Monday, July 31, 2006

Game Ready...Some important questions

I think one of the biggest questions going into the season is if Washington is going to be game ready from a conditioning standpoint. Everything we are talking about is just a positive guess until these guys start practicing under the watchful eye's of the coaches. I think we all understand the lack of talent/depth issue, but there really should be no excuse for not lifting weights, working on cardio, and speed.

Is it time to sacrifice the non-believers?

While the coaches can't force players to go to class, stay in shape, and get stronger they can yank their scholarships, and send them packing. Most coaches would have cut left, and right the minute they got to Seattle. Ty didn't do it, and we didn't expect him to, but he did send some potential 5th year seniors packing, and I expect more of the same at the end of this year. The question is, will it be enough? Can Ty afford to remain patient if UW goes 2-9 again? I don't think he can, not if he wants to be head coach three years from now. I think he needs to make a Jim Owens/Bear Bryant type of statement with his actions. Sure it doesn't look good for a month or two, but 2-9 sucks forever.

Another question I have is if the coaching staff is continuing to give 100%?

I am a booster of Ty. I liked his work at Stanford, and Notre Dame. He is never going to be mentioned in the same breath as Don James, John McKay, or Ara Parseghian, but he has shown he is a competent head coach. Is Ty going to sleep in his office like DJ did when things were careening off the tracks? Is he going to work as hard as a Jeff Tedford? Does Ty have what it takes to turn this thing around? I ask this because the UW job is probably one of the toughest in the country right now.

What about the staff? Are they doing everything they can to insure a winning season or are they just going through the motions and collecting a paycheck? What are they doing on a daily basis to turn around the culture and cultivate some leaders?

Do the players respect the coaches?

I question if the majority of the team respects, and fears the coaches. Yes fear, a healthy fear that every single player had of Don James.

Most of them never even got to know him till after they finished school. He was always there, his door was always open, but kids respected him, and they had a healthy fear of him, and for godsakes it wasn't buddy, buddy. I don't blame it on the current staff, they have only been here a year, but when exactly do you ratchet it up and tighten it all down? When do you lay down the law on what it takes to be a Husky in the true Husky tradition?

Who are the leaders?

Just exactly who are the leaders on this team? Who are the guys who are taking Summer workouts seriously? What guys are making sure their team mates are in the weight room? Who is leading by example? Some players need to emerge here quickly. Willingham raved about Lobendahn, it wasn't the crippled LB's play, it was his attitude. Who is going to be the guys that step in for him, and move it up a couple of notches?

The Biggest Question

The biggest question this team has going into the season is if they really want it, and I am not just talking about the players, I am talking about the coaches too. This team can have a winning season, but they have to want it enough to do the things to make sure they put themselves in that position. We won't know for sure till practice starts, but I can tell you this, an astute observer will be able to tell the minute they hit the field on the ninth.


hairofthedawg said...

Excellent questions John.

This will cover the first two paragraphs of your post. conditioning and commitment are very much tied together. Back in HS it was pretty easy to tell who had hauled hay and changed pipes for the summer and who had sat around mooching quarters for ice cream bars. The two-a-days sucked for everyone but a little less for the former. I do believe the non-believers should be sacrificed, but I'd rather the tenor of training camp do it than the coach directly. I know that Ty isn't all that communicative with the media but I'd like to know how he is with the players. Do they really know how thin they are and how much effort some of them will be asked to put forth? I hope they know. By invoking Owens/Bryant are you saying the same thing I just did? I've read a bit about their practices but am wondering whether they used the practice to cull players or just did it themselves directly. 2-9 again? Do you think he'd be coach again next year? He's got some time but the record either needs to improve or the team has undergone a major shake-up.

I like the image Ty projects, a no-nonsense, cut the BS and get to work sort of thing, at least to me that's how he comes across. I believe he has the best interests of the athletes truly in his heart. I'm not so sure the programs interests are best placed in his hands though. He has assembled a nice staff but I have no idea how hard they're working. What bugs me about Ty is that I don't think he's the CEO type. A lot of that impression is based on a lack of information. I'd like to know how he manages a practice, efficiently, delegating well, keeping the big picture in mind, gradually painting it? Aside from recruiting, does he have a long term view of what he wants this team to be? Even though the game can change quickly, he needs to have those abilities and, from a fan's perspective, give us a clue as to what his plan is. Well, he doesn't need to, but I'd like him to. I'm also a little worried about how he interacts with rich donors, but I have no evidence that says he doesn't get along well.

Respect, the ratchet should have been tightened day 1.

On your final two questions, we'll know when we see them play.

prrbrr said...

Hair, Good morning, see you are an early riser too. Good article, johnB, caused me to think. I do hope the guys have been conditioning, but other than Burntridge at Dawgman I haven't heard any reports either. I agree with Hair that the tenor of fall camp should set the expectations and hopefully that tone was set last year. I am a fan of the JO death march but seriously doubt one could get away with that in today's PC environment. Even the military has had to watch their back in training. As for TW's non comunication, everything I read is its with the media. The kids all seem to rave about his talks, but its just the general public contact is where he hurts most. I wish in this respect he had a little more of RN in him; We are just guessing right now on his abilities as a CEO or on the staffs work ethic. But that information usually took a few years to come out anyway even with an open to the media attitude (see Boudreaux with Bender). Of course we learned pretty quickly how hard Cameron Dollar and Lorenzo were working, too bad it was in the wrong light. If the spring practice was any indication of his organization, then I am very hopeful of his abilities. there was a noticeable crispness to plays, including having the next play ready, no wasted time including game clock management scenarios. That said, if we don't come out and absolutely destroy SJS on Sep 2, then I will be dreading my trip to Norman, because we know those guys will be ready. Again johnB a great thinking article.

hairofthedawg said...

Mornin' prrbrr, I am an early riser, but it was 11 am when I wrote that. I'm 10 hours ahead of you. Considering that I do get up early, it's nearly Miller(cider) time over here in Cyprus.

You're almost certainly right, about that type of practice in today's PC environment, but with proper hydration and medical staffing, I think you could safely push the envelope.

I've also been thinking about my comments about his public communication and you're right, I've been spoiled in recent years. Heck, back in the James era, I just watched the games and read the news if I could get it.

I'm glad to read your description of the spring practice, especially with the clock changes going into effect. I'm not sure I entirely understand them, but attention to detail will become even more important. Have fun in Norman regardless of the outcome!

Health Insurance Expert said...

Excellent commentary guys!

You can't do what Bryant, and Owens did in the 50's, but you can do what Spurrier did last month and that was show the door to six players in July who were not getting their conditioning done.

Spurrier took a lot of flak for that, the timing wasn't good but he did it for a purpose, to instill a healthy fear in his players that if they are not committed to getting better they are not going to be on the team.

Right now we have 81 guys on scholarship, we have imbalances all over the roster created by the previous coaches, so cutting six guys isn't a good idea.

Jim Owens made a great statement with the death march, but the loyalty oath a decade later was a disaster. Times change, players change, but it is up to the coach to adapt and properly motivate.

hairofthedawg said...

81? I also think I'd be hard pressed to find guys qualified to fill them until next year. Maybe someone will play his way into one, and I love it when that happens, but it's not the best way to fill scholarship positions. Rereading the previous sentence...maybe I'm wrong and that's exactly the type of guy we're looking for. It's such a crapshoot and I don't envy the coaches their jobs. Heart vs. athleticism? Time for bed, maybe I'll dream the answer to that question.



Health Insurance Expert said...

It might be even 80, not quite sure where Jefferson fit in. So some walkon are going to get a temporary free ride this Fall which is a positive.

Teams seldom go into the season with 85, and that is why Rick would give out more schollies than he had allotted because he knew there would likely be attrition over the Summer.

Palaita, Christine, Gage, Mercier, Harris are just a few guys that could benefit from this. Walkon scholarships are quarter to quarter, or semester to semester depending on the school.

Ben Mahldavi was a walk on, and he was on and off scholarship throughout his career. Nothing goes to waste, and walkon get rewarded with a little free education.