Monday, December 18, 2006

The Monday Morning Wash

Let' start with a little good news. Washington senior punter Sean Douglas, who completed his career as the Huskies' career punting average leader, was earned honorable mention on the Pro Football Weekly All-American team, announced on Friday. Douglas should have a good future in the pro's if he can work with someone to speed him up a bit.

Now for the not as good news. First the Husky volleyball team was eliminated Stanford in the Final Four. Secondly, WR Coach Eric Yarber has accepted a position on the Arizona State Sun Devils staff under his old friend, and mentor Dennis Erickson. On the boards fans are cutting their wrists over this, but to me it was expected, and in the long term will have little impact. In other words I'm not too worried, even though you hate to lose a recruiter like Yarber.

How does this affect recruiting?

Coach Yarber is unquestionably one of the best recruiters on the coast because he has great ties in the Southern California area, particularly in inner city area's such as Compton which is always a hotbed for talent. As a position coach he has the respect of his players who of course are impressed by the players he helped guide into the NFL especially while he was at Oregon State. Add to the fact that he has a couple of stints actually coaching in the NFL under Erickson, and you have the exact guy you need to coach WR's, and of course recruit skill players.

It might sway a player or two in the fold to have some second thoughts even though they should be picking the school rather than an assistant coach. Husky fans should feel fortunate that Bob Simmons is currently on the staff. Simmons has done an excellent job since he has been here as a recruiter. Washington should have little problem picking up the slack.

Why did Yarber leave now?

This is annually the time where you might lose an assistant to a new regime program like ASU. Just like when Ty came to Washington, Dennis has to put together a staff at ASU and he is going to call on his closest friends and colleagues to help him put it together. This is also a fair time for coaches to make a change. Recruiting is pretty much over for the next three weeks as we move into the biggest dead period of the year. Things of course start all over after that, and a program like ASU only has a month to put together a solid class.

Who will replace Yarber?

UW could fill the position internally by moving over Trent Miles who has more experience as a WR coach than he does with RB's. This would allow UW to bring in someone dynamic to coach the RB's. Jerry Rice is a name that has been floated on a couple of websites, even though he knows Ty, it is pretty unlikely. If Rice wants to coach there is always the NFL which pays more. Whoever it is count on Washington to hire someone that excites us, and can recruit.

Should we be upset?

No, this stuff happens every year in every program. Assistant coaches move around and have little job security. JD Williams coming to UW from Cal last year was a major coup. So you win some, and you lose some. Yarber served the University well, and the move has more to do with his prior relationship with Dennis Erickson than anything else. Washington will fill the opening with someone who will be just as impressive. We will all miss Yarber, but you have to love the way Ty has built his staff since he has been here.

Will ASU try to pry away UW's verbals?

No, generally there is always a gentlemens agreement when changes like this are made mid year. The assistant coach leaves alone the players he was recruiting at the previous school. UW could lose a player, or two because of this, but it shouldn't be because ASU recruited them away. Erickson will not be the last coach Yarber ever works for, so leaving without burning bridges is always smart.

Weekend Recruiting News

The Huskies lost out on OL Taylor Dever, OL Fred Koloto, and WR Drew Davis on Friday as they chose Notre Dame, San Jose St, and Oregon respectively. Davis choosing Oregon is a surprise to me since he wants to be an engineer and Oregon lacks an engineering school. I didn't think Davis was UW bound despite what Brand X had to say, and I doubt Yarber leaving had any impact on that decision. Oregon's facilities won that battle in the end. Just another reminder that facility upgrades at UW will be critical in staying competitive. Dever has been a Notre Dame lock ever since Weis came to visit him at his High School. Koloto's decision is just strange, he was just more comfortable staying home than leaving the area to go to a more prestigious school like UW. Might be the first time a kid turned down UW, and Nebraska to go to San Jose St.

The coaches were out on the road this weekend as the Holiday dead period approaches. There are no visits scheduled due to the fact school is now out till the new year begins.

Jim Mora Jr.

Jim Mora Jr. The head coach of the Atlanta Falcons let it be known that if the University of Washington head coaching job ever becomes available he would be first in line with his resume even if his team was in the playoffs. He went on to say he was supportive of Ty Willingham, and felt he had the program headed in the right direction. The interview done on the Softy show of course got back to Atlanta, and then if got some national airplay which was critical of Mora. Mora's comeback was that he was just joking in his hometown on the radio with his college room mate. To me I think it is great that Mora is ready, and no I don't think he was joking, or very smart to be talking about it anyway. The UW coaching position won't be open for at least two years, and he is currently in a very precarious position in Atlanta. That slip of the lip could cost him his job at the end of the season. It also wasn't very fair to Willingham, but that's life, and now Jim Jr. Has a lot of explaining to do.

UW Men clobber Portland St 105-73

Justin Dentmon scored 18 points and had a career-high nine rebounds, Spencer Hawes had 16 points and five blocked shots and No. 17 Washington dominated Portland State throughout in a 105-73 victory Saturday night. Hawes' fellow freshman, Quincy Pondexter, added 16 points, his team leading scoring average coming in, and Ryan Appleby had 14. LSU comes to Hec Ed on Wednesday night. It will be interesting to see how the Huskies respond against a solid Tiger team, look at it as a true barometer going into conference play.

Husky Women Upset Florida State

Led by 18 points apiece from senior guard Cameo Hicks and junior center Andrea Plouffe, Washington women's basketball won its fourth-straight game with an 84-65 upset over No. 23 Florida State at Bank of America Arena, Sunday. The Huskies improved their overall record to 7-4 and handed the Seminoles (10-2) just their second loss of the season. Hicks led the way for Washington (7-4) with team-highs of nine rebounds, six assists and four steals to go along with her 18-point scoring performance. Also joining Hicks and Plouffe in double-figures was senior guard Cheri Craddock who tallied a season-high 15 points off the bench.

Huskies Land Four on All American Volleyball Team

Four University of Washington volleyball players have received All-America honors, it was announced today by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Senior setter Courtney Thompson and junior outside hitter Christal Morrison were first team picks, while junior middle blocker Alesha Deesing was a second team honoree and sophomore middle blocker Jessica Swarbrick was a third team selection. Washington and Nebraska were the only teams to have four players earn All-America honors. The Huskies, who have earned 19 All-America awards, have won 11 in the last three seasons and 13 since head coach Jim McLaughlin took over the program in 2001. Eleven of Washington's honorees have been first team selections.

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