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

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May 4, 2009 9:37 AM

Kelly taking a shot at the Huskies?

Posted by Bob Condotta

I missed this over what was a busy family weekend, but I see today that Oregon coach Chip Kelly has fired what might be viewed as a little shot at the way the Huskies ran their spring game.

The quotes were originally in this story here, and were also highlighted here in Ted Miller's blog at ESPN.com.

In the story, Kelly was quoted as saying that he intended to run a competitive spring game and that "we're not going to line up our best against the rest like the Huskies did in their spring game. They ran their number one offense against the number two and number three defenses so Jake Locker could go 16 of 18 with two drops. And they had their number one defense up against the second and third offense so they could shut someone out. We're going to compete. The number one offense will go against the number one defense. That's the way it's been all spring.''

The quotes were found in a blog written by former UO player Ken Woody, who later became a longtime assistant coach interestingly enough spending a few years at UW (he was the QB, WR and kickers coach for Jim Owens from 1972-74).

UW's coaches, however, were pretty clear in why they ran the spring game the way they did --- with the Huskies having gone 0-12 last season and having lost 14 in a row, they wanted the players to feel good about themselves heading into the off-season. Steve Sarkisian has mentioned several times since taking over that building the team back up mentally is as important as anything it does schematically, and given where this team was last year, that makes all the sense in the world.

There's an allusion in Woody's story to reality hitting when USC comes to town. No offense to Woody, but I think it's: A, going to hit anyway regardless of anything UW may have done in its spring game; and B, can't be worse than anything that happened last year. If UW can just lose that game, say, 49-13 this year, it's a vast improvement over last season.

But since we did get a chance to watch all of UW's practices this spring I can attest that the Huskies did quite a bit of ones against ones, including in each of the two major scrimmages that preceded the spring game. I'm not sure if there's a baseline number of how much of that you are supposed to do to be successful but it seemed as if UW did it enough.

I also don't think there's any question that you handle teams differently based on what you have and what your expectations are going into that season. Sarkisian is trying to rebuild UW from as low as any program can be --- I'm realizing more and more that as I suspected, absolutely no one actually watched the last game of the year at Cal because a lot of people seem to not grasp just how feeble this team was the last time it played a game. The Ducks are obviously in a different place right now and it would only make sense their coach might be preparing them a little differently --- though I'd be shocked if anything that ever happened in a spring game these days actually had any impact on anything that happened once the season started.

Anyway, if nothing else this will provide some lively conversation next fall when the two teams meet in Seattle Oct. 24.

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