacker to fill in the gaps there.

--- More on the opening of spring, with BYU hoping to tweak a few things offensively, as well.

BYU plays Northern Iowa at home the week before it comes to Seattle, so the Cougars will probably be able to save a few things for the Huskies. Interestingly, the week after playing the Huskies, BYU hosts UCLA and new Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel.

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March 18, 2008 9:34 AM

Former Husky recruit leaving Cal

Posted by Bob Condotta

Cal running back James Montgomery, a familiar name to UW fans who follow recruiting closely, is transferring and reportedly says he has the Huskies on his short list of potential next destinations.

Montgomery, a native of Rancho Cordova, Calif., committed to UW in July of 2005 and remained a Husky commit until the following January, when he decided to stay closer to home and attend Cal. (Here's a story from 2006 detailing his recruiting process with UW).

But after two years at Cal, Montgomery has decided he might have a better chance to play somewhere else.

"James Montgomery asked for his release and I granted it,'' Cal coach Jeff Tedford said in a release today. "He felt like there would be a better situation for him somewhere else. Fortunately for us, running back is a position with a lot of depth. We feel great about our talent at that position with Jahvid Best, Shave Vereen, Tracy Slocum and Covaughn DeBoskie.''

Montgomery told RealDawg.com that "I will be looking at Washington, maybe Florida and Fresno. Oregon.''

However, it's uncertain if the Huskies have room to take Montgomery, or if they would be interested.

UW has a full complement of 85 scholarship players on its current roster, including eight listed as running backs or tailbacks.

Montgomery redshirted in 2006 and played last season, meaning he will have to sit out again in 2008 if he transfers to a D-I school and would have just two years of eligibility remaining.

Montgomery rushed for 171 yards on 36 carries last season and scored two rushing touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 48 yards, including a 14-yard TD in Husky Stadium in UW's 37-23 win over the Bears on Nov. 17.

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March 17, 2008 9:46 AM

Gordy Guinn passes away

Posted by Bob Condotta

Also in our paper Sunday was news of another former Husky passing away, Gordy Guinn, who lettered from 1970-72 as a defensive tackle, earning a legacy as one of the team's best linemen of that era.

According to the 1973 UW media guide, Guinn was the fifth-leading tackler for the 1972 team, which was Sonny Sixkiller's senior year. He made 99 tackles that season as UW finished 8-3.

Guinn also led the 1971 team in tackles, which also finished 8-3, with 140 and earned All-Pac-8 First Team honors both seasons. He also scored a TD in 1971 returning a fumble 52 yards

At the time, he was known for excelling in the trenches despite standing just 6-foot (he weighed 224 pounds).

"Proves you don't have to be tall to play on the line,'' it read in the 1972 UW media guide. He was a Purple Helmet winner and also was the team's Lineman of the Year and Most Improved Player in 1971.

He was a 1969 graduate of Renton High and after his playing days worked locally as a project manager for RC Painting Inc. in Woodinville. He was 56 when he died on March 7.

A memorial service will be held March 29, 2008 at 3 p.m. at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Hall in Seattle.

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March 16, 2008 2:55 PM

Byron Haines passes away

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it in the paid obituaries section of our paper today, former Husky great Byron Haines passed away last week.

Haines, who was 93, was the winner of the 1936 Guy Flaherty award, given annually to UW's Most Inspirational Player as voted by teammates. He led the Huskies to the 1937 Rose Bowl (a 21-0 loss to Pitt).

He was a running back and safety for UW from 1933-37 and his obit included the note that he hitchiked to Seattle from his home in Bend, Ore., to UW with $5 in his pocket when he came to play for the Huskies.

Among Haines' legacy was technically scoring all the points in UW's 6-2 win over USC in 1935. Haines scored a TD for UW and as the link says "being pushed over the goal line'' to give USC a safety and its two points.

He played professionally for Pittsburgh and later served in the Navy in World War II and had a long career in the lumber industry.

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March 15, 2008 4:23 PM

Some Pro Day information

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW's Pro Day was held Friday, and while it wasn't open to the media, I've been able to get a little bit of information from it with the help of Rob Rang, who is a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

(Pro Day, for those who may not be aware, is when NFL teams send scouts to campus and run players eligible to be drafted through a number of different tests).

Rang said one player who helped himself was Marcel Reece, who was timed at 4.48 in the 40-yard dash. Reece also had a vertical leap of 36.5 inches and ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.21.

Rang said Reece is garnering some attention from scouts as an H-back type player and that his 40 time will only add to the intrigue. He said he thinks Reece is the Husky closest to being drafted, though he thinks ultimately no Husky will be taken.

"Reece has a shot as a late-round guy, or more likely a free agent, as an H-back or fullback kind of role,'' Rang said.

Also helping himself was WR Anthony Russo, who opened some eyes with a time of 11.05 in the long (60-yard) shuttle run.

"That's very impressive,'' Rang said.

Russo also recorded 40-yard times of 4.51 and 4.54 and had a vertical leap of 34 inches.

Rang said Russo's workout "stunned me and I'm sure it will stun some scouts, as well.'' Still, he said he thinks it unlikely Russo will be drafted.

Also turning in some intriguing numbers was defensive end Greyson Gunheim, who ran a 4.58 40, benched 225 pounds 28 times, had a vertical of 36 inches and ran the short shuttle in 4.32. He also ran the three-cone shuttle in 6.76. All are solid numbers for a defensive end prospect.

Rang said those numbers give further proof that Gunheim "is a very good athlete.'' But he said he thinks Gunheim is still likely to have to go the free agent route. The Chargers, Jaguars, Panthers, Raiders and Falcons are all thought to be interested in Gunheim.

Rang said the other Husky senior on the radar of some teams is RB Louis Rankin. But he said Rankin could be caught in a numbers game.

"This year the running back depth is so good that it pushes him into free agency,'' he said.

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March 15, 2008 9:30 AM

OSU's Stroughter regains year

Posted by Bob Condotta

In news out of Corvallis that will impact the Huskies (and the rest of the Pac-10), Beaver receiver Sammie Stroughter on Friday was granted an additional year of eligibility and said he will return for the 2008 season.

Here's a link from the school's website as well as this from the Oregonian.

OSU will play at Husky Stadium Oct. 18. The last time Stroughter stepped foot in Husky Stadium he caught seven passes for 223 yards in leading a Beavers win in 2006, the game when Isaiah Stanback was injured.

UW PRO DAY --- For those who have asked, Friday was Washington's Pro Day, when NFL scouts come to campus and run prospective draftees through a variety of tests. I was not able to be there so I have no first-hand report. But if I get anything on it I will pass it along.

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March 14, 2008 12:01 PM

Huskies 25th in country?

Posted by Bob Condotta

They are in the eyes of Mitch Harper of bleacherreport.com, who unveils his spriing practice Top 25 list here.

Harper puts UW at 25 calls the Huskies his "sleeper'' saying that they "should make great strides in the Pac-10 this season.''

Not to nitpick, but he also says the Huskies return 16 starters. I'd say a more accurate count is 13 unless he's counting the kickers which would put it to 15. Offensive starters gone are WRs Anthony Russo and Marcel Reece, tackle Chad Macklin and running back Louis Rankin; defensive starters gone are DE Greyson Gunheim, DTs Jordan Reffet and Wilson Afoa, LB Dan Howell and CB Roy Lewis.

He also calls Chris Polk a running back. But Polk is officially listed as a wide receiver by the Huskies, which is where it is expected he will begin his career, though UW coaches have left open the possibility that he will play at both spots.

UW's first three opponents are also all listed ahead of the Huskies --- Oregon at 15, BYU at 12 and Oklahoma at 3.


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March 11, 2008 12:52 PM

Hall of Fame ballot released, no Huskies nominated

Posted by Bob Condotta

The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today the names of 75 players and eight coaches who have been nominated for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

There are no Huskies on the ballot, but there are a number of Pac-10 players, including RB Rueben Mayes of WSU, as well as a few former Seahawks, notably Curt Warner, who played at Penn State. (Mayes, I'm remembering now, was also a former Seahawk for about a minute or so).

UW has 11 players and four coaches in the Hall of Fame. The most recent inductee was DT Steve Emtman last year. He's the only Husky who played in the last 40 years to be inducted (other inductees include Rick Redman, Bob Schloredt, Don Coryell, Don Heinrich, Hugh McElhenny, George Wilson, Chuck Carroll, Paul Schwegler, Vic Markov and Max Starcevich. Coaches are Don James, Darrell Royal, James Phelan and Gil Dobie.

According to a press release from the NFF, the ballot mailed will be mailed this week to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers whose votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF's Honors Court, which deliberates and selects the class. Chaired by Gene Corrigan, a former ACC Commissioner and NCAA president, the 11- member NFF Honors Court includes a geographically diverse pool of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Famers and members of the media. Of the 4.6 million individuals who have played college football, only 829 players have earned induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. From the coaching ranks, 178 individuals have achieved Hall of Fame distinction.

The FBS Hall of Fame Class will be announced live on ESPNEWS at a press conference on May 1 and inducted at The National Football Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner on December 9, 2008.

To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been named a First Team All-America by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams; played their last year of intercollegiate football at least ten years prior; played within the last 50 years and cannot be currently playing professional football. Coaches must have coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach; won at least 60 percent of their games; and be retired from coaching for at least three years; be retired from coaching and over the age of 70 (no waiting period); or over the age of 75 (active coaches eligible). In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.

Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight District Screening Committees, depending on their geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who will appear on the ballot and represent their respective districts. Each year, 15 candidates, who are not selected for the Hall of Fame, will be named automatic holdovers and will bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year. Additionally, the Honors Review Committee may make recommendations to Honors Court for exceptions that allow for the induction of players who played more than 50 years ago and coaches who have not won at least 60 percent of their games.

Here are the nominees:

FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION
(formerly Div. I-A)
PLAYER CANDIDATES Candidates are listed alphabetically.
(Player - School, Position (Years))

1. Billy Ray Adams - Mississippi, Fullback (1959-61)
2. Troy Aikman - UCLA, Quarterback (1987-88)
3. Trev Alberts - Nebraska, Linebacker (1990-93)
4. Otis Armstrong - Purdue, Running Back (1970-72)
5. Pervis Atkins - New Mexico State, Running Back (1958-60)
6. Steve Bartkowski - California, Quarterback (1972-74)
7. Hal Bedsole - Southern California, Split End (1961-63)
8. Bob Berry - Oregon, Quarterback (1962- 64)
9. Tim Brown - Notre Dame, Wide Receiver (1984-87)
10. Dave Butz - Purdue, Defensive Tackle (1970-72)
11. Billy Cannon - Louisiana State, Running Back (1957-59)
12. Dave Casper - Notre Dame, Tight End (1971-73)
13. Ronnie Caveness - Arkansas, Center (1962-64)
14. Chuck Cecil - Arizona, Defensive Back (1984-87)
15. Ray Childress - Texas A&M, Defensive Lineman (1981-84)
16. Randy Cross - UCLA, Offensive Guard (1973-75)
17. Randall Cunningham - Nevada-Las Vegas, Punter (1982-84)
18. Sam Cunningham - Southern California, Running Back (1970-72)
19. Eric Dickerson - Southern Methodist, Running Back (1979-82)
20. Jim Dombrowski - Virginia, Offensive Tackle (1982-85)
21. Bobby Douglass - Kansas, Quarterback (1966-68)
22. Ed Dyas - Auburn, Fullback (1958-60)
23. Luther Ellis - Utah, Defensive Lineman (1991-94)
24. Pat Fitzgerald - Northwestern, Linebacker (1994-96)
25. Willie Gault - Tennessee, Wide Receiver (1979-82)
26. Kirk Gibson - Michigan State, Wide Receiver (1975-78)
27. Al Harris - Arizona State, Defensive End (1975-78)
28. Major Harris - West Virginia, Quarterback (1987-89)
29. Mark Herrmann - Purdue, Quarterback (1977-80)
30. Dick Jauron - Yale, Running Back (1970-72)
31. Jess Lewis - Oregon State, Defensive Tackle (1966-67, 1969)
32. Woodrow Lowe - Alabama, Linebacker (1972-75)
33. Robert Lytle - Michigan, Running Back (1974-76)
34. Bobby Majors - Tennessee, Defensive Back (1969-71)
35. Tony Mandarich - Michigan State, Offensive Tackle (1985-88)
36. Wilber Marshall - Florida, Linebacker (1980-83)
37. Paul Martha - Pittsburgh, Running Back (1961-63)
38. Rueben Mayes - Washington State, Running Back (1982-85)
39. Randall McDaniel - Arizona State, Offensive Guard (1984-87)
40. Marlin McKeever - Southern California, Tight End (1958-60)
41. Steve McMichael - Texas, Defensive Tackle (1976-79)
42. Don McPherson - Syracuse, Quarterback (1984-87)
43. George Mira - Miami (Fla.), Quarterback (1961-63)
44. Art Monk - Syracuse, Wide Receiver (1976-79)
45. Paul Naumoff - Tennessee, Linebacker (1964-66)
46. Ken Norton, Jr. - UCLA, Linebacker (1984-87)
47. Jay Novacek - Wyoming, Tight End (1982-84)
48. Bob Novogratz - Army, Offensive Guard (1957-58)
49. Tom Nowatzke - Indiana, Fullback (1961-64)
50. Jim Otis - Ohio State, Fullback (1967- 69)
51. Paul Palmer - Temple, Running Back (1983-86)
52. Dave Parks - Texas Tech, Split End (1961-63)
53. Gabe Rivera - Texas Tech, Defensive Lineman (1979-82)
54. Ron Rivera - California, Linebacker (1980-83)
55. Deion Sanders - Florida State, Defensive Back (1985-88)
56. Jake Scott - Georgia, Defensive Back (1967-68)
57. Jim Seymour - Notre Dame, Wide Receiver (1966-68)
58. Will Shields - Nebraska, Offensive Guard (1989-92)
59. Rod Shoate - Oklahoma, Linebacker (1972-74)
60. Ron Simmons - Florida State,Nose Guard (1977-80)
61. Zeke Smith - Auburn,Defensive Guard (1957-59)
62. Percy Snow - Michigan State, Linebacker (1986-89)
63. Chris Spielman - Ohio State, Linebacker (1984-87)
64. Larry Station - Iowa, Linebacker (1982- 85)
65. Jerry Stovall - Louisiana State, Halfback (1960-62)
66. Darryl Talley - West Virginia, Linebacker (1979-82)
67. Lawrence Taylor - North Carolina, Linebacker (1977-80)
68. Thurman Thomas - Oklahoma State, Running Back (1984-87)
69. Pat Tillman - Arizona State, Linebacker (1994-97)
70. Gino Torretta - Miami (Fla.), Quarterback (1989-92)
71. Don Trull - Baylor, Quarterback (1961- 63)
72. Curt Warner - Penn State, Running Back (1979-82)
73. Alfred Williams - Colorado, Linebacker (1987-90)
74. Grant Wistrom - Nebraska, Defensive End (1994-97)
75. Scott Woerner - Georgia, Defensive Back (1977-80)


FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION
(formerly Div. I-A)
COACH CANDIDATES
Candidates are listed alphabetically.
(Coach - School (Years) - Overall Record (Winning Percentage))

1. John Cooper - Tulsa (1977-84), Arizona State (1985- 87), Ohio State (1988-2000) - 193-83-6 (.695)
2. William "Lone Star" Dietz-Washington State (1915- 17), Purdue (1921), Louisiana Tech (1922-23), Wyoming (1924-26), Haskell Indian Institute (Kan.) (1929-32), Albright (Pa.) (1937-42) - 96-62-7 (.603)
3. Wayne Hardin-Navy (1959-64), Temple (1970-82) - 118-74-5 (.612)
4. Lou Holtz- William & Mary (1969-71), NC State (1972-75), Arkansas (1977-83), Minnesota (1984-85), Notre Dame (1986-96), South Carolina (1999-2004) - 249-132-7 (.651)
5. Dick MacPherson-Massachusetts (1971-77), Syracuse (1981-90) - 111-73-5 (.601)
6. Billy Jack Murphy-Memphis (1958-71) - 91-44-1 (.673)
7. John Robinson-Southern California (1976-82, 1993- 97), Nevada-Las Vegas (1999-2004) - 132-77-4 (.629)
8. Darryl Rogers-Cal State-Hayward (1965), Fresno State (1966-72), San Jose State (1973-75), Michigan State (1976-79), Arizona State (1980-84) - 129-84-7 (.602)


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March 10, 2008 5:27 PM

A look at Arizona

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the Huskies still a few weeks away from the beginning of spring drills there's a bit of a lull in news emanating from Montlake.

So thought I'd begin passing along news from some of UW's opponents, most of whom will start up spring drills long before UW.

Among Pac-10 teams is Arizona, which held its first practice Saturday (Stanford has already begun drills as well).

Here's a good look at the questions that face the Wildcats as they hit the field this spring from the Tucson Citizen.

And for coaches on the hot seat, Mike Stoops at least has a non-conference schedule to like --- Idaho and Toledo at home and New Mexico on the road. If he's not 3-0 after that, that seat may go up in flames.

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March 7, 2008 3:58 PM

UW associate AD headed to Utah State

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scott Barnes, who has been UW's senior associate athletic director for advancement since Aug. 5, 2005, is headed to Utah State, where he will take over as athletic director.

Here's a story.

At UW, Barnes was responsible for all external relations for the athletic department with a specific emphasis on fundraising. He came to UW from Eastern Washington where he was athletic director for six years. Barnes was lured to UW by former Husky AD Todd Turner, who resigned under pressure in December.

This now gives UW two significant openings in its athletic department as it is also searching for a replacement for Turner. Scott Woodward is serving as interim athletic director and a search committee has been formed to fill the job permanently. Woodward said again this week he has yet to decide if he will apply. Here's a story we published earlier this week on Woodward and the UW AD search.

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March 6, 2008 8:18 PM

UW spring schedule set

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies have released their complete schedule for spring practice. It will begin April 3 and conclude with the spring game April 26.

Here are the dates:

April 3
April 4
April 5
April 8
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 14
April 15
April 17
April 18
April 21
April 22
April 24
April 26

That's 15 practices, the maximum allowed, in 23 days.

The school advises that practices are open to Tyee donors/members. They should call the Tyee office (206-543-2234) for more information.

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March 6, 2008 3:43 PM

Locker tells ESPN "I won't miss anything''

Posted by Bob Condotta

I missed this the other day, but ESPN's Bruce Feldman had an item on Jake Locker'sdecision to play baseball in his blog (which is available only as part of the Insider subscription package).

Locker told Feldman that his baseball plans won't interfere in any way with anything football-related this summer.

"Football is still my number one priority and it's still my first love,'' Locker said. "I won't miss anything --- 7-on-7s, workouts, meetings. Even if a guy says he wants to throw one night then I'm not playing baseball that night.''

Those words should be reassuring to any of you worried that Locker will play baseball all summer at the expense of working with his receivers, which as has been well-documented is a young group that will need all grooming it can get during the off-season.

Locker said that he asked UW coach Tyrone Willingham about it a few weeks ago and Willingham gave an unquestioned approval.

Locker said he "wasn't surprised by how he reacted because when I came here I knew how supportive he was as a coach and as a person.''

Feldman also repeats some material he had last fall about Locker's baseball ability, specifically, a scout telling him that Locker "is more advanced as a baseball player, believe it or not.''

Feldman also points out that playing baseball in the summer didn't seem to hurt guys like John Elway and Dennis Dixon.

Locker also told Feldman that he hadn't done anything baseball-related since coming to UW and that "I do really need to get back in the cage so I don't look like a dork out there.''

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March 6, 2008 9:39 AM

Middleton, Kearse display their basketball wares

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting story today by Tom Wyrwich of our staff on the Lakes High duo of Kavario Middleton and Jermaine Kearse playing in the state 3A basketball tournament.

Lakes beat Meadowdale yesterday to advance to the quarterfinals.

Also, Bud Withers covered the press conference announcing the hiring of Steve Gervais and filed this report.

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March 5, 2008 3:38 PM

More on Gervais hiring

Posted by Bob Condotta

Longtime Skyline High coach Steve Gervais was officially introduced as UW's new running backs coach at a press briefing earlier today.

Here are some notes and quotes from their meeting with the media:

--- UW coach Tyrone Willingham said he thought Gervais' overall experience made him a good fit for just about any position on the offense, so he thinks running backs will suit him well. "With his background he's seen a lot of things, done a lot of things,'' Willingham said. "There are a lot of areas he could potenitially coach. I felt like this was an area he could fit in. He's done very well with his quarterbacks and he understands the relationship between the quarterbacks and running backs and offensive line and receivers and has a complete grasp and understanding of the game of football.''

--- Willingham on how he got the idea to hire Gervais: "This idea came from two places. One was in November about the time coach (Trent) Miles said he would be leaving and that thought crossed my mind. And then later during the recruiting process I happened to be talking with one of our alums, not about that situation, and his name came up again and I filed it away with my own thoughts. And then we (Willingham and Gervais) had a casual conversation later in December.''

--- Willingham on whether he had any nerves about hiring a coach without any college experience: "I'm nervous when I hire any coach. I think the process of always trying to get the right people for your program is one that takes some time and takes some thought and you are always very cautious about doing that regardless of how well you know someone.''

--- Willingham said Gervais will recruit in the state of Washington and likely California though his exact responsibility is still to be determined. Obviously he will have a role in recruiting his old high school and others in the area.

--- Gervais echoed Willingham in saying that "we had a casual conversation'' in late December at which time Gervais said he told Willingham "I was very interested if that opportunity may arise to come to the University of Washington. My last son graduated (from high school) and I had a conviction that I wanted to coach through my last son (Riley, who will enroll at UW and walk on the football team as an inside linebacker). Therefore, I put it (the idea to come to UW) out to him (Willingham). At this time in my life it's a tremendous opportunity and a neat challenge in my life. Both of those went together very well so it's something I'm ready for and very excited about.''

--- Gervais said "it's a great thing'' to be able to look back and know that he won a state title in the last HS game he coached but that that had little bearing on deciding to come to UW now. "It's just a time in my life that I'm looking forward to a new challenge and the fact that my children are out of the house, the timing could never have been better.''

--- Gervais said he "had no desire to move out of the area'' and wouldn't have pursued a college position other than UW's.

--- He said he's excited about coaching the running backs. "I think there are some great young athletes here. A lot of things I coached in my program are what coach Willingham teaches here as far as young people, so I think my personality fits. I agree with what he believes, so it's very easy for me to believe in a man and a program that believes in the same things I try to teach my kids.''

--- Gervais said his son Riley and Willingham's son Nathaniel "are the very best of friends'' and because of that, the two men and their families have become close the last few years. That relationship helped persuade Gervaiis to pursue the job as he said coaching in college wasn't necessarily a goal. "If this job had not come up, I would still be coaching at Skyline, no doubt about it. Fifteen years ago this was not a pursuit of mine. It only became a pursuiit last December with the opportunities that came about at Washington.''

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March 5, 2008 11:56 AM

It's official: Huskies hire Steve Gervais

Posted by blog

UW football coach Tyrone Willingham hired Steve Gervais to serve as an assistant coach in charge of the program's running backs position. Here's the official UW release.

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March 4, 2008 8:39 AM

More on AD search, Gervais

Posted by Bob Condotta

Two stories in our paper today to pass along:

--- First, here's a look at interim athletic director Scott Woodward with a little on his background and thoughts on whether he might be the right fit to take over the job permanent.

--- Next, here's our full story on the hiring of Steve Gervais as a new assistant football coach with some additional material from what appeared in the blog.

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March 3, 2008 7:35 PM

Skyline players react to Gervais move

Posted by Bob Condotta

Two members of the Skyline High football team talked to the Times about the news that their head coach, Steve Gervais, is moving to UW, apparently to become running backs coach.

"As a team, we'e all really shocked,'' said quarterback Jake Heaps. "At the same time, you're really happy for him. His dream has been to coach at the college level. I'm very excited for him.''

Gervais told his players during a team meeting today and Heaps said "you could see how hard it was for him. It's unbelievable to think he's not going to be there.''

Said receiver Gino Simone: "It's awesome for Coach Gerv and we're all really happy for him. Obviously, he's the best coach in the state. Everyone knows it. It's a big loss for us. We still have to take care of business. ... When you think Skyline football, you think of Steve Gervais. It's a weird thing knowing we're not going to see Gerv out there.''


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March 3, 2008 4:43 PM

Looks like Gervais is new Husky assistant

Posted by Bob Condotta

A source has told The Seattle Times that Skyline High football coach Steve Gervais will be named as an assistant coach for the Huskies.

Contacted by the Times, Gervais would neither confirm nor deny that he is moving to UW, saying "once there is an official statement I'll be ready to talk about it.''

An official announcement will likely come tomorrow.

Gervais has won six state titles as a high school coach, including a 42-35 win over O'Dea for the Class 3A title last fall. UW coach Tyrone Willingham's son played last season for Skyline.

Gervais is likely to fill the running back job though Willingham left open the possibility that there could be some changes in job responsibilities depending on who was hired to fill out the staff. Gervais reportedly told his players at Skyline during a team meeting at school today.

Gervais was 94-22 in 10 years at Skyline and 244-87 in 31 years overall as a high school coach.

UPDATE --- Here's a story from the Times in December with some background on Gervais.

ADDED NOTE --- As some of you have already noted, Skyline has a couple of the top prospects in the state in coming years in WR Gino Simone, who will be a senior next fall, and QB Jake Heaps, who will be a junior. Also, Gervais' son, Riley, who was an All-Kingco tight end at Skyline last year, is expected to walk-on at Washington.

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March 3, 2008 1:50 PM

What UW's spring game might have looked like

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting story today from ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel on how a number of schools are trying to perk up their spring game experiences with live music, fan competitions and pep rallies.

In fact, the Huskies had an opportunity to take part in this event, and deciding whether to do so is why there was a little delay in announcing dates for spring ball.

Ultimately, negotiations fell through. One reason is that there were concerns whether any of the musical groups being offered would be enough of a draw to really make it worth moving the spring game ahead a week. And as you can see, UW also doesn't fit the preferred demographic of schools "that aren't near major metropolitan areas.''

In the end, the Huskies decided to stick with their regularly scheduled spring ball plans, with the spring game set for April 26.


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March 1, 2008 10:02 AM

More on Locker, AD search

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'll pass along the two stories we had in the paper today on the events of Friday:

--- First is this on Jake Locker's decision to play summer baseball, which includes some new quotes from Dave Lewis, the general manager of the team. As Lewis says in the story, it is "football first'' for Locker, and he will work baseball around his football commitments. He said it's uncertain if Locker will go on road trips or how many games he will play, or how long he will stay with the team.

"I would s ay he will play more than sporadically and less than regularly,'' Lewis said. "Probably not every game, but he's going to play as much as he possibly can.'' He said Locker will only play in the outfield (or DH) to reduce the risk of injury, and he said Locker "signed a contract'' only as an agreement that the Bells will be the only team in that league he will play for this season, something asked of all the players.

--- Also today is this update on the AD search, with some quotes from acting AD Scott Woodward and president Mark Emmert about where it stands. Emmert said again that the goal is to have someone hired by the end of the academic year.


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Recent entries

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