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

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May 31, 2008 10:58 PM

Back at it

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wow, 124 responses on a post saying I'm taking some time off.

Maybe I'll take more vacations just to up the comment tally.

Seriously, thanks to those of you who wondered if something was wrong due to the abruptness of the taking-a-break note.

All that was wrong was some faulty wiring in my brain.

I actually took a cruise to Alaska and figured I would have some wireless access somewhere along the way (I decided early on not to pay the $1,000-a minute or so for access that the cruise line charges) to handle the "brief hiatus'' note en route.

Instead, the Alaskan coast proved as impenetrable by my wireless server as UW's 1991 defense, something I should have anticipated.

So I called in a quick request to let everyone know I was away in the minute or so that my phone worked.

Only my second cruise and not sure I loved it. Alaska's great --- lots to do there --- and we got real lucky with the weather. But I didn't realize being on a cruise is basically a constant test of willpower, with endless hard-sells for $7 beer, $11 coffee, bingo tournaments and raffle tickets. Even pro sports teams could learn something from these guys.

Then there was the endless tape loop that tended to settle on James Taylor's Fire and Rain every hour or so. Just what I want when trying to get away from it all --- songs about battling mental illness.

And my wife wasn't sure what to think of the whole food thing. Buffet lines appear to do something to even the nicest of people. Put a plate in the hands of Mildred from Duluth or Delores from Hoboken and they turn as venemous as Mike Tyson circa 1988 in their search for the best cuts of beef or slices of salmon. I was no match for most of them, tending to wait until the veterans got out of the way before wading in.

Anyway, that's over now, so we'll get back to all the usual things on the blog here next week.

And I did just enough reading through things to see that a little bit happened this week:

--- First, sounds like cautiously optimistic news for Juan Garcia in his attempt to comeback from Lisfranc injury. My e-mail included a message from the UW sports information department this week stating that his no-surgery approach appears to be progressing, if slowly, and that he'll be examined again in a month or so.

--- Second, a good source has told the Times that it sounds as if Bob Stull is not in the running for the athletic director job at UW. Doesn't sound as if much has leaked on that in the past week otherwise, but again, we are hearing that Stull is unlikely to be the guy.

--- Third, former UW football players Blair Bush and Mark Stewart were each named as part of the school's newest class of Hall of Famers.

I'm actually writing this from the ship now that we have gotten close enough to where my connection works, and I'm still officially off for a few more days. But unofficially, consider the blog back in business.

UPDATE --- Speaking of our Alaska trip, which I acknowledge has nothing to do with Husky football (I'll try to make that up to you with some quality Husky-related content later) we saw a really good musical group on our trip that I feel obligated to give some pub named Chapter 6. We simply enjoyed their music and they were nice guys who humored us after we challenged them in a game of basketball during one of the attempts by the cruise at building some bonding among the passengers.They stomped us like Steve Emtman taking down George Malaulu but made our 10-year-old feel like a winner, which made the rest of us fans of theirs. We became even bigger ones once we saw their show, which included imaginative takes on Krispy Kremes and The Wizard of Oz. So this is their official plug, and my official wondering how Nathan is as thin as he is since all we ever did was see him checking out the dessert tray. Good luck guys.

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May 27, 2008 6:02 PM

Programming note

Posted by Bob Payne

Bob Condotta is taking some time off this week, so posts will be sporadic at best.

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May 25, 2008 10:18 AM

Jordan Polk wins Oregon state titles

Posted by Bob Condotta

Incoming UW receiver Jordan Polk won the Oregon State 6A 100 and 200-meter titles yesterday at Eugene's Hayward Field.

Here are the results.

This is also a picture of Polk on the front page of the Oregonian web site.

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May 24, 2008 8:55 PM

Locker named Lindy's Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year

Posted by Bob Condotta

The first college football preview magazine has hit the stands --- the first one I've seen, anyway --- the Lindy's National College Football preview.

And in its Pac-10 section, the magazine tabs UW quarterback Jake Locker as the conference's Offensive Player of the Year. Lindy's also names a Most Valuable Player and gives that honor to ASU QB Rudy Carpenter who also rates ahead of Locker on the all-conference team. The Defensive POY is USC LB Rey Maualuga and the Newcomer of the Year is Oregon RB LeGarrate Blount.

(Full disclosure --- I do some writing for Lindy's, including penning the story that accompanies the Pac-10 preview in the magazine and giving input on all-conference teams, honors, etc. But the editors there make the final call --- kind of like my wife at home --- and I honestly didn't know Locker was the Offensive Player of the Year until I picked up the magazine today.)

Even the presence of Locker, however, couldn't convince Lindy's to rate UW higher than eighth in the conference.

Here are Lindy's picks:

1, USC
2, Arizona State
3, Oregon
4, Cal
5, UCLA
6, Oregon State
7, Arizona
8, Washington
9, Stanford
10, Washington State

No Huskies were named to Lindy's First Team, though Locker, guard Ryan Tolar and defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim were all named to the second team.

Locker was rated as the QB with the strongest arm, the toughest to bring down and as the best scrambler in the magazine's "Honor Roll'' feature. Locker was also rated as the 15th best QB in the country, the only Husky listed in the magazine's national player ratings, the magazine stating that the "Great Hope of the Huskies is a Tim Tebow-style runner ... tough as nails.''.

UW was rated No. 64 nationally, ahead of only two opponents this season --- Stanford and WSU (Notre Dame is rated 59th).

Pac-10 teams rated in the Top 25 are USC (No. 2 behind Georgia), Arizona State (14) and Oregon (21).

Again, this was the Lindy's National edition. The Pac-10 edition, which includes a more in-depth look at the conference ---- including ratings of teams by position --- will be out a little later. I'll review that edition when it arrives and also discuss the position ratings then.

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May 23, 2008 4:55 PM

Examining the schedules

Posted by Bob Condotta

Lots of interesting debate on here today about UW's schedule and whether it's the right thing for the program right now to bring a team like LSU to kick off the 2009 season.

I'm one of those who likes big games and respects the fact that Washington has traditionally not shied away from tough competition, so in general, I think this is the right way to go. I also think that by 2009, the Huskies ought to be ready for it, with almost everyone back from the 2008 roster, notably a QB who would be entering his third year as a starter.

Also worth keeping in mind is that a lot of the schedule maneuvering of the last few years was forced on the Huskies a little bit.

The Huskies planned, in 2007, 2008 and 2009, to play teams like Indiana, Illinois and Nevada. All three schools asked out of those games (Indiana after playing here in 2003), forcing UW to scramble.

Let's review year-by-year to see how the schedules were intended to look (according to the 2004 media guide) and how they look now.

2007

Here's the original non-conference schedule in 2007:

at Indiana
Oklahoma
Ohio State

Here's how it up after Indiana pulled out and Todd Turner then tried to soften it a bit, eliminating the back-to-back games against Oklahoma and OSU:

at Syracuse
Boise State
Ohio State
at Hawaii

I think the schedule UW ended up playing was easier than what it originally planned to play, excluding the Hawaii game, which was an extra, and which ultimately didn't do much to determine the fate of the season anyway.

2008

Here's the original non-conference lineup for 2008:
BYU
Boise State
at Illinois
Notre Dame

Here's how it ended up:

BYU
Oklahoma
Notre Dame

A couple things happened here. First, the Pac-10 decided to play nine conference games, so the Huskies had to cut out one of the non-conference games. That was made easy when Illinois asked out of its series with UW. Turner then switched the Boise State and Oklahoma games to make the 2007 a little softer, the thought being that the Huskies would be readier to play a tougher slate in 2008. Ultimately, you get Oklahoma but lose at Illinois and Boise State. Definitely a little bit tougher.

(If you're wondering, the Pac-10 team UW would have missed in 2008 is UCLA, which would have prevented what will be one of the highlights of this season --- the return to Husky Stadium of Rick Neuheisel).

2009

Here's the original schedule for 2009:

Nevada
Illinois
at Notre Dame

Here's how it ended up:

LSU
Idaho
at Notre Dame

Again, both Nevada and Illinois asked out, so UW had to scramble. Ultimately, it looks a little tougher with LSU a bit of an upgrade from Illinois, though Idaho probably a little bit easier than Nevada figures to be.

The 2010 schedule is also now set as UW will play at BYU before hosting Syracuse and Nebraska. Originally, UW had a home game set with Navy for 2010, but that's another one the Huskies lost when that school decided to pull out (there are usually some sort of buy-outs written into the contracts when schools do that though I don't know the particulars in any of these cases).

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May 23, 2008 12:38 PM

More on UW and LSU

Posted by Bob Condotta

Despite his ties to LSU, Washington acting athletic director Scott Woodward said he wasn't really trying to schedule a football game against the Tigers --- it just sort of happened.

"(We) had an opening and (they) had an opening and it just sort of fit,'' Woodward said.

The Huskies announced today that they have signed a deal to play a two-game home-and-home series with LSU, with the Tigers coming here to open the 2009 season on Sept. 5 and UW going there on Sept. 29, 2012.

UW needed another game after Nevada pulled out of a scheduled contest in 2009. Woodward said the Huskies called a number of schools, including some in the Big Ten and ACC.

Along the way, Woodward, who worked at LSU from 1999-2004, also talked with old friend Verge Ausberry, senior associate athletic director for the Tigers, and the two realized that each school might be able to help the other.

"We were looking for BCS schools,'' he said. "When you do home-and-homes you're looking for really good matchups, but this late in the game trying to get someone can be problematic. It just worked out they had a nice fit.''

UW hasn't played an SEC school in a regular-season game since visiting LSU in 1983, a 40-14 loss. The Huskies haven't hosted one since losing to Alabama and Bear Bryant in 1978, 20-17. UW last played an SEC school in any setting in 1989, beating Florida in the Freedom Bowl 34-7.

"It'll be fun for our fans to experience a different type of geographical and football culture,'' Woodward said.

Adding LSU will give the Huskies another pretty stout schedule in 2009 as UW will also play at Notre Dame while hosting Idaho in non-conference play.

Some have wondered if the Huskies shouldn't downgrade the schedule a bit while it is attempting to dig out of a four-year rut of losing seasons.

Woodward said that was discussed, but that ultimately the school wants to continue its philosophy of putting together the most attractive schedule it can each year. He said UW coach Tyrone Willingham shares that view.

"He likes to have competitive schedules for our fans and he likes the challenge,'' Woodward said.

There is also the chance that both LSU games will be nationally televised, possibly by ESPN, though no agreements are yet set.

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May 23, 2008 10:46 AM

Huskies to host LSU in 2009

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just noticed on UW's future schedules on GoHuskies.com that the Huskies are now slated to open the 2009 season at home against LSU.

That had previously been an open date. Rumor is UW may return the date in 2012.

The school hasn't officially announced this other than putting it on the future schedules. When we get more details later, I'll pass it along.

This would be UW's first game against an SEC opponent since beating Florida 34-7 in the 1989 Freedom Bowl. UW hasn't played a regular-season game against an SEC team since losing at LSU 40-14 in 1983.

Obviously, the connections between the leaders at UW and LSU are well-known and it's likely that those relationships helped cement this deal. UW president Mark Emmert and acting athletic director Scott Woodward each worked at LSU from 1999-2004 before coming to UW.

Adding LSU in 2009 gives UW another power-packed schedule for what would be Jake Locker's junior year. UW will also host Idaho and play at Notre Dame in non-conference play.

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May 23, 2008 8:50 AM

Rayford signs with BC Lions

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Husky defensive end Caesar Rayford signed a free agent contract with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League having impressed the team during a tryout in Portland earlier this month.

That makes Rayford one of five ex-Huskies currently on CFL rosters.

Others are defensive lineman Brandon Ala, with BC; linebacker Joe Lobendahn with Winnipeg; defensive end Kai Ellis with Montreal; and quarterback Cody Pickett with Toronto.

Ellis is making a career out of the CFL as he is entering his sixth season there.

Pickett played in three countries in three leagues last year, also playing for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe and the Oakland Raiders before signing with Toronto. Among his teammates in Toronto is former OSU linebacker Richard Seigler, who along with having recently been acquitted of prostitution charges, also once famously called Pickett "rodeo man'' before a UW-OSU game in 2002. The two have been teammates with the 49ers, as well.

The CFL season begins June 12.

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May 22, 2008 9:42 PM

Interesting story on Weis, Willingham salaries

Posted by Bob Condotta

Tyrone Willingham may be on the hottest seat of any college football coach in America, but at least it's a plush one.

This story today from the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette details how Willingham was paid $650,000 by Notre Dame from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007 as part of the school's settlement when it fired him in 2004.

The story says that's more than the base salary of $598,000 paid to Charlie Weis, making Willingham the second-highest paid employee at Notre Dame for the 2006-07 fiscal year. Weis, however, has all kinds of other compensation as Coaches Hot Seat says that his total salary is $4.2 million a year.

That list puts Willingham's guaranteed compensation at 39th in the country and fourth in the Pac-10 at $1.47 million per year, behind Pete Carroll ($3.8 million), Mike Bellotti ($2.05 million) and Jeff Tedford ($1.85 million).

Drawing two salaries puts Willingham in a rare category of being among the highest-paid employees at two major universities at the same time. Willingham is the highest-paid employee at UW (which also makes him the highest-paid employee in the state). He can also make about another $400,000 in incentives (though $175,000 is pretty hard to reach as that's what he would get for winning the BCS title game). You can view his contract here.

So combining his Notre Dame and UW salaries means Willingham pulled in more than $2 million during that fiscal year.

One thing I'd forgotten in reviewing his contract is that it was amended in 2006 to award him $25,000 if the team's APR number is equal to or greater than "the cutpoint established by the NCAA.'' It was, when released earlier this month, making Willingham just a little bit richer.


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May 22, 2008 8:58 PM

Tuiasosopo back to Raiders

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former UW quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo has signed to play again for the Oakland Raiders, it was announced earlier today.

Here's a story from the San Francisco Chronicle saying Tui will compete with Andrew Walter for the backup job behind starter JaMarcus Russell.

Here's an AP story, as well. Tui played with the Raiders from 2001-06 before spending last season with the Jets.

Sounds like a good situation to at least make a roster, and with Russell being pretty unproven --- and said to weigh at least 269 pounds --- who knows what kinds of opportunities could await this season?

This also means Tui could get a lot of playing time at Qwest Field on Aug. 29, when the Raiders close out the pre-season against the Seahawks. Backups typically go most of the way in the final pre-season game while the starters rest.

Here are Tui's career stats.

His signing means the Raiders have four former Huskies on the current roster --- Marcel Reece, Louis Rankin and Greyson Gunheim were all signed by Oakland as undrafted free agents and will try to make the team in fall camp.

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May 22, 2008 11:02 AM

Interesting take on Willingham from Sportsline.com

Posted by Bob Condotta

Dennis Dodd of Sportsline.com attended The Football Forum in Dallas last week and wrote this story out of it exploring Tyrone Willingham's future at Washington.

You'll note that Willingham states that he doesn't feel any more pressure heading into this season than he has in any other season because "it's impossible to put pressure on someone whose expectation is greater than those who seek to apply pressure. Is there anyone who wants to win more than coach Willingham?'' He's said similar things every time he's asked about it, and don't expect him to ever admit he's feeling any additional pressure. Just not something he's ever going to say.

Still, it's interesting in the context of this story because it then includes a few quotes from Skyline coach Mat Taylor saying that the expectations at UW may be too high right now. But if Willingham's quote is read literally, he has higher expectations than anyone else, even all the fans.

Dodd also restates what he wrote a few weeks ago --- that Willingham has the hottest seat of any college coach in the country. Expect a lot more stories along those lines in the days leading up to Aug. 30, a day in which that seat will either cool down appreciably or heat up so much that it may burst into flame (get used to every possible hot-seat analogy between now and then, as well).

Also a quote in there from Mike Bellotti saying he doesn't like the idea of offering players at younger and younger ages, but that he has had to reluctantly follow along. Doubt college football will ever go as far as college basketball in this area, but sounds like an inevitable trend.

Here also are Dodd's coach's hot seat ratings. You'll see Willingham has a 4.95 rating out of 5. The only other conference coach rated as being in any real trouble is Arizona's Mike Stoops, at 4.

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May 22, 2008 8:28 AM

Huskies "Blitz The Sound''

Posted by Bob Condotta

I mentioned yesterday I spent the morning following some of the UW players as they took part in the "Blitz The Sound'' community outreach event.

Here's the story that resulted.

It was a fun morning watching the guys interact with the Kindergartners --- they seemed to genuinely be interested and they spent more than two hours there, so it's not as if they just stopped in, posed for a few pictures, and took off. There are obviously a lot of questions about the direction of the program on the field, but events like this show that there some good things happening, as well. We also covered this event last year, as well.

Many other players will be visiting a number of other schools in the area today as the BTS concludes.

Here's a statement UW coach Tyrone Willingham released yesterday about the goals of the event:

"Community service is one of the four pillars of our program. It fits very comfortably with our goals of 1) building great players who comprise the best team in the country, 2) producing great students, 3) developing young men who lead and serve others, and 4) creating an environment in which young men can have fun in a responsible manner. Donating time and self is one way that we can perform a service to the community, as well as aid the maturation of our young men into adults. I believe with these values we will develop young men who will be our future great leaders.''


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May 21, 2008 9:23 PM

Answers, volume five

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here we go with another round.

Q: Have the UW coaches tried to use "video conferencing'' to get around the so-called Saban rule?

A: For those unfamiliar with the premise of the question, here's a good primer on how some schools are trying to work around a new NCAA rule that prevents coaches from visiting high school campuses during the May evaluation period. The word from UW officials is that the Huskies are not doing anything like that at the moment over concerns about what is legal and what isn't. Sounds as if they are going to look into it further to see what may be possible to do next year. Here's a story out of Eugene on the topic that mentions that Oregon didn't do it this year, either, but that Mike Bellotti will also explore ways it could be done in the future

Q: Did Brandon Johnson have surgery on the knee he injured during the spring?

A: Yes, he had minor arthroscopic surgery and it is expected that he will recover fully in time for the beginning of fall practice.

Q: Why can't you guys at The Seattle Times call recruits the way sites like Dawgman.com can?

A: We can and we do. There is nothing in the NCAA rules that prohibits media from talking to recruits other than during official visits --- the NCAA doesn't want schools to publicize the visits. We are also discouraged from talking with recruits when they are on unofficial visits at practice. But we write all kinds of stories about recruits. We do stories all the time during the high school football season on local kids who are getting recruited by all kinds of schools. We probably don't usually do it in the same manner as the sites that specialize in recruiting, however, usually focusing more on the player's high school career than just on his visits or something (and please don't take that as a criticism of what those sites do in such stories, just pointing out that there is usually a difference. When we write about, say, Jake Heaps, we are doing so for a general audience that we know includes Husky fans, Cougar fans, general sports fans, etc. When Dawgman.com writes about a guy, they know their audience is pretty much Husky fans). For this blog, I do my own interviews of recruits from time-to-time. But because this blog is pretty much a one-man show and it is also in addition to the stuff I do for the paper and the regular web site, I don't have as much time to devote to recruiting as the other sites do. So my plan of attack here has always been to try to keep you up-to-date on the major recruiting happenings --- commitments, visits by significant players, updates on guys who have already signed, etc. But on this blog, we're not at the moment going to get into the detail that the "recruiting'' sites do.

Q: Who is better live --- the White Stripes or Bruce Springsteen?

A: Having never seen the White Stripes, I have to say Bruce, though I would love to see the Stripes --- is it just the two of them in concert or do they bring in others? As for Bruce, I'm ashamed to admit I've only seen him twice --- including a couple of months ago in Seattle (other was 2000 in Tacoma). For whatever reason, I just didn't "get'' Bruce at first, so while I had the requisite copies of Born to Run and Born in the USA in my record collection, he wasn't a regular on the rotation for a long time, and I just didn't get around to seeing him until that 2000 concert. That show, however, made me a much bigger fan and I now am one of those who goes around bugging people I know by telling them how they really need to listen to this Bruce song, or that one. Among my favorites right now are Crush on You, Lost in the Flood, and The Fever.

All for now.


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May 21, 2008 1:29 PM

Locker baseball debut June 6

Posted by Bob Condotta

I spent part of the morning at the Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington, observing as a group of six Husky football players read books, built towers and otherwise hung out with a couple of sets of Kindergarten classes --- the classes are a mix of typically developing and developmentally disabled kids.

I'll have more on that in a story that will run in Thursday's newspaper. The visits are part of the team's annual "Blitz The Sound'' community outreach event. Almost every player on the roster will take part in a visit to a local elementary or middle school over the next two days.

Among the UW football players at the stop I visited was quarterback Jake Locker, and when I caught up to him afterward, I also slipped in a quick question about his summer plans.

Locker said he will make his debut with the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League on June 6 (here are details on the league from a past story on Locker's decision to play for the team).

The Bells open the season at home with a three-game set June 6-7-8 at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham and Locker said he plans to play in all three games. The games Friday and Saturday begin at 7 p.m. and the Sunday game at 4 p.m. (here's some ticket info and here's a schedule.)

The Bells play the Everett Merchants on Friday and Sunday and the Langley Blaze on Saturday.

Otherwise, Locker said he will make up his schedule in two-week increments and has no idea how many games he will end up playing for the Bells, having said all along he will work his baseball schedule around his football commitments.

"I'm going to go on a two-week basis and sit down with the coaches (of the Bells) and say 'okay, I can make it to this one, I can't make it to this one,''' he said. "Whatever that number (of games for the season) ends up being at the end of the summer is where it ends up.''

Still, he sounds enthused to play again. He noted that the June 6 game is also his grandmother's birthday "so she is excited.''

He said he's been fitting in a little baseball along with his football workouts to prepare for the season.

"I've been hitting a little bit, taking some fly balls,'' he said. "I've got to take some more fly balls because I'm a little out of sync there. Hopefully it will all come back to me.''

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May 20, 2008 9:32 PM

Locker to appear at Bellingham Coaches Tour

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW has announced that quarterback Jake Locker will be attending the UW Coaches Tour stop in Bellingham on June 5. Locker also attended last year.

The event will be held at the Bellingham Golf & Country Club. As always, fans can get more information and sign up for the golf tournament and/or Husky Insider Banquet at UWalum.com.

Here is a complete list of all the coaches tour events with information on how to attend.

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May 20, 2008 2:19 PM

ESPN asking for help defining "Face of the Program''

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's kind of a fun off-season thing from ESPN.com, which is soliciting fans of every college team for their help in defining what they think is the "Face of the Program.''

Here's the link, and the apparent idea is for fans to suggest what they think is the greatest defining image of the program they follow.

Not a lot of responses so far, but I would probably have to agree with those who have suggested Don James. College programs are inevitably defined by their coaches since the players turn over so rapidly, and while I know there are some who might suggest that Jim Owens had as big an impact on UW as did James --- that without Owens there couldn't have been James --- I think James' overall record just speaks a little more loudly. The guy who wrote in that Husky Stadium itself is the real face of the program might not be far off, either. Just don't tell all the people who want to bulldoze it.

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May 20, 2008 8:43 AM

AD update

Posted by Bob Condotta

I spent much of yesterday trying to find out what's going on with the search for a new athletic director at UW, and this story is the result.

As you can read, the school is attempting to keep things as under wraps as possible, so getting concrete information isn't real easy.

The story includes mention of one new name that I have been told is a candidate --- Steve Lopes, a senior associate AD at USC. He didn't return a phone call yesterday, but here is a story on Lopes from a few years ago when he was a finalist for the AD's job at Long Beach State.

For those of you who have asked whether this is a choice between the people mentioned in the story, however, I don't profess to know that those are the only candidates. In fact, I heard of one other late yesterday but couldn't get enough of a confirmation to include the name. If/when I get that, I'll pass it along.

This has been a really quiet search so I'm certain there are things going on with it --- maybe lots of things --- that haven't leaked out. But what I wrote today is what I've been able to get.

NEUHEISEL HIRES FORMER HUSKY AS FOOTBALL OPS GUY --- A few of you have pointed me to a story I missed Monday, that Rick Neuheisel has hired former UW football player Darren Witcher as his football operations director at UCLA. As the story notes, Witcher has been an assistant the last nine years at Rainier Beach. So definitely sounds like Neuheisel is going to work his connections up here as best he can.

I have also been told that former UW linebacker Scott White is working for Neuheisel at UCLA in some sort internship role.

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May 19, 2008 3:00 PM

Answers, volume four

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here we go with another round.

Q: Any update on Emeka Iweka?

A: The one-time Rainier Beach High star who signed with UW in 2007, then was declared ineligible, is finishing up his freshman year at Arizona Western JC in Yuma. He has said he plans to return to UW once he is done at Arizona Western For the immediate future, his plan is to play next fall at Arizona Western after sitting out this year to rehab an Achilles injury suffered playing basketball in high school. Jim Howell, the SID at Arizona Western, said Eweka "had a great spring'' and is expected to see significant playing time this fall. If he graduates next year, he could then sign with a D-I school and have three years of eligibility remaining. But since he went there as a non-qualifier, he has to graduate first to play at the D-I level.

Eweka isn't the only Washington product at Arizona Western. Howell said that one-time UW signee Keauntea Bankhead , who played last season at Arizona Western, was due to graduate this weekend and is mulling over where to continue his football career next fall. Howell was unsure exactly which schools have inquired but said Bankhead had some offers (though I don't think from any D-I's). He said Bankhead had a GPA around 3.5.

Also at Arizona Western is former Rainier Beach High star Shelton Danzy, who signed with WSU a few years ago. Howell said Danzy also had a great spring and is expected to generate a lot of interest from recruiters next fall, when he will be a sophomore.

Also on the roster is Zach Gavin, an Eisenhower High grad who is expected to be the starting QB for Arizona Western this fall. Howell said Gavin is also already getting some D-I interest. Gavin is the son of former Ike coach Greg Gavin, who was also the coach for UW center Juan Garcia. Greg Gavin became something of a mentor to Garcia, something I detailed a few years ago.

Q: Will freshmen such as Luther Leonard and Johri Fogerson remain at their current positions or play somewhere else this year?

A: Freshmen are always susceptible to being moved, and almost every year, a few are, such as Nate Williams last season. But the plan at the moment is for all the freshmen to get an initial look at their listed position, meaning running back for Fogerson and quarterback for Leonard. There is lots of speculation that Fogerson could eventually end up on defense, and it would be little surprise if that happens down the road, as such moves are common --- again, reference Williams a year ago. Remember, UW brings in four RBs next year (not including Chris Polk, also a true freshman but already here) so as things shake out and a pecking order is established, a switch or two is likely. Two of the five RBs brought in last year have moved --- Williams and Curtis Shaw to WR. Leonard's situation is a little different as UW is light on depth at QB right now --- the Huskies will have four on scholarship next fall, two being true freshmen Leonard and Dominique Blackman. So while lots of recruiting analysts who have seen these guys play say they wouldn't be surprised to see them at another position someday, need alone indicates they will get really long looks at QB first. UW coaches said on signing day that they Leonard was something of a sleeper as a QB prospect and that they did not sign him with the intent of moving him, but rather to play him at QB.

Q: I've heard lots of stories about Tyrone Willingham's workout prowess, that players sometimes can't beat him in certain exercises. Can you shed any light on that?

A: Not a lot. Obviously I could ask the players but it just hasn't come up much so I never really have, and this is the kind of thing I might have a better handle on if we had a little more access to the program. I can say that in the little bit of practice we get to see, Willingham is often an active participant in some of the exercises, such as the Husky jacks that conclude warm-ups, or running routes and throwing passes. He is obviously in good shape for any age, and especially for his age (54) so I wouldn't be surprised if there is truth to the anecdotes you have heard.

If I haven't gotten to your question yet, I plan to soon. But I am intentionally parceling these out in stages to try to keep the blog fresh --- it's a long time until August.


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May 19, 2008 9:52 AM

Husky recruits win track titles

Posted by Bob Condotta

Two of UW's incoming freshmen spent the weekend living up to their reputation for speed.

Jordan Polk, a receiver from Lincoln High in Portland, won the 100 and 200 at the Oregon 6A District 1 meet, taking the 100 in 10.68 and the 200 in 22.20.

Adam Long, a cornerback from St. Bernard High in Los Angeles, won the 100 and 200 at the California Southern Section Division IV Finals, taking the 100 in 10.71 and the 200 in 21.20.

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May 19, 2008 8:24 AM

Last word on Football Forum

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a good wrapup of all that happened at the Football Forum from Yahoo.com.

The front page features a picture of Tyrone Willingham, which as one poster pointed out is the second time in a week UW has been highlighted on Yahoo's sports page (Jake Locker last week).

Speaking of the Football Forum, a writer for The Bleacher Report has this take on Willingham's comments on race being a factor in hiring college football coaches. (I'm somewhat hesitant to pass along a story on Willingham by an anonymous writer with a ND bent for all the obvious reasons. But seeing as how I figure someone will pass it along anyway, here you go).

The author, whoever he or she is, points out that Willingham has never hired a minority as a coordinator as head coach at Notre Dame and Washington (and if the writer had done deeper research, I think he/she would have found that was also the case at Stanford). But to be fair to Willingham, the author should also have pointed out that Willingham did try this year, making a well-publicized attempt to lure DeWayne Walker away from UCLA. (So well-publicized that The Sporting News called it a done deal for days).

Here's a sidebar to the Bleacher Report.

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May 18, 2008 10:11 AM

Locker 75-1 to win Heisman

Posted by Bob Condotta

Those are the odds you can get on him right now at Bodoglife.com, anyway.

That might seem high but at least he's on the list. Not sure I've seen a Husky on any such lists since Reggie Williams and Cody Pickett in 2003.

I was asked my thoughts on Locker and his ability to win post-season awards in the Q-and-A last week, and I'll repeat what I said then --- so much of these things are based on wins and losses, so that will be the biggest determiner.

Then again, despite everything else that will be critical to this team's success this season, Locker will be the biggest piece of that equation. So if the wins come, Locker will be among the biggest reasons why and given the publicity he has already gotten in his career, will get more than enough credit. So the trick now for UW is getting those wins.

Locker is one of six Pac-10 players on the list. The others are --- ASU QB Rudy Carpenter, 30-1; USC running back Joe McKnight, 25-1; USC QB Mark Sanchez, 40-1; Arizona QB Willie Tuitama, 75-1; and Oregon RB Jeremiah Johnson, 100-1.


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May 17, 2008 10:10 PM

More on Football Forum

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's the complete transcript of the second day of the Football Forum featuring UW coach Tyrone Willingham.

The topics, as mentioned in the earlier post today, included minority hiring and a college football playoff.

In one interesting passage that was already detailed in some of the stories posted earlier, Willingham asks "who is the championship for?'' of a playoff system.

And then, in an exchange dripping in irony given his general feelings about the media which he detailed again on the first day of the Forum, Willingham asks "don't shoot the messenger now'' when pressed on his stand, adding "I just asked the question.'' May have to try that one myself sometime.

Also of note is that Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White was among the panelists. He was the AD at the time Willingham was fired and made the famous comment about the program exceeding expectations from Sunday through Friday.

Ron Higgins of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal notes that there was some light-hearted banter about that reunion with all sides apparently getting along just fine.

As for the transcript of the Forum, Willingham at one point talked about UW having three byes this season, saying that "some might say that might be a little excessive'' but that he thinks it's important to give his players some breaks. Certainly could be this year for a young, building team without a lot of proven depth.

There's also some discussion near the bottom about the rule changes this year (specifically the 40-25 timing rule) and the influence of the NFL on college football. Willingham says he thinks the new timing rules could cut 5-10 plays out of the game next season.

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May 17, 2008 12:08 PM

Saturday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Passing along a few stories from the Football Forum, as well as some other notes, while wondering what I'm doing inside on such a nice day:

--- As noted yesterday, Tyrone Willingham is attending the Football Forum in Dallas. Among the stories emanating from that event is this piece on the lack of black coaches in Division-I. Just six this year including Willingham.

--- Minority hiring, plus a possible playoff, were the hot topics Friday, according to the Dallas Morning News.

--- Here's a good breakdown of the Forum.

--- Here's one for the anti-Willingham contingent. Willingham was among those coaches at the Forum who said they are against a playoff. John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News says cynics would note that there may be a good reason Willingham would be against a playoff.

IN OTHER NEWS

--- Scott Wolf reports that USC will be ranked No. 2 in Lindy's pre-season poll.

--- Wolf also reports that the Pac-10 apparently turned down a chance for an eighth guaranteed bowl slot. Who wouldn't want to celebrate the holidays in Fresno?

--- It won't help them this year, but UCLA is getting a transfer from Colorado to help with O-line depth down the road. Guess Rick Neuheisel is allowed to take Colorado transfers now.

--- The Spokesman-Review has a good look at how Washington State ended up in so much trouble with the APR.

--- SI.com has a pretty-detailed look at OSU receiver Sammie Stroughter.

--- The Husky coaches tour hits Everett on Monday.

All for now.


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May 16, 2008 9:16 AM

Willingham speaks at Football Forum

Posted by Bob Condotta

In his role as the current president of the American Football Coaches Association, UW coach Tyrone Willingham was asked to appear this week at the Football Forum with select other coaches and media.

The event, held in Dallas and sponsored by the National Football Foundation and the Football Writers Association of America, is exploring major issues of the day, such as the APR, recruiting, player conduct and media relations.

Here is the transcript of day one and I'll warn you that it's really long.

I didn't read every last word of it --- if I'm ever incarcerated someday maybe I'll have the time then --- but I tried to read all of Willingham's comments.

One of the more interesting from my standpoint might have been when all of the coaches on the panel (others were Ohio State's Jim Tressel, Kansas' Mark Mangino and TCU's Gary Patterson) were asked if they trusted the media more than 6 on a scale of 1-10. All but Willingham raised their hand. Willngham then gave an explanation about how his wife used to work in TV news and quit when she saw that things were changing in the business from reporting news to making news. He actually told me this same thing once a few years ago when he was just beginning at UW and we talked a little about media access issues at Washington.

Willingham also says later that the biggest reason he limits access to practice is because reporters often make errors in reporting on what they see.

Willingham uses the example of reporters watching practice and seeing a lot of dropped passes but writing instead that the QB had a bad day and then he has to worry about building back the confidence of the quarterback. While I'd admit he has a little bit of a point there in that I've always thought it dangerous to make huge generalizations about what you see in practice (in part because you can't always be sure exactly what a certain drill may have been intended to do) I found it really interesting he mentioned nothing at all about not wanting to tip off opponents about strategy, personnel, etc., which I've always thought was his biggest reason for closing practice to the media. Guess it's not.

Willingham also gives an interesting answer when asked about recruiting, saying that he has to win two wars --- the "publicity war'' and "the actual war in terms of getting the right kids.'' He says you have to win the publicity war to make sure you are generating enthusiasm among the fan base, but also have to make sure you are getting the right kids at the same time. That ultimately he trusts the evaluations of coaches more than he does the public on which kids are the right ones.

At the bottom, there is a discussion of offering players scholarships at an increasingly younger age and Willingham says that "I offered my first freshman a couple of weeks ago.'' I would imagine that is a reference to receiver Kasen Williams of Skyline.

The Forum continues today and if I see anything else interesting involving Willingham I'll pass it along.

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May 16, 2008 8:33 AM

Interesting interview of former Times columnist

Posted by Bob Condotta

Derek Johnson of Scout.com has this interview today with former Times columnist Blaine Newnham.

Blaine talks mostly about some of his favorite Husky memories so it's a good read for UW fans.

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May 15, 2008 5:07 PM

Nelson hopes to be candidate

Posted by Bob Condotta

As reported here yesterday, the search for a new athletic director is ongoing, and may not be done for three or four weeks, if then.

Of the rumored candidates to become UW's new athletic director, the one who may have the closest ties to the school is Chuck Nelson.

Nelson, an Everett native, was UW's kicker from 1979-82 setting a number of school, conference and NCAA records, notably hitting 30 in a row from late in the 1981 season to late in 1982.

He's also the color man on the UW football broadcasts and since 2005 has been the executive director of the Boeing Classic golf tournament on the Champions Tour.

Here's a Seattle Times profile from 2005 detailing his career and role with the Boeing Classic, in which he handles a budget of roughly $5 million and more than 1,000 volunteers.

Nelson won't say whether he has been contacted by UW, but he will say that he hopes to be a candidate for the job. Nelson said when the job came open in December that he would like to be considered, and said this week he continues to hope he will be considered.

"I'm still interested and would be excited should they decide to have me involved in the process,'' he said.

UW is trying to be as secretive as possible with this search, and while there are surely other candidates out there, Nelson remains the only one who has publicly declared his interest.


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May 15, 2008 9:43 AM

Baseball interlude two, more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another week, another couple wins for the UW baseball team, another assignment to write a story about a player on that team.

So here it is, a little feature on outfielder Kyle Conley who has been tearing up Pac-10 pitching of late, winning the last two conference Player of the Week awards, hitting six homers in his last seen games.

And he also has a little bit of a football background, having played on the defensive line at Richland where he had to tussle a few times with Ryan Tolar, who played at rival Pasco. As he said in the story, Tolar tended to get the better of those matchups. "He's so massive and strong,'' Conley said, adding that Tolar didn't really have to block him but would just "bear hug me'' and fall over.

Last year, Conley said he roomed for a while with mostly football players, including Jake Locker.

His play of late has helped put the Huskies in contention for an NCAA tourney berth. UW is 31-17 overall and 10-8 in Pac-10 play with two series left --- this weekend at conference leader Arizona State and the following weekend at home against second-place Stanford. That's two tough teams and coach Ken Knutson thinks the Huskies have to finish with a winning conference record to have a chance at the tournament, meaning going at least 3-3 the rest of the way. "We've probably got to be over .500 and in the top four,'' he said.

UW's cause isn't helped by the fact that its RPI is just 89. Knutson said UW had a couple of planned non-conference series canceled late in the game and filled them in with opponents who ended up not helping in the RPI department as much. But if UW keeps playing as it has --- it has won seven of eight overall --- it could take make that a moot point.

AROUND THE PAC-10:

Given its mid-May, a surprising amount of Pac-10 football news today, so here goes:

--- USC has agreed to a deal to play at the LA Coliseum for another 25 years. There had been rumblings last year that USC might consider moving to the Rose Bowl.

--- Arizona has gotten some late help for next season, signing a highly-touted JC safety who was also recruited by Florida State and Arizona State, among others.

--- Oregon State is opening a new Sports Performance Center and columnist Kevin Hampton of the Corvallis Gazette-Times says it puts OSU's facilities on par with Oregon.

--- Washington State has suspended safety Xavier Hicks for the first three games of next season after he was sentenced to jail for 45 days for assault and theft.

--- Ted Miller, a former colleague on the UW beat, has these pretty darn informative and exhaustive breakdowns of each Pac-10 team today on ESPN.com

--- Another ESPN.comer, Ivan Maisel, says Brandon Johnson could be the key to UW's hopes for a winning season as part of a look at things to watch for in the Pac-10 this season.

All for now.

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May 14, 2008 3:40 PM

A.D. update

Posted by Bob Condotta

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, those waiting for any official word from the UW on progress toward hiring a new athletic director will be waiting a long time.

As in, until the day one is hired.

Unlike has happened with previous searches at UW, the head of the search committee, Betsy Wilson, said she does not wish to comment publicly until the process is complete. And UW officials say they have no plans to discuss details of the search, such as ruling in or out rumored candidates, something that does sometimes happen at other schools --- WSU in the mid-90s brought the finalists in for public interviews with students, faculty and anyone who wanted to go.

Norm Arkans, a spokesman for the school, is apparently the only one who will make any public comment during the process.

Arkans said work is ongoing and the committee is meeting regularly. UW has also hired a search firm, Parker Executive Search, to help out. You'll notice the UW job remains at the top of the firm's listings for jobs in college athletics.

As for candidates, Bob Stull, now at UTEP and a former UW assistant football coach and assistant AD, remains the favorite of some of Husky old-guard faction. Former UW coach Don James gave Stull his endorsement during an interview on KJR-AM last week.

Dan Radakovich of Georgia Tech is a name that's been making the rounds and he makes some sense due to ties with UW president Mark Emmert. But he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution today that he has not been contacted and is not interested in the job.

Other names that have been rumored who apparently are not in the mix are former Oregon AD Bill Moos and Duke associate AD Mike Cragg. Through his lawyer, Moos said this week he has not been contacted by UW or the search firm. Cragg, who is a UW graduate and a native of Yakima, said a few weeks ago that he will not apply, instead focusing on getting the vacant AD's job at Duke.

In this story a few weeks ago, I also listed a couple of other possible candidates, including former UW kicker Chuck Nelson. Since UW is using Parker, it's likely that candidates it has recommended for other jobs could also be recommended for this one should their be interest on both sides.

As for when a hire will be made, Emmert has said previously that he hoped it could happen by the end of the school year. But Arkans said there is no set timeline.

"That's a laudable goal, but that's not a deadline,'' he said. "The most important thing is to find the right person no matter how long it takes.''


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May 14, 2008 11:11 AM

Wednesday notes and links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links to pass along while watching the Mariners and realizing that while Tyrone Willingham may be No. 1 on the Coaches Hot Seat list, he's no higher than No. 2 these days in the city of Seattle rankings behind the rising-with-a-bullet John McLaren.

--- Here's the Jake Locker story from Rivals.com that a few of you have already linked in the comments section. The comment from Scott Locker jibes with what he told me the day after the incident happened --- that he thought there was a chance Jake would play the next week. You may recall he sat out a win against Cal but then returned to play the final two games against WSU and Hawaii.

--- The Sacramento Bee Raiders' blog breaks down the chances of Marcel Reece to make the team. Reece signed with the Raiders yesterday after having impressed during a tryout over the weekend.

--- Here's a story on Greyson Gunheim's first weekend with the Raiders.

--- Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News says Isaiah Stanback could have a hard time making the Cowboys' roster next season (it's in an answer about two-thirds of the way down).

--- Here's a post-spring outlook on the Huskies from USAToday.com.

--- Athlon's is revealing another member of its pre-season Top 25 every day until it gets to No. 1 in early June when its magazine is officially released. The only UW opponent so far is Oregon at No. 19.

All for now.


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May 13, 2008 10:25 PM

Answers, volume three

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a few more answers (with some big props to the UW sports information department for their help on some of these):

Q: Any update on the status of Juan Garcia?

A: The latest is that he is still rehabbing and on crutches, hoping his injured foot will heal on its own so he can avoid surgery that would almost certainly end his collegiate playing career. It is reported to be three more weeks until he can bear weight on the foot to test it out. At some point in the next few weeks it is expected that he will be re-examined to determine if the foot is healing on its own. If not, he may have to eventually have surgery. If it is healing, then he will continue rehab with the hopes of trying to come back next season.

Q: How long does the UW's contract with Nike last? Will the school explore contracts with other companies when it expires?

A: The contract expires June 30, 2009. It began July of 2000 and was extended for another four years in 2005. I would imagine that UW will explore other options when that contract runs out if only because it generally explores all of its options when making such deals. At the moment, hard to know where such matters are headed with no permanent AD in place. But by then, the new AD will have had a year or so to begin to figure out those kinds of things. I'm attempting to get some more specifics as to the nature of the contract (financial terms, etc.) and will pass those along when I do.

Q: Any changes in the football uniforms coming this year?

A: No. A UW spokesman says they will look the same as the 2007 season. As for whether they will change down the road, the new AD will certainly have a say in that matter. So, obviously, would a new coach if that transpires.

Q: What is the recruiting budget for the football team? Has it gone up in recent years?

A: According to a spokesman, the recruiting budget this year was approximately $275,000 which essentially covers all travel by coaches and all visits by recruits. That is 5 percent more than two years ago. The questioner noted that Colorado's recruiting budget has essentially doubled since Dan Hawkins became coach two years ago (details here) and wondered if UW should do the same --- Colorado is said to spend more than $550,000 on recruiting. However, I would warn against making a direct comparison since you don't know if the two schools are including the exact same items in their budgets. Without going over it line-by-line, it's hard to know for sure if one school is spending a lot more than another, or simply categorizing expenses differently. Certainly, the reviews on UW's recruiting class this year would seem to indicate the Huskies are spending enough. Without a complete breakdown of the recruiting budget of Colorado, hard to know if they really are spending twice as much as UW, or just counting the expenses differently. It certainly looks, however, as if they are spending more. But without knowing all the details I'd be hesitant to really judge it.Also worth noting is that the NCAA and Pac-10 each enacted reforms aimed at curbing recruiting expenses in 2005 (I examined that in this story here).

Q: Did offensive coordinator Tim Lappano receive a raise to put him on the same level as new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell?

A: Sort of, but not completely. Donatell signed a contract guaranteeing him $310,008 plus a $24,000 housing allowance. After last season, Lappano received a raise of about $20,000 putting him at $219,514 plus the $24,000 housing allowance.

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May 13, 2008 5:31 PM

Reece signs with Raiders

Posted by Bob Condotta

After an impressive weekend tryout with the Raiders during the team's rookie mini-camp, former Husky Marcel Reece won himself a full-fledged contract, signing with the team today.

By my count, that is seven members of last year's team who have signed contracts with teams (and not just gotten tryouts) --- Reece, Louis Rankin and Greyson Gunheim all with the Raiders; Dan Howell with the Bengals; Anthony Russo with the Seahawks; and Roy Lewis and Jordan Reffett with the Steelers.

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May 13, 2008 10:21 AM

Answers, volume two

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here we go with round two of our answers (and hopefully it turns out better than Joe Frazier's round two in Kingston, Jamaica 35 years ago).

Q: What's the latest with the renovation of Husky Stadium?

A: Not a lot at the moment. What the school is trying to do now is get the funding sorted out. As detailed here, the school lobbied the state legislature last session for $150 million, which would be about half of the $300-310 million needed for the project. That proposal didn't get anywhere, but the school plans to try again next year when it will have more time to prepare its case, as well as having a new athletic director in the fold --- and maybe a clearing up of the Sonics' situation which is muddying the waters a little bit. Until then, there doesn't figure to be a lot of substantive action.

Q: Besides Jake Locker, which player is the most crucial to the team's success next year, and why?

A: In the bad news department, I would have answered Juan Garcia heading into spring ball. As the leader of what besides Locker is the strength of the team, I thought Garcia would have been the second-most valuable player on the team next fall (and who knows? Maybe he will make that miraculous recovery and be around next year). Otherwise, I'll go with defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. As the only player on the defensive front with any significant experience, you would think that he has to stay healthy and have a big year for the defense to make any legit improvement this fall. He's made 25 consecutive starts and was the team's defensive MVP last year, more evidence of his worth to the team. And while somewhat soft-spoken, he also appears to be maturing into a real leader, as well.

Q: All 13 UW games were on TV last year but I notice only three have been picked up so far. How many do you think will be on this year?

A: It wouldn't surprise me at all if all 12 games are again on TV this year. Remember that the recent announcement of three TV games was just the first of the TV selections for the year. There will be another one in June when FSN will make its picks, and I would imagine five or so Husky games could be picked up then. Any games not selected in the summer will then be subject to being six- or 12-day picks during the season. Given the conference's more varied TV deals now in place, most Pac-10 games are getting aired somewhere. And given the historical strength of the Seattle TV market when it comes to Husky games, UW contests are highly-valued. Also, the school's TV deal with FSN requires the network to make every possible effort to get every game on.

Q: Which UW players do you think have a chance at earning All-Pac-10 honors next season?

A: One thing you always have to look at when trying to make these kinds of guesses are the areas where the rest of the conference is strong. I had someone propose to me recently that two or three of UW's linebackers could be All-Pac-10 guys next fall. Certainly, that's a UW strength heading into next year. But it's also a Pac-10 strength as guys like USC's Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga and Cal's Zack Follett --- all either first- or second-teamers last year or the year before --- return this year. So that will be a highly competitive spot. Given the relative dearth of experienced QBs in the league, Locker has a chance at making one of the top two teams depending on how he progresses --- in fact, I've heard of one magazine that is likely to name Locker to its all-conference second team behind ASU's Rudy Carpenter. Te'o-Nesheim also has a good shot --- six of the eight DLs who were honored last year are gone. Garcia would have had a good chance. Should he return healthy, I would think Ryan Tolar would have the best chance of any of UW's other O-linemen. Despite what I said earlier about the strength at LB in the conference this year, I think E.J. Savannah has a chance if he plays the way he did in the spring game, when he appeared to be a really good fit for the new defense. If that game is any indication, Savannah could put up some big tackle numbers. There is obviously a lot of potential among some of the young players, but I think it's a little early to say any of them could be a first- or second-teamer this year --- there were no freshmen position players on the first- or second-team last year and only two sophomores. In other words, experience matters.

More later.


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May 12, 2008 4:20 PM

Answers, volume one

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wow. Ask and I shall receive, apparently. Figure I'll tackle the easy ones you guys sent --- such as what's the meaning of life --- later. And since there were so many, I'll parcel these out a bit, as well. Also, some will take a little research. But keep checking back as I'll try to eventually (meaning in the next couple weeks) get to all of them.

Now on to the first batch:

Q: Does Jake Locker have a chance at earning any Offensive Player of the Year-type honors next year and getting in the Heisman Race?

A: Definitely on the first. The Pac-10 is wide open enough this year, having lost a lot of the big names from last season, that it's easy to envision that Locker could work his way into significant honors territory. At the moment, I'd figure Rudy Carpenter is the odds-on favorite for Offensive Player of the Year honors in the Pac-10. But he's far from a lock for something like that, and there aren't a lot of other proven QBs back (Arizona's Willie Tuitama is about the most notable other than Locker) and no returning 1,000-yard rushers. The leading receiver back is Brandon Gibson of WSU. So no reason Locker, if he improves from a year ago, can't get into that conversation. The Heisman is obviously a different matter and pretty dependent on winning big. Here's an early list of candidates . Locker certainly plays the right kind of schedule to get into the race with a lot of high-profile games early. If he were able to lead UW to wins over the likes of Oregon, BYU and Oklahoma by the third week of the season, he'd definitely be on a lot of lists. But getting that done is obviously a different matter.

Q: Who do you think will be UW's leading rusher next season?

A: Tim Lappano said in the spring he hopes it's not Locker as the preference is that they won't need to lean on his running quite as much this season as they did last year, when he rushed for 986 yards, the most ever by a Pac-10 QB. But at this moment, if you were placing odds, I would think the smart money would go on Locker. The RB spot is far from solidified, and it's easy to see where that could turn into a committee-type approach with a lot of guys getting carries. If Locker's in the 800-900-range, I would think there's a good chance that would make him the leading rusher in 2008. Besides Locker, the other obvious choice is Brandon Johnson, who will enter the fall as the No. 1 tailback.

Q: Same question about the receiver position.

A: This one seems more cut-and-dried as sophomore D'Andre Goodwin emerged as Locker's go-to receiver during the spring and has by far the most catches during the spring scrimmages, including seven for 109 yards in the spring game. He knows the offense the best of the receivers, and has established a good rapport with Locker (the two are tight off the field, as well).

Q: Which newcomer will have the greatest impact in 2008?

A: One obvious place to look is all the new receivers like Chris Polk, Devin Aguilar and Anthony Boyles. Due the need for immediate help there, those guys are going to have to play and will inevitably make their presence felt --- Polk and Aguilar seemed the readiest to do that by the end of spring. RB Willie Griffin also will likely get his share of work in the fall. But here's one easy to overlook --- PK Erik Folk. Given the health problems of Ryan Perkins, it would be little surprise to see Folk win the PK job. He showed a strong leg in the spring and seems destined to handle kickoffs no matter what. He needs some consistency on FGs, but if he gets that, he could get the starting job.

More to come.


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May 12, 2008 3:57 PM

Moos: Still no contact

Posted by Bob Condotta

I talked again today with Raymond Cihak, the lawyer for Bill Moos who is serving as his spokesman for inquiries about his status as a candidate for athletic director jobs.

And Cihak said again today that Moos has had no contact "from anybody at UW or the search firm'' the school has hired to assist in the process.

That may mean Moos is not a candidate for the job as I have been told by other sources that the school has been contacting candidates, having apparently picked up steam in that task when Scott Woodward announced on May 1 that he wouldn't pursue the job full-time.

For what it's worth, Bob Stull of UTEP, also rumored to be a candidate, has not responded to interview requests in the last week.

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May 12, 2008 10:37 AM

A name to watch in the AD search

Posted by Bob Condotta

The University of Washington won't officially confirm candidates in the search for a new athletic director.

But here's one name rumored to be on the list --- Dan Radakovich, the current AD at Georgia Tech.

As you can see from reading his bio, he has some big tie-ins to UW president Mark Emmert and his right-hand man, Scott Woodward, having worked at LSU from 2001-06. Emmert and Woodward were at LSU from 1999 to 2004 when they came to UW, so they would have worked with Radakovich for three years or so.

This story on the day Radakovich was hired at Georgia Tech points out that among his accomplishments at LSU was taking a lead role in a capital improvements project that included a $90 million renovation of the school's football stadium.

Anyone reading this doesn't need to be told that raising money to finance a renovation of Husky Stadium will be job one for a new AD (though the first big task could be deciding the fate of Tyrone Willingham, a decision that ultimately goes hand-in-hand with the stadium issues).

Here's his Wikipedia entry which pointed out that he was a leading candidate to get the AD's job at LSU. He didn't get that position as it instead went to Duke's Joe Alleva.

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May 11, 2008 7:16 PM

Reece-Raiders update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Sounds like Marcel Reece had a lot better ending to his tryout with the Raiders than beginning.

The Contra Costa Times Raiders blog reports today that Reece was one of two players attending Oakland's rookie mini-camp awarded with a helmet for being the team's "best effort guys.''

The Sacramento Bee Raiders blog also leads off with a mention of Reece's award and also notes that he played some running back and tight end during his three days with the Raiders. There are also some highlights of Reece included. Sounds as if he may have done enough to get signed --- he was there on simply a tryout basis.

Former Huskies Louis Rankin and Greyson Gunheim also attended the camp. Rankin is mentioned in the first blog for missing a block that led to a fumble. He's mentioned in the second as having a style that fits the team's schemes well.


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May 10, 2008 5:40 PM

Reece getting Raiders tryout

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former UW receiver Marcel Reece, cut earlier this week by the Dolphins, is now in mini-camp with the Oakland Raiders.

He's one of 15 players getting a tryout with the team, according to this report, which means he isn't on the official roster but could be signed after the weekend, as happened last week with Dan Howell at Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, the story notes that Reece was among receivers who had trouble catching the ball, drawing a glare from receivers coach James Lofton.

Former Huskies Louis Rankin and Greyson Gunheim are also in the mini-camp, having been officially signed to the roster earlier. This story notes Rankin has been rotating with Michael Bush and Darren McFadden.

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May 10, 2008 7:22 AM

Seeking your questions

Posted by Bob Condotta

With little real news happening at the moment, time once again to ask for your questions.

So ask away and I'll try to respond on another post.

Some of you have asked some questions on other posts in the last few days and I'll try to include those, as well.

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May 9, 2008 2:16 PM

UW looking for new school anthem

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, UW has put out the call for a new school anthem.

Here's our story about it as well as details from the school website.

I'd give my vote to anyone who could still sneak "Dardanelles'' in there somewhere.

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May 9, 2008 9:19 AM

Baseball interlude

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've never written about the UW baseball team on this blog before, and the plan is to always keep this to being almost strictly a blog about football happenings.

But with a lull in football news, I was assigned a baseball story this week and thought I'd pass it along here.

The story is on UW pitcher Nick Haughian. Haughian has an interesting story as a year ago he was on his way to becoming the team's ace when his father was diagnosed with bladder cancer and his season then fell off-stride. But this year, his father is again healthy and Haughian is dominating the Pac-10, leading the conference in strikeouts.

We also thought it was timely to highlight the baseball team in our pages this week as the Huskies have surprisingly surged into third in the conference --- they were picked last in the pre-season coaches poll --- and beginning today host Washington State in a three-game series critical to the post-season hopes of both teams.

And Washington is truly living up to its name this season as all 38 players on the roster played their high school ball in this state. Husky coach Ken Knutson told me this week he's not sure that's ever happened during his tenure --- he's been coach since 1993. The team is almost always made up of mostly in-state players. Knutson said the strength of baseball in the state, as well as the economics of college baseball, are helping to push it even more in that direction.

Unlike football and basketball, baseball does not offer full-ride scholarships, instead spreading 11.6 around the entire team. Since out-of-state tuition costs more than in-state (roughly $23,000 compared to $6,500) it's a bigger investment to give money to an out-of-state player. So if the Huskies can fill up their roster with in-state players, it helps the bottom line.

Here's more information on this weekend's Apple Cup of Baseball.

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May 8, 2008 9:53 AM

Updates on Class of 2008

Posted by Bob Condotta

Many members of the incoming class of 2008 are finishing up their high school careers in spring sports. Here are a few updates:

--- Quarterback Dominique Blackman has been playing volleyball (a big sport in Southern California) though his season is now over as Carson High lost in a playoff earlier this week. Blackman is listed as having 22 kills and four blocks, which sounds like good hops for a guy listed at 6-5, 250.

--- Receiver Cody Bruns of Prosser has the top 400 time in the Mid-Columbia rankings complied by the Tri-City Herald (49.48). He also has an 11.43 100 and a 22.51 200.

--- WR Jordan Polk had the sixth-best 100 time in the state of Oregon as of April 30 at 10.88.

--- Johri Fogerson recently had a 6-foot high jump for O'Dea and has also been running the 100.

--- DL Alameda Ta'amu has the third-best shot put in the state at 55-7.

--- This actually doesn't involve a spring sport, but OL Mykenna Ikehara recently won a $1,000 scholarship for being an outstanding scholar-athlete.

--- Another football-related note as DT Craig Noble plans to play in the East-West All-Star game (a contest for players in the San Fernando and other outlying areas of Los Angeles) on June 15.

All for now.

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May 7, 2008 10:29 PM

Five Pac-10 players on Playboy team

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News reports there are five Pac-10 players on the Playboy All-America team, three from USC --- safety Taylor Mays and linebackers Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga.

The others are Arizona State kicker Thomas Weber and Cal center Alex Mack.

Mays, as I'm sure anyone reading this is aware, is an O'Dea High grad who was a top target of the Huskies for the Class of 2006 --- the same class that yielded Jake Locker. But Mays picked USC despite being the son of former Husky Stafford Mays. Mays explained his reasons for picking USC in this story here last fall.

Mays is the first in-state player to make the team since Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker in 2006. Carriker is a graduate of Kennewick High.


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May 7, 2008 12:26 PM

Wednesday link-o-rama

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links to pass along on a Wednesday afternoon:

--- CBSSportsline's Dennis Dodd lists Tyrone Willingham as the coach on the hottest seat in college football in his post-spring roundup. And Dodd doesn't seem to hold out much hope Willingham will survive, writing that he's on "one of those dead-man-walking forced marches'' and that "it seems inevitable that this season will be his last.'' He also writes that other than Jake Locker, UW's prospects "are dimmer than a 40-watt bulb.'' Hey, just passing it along.

--- Speaking of Locker, Jon Wilner writes in his College Hotline Blog that his presence gives the Huskies an A grade in their comfort level at quarterback. Maybe. I still think the lack of experienced depth might drop that grade just a little bit.

--- More,uh, love for the Huskies from Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who pegs Oklahoma as No.6 in his post-spring pre-season Top 30 and writes that the Sooners have "no scary games on the non-conference schedule.'' In case you've forgotten, one of those non-scary games is at UW on Sept. 13.

--- Stewart Mandel of SI.com, meanwhile, says that BYU could be the non-BCS team to make a run at a BCS bowl this year and that the Cougars will be favored to win their two marquee non-conference games against UCLA and UW. BYU hosts UCLA the week after it plays at UW on Sept. 6.

--- The Behind the Beavers Beat blog lists the bottom 10 football schools in the APR and four are from the Pac-10 --- WSU, Arizona, Oregon and Oregon State.

--- Scout.com has a good wrapup of all the spring games in the Pac-10. There's no report from Cal because the Bears didn't have one.

--- Finally, FoxSports has this look at the top 15 prospects for the 2009 NFL Draft, three of whom play for USC's defense as well as one from Oregon --- OL Max Unger.

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May 7, 2008 9:08 AM

Last word on the APR

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm just about APRed out after yesterday. In fact, dealing with the APR all day makes me feel like I'm ready to join the AARP.

Good thing, then, that this is a once-a-year deal. Next time we hear about the APR will be when the next report comes out next spring.

Our coverage from today included this story on the Huskies receiving a passing grade; this story on the Cougars' situation; and this national overview with NCAA president Myles Brand saying underachievers are on notice that "academic reform is here to stay.''

To answer a couple more questions:

--- One person wanted to know the rankings for all the teams UW will play next season. So here they are in order, with UW's included.

Stanford 986
Notre Dame 969
Cal 967
Washington 948
USC 948
BYU 946
Oklahoma 942
UCLA 941
Arizona State 933
Oregon State 926
Oregon 921
Washington State 916
Arizona 902

Remember that these are four-year ratings using the classes from 2003-04 to 2006-07, so Notre Dame is largely due to recruits Tyrone Willingham brought to South Bend.

--- Another wanted to know if "all the recent transfers'' will impact the scores of the men's and women's basketball teams down the road. As my story today pointed out, it definitely will for the women, who had four players leave this year. Good news is that the women are starting from such a high base --- they had one of the highest scores possible at 998 --- that it would be enough to drop them low enough to result in any penalties down the road.


As for the men, remember that these numbers go through the 2006-07 academic year. UW has had only one transfer since then --- Adrian Oliver. The others who have left of late --- Phil Nelson, Harvey Perry, etc. --- have already been accounted for in the score. It helped that the UW men's basketball team had a score of 1,000 two years ago (after Brandon Roy's final season) giving it some wiggle room to account for those transfers.

AS AN ASIDE --- Commenter "leveltheplayingfield'' makes a good point on the last thread about the lack of access media has to records from private schools such as USC and Stanford --- the only two private schools in the Pac-10. I won't go as far as he does, however, to say that USC is "running a circus down there.'' And I would point out that there is said to be some significant movement of late on the Reggie Bush investigation --- here's a recent update from the LA Times with some details. I've written here before that I look at the fact that this is taking a while as a sign that the NCAA isn't pursuing this (might be hard to do, but I think they deserve some benefit of the doubt on that until proven otherwise) just that this is a tough case to crack. But the fact that private schools like USC don't have to provide certain information to the public (meaning media) does make it a lot harder for the media to get that information. That's one reason you never see exact salary details on the coaches at USC and Stanford.


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May 6, 2008 3:46 PM

A couple of notes on APR

Posted by Bob Condotta

John Morris, Washington's senior associate athletic director for compliance, conducted a conference call with reporters today to discuss today's APR report and clarified a few questions people have raised here today.

One is how the penalties are enforced. Morris said schools that are hit with a loss of scholarships "have to take the penalty at the earliest opportunity within the next two years. If you already have committed scholarships to people for the next year, they don't make you take any of those back. But in the very next year you better not be signing as many people.''

Morris also confirmed that teams are not penalized for players leaving early for the pros as long as they are in good academic standing at the time of their departure. Teams are penalized for athletes who leave for other reasons, however, such as simply transferring to a different school.

Morris said he was pleased with Washington's overall performance with none of its sports being penalized and the major sports such as football and men's basketball each "trending upward'' in recent seasons.

UW's football team had an APR of 885 in 2005 but this year is at 948 while the men's basketball team has gone from 871 to 943.

"All in all, we feel pretty good about it,'' Morris said.

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May 6, 2008 9:57 AM

Official APR numbers released

Posted by Bob Condotta

The NCAA this morning released the official APR (Academic Progress Rate) numbers for the 2006-07 season, and as reported here earlier, Washington State's football program will take the hardest hit of any Pac-10 school, while the Huskies have charted above-average numbers for both football and men's basketball.

WSU's football team will be restricted to 22 initial scholarships this year and 77 overall due to a multi-year APR of 916 (here's the link to the WSU team page here). WSU is the only Pac-10 school to lose football scholarships. UPDATE --- Here's a Times story on the WSU situation.

Washington had an APR of 948 for football and 943 for basketball, both solidly above the NCAA's goal of 925 for every school, which it says equates to a graduate rate of 60 percent. Here is a breakdown of UW's scores. The NCAA Division-I average was 928 for basketball and 934 for football.

Here are the Pac-10 football APR numbers in order:

Stanford 986
Cal 967
Washington 948
USC 948
UCLA 941
Arizona State 933
Oregon State 926
Oregon 921
Washington State 916
Arizona 902

As you can see, Arizona has a lower APR than does WSU. However, penalties are not levied strictly on the number. As the NCAA release says "teams that score below 925 and have a student leave school academically ineligible can lose up to 10 percent of their scholarships.'' Meaning, more than simply the score is taken into account when doling out penalties. UPDATE --- Here's a good explanation of WSU's situation from the Spokesman-Review noting that WSU lost eight scholarships because it had eight players depart who were not in good academic standing at a time when the overall score was below 925.

USC is the only Pac-10 school that will lose scholarships for basketball as it will be limited to 11 next season due to an APR of 863.

The only other Pac-10 school being hit in any sport is Arizona for men's indoor track.

Here is a full explainer of the APR from the NCAA web site. And here's a good Q-and-A about it.

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May 6, 2008 9:25 AM

Catching up with Cookie Jackson

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Times' weekly Flashback today focused on former UW running back Ron "Cookie'' Jackson. Here's the link.

Jackson was a star of UW teams of the early '80s --- he had a particularly big game in the 1981 Apple Cup with 103 rushing yards, a game in which whoever won got to go to the Rose Bowl. He now lives in Ellensburg but spends a lot of time working in South Africa.


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May 6, 2008 8:51 AM

Bengals sign Howell, Reece waived

Posted by Bob Condotta

In news involving ex-Huskies, the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday signed LB Dan Howell while the Dolphins waived WR Marcel Reece.

Reece struggled to catch the ball during Miami's weekend mini-camp, as noted in this story here.

Howell got a contract from the Bengals after impressing the team during a tryout this weekend, as noted here.

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May 5, 2008 9:34 AM

Revealing look at Knight's influence at Oregon

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, the Oregonian published a good series Sunday detailing the influence of Phil Knight on the Oregon athletic program. You can find the main piece here, as well as links to other stories in the series.

Here also is a column from John Canzano taking administrators at Oregon to task for allowing the relationship to become, in his words, "unhealthy.'' He also says that despite all that money and facilities, he doesn't see the Ducks able to compete for top three finishes in the major sports on a consistent basis.

Certainly, the broader issue here, one all universities grapple with to different degrees, is what is too much in the quest for athletic success? No easy answers to that one.


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May 4, 2008 9:03 PM

A few Sunday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the headline says. ...

--- Seahawks concluded their mini-camp today and Anthony Russo was back on the field while Corey Williams wasn't, which obviously can't help his cause.

--- Not trying to pick on Marcel Reece, but sounds as if he had another tough day in camp with the Dolphins on Sunday, "dropping at least three passes,'' according to this report from the Miami Herald Dolphins blog.

--- Not only was Oregon State the last team in the Pac-10 to complete spring drills, but the last team in the country. Sounds as if Sammie Stroughter had another good day in OSU's spring game Saturday and that the Beavers might have found a kicker to replace the dreaded Alexis Serna, who made something like 1,590 FGs against UW the last four years. Somebody named Justin Kahut made kicks of 55 and 50 yards in OSU's spring game, according to this report in the Oregonian.

--- Never know what you might find when you Google Tyrone Willingham's name. Sunday, a search yielded this story from the San Jose Mercury News on Willingham having interest in a QB from Gilroy, Calif., named Jamie Jensen. UPDATE --- Here's his Scout.com profile.

All for now.

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May 3, 2008 3:38 PM

Saturday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Bad weather and a rained-out Little League game mean a little more time to spend perusing the net today than I imagined. So figured I'd pass along a few of the items I found that may be of interest:

--- NFL teams are holding mini-camps this weekend with rookies in attendance. You can follow our Seahawks blog here for news on former UW receivers Anthony Russo and Corey Williams. Russo signed a deal as an undrafted free agent and Williams is with the team this weekend as one of six players getting a tryout. He is not on the official roster. Unfortunately, as our blog points out, both players appear to be injured and not practicing with the team today, though I don't see anything yet on what their injuries are.

--- Unfortunately, doesn't sound like Marcel Reece is off to the best start in his attempt to make the Dolphins, according to this from the Palm Beach Post's Dolphins blog. The report says Reece dropped one pass in his hands from former Michigan QB Chad Henne and was slow to get under a couple of long throws that could have been big plays. He did, however, apparently make a good play on a kickoff drill. The Sun-Sentinel Dolphins blog posits that one or two of the five free agent WRs the team signed will at least make Miami's practice squad. But this reporter says he thinks one of them will be Hawaii's Davone Bess.

--- Here's a little story on Greyson Gunheim and his attempt to make the Raiders as a free agent. Got to like the fact that it sounds as if it was a former Washington State Cougar --- Keith Millard, now a line coach for the Raiders --- who helped convince Gunheim to sign with Oakland.

--- Casey Tyler of Edmonds-Woodway never played a down for the Huskies, quitting the team early in camp in 2004. But he ended up resuming his career at Portland State and signed with the Patriots this week as an undrafted free agent.

All for now.


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May 2, 2008 4:27 PM

Cragg won't pursue AD job, Moos yet to be contacted

Posted by Bob Condotta

The known candidate pool for the vacant UW athletic director's job shrunk a bit today as Mike Cragg, a 1986 graduate of Washington who is an associate athletic director at Duke, said he will not pursue the position.

Cragg said he is instead focusing his energies on attempting to become the new AD at Duke, where he has worked since 1987. Duke AD Joe Alleva recently left to take the same position at LSU.

Cragg, a native of Yakima, applied for the UW job in 2004 and had said in December he would like to be considered this time.

But now, with his interest in the Duke opening, he said ''the timing is just not right'' to be a candidate at UW.

Also, Raymond Cihak, an attorney for former Oregon athletic director Bill Moos, said today that Moos has not been contacted by either UW or the search firm helping the Huskies in the process. Cihak said Moos said it would be inappropriate to comment further since he hasn't been contacted. Through Cihak, Moos said in December that the UW job "would be a great opportunity for whomever they hire.''

Moos has been speculated as a possible candidate but also has a non-compete clause in his contract with Oregon that could complicate coming to UW. Specifically, he will be paid $1.85 million over 10 years as long as he does not take a job as an AD ''or a comparable position at a Bowl Championship Series Conference school west of the Mississippi River.''

The fact that Moos hasn't been contacted yet may not mean it's certain that he isn't a candidate. But there are strong indications that Parker Executive Search, hired by UW to aid in the search, has begun contacting potential candidates, a process thought to have picked up steam this week after it became known that acting AD Scott Woodward would not be a candidate to take over permanently.

Woodward had been thought to be a leading candidate but said Thursday he wouldn't pursue the job with UW president Mark Emmert feeling he can best serve the school in his current position as the vice president of external affairs.

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May 2, 2008 2:39 PM

Two TV times set

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington had two games selected today for broadcast by ABC or ESPN, home contests against Oklahoma and Notre Dame that will both essentially be night games

The Oklahoma game, set for Sept. 13, will kick off at 4:45 p.m. and will be telecast on ESPN. The Notre Dame game on Oct. 25 will kick off at 5 p.m. and will be televised on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

Each of these will essentially be national telecasts.

As of now, those are the only two UW games set for TV for next season but many others are likely to end up with some sort of telecast as this was just the first round of TV selections for next season. Fox Sports Net will make its first set of picks by June 1 when a handful of other Husky games will likely be selected.

UPDATE --- Here's a release with more details from GoHuskies.com noting that the Dec. 6 game at Cal will also be on ESPN, ESPN2 or FSN, though no time has yet been set.

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May 2, 2008 2:24 PM

UW fills one associate AD job

Posted by Bob Condotta

A day after announcing he wouldn't pursue the job as UW's full-time athletic director, Scott Woodward essentially filled one of the department's two vacant senior associate AD jobs.

The school announced today that Jennifer Cohen will be promoted to the new position of senior associate athletic director for development, essentially putting her in charge of fundraising for the athletic department. Here is the release from GoHuskies.com.

Cohen essentially takes the position vacated two months ago when Scott Barnes left to become the new AD at Utah State. However, Cohen's job title is little different --- Barnes was senior associate AD for advancement --- and her responsibilities are a little different as well --- she's strictly in charge of fundraising while Barnes also oversaw things like marketing, promotions and ticket sales.

Along with needing to find a new AD, the Huskies also recently lost another associate AD, Jeff Compher, who was essentially the No. 2 man in the department. He is still on the job through June but recently accepted a position as the new AD at Northern Illinois.

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May 2, 2008 9:11 AM

More on the AD search

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's my full story today on the news from Thursday that Scott Woodward will not pursue becoming the permanent AD at Washington.

At the bottom of the article are a few names of possible candidates. Last time I wrote such a story, a few of you asked where the names come from, and that's a fair question. There is no public "official'' list, so the names mentioned are largely based on talking with a few people familiar with the situation.

The school is not going to comment on names -- in fact, there figures to be little official comment at all until the process is complete. So names will come mostly, if not entirely, from other sources.

What will be interesting now is to see who else may be interested after the news of yesterday. The general feeling I got was that it was taken as a given that the job was going to Woodward if he wanted it, so there may have been some people who were reluctant to show interest.

As for a timeline, it's generally been stated as sometime around the end of the school year, which would be about another month. But last time it took until about mid-June, and I don't think going a few weeks into summer hurts anything.

As Woodward mentioned Thursday, he'll continue to be hugely involved in the Husky Stadium project once his days as acting AD end, so there doesn't appear to be any need to rush a hire for those reasons. The basic idea is to get someone hired in time for that person to be completely in place by the start of next football season.

Obviously, the first major decision the new AD may have to make is deciding the fate of UW football coach Tyrone Willingham should next season not be a slam-dunk winner. And that obviously puts a little extra importance on all of this.

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May 1, 2008 5:16 PM

Woodward comments on "mediocrity''

Posted by Bob Condotta

An interesting comment Scott Woodward made today in his announcement that he would not pursue the AD job permanently is that he worried there was maybe an "acceptance of mediocrity'' in the department.

"I worry about some complacency and some acceptance of mediocrity,'' he said. "People were assuming that doing the right thing and winning were mutually exclusive and they're not. ... Winning is a very important core value of what we do. The other things --- being compliant, doing things in the best interest of the student-athlete --- are underpinnings.''

Meaning, those things should be taken as givens and not as things that detract from the effort to win.

Former UW athletic director Todd Turner had said he thought there was too much of a focus on winning after he was forced to resign in December.


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May 1, 2008 3:02 PM

Woodward won't pursue AD job

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scott Woodward announced today that he will not pursue the AD job at Washington, saying he will stay in his current role as VP of external affairs.

Woodward, who has been the acting athletic director since Jan. 31, said he had "numerous, long conversations'' with UW president Mark Emmert "who convinced me that he thought I'm needed in external affairs because we have a big year fiscally coming ahead and a lot going on in marketing.''

Woodward said Emmert "expressed to me not in emphatic terms but in subtle ways that he needed me in my current job and I understand that and I get that.''

He said he had "mixed emotions'' about not pursing the AD job but ultimately concluded that "I'm a team guy'' in deciding that "the best place for me to serve the university is in my current position.''

Woodward had been considered the leading candidate if it had been decided that he should pursue the job.

Now, the school will have to look elsewhere to find a new AD to replace Todd Turner, who resigned under pressure last December.

The school has established a 14-member search committee to select candidates and has also hired an Atlanta search firm, Parker Executive Search, to aid in the process, paying a reported $75,000 for its services.

One source told the Times that the search committee has been "making calls and seeking candidates'' in recent weeks.

Woodward said he will remain "intimately'' involved in the effort to secure state funding for a renovation of Husky Stadium. The school plans to mount another full-court press in the 2009 Legislative session for $150 million in public money to go along with another $150 million or so that the school would raise to fund the project.

The school seeks to use the same King County hotel-motel, restaurant and rental car taxes that are already helping to fund Safeco Field and Qwest Field.

"We have a good case to be made for that,'' Woodward said, adding that having more time to put a plan together to sell package will hopefully mean a better result than this year, when the issue was not seriously considered.

Woodward said the school plans to sell the legislature on "just how important we are to the tourism economy in King County. We just didn't do a good job of that in the last session because of the time. We needed to move in a hurry. Now we have time to do it and do it strategically and very thoroughly.''


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May 1, 2008 2:20 PM

Dolphins make Reece signing official

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Miami Dolphins officially announced the signing of former Husky receiver Marcel Reece today.

Here's the link though the Dolphins might want to brush up on the spelling of his first name (maybe it's that sort of attention to detail that has them where they are).

Looks like Reece will have a lot of competition as the Dolphins signed five receivers in the group of 14 announced today, including Davone Bess of Hawaii who had five catches against the Huskies last Dec. 1.

There had been pre-draft talk that Reece could be used at other positions (tight end, H-back, fullback) but he is officially listed as a WR by the Dolphins.


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May 1, 2008 10:02 AM

Woodward to announce intentions today

Posted by Bob Condotta

Scott Woodward, who has been serving as UW's acting athletic director since Jan. 31, will announce today whether he will officially enter the candidate pool to become the new permanent AD.

Woodward has said on several occasions that he is "leaning toward'' wanting to become the new AD. If he does, many consider him the favorite to become the new AD.

However, UW president Mark Emmert has also wondered aloud if Woodward might not be more valuable to the school in his current position as Vice President of External Affairs (read Woodward's bio here). Woodward and Emmert were expected to meet this week to discuss the situation, leading to Woodward's announcement today.

We reported two weeks ago that the school has hired an Atlanta search firm, paying a reported $75,000, to help with the process.

One source told the Times this week that the search committee has indeed been making calls and searching out candidates around the country.

Here's a story I wrote on Woodward and the UW AD situation in March.

Once Woodward makes his intentions known today I will pass that along here.

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May 1, 2008 9:32 AM

Ducks to sign JC QB

Posted by Bob Condotta

Reports out of Eugene today say that the Ducks will sign quarterback Jeremiah Masoli of City College of San Francisco. That's newsworthy because he will apparently enroll immediately and join race to be the team's QB for next season.

Here's more on Masoli from The Oregonian.

Hard to figure a JC guy would step right in and start against UW Aug. 30, but Oregon's QB situation is pretty wide open right now.

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