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Husky Football Blog

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

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June 30, 2008 10:06 PM

And then there were seven

Posted by Bob Condotta

The departure of running back J.R. Hasty further depletes Washington’s Class of 2005, which was generally considered to be the worst in the school’s history in decades and is living up to that, uh, hype.

There are now just seven players left from that class, though all seven could play key roles in the next two seasons.

The Class of 2005 was obviously put together in as much duress as any in recent UW history with the Huskies coming off a 1-10 season, the firing of Keith Gilbertson and the hiring of Tyrone Willingham. Gilbertson wasn’t able to secure many commitments and ultimately just one player who committed to him ended up signing.

Here’s the list with a comment:

DE Tyrone Davis --- High school player didn’t qualify academically.
QB Johnny DuRocher --- Technically counted as part of this class. Career ended early due to brain tumor.
CB Qwenton Freeman --- JC transfer didn’t qualify academically.
CB Chris Handy --- Nevada transfer via JC also didn’t qualify academically.
RB J.R. Hasty --- Highest-rated of the group but didn’t make impact expected and was dismissed from team a few weeks ago.
DE Darrion Jones --- Injuries have helped mute his impact so far but could be a starter this year.
OT Ben Ossai --- Entrenched as a starter at tackle.
PK Ryan Perkins --- Overcame brutal injury early in career to start last season but future is uncertain. Was the lone Gilbertson recruit of this year who ended up signing.
LB E.J.Savannah --- Has hit some bumps but has also been productive.
LB Chris Stevens --- Also an RB in high school but quickly switched to defense with Huskies.
DE Daniel Te’o-Nesheim --- Probably the most consistently productive member of this class.
TE Tim Williams --- Played sparingly for one season then transferred to Eastern Washington.
WR Marlon Wood --- JC transfer made some memorable plays in his two seasons before eligibility ran out.
OL Morgan Rosborough --- Hoping to earn time this season at guard.

Of the 14 players, four would have already been out of eligibility even if they had all made it in --- DuRocher, Freeman, Handy and Wood.

To recap the seven who are already gone: three never made it in --- Freeman, Handy and Davis; one transferred --- Williams; one was kicked off team --- Hasty; one had his career end early for medical reasons --- DuRocher; and one saw his eligibility expire --- Wood.

Stevens and Jones each played as true freshmen, but Jones has since redshirted, so Stevens is the only one who won’t have eligibility after this season, barring redshirting this season for some reason. That means UW could have just six members of this class in uniform in 2009, one reason the Huskies are young right now.

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June 30, 2008 5:03 PM

Everybody else in?

Posted by Bob Condotta

One other note worth mentioning from the news of the weekend is that every other Husky player is accounted for on the updated roster --- including all incoming freshmen.

That means that as of this moment, all are expected to make it in. The freshmen bridge program starts next Monday, July 7, and all incoming players are apparently expected to enroll. Many are already on-campus taking part in voluntary workouts.

UPDATE --- To be clear on what I'm saying here, I am not saying I have called every recruit and found out they have passing test scores. What I am saying is that as of June 28, UW has all of these players on the roster. When I asked if that meant they expect all of these players to make it in next season, the answer was yes, as of that date, all were expected in. But surprises often pop up. I don't think this means every player has everything completely done, but again, as of Saturday, all remain listed on the roster with the expectation by the university that they will make it.

As for what the bridge program is, you can find a decent explanation here. It's basically just a five-week course that prepares incoming freshmen for what to expect of college life, particularly academically.

And as for any other players leaving the program, the official word as of Saturday was no.

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June 29, 2008 11:07 PM

Locker returns to Bellingham lineup, keys win

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jake Locker played his first game for the Bellingham Bells this week on Sunday and had one of his better performances, going 1-2 with a walk, two stolen bases and two runs scored as the Bells beat Spokane 5-3.

The Bells are now 6-9. Locker has played in seven games, starting six in center field, hitting .227 (5-22) with two extra-base hits (double, homer) and five runs scored. He also has stolen three bases in four attempts.

The Bells play this week in Wenatchee but Locker isn't expected to participate.

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June 28, 2008 5:30 PM

Hasty, Murchison gone for good UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

The mercurial Husky football careers of running back J.R. Hasty and cornerback Jordan Murchison are over, a school official confirmed today.

Neither is listed on the team's 2008 roster, which was unveiled on-line today, as neither had their scholarship renewed for next year. The deadline to inform athletes whether their scholarships will be renewed is July 1. There is no chance that either will return.

UW coach Tyrone Willingham had no comment and wasn't expected to make any, a school spokesman said.

Hasty said in a phone interview this afternoon that he was told of the decision a few weeks ago.

Hasty had been suspended during spring practice for missing some off-season conditioning drills and said Willingham's stated reason to him for not allowing him to stay with the team was that "he didn't really trust me, I guess.''

Hasty said he hopes to continue playing and that a lower-division school such as Central Washington, where he would be immediately eligible, is an option. He would have two years of eligibility remaining at lower-division school. He would have to sit out this year if he transferred to a D-I school and would have just one year left.

"I'd like to play on somewhere else and take it (football) as far as I can,'' he said.

Hasty, a standout at Bellevue High, was the highlight player of Willingham's first recruiting class at UW in 2005, but he never made an impact. He redshirted his first season in 2005, was academically ineligible in 2006, and then played sparingly last season getting 18 yards on six carries.

Hasty said he will look back at his UW career with disappointment, feeling like he never really had a chance to show what he could do --- his Husky career will end with 18 yards on six carries, all last season.

"It's pretty frustrating coming in thinking you are the top guy and they take it from you,'' he said. "That hurts real bad. And from my own state (school), that kills me.''

He briefly quit the team at mid-season last year saying he felt he wasn't getting a fair opportunity, returned after some talks with Willingham, but never played again. He was suspended for most of spring football for disciplinary reasons, saying then and today that he was punished for not attending some off-season conditioning drills. He was briefly returned to the team midway through spring practice, then put on what he termed a "temporary leave of absence'' for the rest of spring drills.

"That (missing the conditioning drills) is pretty much what it was,'' he said. "That and the stuff that happened in the past, that's what it was.''

He said he hoped to return to the team this year, saying "I was ready to come back, but it wasn't in my power or control.''

He said one of his biggest frustrations is that his situation wasn't resolved earlier. He said his parents urged him to leave for good last fall but he wanted to try to make it work at UW. He is the son of former WSU defensive back and longtime NFL veteran James Hasty.

"I just wanted to stay because I felt like the team was family and this was my home state,'' he said. "But that didn't work out.''

He said he continued to hold out hope through the spring before finally being told a few weeks ago.

"I have no idea why they waited that long,'' he said. "That's the big thing that hurts. That boggles my mind. But it is what it is and I guess they had to do what they had to do.''

Hasty was expected to contend for a backup job at running back this fall if he had returned to the team.

He scored a state-record 50 touchdowns as a senior at Bellevue and was regarded as one of the top recruits in the state, choosing UW over Penn State, among others.

He said he doesn't necessarily regret coming to UW.

"I could talk about the 'what ifs?' but that's not really going to do me any good now,'' he said. "This is my home state. This is where I wanted to be. I just have to turn the page for the next chapter.''

A school spokesman said both players were academically eligible and Hasty said he also was told academics weren't an issue. He said one of his options could be to stay at UW and finish his degree though he is most likely to continue playing.

"I would like to stay somewhere around here and play right away and get as much game film as I can of myself,'' he said.

Murchison ran into legal trouble last August, arrested for assault and domestic violence, that had him suspended from the team for most of the season. He returned to play sparingly and was injured for most of spring football. He was expected to contend for a backup job this fall. Murchison was a JC transfer the Community College of San Francisco, redshirting in 2006 due to injuries. It is uncertain what his future plans may entail.

One other change revealed on the roster is Torry Myers replacing Anthony Gabriel as the team's graduate assistant coach working with the defense.

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June 27, 2008 1:35 PM

E.J. Savannah update

Posted by Bob Condotta

The report earlier this week on the beginning of summer conditioning brought some questions about the status of LB E.J. Savannah, recovering from a broken humerus bone (details here).

Official word from the school is that Savannah remains in a cast and is doing what conditioning he can and is on track for a return in late August. The humerus is the long bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow, so the cast is pretty bulky and doesn't allow for much movement --- this isn't like just having a cast on a wrist or something that guys often play with. So Savannah can't do any seven-on-seven type stuff, but he can do some cardiovascular work and other conditioning that doesn't involve movement of the arm.

The late August return date is an estimate and the team will know more when camp begins the first week of August. So whether he will be able to return to game action immediately, or will need a few weeks to get back, is still uncertain. But so far, there don't appear to have been any complications or anything, meaning he should be back for the majority of the season.

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June 27, 2008 9:11 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links for your Friday morning:

--- First, the Huskies finally get their chance in the New York Times' fabulous breakdown of every team in the nation in its college spots blog, The Quad. The Times is unveiling previews of every team in reverse order of national ranking, and lists the Huskies at No. 63. It's a pretty in-depth preview, with the author ultimately concluding that the Huskies will finish 6-6 and then asking "will that be enough for (UW coach Tyrone) Willingham to keep his job?'' I don't know if anyone knows the answer to that one right now. Doing previews of every team in the nation like this is an ambitious task and a typo or two is to be expected so the Huskies can only wish they had Ray Lewis on their defense last season. Also, the record at the top of the last five years isn't correct. UW is 18-41 since the 2002 season (and 11-25 since Willingham took over). If you dig back through the archives, you will find earlier previews on Pac-10 foes Arizona, Stanford and WSU, meaning the Times apparently sees the Huskies as No. 7 in the conference this year.

--- Here's another pretty in-depth look at the Huskies from the, written from the perspective of a WSU blogger.

--- Athlon's is continuing its ratings of Pac-10 players based on fantasy value and has D'Andre Goodwin as the highest-rated UW receiver at 13 with Chris Polk the only other one mentioned at 23. In its RB ratings, Athlon's had Brandon Johnson as the highest-rated Husky at No. 11, then went out on a little bit of a limb with incoming freshmen Johri Fogerson at 19 and Demitrius Bronson at 29.

--- Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Corvallis Gazette-Times says Oregon State's chaotic and controversial win over the Huskies was the No. 2 OSU sports moment of the year.

--- has two Huskies --- Jake Locker at 13 and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim at No. 24 --- among its top 30 Pac-10 players. Each is also named to CFN's All-Pac-10 Second Team. CFN also has this overview of the Pac-10 season and these unit rankings. I plan to unveil unit rankings here soon based on the work I did for Lindy's earlier this year.

--- Let the bidding for Heisman Trophy votes begin as West Virginia unveils the first promo web site of the year for QB Pat White.

All for now.

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June 26, 2008 2:50 PM

A.D. update, more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Though again, not that there's really much to update --- not much that has leaked publicly, anyway.

What we know for sure is that it's almost July and the Huskies are still without a permanent A.D. in place, which has led to a few rumors about what is really going on, the latest being that maybe acting athletic director Scott Woodward will just take it over, after all.

Woodward, however, says that's news to him. "Not as far as I know of,'' he said when I asked him today if there was any truth to that rumor.

Woodward, who became the acting AD on Jan. 31 after Todd Turner resigned under pressure, announced on May 1 that he wouldn't pursue the job full-time.

It's important to remember why he said he wouldn't do so --- that he was mostly acceding to the wishes of president Mark Emmert, who said he thought Woodward was more valuable in his current day job as the school's VP of external relations. In that role, Woodward could still continue to help the athletic department by leading the effort in Olympia to secure funding for a renovation of Husky Stadium (his background is primarily in politics). So it wasn't really Woodward saying he didn't want the job, but that he was being a team player and going along with how he and Emmert felt he could best serve the school.

He has several times since then said that he would "never say never'' to the possibility of re-emerging as a candidate for the AD's job, one reason the rumor that he will eventually be named to that position persists. He said a few weeks ago that if Emmert approached him about it, he'd definitely consider it.

But Woodward insisted today that nothing has changed since his May 1 announcement.

"The president and I have not talked about it,'' he said.

Woodward said he is otherwise "keeping an arm's length'' from the search and isn't involved in the process. The school has formed a 14-person search committee but the choice will ultimately be that of Emmert. The school also paid $75,000 to enlist the services of Parker Executive Search to help out, and the UW job remains listed on the firm's web site under current opportunities.

Sources have also indicated that several candidates have been contacted, with a couple conversations apparently having gotten pretty serious (I detailed all of that in this post here last week).

For what it's worth, Bill Moos continues to have nothing to say about the UW situation. Not that anyone else has had much to say, either, as the school continues to have no official comment on the search other than to acknowledge that it is ongoing.

BRUINS TAKE HIT ON O-LINE --- Also, in case you hadn't heard about this, UCLA announced today that redshirt sophomore OT Sean Sheller will miss the season after having been injured while driving an ATV recently. Sheller was the projected starter at right tackle, a spot he took over when starter Aleksey Lanis left the team in April due to a knee injury. Meaning, UCLA will be down to what a little while ago was its No. 3 RT (possibly freshman Mike Harris).

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June 26, 2008 11:14 AM

Pac-10 leads in team titles, UW 22nd in Director's Cup

Posted by Bob Condotta

The college sports season is over for another year and it turned to be one of the best ever for the Pac-10.

As detailed in this release from the conference, the Pac-10 won 13 team titles this year, one shy of its record and the most of any conference. The total does not include Washington's men's rowing title as that is not a sanctioned NCAA championship.

The Pac-10 also had eight schools finish in the top 30 in the Director's Cup, a comparison based on a points system of how schools did in all sports.

UW was among those eight, placing 22nd. That's up from 29th a year ago despite the fact that this was the first time in 50 years the Huskies had losing seasons in both football and men's basketball, speaking to the fact that while the spotlight sports are struggling, a lot of the others are obviously doing pretty well.

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June 25, 2008 4:36 PM

Wednesday link-o-rama

Posted by Bob Condotta

Playing catchup on a few links to pass your way:

--- Here's a pretty good preview of the Huskies from with one glaring and unfortunate error - the offensive line section is about the Washington State Cougars and not UW (maybe they'll get that fixed soon). The story also makes the point that UW's punt return coverage yesterday was pretty good, something that compelled me go back and check the stats just to see since I didn't remember the Huskies finishing high in any special teams statistical category last year. In fact, UW was sixth in the Pac-10 in net punting last year at 36.2 yards per attempt. But UW only allowed 2.2 yards per net return, better than all but two other teams (Cal and Oregon State). That's due in large part to the fact that only 23 of UW's 73 punts were actually returned (31.5 percent) which as far as I can tell is the lowest percentage since 1996 (15 of 61, 24.5 percent). UW's opponents averaged 6.9 yards when they actually tried a return, also a pretty solid number and a huge improvement from the previous year when the Huskies allowed a school-record 14.9 yards per return. So while the special teams were obviously a disappointment last year (and resulted in the firing of coach Bob Simmons) defending punt returns was one area that in retrospect was pretty good.

--- I missed this yesterday, but's Mark Schlabach produced his early bowl projections for 2008 and concluded there won't be room for the Huskies. He also has this look by conference.

--- Keeping with the theme of measurements from our post yesterday, a Vancouver newspaper has this look at 25 Things You Didn't Know About The B.C. Lions and lists former Husky Caesar Rayford as one of the team's tallest members at 6-8. Rayford was listed at 6-7 while with UW.

--- I also neglected to pass along this story on Oregon's annual all-state football game last Saturday. Among the participants was Husky signee Jordan Polk, who had five catches for 42 yards.

--- And speaking of all-star games I missed, here's a report from the 605 All-Star Football Classic a few weeks ago, a contest featuring players in Southern California (605 is a highway down there). UW signee Dominique Blackman is pictured in the story and threw two touchdown passes to lead a late rally for the West before the game ended in a 15-15 tie after an amazing four overtimes.

All for now.

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June 25, 2008 11:37 AM

Sporting News picks UW ninth in Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

In our continuing series of reviewing the college football preview magazines so you don't have to, we today focus on The Sporting News College Football '08 edition.

And this isn't one that many of you may want to read, anyway, since TSN sees a long season ahead for the Huskies, picking UW ninth in the Pac-10, ahead of only the Cougars. UW is listed with a red "down'' arrow, signifying teams that TSN thinks are getting worse rather than better (though technically ninth would be better than last year's 10th place finish, though surely feeling worse and with much more program-altering ramifications).

Here are TSN's picks:

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

TSN predicts USC to the Rose Bowl, Oregon to the Fiesta, ASU to the Holiday, UCLA to the Sun (where Rick Neuheisel could relive some, uh, fond memories of his last appearance there), Cal to the Emerald, Arizona to the Hawaii and Oregon State to the Las Vegas.

The relatively short preview story on UW is full of pessimism opening by stating that "all indications are that (UW coach Tyrone) Willingham needs a bowl bid to save his job. At the very least, Husky watchers believe he needs a 6-6 record, with a strong finish and a victory over Washington State. With Washington's schedule and talent, six wins won't be easy --- let alone a bowl bid.''

TSN also states that "there are no proven playmakers beyond quarterback Jake Locker'' and that "look for rookies to play early and often. Of course, if you're relying on freshmen to win games, defeat cannot be far away.''

And noting the spring injury to Juan Garcia, TSN writes that if Garcia's career is over "the Huskies are in trouble. Big trouble.''

TSN unveils only one All-Pac-10 Team (meaning only a first team, not a second team or third team, etc.) and no Huskies are named (Rudy Carpenter is the QB).

In its "Rating the Players'' segment for the Pac-10, Locker is awarded the title of "Best Running QB.'' Incoming TE Kavario Middleton is also named as the "Top Impact Freshman'' while UW is given the honor of "Best Mascot.''

In the "Game to Watch'' segment of the UW preview, the home contest against Notre Dame is highlighted, and noting that Willingham will get his second shot at ND since being fired, the magazine comments that "the hype will exceed the significance.''

Otherwise, the Huskies don't receive much mention other than the obligatory rating of Willingham as the top of the list of "Coaches on the Hot Seat.'' The comment under a picture of Willingham, with flames superimposed, states that "there's too much in Seattle --- facilities, administrative support, recruiting base --- to not compete for Pac-10 titles. Much less, not play in bowl games.''

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June 24, 2008 9:29 PM

Some updated heights and weights (UPDATED)

Posted by Bob Condotta

An alert reader, uh, alerted me today that the UW's official athletic web site,, appears to be updating the heights and weights for the players on the football team.

The updates aren't on the official roster, which you can find here, but are included on each player's individual page (the school is in the process of finalizing the media guide right now so I assume these numbers are being updated as part of that work).

(UPDATE --- Since first posting this I realized I should have pointed out that it's not as if these guys all necessarily suddenly gained a lot of weight, just that the weights now are more accurate and up-to-date. A lot of the former weights simply hadn't been updated for a while. That's important to take into account before jumping to the conclusion that guys have suddenly all added 20 pounds or something. I have since also been told these are measurements that were taken in May and the school is now updating the bios to give the most accurate info. Most of the spring numbers hadn't been updated for a while.)

Most interesting are the listed weights for the offensive line, most of which are a bit higher than in the spring or last fall:

Left tackle Ben Ossai, listed at 6-6, 300 in the spring, is now listed at 6-6, 332;
Left guard Ryan Tolar, 6-5, 310 in the spring, is now 6-5, 321, while backup Jordan White-Frisbee, 6-6, 320 in the spring, is now 6-6, 368;
Center Matt Sedillo, 6-3, 300 in the spring, is now 6-3, 320 (the injured Juan Garcia is now at 305 compared to 315 in the spring).
Right guard Casey Bulyca, 6-6, 340 in the spring, is now 6-6, 339;
Right tackle Cody Habben, 6-6, 300 in the spring, is now 6-6, 316.

That's an average of 325.6 pounds for UW's probable starting five heading into the fall. The listed average for last year's line (subbing Garcia for Sedillo and Chad Macklin for Habben) was 311 though listed weights are always best regarded as estimations subject to potentially significant fluctuation, meaning it's possible the line isn't necessarily a lot bigger than last year's since it's mostly the same guys. Throw White-Frisbee in there, however, and it would definitely be bigger.

A few other interesting updates:

--- Backup guard Morgan Rosborough, listed at 365 in the spring, is now at 382;
--- WR Anthony Boyles, listed at 6-2, 195 in the spring, is now at 6-3, 195;
--- DT Cameron Elisara, 6-2, 275 in the spring, is now 6-3, 289;
--- FB Paul Homer, 6-0, 222 in the spring, is now 6-1, 239;
--- TE Chris Izbicki, 6-3, 230 in the spring, is now 6-3, 249;
--- DE Darrion Jones, 6-3, 255 in the spring, is now 6-2, 245;
--- DT Johnie Kirton, 6-4, 270 in the spring, is now 6-3, 296;
--- FB Luke Kravitz, 6-1, 245 in the spring, is now 6-0, 228;
--- DE De'Shon Matthews, 6-4, 255 in the spring, is now 6-4, 260;
--- LB E.J. Savannah, 6-2, 228 in the spring, is now 6-1, 219;
--- WR Curtis Shaw, 5-11, 190 in the spring, is now 5-10, 186.

I also notice that all players are again listed just by their academic year and not also by their year of athletic eligibility. They were listed by both in the spring after having been listed by just their academic year in 2007 (a move made after the Suddenly Senior controversy late in 2006). This means QB Jake Locker, who is a redshirt sophomore in terms of athletic eligibility, is listed simply as a junior. (And for the record, J.R. Hasty is listed on the roster and his numbers also updated --- he's now 5-10, 210 compared to 5-11, 200 in the spring).

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June 24, 2008 12:09 PM

Around the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

Catching up on a few links, with the focus on UW's Pac-10 opponents:

--- UW's first foe in 2008, the Oregon Ducks, also began workouts on Monday. Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard has this report that also includes some health updates (sounds as if RB Jeremiah Johnson is doing just fine) and info on some newcomers.

--- Washington State has added former O'Dea High star Brandon Jones, who played sparingly in two years at Cal before transferring. Sounds as if Jones also reached out to the Huskies but didn't get a lot of interest, and then decided to head to Pullman. One thing worth pointing out is that if all new players make it academically, UW should be at the 85-scholarship limit this year so there wouldn't have necessarily been room for Jones.

--- A columnist for the Bleacher Report wonders if some recent developments regarding the building of facilities at Cal may cause Bears coach Jeff Tedford to look elsewhere soon. That could have ramifications up here if all those saying Tyrone Willingham has the hottest seat in America prove true.

--- USC got its 13th commitment for the Class of 2009 a few days ago. UW continues not to have any, a situation addressed here in our Recruiting Roundtable last week.

--- Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Corvallis Gazette-Times unveiled his Pac-10 picks a few days ago, slotting the Huskies ninth.

--- And actually, here's one Husky-link as UW gets the treatment from the college football website Every Day Should Be Saturday. The Husky fan in question is Seth Kolloen who runs the blog Enjoy The Enjoyment. (Though I'll point out two minor quibbles --- it's DTs UW doesn't have any of as Daniel Te'o-Nesheim gives the Huskies at least one proven DE; and Rick Neuheisel's $4.5 million settlement actually included only $2 million from the school --- and as I wrote a few years ago, it actually included no new money Neuheisel's way as he had to write a big tax check to the school for getting to keep the $1.5 million loan. The rest of the settlement was from the NCAA.)

All for now.

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June 24, 2008 8:35 AM

Updating Locker's baseball plans

Posted by Bob Condotta

As he has said he would do all along, Jake Locker is not missing any UW-related activities due to his summer baseball foray.

He is at UW this week as the team begins its summer conditioning program, skipping the series for the Bellingham Bells against Bremerton this week. Here's a story from the Kitsap Sun on Locker missing that series, which also includes some interesting stuff on his season has gone so far.

Locker also will miss the trip to Wenatchee July 1-3 according to this story from the Wenatchee World.

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June 23, 2008 9:07 PM

Catching up on some ex-Huskies

Posted by Bob Condotta

With NFL mini-camps wrapping up last week, and other leagues ending their seasons or about to begin, there's always some news out there on former Huskies. So here are a few links to pass along:

--- The season for Charles Frederick and the Kansas City Brigade of the Arena Football League is over. But not before Frederick had one last big game, catching five passes for 117 yards against Colorado over the weekend. Frederick scored 16 TDs this year for KC, which finished 3-13.

--- Isaiah Stanback, who will be in a battle to make the Cowboys' roster this season, received a healthy dose of praise in this blog entry from the Dallas Morning News.

--- Here's a good assessment of where Marques Tuiasosopo stands in the battle to be the backup QB for the Raiders. And since nobody has a clue how JaMarcus Russell will do as the starter, being the backup could mean a lot of opportunity this year.

--- This review of the end of the 49ers' off-season program leads off with some info on Dashon Goldson, who got to spend a lot of time working with the first-team defense. Sounds like he'll be right in the hunt for a starting safety job this summer.

--- Stanley Daniels will try to make the Jets as a free agent this summer and recently was one of 12 members of the team to visit a local middle school.

--- Cody Pickett has wrapped up the No. 3 QB job with the Toronto Argonauts behind Kerry Joseph and Michael Bishop. Joseph was a safety with the Seahawks for four years before moving to Canada and switching to QB.

All for now.

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June 23, 2008 1:18 PM

Summer conditioning kicks off

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm not sure Trent Greener, Washington's head sports performance coach, ever has any down moments. His relentless enthusiasm might even wear out Jack LaLanne.

But Greener was particularly chipper today as the Huskies kicked off their summer conditioning program at 7 a.m. at the Dempsey Indoor.

Though truth be told, Greener really sees this more as a continuation of the off-season program that began the week after spring ball ended.

"I say we are in week seven since it's seven weeks out from spring football,'' he said.

But today was a little more special since it marked the return of players for the summer from a week off last week, as well as an optional week during finals the week prior.

"We gave them last off and now we're kicking it again,'' he said.

The players will typically meet Monday-Thursday at the Dempsey Indoor at 7 a.m. (roll call is at 6:55 a.m.) for a two-hour workout. NCAA rules limit teams to just eight hours of official workouts during the summer and most teams turn that into four two-hour days per week. Some weeks could look a little different, with a Friday mixed in (and another day during the week taken off). And at times the team will go into Husky Stadium, as well.

Typically, the team will split in half, with linemen doing conditioning and running first for 45 minutes to an hour, then lifting weights, and the skill position players going in the alternate order. Those orders will be reversed regularly to mix it up. Going early in the morning allows for players to take summer school classes if needed, or work jobs and internships.

Most players will then return in the afternoon (typically around 4 p.m.) for voluntary seven-on-seven workouts that are not allowed to be overseen by any university personnel. The team will hold to that schedule until July 24-25 when the players will be given a final week off before returning for the start of practice Aug. 4 (with official reporting dates a day or two ahead of that). NCAA rules mandate that teams must have a certain number of non-mandatory weeks during the summer.

Greener said he's pleased with the overall conditioning of the team and said the attitude toward doing the work has been good since the end of last season.

Still, he said things can always get better. The Huskies had some well-chronicled second-half meltdowns last season (being outscored 139-94 in the fourth quarter and 224-163 in the second half), something that the coaches and training staff are emphasizing this off-season. Greener said he thinks the team had the proper conditioning to finish out games last season but maybe needed to be a little stronger mentally.

"We're never going to change what we do because we've got our bases covered,'' he said. "I feel really good about that. But we've just got to do it a little bit better. So if we keep working on that, with more time under tension, we are going to be okay.

". ... There's nobody that doesn't look at that and say 'hey, what could we have done better?' So we talk about that stuff as a staff and what we can do in this area, and every area, to improve. That's something we talked about in the winter and again in May, being able to finish. When we are running our last drills, we have to make sure we are mentally focused that 'hey, did I give everything?' Because if you only went 90 percent, maybe you got beat on that. That's what we are trying to emphasize mentally, because at a certain point, it's the neck and above. We want them to focus on that stuff. The mind is a very powerful thing, so we're sending that positive message to be a finisher and a closer. Even if you are tired, you still have to give effort. I want fatigue to be our ally. Everybody is going to get tired. It's the guys who know how to deal with it late in the game and late in the season who tend to win those games.''

Among those in attendance today was center Juan Garcia, who continues to be progressing well from his foot injury --- he is scheduled to be evaluated again in the next week. He is limited in what he can do and coaches want to make sure he doesn't try to do too much too soon. But as Greener said "he was in here smashing today.'' (QB Jake Locker, back from a week playing baseball, was also there).

Also back today in the weight room were former Huskies Louis Rankin and Greyson Gunheim, in town for a little while between breaks in practice sessions with the Raiders --- each signed as an undrafted free agent with Oakland.

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June 23, 2008 8:45 AM

Updates on baseball-playing QBs

Posted by Bob Condotta

First, the Bellingham Bells lost 3-1 to Wenatchee yesterday, concluding a tough series for Jake Locker, who was 0-8 with four strikeouts.

He is now hitting .200 for the season (4-20) with two extra base hits (homer, double).

Next, former Husky QB Johnny DuRocher is moving rapidly up the Mariners' organization. He was promoted to Class A Wisconsin on Sunday after throwing 5-2/3 innings of shutout baseball in a brief stint with Everett.

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June 22, 2008 11:20 AM

Sunday notes and links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes and links to pass along today. ...

--- The has this preview of the Pac-10, picking the Huskies seventh. Not sure how much help Robert Lewis will be this year, however, since he's already graduated.

--- The Bellingham Bells won last night with Jake Locker having an easy game, pinch-hitting and walking in the 11th inning.

--- The Wenatchee World has this story saying Locker won't make the trip to that city for a series next week. UW players will return to campus Monday for the beginning of summer school and off-season conditioning.

--- The Sporting News' Matt Hayes lists Locker as one of five players nationally who could make the biggest leap from freshman to sophomore seasons.

--- Hayes also ranked UW's schedule the second-hardest in the Pac-10 this year behind USC's.

--- The HeismanPundit lists its top 10 candidates for that trophy this year and includes just one Pac-10 player ---- USC running back Stafon Johnson.

--- Lastly, here's the Seattle Times story today on some of the recent troubles faced by the WSU football program. Here also is a place to comment.

All for now.

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June 20, 2008 8:34 AM

Locker homers for Bells

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jake Locker hit his first home run for the Bellingham Bells Thursday night, leading the team to a 10-2 win over Moses Lake. He was 3-5, also hitting a single and a double, with three runs scored and two runs batted in, again playing center field.

The homer was a solo shot in the third inning off Moses Lake pitcher Jake Wilson. The Bells are now 3-3 and Locker is hitting .333 for the season.

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June 19, 2008 3:38 PM

Recruiting roundtable

Posted by Bob Condotta

When I solicited questions a few weeks ago, a lot of you had various queries about recruiting.

I'm admittedly not a big expert in that area, focusing most of my attention on the current Husky football and basketball teams, so I tend to defer to those who are.

With that in mind, I decided to consult two recruiting gurus I've gotten to know through the years and ask them five questions that seemed to come up often from readers.

The two experts nice enough to participate are Chris Fetters, the Northwest recruiting analyst for and also a frequent contributor to, and Greg Biggins, a recruiting analyst for and who specializes on the West Coast.


Can you give us an overview of the quality of the talent in the state of Washington this year and how it compares to last year, which was regarded as one of the better in recent memory?

BIGGINS: It appears to be a down year compared to last year. Last year was one of the strongest years for in-state talent in recent memory with not just great depth, but some real star power at the top of the board. This year doesn't have that and the top tow or three players in the state may all be

FETTERS: Honestly, I don't think you can even compare the two classes. 2008 saw 24 prospects from the state of Washington sign letters of intent with schools in BCS conferences. In 2009? I'm sensing that number might be half.


Who would you rate as the top 5 prospects in the state this year, and if you like'd, can you say which of those do you think are must-gets for the Huskies?

FETTERS: Right now, Deandre Coleman (DT, Garfield), Allen Mooney (MLB, O'Dea), Nolan Washington (CB, Kennedy), Grant Enger (OT, O'Dea) and Chris Mastin (DE, Lewis and Clark) are my top-5 in-state. Gino Simone (WR, Skyline), Kyrell Hudson (WR-S Vancouver Evergreen), Jamal Atofau (S, Bellevue) and Kirby Moore (WR, Prosser) are players right on the cusp and have a great chance to be in the top-5 at the end of the year. (Editor's note --- A complete list of UW prospects including the players above can be found here).

As far as must-gets for the Huskies, I've always been of the belief that the top-5 in-state players should always be a priority for UW. Last year, that would have been Kavario Middleton (Lakes), Everette Thompson (Kennedy), Alameda Ta'amu (Rainier Beach), Jermaine Kearse (Lakes) and Senio Kelemete (Burien Evergreen). The Huskies targeted those five and landed them.

BIGGINS: I would have Deandre Coleman as the top player in the senior class, but after
that, there are a number of players all fairly close to each other. My next four, in no order, are Nolan Washington, Gino Simone, Grant Enger and Desmond Trufant (DB, Wilson).


Speaking of the Huskies, any reason why they are the only Pac-10 school yet to get a commit? Could the uncertainty over the future of Tyrone Willingham have anything to do with it?

BIGGINS: It is a little surprising. They have offered a handful of in-state players, some of which aren't national level recruits, who I would expect to jump on the local offer. I have never heard any player mention being leery of Coach Willingham and his job security but the lack of even one commitment makes you wonder a bit.

FETTERS: Clearly, recruiting is happening earlier and earlier every year. But the Huskies' 2008 recruiting class didn't get a commit from outside the Northwest until the end of June 2007, and that was David Freeman from Inglewood, a program run by former Husky Charles Mincy. And then they didn't get their second out-of-Northwest commitment until basically August in QB Dominique Blackman --- and relatively speaking he was one of the later QB commitments. The top QB's typically watch where the other QB's commit --- very much like stacked up dominoes --- so each make their decision in turn.

In short --- sure it's surprising UW is the last to have a commitment in the Pac-10, but I certainly wouldn't jump to any grand conclusions about it. With around 17-20 scholarships to give at most, the Huskies' staff has to be very prudent about who they target. Now if they don't have any commitments by the end of August? Get back to me because something is definitely amiss.


Do you think Rick Neuheisel's presence at UCLA will give the Bruins a greater presence in the Northwest given his history at UW?

FETTERS: Absolutely, but maybe not for the reasons that are readily apparent. Sure, Neuheisel still has plenty of friends in the Seattle area. But his most important one may not be in the high school coaching ranks. Taylor Barton, who played under Neuheisel at Colorado and Washington, is now running camps with his father Greg in the Seattle area and is quickly becoming a major influence when it comes to how high school football prospects are nurtured and developed during the off-season. Barton is a Neuheisel disciple in every way, shape and form, and I would fully expect him to give his mentor a heads up on top prospects coming from the state, just like he would his other coaching contacts in the Pac-10.

The key is, Neuheisel is such a dogged recruiter and would trust Barton's recruiting eye implicitly. There's a reason UCLA has already offered Skyline freshman WR Kasen Williams, as well as sophomore QB Jake Heaps --- both connected to Barton through his football camps. Those players, as well as Skyline WR Gino Simone and Mitch Mathews --- a receiver prospect from the Portland area --- are all traveling to Westwood at the end of the month to take part in a UCLA one-day camp. Expect the number of area prospects heading south to camp with the Bruins to grow as long as Neuheisel is coaching there, especially since the 2010 and 2011 area classes appear to be strong.

BIGGINS: That will be interesting to see. I think the recruitment of QB Jake Heaps (a Class of 2010 recruit from Skyline) will tell this story. Rick may have a lot of friends in the Seattle area but I'm sure he has a lot of people who still harbor some bitter feelings against him as well. Heaps is an intriguing kid. He's a top five QB in the West right now, has a UCLA offer and played AAU ball with Rick's son Jerry. He also has ties with UW with his former head coach now the current Husky RB coach (Steve Gervais). It will be a very interesting recruitment to follow.


What kind of year is it for talent on the West Coast and are there any early rumblings about UW being involved with any significant players out-of-state?

BIGGINS: I think it's a pretty solid year out West. My feeling is every year, it's usually about the same, it just so happens some years, a certain position is stronger than others. There is good depth at QB and cornerback, and receiver, definitely a down year for DTs and offensive linemen.

Some players UW has offered and are involved with include TE Marlion Barnett, OL Michael Philipp, LB Michael Clay, RB Isi Sofelo, DL James Boyd, WR Diante Jackson, DL Jackson Powell, OL Stan Hasiak and OL Kevin Danser to name a few. (Editor's note --- Links are provided for all players above).

FETTERS: In my opinion it's an overall below average year, but the top-two out west --- QB Matt Barkley (Mater Dei, CA) and LB Manti Te'o (Punahou, HI) --- are as close to slam-dunk, sure-fire future collegiate All-Americans as it gets. They are for real. I'd say it's a good year out west for QB's, offensivelLine and linebackers. Other than that? Not super solid. As far as UW being involved with out-of-state players, it's still very early. They've offered a few players from Utah, like Xavier S'a-Filo, John Martinez, L.T. Filiaga and Latu Heimuli, and all of those players are really, really good. (Editor's note --- Links to the Utah players can be found here).

Other out-of-state players that Scout has highly rated include OL Michael Philipp (Arroyo Valley, CA), LB Jordan Barrett (Notre Dame, CA - same HS as current UW kicker Erik Folk), OL Stan Hasiak (Kapolei, HI), OL Charles Siddoway (Marist, OR) and TE Marlion Barnett (Santiago, CA). The Huskies have offered three kids from Bellarmine Prep in San Jose --- LB Michael Clay, OL Kevin Danser and QB Austyn Carta-Samuels. And a legacy, Alex Logan from Mullen HS in Denver - Alvin Logan's brother - is another player Washington has targeted.

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June 19, 2008 2:02 PM

Great story on signal-stealing

Posted by Bob Condotta

I stumbled across this story today from the Detroit Free-Press on how a couple of Michigan's ball boys figured out that Northwestern was stealing the signs of the Wolverines in 1997 and just had to pass it along.

It's an interesting look at the inner-workings of college football, and the kind you won't get from people who are still in the game. I especially liked the anecdote about the third-and-25 call, which I presume was roundly booed by Michigan fans but which obviously had a great purpose.

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June 19, 2008 12:13 PM

Huskies report season ticket sales ahead of last year

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW's athletic web site has this story reporting that season ticket sales for football are 800 ahead of last year at this time. It also says that student ticket sales and Tyee sales are also up from a year ago and that all visiting seats for the opener at Oregon are sold out.

The Huskies had an average home attendance last season of 67,732, which ranked third in the Pac-10 behind USC (87,486) and UCLA (76,379) and came in a year when UW had one of its most attractive home schedules with Boise State, Ohio State, USC, Oregon and Washington State. This year's home schedule is similarly heavy-weighted with home games against BYU, Notre Dame and Oklahoma out of conference and UCLA and the return of Rick Neuheisel in Pac-10 play, which is surely a big reason for the uptick.

To play devil's advocate to the optimistic tone of the story, however, it's worth noting that UW's attendance a year ago ranked as the fourth-lowest for the Huskies since 1990. All four have come in the last four seasons. The Huskies averaged more than 70,000 fans per home game every year from 1990-2003.

Here are the averages since 2004:

2004 --- 64,737
2005 --- 64,362
2006 --- 57,483
2007 --- 67,732

Also worth passing along today is this report from the Longview Daily News on the UW coaches tour stop on Wednesday. Yes, Tyrone Willingham was there for what was the final coaches tour stop of the year.

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June 19, 2008 9:44 AM

DuRocher gets save for Everett

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Husky QB Johnny DuRocher is now pitching with Everett of the Northwest League --- the team is an affiliate of the Mariners.

And his season is off to a solid start as he got the save last night by pitching two scoreless inninings in a win over Spokane.

Jake Locker, meanwhile, went 1-4 with two strikes, an error and a stolen base as the Bellngham Bells lost to Moses Lake 3-2.

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June 18, 2008 12:17 PM

AD update

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's been more than six months since Todd Turner "resigned'' as Washington's athletic director and the school has yet to hire a permanent replacement.

But UW officials insist there is nothing alarming about the seemingly lengthy process to make a hire.

Scott Woodward, the school's VP for external affairs and the acting athletic director, said today that the school has been actively searching for a new AD for only "90 days or 120 days,'' getting particularly serious when Woodward announced in early May he would not pursue the job full-time.

"They are just being very careful to make sure that they get the right person for the job,'' Woodward said, referring to the search committee and UW president Mark Emmert.

Woodward said "nothing has changed'' in terms of his future, so at the moment, he remains on the sidelines of the search. He did say, however, that he would "never say never'' about the possibility that he could get back in the mix for the AD's job if asked to do so by Emmert.

It was Emmert who told Woodward that he thought he was of more value to the school in the external relations job (where he can help lead the charge to lobby the legislature in Olympia for funding for Husky Stadium) rather than becoming the permanent AD.

Reliable information about the search has been scarce as the school is essentially not commenting about anything, other than to acknowledge that the search continues. The school has formed a 14-person search committee, but most assume that the final decision is essentially that of Emmert's.

Sources, however, indicate that UW had serious conversations, if not flat-out offering the job, to two sitting ADs --- Dan Radakovich of Georgia Tech and Chris Hill of Utah. One source said talks with Radakovich broke down over money --- he apparently just signed a new contract worth more than $600,000 a year and would need more than that to bother with making a move.

Turner had a base salary of $345,000 with other incoming putting him in the $400-500,000 range, and the Huskies aren't likely to go a whole lot higher as Pac-10 schools simply don't pay as much for ADs as do those in most of the other major conferences --- one reason UW may have a tough time hiring a sitting AD at a major school.

As for as Hill, one source said those talks broke down in part because Hill didn't want to get involved in a lengthy search. He was apparently offered the UW job in 2004 and sounds as if he didn't want to get publicly involved again if there was any chance he wasn't going to get the job. He's been at Utah since 1987 and is not necessarily itching to move.

It's also known that UW talked with USC associate AD Steve Lopes, but that he is no longer a candidate.

There has been speculation that UW may have recently interviewed UTEP AD Bob Stull, who was in town on his way to a vacation in Alaska. It's also known that former Husky kicker Chuck Nelson remains a candidate. Considering that each has lengthy ties to the school, it figures that both would leap at the job if offered. Given that fact, it seems likely that each is more of a fallback candidate.

There have been constant rumblings about former Oregon AD Bill Moos, as well. Moos has a well-chronicled clause in his contract with the Ducks that pays him roughly $180,000 a year for 10 years as long as he doesn't take an AD job at another BCS school. Moos has said several times through his lawyer that he has not been contacted by either UW's search committee, or Parker Executive Search, the firm UW hired to assist in the process. Moos himself has not responded to interview requests. (And interesting to note on the Parker web site that it has just added the Notre Dame AD's job to its list of "current opportunities.'' UW reportedly paid $75,000 to Parker).

While he's technically handling two jobs at once, Woodward has been spending a significant amount of his time in in the athletic department, recently attending the national college athletic directors convention, as well as the Pac-10 AD's meeting.

He said the daily work of the athletic department is not being hindered by the fact that there isn't a permanent AD in place, pointing out that the process of setting the budget for the next fiscal year is being completed, games have been scheduled (the recent LSU series) and contracts for coaches negotiated (including a recent extension for women's crew coach Bob Ernst).

"Everything from my standpoint seems to be going fine,'' Woodward said.

That Woodward is in charge, and obviously has the full confidence of Emmert --- the two have worked together since 1999 --- means the UW president may not feel any undue urgency to fill the position. Still, it seems likely something will break soon on this as UW will want an AD in place by the beginning of a football season that looms particularly pivotal to the future of that program.

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June 18, 2008 10:23 AM

ESPN names James face of Husky program

Posted by Bob Condotta

Little surprise here as has tabbed former Husky coach Don James as the Face of the Program for the University of Washington.

Hard to argue with that pick. Some older fans may be able to make a case for Jim Owens, but I think for fans today, James remains the defining figure of UW football.

I remain surprised they didn't include Sonny Sixkiller in their list of five nominees as the face of the program. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I don't think there was ever a more popular Husky, or one who was more well-known throughout the state and country.

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June 18, 2008 9:14 AM

Locker-baseball update

Posted by Bob Condotta

As expected, Jake Locker is spending the week playing for the Bellingham Bells.

He went 1-3 with a single and a walk as the Bells beat Moses Lake 4-2 last night in front of 345 in Bellingham. Locker again played center field.

The Bells are 2-2 in West Coast Collegiate Baseball League games (a few of their games the first week were exhibitions that didn't count in the standings). The Bells play every day through Sunday at home and Locker is expected to participate in every game.

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June 17, 2008 2:43 PM

Interesting Oregon recruiting story

Posted by Bob Condotta

That recruiting is a cutthroat business isn't necessarily news. Still, there was an interesting turn-of-events over the weekend involving the the Oregon Ducks and a scholarship their coaches offered, then rescinded, that has upset one southern California high school coach and forced Mike Bellotti to make a public statement.

The Eugene Register-Guard has the details.

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June 17, 2008 11:37 AM

Former UW DB coach picked as best in country

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's always struck me kind of funny how the perception of coaches can change based on the situation of their current employer.

When Chuck Heater served as Washington's cornerbacks coach from 1999-2001, for instance, I never heard anyone claim that he was the best at his job in the country.

That's not meant as a knock at Heater, just that I never heard it, maybe in part because that was a time when the Huskies led with their offense and not their defense --- the 2001 team allowed what was then the second-most points in school history, 323, a total that has been passed four times since then.

But Heater is now at Florida, a school that is an annual contender for the national title, and according to, he is the best defensive backs coach in the country (though like at UW, he technically coaches only the cornerbacks).

The linked article is part of an interesting series Sportsline is publishing this summer, rating the best assistants in the country by position. I haven't seen any current UW coaches selected through the first four entries.

Author Dennis Dodd, in supplying evidence for why Heater is the best in the country, writes that Heater's Florida secondaries led the SEC in interceptions in 2005 and 2006, getting 48 total the last three seasons.

That's a stark contrast from his years at UW as the Huskies managed just six interceptions in 2000 --- the second-lowest total in school history and one of the more amazing stats of that Rose Bowl season --- and nine in 2001, tied for the fourth-lowest total.

Obviously, Heater coached just one part of the secondary --- the cornerbacks --- with Bobby Hauck, now the head coach at Montana, handling the safeties during that time. And lots of things factor into low interception totals (including the fact that the Huskies tended to play fairly passively on defense during that era, more bend-but-don't-break rather than trying to create a lot of turnovers).

Still, after the 2001 season when the Huskies gave up a then-school-record 20 touchdown passes (including four in the memorable second-half meltdown in the Holiday Bowl against Texas) the Huskies shook up their coaching staff, with Hauck taking over all of the secondary and Heater moving to running backs, his other area of expertise (he played running back at Michigan).

Heater, who also served as UW's recruiting coordinator during that time, was one of four coaches who came to UW in 1999 from Colorado when Rick Neuheisel was hired as head coach. He left following the 2003 season after Neuheisel has been fired the previous summer. He landed at Utah, then coached by Urban Meyer, then followed Meyer to Florida, where he also serves as recruiting coordinator. And where his career has taken off, no doubt benefiting from the timing of his move away from UW and onto the staff of Meyer.

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June 16, 2008 1:28 PM

Denbrock breaks down the offensive line

Posted by Bob Condotta

In response to a few questions some of you asked about the offensive line, I decided to go straight to the source. Which meant dialing up UW offensive line coach Mike Denbrock, who was gracious enough to spend a little time reviewing what his players will do during the summer, how the line may look in the fall (could Ryan Tolar see time at center?) and what he thought of how it played in the spring.

Here are the highlights:

--- The entire team is basically allowed two weeks off from the end of school until June 23, when players return for the summer conditioning program. Players take summer school classes, do lifting and conditioning in the mornings four days a week and then seven-on-seven drills in the afternoon

--- Denbrock said exactly how they want the linemen to work out each summer "changes depending on what areas of weakness you feel like you have. ... We did a really good job over the winter and in the spring in the weight room. I thought we did some really good things and that the kids have done a lot better job of keeping themselves in physical condition, speaking of the line in particular. I think we are way ahead of where we were even a year ago at this time.''

--- Denbrock elaborated to say that he thinks the line has done a better job each year that this coaching staff has been here of adhering to the off-season program. "As time goes by, they all get a better idea of what is expected of them,'' he said. "It wasn't a real good situation when we first got here with summer conditioning and guys doing the things they needed to do to. We are at the point now where that is behind us.''

--- Denbrock said what would be expected when asked whether there is an emphasis on getting stronger or improving stamina --- ideally, they try to do both. "As much work as we can do on the conditioning end of things while managing in the weight room would obvioulsy be our major goal so that we can play harder and longer,'' he said. "If we've got a group of guys who can go all day, that's our goal going into the summer and coming out of the summer so that they are able to play as hard as they need to play on every play.''

--- For those who aren't aware of the rules, coaches are not allowed to be with the players during their summer workouts, so having playerse who will get the work done on their own is vital. Denbrock repeated what he said to the earlier question that he thinks the Huskies have more of those kinds of players now. "When we got here, that (commitment) wasn't nearly what it needed to be and that's something I've tried to get across to them and emphasize as much as I could. That leadership has to come from them, and as much as anything, that's what's improved. There were a lot of those days where I sat here and wondered if they were doing the right things. We don't have nearly as many of those concerns as we used to.''

--- One player who missed the spring is guard Ryan Tolar, recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Denbrock said Tolar is "doing really good. He's on schedule, if not ahead of schedule, and back to doing most of the lifts. We're still being a little cautious with him to make sure he is not pushing the envelope too fast because he's the type of guy who would say he is completely healthy and ready to go three months ago. But he's on track and pretty close to being fully healthy right now.''

--- When Tolar returns in the fall, he could get a lot of time at a new position --- center. While Denrock remains "cautiously optimistic'' that Juan Garcia will return from his foot injury (see this post on Garcia for Denbrock's thoughts on that topic), the Huskies also have to make plans in case he can't make it back. One of those involves experimenting with Tolar at center. Ryan Tolar is going to work at center some this summer,'' Denbrock said. "He's been doing that ever since the spring so he'll continue to do that. We have all the confidence in the world in Matt Sedillo and Greg Christine does a good job in there, too. All the inside guys (guards) will take turns getting their feet wet (at center). Tolar wil be the guy we'll use more regularly in that role just in case (Garcia can't return).''

--- Denbrock said he thinks Tolar can handle those dual duties well though he apparently hasn't played center with any regularity since early in his high school career. "He hasn't done a whole lot of (center) here,'' Denbrock said. "Last year during the season I introducted it to him again to just make sure because you want to have as much versatility as you can with those inside guys.''

--- One reason the team feels more comfortable possibly moving Tolar to center is the strong play in the spring of senior guard Jordan White-Frisbee, who could step in for Tolar at left guard if needed. "He's come a million miles from where he was a year ago at this time,'' Denbrock said of JWF. "He's made really fast progress and has a really great understanding of what we wantn to do. He had as good a spring as anybody up front. He's a guy who can go in there and move people around up front because he's just a big, strong, athletic human being.''

--- While at times it appeared as if the defensive line was playing better than expected, Denbrock said that wasn't a reflection of any unhappiness with the offensive line. "I was real happy with the way we came through spring ball,'' he said. "I felt like we took another step forward last season and I felt we followed that through with a really strong winter and polished it off with a really solid spring. So things are set up for us to be, I think, a leading group on this football team and something we are going to need to lean on.''

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June 16, 2008 8:46 AM

Husky-CFL updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a couple updates on former Huskies in the Canadian Football League with the season getting ready to start up north:

--- The B.C. Lions cut Brandon Ala over the weekend but kept Caesar Rayford, who according to this story is a "very intriguing prospect'' who will likely be fighting for a spot on the practice squad.

--- Former UW receiver Jerome Pathon recently announced his official retirement and is now working in the front office for the Lions as an intern hoping to start a new career in player personnel and football operations. There's also a brief mention of Kai Ellis battling some sort of injury at the bottom of the story.

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June 15, 2008 11:56 AM

Locker to speak in Bellingham Friday

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW quarterback Jake Locker will speak at a fundraiser for a children's charity in Bellingham Friday.

The Bellingham Herald has the details.

And here's more info on the charity, Blue Skies for Children.

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June 14, 2008 7:56 PM

Fantasy guy says Locker best in Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

With the college football preview season in full gear, there are any number of ratings of players out there, many of which we have already linked --- and some we'll surely link later.

The link today is a little different, a rating of players based on their fantasy value.

I've never played in a college fantasy league, but apparently they are becoming more popular as I'm seeing more and more college-football fantasy-related material out there such as this ranking of QBs, listing UW's Jake Locker at 16th in the nation and first in the Pac-10.

Locker's all-around skills obviously make him a high value in fantasy play as he's a threat to score either through the air or on the ground.

In fact, he accounted for the fourth-most points in a season of any UW quarterback last year with 162.

Here are the top five seasons:

1, Cody Pickett, 2002, 186 points (168 passing, 18 rushing)
2, Mark Brunell, 1990, 178 (96 passing, 78 rushing --- includes four points on two-point plays)
3, Billy Joe Hobert, 1991, 174 (144 passing, 30 rushing)
4, Jake Locker, 2007, 162 (84 passing, 78 rushing)
5, Brock Huard, 1997, 158 (150 passing, six rushing --- includes two points on a two-point play)

The leader for a non-quarterback is Corey Dillon in 1996 with 144 points, 120 rushing and 24 passing, a total that is sixth among all-players (the highest for a kicker is Chuck Nelson's 112 in 1982).

AND SPEAKING OF PICKETT. ... he's now with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, a league that is playing pre-season games in preparation for the beginning of the season later this month. Pickett is battling for a backup job and according to this story, lost a fumble, but also headed a drive that led to a field goal by Mike Vanderjagt.

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June 14, 2008 1:22 PM

So who has the wimpiest mascot in college sports?

Posted by Bob Condotta

That was the question posed this week by (or College On The Record).

The answer is one Husky fans may find amusing.


--- Arizona State's starting tight end from last year, Dane Guthrie, has left the team for unknown reasons. ASU is now apparently at the scholarship limit of 85 for the fall.

--- One reader asked where fans can find DVDs of old Husky football games. Here's one option. Readers out there may have other avenues for DVDs of old games that they can pass along ---or maybe even to trade.

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June 13, 2008 2:52 PM

Another reason for scheduling LSU

Posted by Bob Condotta

Former Husky assistant coach Dick Baird helped revive the debate this week over Washington's recent scheduling practices with this piece on (You need a subscription to read it, but I'm linking to it to acknowledge the impetus behind this discussion.)

Driving around doing some errands today, I then heard Dave "Softy'' Mahler at KJR-AM reference the Baird piece and weigh in with his own thoughts. Both think the Huskies shouldn't have scheduled LSU, instead getting in place a team that will be easier to beat.

UW officials point out that filling an opening this late isn't as easy as just picking your opponent, making a quick phone call and sealing the deal, and when the chance came to play a big-name like LSU, they grabbed it.

And they aren't alone in feeling that scheduling isn't quite as simple as it seems --- or even as it used to be.

USA Today had this story this week on how hard it is becoming for big-name teams to schedule "inferior'' opponents with smaller schools demanding more and more money and often pulling out of signed contracts.

That's exactly how UW ended up needing to find another game for 2009 in the first place, something I detailed in this post last month .

Originally, UW was to play Nevada and Illinois at home in 2009, along with a game at Notre Dame, a schedule that would have pretty much followed the old "A-B-C'' philosophy of scheduling one marquee game (at Notre Dame), one home game against a good team but one that in most years you should be able to beat (Illinois) and one relative gimme (Nevada --- and yes, I know what happened last time they played the Wolf Pack in Seattle, but for the sake of this argument, we're looking at the historical statures of the programs in question). But both Illinois and Nevada backed out of the games leaving UW scrambling to fill the holes.

So now in 2009 it's LSU and Idaho at home and at Notre Dame, a schedule that Baird, Mahler and others think is too tough for the Huskies right now. Maybe, though as I argued last month, there's something that should be applauded about trying to schedule tough games and giving the fans their money's worth (and I think most of the players would rather play those types of schedules, as well).

And here's another reason the Huskies may have decided to schedule LSU for 2009 that I haven't heard talked about much --- that it could help the effort to get $150 million in public money out of the state legislature for a renovation of Husky Stadium.

Part of UW's selling point in that quest will be the economic benefits to the region of Husky football games, especially contests against marquee non-conference teams that are likely to bring in a lot of fans.

I was reminded of that this week when I got an e-mail from the Seattle Sports Commission, a monthly newsletter it sends to media and others in the area (a group that I assume includes politicians).

This month's theme was the impact of sports organizations on the local economy and included this paragraph:

"The athletic department at the University of Washington plays an important role in the life of the school, driving exposure for the college and connecting alumni to their alma mater. The foundation of this department is the football team, which generates revenue that helps fund the balance of the sports programs. It also drives business in the region by hosting games against teams such as Ohio State University in 2007, which brought approximately 10,000 fans to Seattle and the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers who will visit in 2009. These games fill hotels and restaurants, generating economic impact in tax dollars that assists in funding police, fire departments, schools and other important services.''

That's exactly the message UW officials will be trying to peddle in Olympia next January when they try again to make a case for funds to renovate Husky Stadium. Another home game against a team like Idaho, obviously, isn't going to help that cause at all.

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June 13, 2008 8:50 AM

Donatell story from Kitsap Sun

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Husky coaches tour stopped yesterday at McCormick Woods Golf Course out in Port Orchard.

The local paper, The Kistap Sun, has this report on the event focusing on new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. It's a good article, though not sure it will be able to top the No. 1 most e-mailed story from the paper today. (Tip of the hat to those who already posted this --- just thought I'd bring it out here for those who don't look at the comments section).

The coaches tour has just one stop left, Wednesday in Longview.

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June 12, 2008 3:37 PM

Juan Garcia story on

Posted by Bob Condotta

Juan Garcia is the focus of the featured story on's college football page today, an article written by former Seattle P-I writer Ted Miller.

Miller, who now covers the Pac-10 for, writes that Garcia is "cautiously optimistic'' about making a return to the field this season.

I actually talked with UW offensive line coach Mike Denbrock a couple of days ago and he used that exact same phrase in talking about Garcia's possible return, noting that the first medical evaluation last month indicated that the foot was showing some signs of healing.

"It's one of those injuries where unfortunately, at any point during this process, there could be a setback for him,'' Denbrock said. "So I think cautiously optimistic is a good way to describe it. We couldn't be happier with the report we got back from the specialist and the things he told us as far as the healing process moving forward.''

Denbrock said part of the task now will be to keep Garcia from trying to move the process ahead too quickly.

"It's going to be really important as time goes along and he puts more and more weight on his foot that he doesn't try to push the envelope too far,'' Denbrock said. "In the rehab room he's a maniac and he will do whatever is necessary to do. But he has to make sure he doesn't set himself back by doing something foolish.''

I'll have more from Denbrock in a later post.

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June 12, 2008 12:20 PM

Locker-baseball update

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Bellingham Bells are returning to action this weekend, but Jake Locker is not expected to be with them again until Sunday.

Here is the team's schedule for June. Locker did not play last night when the Bells lost to Seattle Studs 5-0 (making the Bells 0-4 for the season) and he is not expected to make the trip for three games this weekend at Kelowna, B.C.

However, a Bells team official says Locker is expected to play on Sunday when the Bells return home and then is expected to play in every game next week --- the Bells have home games each day from Tuesday-Sunday.

The Huskies are not really doing anything during that time as school officially ends this week (graduation is Saturday). Football players are essentially free to do what they want until June 23rd, when the team will officially start its summer conditioning program.

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June 12, 2008 8:38 AM

Steele picks Huskies eighth

Posted by Bob Condotta

Phil Steele advertises his pre-season college football preview as "the most accurate preseason magazine the last nine years.''

If that title holds again, it could be bad news for the Huskies as Steele doesn't see a good season ahead for UW.

In his magazine, which hit newsstands this week, he picks UW eighth in the Pac-10 and concludes that the Huskies "may not top last year's 4 win total.''

Steele also writes of the Huskies that "while they will be better, they may find it tough to move into the upper half of the standings.'' However, he also leaves the possibility of an improved season saying "this is HC Tyrone Willingham's best team and after a lot of closes losses (12 by 8 or less) in his first three years, things could break right for a big move up in the standings.''

Here's how he sees the Pac-10:

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

Cal at No. 2 may be his most eye-opening pick. Steele explains that "the schedule (and some underrated talent) gets them up this high'' pointing out that the Bears get five home Pac-10 games.

Arizona at No. 5 might be his other controversial pick. Steele explains that he rates Arizona's offense No. 2 in the conference and that while UA has just three starters back on defense there is "more experience than you would think.''

Steele also rates all the teams by position. Here's how he sees UW:

QB --- 1
RB --- 10
WR --- 10
OL --- 4
DL --- 10
LB --- 7
DB --- 9
ST ---- 9
Coach ---- 6

In case you are curious about the coach ratings, here they are:
1, USC
2, Cal
(tie) Oregon
4, Oregon State
5, Arizona State
6, Washington
(tie) UCLA
8, Stanford
(tie) Arizona
10, Washington State

Comment: An obviously interesting link there between UW coaches past and present in the six hole.

In a few other UW-related notes from his magazine:

--- Steele rates UW's recruiting class No. 18 in the country and fourth in the Pac-10. He rates Dominique Blackman as the No. 35 incoming QB in the country, Chris Polk No. 18 at running back, Jermaine Kearse No. 27 at WR and Cody Bruns No. 34, Kavario Middleton No. 3 at TE, Alameda Ta'amu No. 22 among OL (maybe he missed the speculation that Ta'amu will start out on the other side of the ball) Allen Carroll No. 35, Senio Kelemete No. 66 (also headed to DL) and Drew Schaefer No. 75 and Everette Thompson No. 30 and Craig Noble No. 67 at DL.

--- UW was tied for the lead last year in his rating of team with "net close losses'' --- meaning losses by a TD or less. UW had five such defeats, tied with Kent State, SMU and Minnesota.

--- In one of his more telling stats, Steele has a category he calls "team experience ratings'' devising a points system to award teams for having senior starters, seniors in the two-deep. Teams get three points for every senior starter down to 0.5 for a sophomore in the two-deep, then get minus-points for freshmen starters. UW rates 116 out of 119 teams with 52 points (Oregon State leads the Pac-10 with 77 followed by WSU, Oregon, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford and Cal).

--- In ranking current players nationally, Steele lists Jake Locker as the No. 19 QB, and third in the Pac-10 behind Rudy Carpenter (9) and Willie Tuitama (17); Juan Garcia No. 26 at center; Casey Bulyca No. 48 at guard; Daniel Te'o-Nesheim No. 38 at DE; and E.J. Savannah No. 18 at OLB;

--- Steele also rates a Top 30 or so at every position unit in the country. The only UW unit to make any of the ratings is QB, which is No. 15.

--- Steele has a system for devising the teams he sees as being the most improved in the country each year. UW didn't make the cut in his rating of 23 MIP teams this year. Notre Dame is No. 1 on the list and the only Pac-10 team ranked is Arizona at No. 13.

--- He also has a rating of his top 12 teams that could surprise this year in terms of making a run up the national rankings. UW didn't make the cut there, either, though two Pac-10 teams did --- Cal at 9 and Oregon at 10.

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June 11, 2008 4:27 PM

Wednesday notes and links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes and links to pass along:

--- Jon Wilner has this look at who the candidates could be to replace Tom Hansen as Pac-10 commissioner. Of the ones he mentions, one may stand out to UW fans --- Duane Lindberg, currently associate commissioner for electronic communications (which means he handles a lot of the conference's TV stuff). Lindberg is a Tacoma native and a 1979 UW grad who also has his master's from Washington.

--- Speaking of the Pac-10 commish job, a good source told me that it could be filled in as soon as four months. Hansen doesn't leave until July 1, 2009 and Hansen told me the other day that if a replacement is found before then, he will remain in the job to help in the transition.

--- has these odds on the Pac-10 race, as well as comments on every team. Kind of eye-opening that Oregon State is tied with Washington State for being the biggest longshots to win the Pac-10 this year. The comment on UW includes an obvious typo in the record (UW is 11-25 under Tyrone Willingham). And you'll note they are telling their customers to expect a lot of high-scoring games early. I hope they don't charge a whole lot for that kind of insight.

--- This link from gives one reason to like every single team in Division-IA. I figured UW's would be its defensive line but the author surprisingly picks Jake Locker (sarcasm alert).

--- Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Corvallis Gazette-Times gives a good rundown on the Fly Sweep, a play the Beavers began using to great success last season which the Huskies copied late in the year, and plan to use again this year with the likes of Chris Polk.

All for now.

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June 11, 2008 9:11 AM

FSN releases national schedule

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've had a few questions about FSN's portion of the recently released Pac-10 TV schedule.

So thought I would pass along this press release from FSN, which includes a schedule of its national games for 2008. Again, these are the national games, so they will be available on any FSN network anywhere. Other UW and Pac-10 games will also be picked up later for regional play on FSN, specifically FSN-NW for the Huskies (you'll see there are some openings in the schedule where UW games against USC on Nov. 1 or UCLA on Nov. 15, to name two, could be placed).

Also note that FSN reports that all of these games WILL be available on HD. So yes, you will be able to see Huskies-Ducks and the Apple Cup, among others, in HD (even the sideline closeups of Mike Bellotti).

Here's the release:

LOS ANGELES - FSN, the cable television home for Big 12 and Pac-10 football, announces its 31-game national college football schedule today. Kicking off the season with Baylor hosting Wake Forest on Thursday, August 28, FSN will televise its entire slate in High Definition.

Each week, the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences showcase some of the elite programs in the country. This season, USC, Texas and Oklahoma continue their annual quest for the national title. Plus, with great recruiting and some new coaches, familiar names such as UCLA, Texas A&M and Nebraska are returning to top-10 form. Plus, Missouri, Kansas, Arizona State and Oregon are determined to prove their stunning 2007 seasons were not a fluke.

FSN's studio show, COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY KICKOFF, returns for its seventh season. Each week, the show previews FSN's national games, breaks down the Top-25 teams, highlights the best games from across the football landscape and profiles the top individual performances from
across the country.

The first installment of COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY KICKOFF begins at 2:30 PM EST/11:30 AM PST on Saturday, August 30 prior the Oklahoma State vs. Washington State kickoff at 3:00 PM EST/12:00 PM PST. Later that evening, Oregon hosts Washington in an early season Pac-10 battle at
10:00 PM EST/7:00 PM PST.

Overall, FSN will air 18 Big 12 football games and 13 Pac-10 contests.

2008 FSN College Football Schedule
(All times eastern)

Thursday, August 28
8:00pm Big 12 Football #1: Wake Forest at Baylor

Saturday, August 30
3:30pm Pac-10 Football #1: Oklahoma St. vs. Washington St. (at Qwest Field from Seattle, WA)
10:00 pm Pac-10 Football #2: Washington at Oregon

Sunday, August 31
7:30pm Big 12 Football #2: Colorado St. vs. Colorado
(at Invesco Field from Denver, CO)

Saturday, September 6
3:00pm Pac-10 Football #3: BYU at Washington

7:00pm Big 12 Football #3: Louisiana Tech at Kansas

Saturday, September 13
12:30pm Big 12 Football #4: Washington St. at Baylor

Saturday, September 20

3:00pm Pac-10 Football #4: Arizona at UCLA
7:00pm Big 12 Football #5: Teams TBA

Saturday, September 27

3:30 or 7pm Big 12 Football #6: Teams TBA

Saturday, October 4

12:30pm Big 12 Football #7: Teams TBA

7:00pm Big 12 Football #8: Teams TBA

Saturday, October 11

6:30pm Big12 Football #9: Teams TBA

10:15pm Pac-10 Football #5: Teams TBA

Saturday, October 18

12:00pm Big 12 Football #10: Teams TBA

3:30pm Pac-10 Football #6: USC at Washington St.

*7:00pm Big 12 Football #11: Teams TBA

Saturday, October 25

12:30pm Big 12 Football #12: Teams TBA

6:30pm Big 12 Football #13: Teams TBA

10:15pm Pac-10 Football #7: USC at Arizona

Saturday, November 1

12:30pm Big 12 Football #14: Teams TBA

6:30pm Pac-10 Football #8: Teams TBA

10:15pm Pac-10 Football #9: Arizona St. at Oregon St.

Saturday, November 8

12:00pm Big 12 Football #15: Teams TBA

3:30pm Pac-10 Football #10: Teams TBA

7:00pm Big 12 Football #16: Teams TBA

Saturday, November 15

12:30pm Big 12 Football #17: Teams TBA

*6:30pm Big 12 Football #11: Teams TBA

10:15pm Pac-10 Football #11: Teams TBA

Saturday, November 22

3:00pm Pac-10 Football #12: Washington at Washington St.

Saturday, November 29

12:30 or 3pm Big 12 Football #18: Kansas vs. Missouri
(at Arrowhead Stadium from Kansas City, MO)

Saturday, December 6

3:00pm Pac-10 Football #13: Teams TBA

COMMENT --- Again, please note all the times listed are Eastern. Also, that last game on Dec. 6 could be UW at Cal.

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June 10, 2008 3:01 PM

Steele says UW's schedule toughest in the nation

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of months ago when I ranked the Pac-10's schedules for the 2008 season in order of their difficulty, some of you chided me for not listing UW No. 1.

Looks like you guys have an ally in Phil Steele, whose rankings of the toughest schedules in the nation this season is now available on his website.

Steele rates UW's schedule this season --- consisting of home non-conference games against BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame and five Pac-10 road games --- as the most difficult in the country.

Steele gives a pretty lengthy explanation of his thought process in general (probably a little too lengthy, actually) but doesn't really go into detail about UW's schedule in particular. Mostly, he ranks the schedules based on how he has ranked their opponents this season and doesn't just look at won-loss record of a year ago (and he's definitely right there about putting too much weight on what happened a year ago).

Here's how he sees the Pac-10 in terms of difficulty of schedule:

1, Washington (1st in nation)
2, Oregon State (5th)
3, UCLA (6th)
4, Stanford (14th)
5, USC (21st)
6, Washington State (28th)
7, Oregon (33rd)
8, Cal (38th)
9, Arizona State (40th)
10, Arizona (57th)

To be accurate, I did my rankings solely on the basis of the non-conference schedule. I had USC --- which hosts Notre Dame and Ohio State and goes on the road to play Virginia --- No. 1, with the Huskies No. 2. It's admittedly a tough call --- I basically put USC first since it has to go on the road once while UW is home for all of its non-conference games but I don't argue that BYU is a better team than Virginia (the other two games in the non-conference slates for the two teams are a wash).

But no doubt that including all games gives UW a tougher schedule than the Trojans. USC's conference schedule, in fact, is pretty favorable, despite having five games on the road. USC will host Oregon, Arizona State and Cal --- usually regarded as teams 2-4 in the conference this year --- as well as UW, while going on the road to play the other five teams, most of whom are generally considered to finish near the bottom.

UW's conference schedule may be as difficult as anybody's as the Huskies go to USC, Cal, Oregon --- all generally being picked to be three of the top four teams in the conference this year --- as well as Arizona and Washington State while hosting ASU, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State.

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June 10, 2008 10:58 AM

Another possible AD candidate UPDATED

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a new name I'd heard earlier this week could be on UW's list of potential athletic director candidates --- Craig Angelos of Florida Atlantic University.

However, Angelos today told the South Florida Sun-Sentinal he has had no contact with UW. (And since he has said that, I have amended this post to reflect those comments).

Angelos' name made a lot of sense because he was recently one of six finalists for the LSU AD job that went instead to Joe Alleva of Duke.

LSU used the same search firm that UW has hired --- Parker Executive Search of Atlanta --- and Angelos is said to be regarded as an up-and-comer (he's listed as 42 in his bio) who is often on the lists provided by Parker. And anyone reading this knows well the LSU ties of those now in command at UW.

We continue to hear conflicting reports on Utah's Chris Hill, who has been rumored to be a candidate from the start. Hill was a finalist for the job in 2004 and sources said he was actually offered the job before turning it down. He has said publicly several times of late that he is not a candidate for the UW job. However, a couple of sources have told us Hill may have spoken with UW, or the search firm, about the position in recent days. One source told us today that the word making the rounds among other ADs is that "Chris Hill is supposed to get that job.''

There continues to be no official word from anyone at UW about the AD search other than that the search committee is working hard, etc. This is the final week of school and as such marks the end of what was the unofficial timeline for making a hire. But UW officials have said there is no hard-and-fast deadline other than making sure a new hire is in place by the beginning of the football season.

A few other things I've heard:

--- Another name one source mentioned is Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham, who was also recently in the running at Duke.

--- USC senior associate AD Steve Lopes is thought not to be in the running any longer, according to one source, though Lopes has not been available for comment.

--- Another source said UW has interviewed, or will interview, UTEP AD Bob Stull, but that Stull is not thought to be the favorite for the job. The El Paso Times has this report on Stull and UW.

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June 10, 2008 9:56 AM

Tuesday link-o-rama

Posted by Bob Condotta

So what does "o-rama?'' mean, anyway? Just seems to fit, I guess. On to the links. ...

---- Here's an interesting post from via the LA Times UCLA blog with some entertaining comments from Rick Neuheisel at a recent auction. Neuheisel first apparently vowed to let the winner call the first play against USC next year (while whispering that the coaches will have the right to call an audible). Later, he said the winner of another auction for a trip to the UW game could stand next to him on the sidelines. "If you know my history at UDub, I need somebody next to me in case they want to throw debris,'' he is reported as saying. (By the way, I won't often link to message board posts, but this was already on the LA Times site, and it sounds so much like Neuheisel that I have little doubt he said those things).

--- Pete Thamel of The New York Times has this post speculating whether the change in commissioners at the Pac-10 as well as the departures of a few others who were against a college football playoff will change anything. His conclusion is the same one I voiced here yesterday --- that while it's popular to blame one guy for such things, commissioners are almost always just articulating the opinions of the presidents of the conference in which they serve. A new Pac-10 commissioner isn't suddenly going to change a whole lot if the presidents of the 10 schools don't want to go along. Hansen's an easy target, but this stuff is a lot more complicated than one person.

--- Jon Wilner's College Hotline has this look at the Pac-10 TV sked announced yesterday, pegging Sept. 13 as the best couch potato day of the season. He also says he plans to soon blog about potential replacements for Hansen. I like one that a poster mentioned --- Bill Moos. Karl Benson of the WAC is another logical one. Benson is a native of the state of Washington with deep ties to the area.

--- has this look at the Washington Huskies from the perspective of the Oklahoma Sooners.

All for now.

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June 9, 2008 8:46 PM

Alumni update

Posted by Bob Condotta

With many NFL teams conducting mini-camps right now, time to catch up on some Husky alums:

--- Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes in his Raiders blog that the passes of Marques Tuiasosopo seem to "have a lot more zip'' than during his first stint with the team (it's in a note under the June 5 post). Jones also has a note in the June 9 post about the still-in-flux backup QB spot for the Raiders, speculating that Tuiasosopo appears to have moved ahead of Andrew Walter.

--- Matt Barrows of the Bee writes in his 49ers blog that Dashon Goldson has had a really good off-season and could contend for the starting free safety job this season. However, he says it's more likely Goldson will play as the nickel back this year.

--- Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News writes that Isaiah Stanback will have to fight to make the Cowboys' roster. He writes that Stanback "better be a stud'' on special teams if he wants to make the team, though he concludes that he'll probably squeeze in.

--- has a good story about Khalif Barnes hoping to repair his image after some off-field trouble.

--- Somebody asked recently about Cody Pickett, who recently signed with Toronto of the CFL, and whether he might be able to still get on an NFL roster for this season. Reading this story makes it sound as if Pickett will have to scratch and claw just to make it in Toronto.

All for now.

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June 9, 2008 3:06 PM

A few words from Tom Hansen

Posted by Bob Condotta

I just got off the phone a little while ago with Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen to confirm the reports that he is retiring.

Hansen did just that, saying his age (he's 70) was the biggest factor he's leaving.

"I don't have the same energy level that I did when I was younger and this is a very demanding job,'' Hansen said, also noting the travel requirements, which have gotten both greater and more difficult in recent years.

Hansen said he announced his retirement now so that the conference will have ample time to find a replacement --- he won't leave office until July 1, 2009.

Hansen said Pac-10 presidents (or CEOs in the conference vernacular to cover schools that have a chancellor or whatever) will form a search committee to bring them candidates, with the presidents making the final choice.

Hansen said he will be able to stay past that date, if needed, to get a new person in place. If a new hire is found earlier, Hansen will stay through July 1, 2009 to help in the transition.

Hansen said one of his major orders of business the next year will be to guide the conference through negotiations for a new BCS TV contract. "I wasn't going to leave while those activities were pending and not have the conference represented by someone with the experience of what has gone on before in the BCS,'' he said.

I used the interview to clarify exactly where the Pac-10 stands with its own TV deals, and get Hansen's response to some of the criticisms of those contracts.

The men's basketball deal with FSN runs through the 2011-12 season, a contract that also includes keeping the conference tournament at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Hansen said ESPN has never really been a viable option "because they have never had available time slots because of their other commitments that would fit our scheduling patterns. And because they didn't have good time slots, they never wanted to make an attractive financial offer. ... They would have given us Monday nights at 9 p.m., but some of our academic heads and presidents were not the least bit interested in that.''

That last comment reiterates a point I made in my earlier post on Hansen --- a lot of these things involve a lot more than him. He's an easy one to blame for some of these things, but if the presidents don't want to do it, it's not going to get done. As he told me at one point today "I don't speak as an individual, but I reflect the institutions' views.''

The basketball tournament remains in LA largely because that's where most of the sponsors for Fox and the Pac-10 are based. Until another city can make the tournament as financially viable, LA is likely where it will remain.

The football TV contracts also run through the 2011-12 academic year (so basically, the 2011 season) and now include 6-8 games a year on ESPN as well as the Saturday night ABC national package.

That means a new commissioner really won't be able to do anything about any of the conference's TV packages until the 2012-13 academic year. Hansen said the conference arranged to have both contracts run out the same year so that they could be negotiated as a package if so desired.

All the contracts for the Pac-10's bowls run through the 2009 season.

I asked Hansen about criticism that the Pac-10 has no Jan. 1 presence other than the Rose Bowl. He said the biggest reason for that is that it cannot be in a bowl that would run opposite the Rose Bowl "and none of the Western bowls will go early enough to get in front of the Rose Bowl. We've talked about it with a couple of our bowls of going that morning, but there are already four games (that morning) so the networks are either already taken or going against three other bowls, so they are not interested in that.''

Hansen pointed out the Pac-10 did have a deal to be part of a three-way rotation with the Cotton Bowl for a while in the 1990s --- that's where the No. 2 team went for a few years --- but that "the conference felt we were better off growing the Holiday Bowl. And ever since we did that, the Holiday Bowl has been sold out and has gone on to be one of the best ones on the West Coast.''

That's basically the conference's strategy now, to try to turn the bowls it is involved with in the West into major games. "We think the Emerald Bowl (in San Francisco) will grow quite a bit in stature,'' he said.

Hansen has also taken some hits for his outspoken stance against a plus-one system or a playoff --- such an idea will need the Pac-10, and consequently the Rose Bowl, to ever work. But again, he's mostly speaking for the conference presidents on that one.

"That's never been mine alone,'' he said, saying his role is to articulate the stance of the presidents as clearly as he can. "The conference presidents are not interested in expanding the post-season. They like and support the bowl system because we get 6-7 (Pac-10) teams a chance to play in the post-season.''

Hansen told the story of the growth of the Oregon Ducks the last 20 years. If there were simply an eight- or 16-team playoff system all along, Oregon might never have become more than it was in the mid-80s. Instead, it parlayed a few minor bowl berths into some bigger success, the kind of thing Hansen thinks wouldn't be possible in a playoff that would likely involve far fewer teams.

"A plus-one would inevitably grow and become a playoff and the bowls would go away,'' he said. "We think the BCS has made the regular season even better. Now, every game that is played is of interest in every part of the country. In the old days, you didn't hang on all the Big East or ACC games. Now, you'd better because (those results) may put you in a BCS game, or cost you one.''

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June 9, 2008 1:27 PM

Pac-10 announces TV schedule

Posted by Bob Condotta

A busy day at the Pac-10 offices, as along with the news on Tom Hansen (see below) is the release today of the conference's schedule of football games that have been pre-selected for TV.

Here's the full list from the Pac-10 website as well as a release from detailing UW's games.

Including games announced earlier, UW is guaranteed to have seven of its 12 games on TV this season.

The UW games selected are:

Aug. 30 --- at Oregon, 7 p.m., FSN
Sept. 6 --- BYU, Noon, FSN
Sept. 13 --- Oklahoma, 4:45 p.m., ESPN
Oct. 18 --- Oregon State, 4 p.m., Versus
Oct. 25 --- Notre Dame, 5 p.m., ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Nov. 22 --- at Washington State, Noon, FSN
Dec. 6 --- at Cal, either Noon on FSN or 5 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2 (announced six or 12 days prior).

A note of caution, however, that this does NOT mean these are all the UW games that will be on TV this year.

As the Pac-10 release details, other games are now available to be selected either six or 12 days ahead of time as per the conference's TV deals. UW also has its own deal with FSN-Northwest where games not selected in any of the other contracts can be picked up as long as it does not conflict with other conference arrangements.

As you can see, there are lots of spots available for games like the Nov. 1 contest at USC and the Nov. 15 home game against UCLA, each of which seems certain to be selected in a six- or 12-day window.

UW had all 13 games televised last season, the most in school history, and I would suspect that just about every game will end up televised again this season.

UPDATE --- Someone asked what Versus is, so here's a link to their site. Hockey fans know well what Versus is since that's the station the Stanley Cup is on. A number of Pac-10 games were on Versus last season, but no UW games. The Oregon State game will be the first on that network for the Huskies.

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June 9, 2008 12:56 PM

Pac-10 commish Hansen to retire in 2009

Posted by Bob Condotta

News is breaking this afternoon that Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen will retire on July 1, 2009. Here's another report, with quotes from Hansen, from The New York Times. UPDATE --- And here is the official release from the Pac-10.

This is no real surprise as Hansen recently turned 70 and rumors of his imminent retirement have been rampant.

Hansen has been commissioner of the Pac-10 since 1983 and has been a sometimes-controversial figure. Bud Withers of our staff profiled Hansen and the differing thoughts on his tenure in this story last August.

Hansen's detractors often said he was too old-school, too willing to keep to the status quo and unwilling to get creative when it came to things like bowl games and TV contracts. Basketball coaches, in particular, have often grumbled about not having greater exposure on ESPN.

I always gave Hansen some benefit of the doubt on some of these issues since I think the reasons he gives for why the Pac-10 has some inherent challenges in these areas make sense --- most notably, the time and geographical differences that will always make conferences back east more attractive to ESPN. I'm in the minority who doesn't think the FSN deal is so bad, especially for basketball --- you really think ESPN will televise four Pac-10 basketball games back-to-back-to-back-to-back on a Saturday afternoon? It hasn't seemed to hurt the conference become known as one of the strongest in the nation the last few years.

And to Hansen's credit, the conference has tried to be more flexible in recent years when it has come to TV games -- playing more football games on non-Saturdays --- and now has an expanded football presence on ESPN.

Regarding bowl games, I've never really seen anyone give evidence to refute what Hansen has always said was the main issue there --- that since many conference teams don't travel that well (is that you, UCLA?) bowls in the south and east would rather have tie-ins with conferences in those areas. Why would a bowl in Florida really want the No. 5 Pac-10 team as opposed to the No. 5 SEC team?

I also think it's sometimes not realized the power the conference's presidents have on some of these issues. It's not as simple on some of this stuff as Hansen snapping his fingers and getting something changed if the presidents don't want to go along.

Nationally, some view Hansen as an impediment to a college football playoff and will surely be glad he's gone (though again, I think Hansen is often speaking for what the conference's presidents want, and that isn't going to change no matter who is commissioner).

I also always found it a little amusing when people would protest that Hansen is anti-UW since he is a Washington graduate.

That said, I do think there are some things the conference could do to promote itself a little better. And who knows? Maybe a fresh approach will result in some changes in the TV and bowl contracts that the critics will find more pleasing.

And that's the question now --- who will take over for Hansen? I have no idea, though one thing I do know is that there won't be any shortage of good candidates as this will be one of the coveted jobs in college athletics.

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June 9, 2008 8:26 AM

Locker gets three hits, but team loses again

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jake Locker hit three singles for the Bellingham Bells yesterday, but the team lost again to the Everett Merchants to fall to 0-3.

Here's a report from the Bellingham Herald. (And point taken --- I'll try to be more careful with the Locker baseball language from now on).

WILLINGHAM-GOLF UPDATE --- Not sure how Tyrone Willingham did in the Marine Corps Classic over the weekend, but he didn't win it. This story from the Jacksonville Daily News reports on the three winning teams, none of which included Willingham.

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June 8, 2008 9:24 AM

Locker gets hit, SB

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jake Locker managed a single and a stolen base for the Bellingham Bells Saturday night. But that was it for Locker and his team as the Bells were beaten 2-0 by the Burnaby, B.C. The Bells had just five hits, all singles.

The Bells are scheduled to play again this afternoon against the Everett Merchants.

The Bells are 0-2, also losing to Everett on Friday night. As you can see on the schedule, the Bells will be off until Thursday after today's game.

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June 7, 2008 4:09 PM

Rayford impresses in B.C., more

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wow, this could be an entirely Jake Locker-playing-baseball-free post as we look at a few other happenings concerning UW football and the Pac-10.

--- First is this story from Vancouver on former Huskies Caesar Rayford and Brandon Ala, now playing for the B.C. Lions. Rayford is trying to make the team as a rookie free agent, and it sounds as if he's on his way, drawing raves from coaches --- a development likely drawing a few sighs of what-might-have-been from a lot of you who are well aware the Huskies could really use a fifth-year DE right about now. Rayford discusses the redshirt issue in the story, saying again that he was fully on board to play in 2004. Just think how bad that team would have been if he hadn't played.

--- Here's another of what figure to be about 1,890 listings of Tyrone Willingham having the hottest coaching seat in the country, this one from The Tennessean. Nothing new said here about Willingham, but interesting to see the rest of the names on the list. We remain on red alert for the first such list that doesn't lead off with Willingham.

--- Jon Wilner presents this overview of the Pac-10's non-conference schedules this season, praising the conference for again scheduling tough. That may not mean much, however, come November when every team other than USC has four losses and the conference is taking its annual slings from the rest of the country. Interesting to see he rates UCLA as having the toughest schedule in the Pac-10 --- I had it USC, UW then UCLA when I did rankings a while ago. But he's got a good point when you consider how good Fresno State may be (and the fact that it will be easy for a lot of Bulldog fans to get to the Rose Bowl for that one).

--- Pete Fiutak of answers his mail, and in one question states that "Washington will never win another national title in our lifetime.'' Of course Fiutak doesn't say how old "we'' all are. If "we'' are all 98, then this isn't really bad news for the Huskies. If "we'' are all 3, then this may indeed be ominous. But without stating any reasons for his, uh, reasoning, this statement has about as much meaning as the lyrics to "Tequila.'' Later, Fiutak says that Don James and Steve Emtman are the coach and player who best symbolize the face of UW football. Hard to argue with that, though I still think no Husky player was ever as popular in his time as Sonny Sixkiller (though Locker could give him a run for the money eventually).

--- Cal coach Jeff Tedford is starting up his own blog. Hey coach, we don't need any more competition.

All for now.

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June 7, 2008 3:08 PM

A little bit more on Locker and baseball

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's Saturday afternoon as I type this, and from what I understand, Jake Locker has probably just completed his first full practice with the Bellingham Bells.

Coach Brandon Newell said last night the plan was for the team to practice today --- most of players just got to town in the last day or so --- before returning to the field for another game tonight.

Newell and others with the Bells say they realize some Husky football fans are nervous about Locker potentially getting hurt playing baseball.

Bells general manager Dave Lewis joked that "every time I speak to a Rotary club, there's one guy who stands up and asks that.''

Newell said he talked with UW coach Tyrone Willingham about the situation before Locker was given the okay to play. "The number one thing that happened was I made Jake go talk with coach Willingham before this start and get his blessing,'' Newell said.

Newell also said he thinks Locker's summer baseball playing could help on the football field this fall.

"He's a competitor,'' Newell said. "All they (UW football coaches) cared about is that their best competitor gets to compete for two more months out of the year, and that is going to make him a better football player.''

Locker insisted again he will play it as safe as possible. Though Bellingham's pitching got rocked repeatedly Friday, Locker said afterward that didn't make him want to take the mound --- he promised he wouldn't pitch as a condition of getting the okay to play. "No,'' he said with a smile. "I'm happy where I'm at.''

Locker also said the headfirst slide into third in the fourth inning was safer than it would have been going in with his feet.

"I figured if I slide that way, it's not my ankle, not (any chance of) catching my ankle,'' he said.

Still, I think Locker's baseball foray may be a bit more intense than UW coaches initially anticipated. When first asked about it last winter, Willingham said Locker's number of potential games "sounds like it's a very minimal number. ... we came to an understanding that this was a very minimal number of games.''

Newell, meanwhile, said he thinks Locker may play as many as 35 of the team's 52 games. Locker is non-committal, saying he will evaluate his schedule every week and decide which ones to play, working it around football commitments.

Watching Friday night, it seemed evident Locker will try to play as much as possible. Despite the 11-1 loss, he was obviously having a good time throughout. He hung out afterward for 10-15 minutes or so signing autographs, posing for pictures and saying hello to a lot of familiar faces. That's not to mention leading the "Happy Birthday'' singalong to his grandmother, Barbara.

He also showed a lot of ability, from the rocket double, to the easy catches, to the throw to third that almost nabbed a runner (the throw bounced once and proved too hot to handle for the third baseman).

"I had a good time,'' he said. "I really enjoyed it.''

As I mentioned earlier, it's not in the plans to get to many more games, if any. But I'll try to keep you abreast of all of his baseball activities this summer as best I can.

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June 7, 2008 12:46 AM

Locker-baseball story

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just back from Bellingham, but wanted to pass along the on-line story on the game tonight, which also includes a few pictures.

Here also is the Bellingham Herald report on the game.

I may attempt to attend another one or two of Locker's baseball games, but this could be it. Regardless, I'll try to keep you up-to-date here as best I can as to his baseball activities the rest of the summer.

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June 6, 2008 7:09 PM

Bells game thread

Posted by Bob Condotta

GAME ENDS 11-1 --- That's where it ended. Locker finished 1-3 with a double, a walk and two strikeouts.He said afterward he had fun but was disappointed in the two strikeouts saying he thought he took good swings but wasn't seeing the ball well.

ATTENDANCE IS 2,019 --- Team officials seem pretty happy with that total, which they attribute in large part to the presence of Locker. This is also the first year of ownership for Brett Sports (yes, that Brett) so some added promotions surely helped, as well. Still, they say the allure of Locker helped quite a bit. This is technically the same franchise that was one the farm team for the Mariners (Ken Griffey Jr., began his career here in 1987) so records go back a long way and no one here seems to know where that stands. But the place was pretty full tonight.

LOCKER STRIKES OUT AGAIN --- Locker came up with two on and two out in the eighth, and after working the count to 3-2, struck out swinging on a pitch low and away. It's 11-1 in the eighth, meaning that was likely his last at-bat of the night. He is 1-3 with a double and a walk.

LOCKER STRIKES OUT --- Locker was up second in the bottom of the sixth and struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch. He also had a strike called and fouled one off before swinging and missing against pitcher Jay Taylor, the starter for Everett who has gone all the way.

LOCKER MAKES ALL THREE OUTS IN SIXTH --- After not getting a fly ball in the first five innings, Locker got three his way in the sixth and caught all three. None was all that hard, though the first seemed the most difficult, a liner that he caught, then appeared to do a 360 with before throwing it in. The other two were pretty high flies that he seemed to have all the way. Locker had said before the game he felt most rusty at tracking flies. However, Everett scored three more runs and now leads 11-1.

LOCKER LITERALLY DOING IT ALL --- Bellingham finally scored a run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-1. But the real fun came when the inning was over when the team brought Barbara Locker, Jake's grandmother, on the field to honor her birthday. Jake and Brady Locker, his cousin who is playing right field, then led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Barbara.

LOCKER OUT AT THIRD AFTER HITTING DOUBLE --- Locker led off the bottom of the fourth by hitting a rocket over the head of the CF in left-center, that went all the way to the wall (which reads 350). With the crowd giving its loudest cheer ot the night, Locker easily got to second then tried to stretch into to a triple. But he was out by a good couple feet, despite a head-first slide (he may have to get those out of his system here since he's vowed not to do that anymore on the football field). The Bells went down easily otherwise and it's still 8-0 after four innings.

LOCKER MAKES QUICK THROW TO THIRD --- Locker has yet to have a fly ball come his way. But he just displayed his strong arm with a throw to third base that beat a runner coming from first on a grounder up the middle, but that couldn't be handled by the third baseman. Locker got the ball after it squirted past the second baseman, another in a series of sloppy plays by the Bells. It's now 8-0 Everett with Locker due up first in the bottom of the fourth.

STILL 4-0 --- Locker handled a ball that the right field leaped for and couldn't get to, and another one that snuck through the infield. But he has yet to really have a play come his way. He's due up fifth in the third.

EVERETT LEADS 4-0 --- Locker fielded a single up the middle cleanly in the top of the second, an inning in which Everett scored another two runs. So far, little to cheer about here other than the introduction of Jake who received the loudest applause.

LOCKER WALKS --- Locker walked in his first at-bat, fouling off three pitches before walking on a 3-2 count. Everett leads 2-0. The inning ended quickly after Locker's walk, so we're off to the second.

TOP OF FIRST -- The game has begun, and Jake Locker is in center field. Everett has scored a run on a walk, a steal and an error --- or what the Mariners would call a big rally --- but so far Locker has seen no action. A few of Locker's UW teammates are here to support him tonight including D'Adnre Goodwin, Ryan Tolar and Cody Habben.LOCKE

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June 6, 2008 6:10 PM

Locker excited, batting second

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jake Locker just met with reporters here before taking the field with the Bellngham Bells and said he's "just excited to play'' baseball again.

"I'm just trying to have a good time and help the team win,'' he said.

He's penciled in second in the batting order and playing center field against the Everett Merchants in what is technically an exhibiton game for the Bells, who will start play in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League next week.

Locker said he finished up the last of three finals at about 1:45 p.m. and was in his car and in Bellingham by 3:30. The finals he had today were Fossils, Geography of Cities and Introduction to the New Testament. Fossils, he said, was the most difficult.

As for baseball, today was the first he has worked with the Bells, but he said he has taken some batting practice and some fly balls at UW in the last few weeks.

The hitting, he said, has come back pretty naturally --- he often practiced with wood bats while in high school --- but tracking fly balls has been a little harder. He hasn't played a game in just over two years, since he was a senior at Ferndale High.

Locker said again he will take baseball week-by-week, working it around his football responsibilities. "

"Football is still my first priority,'' he said. "Any time I have anything to do with that, I'm, going to be there for it.''

Baseball, he said, was just something he missed and he noted being able to play with some good friends --- there are three other former Ferndale High players on the roster including his cousin, Brady.

The team is missing little in making sure fans know about him --- he's on the cover of the game program wearing No. 10 (though I haven't seen any No. 10 jerseys for sale here).

His presence in this game was also teased on the front page of the Bellingham Herald here today, though it's not as if there was a lot of competition --- the second story above the fold was about a new Sonic Drive-Inn coming to Ferndale.

As I finish this up about 6:20, the crowd is filling in nicely. Joe Martin Field has an official capacity of about 2,100, and a sellout --- or close to it --- is expected. It's sunny and the field appeas to have dried off pretty well, and there are lots of people walking around in shorts --- guess I had to come to Bellingham to get a little taste of summer.

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June 6, 2008 4:40 PM

Dry and sunny in Bellingham

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm at Joe Martin Field here in Bellingham where it is not only dry, but now sunny, and there appears little doubt now that the Bellingham Bells will get their game in tonight.

Jake Locker is already here, having finished up his last final and made the drive up. He's taking batting practice in a cage away from the field. He is scheduled to meet with media before the game, so I'll pass that along afterward.

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June 6, 2008 1:55 PM

Dry in Bellingham

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've arrived in Bellingham, where the skis are gray but the streets are dry.

So while the weather continues to look threatening, there's no rain at the moment and it looks like there's a chance that the Bellingham Bells may be able to play their game tonight,

For anybody who might be interested in attending, here are directions.

The team's web site is eagerly anticipating opening night and has some pictures of Locker in a Bells' uniform, spotlighting him as the team's "featured player.''

UPDATE --- I just drove by the field, and there's some standing water in the infield.,But there are a few guys out there working on it while some others unload boxes of pretzels (hopefully for the press box). So looks like they're planning on playing a game. There's even some blue sky to the West.

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June 6, 2008 9:18 AM

Headed to Bellingham

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'll be headed to Bellingham later today to take in the opening game of the season for the Bellingham Bells --- or better known as the summer baseball team employing Jake Locker.

Locker is expected to finish up final exams early this afternoon, then head there in time for warmups and first pitch at 7 p.m. --- hope he doesn't run into me on I-5 (though you guys are probably hoping the other way around).

Locker is scheduled to be thrown right into the fray, playing center field tonight against the Everett Merchants.

Here's a good preview of the Bells from the Bellingham Herald.

As the story notes, the Bells are part of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League.

You may not have heard much about that league until now, but you might begin to hear a lot more about it, even once Locker leaves. The league has a new president, former Mariners announcer Ken Wilson, and has stated goals of being very aggressive in attempting to create something that could rival the Cape Cod League and other more-established summer leagues throughout the country.

I talked to Wilson earlier this week and he says he thinks there is enough talent in the Northwest to do just that if the players have a reason to stay home rather than heading to Cape Cod or Alaska. There are eight official teams in the league this year with plans to expand. The leagues are popular with pro scouts because the players use wood bats, simulating conditions of professional leagues.

Wilson admits that the addition of Locker is a big boost to the league at a time it's trying to get off the ground, attracting the kind of publicity it would have trouble getting otherwise.

Locker is expected to play in most weekend home games for the Bells and maybe make a few of the closer road trips. One Bells official told me this week he thinks Locker could play in as many as 30 of the team's 51 games.

Locker has said only that he will look at the schedule every two weeks and decide which games he can play and which he can't, based around his football schedule at UW.

He has said all along he won't do any baseball stuff that gets in the way of football and that football remains his passion --- baseball is just something fun to do during the summer. Still, there is no doubt he could have a big-time future in baseball if he so wanted.

Baseball scout Eddie Bane told ESPN's Bruce Feldman last year that Locker "is more advanced as a baseball player, believe it or not'' and that "he could be Scott Rolen in baseball, or a closer if he pitched.''

Locker was a 40th round choice of the Angels in 2006 draft after telling teams he intended to play football in college --- speculation is he would have gone in the first two rounds otherwise.

So while Locker maintains his future is in football --- and there is no reason to doubt him --- scouts will be paying attention tonight, and the rest of the summer, just in case.

I'll be there tonight, as well, assuming Locker doesn't run me off the road in his haste to get there --- and that the game is played (the weather report isn't good) --- and will check in with regular reports here on the blog.

UPDATE 11:10 A.M. --- Official word is that despite the weather, the game is still on and that it will probably be a game-time decision as to whether it is played.

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June 5, 2008 8:44 PM

Locker's Heisman odds down to 50-1

Posted by Bob Condotta

Must have been a lot of money coming in from UW fans lately who think Jake Locker's got a chance at winning the Heisman.

How else to explain that Locker's odds to win the Heisman on are now down to 50-1?

They were 75-1 a month ago.

Or maybe he just had some good May workouts.

Locker is the only Pac-10 player on the list whose odds have gotten shorter in that time. The odds for ASU QB Rudy Carpenter increased from 30-1 to 35-1 while the rest stayed the same.

And for those who might think this is an incredibly inconsequential post I can only say that it's June and it's raining and blowing as if it's Apple Cup week. In other words, there's nothing better to do.

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June 5, 2008 4:26 PM

Answers, volume seven

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here we go with another dip into the mailbag.

Q: How many scholarships will the Huskies have to give out this year?

A: This is an annual question that's really hard to answer this time of year. The obvious way to get a gauge is to count up the seniors on the roster --- UW has 16 players in their last year of eligibility. Figuring that the Huskies have a full complement of 85 this season (as they could) that would leave them 16 to give out. But other attrition is always possible, if not inevitable --- someone flunks out, gets injured, an incoming player doens't make it in, etc. So there's no hard-and-fast number at the moment. I think the best way to look at it is that UW will probably have 18-20, which will make for a smaller class than last year, and one reason coaches may be a little bit more conservative in handing out offers. But again, if a few things happen, they could suddenly have more spots. As coaches always say, it's a constantly moving target that never really locks in for good until shortly before signing day.

Q: Was Tyrone Willingham really getting ready to fire some of the other defensive coaches, such as Chris Tormey, if he had been able to hire DeWayne Walker from UCLA, and what does Tormey think of that?

A: Certainly, it appears on paper like he would have had to get rid of some current coaches if Walker can be believed that Willingham was willing to let him bring two UCLA assistants with him (for background, read here). However, sources have since said this didn't necessarily mean Tormey was gone --- he could have been reassigned to one of the other openings at the time (specifically, tight ends). You have to remember that coaches realize more than anybody what a cutthroat business they are in --- almost all of them have been fired or part of staffs that have been fired, many multiple times (consider that DL coach Randy Hart has made it through the end of the regimes of James, Lambright, Neuheisel and Gilbertson and is still here). So I think they take such speculation as part of the business.

Q: What's your gut feeling about the secondary this year?

A: That it will have better physical talent, but that it will also be brutally tested early and could take a while to find itself. I don't think there's any question that the talent in this secondary is better than it has been in a while. On the other hand, you could have new starters at all four spots (and what I mean is a guy like Forrester, obviously with a lot of starting experience, now at a different position) heading into an opening stretch facing three straight explosive offenses in Oregon, BYU and Oklahoma. I think it will be better eventually, but I also think people have to be realistic that teams don't turn into the 1991 Huskies over night. But longterm, the outlook appears bright.

Q: Who will win the placekicking job?

A: This figures to be one of the more hotly-contested battles of fall camp, and I think it's pretty wide open between Ryan Perkins and Erik Folk. Perkins is obviously struggling with his knee injury and admits his career is kind of a month-to-month thing. His health will have a lot to do with how well he can compete for the job. Folk, now apparently healthy, showed a strong leg in the spring and I would bet he handles the kickoffs, if nothing else. He wasn't as consistent with FGs in the scrimmages we saw. But due to his health and leg strength, it would be little surprise if he ended up with the FG job as well.

All for now.

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June 5, 2008 1:34 PM

What a great grouping this would be

Posted by Bob Condotta

Tyrone Willingham often responds to questions about the possible impacts of weather on gameday by giving a forecast that would be the envy of Jeff Renner . He usually seems to know down to a degree or so what the weather will be.

So maybe he had an inkling it would be 88 today in Jacksonville, N.C., instead of the wet, rainy weather we're having here when he decided to play in the Fifth Annual Marine Corps Celebrity Classic rather than hanging around here, where he could have participated in a UW coaches tour event tonight.

I've seen some criticism of Willingham for leaving town instead of tending to the fan base, but hard to deny the value of helping wounded Marines or trying to help out some longtime friends --- Willingham grew up in Jacksonville.

And along with that comes the side benefit of possibly rubbing elbows with some of the other celebs there.

This story mentions three celebrities in its preview of the tournament --- Willingham, former player Jim McMahon, and actor John Ashton. What a fun group that would be to follow around --- the coach known for his stern ways, the player known for his constant defying of authority, and Taggart from Beverly Hills Cop.

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June 5, 2008 9:49 AM

Maybe UW will find an AD here

Posted by Bob Condotta

If UW hasn't hired an athletic director by Monday, maybe the Huskies will finally make the deal in Dallas, when all college ADs are expected to meet at the annual NACDA Convention. That stands for National Association of College Athletic Directors. The convention runs Monday-Thursday.

And if you want further proof (as if any is needed) of how commercial college sports has become, take a look on the agenda how almost all of the seminars have sponsors, proudly listed in bold.

I notice, however, no one wanted to sponsor "High Profile Athletics Department Misconduct and Crisis Scenario Procedures.'' Interesting to see Arizona's Jim Livengood, whose had a lively year with his basketball program, heading up that panel.

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June 4, 2008 9:03 PM

Interesting look at Pac-10 coaching salaries

Posted by Bob Condotta

Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News has an interesting take today on the salaries of the head coaches in the Pac-10. Here it is.

Wilner lists the salaries in terms of approximate guaranteed annual compensation, and also provides a ranking of dollars to wins value, giving UW coach Tyrone Willingham a D. Willingham ranks third in salary at $1.47 million a year in Wilner's compilation.

Wilner points out that Willingham will lose "hundreds of thousands of dollars'' in deferred compensation should he not remain the coach through five years.

You can read Willingham's contract here and the section Wilner is referring to is 4p. It's tough to figure out exactly how much Willingham would stand to lose because it's hard to know for certain if he has reached some of the academic and administrative incentives. But he would lose more than $500,000 by any conservative reading of it.

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June 4, 2008 3:41 PM

Looking at the linebackers

Posted by Bob Condotta

Tuesday's news about E.J. Savannah's injury has led to some requests to review UW's linebacking situation.

So here we go.

First, here's what the depth chart at LB appeared to look like at the end of the spring (there was no official depth chart released).

SLB Mason Foster, So.
Chris Stevens, Sr.
Cort Dennison, Fr.

MLB Donald Butler, Jr./or/
Trenton Tuiasosopo, Sr.
Kurt Mangum, Fr.
T.J. Poe, Jr.

WLB Joshua Gage, Jr./ or
E.J. Savannah, Jr.
Matt Houston, So.

Worth remembering that the LBs, especially at the two outside spots, often take turns working at the other side in practice, so most of those of those guys have experience at multiple spots and can move around pretty easily. They also sometimes line up in different spots depending on schemes.

The only other scholarship LB on the roster for the fall figures to be Bradly Roussel, a high schooler from Baton Rouge, La., assuming no position changes. So what you see above is what UW is likely to have this season.

One of you asked if this means Kurt Mangum will now get to play some next year --- while listed as an MLB, LB coach Chris Tormey said Mangum appears to have the versatility to play outside, as well.

In answering that question, it may be worth remembering that the apparent worst-case scenario on Savannah is that he's out for the first few games of the season, and not much longer, so I wouldn't think that the coaches would start making big changes in any way. For now, I would imagine they will wait until the beginning of camp and see where Savannah is and then proceed accordingly. Meaning, I doubt they'd rush Mangum into duty just to add depth for a couple of games unless he proves worthy of playing anyway.

During the spring, Tormey felt pretty good about the LB spot, agreeing that it should be one of the strengths of the team this season.

"I think so,'' Tormey said. "We were talented but inexperienced a year ago. I think the experience is going to really help us this year. What we really need to do is play faster, and the experience will really help with that.''

Tormey went on to say that "we've got, I think, pretty good depth at that position. We played a lot of guys last year. Donald Butler, Trenton Tuiasosopo played a lot and Josh Gage really came on and played a lot for us at the end of the year. Mason Foster is an emerging guy and Kurt Mangum is coming in (as a true freshman) so I think we've got some answers there.'' He then realized he hadn't mentioned Chris Stevens and said he's in the mix as well. "He had a really good winter,'' Tormey said, saying Stevens, who has continually battled problems putting on weight, is at about 215 pounds right now.

Butler, listed as a co-starter in the middle with Tuiasosopo, had his season truncated a year ago by a knee injury that limited him to eight games.

"He's really battled through a lot of issues with that knee, but right now he appears to be healthy,'' Tormey said. "So you've really got two capable players at that position and we'll probably rotate them through this spring.''

Of Tuiasosopo, Tormey said: "He had a good winter, he's moving well. I think the experience that he gained last year will really help him. The more he plays the better he will react and the faster he will play.''

With Savannah currently out, Gage, a former walk-on now on scholarship, is the starter at one spot (the strongside slot held last year by Dan Howell) backed up by Matt Houston, who Tormey said "is really athletic. He has a chance to help us this year.''

If the Huskies really run into depth issues at LB, one solution could be moving Austin Sylvester back to that spot. He began his UW career there before moving to fullback.

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June 4, 2008 11:58 AM

Huskies to hit Bellingham

Posted by Bob Condotta

It's a big week in Bellingham for Husky-related events, highlighted by Jake Locker's probable debut playing summer baseball.

Locker is expected to play in the opener Friday night for the Bellingham Bells of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League.

However, the weather forecast is pretty bad for Friday in Bellingham, so that could derail those plans. The league requires that all players finish up schooling before they are eligible to play, and Locker is expected to take his final test of the quarter earlier Friday to make up eligible to play this weekend. Word I have gotten is that Locker is expected to play in most, if not all, of the team's weekend home games, and possibly a few of the closer road trips. He may miss a lot of weekday games due to football commitments at UW.

Also this week in Bellingham is the Coaches Tour event Thursday at the Bellingham Country Club. It had been initially reported that Locker would attend that event, but he apparently will not be able to due to a last-minute scheduling conflict.

However, those who will attend include: Lorenzo Romar, Cameron Dollar, Tia Jackson, Tim Lappano, volleyball player Christal Morrison and John Buller, PR Coordinator for the Husky Stadium renovation project.

More info can be found here at

Head football coach Tyrone Willingham will not attend as he is instead attending the 5th Annual Marine Corps Classic celebrity golf tournament a four-day event in Jacksonville, N.C., Willngham's hometown.

Here are more details on that event.

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June 4, 2008 10:33 AM

Seahawks cut Russo

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick note that the Seahawks today cut former Husky Anthony Russo. Read about it here on our Seahawks blog.

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June 4, 2008 8:48 AM

Moos not contacted, Woolard not interested

Posted by Bob Condotta

That's the news today on the UW AD search front as Bill Moos' lawyer continues to say his client has had no contact with the school or the search firm aiding the process, while Doug Woolard of South Florida said he is not interested in coming to UW.

Here's the story on Woolard from the St. Petersburg Times which jibes with what we reported here yesterday that Woolard may have recently agreed to a new deal at USF and was not thought to be interested in moving despite apparently having had some contact with UW. Woolard's comment that he's not interested seems pretty unequivocal, so I think we can scratch him off the list.

May also be time to do that with Moos, even though there continue to be some rumblings of his possible involvement.

Moos' lawyer, Ray Cihak of Corvallis, said again late yesterday that Moos has had no contact with the school or the search firm, Parker Executive Search, which UW paid $75,000 to help in the process (as you can see, Parker's search firm still lists the UW job as open). That's an important distinction as one reason schools hire such search firms is to allow candidates to say they've had no contact with the school and not be lying about it. But Cihak insists Moos has had no contact with anyone. Still, Moos is leaving the comment there, refusing to say he's not a candidate, saying that to comment further would be inappropriate since he hasn't been contacted, which seems to leave the door open just a little.

To recap more of what we think we know about the search:

--- A source close to UTEP's Bob Stull recently told the Times that he "doesn't think Stull is in it, but he should be.'' Another source said that there is a significant faction of UW boosters pushing for Stull, who was an assistant coach for Don James and later worked as an assistant AD at UW in the '90s but that it seemed unlikely he would get the job.

--- Former UW kicker Chuck Nelson, now running the Boeing Classic golf tournament, said a few weeks ago he hopes to be a candidate but would not comment further. A source told the Times, however, that he had apparently been contacted and that like Stull, there is a faction of boosters pushing for Nelson.

--- Two sources earlier told the Times that USC associate AD Steve Lopes was also a candidate.

--- Another name making the rounds is Utah AD Chris Hill, who was offered the job in 2004 but turned it down, with the Huskies then turning to Todd Turner. There is no confirmation on whether Hill has been contacted.

--- One source said that the school contacted Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich, but that those talks may have crumbled over contract issues. Radakovich has publicly said he is not interested in the job.

--- Mike Cragg, an assistant AD at Duke and a UW alum, said earlier in the search he would not pursue the job in an attempt to become the new AD at Duke, instead. Duke, however, hired Notre Dame AD Kevin White last week. But a source said Cragg would not pursue the UW job now and that it was likely too far down the process for him to get involved now.

--- There has never really been an official timetable to make a hire, other than a vague "by the end of the school year.'' That arrives next week, though UW officials have said it could go later than that if necessary. Obviously, they need someone in place by the time football rolls around in August since the first thing a new AD is going to have to do is evaluate the football program. While there is a 14-member search committee in place, reality is that this is ultimately the call of UW president Mark Emmert, so a decision could happen overnight.

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June 3, 2008 8:37 PM

Ex-Huskies hurt by NFL rule

Posted by Bob Condotta

Many NFL teams are holding mini-camps right now, or have just completed them. And such camps are a good chance for new guys to make an impression.

Unfortunately, a couple of recent ex-Huskies trying to make rosters have been hurt by an NFL rule that doesn't allow fourth-year seniors to participate until their school holds graduation. This often impacts UW players more than a lot of others since Washington is on the quarter system --- final exams don't end until next week.

Marcel Reece is not able to take part in Oakland's mini-camp, which is going on right now, due to the rule, and Roy Lewis was unable to take part in some practices for Pittsburgh last week (I'll admit I'm a little confused on Lewis since I thought he was a five-year college guy after transferring, but maybe there's something different about his case).

As a fifth-year senior, Anthony Russo is eligible to participate in the Seahawks mini-camp right now, but he has been unable to participate the last two days due to an unspecified injury.

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June 3, 2008 4:13 PM

Savannah breaks arm, out two-three months

Posted by Bob Condotta

Some bad news for the Huskies today as school officials confirmed that linebacker E.J. Savannah recently broke the humerus bone in his left arm in a non-football-related incident on Saturday night.

Team trainers say this is an injury that typically requires two-to-three months to fully recover, so that means Savannah could miss Washington's season opener on Aug. 30 at Oregon.

The humerus bone is the long bone that runs from the shoulder to the elbow. One source indicated Savannah was injured while arm-wrestling.

Savannah, an outside linebacker, was UW's leading tackler last season with 111 tackles and has been named to a few pre-season all-conference teams. Savannah was suspended for the first half of spring practice for missing a few off-season workouts, but came back to lead the team in the spring game with eight tackles.

His loss for even a game or two could be a big blow for a UW team that faces a tough early schedule in what looms as a make-or-break year for head coach Tyrone Willingham. After the Oregon game, UW hosts BYU and Oklahoma, each likely to be highly-ranked.

Savannah, a junior, figures to be a key part of the plans of new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who has said he might use some 3-4 defensive schemes to take advantage of the team's depth at linebacker. But losing Savannah would obviously curtail that depth for a while. Savannah was replaced in the early part of spring drills by walk-on Joshua Gage, with Trenton Tuiasosopo and Donald Butler sharing the middle and Mason Foster starting at the other outside spot.

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June 3, 2008 2:54 PM

Perusing Phil Steele's Pac-10 Picks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another day, another set of pre-season picks to pore over.

Today it's Phil Steele, though in this case all we have right now are his pre-season All-Pac-10 selections, which he released on his website today. The magazine with full previews hits newsstands in a few days.

Steele makes the ambitious effort of naming four all-conference teams, so each school ends up being pretty well represented.

He has eight Huskies on his teams, though none on the first team.

Huskies listed are: LB E.J. Savannah, second team; QB Jake Locker, OL Casey Bulyca and DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim on the third team; and WR Chris Polk, OL Ryan Tolar, LB Donald Butler and P Jared Ballman on the fourth team.

I've always liked Steele because he packs a lot of into in his magazines and isn't afraid to make out-of-the-box picks. That said, not sure Polk is the UW receiver I would place on a fourth team. He has a lot of potential, but I think D'Andre Goodwin is the readiest to make that kind of a leap this season. The rest of the picks make some sense, though this is the lowest I've seen Locker, who is listed behind ASU's Rudy Carpenter and Arizona's Willie Tuitama. But no doubt Tuitama could put up huge numbers this season with that receiving corps and offensive game plan.

In total picks, the tally by school reads like this:

1, USC, 23
2, Arizona, 14
3, Oregon, 12
4, Arizona State, 11
5, Stanford, 10
6, Cal 9,
7, (tie) Washington, UCLA, Oregon State, 8
10, Washington State 7

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June 3, 2008 2:43 PM

Florida paper reports Woolard contacted

Posted by Bob Condotta

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that Washington has officially contacted South Florida AD Doug Woolard in its search for a successor for Todd Turner. Here's the link.

We floated Woolard's name here a couple of days ago as a possible candidate, as well. One thing we've heard is that Woolard may have just agreed to a new contract at USF that would seemingly make him unlikely to move.

We've heard that Utah's Chris Hill may still be in the mix, along with USC associate AD Steve Lopes and former UW kicker Chuck Nelson.

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June 3, 2008 8:49 AM

Wilcox stories

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few stories to pass along this morning on newest Husky C.J. Wilcox:

--- First is our story.

--- There is also this from the Deseret News.

--- This is older, but here's a note on Wilcox as being one of the top players at the Kingwood Classic in Houston in April the tournament at which his stock began to rise.

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June 3, 2008 8:44 AM

Fogerson named Times Star of the Year

Posted by Bob Condotta

Incoming Husky Johri Fogerson of O'Dea was named as the Boys Star of the Year today by the Seattle Times.

Here's the story.

The Girls Star of the Year was another future Husky, basketball player Kristi Kingma.

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June 2, 2008 9:46 PM

Athlon's picks Huskies seventh

Posted by Bob Condotta

In my latest installment of reading through the pre-season magazines so you don't have to, today's trip to the newsstand yielded the Athlon's Pac-10 preview.

The cliff's notes version is that the magazine doesn't see a great season ahead for the Huskies.

Athlon's picks UW seventh in the conference and 50th in the nation and says there are only two sure-wins in Washington's schedule --- home games against Stanford and Oregon State. The mag pegs the Notre Dame and Washington State games as toss-ups and rates the other eight as losses.

Here's how Athlon's sees the Pac-10:

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

In better news, QB Jake Locker was named as to the mag's pre-season All-Pac-10 team, ahead of ASU's Rudy Carpenter, who is on the second team.

But no other Husky is on the first team and only one is on the second team --- OL Casey Bulyca. DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, OL Ryan Tolar and punter Jared Ballman are all on the third team.

Most interesting in the Washington preview section may be a feature tabbed "Scouting the Huskies'' featuring quotes from anonymous opposing coaches.

Among the comments:

"Washington has a chance to be very good because of Jake Locker. Now, with his experience, he has the ability to be one of the better playmakers in the conference with his running ability and the fact that he's becoming more consistent as a passer. He's so competitive, couple that with his experience, I think he's going to be a guy to contend with, for sure.''

"I think they do have talent on their team. Consistency is the thing that seems to be eluding them.''

"They should have a better team than last year, but once again the schedule is brutal. They host BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame? Are you kidding me? BYU is very good, Oklahoma can win a national title, and Notre Dame will be better.''

"They have recruited well the past few years. They brought some studs in this year. They have the talent now; can they get it together and win? They have to --- soon. Those fans aren't going to put up with it much longer.''

"Losing (tailback Louis) Rankin will hurt. I thought he was very good for them last year. They have to find a playmaker at that position.''

In its section rating the Pac-10 teams by position, Athlon's judges UW this way:

QB --- 1
RB --- 9
WR/TE --- 10
OL --- 3
DL --- 9
LB --- 10
DB --- 10

Most surprised there to see the linebackers rated last in the league and ranked as even worse than Washington's defensive line, which I think anyone close to the program admits is the shakiest position on the team. I would put UW's LBs a lot higher than that, something I'll discuss in more depth in a future post.

In its look at the nation, the magazine rates Locker as one of "Twelve others to watch'' in the Heisman race after its list of the top six favorites, making about the thousandth reference to Locker being the West Coast's version of Tim Tebow.

Athlon's also has a new feature rating players based on their fantasy football value, with college fantasy leagues beginning to take off. Locker is rated as the No. 16 quarterback and the 77th most valuable player overall.

And in another staple of every such magazine this year, Tyrone Willingham tops the magazine's list of coaches "on the hot seat'' writing that "Washington decided to bring Willingham back after the Huskies limped through a difficult schedule. But this season's schedule includes nonconference games against BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, which could make achieving a .500 record unlikely.''

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June 2, 2008 9:55 AM

Answers, volume six

Posted by Bob Condotta

We'll try to get back in our regular routine by answering another set of questions (and by the way, you are more than encouraged to keep the questions coming).

Q: Is it perceived as a huge advantage for the Huskies that they are going into the Oregon game with a new defensive coordinator for whom opponents don't have any scouting tapes?

A: Not sure if I'd say "huge'' since football ultimately comes down to personnel. But it's certainly one of the bigger advantages UW has heading into this game and one that the Huskies will try to exploit as best they can --- expect the coaches to give as little detail as possible about what the new wrinkles in the defense this fall. First games are always interesting from the standpoint that every team is usually debuting something new in its scheme, be it just a few tweaks or a complete makeover, with the Huskies obviously tending more to the latter on that scale this year with Ed Donatell taking over as coordinator. Donatell has worked in the NFL since 1990 so opponents wanting to get a sense of what he might do will have to look at those tapes. But even those may not reveal much as Donatell has said he'd like to incorporate more 3-4 looks into UW's defense, something he never really did in the NFL. UW didn't reveal a lot of that in the spring, but it's likely the package will expand more in the fall, especially once the young DLs arrive and coaches get a sense of just who will be able to legitimately contribute this year and how much.

Q: Do you have any comment on this report that the team is not united behind Tyrone Willingham?

A: Without their being much detail in that report it's hard to really comment a lot. In general, however, I would say that any team that has lost as much as UW has the last few years is always going to have some players questioning things. Willingham himself has admitted on several occasions that at some point players have to see some proof that what you are asking them to do is working or they may start to stray. This is obviously the key year for that, especially given the uncertainty over Willingham's future. Everybody has to be aware that UW either wins this year or Willingham is gone and should the season start off with a few losses whether the players stick together will play a huge role in determining how the rest of the season plays out. It's all about winning this year.

Q: Why does it seem like schools like Oregon keep getting help from the JC ranks and Washington doesn't. Does Willingham even look at JC players?

A: Willingham did early in his tenure at UW, signing seven in 2006. But UW hasn't had much success with JC players under Willingham (something I detailed in this post here last fall) and he has acknowledged those failures helped steer him away a bit from going the JC route. He also said early on, however, that he hoped to go to the JC ranks mostly to fill in holes for immediate needs and then build primarily with high school players. Some close to the program, such as former assistant coach Dick Baird, also say it is more difficult to get JC players into UW since the school doesn't offer a PE major. It's never been something that UW has done a lot of under any of its coaches and I would think that will always be the case. USC, UCLA and Stanford also don't venture into the JC ranks a whole lot, either.

More later.

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June 1, 2008 8:04 PM

Another possible AD candidate

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a new possibility for UW's athletic director position --- Doug Woolard, who has been the
AD at South Florida since May 12, 2004.

His connection to UW is obvious --- he was the AD at Saint Louis when Lorenzo Romar was hired as basketball coach there in 1999. Romar is on UW's search committee for a new AD.

Woolard was also an associate AD at Washington State from 1989-94, giving him lots of experience both in the Pac-10 and in the state of Washington.

The Huskies are still searching for a new AD to replace Todd Turner, who "resigned'' last December.

There are also rumblings that former Oreogn AD Bill Moos may still be involved. He has been speaking of late only through his lawyer, Raymond Cihak, of Corvallis. Cihak, who previously said Moos had said he had not been contacted by UW officials or the search committee, has not responded of late to questions about the search. So maybe Moos still is involved.

As I reported last night, the Times is hearing that Bob Stull of UTEP is not thought to be in the running despite likely being interested. I'll have more on the search as the week progresses.

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Recent entries

Jun 30, 08 - 10:06 PM
And then there were seven

Jun 30, 08 - 05:03 PM
Everybody else in?

Jun 29, 08 - 11:07 PM
Locker returns to Bellingham lineup, keys win

Jun 28, 08 - 05:30 PM
Hasty, Murchison gone for good UPDATED

Jun 27, 08 - 01:35 PM
E.J. Savannah update







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