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

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July 31, 2008 9:33 PM

On those darn second halves

Posted by Bob Condotta

Turned on the computer tonight to see I'm being accused of "ducking'' a question regarding second-half adjustments. I figure in the eyes of Husky fans that anything associating me with anything duck-like is probably about the worst criticism I can get, so I'd better respond fast.

In all truthfulness, I wasn't ducking the question --- nor was I couging or beavering it, either. I just hadn't gotten around to it yet --- I mean, my wife's still waiting for me to mow the lawn.

But it's raining and dark out now so that's no longer an option, so what the heck, let's go.

The question, in essence, was what will the Husky coaching staff do differently this year to avoid the second-half meltdowns of last season?

To refresh your memory of what kind of a problem it was for UW last year, here's a look at how Husky games unfolded by quarters last season:

Quarter 1 2 3 4
UW 87 130 69 94
Opp. 53 134 85 139

As you can see, the Huskies got progressively worse by quarter last season, outscoring opponents by 34 in the first quarter, being outscored by four in the second, by 16 in the third and a whopping 45 in the fourth.

UW's record in the second half of games essentially mirrored its overall record for the season --- the Huskies were outscored seven times in the second half, outscored their opponent four times, and had two ties.

And while conditioning is an obvious place to look first, UW actually outscored three straight opponents in the second half late in the season --- Stanford 17-6, Oregon State 23-13 and Cal 9-3 --- a time of the season when a team's physical state would figure to be most readily exposed.

You may recall that UW coach Tyrone Willingham addressed all of this a little bit at Pac-10 media day.

Here's what he said then:

"As a coach, you've got to look at three things. One, are they physically able to finish the ball game? Two, as coaches are we making the right decision? And three, did they have the right approach in those situations? We beefed up our conditioning a bit this summer. Coaching-wise, we are making sure that we clearly understand those situations and we're making sure our guys know how to handle those situations.'' He also said that the team will focus on making sure the players have a "glass-half-full'' approach to those situations rather than waiting for something bad to happen.

We also know something else --- they've changed defensive coordinators. So everything defensively figures to be different, though exactly how different we won't know until Aug. 30 comes around. We'd probably have better luck asking Clay Bennett if he knows the meaning of honesty than we will trying to get many specifics out of the coaches on what the UW defense will do differently this year, first half, second half, or overtime.

One thing, however, that Donatell has said since day one is that he would like to have a lot of depth on defense to rotate players and keep them fresh. This isn't really anything new --- I think Kent Baer hoped to do the same thing. But maybe Donatell will be able to make it work --- as he said the other day on KJR, he'd play 12 defensive linemen if he could.

Donatell also has said he'd like to mix up the defense a bit and keep opponents guessing, which also might be a bit of a change from last season, when Baer sometimes seemed married to one approach.

So that leaves the offense, which at times was as much to blame for what happened to UW in the second half last year as the defense, even if the defensive issues usually seemed most glaring.

As the above chart shows, UW scored 217 points in the first half last year, 163 in the second. Twenty-eight of those came in the opener at Syracuse, and 23 at Oregon State, when Carl Bonnell came in and threw the ball all over the place in a last-ditch attempt to get back in the game. So that's 51 points in two games, meaning UW was held to 112 points in the second half of its other 11 games, or just barely more than 10 a game.

What I'm sure the Huskies would most like to do to change those numbers is become a team that can run the ball well enough to run out the clock once it gets a lead.

Despite the fact that UW's running game was unquestionably better last season than it had been in years, that remained one thing the Huskies couldn't consistently do.

Consider that the Huskies rushed for 1,534 of their 2,640 net rushing yards last year before halftime, on 276 carries. They rushed for 1,106 yards on 261 carries after halftime.

That means UW averaged 5.5 yards per carry during the first half last year, 4.2 during the second half --- the total average was 4.9.

Only three times last year did UW rush for more yards in the first half than the second --- Oregon, a game the Huskies lost, Syracuse and Stanford. (I was also surprised to see that Cal wasn't on that list. For the record, UW had 334 total rushing yards in that game, 185 in the first half).

The most egregious example of not being able to just salt the game away with the run may have been the season finale at Hawaii. UW led 28-7 with 7:03 to go in the second quarter, at which point it had rushed for 179 yards on 26 carries. The Huskies managed just 80 yards on 24 carries the rest of the way as the Warriors came back to win 35-28.

Obviously, lots of things can go into those numbers. In some games, UW suddenly found itself behind due to the defensive issues and was forced to throw more than it probably would have liked to get back in the game. In others, opponents invariably ganged up on the run after UW's early success, daring the Huskies to throw, which obviously wasn't the strength of the Husky offense last season. It's also worth noting that rushing stats can also at times look a little out of whack due to the fact that QB sacks are factored in, and when teams fall behind, sacks tend to occur more often late in games when teams are trying to throw against an opponent that knows it is trying to throw. But that wasn't really a huge issue for UW last year as the Huskies were sacked just 24 times.

With a veteran O-line returning (especially if Juan Garcia makes it back for any part of the season) the Huskies obviously hope that they will be better equipped to run out games this season than last year (assuming a running back or backs who can handle that task is found).

Just as obviously, there is game-plan adjusting that goes into all of this, as well. Willingham's comment that "as coaches, are we making the right decision'' seems to be an admission that he thinks that's an area that may need some improving. And worth noting that UW has two new offensive coaches in Steve Gervais and Brian White who figure to play a role in that area, so it won't be just the exact same crew making those decisions.

As with everything else we've been spent the off-season speculating about, we'll begin to find the real answer to this question on Aug. 30.


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July 31, 2008 1:32 PM

July questions, take seven

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more:

Q: Can you give a realistic perspective on who will be the center --- Matt Sedillo or Ryan Tolar --- and strengths and weaknesses of each?

A: With the increasing possibility that Juan Garcia may be available for much of the season --- though I caution that there's still no certainties on that front --- I would think the best guess is that Matt Sedillo will start camp as the starting center and then they'll evaluate how that is working. That would allow the rest of the line to stay intact, causing as little disruption as possible. Other than Garcia, Sedillo is the most experienced center (obviously, I'm talking mostly about practice here as he has seen little action in games). Tolar apparently played little center in high school and hasn't done much of it at UW. What might allow a move of Tolar to center is the progression of Jordan White-Frisbee at the other guard. However, it might be better for UW is Sedillo can handle the center duties while Garcia is out so that JWF can rotate in at guard, giving UW some depth there and keeping players fresher than in past years, when the Huskies have rarely been able to sub much. Sedillo's strength is obviously that he has played a lot of center and knows the position well. Tolar looks like a future all-conference player, but he hasn't played much at center. And don't overlook the presence of walk-on Greg Christine, who was a recruited walk-on to UW and has spent two years learning the position at UW.

Q: Who are the true freshmen with the most likelihood of being in the two deep
roster this season?

A: The most obvious candidates are the three who were there in the spring --- WR/RB Chris Polk and WRs Anthony Boyles and Devin Aguilar. I think each can pretty much be penciled into playing situations this season due to the lack of depth at their positions and that they are already ahead of the game in learning. Of true frosh coming in this fall, I think WRs Jermaine Kearse and Cody Bruns have very good chances of playing immediately, due in part also to depth questions there. Given the depth at RB, I think one or two of the RBs coming in has a chance, as well. But until they arrive, I think it's pretty hard to pick between any of them. I don't think any of the incoming OLs will play. TE is another position where depth could be an issue, which also could open the door for Kavario Middleton to play a lot immediately, though I would figure it would be more as a receiver early on than in blocking situations. Defensively, we've talked a lot about the DL depth issues, and I think one or two of the frosh coming in could play immediately. Craig Noble was probably the most likely but it sounds as if he won't be around for most, if not all, of camp, which would put a big dent in those plans. The most likely of the others is probably Alameda Ta'amu, whose listed weight of 348 gives him a size dimension that could prove valuable immediately. UW doesn't have needs as urgent at LB or DB, so frosh at those spots are more likely to earn immediate playing time via special teams. Most likely candidates figure to be LB Kurt Mangum (who was also here in the spring) and Adam Long, who may be the fastest player in the class.

Q: What are the ramifications if LeGarrette Blount gets injured/ineligible? Who are his backups? Do they have any experience? I have to think that would have a significant impact on this game (as well as Oregon's season), given the inexperience of Oregon's quarterbacks.

A: Yeah, another crowd-pleasing LeGarrette Blount question!! In all seriousness, one reason a lot of observers like the Ducks is their depth at this spot. Blount actually is likely to enter fall camp as the backup at RB to senior Jeremiah Johnson, who averaged 6.4 yards per carry last season before suffering a knee injury in the sixth game against Washington State. Johnson is said to be fully recovered. He had 644 yards and 10 TDs in 2006, so he has a lot of experience. And third on the depth chart is Andre Crenshaw, who ran for more than 100 yards against UW last year. So Oregon has more than just Blount lurking in its backfield, all of which figures to make for a stern test for UW's defense Aug. 30.

Q: Any talk of scheduling a "Home and Home" series with one or two of the better teams from the Big-East or ACC in the future?

A: UW is always on the lookout for good games, but I haven't heard of anything specific with teams from those two conferences. Remember, UW does have a current deal with Syracuse, which included last year's game and a return trip by the Orange on Sept. 11, 2010.

Q: Have you heard if we may get to see a "Power" running formation with Paul Homer (FB) and Luke Kravitz (RB) in a two TE set? Old-fashioned "Smash-Mouth" football?

A: That's not something we've really ever seen so I wouldn't anticipate ever seeing a whole lot of that, if any at all. There was a lot of talk they would be used more heading into last season and they were, getting 39 carries combined, about three a game. They might get a few more this year as they rank as two of the more experienced ball carriers on the team now. But I wouldn't anticipate either would ever be a primary threat.

All for now.

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July 31, 2008 9:24 AM

Locker named to Maxwell watch list

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it yesterday, UW QB Jake Locker was named as one of 65 players on the pre-season watch list for the Maxwell Award, given annually to the most outstanding college football player in the country.

He is one of 12 Pac-10 players named to the list. And I think he's the first Husky since Cody Pickett in 2003 (don't recall Isaiah Stanback in 2006 but he may have been, as well).

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July 31, 2008 8:28 AM

Thursday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just four days to go until we begin having some real news to pass along. Until then. ...

--- Here's yet another coaches hot seat listing that includes Tyrone Willingham, this one courtesy of Phil Steele. Main reason I'm passing it along is his assertion that the Huskies figure "to be an underdog in eight of their first nine games.'' Assuming the home game against Stanford is the one in which he figures they'll be favored. Steele then writes that if the odds play out that way and UW really starts out 1-8 that a coaching change could happen sooner rather than later. Certainly, this is another story that indicates how the prevailing national feeling on UW isn't real good right now, but one that also puts the Huskies in a good position to later be portrayed as one of the surprises of the season if things break right.

--- I know most of you aren't looking for any more info on the Ducks, but for those who are, here's a good season preview from the Portland Tribune. And here's another one from Sunday Morning Quarterback.

--- Here's an update on the Reggie Bush case from the Orange County Register.

--- Jake Curtis of the San Francisco Chronicle breaks down some of he more notable QB battles, including a few in the Pac-10.

--- Former UW receiver Reggie Williams will have arthroscopic knee surgery tomorrow and will likely miss at least the pre-season.

All for now.

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July 30, 2008 1:41 PM

A couple of Donatell interviews

Posted by Bob Condotta

Washington defensive coordinator Ed Donatell has been a popular guy for interviews this week, and for good reason as he has a big task ahead in trying to revive a Husky defense that was statistically the worst in school history last season. How much improvement the defense shows will obviously be a key to success for UW this season.

Here's a Q-and-A with Donatell by ESPN's Ted Miller and an interview of Donatell on KJR-AM with Elise Woodward on Monday night.

In neither is Donatell probably as specific about his plans as some of you may like.

He even jokes about it in the interview with Woodward, reminding her that she was a college basketball player at UW and her coaches probably didn't often tell much about their plans prior to playing a team like Oregon, either.

As he has said since the day he was hired, however, Donatell did say again that he envisions UW playing a mix of defenses this year, likely using both the 4-3 --- which was about all the public saw in the spring --- and the 3-4.

"I want to keep them guessing,'' he said in the interview on KJR. "I just want them to have to prepare for everything.''

Maybe of most interest in the KJR interview was Donatell's discussion of the defensive line, where he said it remains pretty wide open and that ideally, he would rotate a number of players there.

Donatell said that heading into camp "we don't really have any first string and second-string. ... We're just trying to see how many guys we can get above a line where we can play them. If we could 12 guys I would do it but that's probably unrealistic. When you are losing five guys (to graduation) that takes a little wind out of your sails. But Daniel (Te'o-Nesheim) has really emerged as a leader. ... He'll be playing with a bunch of guys who haven't played much, but we made great strides in the spring.''

On the subject of the D-line, Donatell continued saying "Cameron (Elisara) is a guy who got a lot of work at nose (tackle) as well as Nick Wood, De'Shon Matthews, and Johnie Kirton, and Tyrone Duncan came back off an injury. So they are all in there competing. We want to have them compete as well as they can and raise their level and then play as many of those guys as we can.''

The use of "nose'' obviously will lead some to conclude a 3-4 is in the offing. Again, Donatell has said it's possible from the start, so it shouldn't be a surprise if some is used this season. But I really don't think anything is set in stone until camp starts and the coaches see what they have in the new guys coming in and see what options they will provide, as well.

In both, Donatell talks about being an attacking defense that will try to create turnovers.

"Some things we have beliefs about are takeaways and big plays and winning the down,'' he said in the KJR interview. "Those things are important, whether it's 3-4, 4-3, whatever it is. There are different ways with different players of getting (the job done).''

I've never heard a defensive coach say he didn't want to create turnovers, so I'd be shocked if he said anything else. But I know that UW fans will like any hint of a more aggressive defense after the last three seasons under Kent Baer, who tended to be a little more of a bend-but-don't-break type of coach (though in his defense, he said often he'd be more aggressive if he thought he had the personnel to handle it. He obviously didn't think so most of the time).

The Huskies actually weren't as bad as you may think in getting turnovers last season. They finished with 24, just about average in the conference last year. Oregon State led the league with 34 while Oregon had 33. Everybody else in the conference had from 27 (UCLA) to 23 (WSU). Oregon had a plus-nine TO margin, but otherwise, there wasn't a lot of difference in the conference last year as everyone else was from plus-three to minus-four. UW was right in the middle at minus-one for the season, tied for sixth with Arizona and only one fewer than Oregon State, which was at zero.

Guess that's a way of saying that while every team goes into every season hoping to force a lot of turnovers, there's still a healthy element of luck involved --- Stanford recovered 15 fumbles last year, Arizona State nine, yet nobody would say Stanford's defense was better than ASU's last year.

The Huskies really weren't as bad getting QB sacks last year as you might think, either. UW finished with 35, sixth in the conference, and only four fewer than UCLA, which was third (USC led with 44), though seven game in the opener against a feeble Syracuse team. Still, this may indicate UW's path back to defensive respectability will involve more than just attacking more.

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July 30, 2008 11:31 AM

Is Ted Leland likely the next Pac-10 commissioner?

Posted by Bob Condotta

That's what the New York Times says in this post here today on its college sports blog.

The Times says the Pac-10 "appears to be leaning toward'' hiring Leland, who was the athletic director at Stanford from 1991-2005 --- here's a good bio of Leland noting his current role as the vice president for advancement at Pacific.

As you can probably surmise from that timeline, among Leland's most notable hires while AD at Stanford was picking Tyrone Willingham to succeed Bill Walsh as football coach in 1995. I talked with Leland about that decision for this story in 2005. Leland also hired Walsh, having worked as an assistant for Walsh on the coaching staff at Stanford in 1978.

Here's another story on Leland, when he announced his resignation at Stanford in 2005, that also has more biographical info.

Leland is 60 years old and obviously has a long track record in the conference, so this may not exactly be the "fresh, new face'' type of hire that a lot of the critics of the Pac-10 may have had in mind when Tom Hansen announced his retirement earlier this summer.

If the Pac-10 has indeed set its sights on Leland, that would go along with earlier rumblings I had heard that the conference wanted to make a hire pretty quickly. Hansen will stay in office through next July 1 but has said he would work alongside a new AD to help in the transition.

The final decision on a new commissioner will be made by the conference's presidents and chancellors.


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July 30, 2008 9:02 AM

Wednesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

I love the smell of links in the morning:

--- Here's a little interview I did with SoCalSportsHub.com, attempting to give some answers to some questions they had about the Huskies this season. I'll point out that in the question on the defense, I meant to say that you can't lay the fact that it the Huskies had the worst defense in school history last year, in terms of yards allowed, entirely on the secondary.

--- So who would guess UW fans would find an ally in the Jake Locker-Jimmy Clausen debate from the Notre Dame Scout.com site? IrishEyes has an interesting feature, rating all the teams on Notre Dame's schedule this year --- including Notre Dame --- by their strength at QB. And concludes that UW and Locker is third, just ahead of Notre Dame.

--- Ted Miller ranks the Pac-10 cornerbacks and lists both Oregon starters in the top five, but none of UW's.

--- Sunday Morning Quarterback names what it calls the All-Up-And-Coming Team, featuring the offense. There are lots of Pac-10 guys included but not Huskies.

--- The Winnipeg Sun has a nice feature on former Husky LB Joe Lobendahn, emerging as a key player for the Blue Bombers. It struck me kind of funny that the headline says "He packs quite a punch'' considering former UW coach Rick Neuheisel once joked that Lobendahn's nickname should be "Hawaiian Punch'' given his position and that he was from Honolulu.

--- Isaiah Stanback spent part of practice the other day getting tips from Michael Irvin. UW fans will be able to get a good look at Dallas' training camp this year as the team will be featured on the HBO series Hard Knocks.

--- Marques Tuiasosopo spent practice Tuesday working with Oakland's No. 1 offense with starter JaMarcus Russell resting a sore elbow (he split time with fellow backup Andrew Walter). Doesn't sound serious, but I ust keep thinking this is the year Tuiasosopo finally gets a real chance.

--- Here's more on Oakland's QB situation, as well as a note that Louis Rankin is working out as a kickoff returner and that that job is wide open. The Raiders will finish the pre-season with a game against the Seahawks in Seattle on Aug. 29, which could prove particularly interesting for UW fans with four former Huskies attempting to make the Oakland roster this season.

All for now.


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July 29, 2008 9:03 PM

July questions, take six

Posted by Bob Condotta

Better get the July ones answered before August hits:

Q: What is the plan for special teams? Are we going to see more starters on the units or more of the younger bench players? How is Ryan Perkins' leg progressing?

A: Good questions that like a lot of the others, we'll really be able to answer a lot better in a few weeks once camp begins. Here's a link to a blog in April where new ST coach Brian White discussed his plans a little bit, saying he will use starters if needed. But how much will be easier to gauge once camp starts and the coaches get a look at the incoming players, many of whom could end up on special teams. Using regulars on special teams is always something of a double-edged sword --- it may help a unit a little bit, but it also increases the risk of injury for that player. As for Perkins, he has chronic knee problems now due to the injury of two years ago that aren't going to suddenly go away. The trick for him will be maintaining it well enough so that he can play. He said in the spring it's a year-to-year deal, if not almost month-to-month and day-to-day. So we'll have to see how he does once camp starts. Certainly, the kicking competition between Perkins and Erik Folk will be interesting to watch.

Q: Is there any evidence that the lack of ability to fill the AD position has any effect on recruiting? It seems that the lack of ability to have quality candidates apply for the AD post provides at glimpse of how UW's program is perceived by others around the country.

A: I don't think so. Recruits tend to be interested mostly in how the program they me be joining is being run. While the AD certainly impacts that, I don't think the hiring of an AD at this point would change what even Tyrone Willingham says is the main thing impacting recruiting so far --- the uncertainty over his future. A new AD wouldn't have made any move on that issue yet, I don't think, as it's pretty clear president Mark Emmert wants to wait to see how the team performs this season before deciding anything one way or the other on Willingham. I don't think it's accurate to say UW can't get any quality candidates to apply for the AD job (and it's always worth nothing that we don't know for sure everybody who has). Certainly, there are rumblings that some sitting ADs who might have been attracted to the job have been turned off by the manner in which Todd Turner was let go. Some may also be wary due to the fact that there are some major issues here --- the renovation of Husky Stadium is pretty complicated, and obviously something will have to be decided on Willingham this year one way or the other. But I also think if UW wanted to pay the right guy enough money there wouldn't be any perception problems. I think all kinds of guys would leap at this job. But the right combination of a guy who wants it who is wanted by Emmert and who will do it for the right price has yet to be found.

Q: In addition to Willingham's job uncertainty, do you think the series that the Times ran earlier in the year has hurt recruiting? It certainly couldn't have helped.

A: Obviously, I don't think UW coaches made copies of that to show prospective recruits. But at the risk of sounding like a house apologist, I really don't think that impacted recruiting. To 17- or 18-year-old recruits, 2000 may as well have been the Lincoln administration. I think recruits are almost solely concerned with what will happen once they get to a school rather than worrying about the past. Maybe it would matter a little if any of the people in charge then were in charge now, but obviously they aren't. I know a lot of people questioned the timing of the series for recruiting reasons, but the reality is that every kid who had committed to sign with UW last year at the time the series ran ended up signing. I haven't heard any recruit, or recruiting expert, ever bring it up as a factor. So no, I don't think it has impacted recruiting.

Q: What's the skinny on the first RB the Dawgs will face, LeGarrette Blount. The one brief national media piece I saw made him sound like the second coming of Corey Dillon. How does the #1 JC RB end up at Oregon? And why can't the Huskies land JC's like the Ducks. I hear rumors UW is just too tough
academically? True?

A: I tread carefully answering a question on Blount --- I've been accused of mentioning him too much on here, considering this is a UW blog, but have done so because I figured there would be interest in Washington's first opponent of the season. Anyway, Ted Miller of ESPN wrote a nice story on Blount last spring that explained his history well, and at the risk of merely repeating everything he wrote, I'll just link to it here. One reason he picked Oregon is that like a lot of JC players, Blount was looking for somewhere he was pretty sure he could play immediately, and Ducks had that to offer after Jonathan Stewart left early. On the other issue, it's not completely accurate to say UW can't land JC players as the the Huskies have signed a number of them through the years --- seven in the 2006 recruiting class alone. Dillon was one, as well. But some close to the program do feel that the Huskies are hurt in being able to go after a variety of JC players due to the lack of a physical education program. Former UW coach and recruiting coordinator Dick Baird makes that argument in this story here from a years ago.

All for now.

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July 29, 2008 12:10 PM

Tuesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links found while wondering why defeat is always snatched from the jaws of victory, and vice versa? Why is it never the "tightly-clenched hands'' of victory that defeat is snatched from? Maybe that would make it harder to pry away.

Anyway. ...

--- Ted Miller rates the Pac-10's five most bitter rivalries and has UW included in two --- the UW-Oregon rivalry is No. 3 and UW-WSU is No. 5. A good list --- he's right on about the UA-ASU thing something I wrote about once when working at a different paper. And having attended a USC-UCLA game, I can't argue with that call, either. Still, I find it hard to believe anything right now is really much nastier than the UW-Oregon rivalry based on the correspondance I get.

--- The perpetually typing Miller also rates the Pac-10 schools in order of most-to-least hated and has UW at No. 5. That's something that is truly in the eye of the beholder --- I'm sure Cal fans would rate Stanford a lot higher. I know some longtime UW fans who hate Stanford quite a bit, as well, dating to the Bill Walsh comments in the early '90s.

--- A Bleacher Report writer wonders if it's fair to call Jake Locker the Tim Tebow of the West. Sounds like one person who would say no is Locker, who judging by some of the comments he made at Pac-10 media day isn't embracing those comparisons.

--- A writer for the Cascade Times, a weekly newspaper covering the Ellensburg-Snoqualmie Pass area, rates the coaches in the Pac-10 and puts Tyrone Willingham eighth. Considering the debate on here the other day about Mike Stoops and Willingham, the author makes an interesting point about the conference records of the two coaches --- Stoops is 12-22 in four years at Arizona while Willingham is 6-20 at UW. As the author notes, Willingham would have to win six games this year to match Stoops' four-year record.

--- One Dallas writer wonders if Isaiah Stanback can add an extra dimension this season while another notes that Stanback has had a couple of drops early and needs to fight for the ball more.

--- Marcel Reece has been working out with Oakland's running backs, but also has been slowed at times with a hamstring injury.

--- Former Husky Joe Lobendahn had a nice game in his first start for Winnipeg last week, making six tackles at middle linebacker.

All for now.

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July 28, 2008 3:40 PM

Monday afternoon links

Posted by Bob Condotta

So after hitting the links at UW's annual golf outing with media and coaches today , I went searching for some different kind of links.

Here's what I found:

--- Looks like the on-line bookmakers have less faith in the Huskies against Oregon than does Las Vegas. As reported here earlier, UW is opening as a 10-and-a-half-point underdog in the opening lines in Vegas. However, these opening lines from three different on-line sports books have the Huskies as 14-point underdogs.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller ranks Pac-10 safeties and places Mesphin Forrester No. 8 while noting that he was moved to cornerback late in the spring. Forrester, in fact, is now officially listed as a CB on UW's official roster and in the media guide. UW's safeties entering fall camp will be Jason Wells and Nate Williams at free safety (Wells is apparently healthy and ready to go after the knee injury suffered against USC) and Darin Harris and Victor Aiyewa at strong safety.

--- Miller also answers his mail with a lead item projecting the Pac-10's bowl participants for this season. He leaves out UW, saying that the Huskies may have "scheduled themselves out'' of a bowl game.

--- The latest recruiting news and notes from New Era Scouting have a couple of Husky references, including the assertion that UW fans shouldn't panic because the Huskies have only one commitment. Interestingly, however, the other school the author notes as having only one commitment is Syracuse, which like UW, has coach that is considered on one of the hottest seats in the country, likely a main reason the Orange are struggling to reel in the early commits. Seems hard to ignore that factor.

--- Oregon linebacker Kevin Garrett, a possible starter on the weakside for the Ducks this season, has been suspended following a DUI arrest over the weekend.

--- Yet another vote for Oregon's uniforms as being among the ugliest in college football (and I don't even think the author is a Husky fan).

All for now.

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July 28, 2008 2:52 PM

Fore!!!!!!

Posted by Bob Condotta

The blog has been quiet so far today because I spent the morning and early afternoon at the annual UW coaches and media golf outing.

It's an event that originated in 2005 when Tyrone Willingham became coach, allowing media to play alongside Husky coaches and other athletic department staffers, helping each side to get to know the other a little better in an informal setting.

We don't take notepads or do interviews, so I don't have any news to pass along other than the fact that I'm still pretty bad at golf.

Among the golfers in my group today was receivers coach Charlie Baggett, and as I said, this was an off-the-record type of deal, but I'm sure it's okay to pass along that Baggett is pretty darn excited about his receiving corps this year despite the lack of experience there.

For both media and coaches, this event helps signify that the season is closing in. For a lot of the coaches, this may be the last time they play golf for a while as they will begin working regular hours in the office this week in preparation for the beginning of practice next Monday after taking some of July off --- July is typically the month to take vacations in the college football world.

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July 27, 2008 10:09 AM

July questions, take five

Posted by Bob Condotta

Yet another round:

Q: I wonder if you can explain to me why the college football world seems to feel that Arizona coach Mike Stoops deserves 5 years to get that program up to snuff, whereas Tyrone Willingham, with an even tougher yearly schedule, deserves only 4?

A: First off, I'd say your question assumes there is some monolithic "college football world'' out there making consensus decisions on this stuff. Obviously, the reality is each school makes its own decisions for its own reasons. I think all the same questions existed about Stoops heading into last year, his year four, as face Willingham this year. And he looked all but gone in mid-October before his team ralliled to win three in a row --- including a victory at UW and another over then No. 2-ranked Oregon --- followed with a tight loss in the season-ender at Arizona State. It was the second straight year Stoops' team had finished strong, giving fans and administration some reasons to think the program was headed in the right direction. Arizona has gone 11-13 the last two years overall, 8-10 in Pac-10 play, losing three games last year by three points or less (with the win over UW its only close victory). Given that Stoops took over a program in as bad a shape as UW's when Willingham arrived --- if not worse, given the fact that it plays second fiddle in its own state, a status Washington never really has no matter how bad things get in terms of the overall picture --- people there may be willing to give Stoops a little more benefit of the doubt than some might think Willingham is getting. Stoops also has had good relations with boosters there and Arizona has set records for ticket sales during his tenure, the latter something that is obviously not the case here, another thing that may be giving him some benefit of the doubt there. Given all of that, however, Stoops has to win this year to keep his job, the same circumstance facing Willingham.

Q: Just wondering any word on Jordan Murchison and J.R. Hasty. Did they transfer to other schools?

A: I've heard nothing on Murchison. And given that he also had some injury issues last spring, it might be possible he's done with football, though again, I haven't heard anything. He has just one year of eligibility left so he would have to play at a smaller-division school this season. Hasty is expected to end up at Central Washington, something that could become official in the next few days as like all teams, the Wildcats will begin practice soon. I know he is no longer enrolled at UW and has visited CWU a couple of times and has talked with coaches there, but nothing official had been announced yet as of late last week. Hasty will have two years of eligibility remaining at CWU and would be eligible to play this year (he would have to sit out this season if he transferred to a D-I school).

Q: Any update on season ticket sales?

A: I missed this on Friday, but one was helpfully provided for us by the UW Sports Information Department, which you can find here. In a nutshell, UW has sold 43,048 season tickets for this season after selling 43,516 last season. By this late in the game, season-ticket sales usually don't increase much so that number doesn't figure to go up a whole lot. As the release notes, the school will begin selling single-game tickets Monday. I would imagine those would go pretty well given the attractiveness of the scheduled this season, especially for the games against Oklahoma, Notre Dame, BYU and UCLA. Sales for games against the other teams will likely depend a little more on how the team is performing.

Q: What's the scoop on Anthony Boyles? He was a pretty highly rated WR out of HS, missed last year. How's he looking so far in respect to a starting spot?

A: As mentioned in the first post, questions about how guys are looking really can't be answered until practice starts. I think Boyles has made some good first impressions, however, with his attitude and work ethic. And he appears to have a good rapport with Jake Locker, something I noticed again during a summer workout I attended when the two did their lifting exercises together, Locker seeming to take particular delight in egging Boyles on to lift even more weight. Boyles participated in spring ball, but as should be expected of a true freshmen who hadn't played football in more than a year, he struggled at times. He had two catches for 14 yards in the spring game. One of his goals in the off-season was to add a little more weight --- he is listed at 190 but has said previously he would like to get to 205 or so. Given the team's need for immediate help at receiver, Boyles will certainly have a good shot at significant playing time this season though it's too soon to say whether he will be a starter.

All for now.

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July 26, 2008 10:12 AM

July questions, take four

Posted by Bob Condotta

Another round:

Q: Do you think there is a link between the Huskies' strength of schedule and the desire by some to see Tyrone Willingham given the boot? Everyone knows that Tyrone is under extreme pressure to win but how is that reasonably possible when the Huskies have the hardest schedule in the nation two years in a row and we open next year against LSU. I don't want to see this program go through another coaching change and I think given time and a little more favorable schedule Tyrone will be a successful coach.

A: No, if for no other reason than the schedules are mostly set years in advance, then changed only when plans go awry --- which unfortunately for UW has happened a lot of late. I've detailed several times how the 2008 schedule came to be. The Cliff's Notes version is that they had BYU and Notre Dame on the 2008 slate years ago and moved Oklahoma from 2007 to 2008 to ease the schedule in 2007 --- which would seem to indicate right there that they made moves to try to help Willingham succeed. That move was made in 2005 when it was decided that the program might not be ready in 2007 to play Ohio State and Oklahoma on back-to-back weeks, as was originally planned, a schedule made during the Neuheisel era. I remember Neuheisel joking at the time that "whoever the coach is then'' will have a lot of fun with it. That made the 2008 schedule harder, but in 2005 I think the thought was that by 2008 the program would be ready for it. I've heard people say UW should have just dropped one of these teams, but you don't do that to schools like that and ever get them again. I don't think a school like UW should take those kinds of chances against schools like Oklahoma and Notre Dame. And again, they got the Oklahoma game moved once.

As for LSU in 2009, that opening came about because both Nevada and Illinois pulled out of planned games against the Huskies in Seattle --- both teams pulled out after Willingham was hired as coach (not that those events are related, just giving you the timeline). UW added Idaho to fill one of the slots --- which everybody seems to forget about when discussing this topic --- and LSU to fill the other. Having an opening so late in the process meant UW didn't have a lot of options for opponents for the LSU slot, and given that the Huskies aren't exactly selling out every game anymore, that made LSU additionally attractive (as did the fact that there is a built-in relationship between the current leadership at UW and LSU). One of the Illinois games was to have been in 2008, a road game, and again, when Illinois pulled out, that changed things and forced UW to readjust. Navy also pulled out of a series that was to begin in 2010 and Indiana pulled out of a game in 2007 which also forced some scrambling. When Barbara Hedges left office, the schedule for 2008 featured BYU, Boise State, Notre Dame and at Illinois. When Willingham came aboard, they swapped Boise State and Oklahoma to ease the 2007 schedule, and Illinois later dropped out, a game that didn't need replacing for this season when the Pac-10 then went to a nine-game conference schedule. Also, it's not as if the schedules in Willingham's first two years at UW were overly difficult --- home games with Notre Dame and Idaho and a game in Seattle against Air Force, and home games with Fresno State and San Jose State in 2006 with a road game at Oklahoma. As a lot of people have pointed out, UW is 5-5 in non-conference games under Willingham and 6-20 in Pac-10 play. It's the conference slate --- something that obviously can't be changed --- that has been the real killer for UW the last three years.

Aside from all of that, however, I really don't think there's any link at all between Willingham's future and scheduling LSU. Willingham's future at UW figures to be determined long before that game is played. Either he wins this year and gets an extension, or that will be the first game for a new coach.

Q: What is Lindy's?

A: Lindy's is one of several pre-season college football magazines released each year. It's named after the publisher, J. Lindy Davis, who is from the south and started the magazine with just an SEC preview each year and expanded to include magazines covering every major conference. I have been fortunate enough to do work for Lindy's for the last 10 years or so.

Q: I think most Husky fans are most concerned about the D-line being put into a trial by fire situation. On the other hand, last year's ''experienced'' line was generally ineffective. What is the historical precedent on inexperienced d-lines? Most of these kids (Elisara, Matthews) were four-star recruits that seem to have some potential. Is d-line enough of an "instinct'' position that experience may be overrated (ala RB)?

A: D-line is generally considered to be a spot that takes a little while to grow into. As one piece of evidence, there have been only two sophomore and no freshmen D-linemen named to the All-Pac-10 team in the last decade (actually, three since 1998 including 1998 --- only two since 1998). At four a year, that's 40 available slots. Quarterback is the only spot at which there have been fewer (though obviously only one a year has been named --- the only sophomore or younger in that time has been USC's Matt Leinart). You could also consider the career of the greatest DL in school history, Steve Emtman. He redshirted his first season in 1988 and then was a reserve as a redshirt freshman in 1989, making 19 tackles, before exploding as a third-year sophomore. That's not to say young players can't become immediate stars. But the only other time in my career covering UW football I remember the Huskies potentially going with a D-line that was as close to this in being inexperienced was 2004, a season that obviously didn't turn out so well (not that the D-line was the sole cause of that, but it certainly didn't help anything). In general, D-line isn't as much of an instinct position as, say, RB where underclassmen often emerge as starters. Technique and simple brute strength are two of the biggest keys up front. I think there is a lot of reason to think the current D-linemen will be better in the long run. But simply asking for them to better right out of the gate than last year's D-line, disappointing as it was, might be a lot. Not saying it can't happen, but history would suggest it will take some time for the D-line to grow into a strength, one reason it will be little surprise to see the Huskies mix things up quite a bit more on defense this year.

All for now.

(And given that I will be out-of-town much of the weekend, there may not be much else here for a few days).


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July 25, 2008 7:12 PM

Three frosh may not be ready for August

Posted by Bob Condotta

I've got a few other notes from media day passed along from Bud Withers, who was in attendance in Los Angeles.

Most noteworthy, Withers reports that UW coach Tyrone Willingham said there is a chance that incoming freshmen QB Dominique Blackman, DT Craig Noble and RB Demitrius Bronson may not enroll until January and almost certainly won't be there when camp begins Aug. 4.

"All of those kids, their window in Seattle (to start) will be later,'' Willingham said. "In the worst cases, we could probably be anticipating January. It's no different than we did last year with (receivers Devin) Aguilar and (Anthony) Boyles and that seemed to work out very well.'' Aguilar and Boyles each sat out last fall, then enrolled in January and participated in spring practice and still have five years to play four.

Noble may be the most vital of the three to get into camp as quickly as possible since he plays a position where there are some huge needs. Reports are that Noble needs a passing score on the California High School Exit Exam. Bronson and Blackman each have test score and GPA issues.

Willingham, however, said he didn't anticipate any other academic problems.

"To my knowledge, there are no summer-school casualties,'' he said. "We only have a couple of kids in the second session (which began last week), and that's really (for) helping them toward graduation.''

Willingham also said that RB Brandon Johnson, who had off-season arthroscopic knee surgery, has recovered fine.

"There's nothing that should delay him,'' Willingham said of UW's projected starting RB entering camp. :He should be on track (to be ready for the beginning of practice).''

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July 25, 2008 3:53 PM

Single-game tickets on sale Monday

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick note to pass along from the UW that single-game tickets for the 2008 football season go on sale Monday.

Check here for more details.

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July 25, 2008 3:30 PM

Friday afternoon links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Found a few more Media Day-after stories to pass along your way:

--- Bruce Feldman's blog on ESPN.com includes lots of good tidbits from Pac-10 media day, including his observation that Jake Locker had a little bit of a bemused look when Tyrone Willingham said his preference would be that Locker never run at all. I think Willingham was just overstating it to make the point that in an ideal world, the Huskies could call on Locker a little less, something UW coaches have said often since the end of last season.

--- Ted Miller continues his rankings of Pac-10 players by looking at the linebackers and puts E.J. Savannah seventh, with the noted caveat that his status is a little uncertain heading into the season. Two Stanford guys on the list helps reinforce the notion that the Cardinal may have a pretty good defense this season.

--- Rivals.com has a good roundup from media day leading off with more on Locker and the quandary over how much he should run. Also another quote from Locker that he thinks his passing will improve with greater comfort of the offense.

--- ESPN's Tim Griffin asks the question --- What would it take to get Gary Pinkel to leave Missouri? As Griffin notes, Pinkel could be candidate 1A should the Huskies make a move on Willingham after this season.

--- Lisa Horne of Fox Sports breaks down the top 10 quotes from media day, a list that surprisingly includes Willingham.

--- This SI.com look at recruiting includes a note on the Huskies being commitment-less, a status that obviously changed on Wednesday when Keith Price made his decision to come to UW.

PROGRAMMING NOTE -- By the way, I haven't forgotten the questions thread from last week. I answered some, then decided to let media day and other news drive the blog. But with little else UW-related on tap the next few days, I'll try to get to the rest of them.

All for now.

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July 25, 2008 8:18 AM

Media day after

Posted by Bob Condotta

A quick peek (with one eyelid still shut) at the day-after coverage:

--- Bud Withers covered the proceedings for our staff and filed this look-around-the-league that included a somewhat ominous note about Husky linebacker E.J. Savannah. Withers quotes Willingham as saying that "there are more things at play there than just the injury'' when it comes to any timetable for Savannah's return. I won't speculate on what that means since I don't know for sure, but worth noting that Savannah was suspended for the beginning of camp last year for academic-related issues, and for the beginning of spring practice for failure to live up to certain team responsibilities, which Savannah said involved off-season workouts. Last fall, he was reinstated in more than enough time to get ready for the season, but this year he obviously has the complication of the injury, as well.

--- Withers also has this column on former UW coach Rick Neuheisel, now at UCLA in case you haven't heard. Sounds as if Neuheisel's ready to move on and isn't looking back in anger anymore. I agree with Withers that this stop figures to ultimately define Neuheisel's legacy --- he has no reason for wanderlust (which I think impacted his recruiting more than people think the last year or two at UW) and he arrives with the full support of the fan base (I think he spent a lot of time trying to win people over during his early days at Colorado at UW). What can't be argued is that the UW-UCLA games will be more interesting than ever as long as he's around. (By the way, thanks for the questions on why I wasn't at media day --- I'll show the boss that I do have a fan or two. The main reason I wasn't there was financial --- our paper always sends Withers, who has been doing this a lot longer, and better, than I have, and since he is the college football reporter, it makes sense that he go since this is the only place to get access to all 10 Pac-10 coaches. I have gone in past years, but the economy being what it is, this year just didn't happen. For those questioning whether this is Times anti-Husky bias, I could point out that another Seattle paper didn't send any of its own reporters, a decision I'm sure was also financial).
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--- ESPN's Ted Miller has this good wrapup of day-after stories from around the league, saving me from having to do it myself (Ted was never quite that thoughtful when we were on the UW beat together).

--- For the reader questioning Withers' assertion that Stanford over USC was the biggest upset in college football history --- the reader said how about Appalachian State over Michigan? --- I would point out that Withers is technically correct. There was no official spread on the App. State game since that school is lower-division. Stanford was the largest underdog in D-I history to win a game. Interesting question which one is bigger, however. Appalachian State is a pretty talented team and Michigan wasn't as good as USC last year. And what the game cost USC --- a possible shot at the national title --- was unquestionably greater.

--- And for the readers who asked about hydros (due to a reference I made on the basketball board) I am indeed headed to the Tri-Cities at some point this weekend to cover the races down there. Seafair is next weekend (Aug. 1-3), though Husky football commitments may relieve me of those duties.

All for now.

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July 24, 2008 9:23 PM

A few more media day notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- The Riverside Press-Enterprise used the occasion of Pac-10 media day to name the conference's top five playmakers and led off with Jake Locker. If only he hadn't spent every single minute of the summer playing baseball!

--- This report on the festivities from the LA Times includes a quote from Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen that the conference is "still involved'' in investigating the Reggie Bush case, and that the NCAA is "still involved'' as well.

--- ESPN's Ted Miller notes that Locker really got into it singing "That's Amore'' when the players were taken to a local Italian restaurant on Wednesday night, a dinner that is something of a conference tradition (I'm already regretting I couldn't eat those little warm bread things this year). This is now the second confirmed report of Locker singing in public this summer after he also helped lead the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday'' to his grandmother at a Bellingham Bells game. Hopefully all that singing didn't detract from his football responsibilities this summer, either.

--- Brian Dohn of the LA Daily News notes that among UCLA's walk-ons is quarterback Tyler Tuiasosopo of Mariner High, brother of current Husky Trenton and a cousin of Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo.

--- Mike Tokito of the Oregonian has a nice wrapup of the day's events leading off with more Locker-baseball talk (oh no!).

All for now.

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July 24, 2008 1:04 PM

Huard working for ESPN, more Locker comments

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few more notes from KJR's coverage of media day:

--- Dave Mahler interviewed Brock Huard as Huard was in LA per his new duties working with ESPN/ABC as an analyst for Pac-10 broadcasts this season. This is a good move for Huard, who has steadily been working his way into this business the last few years. I think he turned down a chance to work for ESPN doing games in other conferences last year because of the travel.

Asked about the Huskies, Huard said he has talked often with his brother, Luke, a graduate assistant for the team, and been told that the new assistant coaches have "said we have enough talent to win eight games. Now we are young, that's the challenge. Can it happen? Yes. Is it more difficult (because of the youth)? Absolutely.'' Huard said he thought the assessment of the talent from the new coaches particularly revealing because "they bring an unbiased opinion'' having not really been involved in the recruitment of the players.

--- Mahler concluded his day there with an interview with Jake Locker.

Locker said he hasn't changed anything mechanically with his passing this summer instead focusing on his knowledge of the offense, saying getting more confident in what he is doing will improve his accuracy. "I said in the spring I felt more confident in the offense and that that made a big difference for me,'' he said.

Asked about the new receivers, Locker said "they were able to play fast and very athletic'' during summer workout sessions saying they "will cause some problems for some defenses. It's been fun seeing them try to grow and mature in their positions.''

Asked about the expectations for the team, he said: "We believe nobody is going to expect more out of us than we are, so that's what we are focused on right now.''

And asked about opening with Oregon, a team that has won four in a row against UW, he said: "It's time that we put our foot down and make a stand for ourselves.''

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July 24, 2008 12:14 PM

Wrapping up media day

Posted by Bob Condotta

As mentioned in the other post, I couldn't access the sound to the Pac-10 media day live streaming early on into Rick Neuheisel's comments (conspiracy theories abound in my head).

So I don't have anything else to throw your way that I gathered.

Instead, I'll pass along a few links that should give you about all you really need to know, and if anything else comes my way later, I'll pass that on, as well:

--- ESPN's Ted Miller hits the highlights of every coach (though I imagine right now he's hitting the buffet line --- that's what I'd be doing if I were there).

--- Here are some USC notes.

--- Here's UCLA from the Orange County Register and from the LA Times.

--- Here's more USC, including a lively debate sparked by coach Pete Carroll over some new rules at the coaches meeting with officials this morning.

--- Here's an Oregon State view.

--- Jon Wilner wonders who is the one person who voted Cal No. 1.

--- This has nothing to do with media day, but the creatively named "WSU Football Blog'' has some interesting takes on the Huskies contained herein.

All for now.

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July 24, 2008 11:50 AM

Neuheisel talks about UW program

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm moving this item from where I first had it to give it some more play.

Not sure if this happened to anyone else, but the sound on my streaming of media day went out about halfway through Rick Neuheisel's comments, so I may not have much more from media day --- I'll try to look for any links with news and pass those along.

But I turned to KJR just in time to catch the end of Dave Mahler's interview with Neuheisel.

Mahler concluded by asking Neuheisel his thoughts on the current state of the Husky program.

Neuheisel dodged the part about whether he feels like the downturn started with his tenure but said: "I feel badly that the University of Washington isn't as excited about its program as they were in that time that I was there because it's a great city, a great program. I have high confidence in Tyrone in terms of bringing back that stuff. I don't think any players I recruited (are still there) other than Juan (Garcia). He's a gutty kid and I wish him nothing but the best. But the University of Washington is a special place and I will always be thankful for my opportunity there and I hope and wish them nothing but the best, I really do.''

He then added that "the Huskies have one of the best players in the country in Jake Locker so they are going to line up every week with a chance.''

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July 24, 2008 11:18 AM

A bit more from the Pac-10

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are a few more interesting things I've heard from Pac-10 media day:

--- Rick Neuheisel began his session by thanking the UCLA administration for hiring him and saying "there's been a lot said about me the last five years. It is what it is. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity.''

--- Asked about his team's QB situation, Neuheisel joked to the questioner "do you have any eligibility?'' He said Pat Cowan is out for the year with a knee injury but that Ben Olson, recovering from a foot injury, should be ready by mid-August. The backup could be JC transfer Kevin Craft.

--- Cal coach Jeff Tedford left open the possibility that the Bears will play both QBs --- Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley --- this season, saying "it may take both of them for us to achieve our goals this season.''

--- He also said he thinks the team's chemistry will be better this season, something the coaches worked on during the spring, and noted that some staff shakeups could make a difference. Tedford said he will no longer be the team's sole play caller, a role he held last year, so he can spend more time overseeing the defense.

--- Tedford said RB Jahvid Best is healthy and that he thinks the combo of Best and Shane Vereen will "give us the most explosive backfield we've had.''

--- Tedford also said he is "very, very happy'' about the recent developments in the progress of a new stadium for Cal, something that may help mute the rumors that he might be looking to head elsewhere after this season.

--- WSU coach Paul Wulff said troubled DL Andy Roof remains on the team pending a decision by the school's administration. If he is not allowed to play, Wulff said he will recommend Roof transfer so he doesn't lose his final season of eligibility.

--- Wulff also said RB Dwight Tardy has been cleared academically and is full-go for the start of camp.

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July 24, 2008 10:58 AM

Oregon Pac-10 notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here's a bit more from Pac-10 media day focusing first on UW's first opponent of the season, the Oregon Ducks:

Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said that all of his team's injured players --- QB Nate Costa, RB Jeremiah Johnson, and LBs John Bacon and Jerome Boyd --- are completely healthy and cleared for all football activity.

Bellotti said Costa goes into the fall as the No. 1 QB but that Justin Roper is closed behind based on his play in the Sun Bowl.

Bellotti said he likes playing Washington in the opening game because it's a Pac-10 game that has the attention of his players, it's on TV, "and we get three weeks to prepare for Jake Locker, who is one of the most difficult athletes in college football to defend.''

Bellotti also said he envisions using both Johnson and LeGarrette Blount failry interchangeably in the backfield.

Bellotti led off his comments with a tribute to recently deceased safety Todd Doxey and was accompanied to the podium by safety Patrick Chung who said that Doxey's death "is hard to talk about, but it's made our team stronger.''

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July 24, 2008 9:29 AM

UW notes from media day

Posted by Bob Condotta

Nothing really earth-shattering from the Husky contingent at Pac-10 media day (and one thing to remember is that these guys are available away from the podium so people who are there may have additional notes and quotes).

UW coach Tyrone Willingham was asked about the health of center Juan Garcia and really didn't say anything specific, saying "we are cautiously optimistic'' and that he could be back at some point this season, "sooner rather than later'' if things go well. He said again if the recovery does not go as planned, he may have to have surgery that could knock him out for the year. As detailed here about two weeks ago, Garcia said the recovery is going better than expected and he thinks he could be back by the Oklahoma game if all goes well. But there's still a ways to go with that.

Here are some other comments from Willingham:

On the team: "We have a blend and mixture of youth and experience and hopefully experience at the right spots and hopefully inexperience at some spots we have concerns about but that we think with good coaching, proper preparation and luck at the right spots we can hit this thing just right.''

On the schedule: "I look at it as our team has accepted it as a challenge. Obviously we have one of the most difficult starts because we open with our rival and also a conference game on the road. If we can do well down there, then you think you can do well against other teams we will play at home.''

On Jake Locker, who was with Willingham: "I value the person more than the athlete because it’s the person that creates the athlete. He's as solid a young man as I have had the pleasure to coach. ... No one on our team works harder or prepares better.''

Willingham was also asked about the team's close losses last season and what UW can do to prevent them. He said the coaches looked at three things --- the team's conditioning, coaching, and the team's mentality in those situations. He said the Huskies "beefed up our conditioning a little bit'' to make sure that isn't a factor; will make sure that the coaches "clearly understand those situations, making sure that our guys understand how to handle those situations''; and will work on making sure the players look at those situations with a "glass half-full'' mentality and "that they are looking for great things to happen in those situations.''

He was asked about playing close against USC and said "just the fact that it's USC'' has helped get the team hyped to play the Trojans the last few years but that the Huskies "need to not just make it close.''

Asked if Locker will run less this season he said: "We will let the game dictate what happens there. The preference, obviously, is to not have him run at all but that would take away a very valuable threat that the opponent has to prepare for. ... we'll try to figure out the right balance for that and let the game dictate that.''

Asked if the youth at RB, WR and TE will change the emphasis of the offense any, he said he hopes the "emphasis is winning'' then added that he thinks the talent level is good in those areas and that "if we can bridge the experience gap than those positions can be strengths for us.'' He noted the presence of Brandon Johnson at RB and his 100-yard game last season against Cal but said it's "still not sufficient'' to say he is replacing Louis Rankin, who had a lot more production last season.

LOCKER NOTES

Locker was also there, and predictably enough, given that the media day is held in LA, the first question that came his way was to compare the linebackers for USC and Ohio State, who play early this season.

He was later asked about his summer playing baseball and said he liked simply doing something that was competitive but that "it didn't take away from what I did football-wise.''

After Locker concluded his answer about baseball, Willingham said he liked that Locker was able to be competitive this summer and that "honing the competitive edge, that's what competitors really love.''

He also spoke of his leadership role with the team and said "I feel like I really improved myself as a football player this summer from a leadership standpoint. We are young at receiver and in the backfield, so being able to be around those guys and work with them and making sure they understand what they are doing has helped me to take a bigger leadership role this year because of our necessity to have them understand what they are doing. ... One of the best ways to learn is to teach. I've been able to kind of improve myself through helping those guys out.''

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July 24, 2008 8:45 AM

Huskies eighth in official poll

Posted by Bob Condotta

The official Pac-10 media poll is out, and Washington is eighth while USC is again picked to win the conference.

Here's the poll.

1, USC (38 first-place votes), 389 total points
2, Arizona State, 330
3, Oregon, 295
4, Cal (1), 274
5, UCLA, 204
6, Oregon State, 192
7, Arizona, 185
8, Washintgton, 139
9, Stanford, 76
10, Washington State, 61

There were obviously 39 voters, and all but one picked USC to win it. The other picked USC second, hence USC getting 389 total points on a system awarding 10 points for a first-place vote, nine for second place, etc.

No real surprises, though some of you might wonder about UCLA being that high with a team facing as many questions as the Bruins. Otherwise, it's pretty much in line with a lot of the other pre-season polls out there.

Tyrone Willingham will be the first Pac-10 coach to hit the podium at 9:35 a.m. The Pac-10 is offering live streaming of the official sessions with the coaches and players. Details here.

I'm planning to monitor it and will pass along a report here.


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July 23, 2008 10:32 PM

Official Husky blog picks

Posted by Bob Condotta

Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the response to the earlier post today to send in your Pac-10 picks.

So much so, I'm not sure I was able to tabulate every single one as they are still rolling in.

So consider this an unofficial tally, but one that I'm fairly confident captures the general consensus.

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

As should be expected, UW was picked higher here than it has been in every other poll I've seen, and probably higher than it will be when the official Pac-10 poll is released tomorrow (I'm expecting Washington to be eighth in that poll, ahead of Stanford and WSU).

But much of the rest of it is about how the rest of the world has called it, including what seems to be an earnest attempt to give Oregon its due --- the Ducks even got three first-place votes from people (though one from an admitted Ducks fan). Arizona State was the only other team to get a first-place vote, garnering two.

As has been the case with the, uh, pros who do this for a living, Arizona was the biggest enigma among those of you who posted. Arizona was slotted everywhere from second to 10th with everyone unsure exactly what to expect out of Mike Stoops' crew. Second seemed too high for me until I looked at UA's Pac-10 schedule again. The Wildcats have five home games and the four road contests are at UCLA, Stanford, Washington State and Oregon. Arizona could conceivably be favored to win three of those. But 10th may not be out of the realm either. Struggle early, and the bottom could fall out of that team.

Washington State and Stanford were near unanimous picks for the bottom two slots, though UCLA and Oregon State each got last-place votes, as well (I'm throwing out the seemingly non-serious votes that Oregon got for the bottom).

Speaking of the Ducks, after I released my poll this morning, a couple of you sent me questions about Oregon. Namely: why do I and others assume RB LeGarrette Blount will make a big splash for Oregon this year but don't have similarly high expectations for UW's incoming running backs; and why does everyone seem to think Oregon's secondary is so good when the Huskies scored 34 points on the Ducks last season?

First, on Blount. Consider his history: He was one of the top-rated RBs out of high school, signing with Auburn, but didn't make it in academically. He went to a JC in Mississippi where he had two big years and was then rated as the No. 1 JC RB (if not recruit) in the country. Then once at Oregon, he reportedly tore it up in spring ball. Point being, he's so far lived up to the hype at every turn and RB is one spot where JC guys can come in and dominate immediately. Frankly, he sounds like Corey Dillon, who might have had 2,000 yards in his one year at UW except he didn't arrive until August and then had to win the job from a pretty good back in Rashaan Shehee (who got injured early in the season). Everybody could be wrong, but JC RBs are generally one of the easiest to project. UW's backs just strike me and others as more unproven at the moment.

As for Oregon's secondary, no, the Ducks weren't the most statistically impressive group last season, ranking seventh in passing defense in the conference (which is based solely on yards allowed) and sixth in pass efficiency defense (a better stat encompassing yards, percentage, interceptions and touchdowns). But the hype is emanating from the fact that Oregon has three starters back, one of whom is potential All-American senior safety Patrick Chung and a pair of cornerbacks who each earned conference honorable mention last year.

UW did throw a couple of long TDs against Oregon last year, but Jake Locker also completed just 12-31 passes in that game. Stats can also be a little misleading --- Oregon gave up more than 300 passing yards only once last season, but that came in a game it won fairly handily (379 against ASU), which is common. Teams that fall behind always start throwing the ball all over the place, so winning teams often have lower pass defense ratings than maybe they deserve. Also, the Ducks play a style of defense that often leaves the corners on islands, and can result in a few big plays when things break down (as happened on the one long TD from Locker to Anthony Russo last year). A more conservative style would likely help the numbers a bit, but being able to rely on the secondary that way can help mask some problems elsewhere.

Mostly, observers are assuming a steady rate of improvement from the returnees, same as fans of any team expect that their starters from one year will be better the next. Not to say everyone viewing it this way won't be wrong, of course. We'll all begin to find out for sure come Aug. 30.

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July 23, 2008 7:28 PM

ACC to release official injury reports

Posted by Bob Condotta

I spotted this one a few days late, but here's an interesting story that the ACC plans to release official injury reports for all of its member schools twice a week this season.

Here's another story with even more detail, saying that the league will announce pending surgeries and season-ending injuries on Monday and then a status report for the weekend on Thursday based on the NFL's long-time standards of out, doubtful, questionable and probable.

This could be a good thing if everyone goes along with it, though the ACC says schools that don't comply won't be punished in any way (I've heard nothing to indicate the Pac-10 is considering anything like this).

Sounds like it was an idea of North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien, who was a finalist for the UW job when he was at Boston College when it instead went to Tyrone Willingham, and he's to be applauded for trying something.

Injury updates are one of the biggest constant sources of friction between coaches --- most of whom want to keep that info as secret as possible (including Willingham); and reporters --- who mostly are trying to get the info at the behest of fans, who want to know who is playing that weekend.

Since there's never been any uniformity, each college sets its injury-update policy based coach. Guys like Arizona State's Dennis Erickson or USC's Pete Carroll have generally been pretty open about injuries, apparently figuring everyone is going to find out anyway. WSU has released official injury reports through its SID office the last few years.

Other schools, however, try to keep that info as hush-hush as possible, seeming to view keeping injuries quiet as a way to get a competitive edge (and in Willingham's case, it fits in with his close-to-the-vest manner about every topic).

The view of many coaches is typified in the quote in The Sporting News story by Virginia coach Al Groh saying he's in favor of the reports, but apparently only so he won't have to answer all those "stupid questions.''

It must be comforting for parents or relatives of Virginia's players to know that Groh views queries about the health of those players as "stupid.'' Wonder if he feels the same way when those parents or relatives ask him directly how their loved ones are doing? In essence, that's all we're doing --- asking the question for the thousands out there who don't have the same access we do but want to know, many of whom may be a high school coach or teacher of the player in question.

I can attest that whenever a player is injured, I gets tons of e-mails and questions asking how the player is doing, a good recent case in point being the Juan Garcia situation.

Reporters ask because fans want to know. And while coaches often want to publicly hold to the "next man up'' theory of simply moving on once a player is injured, it's not that simple for fans, who often grow emotionally attached to the players they watch --- they wouldn't pay all that money for tickets (money that helps pay the increasingly high salaries of Groh and his fellow coaches) if they didn't care so much.

Maybe standardized injury reports would at least end the song-and-dance between coaches and reporters, though if there's nothing compelling the coaches to comply, such reports might not carry much credibility.

And there will always be uncertainty --- listing a player as "questionable'' on Thursday wouldn't prevent that player from being able to play on Saturday. Still, it'll be interesting to see how this is received in the ACC and if it becomes a standard throughout college football.


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July 23, 2008 2:56 PM

Price talks about commitment

Posted by Bob Condotta

Keith Price, a quarterback from Bellflower, Calif., said he knew well that Washington didn't have a commitment for its recruiting class of 2009 until he gave Husky coaches the good word today, and that there is conjecture about the future of UW coach Tyrone Willingham.

"That was my main hesitation (in not commiting earlier),'' he said today when he spoke with the Times after having told UW coaches he plans to sign with the Huskies next February. But he said his some of his worries were calmed in conversations with Willingham.

"I have faith in coach Willingham and the program and that he's going to turn it around,'' Price said. "So that's why I gave him my commitment.''

Price said he found Willingham to be "a great motivator, a very upbeat guy'' in his conversations, which also helped convince him to become a Husky.

Price, a 6-2, 181-pounder who is a dual threat in the Dennis Dixon mold, said it had been a fairly short courtship with Washington. He said he hadn't heard anything from UW coaches until June, when first-year assistant Brian White saw his highlights.

"Then after that they were talking about offering me and I was like 'where did that come from?''' he said.

Price visited UW in late June, attending the school's football camp, which helped further cement interest in him from the Huskies. He said UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano told him that none of the other QBs in the camp had the combination of throwing and running. "He said I was perfect for them,'' Price said. "He said after Jake (Locker) leaves and I redshirt my freshmen year I could be ready to go.''

Price said he was leaning toward commiting during that visit but wanted to do a little more research on the school and talk with his parents. He also recently got an offer from Utah (and had one from Nevada) and said more interest was beginning to come in --- Louisville had also begun to talk with him and he said he's also spoken with Oregon and WSU (though UW is his only listed Pac-10 offer).

"I wanted to stay on the West Coast and I wanted to stay in the Pac-10,'' he said. "I got some looks from Louisville and they really liked me, but I didn't really want to go back East. I wanted to stay on the West Coast. ... Washington, I'm already used to the offense. It's the same kind of offense my high school is running so I thought it would be a perfect fit.''

Price has been described as being an "under-the-radar'' type who was only now beginning to get a lot of attention. He said it's in part because last year was his first as a starting QB at his high school and the team concentrated on its running game before the leading rusher was hurt midway through the season, allowing him to throw the ball a bit more.

But he said he has been playing football since age 7 and quarterback since age 8, so he's hardly a novice to the position.

He also plays basketball and ran one season of track.

Price said he hopes his commitment will help spur more recruits to cast their lot with UW. He said he had already spoken with receiver Kirby Moore of Prosser. He got to know Moore at the UW camp a few weeks ago.

"He's texting me right now saying he heard about it and congratulations,'' Price said. "I'm trying to get him up there. When I was at the camps I felt like I'd been with him forever becacuse he was catching everything I threw at him.''

Price said he has put on a few pounds and now weighs 181 and hopes to be 185-188 by next fall.

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July 23, 2008 12:54 PM

Do Huskies have their first commit?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The answer is yes, according to RealDawg.com, which is reporting today that UW has received a commitment from quarterback Keith Price of Bellflower, Calif. UPDATE --- Scout.com now has a report on Price as well, with a quote from Price saying he has committed to UW.

Here is his Scout.com bio indicating he also had offers from Utah and Nevada.

Here also is a little blurb on Price from the Orange County Register, as well as a breakdown of his game from Recruiting Planet. And here's another story on Price from Yahoo.com.

As noted in this story last week, the Huskies had been the only Pac-10 team without a commitment. Given that Pac-10 media day is tomorrow in Los Angeles, this news couldn't come at a better time.

Price is quoted in the RealDawg story saying he "had a great time'' at UW's camp earlier this month and thought about committing then but held off because he wanted to talk with family.

Price gives UW another QB in the "dual-threat'' mode, and would give them five for next season, assuming status quo with the current roster. UW's starter is obviously Jake Locker, with redshirt freshmen Ronnie Fouch behind him, and then true freshmen Dominique Blackman and Luther Leonard.

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July 23, 2008 9:37 AM

Poll time

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Pac-10 media poll will be out by this time tomorrow, so time for me to unveil mine --- as well as provide a space for you to present yours, as well.

In fact, one reader had a good idea after reading the link the other day from the Spokesman-Review, where Cougar fans almost unanimously had the Huskies last. He said I should solicit the views of UW fans to see how they think the Pac-10 will do, thinking Husky fans might see the league a little more fairly. So go ahead and give me yours below and I'll tally them up and provide a consensus.

As for my poll, faithfully submitted to the Pac-10 home office a few days ago, here it is:

1, USC --- Really just no other team makes sense to put here, boring as it is to pencil in the Trojans every season (though I'm told at least one person in the Pac-10 poll has voted for someone else). USC has some questions on offense, but the defense should be all-world, and that should be enough to win the Pac-10 again, though I envision another stumble somewhere along the way in conference play.

2, Oregon --- Sorry UW fans. But hey, I heard even Dave Mahler say he had put Oregon here in his poll the other day. The Ducks admittedly have a QB issue, but I don't think they have a lot of others. The RB spot should be just fine with the platoon of Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount, the O-line will be one of the best in the conference as should the secondary, and the front seven should also be solid --- it's nothing but juniors and seniors who have all played a lot. And for those who say Oregon's offense fell apart last year after Dennis Dixon got hurt, I'll point out it scored 87 points in its last two games against two bowl games --- OSU and South Florida. This is a coaching staff that has shown it can adapt to its personnel well. I do see Oregon losing a few games --- I think there's a pretty big gap from USC to everyone else --- but assuming a QB is found who is at least serviceable, I don't see a huge dropff in the Ducks.

3, Arizona State --- My biggest trepidation in putting ASU here is the offensive line, which was bad last year and essentially loses four starters. But Dennis Erickson is also one of the best I've ever seen at adjusting to his personnel, and after getting an in-action view of this unit last season, I think he'll have done some things to make it better. Rudy Carpenter gives ASU the Pac-10's most experienced QB, the receivers are great, and the defense should also be pretty dynamic. Going to Cal and USC on consecutive weeks in October will tell the tale on the Devils.

4, Cal --- Sure, the Bears folded a bit at the end of last season --- though I'd resist a little bit the notion that they do it every year. But they also rallied to win their bowl game, and Jeff Tedford then made some pretty significant changes to his coaching staff after a disappointing 7-6 season. There do seem to be some holes here --- not a lot of experience at RB, none at all at WR, and while a lot of the defense is back, it wasn't very good last season. But injuries also played a role in what happened to Cal last season and the Bears have recruited well of late. The O-line could be dominating, to help make up for some of the offensive inexpererience, and the defense can't help but be better.

5, Arizona --- Here's where picking the Pac this year really gets challenging. I think Arizona could be picked anywhere from fourth to ninth. Arizona has tended to underperform the last few years,and has some significant holes to fill on defense. But the offense could be one of the best around after finally settling in late last season, and it was something of a hard-luck year for the Wildcats last season --- they lost four games by seven points or less, three by three points or less. The heat is on Mike Stoops, but he has the schedule to make it work, with Idaho, Toledo and at New Mexico to start, then games at UCLA, home to UW and at Stanford to begin Pac-10 play. A 6-0 record isn't out of the question and anything less than 4-2 and Stoops will be all but fired by mid-October. Here's thinking Arizona will finally get over the hump and save Stoops.

6, Oregon State --- The Beavers are another enigma, having lost a lot off of last year's team, but also with a track record of recent success. But a lot of the losses are on defense --- just three starters officially return. And one thing that gets lost is that OSU tends to rotate players quite a bit on defense, meaning a lot of the new guys have played quite a bit, particularly the linebackers. I know the feeling in Corvallis is that the dropoff won't be what everyone assumes on that side of the ball just because of the lack of starting experience. The offense was a struggle at times last year, but OSU returns seven starters from a unit that averaged 35 points in its last four games. Mike Riley always seems to figure out a way to keep the Beavers afloat.

7, Washington --- As a beat writer for a team, you sometimes worry that you are almost too close to the situation to make adequate comparisons with teams on the outside, one reason I like hearing the viewpoints from elsewhere. When things are going bad, for instance, you can forget everyone else has injuries or defections, as well. Conversely, when you hear about all the excitement over new players, it's easy to forget that everyone else thinks all of their new guys are really good, as well. So in trying to find a middle ground on the Huskies, I've settled here. The defense has to be better, and Jake Locker gives the Huskies a puncher's chance in every game they play. But the lack of experience at RB, WR and DL can't be ignored. I think the D-line is the biggest issue heading into the first few games as I can envision teams like Oregon just trying to ram it down UW's throat, a strategy that on paper would appear to work. Depth in a lot of spots also has to raise some concerns, and in 12-game college seasons, it's bound to come up. What happens if Locker gets hurt, even for a game or two? Or one or two more of the O-linemen? And the much-discussed schedule obviously won't make it easy to build early momentum. That said, I do like the O-line and the fact that Locker in year two should be a lot more consistent, and if the defense shows the expected improvement, a few more wins will come. But against that schedule, just hard to see enough to move UW much past this spot.

8, UCLA --- Certainly a new way for Rick Neuheisel to take over a college team. At Colorado and UW, he inherited fairly veteran teams and provided a complete change in approach that worked fabulously in the short term. He doesn't get that here as the Bruins officially have just nine returning starters and are battling personnel issues all over the place. One thing the Bruins have going for them will be the low expectations --- UCLA is often accused of underperforming, something that won't likely happen this year. And this is still UCLA, where the recruiting classes are always pretty good, meaning a lot of the new faces might turn out to be pretty good. The defensive front seven could be particularly good, and if the Bruins can find a running game, maybe the Bruins can turn into a ball-control type team. The key will be a three-game home stretch early featuring games against Arizona, Fresno State and WSU.

9, Stanford --- There are actually a lot of things I like about Stanford, particularly nine returning starters on a defense that quietly got a lot better as last year went on (with the stats sometimes not showing it due to an anemic offense that kept the defense on the field too long). Stanford could also have a pretty good O-line --- four players who have at least nine starts return. But the QB situation is uncertain, there aren't a lot of proven offensive playmakers, and this is still a team that needs to learn to win. Stanford could also be 0-2 in Pac-10 play before many teams even play one game, opening at home against Oregon State and then at ASU. Still, I wouldn't be shocked if Stanford finished higher than this.

10, Washington State --- The general word on the Cougars is pretty good front-line talent, maybe better than everyone thinks. But it's pretty scary after that, and with 13 games and just one bye, depth is bound to become an issue at some point. It's also hard to know how Paul Wulff's no-huddle offense will take in the Pac-10, though the early vibe on everything else Wulff-related seems pretty positive. You could make a case for picking WSU a little higher if the QB were proven. But he's not, so for now, the Cougars are looking up.

So there are my picks. Now give me yours and we'll add them up.

Later, I'll also compare how I picked them the last few years with how things actually turned out.


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July 22, 2008 3:59 PM

Media guides released

Posted by Bob Condotta

Happened to be at UW today and was handed a copy of the football media guide for this season. They aren't available yet to the general public, so if you usually get one sent to you, it will be a week or two before they come --- the school had a few shipped early to hand out at Pac-10 media day Thursday.

This year represents a change in how the Huskies have handled their media guides. New NCAA rules a few years ago limited schools to printing no more than 208 pages in a media guide. That meant a lot of schools, such as Washington,. had to cut out a lot of information.

Since schools used the media guides for recruiting purposes, as well --- including lots of info aimed at selling the school to recruits, such as pictures of the campus, flashy bios of the coaches, etc. --- most of what got cut was record book-type stuff.

What some schools are doing, however, is publishing a spring media guide aimed solely at the media, one including all of the stats and historical data, etc. --- one that can't be given to recruits --- and another in the fall that is aimed at recruits. UW is apparently the first Pac-10 school to join this trend, which appears to have started in The Big Ten, publishing this record book and media guide in the spring and now publishing another one aimed largely at recruits this fall.

The fall media guide does include a lot of player and historical info, but it's a lot flashier, more of a yearbook-style. It includes full-page pictures and bios on every Husky scholarship player, the kind of thing that will be perfect for kids to get signed on Picture Day.

There's no real news in the fall guide --- everybody is included other than those already known to no longer be on the team such as J.R. Hasty -- but one item of note is that LB Joshua Gage is listed with the scholarship players. Under his picutre it states that the "former walk-on earned a scholarship for the 2007 season and again in 2008.''

No other walk-ons are listed in the scholarship section. WR Charles Hawkins, who earned a scholarship last year, is listed in the walk-ons section. That doesn't mean Hawkins or other walk-ons couldn't earn scholarships later, just that they aren't considered scholarship players heading into the season.

Also, someone had asked about Tripper Johnson's eligiblity. He is listed in the guide as a fourth-year junior, meaning he has two more years to play. As noted in the spring, he took a few JC classes while playing minor league baseball that impacted his eligibility.

The cover features action drawings of Jake Locker and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim with Juan Garcia, Donald Butler and D'Andre Goodwin on the back. The inside covers feature photo montages of Huskies in the NFL, such as Laywer Milloy, Mark Bruener, Marques Tuiasosopo and Reggie Williams --- not something UW has ever done before and obviously aimed at showing recruits Huskies who have had success in the NFL.

There is no two-deep in the guide and there may not be an official one until the week before the first game, when the Huskies traditionally release it.

The guide is not yet available on-line, but should be soon.

And speaking of Locker, he will accompany UW coach Tyrone Willingham to Pac-10 Media Day Thursday. This is the final week of summer classes for most players --- the quarter officially ends Wednesday --- so players are spending this week finishing that up, and many will then head home for what will be their last break before practice begins Aug. 4. Players will be due back on campus Aug. 2.


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July 22, 2008 1:09 PM

Camp schedule set

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies have released an initial version of their fall camp schedule to media.

UW will hold its first practice Monday, Aug. 4, at 3:45 p.m. The first two-a-day is Saturday, Aug. 9, after the NCAA-mandated acclimatization period.

UW will take off each Sunday through the three-weeks of camp but will practice at least once every other day until leaving for Eugene on Aug. 29.

On many days, UW will again hold split practices --- half the team going in one session, half in another --- something coach Tyrone Willingham has done throughout his time at Washington, feeling fewer players on the field can result in more and better work for those who are out there.

As noted the other day, Picture Day is Aug. 9 at 1 p.m.

There are no practices slated to be open to the media, a switch from previous years when at least one or two would be open, including the first practice. Media will once again be allowed to view the first 25 minutes of each practice, but no more.

As always, however, this is subject to change. Other than Picture Day, however, I don't see any events on here that would be open to the general public.


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July 22, 2008 12:06 PM

Lappano: "We know we have to win football games"

Posted by Bob Condotta

Interesting interview with UW offensive coordinator Tim Lappano on the Dave "Softy''Mahler show on KJR-AM today as the coach admitted that "we know we have to win football games'' to start reeling in recruits for the Class of 2009.

Lappano was on for 10 minutes or so and Mahler ended the questioning by asking about the fact that UW doesn't yet have any commitments (I don't have a real detailed transcript as I heard all this in the car, pulling over briefly to scribble a few notes).

Lappano said the encouraging thing is that "a lot of kids haven't told us no yet.'' But he said the UW coaches know that recruits also want to see where the program is headed before commiting.

"A lot of kids are testing the water, if you will,'' Lappano said.

He added that "that's how important the Oregon game is'' to get off to a good start and show recruits the corner is being turned. He said if UW wins a few games early "a lot of kids will start raising their hands saying yes.''

On other matters:

--- Lappano said he is hearing good reports on UW's voluntary workouts this summer, saying that the team decided to do some 11-on-11 work this year for the first time, opposed to all 7-on-7, to involve the offensive linemen more. "From what I gather, they are going well,'' he said.

--- He said Jake Locker has come away impressed with the play of some of the 2008 recruits who are now on campus. "He says they are everything everybody thought they were and maybe a little bit more,'' Lappano said.

--- Freshmen he mentioned as having a chance to play immediately were Chris Polk, Kavario Middleton, Cody Bruns and Jermaine Kearse (I'm sure he figures more could, as well, but that's just who he mentioned). "They have a chance to get on the field,'' he said.

--- He said that while Locker has taken the lead in guiding the offensive workouts that Donald Butler and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim have been the leaders on the defensive side.

--- Asked about the tough early schedule, he said it is what it is but also puts a premium on the coaches getting the freshmen ready to play. "They can't be freshmen,'' he said.

--- He repeated something he has said often before, asserting that this team "will have the most speed'' of any since he has been at UW since 2005. "That's something you can't coach,'' he said. He said he thinks the speed will be a particular factor on the perimeter.

--- He said the key task the first few weeks of camp will be "identifying playmakers.'' He said he thinks the young guys possess a lot of talent and the goal will be to "get them the football in a lot of different ways.''

--- He said playing Oregon the first game could be a real advantage for UW since "I'm not sure that they know who their quarterback is right now .... Why not get that guy right out of the blocks''' instead of waiting until six or seven weeks into the season. "I like that,'' he said. (One thing to remember is that the Oregon game was originally set for Sept.13 so it really hasn't been moved up all that much).


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July 22, 2008 9:45 AM

July questions, take three

Posted by Bob Condotta

Off with another round. ...

Q: So, anything new on the AD search?

A: Officially, no. Scott Woodward is still the acting AD and said late last week his status hasn't changed. Many around the school are assuming Woodward will do the job for another year or so and that that could be announced sometime soon. However, at least one source indicated that Bill Moos may still be in the running. Moos has never commented publicly on the Washington position. Through his lawyer, he said several times earlier he had not been contacted. But his name has continued to circulate through the rumor mill. A UW official said this week that UW president Mark Emmert will not comment on the search until it is completed and said only that the search continues.

Q: You want a question? Please tell me why the Huskies won't be a surprise team this year? 7-5 or 6-6 is definetly possible with the development of Jake Locker.....even with the young RB's and WR's, I can see Jake's leadership gettting the Huskies at least 5, possibly 6 wins this season.

A: My first response would be that I don't think 5-6 wins would be viewed as much of a surprise. UW is being picked 6-7-8 in the conference, which is about in the 4-5-win range or so. But if you're asking me why not, I would say that UW is really young at three key spots --- WR, RB and DL. The latter is especially worrisome, but I wouldn't rule out the challenge that the youth at RB and WR may present. Sure, those guys look really talented and all, but there's still a learning curve there --- I remember Charles Frederick, one of the more heralded receivers UW has ever brought in, making zero catches as a freshmen. I know experience can be overrated at times, but I also think that college football is one place where it remains hugely important. There's a big difference between being 18 and never having played and 21 and having played in 30 games. I agree that Locker gives UW a fighting chance in every game. But as has been well-documented, he also needs to show that he is becoming a more accurate passer. That will be even more important this year, especially early, when the young guys will need to get some confidence. Locker and his receivers will need to take advantage of every opportunity. This is also now a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2003. There is nobody left on the roster who remembers going to bowl games and having winning seasons. The team will need some early success to get some confidence, and that obviously won't be easy against that schedule (and remember here, I'm not trying to be all doom and gloom, just answering the question).

Q: What is the status of Jason Wells?

A: He is expected to be ready to go for the start of fall camp after having surgery last fall to repair the knee injury suffered against USC. He sat out the spring but was often seen running stairs, etc., and I saw him during my trip up to a conditioning session. But the real test, as is the case with anyone coming off a major knee injury, is once the pads go on and the real hitting starts.

Q: How does Johnie Kirton like his new role at Dline and does he think he will have more impact there as a player? Any possibility Luke Kravitz plays DE?

A: Kirton said in the spring he liked it just fine. He was recruited by some schools to be a DL and there is obviously a lot of opportunity there, so he seemed intrigued by the possibilites. As for Kravitz, I can't imagine such a switch. He's a fifth-year senior --- guys usually don't switch in the fall of their final season. And he's the backup fullback, a pretty valuable position, so he's pretty needed there, I think.

All for now.

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July 22, 2008 12:22 AM

Alumni updates

Posted by Bob Condotta

With NFL camps about to kick off, there's starting to be a lot of news on ex-Huskies out there, though we'll begin with a former Dawg now playing baseball:

--- Scott Hanson of our staff caught up with former UW quarterback Johnny DuRocher, who had been steadily working his way up the Mariners' farm system but is temporarily sidelined with an elbow strain.

--- Former UW linebacker Joe Lobendahn has moved his way into the starting lineup for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (it's about halfway down this story).

--- Silver and Black Illustrated has some good pre-training camp assessments of the Raiders roster, which currently includes four former Huskies. First, here's the outlook for the team's QBs and RBs, which includes Marques Tuiasosopo and Louis Rankin; followed by a look at the receiving corps, which includes Marcel Reece; and finally, a look at the defensive line, which includes Greyson Gunheim.

--- And wrapping it up, a Dallas Cowboys beat writer ponders the future of Isaiah Stanback among many other issues in this mailbag.

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July 21, 2008 2:44 PM

BYU picked to win Mountain West

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Mountain West Conference released its 2008 media poll today, and BYU was an overwhelming pick to win the title this season, receiving 29 of the 35 first-place votes.

The Cougars will visit UW on Sept. 6 in what looms as a key game for both teams.

For BYU, it will be its first big test of the season after opening at home against Northern Iowa --- think what you want of UW, but anytime a MWC team plays a Pac-10 team on the road, it's a telltale game. For UW, it is the second of a three-game gauntlet to open the season that will tell a lot about the future of the program, sandwiched between a road game at Oregon and a home game against Oklahoma.

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July 21, 2008 11:29 AM

July questions, take two

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here are more answers (or attempts at answers, anyway), plus a couple of bonus links at the bottom:

Q: I'm curious about televised games. Do the Huskies make more money when they get a game televised nationally vs locally? And, if the ratings are higher for that game, do they get extra money? Or does all that extra cash go to the network. Also, is TV revenue split with the rest of the conference?

A: Yes, national games earn more revenue than local games as they attract a much larger audience, and hence more advertising dollars. A national game can garner, say, $300,000-400,000 or so while local games maybe $100,000 or so. Ratings for an individual game don't result in more money for that game. However, the ratings for one season do affect what the networks can charge for ads in following seasons. So in that respect, higher ratings will pay off in more money eventually. And yes, TV revenue is split. In the Pac-10, the two teams playing share 50 percent of the revenue of a TV game. The other 50 percent is split among the rest of the conference.

Q: Who has not qualified in this class? Do they still have a chance to make it in ? Most urgent, what is up with Craig Noble? What is an exit exam? He did pass the ACT or SAT right?

A: As far as I know, the only three players not yet in the bridge program are Noble, Dominique Blackman and Demitrius Bronson. All have indicated they have a chance to make it in. So that I don't have to repeat myself, I will link to previous posts detailing each of their situations --- Bronson, Blackman and Noble. Noble has apparently met all requirements other than passing the California High School Exit Exam. That is something like the WASL here and is necessary for a diploma, which is needed for entry to UW. Sounds as if it could be cleared up in August sometime. Obviously, the sooner the better for a player the Huskies have thought could contribute immediately this year on the D-line.

Q: What freshman do you think will make an impact his year? Who will be the most effective tight end?

A: The most obvious frosh to make an impact this year is WR/RB Chris Polk, who participated in spring ball and showed enough to indicate he will get significant time this year. As for others, a lot of it depends on need. UW obviously has some needs on the defensive front, so any of Alameda Ta'amu, Noble, Everrette Thompson and Senio Kelemete could see time this year. With the lack of experienced depth at TE, Kavario Middleton has a huge change to earn time this year, and the lack of experienced depth at RB and WR means a number of those players could also see time. UW coaches indicated on signing day that DB Adam Long would likely see time as a special teams player, if nothing else. But other than a guy like Polk who has already proven a lot to coaches, nothing is really set in stone until practices start and coaches get a look at the players up close. As for the TE spot, Michael Gottlieb is a fifth-year senior with 12 career starts and while I know there is a lot of excitement over Middleton, I would still expect that Gottlieb will be the starter when the season begins and likely to be the most effective TE. But should production falter, the new guys will undoubtedly get their chances there.

Q: I was wondering about the conditioning of the team from a numbers perspective. A lot of people have expressed their view that the Huskies look bigger and stronger than they did in past years but I was wondering how much stronger. Is there a trend for example in our linemen being able to lift and squat more than they were before and how have certain players progressed, stayed the same, or regressed in important areas?

A: That's a good question that unfortunately is hard to answer as UW does not make those kinds of numbers public. Some numbers do sometimes get out, but without having the numbers for every player, every year, it's hard to make really accurate comparisons. The eye test, however, seems to indicate that the conditioning has improved the last few years, and the coaches say it has, as well. There is no doubt that work habits weren't the greatest during the upheaval and transition from Neuheisel to Willingham, and while you all can argue the results on the field, there is no question that Willingham has brought a stability that has led to an improvement in the off-season conditioning programs. But I always caution that weight numbers aren't everything --- if they were, Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been an All-American.

A COUPLE OF LINKS. ...

--- Vince Grippi at the Spokesman-Review unearthed the startling news that Cougar fans don't think UW will do well this year. Who'd a thunk it?

--- Ted Miller, who is blogging as fast as the price of gasoline rises, today rates the Pac-10 kickers and has UW's Ryan Perkins sixth. I'm sure Ted is as aware as the rest of us that that's a job that figures to have stiff competition this fall and that it wouldn't be a big surprise if Erik Folk won it. He appeared to have the stronger leg in the spring but didn't yet have consistent accuracy.

All for now.

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July 21, 2008 9:11 AM

July questions, take one

Posted by Bob Condotta

A lot of good questions out there so I'll unfurl the first batch of answers here.

One caveat --- a lot of the questions asking "who is so-and-so'' looking are kind of unanswerable at the moment. The team hasn't done any real football playing since the spring and doesn't start up again until Aug. 4. The incoming guys have yet to do much of anything. So what I'll attempt to do on questions like that is just give an overview of where that player stands in the fall.

Q: Any clue yet as to which side of the ball the staff is hoping to play Kavario Middleton? He is almost exclusively referred to as a TE, but according to scouting reports it sounds like he could be a huge asset on the other side of the ball. And now that Chris Izbicki is ready, don't you think we are long in the TE department?

A: I actually ran into Middleton when I was out there last week and he said he's undoubtedly a tight end to begin his career. Izbicki did appear to make some nice strides in the spring, but I don't think the TE spot is long at all. You have Michael Gottlieb, a fifth-year senior, and then Izbicki, a redshirt frosh, Middleton, a true frosh, Walt Winter, a fifth-year senior who hasn't ever really played much, and walk-on Romeo Savant, a redshirt frosh who has shown enough to far to indicate he may be a real factor at the spot someday.

That's five tight ends, but two who will be gone after this season. The Huskies like to use lots of two tight-end sets, which means having three or four ready to go at any time in case injuries arise. A lot of people project Middleton to step right in and play a big role this season, and he certainly looks the part. But playing tight end in a Pac-10 offense requires a pretty big mental adjustment and it could take Middleton a little while to get his sea legs. To me, this position is stocked just about right, though I think the Huskies will need to get at least one more in this recruiting class to add to the depth.

Q: Can you find out about Johri Fogerson? Is he going to be playing D this year? And if Brandon Johnson starts off the season slow any chance they will put Chris Polk at RB full time instead of this Hybrid type role they are planning on doing?

A: I also had a chance to talk to Fogerson last week, as well, and he said he will start out on offense --- I don't think there's any question that's the position he prefers. Position changes can always occur later, but all the freshmen currently have listed positions assigned by the coaches. As for Polk, I think his receiving skills are such that he will always be a big part of the passing game. But should he emerge as the team's best running back --- and lots of recruiting analysts think that's where he should be --- it's possible he becomes more of a full-time runner. But the best-case scenario is that Johnson (or Willie Griffin or whoever else is here) can handle the "true'' running duties, allowing Polk to do more of the Reggie Bush-role the coaches envision.

Q: With our small inexperienced D-line what are the Huskies going to do to prevent teams from just pounding it down our throats? Four yards and a could of dust.

A: I'll grant the inexperienced part. But depending on who emerges, UW's line might not be all that small. Alameda Ta'amu is listed at 6-2, 348 --- that would make him one of the biggest, if not the biggest, DLs in the conference. Cameron Elisara is now listed at 6-3, 289. There are lots of DEs in the 250-pound range in the Pac-10, like Washington's will likely be. But the inexperience is a legitimate worry. Several of you asked questions about that, and while you sometimes see DLs step in and play really well immediately, the more likely route is that it takes a year or two to really get it. There's a new level of physicality to get adjusted to, and more complicated technique. In general, I usually think the two lines are the two worst places at which to be young --- along with maybe QB. So that will be a big challenge for this team. As for what UW will do to prevent teams from pounding it down their throats? No real secret --- try to get the new guys as acclimated to the game as quickly as possible, and maybe take some of the pressure off the line by using a 3-4 or blitzing more.

Q: When is Picture Day?

A: It's Saturday, Aug. 9, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Here are details from GoHuskies.com.

More later.

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July 20, 2008 1:19 PM

Question time

Posted by Bob Condotta

Just 15 days until the Huskies begin camp, fifteen more days to fill the blog with pre-season speculation until some real news.

That in mind, I'm again putting out a call for your questions.

Post them here and I'll get to them in the next two weeks before camp begins.

To keep you up-to-date on where things are, most players are still on campus for another week, veterans finishing summer school and the newcomers finishing the bridge program. They will get the following week off as their last vacation before the season, which will be the longest regular-season in UW history, stretching from Aug. 30 to Dec. 6.

There will be one bit of news this week as the Pac-10 holds its annual media day Thursday in Los Angeles. That is when the official Pac-10 media poll will be released, and sometimes coaches use the occasion to announce some personnel moves, as well.

For now, ask away.


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July 18, 2008 4:23 PM

Offenisve line ratings and a little more

Posted by Bob Condotta

A rumination on offensive lines and a couple of notes to send you into the weekend:

--- First off, ESPN's Ted Miller ranked the offensive lines today and has UW at No. 3, likely the highest any of Washington's position groupings will rank in any of these things.

That's the same spot we reserved for the Huskies in Lindy's, as well. In fact, we were prepared to put UW No. 2, behind only Cal, when Juan Garcia was hurt and we moved them down a notch.

Miller ranks the top three as Oregon, Cal, UW while Lindy's had it Cal, Oregon, UW. Either way, it points out that the Oregon-UW game will be a matchup of two of the better O-lines in the conference this season, though unfortunately for UW, Garcia will likely be unable to play in that game, lessening Washington's strength just a bit.

One big difference on that day, however, is that the Oregon O-line will be matched up against a UW defensive line that will go into the season considered among the weakest in the conference while the Huskies will go up against an Oregon D-line ranked among the best.

I would imagine Miller is getting ready to soon unveil his D-line rankings. At Lindy's, we had ASU first, Oregon second with UW, which has just one player returning with any experience in DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, dead last.

To me, that matchup --- Oregon's O-line vs. UW's D-line --- looms as the key to the game. Oregon figures to try to just ram it down UW's collective throat. UW will have to prove it can stop that to put some pressure on whoever Oregon's QB is. Otherwise, all the talk about Oregon's inexperience at QB may not matter much if all he has to do is hand or pitch the ball to somebody.

One caveat to the D-line rankings is that it's a pretty down year for that position throughout the conference, so the difference between being No. 2 and No. 10 isn't as great as it could be in other years.

Oregon, for instance, has just two starters returning on the D-line but earned its ranking in Lindy's due in large part to the fact that one of those returnees is one of the best in the nation in DE Nick Reed --- Oregon also returns DE Will Tukuafu and has two seniors likely to step in at tackle.

The Huskies moved the ball pretty easily on Oregon's line last year, however --- the Ducks had only two sacks in the game, both from the secondary (though admittedly it's probably a little dangerous to read much into UW's sacks allowed stats with such a mobile QB as Jake Locker).

Anyway, the rankings of the two O-lines as among the best in the conference points to a lot of points Aug. 30 in Eugene. The big question for the Huskies will likely be whether they can keep up.

NOTES

--- First, someone wanted to know when camp starts. The first practice is slated for Aug. 4, a Monday. We should have a more detailed schedule of events coming soon.

--- Someone else wanted an update on Craig Noble. I haven't heard anything new. I was up at UW yesterday and the guys who were missing earlier are still missing from the bridge program --- it would be too late to get in now. Their status should become clearer once August rolls around and camp starts.

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July 18, 2008 9:19 AM

Is Willingham's uncertain status hurting recruiting?

Posted by Bob Condotta

That was the question I asked in this story today.

As has been discussed here before, UW has no commitments for its class of 2009 while every other Pac-10 schools has at least four.

The answer? No one's completely certain, though recruiting analysts think it could be a factor while one recruit, Gino Simone of Skyline, said he thinks it definitely is playing a role.

Simone said Willingham's uncertain status "weighs heavily on a lot of guys' minds'' as they are deciding whether to commit to UW.

However, the state's top recruit, Deandre Coleman of Garfield, says that isn't an issue with him. He said he simply hasn't committed yet because he wants to take all of his trips.

As mentioned in the story, UW acting AD Scott Woodward also says he doesn't think it's a real concern. He also said there have been no talks about extending Willingham's contract, which runs out after the 2009 season. Obviously, nothing will be done on that until it's apparent which way this season is heading.

The one thing I've read on here and elsewhere, however, is that Willingham can earn that final season by what he does this year. The reality is that UW either gets rid of Willingham after this season, or commits to him for another three, four, five seasons. The discussion right now about whether Willingham's status is hurting recruiting is why they couldn't simply just keep him on his current contract for one more year. The conjecture would be even greater next season, and for recruiting purposes, the school has to either fish or cut bait with Willingham after this season.

In the story, I note that UW had at least one commitment by this time every year since the class of 2002. That includes the Class of 2005, though you wouldn't know it by looking at the Scout.com wrapup for that year which shows that no Huskies who signed committed before Aug. 14.

However, UW did have two players commit by this day in 2004 --- cornerback Keno Walter-White and tight end Adam Grant --- who each then headed elsewhere once it was apparent Keith Gilbertson wouldn't be back. Walter-White, a JC transfer, played at Arizona State while Grant signed with Arizona.

Woodward is quoted in the article saying he thinks this will soon be a "non-story'' once a few recruits start rolling in. He and others pointed out UW has to be a little more selective this year with fewer scholarships to offer. Others pointed out the state doesn't have as many top-level recruits this year --- early commits tend to come from in-state. But given that UW apparently has at least 30 scholarships out there, that doesn't necessarily seem to explain all of it.

The reality, as is always the case with recruiting, is that there is no one, single answer. Much as people liked to portray last year's class as a sign of support for Willingham, a number of the big in-state recruits said they simply wanted to stay home --- not that they didn't want to support Willingham, just that staying home was ultimately the most important factor, as it often is for in-state players who commit to any in-state school.

As well with the recruits who haven't jumped on boat yet. Some, like Simone says, may be wary. Others, like Coleman, may simply want to take their time.

But another reality is that this will remain a story until the day someone does commit, growing a little bigger every day until that happens.

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July 17, 2008 11:44 PM

Official week one lines released

Posted by Bob Condotta

I wrote a few days ago that Oregon would be a 10-and-a-half point favorite over the Huskies once official Las Vegas lines were released.

And indeed they are as the first official line for week one of the season is out via VegasInsider.com.

In other lines involving Pac-10 teams, Oregon State is a five-point favorite at Stanford (I would expect that one to come down --- certainly I think I'd take the home team and the points in that one); Arizona is a 28-point favorite over Idaho (sounds about right); USC is a 17-point favorite over Virginia (ditto); Cal is a 7-point favorite over visiting Michigan State (I'd take the Bears and lay the points on that one); and Oklahoma State is a six-point favorite over the Cougars (another that sounds about right --- anymore than a TD and you'd have to think about taking WSU).

There is no line yet on the Tennessee-UCLA game --- the Bruins are off the boards right now due to their QB situation, according to the LA Times.

VegasInsider also has these 42 predictions for the college football season, including a rather dire one for UW coach Tyrone Willingham, projecting that he is one coach on the hot seat who won't survive (it's prediction No. 27).

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July 17, 2008 2:34 PM

Locker makes O'Brien Watch List

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW quarterback Jake Locker is one of 31 quarterbacks named to the watch list for the 2008 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, given annually to the top QB in the nation.

Here's the official release:

FORT WORTH, Texas (July 17, 2008) - The 2008 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) Watch List was released today by the Davey O'Brien Foundation and its National Selection Committee. The Watch List spotlights 31 Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) quarterbacks who will vie for the award honoring the nation's best quarterback for the 2008 football season. In addition to the Watch List, all Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks are equal candidates for The O'Brien until semifinalists are selected.

Watch List candidates were selected by a subset of the National Selection Committee and approved by the Davey O'Brien Executive Committee. Semifinalists will be announced October 27; finalists November 24. This prestigious award focuses on accomplishments both on and off the field. The Selection Committee is asked to evaluate all candidates on their quarterback skills and athletic ability, academics, reputation as a team player, character, leadership and sportsmanship.

The 2008 winner will be announced during The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN December 11. The recipient will be honored February 16, 2009, at the 32nd Annual O'Brien Awards Dinner at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

2008 O'Brien Watch List:

Todd Boeckman SR Ohio State

Sam Bradford SO Oklahoma

Tom Brandstater SR Fresno State

Hunter Cantwell SR Louisville

Rudy Carpenter SR Arizona State

Jimmy Clausen SO Notre Dame

Chase Clement SR Rice

Chase Daniel SR Missouri

Sean Glennon SR Virginia Tech

Matt Grothe JR South Florida

Max Hall JR BYU

Cullen Harper SR Clemson

Graham Harrell SR Texas Tech

Chase Holbrook SR New Mexico State

Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada SR Navy

Dan LeFevour JR Central Michigan

Jake Locker JR Washington

Colt McCoy JR Texas

Curtis Painter SR Purdue

Todd Reesing JR Kansas

Mark Sanchez JR USC

Riley Skinner JR Wake Forest

Rusty Smith JR Florida Atlantic

Matthew Stafford JR Georgia

Tim Tebow JR Florida
Mike Teel SR Rutgers

Willie Tuitama SR Arizona

Drew Weatherford SR Florida State

Pat White SR West Virginia

Juice Williams JR Illinois

John Parker Wilson SR Alabama

About The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award®
The O'Brien honors the nation's best college quarterback of the year and inspires student-athletes to triumph both on and off the field. By recognizing and honoring athletes who excel in both sports and academics while exhibiting strong character and leadership, The O'Brien aims to help instill a lifelong moral fiber in each candidate. The O'Brien is overseen by the Davey O'Brien Foundation, which was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The Foundation had given away over $750,000 in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life. For more information, visit www.DaveyOBrien.org.



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July 17, 2008 9:58 AM

Thursday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

And we don't mean sausage. ....

--- Mike Huguenin of Rivals.com has this fun look at what the coaches involved in some of the more intriguing college football matchups this season might say to each other before the game. Two involve UW's Tyrone Willingham.

--- ESPN.com's tireless Ted Miller has this ranking of the Pac-10's tight ends, slotting UW at eighth while noting the addition of Kavario Middleton could change things. Reading through the list reinforces the idea that tight end is a pretty good position in the conference this year.

--- Thanks to Miller for also finding this note on former Husky Joe Lobendan, now with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

--- There's an interesting note buried in this blog post that the Dallas Cowboys "flirted'' with signing Marques Tuiasosopo before Tui decided to sign with the Raiders, instead, thinking he had a better chance at earning a more prominent role in Oakland.

--- Here's a really nice story on former Husky Dashon Goldson from the 49ers' official web site. Camps are just around the corner and sounds as if Goldson has a real chance at a starting job this year. Obviously, playing for the 49ers means a return to Seattle every year. This year's comes on Sept. 14.

--- UCLA suspended starting strong safety Bret Lockett for the first game for violating team academic rules. Is this evidence Rick Neuheisel is wielding a sharper disciplinary sword than he did at UW?

All for now.

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July 16, 2008 7:53 PM

Notre Dame names AD, UW still waiting

Posted by Bob Condotta

Notre Dame named a new athletic director today, needing only about six weeks to replace Kevin White, who left for Duke.

That led KJR-AM's Mike Gastineau to ask me today why Notre Dame can do it so quickly while UW has been waiting since last December to hire Todd Turner --- you can access that conversation here.

I also addressed it in this blog post last week.

As mentioned in both links, the growing thought around the program is that Scott Woodward will remain in his role as acting AD for a little while longer, if not through the end of the year and beyond.

I asked Woodward that a few days ago and he said it was "news to me.'' But he also said again that he will stay on if asked, and that he expected to have a meeting soon with UW president Mark Emmert at which it was possible the topic of the AD search would be discussed.

One thing to keep in mind is that Woodward's presence as acting AD helps mute a sense of urgency to get someone in place just to get things done. Woodward is as powerful as an acting AD can be and by all accounts has taken charge of the department in that role, scheduling games, extending contracts of coaches, etc. But as I mentioned in the radio interview with Gastineau, I know there are many out there who would like some sense of certainty about the direction of the department, even in the short term.


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July 16, 2008 11:33 AM

Wednesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

On a day I'd rather be hitting the links (not really complaining, it's just really nice outside) I'm passing some along, instead:

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller continues his good series ranking the Pac-10 by position with the receivers, and the running backs. In the "bad news for the Huskies'' dept., he ranks UW last in each category.

At Lindy's, we were a little kinder, ranking UW eighth in receivers, ahead of Cal and Stanford, and ninth in running backs, ahead of Oregon State. I know UW fans will argue about the apparent young talent at both spots, but it also remains unproven, making it hard to rank Washington ahead of teams that have more experienced players at those spots.

Miller had the same top four at WR as did Lindy's --- Arizona, Arizona State, USC and Oregon State. There was a little more difference at the top of the RB rankings. Miller has it USC, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, Cal, WSU, Stanford, Arizona, OSU and WSU. Lindy's had it ASU, USC, Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Arizona, Stanford, WSU, UW and Oregon State.

--- Stewart Mandel's mailbag on SI.com contains an interesting last item --- a reader in Kansas pledges, surely tongue-in-check, that he will give $1,000 to UW athletic department if the Huskies beat Notre Dame this year. Mandel responds that may turn this into "the most highly-anticipated matchup of nine-loss teams in college football history.''

--- Brian Dohn, who covers, UCLA for the LA Daily News, casts an optimistic vote for the Huskies in the ballot he has sent in for the annual Pac-10 media poll, placing UW sixth, ahead of UCLA, WSU, Arizona and Stanford. I'll unveil mine here soon. Pac-10 media day is July 24 in Los Angeles when the official poll will be released.

--- Sad news out of Phoenix as former ASU and Cal coach Bruce Snyder has told friends he is battling cancer. Snyder had some memorable battles against the Huskies, including the 1991 game with Cal --- maybe the closest the national title Huskies came to losing; a 1996 45-42 win in Tempe while at ASU, which ultimately sent the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl and UW to the Holiday; and a 42-38 win for UW at ASU in 1998 decided by the legendary last-minute pass from Brock Huard to Reggie Davis.

All for now.

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July 15, 2008 1:32 PM

Rating the quarterbacks

Posted by Bob Condotta

ESPN.com's Ted Miller, who is blogging more often than Josh Hamilton homers, offered this look at the Pac-10's quarterbacks yesterday.

His conclusion? Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter is No. 1, followed by Arizona's Willie Tuitama, USC's Mark Sanchez and Washington's Jake Locker. The rest of the order: Nate Longshore of Cal, Ben Olson of UCLA, Nate Costa of Oregon, Lyle Moevao of Oregon State, Tavita Pritchard of Stanford and Gary Rogers of Washington State.

Miller writes that if Locker were "surrounded by budding NFL talent, he'd be Tim Tebow,'' notes that he improved on his passing accuracy in the spring, and that it "wouldn't be shocking if he accounted for 3,500 to 4,000 yards of total offense.'' Locker had 3,048 last year, the second-highest total in UW history behind only the 4,273 of Cody Pickett in 2002 when Pickett threw for a record 4,458.

As part of my duties for Lindy's pre-season preview, I helped the magazine compile its rankings by position. The one difference is that we look at the entire position --- including backups --- and not just the starter or starters.

Or rankings looked this way:

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

And here was our unedited analysis (meaning it might be a little different than actually appears in the magazine but I didn't want to simply copy all of that):

The conference of quarterbacks may be as thin as it has ever been this season in terms of established talent. Proven performers such as Dennis Dixon, Alex Brink and John David Booty are gone and there are only three teams certain to have the same starter as a year ago --- Arizona State’s Rudy Carpenter, Arizona’s Willie Tuitama and Washington’s Jake Locker.

All three could contend for all-conference honors and the player with the most upside may be Locker, a sophomore who has a strong throwing arm and also rushed for 986 yards, most ever for a Pac-10 QB. Locker needs only to improve his erratic throwing to become a superstar. Carpenter and Tuitama should each put up big numbers operating pass-happy offenses and each also has the advantage of being in a set system for a second straight season.

ASU may depend on Carpenter more than ever with a stud receiving corps but an unproven offensive line. Cal has a brewing battle between Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley and having two capable players gives the Bears an overall edge over many other Pac-10 teams.

USC hopes Mark Sanchez can make a seamless transition from the John David Booty era. If not, Arkansas transfer Mitch Mustain is waiting in the wings. UCLA has a potentially volatile situation with Patrick Cowan winning the job over Ben Olson in the spring (EDIT --- Cowan has since suffered a knee injury and is out for the spring). Stanford’s Tavita Pritchard and Oregon State’s Sean Canfield will each have to battle to hang onto their jobs (EDIT --- Moevao now appears to be OSU's starter) and Oregon and WSU are starting over with talented but unproven QBs.

Another ESPN writer, Bruce Feldman, agreed with my premise that the "conference of quarterbacks'' is a bit down this year, listing the Pac-10 sixth in his rating of positions by conference, writing that "the traditional No. 1 on this list is on the downside of the cycle.'' He calls Locker "the most exciting QB out west'' but says accurately that he must improve his completion percentage "if the Huskies hope to go bowling.'' He writes further that Locker and Sanchez are the two Pac-10 QBs who are the "keys for this group to make a big move up.''

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July 15, 2008 9:19 AM

Tuesday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

As the title says. ...

--- This is a day old, but here's a report from the Bellingham Herald on the final baseball game of the summer for Jake Locker.

--- Columnist Elliott Smith of the Olympian worries that UW's schedule this season will be the undoing of coach Tyrone Willingham. As mentioned here before, the toughness of the schedule this season is in part the result of trying to make last year's a little easier. When Willingham and Todd Turner assessed the program before the 2005 season, they thought the team would be ready to turn a corner in 2008, so they moved the Oklahoma game from 2007 to 2008, inserting Boise State into last year's schedule, instead (the Oklahoma and Notre Dame series were each agreed to before Turner and Willingham came on board). Here's a Times story from 2005 detailing some of Turner's thoughts then on trying to ease the 2007 schedule.

--- The Denver Post has this note on former UW assistant Bob Simmons deciding to make his home in the Denver area. Simmons was UW's tight ends and special teams coach the past three years before being fired after the season. According to the story, he has yet to find another coaching job but doesn't want to be considered retired and is still looking for one.

--- ESPN.com's Ted Miller has this list of the Pac-10's impact freshmen this season from recruiting expert Tom Luginbill. Included is Kavario Middleton with the comment that he is "a beast on both sides of the ball.'' Also on the list is UCLA QB Kevin Prince, who was a UW commit for a while. I agree with some of the commenters that I would expect Chris Polk to be UW's biggest impact frosh at the moment given the fact that he's already gone through spring ball and is at a position of immediate need.

--- Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com asks if defense really wins championships and concludes that it doesn't necessarily, pointing out that seven of the past 11 national titles have been won by coaches with an offensive background. He also breaks down head coaches by whether they were offensive or defensive coaches as assistants. Willingham goes on the offensive list as he was an RB and WR coach for nine years before becoming a head coach. However, he also has a varied background, having been a DB coach for the eight years prior to that and also serving as a special teams coach for nine seasons (a period overlapping the other stints).

--- Here's more on the sad news over the weekend out of Oregon on the passing of Todd Doxey. UW plays at Oregon in the opener for both teams Aug. 30.

All for now.

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July 14, 2008 12:38 PM

New equipment deal coming?

Posted by Bob Condotta

Rumors are making the rounds that the Huskies are thinking of ditching Nike as their equipment supplier and going with another company, either Under Armour or adidas. One rumor has it that UW has already set its sights on Under Armour and that Nike is phasing out its selling of Husky merchandise.

Officially, however, nothing has yet happened and won't for a little while.

To clarify the situation, UW has had a contract with Nike since 1997, renewing it in 2001 and 2004. Under the current deal, UW gets roughly $1.1 million in product and about $210,000 in cash every year from Nike (that doesn't cover the entire budget for such items, and some UW teams also have separate deals with other companies to cover some specific apparel/equipment they need).

The deal between UW and Nike runs out July 1, 2009 and UW has already begun sending out "requests for proposals'' for companies to submit bids. The department will decide later this year which one to accept.

Some UW fans think the Huskies should align with someone other than Nike, which is headed by well-known Oregon Duck booster and alum Phil Knight.

Scott Woodward, UW's acting athletic director, said last week that would have "very little factor, if any'' in Washington's decision. "Whichever one provides the best value to the student-athlete will be the winner,'' Woodward said.

It's likely that any significant changes to logos and other such items won't happen until after the Huskies have signed a new contract.

Nike has already lost one major school this year when Michigan recently announced it had signed a new deal with Adidas. Michigan unveiled new gameday jerseys today that are a product of that new association.

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July 14, 2008 7:47 AM

LA Times on Bush, Mayo cases

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of you have asked from time-to-time why the NCAA doesn't seem to be doing anything about the Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo cases, so I thought I'd pass along this story today from the LA Times addressing that topic.

Appears NCAA officials are growing sensitive to the notion that they are giving USC a pass and wanted to make clear that they aren't, while also pointing out the complexities that make the investigation difficult.

One of the interesting quotes in there is from author Aurthur Fleisher III who says that "most people don't understand --- the NCAA is the schools themselves.'' Former UW coach Don James once made this same point to me, saying that while he didn't agree with everything the NCAA did, it was simply made up of other coaches and administrators like himself --- in fact, he had served on NCAA committees during his career.

Nothing in the story changed several of my thoughts on the issue, specifically that I don't think anyone will ever get hit as hard again as UW and some other schools (Miami, Alabama) were in the mid-90s --- there's too much at stake now to levy such heavy penalties anymore, and the schools now know how to handle it better when issues do arise.

Ted Miller of ESPN has his own take on this story, as well as a few other Pac-10-related links.

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July 13, 2008 8:42 PM

Huskies stick with chocolate milk

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Huskies gained some national attention last August when it was learned that trainers had decided to add chocolate milk as a regular part of the team's post-practice nutritional regimen. As the story linked notes, the Huskies required players to drink a small carton of fat-free chocolate milk following every practice.

UW sports performance coach Trent Greener said that he was satisfied enough with the results that the team will continue to drink chocolate milk this year, and in fact will extend its use past training camp and into the regular season.

"It looks like it can keep you hydrated a little bit better,'' Greener said last week.

Greener said it was hard to point to any one specific thing as a benefit of the use of chocolate milk last season just that he had a general idea that it seemed to work, a belief buoyed by previous studies.

Greener says chocolate milk is thought to be particularly effective in adding protein when players walk off the field right after completing a practice or work-out. He said chocolate milk appears to be more effective in some of its capabilities to replenish certain nutrients than sports drinks.

"We're going to make it a little bit bigger part of our program,'' Greener said.

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July 13, 2008 6:54 PM

Locker ends baseball season in style

Posted by Bob Condotta

UW quarterback Jake Locker played his final baseball game for the Bellingham Bells today and probably couldn't have asked for a better ending to his brief summer diversion.

Locker keyed a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Bells to a 4-3 win, hitting a one-out double that put runners on second and third --- the other runner was cousin Brady Locker, in as a pinch-runner. Both then scored on a single that tied the game with two outs, and the winning run came home on a bases-loaded walk.

Locker went 3-4 in the game with a double --- his first since opening night --- and a stolen base.

Locker played 10 games for the Bells, starting nine, going 9-33 (.273) with one homer, two doubles, six runs scored and three runs batted in. He was also 4-5 on stolen bases and played only in center field defensively.

The Bells announced last week that Locker would not play any baseball games past this weekend to rest up for the beginning of UW's football camp Aug. 4.

The Bells are 12-15 in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League.

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July 12, 2008 1:09 PM

Ducks 10-and-a-half point favorites over UW

Posted by Bob Condotta

After reading in the LA Times USC blog the other day that the Golden Nugget sports book in Las Vegas had already set a couple of lines for Trojans games this fall, I decided to see if they had any for UW games.

None are officially posted yet ---- the casino has opened for betting only games it thinks will get an exceptional amount of play this season. But Tony Miller, who is the director of the sports book there, told me that a line has been set for the UW-Oregon game, just not posted yet. The line, he said, will open with Oregon a 10-and-a-half point favorite over the Huskies.

In explaining the line, Miller said he thinks the Huskies have a chance to be a better team this season, but that he expects Oregon, despite the fact that it has to find a new QB, "to still be one of the best teams in the Pac-10 this year after USC.''

In fact, Miller said he thinks the line will prove to be a little conservative, saying it won't surprise him if bettors move the line even more in Oregon's favor.

"On the opening weekend, people tend to bet on the favorites, especially those playing at home,'' he said.

One thing to remember is that the lines are set to entice an equal amount of action on each team --- that's the one way the sports books know they will win since they keep the five percent vigorish, or handling fee, no matter what.

Since I was calling from Washington, Miller volunteered a line on WSU's opener, as well, saying that Okahoma State will be a six-point favorite over the Cougars in a game that will be played at Qwest Field a few hours before UW's game in Eugene on Aug. 30.

,

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July 11, 2008 9:23 AM

Friday links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few links to send you into the weekend:

--- The Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook preview of Washington is now available on ESPN.com, though only if you have the Insider package (which I have due to the immense raise I've gotten for doing this blog!). It's an exhaustive preview, though for the die-hards it may not have a lot you don't know already. Most interesting in these things are the rankings and conclusions. Blue Ribbon gives UW's offense a B, the special teams a C-plus, the defense a C and the intangibles a C-plus. And in assessing Tyrone Willingham's future, the piece states "Bottom line: The Huskies probably have to win five home games to save Willingham's job, and that's a tough task. They should beat Washington State on the road, but after that, any road victory would be an upset.'' And it concludes with: "In the end, this team simply doesn't look much different than a year ago. The Huskies should be more competitive on a week-to-week basis, and the seven home games certainly help the cause, but wins could be hard to come by.''

--- Former UW beat colleague Ted Miller, now at ESPN, is adding posts to his blog more frequently than the Mariners lose. Among his latest entries is this one assessing the top five questions in the Pac-10 this season. Number two asks whether UW and Arizona can win enough to save the jobs of Willingham and Mike Stoops. Miller concludes that Arizona has a better chance, and that an 0-3 start --- UW won't be favored to win any of those games --- could doom the Huskies.

--- Miller also has his pre-season Pac-10 rankings with UW seventh. He also goes out on a limb with USC at No. 1.

--- Finally, Miller, who really should be working more on his golf game rather than doing all this darn blogging, has this look at what has happened to Washington "while you were on vacation.''

--- A Bleacher Report columnist (and boy are there a lot of those) says the Huskies could be one of the top five surprise teams in the country this season --- actually, he says they could be the third-biggest surprise. One minor glitch is that he writes UW could end up in the Independence Bowl., Thankfully for those of us who would get to attend UW's bowl game, the Pac-10 has no contract with the Independence Bowl and since it has deals with seven bowl games overall, the odds of a Pac-10 team ending up in something other than one affiliated with the conference are about as long as this sentence.

--- Jake Locker's appearance this week at a fund-raiser in Ferndale helped raise more than $7,000 for a children's organization.

--- Want more ammo that the Pac-10 really does schedule more manly than almost every other BCS conference? The Wizard of Odds supplies some good evidence with this breakdown of non-conference games sinice 1998 showing that the Pac-10 has played fewer home games than the other BCS conferences, and fewer games against I-AA foes (or whatever they are called these days by the NCAA) than any other conference in college football.

All for now.


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July 10, 2008 11:14 PM

AD update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Though as I've written here several times previously under that headline, there isn't a whole lot of updating to do.

Today marks exactly seven months since Todd Turner resigned under pressure and the Huskies are still without a permanent athletic director.

Or are they? There are increasing rumblings that Scott Woodward, who has been serving as acting AD since Jan. 31, may stay in that role. Maybe not forever, but at least for a year or so.

Woodward, also the school's vice president for external affairs, said in May he wouldn't pursue the job full time, mostly because president Mark Emmert thought he could better serve the school staying on upper campus. But Woodward has left open the possibility of a change in plans, saying he would do whatever Emmert thought was best. One source said the increasing assumption in the athletic department is that Woodward will remain AD for a while.

It's thought the job has been offered to several outside the department, most notably Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich. One theory making the rounds, however, is that the manner in which Turner was let go has had a negative influence on what some ADs think of the UW position, hampering the ability to lure a sitting AD to Seattle.

The most immediate task for whoever takes the job will be evaluating the football program, and making a decision on the future of coach Tyrone Willingham, who is entering the fourth year of a five-year contract. But it now seems pretty unlikely UW could have a new AD in place by the beginning of practice on Aug. 4.

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July 10, 2008 1:08 PM

Watching a workout

Posted by Bob Condotta

When Trent Greener, Washington's sports performance coach, told me I could attend one of the football team's summer conditioning sessions, it seemed like a generous offer until I realized what it meant --- getting up at 5:30 or so to make the 7 a.m. start.

But hey, if they can do it all summer, I can do it once, so Wednesday I rolled out of bed at an hour usually reserved this time of year only for sleep or golf and headed up to UW to give some of you who have asked about these sessions an idea of what they are like.

As I wrote here last month when conditioning kicked off, the players usually work out four days a week (NCAA rules limit it to eight hours a week), two hours at a time.

Generally, they are split into two groups --- skill position players in one, linemen in the other --- one doing stretching and running in the Dempsey Indoor while the other lifts weights in the weight room.

That's how it was Wednesday with the skill guys going first in Dempsey and the others in the weight room, then switching after about an hour.

The conditioning started with about 10 minutes of stretching, then a lot of sprinting and agility drills under the supervision of trainers. One set consisted of 10 different exercises -- 40-yard sprints, 10-yard sprints, backpedals, lateral shuttle-type drills, etc. --- with brief breaks in between.

Then there was more sprinting, backpedaling, etc., until I got tired just watching it all --- or maybe the coffee just hadn't kicked in yet.

I realize it's almost becoming a cliche to write something positive about Jake Locker, but the reality was that he seemed to come in first in an awful lot of the sprints I watched.

Then the groups switched, the skill guys lifting, the linemen, uh, sprinting. The linemen's drills looked a little different than those of the skill guys --- a bit more emphasis on backpedaling in a stance off the line, that sort of thing.

There were 50-60 guys there or so. I didn't see any of the new guys because they go in the afternoon, their day pretty structured around the freshmen bridge program. The vets do their work in the early morning to allow for flexible schedules the rest of the day.

I didn't really take roll and while there were a few guys not there, it's not fair for me to name any since they could have perfectly valid reasons for not being there that I don't know about.

But some of the guys who were there made an impression.

Donald Butler definitely looks the part of a Pac-10 linebacker as I'm not sure he could fit in the front seat of my Hyundai Elantra with those shoulders.

Kalani Aldrich also really passes the eye test these days and the 240 he is listed at seems more than accurate --- he said late last season he lost a little weight struggling to adapt to the food here compared to his native Hawaii.

Johnie Kirton, now listed at 296 pounds, seemed to move around just fine and was getting in some extra weight-lifting work with Greener as I left.

Darrion Jones also looks like someone you really wouldn't want to say a bad word and ready to finally live up to some of the expectations generated when he was one of only two players who played as true freshmen in 2005.

Chris Stevens is the early leader in the "added facial hair'' category for the off-season, sporting a bushy beard that I figure won't make it far into August. Or maybe it's simply part of Stevens' continual attempts to put on more weight.

Anthony Boyles was hitting the weights hard, working in the same group with Locker, who was playfully egging him on throughout. Locker also led the cheers of "c'mon Chuck'' during Charles Hawkins' turn at the weights.

There were others, but I was moving back and forth and talking to people, as well, so I didn't write down something about everybody who was there, so don't read anything into me not mentioning someone.

A general observation would be that the Huskies look a little more like what you would expect a major college football team to look like than they have in some recent seasons. But who knows how much that will mean come August. Every time I'm told how hard a team has worked in the off-season I remember that every other team did roughly the same thing. So we'll see.

But as I was leaving there, I was reminded of that old military commercial --- these guys did more exercise by 9 a.m. than I'll do all summer.

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July 10, 2008 8:51 AM

Locker's baseball season ends this weekend

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Bellingham Bells announced today that Jake Locker will play his final three games with the team this weekend when the team hosts Corvallis.

The games are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham.

Locker will then put the baseball gear away for the summer to rest up and train for the football season.

"Jake is going to take a couple of weeks to rest and recharge his batteries before he starts camp with the Huskies,'' said Bellingham coach Brandon Newell in a statement. "He has been a tremendous addition to this team, and a great teammate as well.''

Locker announced last winter he planned to play this summer for the Bells, in their first season of ownership by Brett Sports.

Many UW fans immediately worried how it would impact his preparation for this season. Turns out, probably not much at all. Locker said all along he would make football his priority and he has played in just seven games, hitting .227 (5-22) with a homer and three RBI.

There had been some thought he might play in 30 games or more and take some road trips. Instead, playing three more this weekend means Locker will end up playing just 10 games. All will have been in Bellingham.

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July 9, 2008 7:51 PM

Noble reportedly coming late, other links

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few notes and links for Wednesday night:

--- Dawgman.com is reporting on the site's message board that incoming DT Craig Noble has not yet passed the California High School Exit Exam and won't be able to get a result on a retake for three weeks or so, meaning he won't be able to enroll for the summer bridge program and could miss a week or two of fall camp. Practice starts Aug. 4. Noble, from Woodland Hills, Calif., was regarded as one of UW's top recruits and expected to compete for immediate playing time on a defensive line thin on experience. Arriving late obviously won't help his chances. UW coaches have said at least two of the incoming frosh could play on the D-line. The others are Everette Thompson, an end; Senio Kelemete, likely an end; and Alameda Ta'amu, a tackle.

--- Former Seattle PI reporter Ted Miller, now writing a Pac-10 blog on ESPN.com that is threatening to put the rest of us out of business, has this interview with prospective Oregon QB Nate Costa. In it, Costa says that "I have a hatred for UW.'' Really, though, it would have been an upset if he had said anything else. It would be like asking David Stern if he had a hatred for honesty, integrity, loyalty and tradition (really, I'm not bitter at all).

--- Nick Hundley, the son of former UW defensive coordinator Tim Hundley --- who worked under Rick Neuheisel --- made his Major League debut last Friday.

--- I'm really not linking this just because it mentions me. But after I detailed UW's Class of 2005 the other day, Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard decided to check in on Oregon's Class of the same season and found that it hasn't had much more staying power than Washington's.

All for now.

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July 9, 2008 11:53 AM

Garcia "way ahead of schedule''

Posted by Bob Condotta

At the kind invitation of UW's sports performance coach Trent Greener, I happened to take in the team's off-season conditioning and weight lifting session today. I'll have more on that later.

But thought I would pass along now a brief conversation I had with center Juan Garcia, who was wearing a smile as wide as any he has had since before he suffered a Lisfranc injury during spring practice in April.

Garcia happily reported that his foot is now out of a boot and that he will hopefully begin jogging in a couple of days and that he is growing increasingly optimistic that he could be able to play most of this season.

"It's way ahead of schedule,'' he said. "We were looking at (returning) at mid-season but now we're looking at two games into the season, so we'll see what happens.''

The caveat is that this remains a tricky injury and as Garcia admits, the real test will come when he puts the kind of pressure on the foot that can only be found playing football.

Garcia said how the foot will respond to that that won't really be known until he goes through a few practices. He's hoping he may be able to take part in practices beginning in mid-August, if not a little earlier just for some brief appearanes.

"Maybe throw me in for a couple of plays to see if it's actually going to hold,'' he said.

But UW trainers and coaches plan to be as careful with the injury as possible since a false step could put Garcia back to step one.

Garcia said he has been chomping at the bit to push his recovery but coaches and teammates are doing what they can to keep him in check.

He said on Tuesday he watched the team's voluntary 11-on-11 drills and asked if he could go in for a play. He said Jake Locker said sure, as long as the team walked through it. Garcia wanted more, however, and he thought his pleas had eventually worn down his teammates as they agreed to let him in for a play. But when the snap came, Garcia reported with a laugh that defensive tackle Cameron Elisara backed away, saying "I'm not taking any chances.''

"It was pretty funny,'' Garcia said.

Garcia said he will have the foot examined again by doctors next week to see how well it is healing. All previous reports, however, have been good and Garcia said that so far "not going to surgery has been a good thing. I feel pretty good. Maybe all those prayers have been working.''

Unable to run yet, Garcia spends his workout sessions almost entirely in the weight room, and he said he has added to his upper body strength --- his weight is up to 320, though he said he'd like to be back to 310 for the season.

"My strength is there,'' he said. "I've just got to get my stamina and conditioning back up.''

But Garcia said the recovery to date has him feeling like his old self. "My confidence is starting to come back,'' he said. "But no matter what happens, the one thing nobody is ever going to be able to take away from me is that I did not quit.''


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July 9, 2008 10:21 AM

Wednesday links and notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

First off, thanks for a lot of good comments in the "suggestions'' post last night. One thing that seems clear is that a lot of you do like the links. So with that in mind, here are a few new ones to pass along as well as a Jake Locker-baseball note at the bottom:

--- The Idaho Statesman has this story today asking the question "How young is too young?'' when it comes to offering scholarships to high school football players. The test case in this story is Skyline sophomore-to-be WR Kasen Williams , who has been offered by UW, Boise State and UCLA. The story includes quotes from UW coach Tyrone Willingham that were proferred a few months ago at that convention in Dallas.

--- SI.com's Stewart Mandel empties his mailbag, and among the questions is one asking which UW game offers the best coaching storyline --- the return to Seattle of former coach Husky Rick Neuheisel and UCLA or the matchup with Notre Dame and Charlie Weis, pitting Willingham against his old school? Mandel argues that it's the latter, saying the enmity ND fans still hold toward Willingham is greater than that held by UW fans toward Neuheisel. Not being that close to the ND situation, hard for me to really know. It seems curious if true, however, considering Willingham was fired merely for not winning enough games while Neuheisel was fired for his off-field actions that helped put the UW on a downward path that it is still trying to climb out of, then sued the school and won a hefty settlement. Mandel also puts the onus on Willingham this season, writing "there are officially no more excuses'' for Willingham.

--- The Bleacher Report has this look at the best games in September, a list that includes the UW-Oklahoma game. The author's view of the Huskies is that "they were better than 4-9 last season.''

--- While the Huskies are still looking for a permament AD, Notre Dame may hire one this week. The list of candidates includes one also rumored at one time as in the hunt at UW, Bubba Cunningham of Tulsa.

--- Heisman Pundit has this look at the Top Programs in College Football. Most are no-brainers. Interesting, however, to see Cal and Oregon on the list of those "On the Cusp.'' I'd still argue that you have to take a longer-term view if you are really judging a "program,'' --- to me, a program signifies something that is long-lasting and will survive a coaching change or two. Cal no doubt has been one of the better teams in the Pac-10 since 2002. Still, the Bears haven't been to a BCS bowl since 1959. Does the recent run really make Cal a better program than a UCLA or UW?

--- Former Husky Caesar Rayford is included in a picture that accompanies this story on diminutive running back Stefan Logan of the BC Lions.

--- I'm told UW quarterback Jake Locker will play for the Bellingham Bells in their three home games this weekend against Corvallis. However, his baseball-playing schedule beyond that is uncertain. Locker has played in just seven games as he has lived up to his pledge of concentrating on football-related activities this off-season, so far seeming to do a lot less baseball than was originally anticipated by some.

All for now.

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July 8, 2008 4:16 PM

Seeking your suggestions

Posted by Bob Condotta

With August and the beginning of camp on the horizon, among the items on my to-do list in preparation for the season is to meet with some of the muckety-mucks in the sports department about possible improvements to the blog.

Which got me to thinking that I should throw it to those of you who actually read this thing every once in a while for your thoughts. This will be the third season for the blog and I've pretty much just winged it the past two years, so I thought I'd ask for your input.

What do you like most? Links to UW-related stuff? Links to Pac-10 news? Analysis? Practice updates (as much as is possible given our limited access, anyway)? Notes and quotes? Alumni updates? Game threads? I'm especially curious to know what you think of links --- do you use them? There are an increasing number of places to get links so I'm wondering how valuable a service that is. I read a lot of different sites every day, so it's probably something I'll always continue in some form. But I'd like to know what you think.

I'm sure a lot of you would like more recruiting news. I'll head that off a little up front by saying that I'm not sure I can ever provide a whole lot more recruiting news than I am now. My charge at the paper requires me to spend most of my time focused on the current team and its activities. Still, I would like to ask how valuable the recruiting stuff I have done is to you. I know there are lots of other sites out there that provide that stuff. Is what I've tried to do in that regard here worthwhile?

But mostly, I just want to know what ways we might be able to serve you better on here (short of asking for my firing, anyway). Some may be doable, some may not. But I figured it can't hurt to ask --- that maybe somebody will bring up something that would be a great idea that I've simply never thought of before.

So consider this a suggestion box for the blog, one that will stay open until the first request for me to get a new haircut.

Thanks.



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July 7, 2008 10:36 PM

Just say no to Pac-10 expansion

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few of you have asked whether the Pac-10 might be more amenable to expanding now that commissioner Tom Hansen is on his way out --- he'll officially retire next summer.

I'd been putting together some thoughts on the issue to respond when I read this today from Dick Harmon of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City and realized he echoed many of my views.

Harmon says there's no chance that BYU and Utah will be invited into the conference, nor will anyone else, which is exactly what I think, as well. Whenever I've asked the question of conference or school officials I've almost always been told that there's really no interest from the Pac-10's side to expand. The conference tried in the mid-90s, most notably approaching Colorado and Texas. But those two decided to head to the new Big 12, and serious expansion hasn't been broached since.

Harmon also reiterates a point I made here earlier --- that people assign way too much power to conference commissioners such as Hansen for making these kinds of decisions. It is not Hansen who has stood in the way of the Pac-10 expanding, or Hansen who is the sole reason the conference is against a playoff. Hansen, instead, is merely serving as the public voice of the conference's presidents and chancellors, who are against both. Hansen works for the presidents, chancellors, etc, and if they don't want something to happen, it's not going to happen no matter what a commissioner might want. This is also something to consider when ripping Hansen for the conference's TV deals. It's the fact that the presidents/chancellors don't want to move basketball games to Monday night at 9 p.m. for ESPN that matters most, not whatever Hansen thinks.

Where I differ with Harmon is on his somewhat harsh critique that the conference mostly doesn't want to share its money. That the conference isn't concerned with being fair. I'd ask Harmon this --- why should the Pac-10 expand? Why should it split its financial pie? What would the Pac-10 really gain? What's unfair about wanting to keep something that has worked well for 30 years the way it is and not wanting to disrupt some hard-earned traditions?

As a longtime fan of the Pac-10, I see no reason to change, nothing that BYU would really add other than maybe a little more money, that would make it worth it to alter some of the things I think help make the conference great, such as the round-robin football schedule or the traditional traveling partners in basketball. He says both BYU and Utah would be better than Washington State or Oregon State. That's debateble by any measure, I think. But even if you grant that, is that a reason to want add BYU and Utah, that they are better than the two worst programs in the conference? To me, that would be a reason for holding out on expansion to make sure it's something that's a no-brainer, as Texas and Colorado would have been.

One of the most common arguments for expansion is that it would allow the Pac-10 to play a conference championship football game. But I think a lot of people around the conference fear it might not be much of a success. Say you play it in the Rose Bowl every year. What happens if Oregon wins the north division and Arizona the south? Are they going to get 90,000 for that on one week's notice with fans of both teams knowing a bowl game also awaits? What kind of TV rating is that going to get?

And speaking of divisions, I would ask UW fans who might favor expansion if that's something you really want. That would almost inevitably mean that the Huskies wouldn't play both USC and UCLA every year, also meaning there would be seasons that neither would visit Seattle. You really want to give up the annual visit from USC/UCLA to add Utah?

The Pac-10 may have its issues --- TV contracts, bowl games, though I've argued elsewhere that I don't think either is really as bad as often portrayed --- but those aren't things that will be solved by expansion. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


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July 7, 2008 4:08 PM

Checking in on Huskies in the CFL

Posted by Bob Condotta

The Canadian Football League has begun regular season play, and four former Huskies are listed on rosters on the league's official web site.

Only two are currently active --- quarterback Cody Pickett with Toronto, where his primary duty is as the holder for Mike Vanderjagt's kicks; and linebacker Joe Lobendahn with Winnipeg.

Defensive end Caesar Rayford is on the practice squad with the B.C. Lions while DE Kai Ellis is on the injured list with Montreal.

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July 7, 2008 9:29 AM

Monday links and notes

Posted by Bob Condotta

A few thins to pass along on a Monday morning:

--- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is apparently saying privately that he expects his team to win 9-12 games this season, a tally that surely includes a victory in Seattle over the Huskies in October. Really, it should probably be bigger news if some coach was telling everyone he thought his team would lose 12 games --- I would think you'd want your coach to be optimistic. But no doubt, that quote will get good play this fall, especially if the Irish again lay an egg. Just what direction Notre Dame is headed will be evident when it comes to Seattle (obviously, the same will be the case for UW) and that game could serve as something of a tipping point in the future of the two programs.

--- The Daily Oklahoman, when it had some free time from its sycophantic coverage of Clay Bennett's heist last week, had this interesting story on the debate over whether there should be an early signing period in college football --- its survey says 77 percent of coaches are in favor of one. UW coach Tyrone Willingham is quoted in the story saying the idea is gaining momentum but needs more study.

--- Another former Husky assistant has been named as the best at his position in college football in a continuing series from Sportsline.com. This time it's Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock, who worked at UW from 1983-87. Earlier, former UW running backs/cornerbacks coach Chuck Heater, now at Florida, was named the best DBs coach in the country.

--- With UW's off-season program in full swing, Jake Locker didn't play any games for the Bellingham Bells last week. He has played in just seven of the team's 21 games, which seems a bit lower of a percentage than originally projected.

--- From what I understand, the incoming true freshmen won't begin participating in official conditioning drills at UW until Tuesday.

All for now.


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July 6, 2008 11:22 PM

Breaking down the classes

Posted by Bob Condotta

The departures of J.R. Hasty and Jordan Murchison last week only made it more evident what a young team the Huskies will be heading into the 2008 season.

Consider that of the 84 players now on scholarship (by my count, anyway) only 15 are fourth- or fifth-year players.

I broke down the Class of 2005 last week, a group that now has just seven of the 13 that originally signed.

There are also just eight left from the Class of 2004, of 22 that originally signed (I'll break that down in a future post). That was the only full class signed by former coach Keith Gilbertson. Including Juan Garcia, the lone remaining member of the Class of 2003, there are just nine players left on the roster not signed by Tyrone Willingham.

There are also just 13 left from the Class of 2006, a group that originally consisted of 22 players, also contributing to the youth of this team. The major reason there are so few left is that seven signees of that class were JC transfers, five of whom are no longer with the Huskies, including Murchison (the two that remain are S Jason Wells and snapper Danny Morovick).

The vast majority of the roster is made up of the last two recruiting classes --- 52 scholarship players in all (of 53 who originally signed. The lone signee from the past two years no longer on the roster is lineman Emeka Iweka). There are 26 each from the classes of 2007 and 2008. Most of the players from the Class of 2008 will be arriving this week to enroll in the summer bridge program.

For those who will add up the numbers, the difference is made up walk-ons who have since earned scholarships, such as TE Michael Gottlieb.

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July 5, 2008 7:52 PM

Blackman playing waiting game

Posted by Bob Condotta

Most incoming Husky players are en route to campus this weekend --- or already there --- for the beginning of the freshmen bridge program on Monday. Enrolling also means players can take part in the summer conditioning program.

One player who apparently will have to wait a little while, however, is quarterback Dominique Blackman of Carson, Calif.

Blackman said this weekend he is waiting for a result on an ACT he took last month before knowing if he will be eligible to enroll in the bridge program, a month-long summer course designed to prepare incoming freshmen for college. Blackman doesn't think the situation will impact his ability to enroll at UW this fall, however.

"It sucks to be in this situation right now but it's all good,'' he said. "I'm pretty much just waiting on a score right now. But trust me, I'll make it.''

Blackman said he found out shortly before graduating high school that his GPA was just a little shy of what he needed to be eligible with the SAT scores that he had (remember, there is now a sliding scale, with the higher the GPA, the lower the necessary test scores and vice versa). It was recommended that he take the ACT to attempt to get the needed standardized test score. If he doesn't get the needed score, he said he will need to retake a Physics class (he said he got a C when he needed a B) to get eligible.

If he has to go the latter route, he said he won't be able to attend the bridge program but thinks he'll be eligible for the season --- he could take the coutrse on-line and finish in time for the start of fall practice, he said.

He said he hopes to know the result of the ACT sometime next week. Any later, and he may not be able to make it for the bridge program though Blackman said it won't be for lack of want-to.

"If I find out Wednesday, I'll be there Thursday,'' he said.

Blackman said it's a frustrating situation because he hoped to contend for the backup quarterback position this season. UW has little depth at quarterback. After Jake Locker, the other QBs on the roster are redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch, Blackman, and fellow incoming freshman Luther Leonard of Evergreen. Also on the roster is walk-on sophomore Taylor Bean.

Missing the bridge program, and a month of conditioning work, Blackman said, could leave him a little behind.

"This could put me in a bad situation,'' he said. "I might have to redshirt when they weren't coming close to having me redshirt. But I hope that doesn't happen.''

Blackman said he is working as hard as he can to stay in shape. Through connections of a relative, he works out with trainers at Athletes Performance, saying he has conditioned alongside the likes of Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Blackman, listed at 6-5, 250 by UW, said he is in good shape, tipping the scales right now at 240. He said he 'd like to play this season at 235. He stayed in shape this spring by playing competitive volleyball for the first time, helping lead Carson to the second round of the LA City Section championships. He became a quick enough study at it that he says he has been invited since to play on select teams though he has turned down the offers to concentrate on football.

He said he was talked into playing volleyball by a teacher who is also a coach with the team.

"I worked a lot on lateral movement and jumping and I needed that,'' he said, adding he has a 38-inch vertical leap.

Blackman is one of 26 high school players signed by the Huskies last February. One, WR/RB Chris Polk, enrolled in time for spring football. Two, Blackman and RB Demitrius Bronson, are known to have some issues that could prevent them from enrolling for the bridge program, but both say they expect to be eligible in time for the season. There are no known issues with other freshmen. UW lists all the freshmen on its current roster and school officials have said the expectation is that all will be eligible.

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July 3, 2008 11:08 PM

More from Spokane

Posted by Bob Condotta

Here is more on the three future Huskies who played in the East-West 4A/3A All-Star Summer Classic tonight in Spokane, won by the East 17-14, from correspondent Jason Shoot:

SPOKANE --- One football game does not define a player, but it may offer a little insight.

Three University of Washington recruits played in Thursday night's East-West 4A/3A All-Star Summer Classic at Central Valley High School --- Eastlake offensive tackle Drew Schaefer, Kentwood running back Demitrius Bronson and Kamiak tailback/defensive back Justin Glenn.

Following is a breakdown of their performances:

Drew Schaefer, Eastlake

Starting at left tackle for the West, Schaefer (6-4, 285) did a fine job getting his arms extended against opponents, but there were a few occasions when defensive linemen got inside to his chest. Even in those instances, however, Schaefer maintained a good base with sound footwork and wasn't exploited.

Schaefer spent most of the evening lined up opposite East defensive ends Evan Cook (6-3, 265) and Nick Gale (6-4, 245). A standout from Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Cook has committed to Eastern Washington. Gale, from Eastmont in East Wenatchee, will play collegiately at Portland State.

When Schaefer got upfield to the second level to engage a linebacker, he did a fine job sealing the holes and creating a lane for his tailbacks. He didn't appear to have the strength yet to be a pancake machine, but he's plenty quick enough to be the lead blocker on traps and counters to the opposite side.

"I'm going to work in the weight room every day,'' Schaefer said after his West team came up on the short end of a 17-14 decision. "It all starts Sunday (the day he and other UW freshmen enroll in the freshmen Bridge program).''

Demitrius Bronson, Kentwood

Bronson (5-11, 205) finished with a team-high 52 yards on eight carries and showed good vision when rushing off tackle and around the edges. He didn't find much room to maneuver between the tackles, though.

Bronson was unable to pick up a pair of short conversions. He gained only two yards on fourth-and-3 in the first quarter and then was stopped for no gain on third-and-3 in the second half to hand the ball back to the East. Both runs were designed up the middle.

Bronson has thoroughbred legs reminiscent of a young Emmitt Smith, although it would be a disservice to him to suggest he's in that echelon yet. His posted 40-yard time of 4.6 seconds will need to improve for him to be an every-down back in the Pac-10.

Justin Glenn, Kamiak

Glenn (5-10, 185) made the night's biggest play among Tyrone Willingham's new recruits, stepping in front of East quarterback Bobby Cowan's errant pass for a first-quarter interception.

Of the three players documented here, Glenn had the smallest body of work to inspect. Simply put, the ball was thrown his way only three times. In addition to his interception, he made a quality open-field tackle on Geno Munoz, who finished with six catches for 106 yards. Playing 12 yards off the line of scrimmage to deny the deep ball, Glenn blanketed East receiver Dan Durkin but surrendered an 11-yard pass on third-and-10 with 1:35 left in the game. That play sustained what ultimately turned into the East's game-winning drive.

"It's a big leap (to the Pac-10) and I need to stay in the weight room and stay in shape,'' said Glenn, who appeared to have ideal size to play cornerback in college. "It's a whole other ballgame at that level."

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July 3, 2008 7:18 PM

Bronson update

Posted by Bob Condotta

Running back Demitirus Bronson of Kentwood is one of three Huskies playing in the East-West 4A/3A All-State Summer Classic in Spokane tonight.

Jason Shoot, who is covering the game for the Times as a stringer, caught up with Bronson before the game and learned that Bronson won't be enrolling in the UW's summer bridge program on Sunday --- he apparently has a meeting coaches on Monday to go over some academic issues --- but Bronson said that won't impact his arrival at the UW in time for the season.

Shoot filed this report (which has been updated since it first appeared on here with some additional information Shoot obtained):

University of Washington football recruit Demitrius Bronson won't arrive at his new school the same day as the rest of Tyrone Willingham's freshman class, but he expects he wo't be far behind.

"Instead of going up Sunday, I'm going to go up Monday and meet with the coaches and stuff,'' Bronson said when asked about not enrolling in UW's summer bridge program intended to aid the transition to college for incoming freshmen. "I'm still coming up with the freshmen, though''

A 5-foot-11, 205-pound tailback, Bronson will take summer school classes online through Brigham Young University to finalize his collegiate eligibility. Bronson said he'll know exactly what his status is and how many classes he'll need to complete following his trip to UW.

Bronson started Thursday night for the West squad in the East-West 4A/3A All-Star Summer Classic at Central Valley High School and finished with 52 yards on eight carries. Following a senior season at Kentwood in which he rushed for 1,450 yards, Bronson was one of three Husky recruits to play in the all-star game, joining Kamiak defensive back Justin Glenn and Eastlake offensive tackle Drew Schaefer.

Two other UW recruits --- Evergreen lineman Senio Kelemete and Johri Fogerson --- were named to the original all-star game roster but didn't make the trip.

Bronson said before the game he was going to keep an eye on one of his new teammates, in particular.
"Oh man, especially Drew on the O-line,'' Bronson said. "It's a good opportunity to see how he works''

Bronson acknowledged the collection of players assembled on the field Thursday night was the best he's ever competed with or against.

"I don't think I have anything to prove,'' he said. "I'm just gonna come out here and do what I've been doing all along''

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July 2, 2008 10:27 PM

A few links

Posted by Bob Condotta

Have actually been out of town for a few days so doing what I can to keep the blog going a bit.

Here are a couple of interesting links I found in the meantime:

--- First, here's a good story on WR Kasen Williams of Skyline, the sophomore-to-be who was offered a scholarship by the Huskies last year. Tyrone Willingham drew some national attention to that when he mentioned at a convention in Dallas earlier this year that he had made his first-ever offer to a freshman. The story also indicates Williams has offers from UCLA and Boise State. He is the son of former UW receiver Aaron Williams, who played in the early '80s.

--- Count ESPN's Bruce Feldman as another who thinks UW has the toughest schedule in the country this season. Here's his reasoning. He concludes by writing that "when Notre Dame is your easiest game, and as I've written before I think the Irish will be improved in 2008, that's saying something.'' He also writes that he expects all three of UW's non-conference foes --- BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame --- to be ranked. Feldman also lists UCLA (3), USC (5) and Oregon State (6) among his top 10 most difficult schedules this season.

--- Feldman also included a link to this story from the Deseret News in Salt Lake City on the high number of prospects in Utah this season, some of whom are being recruited by the Huskies.

--- Rivals.com has these updated, and still way early, rankings on the recruiting classes of 2009. As many of you have pointed out with some frustration, UW is impossible to rank at the moment since they don't have any commits. Ohio State, with 23 commits, leads the rankings with 23 commits while USC, which has 14, is next. Other Pac-10 teams ranked are UCLA (22nd with seven commits) and Stanford (24th with seven commits).

--- The Bleacher Report has this continuing series making the case that the Pac-10 is better than the SEC.

All for now.

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July 1, 2008 10:14 PM

Huskies in state all-star game

Posted by Bob Condotta

A reminder that the Washington East vs. West All-State Summer Classic is Thursday night in Spokane at Central Valley High. Kickoff is 7 p.m. and cost is $7.

Five future Huskies were on the original rosters --- Johri Fogerson, Senio Kelemete, Demitrius Bronson, Drew Schaefer and Justin Glenn.

UPDATE: Fogerson won't be playing. He didn't make it out to Spokane. His ride there fell through. "I didn't have a ride," he said. "If I had a ride, I would have gotten out there."

Otherwise, he said he's had a solid summer. "I've just been lifting and running, getting ready for the Dub."
-Tom Wyrwich

The Spokesman-Review promises coverage this week in its SportsLink blog and had this story today, though it didn't mention any of the Huskies on the page I was able to access (you have to be a subscriber to get the whole thing).

We also will have a preview story and a game story in the Times, as well (I am not attending). If I get updates on the Huskies in this game I will pass them along.

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July 1, 2008 10:06 PM

Shelton Sampson update

Posted by Bob Condotta

In case you missed it, Sandy Ringer of our staff had this update today on former Husky Shelton Sampson, now playing for the Seattle Stallions of the Northwest Football League, a semi-pro league.

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