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.

Game Eight California...ouch again

California has risen under Jeff Tedford to take Washington's role in the Pac Ten. That role was to compete against USC for championships and scoop up the recruits that USC can't take. Tedford has done a superb job at Cal, superb enough that he was Washington's first choice to replace Keith Gilbertson. Tedford stayed at Cal with the promise of new facilities, a bump in pay, and most importantly the opportunity to stay in the Bay Area to raise his children. Tedford's probable next stop is in the NFL, but expect him to stay at Cal for awhile.

While it is easy to pick USC as the 2006 conference champion I am going with California who should be able to give SC everything they can handle. Two teams from the Pac Ten should make the BCS this year, and Cal is one of them. The difference with Cal is the defense, these guys have the potential to be special.

The reason Cal is going to be tough is that they have 15 talented starters back and are led by the best back in the conference Marshawn Lynch. Ayoob is back as QB, but Tedford is throwing the position into competition with four guys competing for the starting nod. At WR the Bears have a lot of speed led by Lavelle Hawkins, and Desean Jackson. The only perceived weakeness may be the offensive line where they will have four new starters.

On defense they are laed by all American Tackle Brandon Mebane, and Matt Melele easily the best inside tandem in the conference. At end they have both starters returnng so they are really solid up front. At LB rhey are saying it is the best group they have had in 40 years. Seatle O'Dea product Anthony Felder was a frosh AA at LB last year. In the backfield they need to replace the safeties, but Mixon, and Hughes at CB rate as the best in the conference. The Bears will be very tough defensively and that is the reason I pick them to win the conference.

Did You Notice?

Did you notice that a lot of the names of the Cal guys seem really familiar? If you are a regular at the Dawgman site, I am sure you noticed that. Well the reason is we finished second during recruitng on most of them. The players we traditonally used to get are going to California. Arizona, and Oregon are chipping away too. We have a lot of work to do to get that talent back.

Why California will win

Cal is a true BCS team heading into the season. Last season was derailed by rebuilding, and injuries, or they would have been there again. If you remember Cal just destroyed Oklahoma when they were healthy to start the season. Count on them to be much better at the start of this season which is scary.

Cal's defensive is going to shut Washington down, no doubt about it, they are going to pummel our offensive line which will shut off the running game. At that point it will be all on IS under heavy pressure, not a pretty picture.

Ayoob isn't anything special, and he might not start this year, but he had no problem picking UW apart last year in his first game after the starter was injured.

Offensively the Bear's should be in tune by game eight and rounding the corner for the title. The offensive line will experience minor growing pains early, especially at tackle, but they should be able to score more than enough points on the Huskies.

Ty can't outcoach Tedford on gameday. Ty is not in Teford's league, few are right now.

Why Washington will win

The only way Washington wins is if Cal has some serious injuries going into the game. The Bear's have way too much talent for us. Even a crippled Cal team had little problem with us last year.

Turnover's of course are also a great equalizer if you can cash in on them, it does happen, but don't bet on it.

What do I think?

I think it will be the most horrendous spanking of the season. We haven't matched up well with the Bear's since Tedford arrived, and I see nothing that indicates that it has improved in any single area. Defensively we will hold them better than in past years, but if you can't score you can't win. If you can't move the ball you are going to give them the short field, and tire out your defense. If you can't move the ball your QB is going to make mistakes that turn into points as he desperately tries to get something going. They won't hang 50 on us again, but it will be ugly just the same.

This is the start of a brutal three game stretch....Cal, ASU, and Oregon. Keeping healthy now and not losing confidence is crucial to the goal which is a winning record and a bowl game.

California 38 UW 3 (5-3)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bow Down to Washington

I was at the last Michigan vs Washington football game in Ann Arbor and a Michigan fan who is a friend of mine commented that our fight song is the most arrogant thing he has ever heard. I had never thought about that, but it must seem that way for other schools. We may have the most arrogant song, but USC has the most obnoxiuous, unless of course you are a Trojan fan then you love it.

Bow Down to Washington is the official fight song of the University of Washington. It was written by Lester Wilson in 1915 for a competition requesting a new song for the university; the competition, sponsored by The Daily, had a grand prize of $25 (the equivalent of $460 in 2005).

"Bow Down to Washington" was first used as a fight song at the Washington-California football game on November 6, 1915. It is typically played and sung at all University of Washington sporting events that the Husky Marching Band is present at.

Bow Down To Washington

Bow down to Washington,
Bow down to Washington,
Mighty are the men
Who wear the purple and the gold,
Joyfully we welcome them
Within the victors fold.
We will carve their names
In the Hall of Fame
To preserve the memory of our devotion.
So heaven help the foes of Washington;
They're trembling at the feet
Of mighty Washington,
Our boys are there with bells,
Their fighting blood excels,
It's harder to push them over the line
Than pass the Dardanelles.
So victory's the cry of Washington...
Our leather lungs together
With a Rah! Rah! Rah!
And o'er the land
The loyal band
Will sing the glory
Of Washington forever.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pac Ten Football Blog Links

If you look at the right column I have added links to the other Pac Ten Blogs. I haven't found blogs, for Stanford, Arizona, and Arizona St, but when I do I will add them.

Please visit these blogs, add a post, ask a question, but make sure to be courteous while you are there. Hopefully we can get the editors of those blogs to write a visiting team post during the weeks we play them. Doing reciprocal things like that boost the popularity of the linked sites. Having a friendly relationship with the other college football bloggers is a good thing for everyone, it gives everybody more content, and fun.

The blogs are a whole different animal than the network scouting sites such as Rivals, Scout...etc... . I love those sites, but I am also excited about the blogging concept in comparison to message boards.

I will also be adding links from college football blogs all over the country over the next few weeks as time allows. The link for our site will be added to the other blogs and that should insure that we have a lot of traffic going through here once the season starts.

Another thing I have been doing this weekend is optimizing the blog. What that means is that it will start showing up in the search engines over the next few weeks once the site is indexed. I should have done it earlier, but I wanted to see how it went the first month before investing the time and resources. Web optimization is something I spend a lot of time for my health insurance sites, so I have some experience getting good results. For college football it still pretty easy compared to a commodity like health insurance, so we should get some good traffic which will keep things lively around here.

If you guys have any idea's let me know.

Future Scheduling

It looks like we have added a two game series with Nebraska for the early part of the next decade. Washington continues a tradition of battling strong intersectional opponents.

Turner is going to try to schedule more responsibly than Hedges did. The schedules she put together were murder. Fortunately due to the new 12 game season most programs are currently shuffling their schedules around. This has allowed him to get rid of things like Oklahoma/Ohio St, and Michigan/Miami back to back. What was she thinking, oh ya televison dollars, not the good of the program. Talking about killing the goose who layed the golden egg!

In the future your going to see scheduling more like this.

  1. Elite Program (Notre Dame, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio State etc.)
  2. Mid Major (Syracuse, Boise St, Fresno St, Air Force, BYU, etc.)
  3. A Cream Puff (San Jose St, Nevada, Idaho, Duke, Wyoming, etc.)

The Elite game is made for television, the hopes are that it will be picked up nationally as the Oklahoma game is this year. These games are always two game series with both teams getting a home game. These are great games to recruit with, PSA's love the fact that we play in at least a couple of big time opponents per year.

The next level is the mid majors, not as easy as it used to be. Two of the teams I mentioned, FSU, and Air Force defeated us in recent years. In some cases such as Syracuse, and Air Force these are two game series. Fresno on the other hand has no problem scheduling us without a return game at their field. Rule of thumb is you have to have at least 50,000 seats for Washington to consider playing in your out of conference stadium.

The bottom level are the cream puffs. You need to schedule one game you know you can win, of course that didn't work against Nevada a couple of years ago. These teams come to Husky stadium for the money, no other reason, and we never have to reciprocate in most cases.

I would like to see more games against ACC, and SEC opponents just because it would be fun to roadtrip to one of their stadiums. Realistically though we will mostly play the Big 12, Big 1o, and Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame series is a new thing. They swore they would never play us again after the 1948 season where we jobbed them with the refs. Time passed, Moose Krauss died, and Hedges did a nice job getting them to schedule us. While it is not listed, we still have two more games scheduled with them in future years. Look for the relationship to continue. Same with Michigan, and Nebraska, you can expect them once a decade in Husky Stadium.

A look at future Husky schedules

2006: San Jose State, Fresno State, at Oklahoma.
2007: At Syracuse, Boise State, Ohio State.
2008: BYU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame.
2009: Nevada, at Notre Dame, TBA.
2010: at BYU, Nebraska, TBA.
2011: Syracuse, BYU, at Nebraska.

Who would you like to see us play in the future?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Some good news

Since we got our dose of bad news for the Summer I thought I would dig up a couple of encouraging stories.

Jordan White-Frisbee has been cleared for Spring drills. That is great news, the defense is a whole different animal when he is in there. His Freshman year he made Hopoi look like an All American because he freed up so much room. The next year without JWF, Hopoi went to being average. Let's hope he is ready to rumble.

Oregon lost four players, so as I said here and at Dawgman, it happens almost every year in every program. Running back Terrell Jackson, defensive lineman Thor Pili, linebacker Tucker Callahan and offensive lineman Levi Horn -- have decided to leave Oregon for more playing time. Jackson, a sophomore, was the only player among the four who played last season, with 27 carries for 107 yards.

Senior California quarterback Steve Levy has been charged with felony assault after police say he threw a pint glass at a bar bouncer who asked him to leave an establishment in North Beach. Levy has been indefinitely suspended from the team while Cal looks into the situation. The formal charge Levy faces is assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and the maximum sentence is four years in prison.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Game Seven Oregon State

This used to be one of the games on the schedule you could circle for a W, just like San Jose St, or Pacific, you could always depend on the Beaver's for a win. The Beav's like everyone else have had their way with us lately, last years 18-10 loss was particularly galling since the game was there for the taking.

Coach Riley is in his second stint with the Beavers. The team is led by UCLA tranfer QB Matt Moore. The Beavers score points under Riley, and the offense should improve with a returning QB. Moore is prone to interceptions, and he had 19 last year, so self destruction is always a part of the Beavers playbook. The OL returns everyone this year and is led by Roy Scheuning. Bernard returns after a 1300 plus year at RB.

The problem with the Beavers is their defense. Their defense was among the worst in the Pac Ten last year, and they lost four of their best players, so they are in a rebuilding mode.

Why Washington will Win

We should be able to run all day on the Beavers.

IS is going to have field day against the Beaver defense.

The Beaver offense while productive will be up against a stiff and opportunistic Washington Defense.

We are playing at Husky Stadium.

Why Oregon State will win

Moore gets hot and Washington can't stop him

Washington hands the ball over to OSU

What do I think?

I think no way do we lose to Oregon State. They have as many holes as we do. This is another one of those winnable games. I just think if offensive line is up to par we should be able to take these guys.

For those keeping score with my predictions that puts us at 5-2 right now. That means one more win for a bowl game. The news of this past week with all the ineligible players wasn't good, but it isn't terminal either, we can play with these guys, and with most of the teams on our schedule.

Washington 38 Oregon St 24 (5-2)

Montlake Blue's

With the announcement that a couple of key guys may miss the season because of grade/credit problems depth concerns start to get magnified before the first snap of August drills.

The key to word remember is may, as in they may be ineligible, they also may be eligible, nothing is for sure yet, so cross your fingers. I have heard, and it is now posted on the DM board that Hasty should be ok afterall.

IMHO, I find it strange that the Seattle Times would run a rumor rather than wait till the results are in. All it does is cause hassles, pressure and embarrasment for the kids involved. I also wonder where Condotta got the information?

Anyway, just my two cents.


Well guess what, Willingham has confirmed that Hasty, Flowers, and Smith will all be ineligible for this coming season. In addition to that he announced that Chancellor Young was also ineligible, and along with Flowers has dropped out of school and will pursue opportunities elsewhere.

So not really great news. Hasty and Smith will have the opportunity to stay in school if they choose to regain eligibility for next year. I wouldn't count though on Smith being invited back.

So I guess Condotta knew what he was talking about.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

National Publications Seldom Get It

One of the things I have been reading over, and over about in national publications previewing the Huskies is the serious losses of DT/DE Mapuolesega, DT Hopoi, LB Benjamin, and LB, Lobendahn from last years defensive unit. I keep reading how hard it is to overcome those losses, and hit the floor laughing. This is no knock on those guys, but the talent behind them was better last year, and it is going to be even better this year. Benjamin is really the only guy you miss, and by early season someone will have assumed a grip on his position and his memory will fade.

Wilson Afoa earned a starting job at tackle outright last season. Teaming him with the rotation of Mateaki, JWF, Lobos, and Reffert is pretty good group. I just don't see any drop off inside.

On the outside Gunheim is another year older, stronger, and wiser. He will compete for Pac Ten honors in his true junior year. The question is who is going to flank him? Ala, Teo Nesheim, Winter, Rayford, Jones (probable redshirt), can Anthony Atkins make the adjustments neccesary or will he redshirt? I think that is the only question, and there is enough depth and experience there for someone to emerge. My bet is Teo Nesheim.

Bomar, or Tuiasosopo will be an upgrade over Lobendahn period because they can simply run. Lobo won't be missed on the field. Benjamin was good, and may stick in the NFL this year, but OLB is a position you can easily fill on this roster.

I think this defense is going to surprise a lot of people, especially the bulk of the publications who picked the Huskies last.

Game Six USC....ouch

This is actually a rebuilding year at USC, perhaps reloading is more accurate. The Trojan's recruit pretty darn well. They now recruit nationally more than they ever have. The talent returning is ample for another run at the Pac Ten crown, and a BCS berth. Still they won't be at the level they were the past 3-4 years, at least not on paper going into the season.

It is good for conference prestige when USC is playing well. A healthy USC means a healthy conference. Still there are a few chinks beginning to appear in the armor. The off season was marred by serious off field problems. USC also graduated a lot of talent to the NFL last year and that will give a lot of young talent a chance to show what they can do. Carroll has been able to recruit almost anyone nationally he wants since he started winning, and SC will be able to plug the holes for this Fall and make it back to the BCS. They won't however be the automatic conference favorites with California, Arizona St, and Oregon making a challenge.

One significant set of numbers to remember about the Trojans going into 2007 is 48-4. That is their record over the past four years, pretty incredible. They know how to win, and don't ever count them out, they are currently the nations elite program.

John David Booty, and Mike Sanchez will battle it out this Fall for the QB position. Booty had the job going into Spring but suffered a back injury that required surgery. We saw what Booty could do last year in Husky stadium and we had his number, a definite fall off from Leinhart. Sanchez had a great Spring then ran into a date rape charge at the end of Spring. He was cleared, but it shows that the party continues down there, and that doesn't win championships.

At RB the Trojans will have a young stable ready to compete for one of the most glorified positions in football, USC Tailback. Chauncey Washington has the experience, but any number of young players such as Staffon Johnson could knock him off. Whoever runs the ball can rest assured that the hosses up front will be of the All American variety, Byers, Chacal, and Baker lead a talented, and deep group. Those names should sound familiar since UW actively recruited the same guys.

Jarrett is going to have to sit out a few games this year, but he should be back for this one. Don't feel sorry for the Trojans because they are just as deep as ever at WR with young talent. Calling the next phenom from the depth. What the Trojans lack in experience will be made up by depth and talent.

Defensively the Trojans were off last year, and it cost them the NC against Texas. Washington was even able to move the ball on them last year. The defensive of course is made up of mostly HS All Americans, so there is a lot talent there. The linebackers will their most impressive defensive unit coming into the season.

Why will USC Win?

Lots of talent and depth, a new top five class every year.

USC has superior talent at ever position.

One of the best offensive lines in football will give the inexperienced Trojan RB's a lot of room.

One of the best receiving corps in the nation will be able to score points against the Husky D.

Trojans will control the line of scrimmage giving them a shorter field all day long.

Pete Carroll is one of the nations best coaches.

The game is played in Los Angeles.

How can Washington win?

The Trojans would have to absolutely self destruct for Washington to win because of the wide gap in talent. It does happen from time to time.

Turnovers that result in Touchdowns. (See under self destruct)

The USC culture melt down continues during the season causing the Trojans to lose focus.

We owned Booty when he was put in the game last year. He didn't look special, and he even threw an interception. Leinhart was one of the best collegiate QB's ever, replacing him won't be easy. Whoever starts won't be near his level.

What do I think?

I don't think we are in these guys league. They are probably better than Oklahoma. I think they will end up in a BCS Bowl even if they don't win the conference. They could just as easily go undefeated again too.

This is the type of year where SC could lose to a few of the teams on their schedule. ND, Oregon, California, Arizona St. . I don't think UW makes the list.

UW be in it for awhile, but they are likely to be worn down by bigger, faster, and more talented athletes. I do think we can score on them, we scored 24 last year. I don't think there offense will be anything like it has been in past years. So we are in for a much closer game. I predict the Trojans put it way sometime in the 3rd quarter and win 37 -21.

USC 37 UW 21 (4-2)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Game Five Arizona

Last year we actually beat these guys handily on the road after IS threw the incredible pass to Chambers for a TD right before halftime. It was a gutsy suggestion byIS, and a great win for the Dawg's in the desert who ended their Pac Ten losing streak.

Arizona is a program on the rise who has been recruiting very well ever since Mike Stoops arrived on the scene. They had a breakthrough 29-27 win over OSU on the road, and an impressive 52-14 win over UCLA. It looked like the program was turning the corner than came mighty Washington who thumped them 38-14 at home. That was shocker!

This year we play on the road again as the Pac Ten tries to balance their schedule in the new era of the 12 game schedule. True Sophmore Willie Tuitama should develop into a pretty good QB before the end of the year. His main targets will be Mike Thomas, and Syndric Steptoe. At RB the Wildcats start over and could have some problems because of injuries and depth. UW will have a much better backfield, but Arizona has been building on heck of an offensive line that should be able to begin asserting itself. Daniel Borg who flirted with going to UW a few years ago is a rising star.

Defensively you could see all last year that they were building something special. They are deep all the way through and would have to rank among the best defenses in the conference going into 2006.

Arizona had the second best recruiting class in the Pac Ten on paper last year. Stoops seems to have the program headed in the right direction and it won't be long till they are bowling. Like Washington it is a work in progress, but Washington gets the nod in this one with an edge in experience at the skill positions. The Wildcats have to show me they can move the ball before I get excited about them.

Why Washington should win

We won here last year .

We have more experience in the skill positions.

We have better RB situation, even if Hasty sits out.

Our defense shut them down last year and is better this year.

Washington has the ability to score more points in a tight defensive struggle because Stanback can make plays.

Arizona hasn't proved that it can score enough points each week to win.

Why Arizona should win

They have more depth and talent.

They have a better offensive line.

They have one of the best defenses in the conference that is a year older.

Tuitama is ready to break out as a true sophmore and show the potential he displayed against OSU, and UCLA.

The weather in Arizona is still hot in late September making opponents wilt.

What do I think?

I think we match up well with these guys and we have a good chance for victory in the desert. Arizona had much better recruiting classes than us the last two years, but I think we have enough experience to get by them once again on their home turf.
The key as always is the UW OL, can they give IS and the skill guys the time to do their thing? If the OL has come along it is a realistic prediction that we will be 4-1 headed into play USC. Overly optimistic, perhaps, but all these games are winnable. We could have won at least six last year if the chips had fallen correctly, same thing with this season. We need to win the winnable games.

Washington 27 Arizona 17 (4-1)

Turning around recruiting

What the University of Washington football program could really use is a large and talented in state class. I remember the year Joe Steele came in leading about every top prospect in the region into the program. It really set the tone for Don James in coming years, because we really pulled a lot of talent out of Puget Sound that year, maybe 15-16 kids if I am not mistaken. That 1976 class really helped us get to the 78 Rose Bowl. Blanchet contributed a huge amount of talent over a two year period, so did Garfield and the eastside schools. That was the last great year of competitve Metro football at the AAA level. It was all down hill after that. James had a rare opportunity, and Steele probably became the most valuable recruit in his era by staying home. James often said that this was the year that set the tone for the programs future.

More than anything Ty Willingham could use an in state class like that to kick start the program. This year with the help of some more "early graduation" UW could bring in the full 25. Unfortunately it seems to be just an average year for talent, and numbers in state. I am not a talent guru, all I know about recruiting is what I read over at DM.

Talent is still cyclical in the Northwest despite the increase in population. On average you have around a dozen true Pac Ten recruits in the state each year. Every once in a while you have a bumper crop, but usually you are looking at between 8-12 guys who are qualified to be Huskies each year. A few of those kids are going to go to WSU, and like the last few years you are going to lose a few out of state, but hopefully not as many as the last two years. Felder, Schilling, Mays, and Stewart were serious losses, but they are an aberation. I don't think Ty will lose on too many of those guys in the future, just like Romar is doing in basketball, it takes a little time.

This years instate recruiting class can't be described as a bumper crop. QB is the position that stands out with as many as four in state guys capable of earning a Pac Ten scholarship. It is a good year at TE with two guys instate, and one in BC who are Pac Ten capable.

The Offensive Line is obviously a major need, as many as three of the four scholarships available will be filled out of state. This isn't a great year for instate OL. UW has a lot of offers out, but all are out of state. Of course last year we waited till mid season to offer Habben and he ended up being the best lineman who committed on paper last year.

You can say the same thing about the skill positions of WR, and RB. There are a couple of Pac Ten capable players at those positions, but the Southern kids are rated much higher. Take RB, UW has offers out to ten guys right now from the Southland, but nobody in state. If you take a look at the Dawgman Prospect list we are in the lead for five of the guys we have offered who rate us as high.

On Defense there may be four or five guys that will get Pac Ten offers this year. Not a great year on the defensive line, or at LB, but UW already grabbed the top two DB's.

Right now Washington is doing well in state. We have verbals from the top TE Izbicki, the top OL Eweka, the top DB's Mc Dowell, and Richardson. We probably will also get QB Killsgaard, and, TE Paulson.

A few more guys will get offers by around the 3rd game of the season after the staff has had a chance to see them in game action. I wouldn't count us taking more than 6-10 local guys in a class of 25 this year. So the bulk of the incoming talent is going to come in from California which means no free windfall for Ty in state this year.

James used to get the best talent in the Northwest, just not in state. Oregon is an area he loved to plunder. With the resurgence of the two Oregon schools we have basically lost that area for the forseeable future, and it has also cost us a slice of SW Washington.

Hawaii is another place we lost at the end of Lambo's tenure. Jim pioneered mainland recruiting in that state. It isn't a secret anymore as school like Tennessee, and Nebraska are all over the Islands recruiting. UW still has a large number of Polynesian athletes, and expect a couple of guys from this years recruiting class to hail from the Aloha St.

The Bay Area is a recent UW casualty. The resurgence of Cal, a new stadium at Stanford, and the Oregon De Lasalle pipeline have cut off a key area where Washington recruited well in the past.

The Central Valley which extends from Sacramento to through Fresno is still a place where Washington does well, and the addition of Coach Williams should help out in this area, as well as the Bay.

We just haven't recruited inner LA well enough in recent years. Coach James used to tell stories about ducking under dining room tables when gunshots were fired in the street during recruiting visits.

Colorado, and Texas are areas that Coach Bob Simmons has spent a long time in. Don't be surprised to see a few more visits than usual from those area's as he puts those relationships to use.

We have done ok on the periphery out toward Diamond Bar, Antelope Valley, Riverside, and have grabbed more out of San Diego, but we need more guys out of places like Long Beach, Compton, and Orange County. Coach Yarber is starting to turn that all around for us. We finished second on a lot of good athletes last year we had no business talking to, and that was all Yarber.

We have been more active in Nevada as the population increases in that state. We should get at least one guy out of Nevada, maybe two. Reno seems to be an overlooked area, we picked up an overlooked gem in Kosub last year during the last few weeks. Tormey should be able to get a few more gems from his eperience in that state.

This is going to be an interesting recruiting year with the bulk of the recruits coming from out of state. I think Ty is off to a good start, but he is going to need the extra push of visible improvement out on the field to put him over the top. Washington has some great recruiters on their staff, if we can make a push towards .500, Ty should be able to convince enough out of state talent that Washington is on the rise, and early playing time is a reasonable goal. I always figured it would take Ty four to five years to pull it back together, and we are only beginning half way through year two, so this years recruiting class is crucial to staying on track.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Game Four UCLA

If there has been one team that has been a thorn in the side to the UW over the past few years it has been the UCLA Bruins. UCLA always finds a way to pull out an improbable victory against Washington exactly the moment the Huskies feel they have the game in hand. Despite the disparity in talent Washington has been able to give the Bruins everything they could handle the last few years too.

This year should be different.

Coach Dorrell cleaned house with his staff last season despite having a 10-2 record, and flirting with a BCS bid. He wants to upgrade the defense which was one of the worst in the conference last year despite the glittery record.

The Bruins have talent as always, being located in Los Angeles, but this years team is definitely a rebuilding effort. Drew Olsen, Mercedes Lewis, and Maurice Drew have all moved on. The Offense will be led by Ben Olsen the transfer from BYU who hasn't played in a game for five years. The Bruins will be doing a casting call for RB's and should be able to assemble a credible stable to run the ball led by Jr. Chris Markey. On the offensive line, the Bruins will be solid bolstered by excellent recruiting classes over the past three years.

Defensively the Bruins go into 2006 a little shaky on the DL hoping that a couple of key players can return from injury and stay healthy. At the LB spot they are going to be very young led by Eric Mc Neal who has moved up from Safety. The defensive backfield will be similar in talent to last year and a work in progress as the season starts.

Fixing the UCLA defense will take a few more years despite the coaching changes.

Talking about coaching changes the notoriously cheap Bruins just upped the ante by almost doubling their assistant coaches salaries, and also gave Dorrell a five year extension with a bump that puts him at the same level as Willingham at aroung 1.4 million a year.

I liked Dorrell when he was the OC at Washington, and you could see a significant falloff when he moved to Denver and Gilby was elevated. Bottom line is Dorrell is a solid young coach who will keep improving. His new contract will allow him to do that.

Why Washington should win?

Washington has a much better defense on paper going into 2006.

Washington should be able to score on the Bruin defense.

Washington has confidence they can play with these guys.

The UCLA staff went through a major off season shuffle.

The game is in Husky Stadium

Washington has more experience at the skill positions.

UCLA lacks a deep threat.

Why UCLA should win

UCLA always finds a way to snatch victory from defeat against Washington.

The Bruins have a superior OL on paper compared to the UW OL which will allow them to control the ball more. If they can control the line of scrimmage UCLA will score points.

UCLA will be able to run the ball on Washington.

The Bruins have more overall depth and talent.

What do I think?

I think Washington wins because they are overdue against these guys. The team knows we should have beaten them last year, and they know they can play with these guys. I think Ben Olsen is going to be a pretty good QB, and he is going to have time behind his offensive line this year, I just don't think his team will do enough to win against an improved Husky defense.

I think offensively we will be able to move the ball like we did last year on these guys. You can bet there will be some fireworks out there as both teams try to stretch the field. UCLA found a way to win last year almost every week just like Washington's last Rose Bowl team. Somehow the wheels came off against Arizona, and USC last year, but they rebounded against Northwestern with a point orgy in the Sun Bowl.

The game will end up being a higher scoring affair, but Washington will score more points, and end the curse.

UW 34 - UCLA 27 (3-1)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A couple of land mines to avoid

Washington football has a few achilles heals going into the 2006 season. Like last season the team will have a chance at a .500 record if they can find a way to win in the 4th quarter. Like last season there are painfully shallow positions that could cause season long problems if injuries or attrition occur. I am a firm believer if Washington had gotten the JC CB's in school last year we would have won 2-3 more games. That statement isn't a testimony to their talent, just that the depth they would have provided that was severly missed.

The first trouble spot is running back. James Hasty most likely will spend the Fall in the wood shed getting his grades back in order. He isn't the first player to run into this problem, but his absense reduces depth at two positions that can't afford it, CB, and TB.

Shelton Sampson will prove to be an able replacement in the RB rotation, but Hasty will be missed. There is a domino effect here because UW failed to bring in a true frosh RB.
Sampson with his speed was certain to make the rotation at CB this year, with his absense that means we go into the year with only five CB's. I think Mosley will be moved over to CB rather than ply his trade at TB. The Domino effect could continue with Harris, or Wells moving over from safety to add depth.

We are talking about the possible loss of only one player, and because of a lack of depth it could cause positions shifts involving half a dozen players. You hate to see that, but not bringing in a RB last year puts us in this position. I doubt that Ty put's all his bread in one basket again.

The offensive line is a similar powder keg waiting to explode. The interior is anchored by three very solid linemen, Garcia, Walker, and Daniels. Losing any of those three would be very damaging because there is no experienced depth behind them, especially at Center where a walkon true frosh will provide back up. Kava (back after taking two years off), Bulyca, and Bush are all big question marks going into the year ability wise, so you would hate to see them pushed into the starters position. You do however need one of those guys, most likely Bulyca, to make the rotation. Flowers who is listed at tackle will be a utility guy playing all over and where needed each game. So you figure a rotation of Garcia, Walker, Daniels, Flowers, and either Bulyca, Kava, or Bush. (Most likely Bulyca). Garcia, and Walker are Center #1, and #2.

The major percieved weakness is out at tackle where Macklin, Ossai, and Flowers will share time. Behind them are Mason (needs a redhirt year), Berglund (back after taking two years off), and Roseborough (needs another year of work), plus two Frosh Tolar, and Habben who are probably not ready to play yet. I think you will see Roseborough in limited action this year, and you will like what you see till he runs out of breath.

A lot of people threw up their arms when JWF was moved over here, then some rubbed their heads questioning why he got moved back. I can guess that he didn't like the move and specifically asked to move back to defense. I wouldn't be suprised to see him back on offense at some point especially if injuries take their tool. The loss of Jefferson out here is major. JWF could be an impact OT, but it doesn't happen over night.

If Washington can dodge bullets in the offensive line, and at running back we might be bowling this year, but as you can see, the absence of just one player can effect the entire team even if he is third in the RB rotation. UW can't afford injuries.

Lack of depth can kill, and just a few more surprises can destroy a team living on the edge of depth, and talent.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Very bad news

James Hasty may be ineligible.

Shelton Sampson returning may turn out to be a big deal, they are moving him back to TB.

Coming out of the Spring Hasty was a soild #3 behind James, and Rankin which it should be since they are upper classmen with a lot of experience. There was a concern that Hasty had put on too much weight and lost some speed in the process. This loss hurts the depth more than anything, and with only three RB's on the roster it could be serious if injuries pop up as they always do.

The best RB Washington had at the end of the year was actually a guy who started out as a Safety, and was moved to FB, James Sims. That tells you a lot about the durability of Rankin, and James.

Mosley, Meyers, and maybe even Butler will get a shot at TB this Fall to help bolster the depth, but all three are better suited at other positions. Putting them at TB for a year hinders their growth.

Football Stadiums I have visited

I have always had a little wanderlust, maybe that is the reason I have been gone from Seattle for the past 16 years. I never thought I would leave the Northwest, but as opportunites, and technology expanded I have been able to keep in touch enough each day to not get to homesick.

People often ask me on the Dawgman board how many games I get to see a year, and I usually average around five, but the last two years like many I haven't been going as much. The last two years I have only been to two games which is an all time low since I left town. the team was so bad under Gilby that it was tough to watch.

Traditionally I always take in the Oregon game at home, or on the road. I have been going with the same guys, a mix of UO, and UW graduates for over 25 years. It does seem that I have been spending too much time in Autzen, it seems we play on the road there every year. Duck fans are as bas as advertised, and every game there is always an incident. I do love the Stadium, but it isn't as intimidating as the old Autzen.

I like games at Oregon State, the fans are a lot better behaved, and the new Reser isn't a bad place to watch a game. The old Parker was a joke, have seen better looking HS stadiums. I like to tailgate over by the river by the stadium.

I love California because the fans are nice, and the stadium is an ancient wonder. It is going to redone in the next couple of years and it will be among the best venues in the country when they are through. The stadium is a mini version of the Rose Bowl. Stay in Union Square and take the BART.

I have taken in a few games at the Rose Bowl to watch us play UCLA, and of course Big Ten opponents, and I love everything about the place. I hope they don't NFL it in the future and it just stays the same. UCLA fans are friendy.

The Coliseum is in the middle of a dicey neighborhood as we all know. It isn't a great stadium, the fans are classy. A trip to LA is always good because there is just so much to do down there.

Arizona St is one of my favorites, I like the fact that you can always arrive and buy tickets on the fifty near the top of the stadium for almost any game. I love Scottsdale, and the golf that comes with it.

I haven't been in Arizona's stadium even though I have made the trip twice. Ended up playing golf, not making the drive, and watching it on TV.

The new Stanford Stadium has me intrigued, the old place was falling apart. The campus is out of this world to walk through.

I have been to Aloha Stadium in Hawaii and it is a nice venue to watch a game. There is nothing wrong with being in Hawaii.

I have been to Notre Dame twice, and really enjoyed the experience, but of course not the games because the Huskies didn't show up either time.

Nebraska of course has the best fans, they beat you with kindness. Memorial Stadium is what you expect, but it isn't exactly a pretty state.

The Big House in Michigan is huge, and it is really congested. They have good site lines despite the enormous size. The fans are great, and it is an easy drive from Chicago.

Tennessee is a must see kind of place perched overlooking a big river, many people come by boat. The view is gone because they have built so many seats.

I liked the facilites at Ohio State, but the fans left a lot to be desired, same with the outcome.

Miami was a nightmare from a fan safety perspective. South Florida is humid cess pool anyway. The Stadium of course has some nice history, but it's ancient....I don't see us playing down there for awhile.

Vanderbilt is a little jewel, very fun to watch a game then head to Rotiers for a cheeseburger in paradise. Nashville is a fun town to hang in for a weekend.

I have been to two games in Boulder, Colorado and just loved it. Boulder is a great town.

Air Force Academy has a large stadium which has a great view of the Rockies.

If you are ever in Missoula Montana on game day a Grizzly game is a lot of fun, have done that once and enjoyed it. Missoula is a fun town.

The MetroDome in Minneapolis is the worst place I have ever been to watch a football, or baseball game. The lighting is so dim it puts you to sleep. UM is building a new 50,000 seat stadium on campus.

I see a couple of games at Northwestern each year and enjoy the remodeled facility. The fans of course are nice, and you are pretty close to the field.

Purdue, Indiana, Michigan St, and Wisconsin are also within easy driving range of Chicago, but I haven't made it to a game at one of those places yet. I think we still have Indiana on the schedule in a couple of years.

I have seen five Packers game at Lambeau in Green Bay. The stadium remodel is just great, and the atmosphere is by far the best in pro football. I went before they remodeled and loved it to. They didn't ruin it when they redid it.

The new Soldier Field is sterile, and corporate, you aren't missing much here. I did go to a Stones Concert before they remodeled and I liked it a lot.

My fiance attended Boston College so we will head back to Chestnut Hill to take in a game one fall and drive through New England watching the leaves turn.

Game Three Fresno State

Fresno State comes to Seattle for the Huskies third game of the year. The Bulldogs are always tough, and Pat Hill will have them up to the task of beating a Pac Ten opponent. This is one of those games Washington has to win to get to a bowl in 2006.

Fresno as usual will field a competitive team that is more than capable of playing with most Pac Ten opponent's. Who can forget last years game with USC that almost knocked the Trojans out of the national championship game? These guys aren't Oklahoma, but they can play up to the level of most opponents.

This years Fresno squad will be led by an inexperienced QB who will be picked once practice starts in August. Expect the young QB to be having some growing pains early in the year.
Dwayne Wright return from a year off due to a knee injury to run the ball. WR Paul Williams is the primary big play threat and has really good size.

Offensively the Bulldogs are going to be green, and have some question marks so that is going to give the Husky defense the opportunity to shine at home.

On defense the Bulldogs also lack experience going into 2006 after graduating excellent talent. This isn't going to be Fresno's year to make a drive for a BCS bid, but they should be one of the top three teams in the WAC.

Washington should beat Fresno St

Washington should be able to beat these guys at home, just like we should have beaten Air Force last year. This is a game that will probably be decided in the 4th quarter.

You have to give the advantage on offense to UW being who is being led by a senior QB. In addition to that UW has a lot more experience at the skill positions. The OL of course needs to make time for the skill players.

Defensively we should be able to control the line of scrimmage. Holding on to the ball of course is crucial in games like this, t/o margin often rests with the victor. Look for Kenny James, and Louis Rankin to get their yards against the Bulldogs. IS will get a lot more time to throw against the FSU defense, look for him to have a big game in Husky Stadium.

This is the type of game Ty needs to win to start building a little excitement in Seattle. Fresno has built a strong program, but this years team won't be one of their best. Washington should win. A victory here will be a major springboard leading into the conference season with UCLA, and Arizona up next. This is a three game string of winnable games, if Washington wants to go bowling it all starts here.

Washington 31 Fresno State 24 (2-1)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

2007 Pac Ten Bowl Picture

I think one of the biggest complaints the I have heard about the Pac Ten is the lackluster bowl schedule it has put together for it's members. The Pac Ten's excuse is the bowls back East don't want them because we wouldn't travel well. The real problem is the Pac Ten hasn't done a good job of developing venues out West.

The Rose of course is the granddaddy of them all, and the Holiday is a very classy game, but after that things begin to fall rapidly in prestige.

The Sun Bowl agreement changed this year opening up the game to Big 12, ND, in addition to the Big Ten. I like the Sun Bowl, it has a CBS contract, a long history, friendly town, and full stadium. What it isn't is a destination resort. What the Pac Ten's third place team gets is a game with another conferences 5th place team.

The Insight Bowl in Phoenix was a nice addition, but we lost the contract this year to the Big Ten. We shouldn't be shut out of the bowl picture in a Pac Ten state. The Pac Ten should go head to head with the Fiesta Bowl committee by staging a game at Sun Devil Stadium. The stadium is vacant in September since the new stadium has opened in Glendale.

We enter into another year in what will be a long relationship with the Las Vegas Bowl. Las Vegas has everything you need to replace El Paso as the venue for our 3rd place team except the proper stadium. It isn't a Pac Ten city, but it is close enough to California that it can tell which side it's bread is buttered on.

The Emerald Bowl in San Francisco is played in the baseball stadium, an intimate venue with a nice view, but a little tight. The contract with the ACC brings some nice diversity and interesting opponents.

The final choices are if there are enough eligible teams is the Hawaii against the WAC, or the Forth Worth against the MWC.

This season it is a good bet that we will have two teams qualify for the BCS, when that happens the bowl lineup looks better.

This years schedule:

Rose Bowl (BCS)
Holiday Bowl (Big 12)
Sun Bowl ( Big 10, Big East, or ND)
Las Vegas Bowl (MWC)
Emerald Bowl (ACC)
Fort Worth Bowl or Hawaii Bowl (MWC) (WAC)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A guideline for posting

I just want to thank everyone who comes by, and visits, hopefully we can pick up a few more posters, but the three of us are getting some good dialouge going.

What I am trying to do is post one topic per day relevant to the Husky football program, that is a big goal, but count on me getting close to that goal.

Signing up to post is pretty easy, and it only takes a few minutes to do it. The tone over here is going to analytical, and it is going to be strictly from a rabid fan's point of view. I don't profess to be right all the time, but I think I can be objective enough to come close most of the time.

As far as getting members to come here it is basically word of mouth, if you think the content is worthwhile let a few good posters from a variety of sites know about it. I think if we had a good core group of twenty or so posters we could have a lot of fun, and concentrate on what we feel is most important. Right now with only three guys posting it is pretty fun, so I think we are in good shape.

I got the idea to do this from the various Seattle Mariner blogs that are out there. There are quite a few of them, and they are all very popular. The USS Mariner, Prospect Insider, Dugout Landing, are all terrific places to visit if you like Mariners baseball. Believe it or not there isn't that much on Husky Football outside of Dawgman, Malamute, Brand X, and the Rivals site.

Malamute (Dick Linde) is an excellent historical biographer of Husky football, his site is a must see if you haven't been there yet.

So anyway, if you haven't posted yet, please join us, and let your friends know what we are doing over here so we can get a decent group of diehards going.

2006 Husky Newcomers

Ty and his staff pulled in an average class last year that was ranked in the mid 30's by most publications. Not a great clas, not a bad class, and a class that was marked by five big time defections, or losses by the name's of Schilling, Mays, Pope, Jefferson, and Montgomery. If you add those guys to this class you have a class in the top fifteen, and in normal years Washington would have certainly landed these guys. We did land Jefferson, but he won't be able to qualify which is a shame. We also failed to get a kick returner, losing out on a JC CB to OSU at the last minute.

Enough of who we didn't get, lets concentrate a bit on the solid group we did get.

JC Class

Ty brought in the largest JC clas in memory, and it could have been even bigger.

DE Anthony Atkins.....He arrived in time to practice this Spring and it became apparent that he was battling a learning curve, and being comfortable with the weight he added. He plans to slim down to 265 by Fall drills. At this point he is a good redshirt candidate. Atkins was recruited to play right away, but he didn't seem ready this Spring.

CB Jordan Murchison....Jordan passed the eye test during mat drill this Winter and the coaches feel he will be able to contribute this year if needed. A raw talent out of CCSF he has a lot of ceiling.

S Jason Wells....This guy is a steal with 3 to play 4 left. Wells will challenge for a backup spot in the secondary. He is also capable of playing CB.

S Ashlee Palmer....I will be pretty surprised if he isn't starting pretty early in his career at UW. He needs to beat out Mesphin Forrester, and Chris Hemphill to do it. Palmer is the guy that allowed Goldson to move over to the corner spot which really solidifies the secondary.

DS Danny Morovick....Give a snapper a scholarship? Well UW decided to take care of a nagging problem that will eliminate blocked kicks, add points, and pick up punt yardage. This one guy solves a lot of problems on special teams.

WR Marcel Reese...This was a big pickup because it changes all the dimensions and dynamics of the passing game. Reese is a huge fast target who will just murder guys in the middle of the field once he gets comfortable.

OL Aaron Mason....They say this kid could paly in the NFL some day, but he was only 265 last Winter. He needs some weight and is a possible redshirt candidate most years. This year there is a good chance he will play especially if he added 20 or 30 good pounds.

High school Class

We missed out on a few key guys, and we skipped a few positions. It takes time to take back the state coming off a 2-9 season, but we are doing better in 2007.

QB Jake Locker....Of the big three recruits in Washington last year Locker was the most important. Jake has all the making of a great Husky QB, and we look to him to become a four year starter at the position. He is that good.

RB Nobody....The big goose egg here, but Shelton Sampson could always move back from CB in case of emergency. The Dawgs never had a backup plan for Montgomery. Meyers, and Mosley will also get looks.

FB Paul Homer....I predict that Homer is going to become the next great Husky FB. We haven't had a kid like him since Pat Conniff. People in Nebraska just love this kid. He is nasty!

WR Goodwin, Meyers, Mosley....Pretty good class, but Meyers, and Mosley will get looks at TB this year, and could end up as DB's in the future. Goodwin has good speed and will redshirt to get stronger. Mosley and Meyers could see the field if the need arises due to injury.

TE Nobody....Another goose egg that is tempered with the arrival of JC Walkon Tim Harris plus a strong local TE class in Washington for 2007.

OL Tolar, Sedillo, and Habben comprise this years HS OL class. All three have some work to do before being able to play with Habben being the closest, and Sedillo being more of a project. Tolar is capable and needs to lose some of the baby fat.

DL Matthews, Elisara, Kosub were major gets in any year. Washington really scored on three guys who will play alot in coming years. Randy Hart keeps attracting good linemen, and DL is the deepest part of the roster other than WR. Elisara could play early if needed, but we think he will redshirt.

LB Houston, and Butler are a couple of HS recruits who are distinguished with high character which attracted the Huskies to them during the recruiting process. Houston was a fallback after more highly rated recruits went elsewhere, but according to DM he could see early playng time and really can bring it. Butler was also a star RB in HS.

CB Mosley is a natural CB who will start off on offense but could quickly gravitate to this side of the ball.

S Jake Merrill is a big safety who could grow into a LB. He will start out at safety. the kid is a good attitude guy, will be interesting to see if he sticks at Safety, or ends up being a tweener.

Game Two....Oklahoma

Having your second game of the season on the road in Norman isn't exactly a soft landing for a team coming off a 2-9 season. The Sooners were down last year, but got better as the season progressed beating Oregon in the Holiday Bowl finishing 8-4 by winning six out of their last seven.

Coming into 2006 most publications are going to rank the Sooner's in the top ten making them a pre season contender for the national crown. Rhett Bomar, Adrian Peterson, and Malcom Kelley lead the way on offense, but the offensive line returns only one starter. The early collapse to begin last season was due to injuries, attrition to the NFL, and a young team led by 12 freshmen who played last season. Oklahoma should be a deeper, and more experienced group coming into 2006 and has to be the hands down favorite in this game on their home field.

The Sooners play the following week in Eugene as they try to win their second leg of the Northwest Championship. Oregon will give the Sooners a much tougher test and could come away with a victory if they are settled at QB.

Washington will have a few problems in Norman.

The first problem they have is they simply don't have as much talent as the Sooners who have lived off top 100 recruits since the programs resurgence. Washington will have to have a better gameplan that is able to put Oklahoma back on it's heals early. Washington will need to improve it's redzone performance to stay with these guys. If they make mistakes we need to take advantage of them.

The second problem is the environment, expect it to be hot and humid in Norman on game day. An added feature is 85,000 Okie's in one of the shrines of college football. Playing in humidity after practicing in the Northwest all summer can really drain your energy as the game goes on. Let's hope the Dawg's are in condition to face a very physical team in a hostile environment.

The third problem is the green UW offensive line going up against a Bob Stoops defense. This is going to be a challenge. If we are able to give the running backs a little room, and make enough time for IS to create, we have a better chance. No doubt this game will be won in the trenches. Oklahoma will also have better overall team speed.

A few things in Washington's favor

The first thing is we could be taken lightly even though we are a Pac Ten team. Oklahoma still has a young team, and young teams tend to make mistakes early in the season. California came in and shredded them early last season.

The second area is our defensive line which will be playing against their green, but talented offensive line. If we can create some turnovers, and slow them down it will help. Our defense is a strength, and we will need it to create some opportunities.

Finally how good is Oklahoma? I don't see them being a national championship, or even league title winner, I don't think they have the horses to get by Texas. They do have BCS talent, but they aren't like SC of the past few years. I would rate this years 2006 California team higher.

Whats going to happen?

Both UW and Oklahoma have prior games before playing with the Sooners taking on UAB, and the Huskies battling San Jose St. You really never know what any team is going to be like till they play a game. We should have a good idea of each teams readiness after the first week.

UW is going to try to strike early, we saw an improved long game in the Spring, and IS can throw it a mile if someone can get under it. Can the UW receivers get some seperation, and can IS get some time? You also have to establish the run to win, and Lappano won't shy away from trying to do that. UW's offensive line will be severely tested trying to make some room inside. Kenny James can get some tough yards, but he still needs a little space.

I am not going to go out on a limb and predict a Washington victory, I don't think we have the athletes to play 4 quarters with these guys on the road. I think UW will go down 31-17 in an interesting game that will tell us pretty much what Washington will do over the season. I don't think we are ready to beat a top fifteen team, but we should be able to go out there and give them a game without embarrasing ourselves. We will have our chances, but in the end talent and depth will win out.

Oklahoma 31 UW 17 (1-1)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

UW According to Athlon

I was reading through the Athlon preview on the plane back from Oregon this past weekend and found it interesting that they rated almost every Husky position near the lowest rank in the Pac Ten going into this year. They also listed Washington as a program in decline, and Willingham as less than a success after his first year at UW. Dick Tomey who arrives here with his San Jose St program on September 2nd and is coming off a 3-8 season was viewed in the complete reverse. Program on the rise, coach on the rise...etc... .

Dan Raley of the PI wrote an article about Ty being a mystery man. so the machine is starting to spin against Ty, and he needs a few more wins to start inspiring some media confidence.

I never take national publications seriously, even when they use a blend of local writers, way too much ground to cover to be that accurate. What does this mean, and is it a fair appraisal? Let's take a closer look and see if we agree.

Athlon UW Unit Rankings

QB 7
RB 6
OL 10
DL 10
LB 8
DB 10

John B's UW Unit Ratings

QB 3 ....just being conservative here because IS is one of only three returning QB's in the conference along with Brink at WSU, and Moore at OSU. I think IS is better than any of them. I think whoever starts at SC and Cal will have the edge because of returning talent, so I will give IS a 3 with an upside of a 1. You can't underestimate the importance of a SR QB with two years of experience who has the tools of IS. His mobility will help a green offensive line.

RB 6....They have us at 6 at Athlon too. I like all three of our backs, but they need to stay healthy because there is no depth behind them. Last year we went through more than three backs. If all stay healthy, and the offensive line surprises you have an upside of 4.

WR/TE 4....I think they are way off the mark here with an 8. Losing Chambers doesn't hurt much. With the new guys coming in it is addition by subtraction. I think we are more solid at TE then we have been since Lambo was here. The WR corps has had a year and a half of real coaching, and it will show this fall. I pick 4 because IS is going to get these guys the ball, and I also think after watching the last part of the year, and Spring that we can develop some deep threats.

OL 10....Athlon gives us a 10, and who can blame them on paper, we don't have a lot of experienced depth, and the senior starters while experienced are not all world. I had to go with the ten to start out too with. I can go with a very optimistic upside of a 6. We need to at least be a 6 to see a bowl, or get close to .500.

DL 4.....Athlon gives us another 10 for what may be the strongest part of the entire team. We have size depth, and experience, so I would I would place us near the top with an upside of #1. Gunheim, Mateaki, Afoa, JWF all match up with anyone in the conference. I wonder what they were drinking when they gave us a 10.

LB 5....Athlon tosses in an eight which is mostly due to graduation, but I think the guys replacing last years seniors have a way better upside. I think with better, and deeper DB's behind them, and veteran hosses in front, this unit should do well, at least the middle of the Pac Ten. What the new starters bring to the table is more sideline, to sideline speed. Speed was something that has been lacking.

DB 5....Athlon nails us with a 10 which is a good bet on paper since we haven't had a decent defensive backfield since CW went down. I strongly disagree, I saw a huge amount of improvement last year in the defensive backfield, and I think we will be much stronger this year. The biggest problem we had last year was simply depth, and we did a credible job in the off season picking up some bodies that can plug some holes. The addition of coach Williams, a man who played in four Super Bowls, and is known as one the brightest assistants on the West Coast has to be a plus. I picked a five with an upside of 3.

In conclusion really think that our defense will end up being one of the top 4 in the league when it is all said and done.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ted Miller chats with Trent Greener

If you want to pin point the biggest problem the UW football team has right now, it is communicating effectively, and fairly with the media. You can tell that the staff has been ordered to be very careful, and not to disclose any information to the media by Willingham.

They say that Lambright was the first Husky coach to lose his job because of his mouth, Ty, and his boss TT may be the first to lose it for not using it enough.

Ted Miller's article yesterday concerning team conditioning is a classic case of the disrespect the UW is showing the media. The media by the way, especially a true expert like Ted Miller, should be able to get enough information during an interview to write a story without having to fill in between the lines. Ted is a very fine writer, and probably the best college football mind the newspapers have in the Northwest, so his opinions really have a lot of weight with me.

Miller makes the comment that the top 25 conditioned teams in the country are usually in the AP top 25 pole each week. Washington isn't on either list for a good reason, the majority of the squad hasn't put enough time in the weight room since they have been here and it has retarded any development they could possibly have regardless of the talent level they arrived with.

Digging a little deeper by talking to players it seems that 80%-85% of the team has been participating in off season work outs this year, and that isn't good enough for a 2-9 team. Frankly only 100% is acceptable. I can tell you that if a kid comments that 80%-85% of the team participated it really means 70%-75%. People always add 10% to anything they do to pad the results.

The offensive line is the biggest question mark going into the season and, Greener was particularly tight lipped about the status of a group of kids that couldn't outbench press their QB last season. If Washington is going to win enough to silence the critics next season they have to score around 35 points per game, and you are not going to do that unless you can control the line of scrimmage.

I feel Ty has a reason for not allowing Greener to give much information to Miller on conditioning and that is because there just hasn't been enough improvement over the off season to get excited about.

I commented in an earlier article that it takes five full years to develop a competitive offensive line. Ty's first recruiting year didn't bring in enough numbers to help the OL, so it is going to take until year five or six of his tenure to turn that around.

All eyes should be on Gilby's OL class. Bulyca, Bush, and Flowers. O'Connor has been moved to defense, and of course we lost Ashby from Ballard who I was never impressed with to attrition.
All three of the remaining guys need to come through this year or we are in big trouble. Bush the ready made Center is now a guard, Bulyca hasn't played much due to injury, but seems to be gaining strength in the weight room according to Greener.

Anyway I think Ted's article is the best so far at pointing at what is currently wrong with Husky football. You can't win consistently if your kids aren't in shape.

The first two weeks of the season will point which direction we are headed. We of course will beat SJS as we should, but Oklahoma, even though they are down, will just pummel us if we aren't in shape. Norman will be really tough not only because it is one of the shrines of the game, but most importantly it will be hot, humid, dusty, and uncomfortable in early September.

Oklahoma started poorly last year, but finished stronger as the season went on, you could see the improvement in the bowl game. They aren't a top ten club going into the season IMHO, but they have talent to be top ten. Comparing UW, and Oklahoma talent wise at this point is comparing grapefruits to grapes.

We will know within the first two weeks whether the team got the job done in the off season. I think there is a lot more work to do, and it all starts with recruiting. 3-4 more wins this year will help recruiting, let's hope that the holdovers can achieve that.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Game One San Jose St

Over the next week or so we will be taking an early look at the upcoming schedule. To be honest it is pretty tough to accurately forecast what we have till these guys hit the field in September. I am taking an optimistic stance going into the season, I liked what I saw in the spring game. I think the team will continue to improve with the newcomers coming this Fall. Having a second Spring, and Summer under the same coaches with no turmoil, and more depth should yield more wins. During the season once we get a good look we will forecast every week, and of course compare that to the pre season predictions to see where we are at seer wise.

Washington opens up the season September 2nd with a scrimmage against San Jose St led by ex Arizona, and Hawaii head coach Dick Tomey. San Jose of course will improve under Tomey since he is a solid coach, they went 3-8 last year, but Washington should have no problem with the Spartans.

The Spartans, and the Huskies have a few things in common, both are rebuilding, both are at the bottom of their conference, and they both have a little more depth this year which should help both squads crawl back towards .500.

The UW offense will enjoy a soft landing against a Spartan defense that only returns two starters, but Tomey has been known to put together a tough defense over time. On offense the men from Silicon Valley return a good RB in Yonus Davis and an experienced offensive line. The Spartans will decide on a QB during drills in August, so the Huskies will be facing a rookie in his first game which our defense is going to love.

Everyone expects Washington to win this game, and some publications suggest that it may be the only victory this year. I however feel much differently after watching the team improve over the Spring with help coming into camp next month.

I predict Washington will roll against a defense with too many newcomers, and an offense with a rookie QB. I think Stanback will have a big day, and we will be able to run at will.

What could go wrong?

Turnovers, and turnovers that turn into points. Washington needs to take care of the ball. The Spartans played much better last year under Tomey only losing by a TD to Nevada, Utha St, and Hawaii, they won't lay down like past Spartan teams.

UW 42 San Jose St 6 (1-0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Taking a look at the walkons

In the era of 85 scholarships, and only 105 players being invited to August camp the importance of having a strong corp of walkons has never been more important. Here is a list of guys to watch in August.

Mike Gottleib TE....Gottleib walked on from Mercer Island and caught the eyes of Gilby's staff right away earning one of the available scholarships for walkons. Under Willingham his progress has continued and as of Spring he was the #1 Tight End.

Erik Berglund OT....Not really a walkon since he was awarded a scholarship out of HS, but since he left the program and came back after a year and a half he is w/o a scholarship. In a depleted offensive line he at least gives the team another big experienced body to practice against. At the most he could vie for a lot of playing time if he shakes the rust off. willingham didn't seem to think he was all that rusty this Spring which is encouraging.

Mark Palaita FB....Mark heads into his senior season owning the starting job at FB for the second consecutive year. He will have plenty of competition from Kravitz, and Homer. What Mark gives you is blocking and a bowling ball at the goal line.

Alex Mercier WR....This kid went out and won a place in rotation this past Spring. With new talent coming in this August he will have to work hard to keep it, but this Spring he looked like one of the best one's out there.

Joshua Gage OLB....the coaches are looking for him to see the field this year which is the goal of any walkon. Not predicting he will win a scholarship, but he will see the field this year.

Robert Lukevich C....An unfortunate and serious knee injury will force him to miss this season. He was running at #2 center a postion that really lacks depth to start the Spring. Tough to say if he will make it back but deserves mention for the hard work he put in to climb the depth chart and receive consideration for playing time.

Greg Christine C....Slated to join the team in August Christine ia a guy that DM is high on to contribute and possibly win a scholarship during his stay at UW. The injury to Lukevich will give him an opportunity to make the depth.

Troy Perry WR....A walkon from Pasadena CC that has a lot of experience. Depth will keep him out of the rotation, but it is always a good thing to have some more spped guys to practice against and see the field on special teams.

Felix Sweetman QB.....Felix won't see the field this year unless he gets a little mop up duty, that does not diminish his importance as the 3rd string QB (if Locker redshirts) going into the year. Once again you need guys like these to practice against easch week to get ready for your opponents.

Ian McMillian...WR...A walkon on from Portland who strated his career last season in the Ivy league. He is reported to have good speed. UW has lots of depth at WR so don't look for him to play for a year or two. If he develops he could be very important once all those juniors graduate.

Tim Harris...TE.... the former Bellarmine stand out brings California JC experience. In a position that had positive results last year he fits into the depth nicely. You need five TE's, and he will start out the year behind Gottleib, Lewis, Kirton, and Williams. Nice pickup that will become more apparent if the injury bug strikes this position.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

2006 Washington Defensive Coaching Staff

Washington has one of the most experienced, and talented defensive coaching staff's in the West. Husky fans didn't immediately take to Ken Baer in his first year at the helm, but as the season progressed, as the players, and coaches started to gel, we started to get an enjoyable glimpse of what the future will bring.
Husky fans have always loved an attacking, aggressive, defense, and with a lot more depth coming into the season this year we are going to see exactly that. The Husky defense on paper looks to be among the top five defenses in the conference. More depth at DB will allow Washington to show a lot more looks.

Baer, and Willingham have been around each other for the past 11 years, and at three different locations. Baer also has been the DC of four different Pac Ten schools, UW. Stanford, Cal, and ASU. Husky fans relax, this guy can coach, and we will see a lot of progress made this season by his defense. We saw improvement all year from a depleted defense, and that is the mark of a good coaching staff.

Chris Tormey of course is almost every Husky fans favorite assistant. He started coaching under James, then moved on to Navy for his first stint as a DC. He was a head coach at Idaho, and Nevada, plus he was probably the runnerup to Neuheisel for the Washington job. He then went on to be a head coach for nine years at Idaho, and Nevada. Tormey was brought back by Gilby, and retained by Willingham. Currently he is in charge of linebackers, and recruiting. Tormey held the fort down after Gilby was let go, and his hard work helped salvage a recruiting season that had been shut down in September. From what we hear, Chris likes the kids he has at LB currently, and we are going to see a much more mobile group on the field this year. As are recruiting coordinator he is one of the best on the coast, and I think we will see better results in February 2007.

If there is tenure in the coaching profession Randy Hart has certainly earned it at the university of Washington. Hart came to us from his alma mater Ohio State, and has been here 19 years. That may be the longest tenure of a Washington football coach other than Jim Lambright. Hart is recognized as one of the best position coaches in the country even though all Husky fans haven't agreed on that one lately. A testimony to Hart is the amount of talent and depth he currently has at his disposal. Kid's want to play for him because he can help them play on Sundays. the kids know that even though some of the fans don't. This is a year where he has a lot of horses who have finally gained their experience. I think you will all be suprised by how well they play.

The lone newcomer this year may be Washington's biggest recruit of 2006. JD Williams steps in as Secondary coach this year. Curtis's older brother has a great reputation nationally, and the move from California to Washington suprised quite a few people, but DJ felt it was the right move, at the right time. It is always a plus when you bring in a guy who has four super bowl rings to do a little recruiting. Another asset is that he is well established in the rich central valley region of California. He has a lot more talent than his predecessor did to work with. More depth will be a blessing to him in his first year at UW. Williams is a class act and he is just a perfect fit for this staff.

In summary I think it would be tough to find a defensive staff with this much talent and experience anywhere in the country. People can debate the Hart, and Baer till they are blue in the face, but both of those guys are excellent coaches with tremendous experience. This should be a year where the defense shines and leads the team. I am not talking about a Rose Bowl, but five to eight wins is very possible. They say your best offense, is a good defense, giving the offense a shorter field to work with this year should help the cause.

2006 Washington Offensive coaching staff

Tim Lappano has been a fan favorite since he arrived as offensive coordinator, and QB coach. He has a Northwest pedigree, was tutored by the legendary Dennis Erickson, and he has had success everywhere he has gone. His tutelage of Stanback has been tremendous, he seems to be a very good teacher. The goal this year is to get more productivity out of an offense that scored around 20 points per game last year. To win consistently in the Pac Ten you need to score a lot more points, and finding those two extra touchdowns per game this year will be a challenge. Having a senior QB with experience can help if he can get the same type of quantum leap improvement out of Stanback this year.

Tutoring the running backs again this season will be Trent Miles who coached with Ty at Notre Dame, and Stanford. Miles is another guy that knows the West Coast, and he has done a good job recruiting his area so far. Miles is blessed with three Pac Ten quality running backs, two with a lot of experience. He is cursed with a lack of depth behind them since the position is almost depleted. A RB coach is judged by who he puts in the NFL. Rankin, and James have a chance if they stay healthy. I haven't seen enough of Hasty yet, but the coaches love him. I saw improvement in the backs last year, so I would say Trent is doing a good job.

Eric Yarber also returns and this guy is well respected up and down the West Coast. He has done a great job with the receivers since he arrived. Yarber is another Erickson protege who played for him at Idaho and coached with him throughout his career. Yarber is one of the stars of the staff because he recruits, and coaches well. He seems to know everyone in Los Angeles, and that is a very good thing. We got some looks last year from kids we had no business talking to because of Yarber. I could see Yarber getting a head coaching job some day, maybe at his alma mater. The receiving corps have dramatically improved under Eric so lets hope we can keep him here for many more years.

Mike Denbrock has probably the toughest job on the team rebuilding the offensive line. That job wasn't made any easier this Spring when he had to sit out most of the practices because of illness. Hopefully he will have that under control this Fall because there is a significant dropoff when he isn't around. Denbrock is a young coach who was with Ty at Stanford, and Notre Dame where he concentrated mostly on tight ends, this is his first tenure running the offensive line and his performance will mark his future as a coach. Turn this mess around and a lot of doors open up. The kids like Denbrock, and they have responded to him pretty well. The fact this will be his second season in Seattle gives this group the continuity they have lacked. Whiffing on Schilling last year is a major black eye for Denbrock. I am not saying it is his fault, but you hate to lose a Blue Chipper you have had a lot of access to. Denbrock needs to find depth this year, his starters are ok, but the Gilby recruits need to start paying off or we could be in trouble. It takes five years to build an offensive line, and it takes five years to fairly evaluate an OL coach.

Bob Simmons handles Tight Ends and Special Teams. The former head coach at Oklahoma State has alot of experience, and he is an excellent recruiter. He still has ties that he uses from his Colorado days. When a recruit comes to visit Washington from the Colrado, or Texas area it is because of those ties. Simmons is a linebacker coach by trade, but all the positions are filled on that side of the ball. I would have figured he would have moved on, but he must be comfortable working with Ty and being at UW. One interesting thing he did this year was recruit a snapper, and that alone should improve the special teams quite a bit over the next few years.

Overall the offensive staff headed by Lappano for the most part is excellent and proven. What Denbrock is able to do with the offensive line will be important to the future of the program. He is a young coach, and like any young coach taking on more responsibility you hope for the best. The one thing that seperates this group from the past is a little continuity, having the same coaches year after year is one very important thing that builds a solid program.

Going into 2006 there are still a lot of question marks, and a lack of proven depth at many key positions. The staff has to make do till the talent level rises, but getting the most out of that talent will be important if they expect to recuit well.

Monday, July 10, 2006

A look at Ty Willingham from the couch

If the Washington Husky football program has ever lacked anything during the last decade it has has been continuity without pressure. Ty Willingham begins his second campaign at UW with the solid support of his bosses as he continues the task of rebuilding the University of Washington Football Program. He has pressure to win but he is far from being in a win or else position. Ty can count on finishing out his contract at Washington.

Most people who have met Ty are impressed with him, they feel he has a lot to offer, and a recent post said that he seemed much taller in person, that carries a lot of weight, no doubt he is an impressive man. One thing that has gotten old is his lack of accesibility to the media. He hasn't won too many friends at the newspapers, but he never has in the past either. It would be great if he used some of the god given talents he shows in private when he is with the media, perhaps with a few wins we might see a less private Ty.

On the field his team was a little too shallow to compete well last year falling apart in the fourth quarter in a number of games they had a good opportunity to win. His second year was lack luster recruiting wise missing on two of the biggest in state prospects, still that can be expected after a few dismal seasons in a row. He seems to be off to a good start in his second year and a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that prospects, parents, and coaches know he is going to be here for awhile, and over the past two years he has been able to build up his contacts, and trust. Kid's also know that they have the opportunity to play right away at UW if they are good enough, and that is a plus.

Willngham needs to make a drive for .500 this year to keep building on that. He may not have all the tools, depth, and talent available to make that a certainty, but a coach that makes 1.4 million per year is expected to do that in his third year of rebuilding. Ty has five to six years at Washington to turn it all around, and I expect he will get the job done just like he did at Stanford which was a much tougher assignment at the time.

Willingham is a pretty conservative coach, and it will be fun to see him use a strong defense this year to hold a little more field position. One of the most interesting plays of last year was the record Stanback to Chambers TD pass against Arizona. It was pretty un-TY to make the call, or even think of it, but you have to give him credit for listening to his QB. I think that play made a deep impression on the whole team and elevated the confidence level a few notches which will carry into this season.

The biggest question going into his third season will be if everyone on the squad, his players, and the holdovers, have bought completely into his way of doing things. Since we haven't heard a murmur of discontent from Montlake yet we can assume he is making progress in changing the culture of Husky football.

Another thing I like about Ty is he doesn't give up on kids. Two players that quit in the past year and a half are now back on the squad, Shelton Sampson, and Ron Berglund. While neither will likely start they will add valuable depth we couldn't have gotten anywhere else if they had not returned to the program.

I look for Ty to succeed as coach at UW, and retire here. I wouldn't mind seeing statue of him out in front of the stadium either, but there is still a lot of work to do before that happens.

In the next post we will take a look at the Offensive coaches Ty has assembled led by Tim Lappano who has done a marvelous job since arriving at Montlake. Stability and continuity aid any program, and the fact that Ty staff has had few defections is a huge plus.

Friday, July 07, 2006

2006 Washington Husky Special Teams

One of the strangest things happened this Spring, K Ryan Perkins blew out his knee, and will miss 2006 after redshirting in 2005. Perhaps the NCAA will grant him a sixth year, what a shame. What this means is Mike Braunstein is the man going into the Fall, and Sean Douglas will help out on kickoff's if needed.

Braunstein was actually winning the job before Perkins was hurt, and he had a decent Spring. Douglas is one of the nations best punters and has a good chance to play on Sunday's. So we look good with the feet going into 2006.

Snapping is an area the Huskies have improved as Danny Morovick arrives as the first scholarship snapper in memory. I am sure a guy or two has earned one doing it, but I think this is the first time we recruited for the specific need. Accurate snaps will help both the kicker and the punter.

Returning the ball will continue to be a problem, UW desperately needs some returners to challenge Marlon Wood who is coming back from an injury, and Russo who wasn't exactly flashy. Chancellor Young could be one of the guys on kickoff's with Louis Rankin. Mosley, Wells, and Meyers will get looks. James Hasty could help out. It is really going to be interesting to see how this sorts out in August once everyone is together.

The best scenario is if Wood is healthy, and can handle the punt / kickoff return chores. Team with Rankin, or Young on kickoffs and you have some speed. Wood had that tremendous return against USC which resulted in a broken leg at the end of the play. The kid was just starting to break out.

Defensively the special teams have some work to do as all poor teams do. Another year in the same schemes, with the same coaches should help out here. Blocking a few more kicks by improving speed off the edge is a good possibility as the overall defense should be a team strength next year.

Overall special team play should improve this year due to experience depth, and the addition of Morovick which should be worth a few more field goals, and a few less blocked punts.

In the future you hope Perkins comes back and can handle punting when Douglas leaves backing up, or competing with Braunstein next year for place kicker. If he can't you need to bring in punter on scholarship, or hope one walks on. As the overall talent. and depth level improves so does the level of the special teams. You will see more answers in the upcoming recruiting class.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

2006 Washington Husky QB's

For a guy whose reputation as an elite recruiter, and elite QB coach preceeded him, Rick Neuheisel wasn't able to get the job done at either Washington, or Colorado where all the kids he has recruited have either struggled, or simply fizzled. I wouldn't exactly give credit to Neu for Cody Pickett who was basically a Lambo recruit.

Gilbertson of course gambled on Tui, lost, and never had a backup. Durocher migrated his way to the team, from Oregon during his tenure after originally being recruited by Neu, then was inherited by Lappano and Willingham. Bonnell was a Neu recruit who verbaled to WSU, sat out a year and transfered to UW.

Stanback returns as the starter this Spring as a true senior. Gilbertson just had to have him on the field as a receiver as a frosh, but the kid has stuck it out as a QB. Last season we saw a lot of improvement, but he is going to need to make the same amount of improvement this year if Washington has a chance to go to a bowl game. In his senior year Stanback has the chance to finally have a winning season as a QB, something he hasn't had in his HS, or College career as a starter.

His backup suprising enough going into the Fall is going to be Carl Bonnell who has injected his game with a fresh attitude. Injuries have held him back since he arrived, but he played well in the second half against ND in South Bend. Performance this Spring secured the back up job and he actually pressed IS a bit.

Don't count out Johnny Durocher either, he was injured in his first series during dreadful weather last year, and hasn't bounced completely back yet. He may not start while at UW, but he does provide some nice depth and competition.

The future of course arrives on campus for what is hopefully a redshirt year this Fall in Jake Locker. Locker has all the attributes, and intangibles that make a great Washington QB. What he needs is a year to learn the system, and polish his game. Chances are good he will start as a redshirt if Bonnell, and Durocher can't hold him off. Jake of course could see the field as early as the 4th game this season if IS falters, but I wouldn't bet money on that. I think Stanback will do fine.

Recruiting wise it all started with Locker turning his back on pro baseball. That was big.

This coming year we have already signed Ron Fouch from Redlands who reminds a little of Mark Brunnell, and will likely sign Kellen Killsgaard from Auburn who can also play safety.
Chris O'Connor was a great safety from Interlake who was a highly touted QB in HS. I always thought Stanback would have made a great safety.

Those three should solidify the position for the future and get it back on the right track. Kudo's to Ty for bringing in two highly regarded guys to compete with Locker.

How will they play together?

I am predicting that IS will continue to improve, and become the triple threat weapon we have always envisoned. IS is a threat when he run's the ball, and if he can develop some of the moxie Tui possesed he could be a handful supplementing the running game. He needs to carry the ball 10-12 times a game on designed plays and pick up 50-60, or more yards a game to take the pressure off the running backs. This will open things up and keep the blitz at bay which is good for our offensive line.

I think IS will have an improved target in Johnnie Kirton, and the TE corp as a whole who will be utilized in more ways this season. The receivers will continue to improve, and the addition of Reese will more than make up for Chambers. He still will throw a lot of balls to the most sure handed receiver on the field Sonny Shackleford.

IS will enter the season as one of the most experienced QB's in the Pac Ten, and that usually means a lot in this conference, for Washington perhaps, if a few breaks go there way, it will result in a bowl game.

2006 Washington Wide Receivers

Rick Neuheisel was always an offensive minded person, still it is interesting that he loaded one single class full of so many wide receivers. Currently we have lots of depth, but soon most of these guys are going to be gone, and we are going to have a depth and experience problem.

Going into 2006 the starters are led by Shackleford, Williams, and Russo. All three have considerable experience, and have been making strides during the off season to make improvement. None of the three have proven to be spectacular. Williams has never been the same since his wrist injury at ND. Russo doesn't give you a lot after the catch, while Shackleford has been the best overall target.

Marlon Wood was off to a good mid season start last year as a return specialist and big play receiver when he was downed by a cheapshot on a long return against USC. Coming out of Spring he was at 80%, and should be fully recovered by Fall. Wood is a legitimate return threat when healthy.

Last years big play threat Craig Chambers took his show to Missoula, Montana over the Winter. While a kid with that type of big play potential is missed, his attitude won't. Newcomers Chancellor Young, and Marcel Reese will join the rotation giving it more speed, and definitely more size. Reese is a huge target, and by midseason could be one of the more dangerous kids in the conference. Young didn't break the starting lineup after the Spring, but he is making a push for playing time. Alex Mercier a walk on JC also pushed himself into the rotation this Spring, and should see a lot of time this Fall.

Cody Ellis, Charles Smith, and Quinton Daniels round out the guys trying to gain time in the rotation this year, it will be tough for Smith, and Daniels who have been held back by injury. They have to remember that Ty doesn't offer automatic 5th years so they need to step it up. Ellis had some nice catches last year after moving over from CB, he will get time again this year at a very crowded spot.

Since the position is manned by mostly juniors, and seniors Ty brought in Mosley, Goodwin, and Meyer's to redshirt at the position this season. Meyers, and Mosley will also get a look at TB since the position is so thin. Goodwin has good speed but needs another year to build size, and strength.

The Huskies have a lot of numbers here, and the best athletes are going to see the field, but during the next two years those numbers are going to go away as the group includes two seniors, and seven juniors. With numbers like that you can see Ty not rewarding a couple of redshirt juniors with a 5th year.

Recruiting wise the Huskies will probably bring in two frosh for 2007. Word is that they just about have one of the best on the West Coast ready to commit so Ty is off to a good start recruiting this year.

How will they play together?

We have lot's of depth, and that is good for any position. We also have lot of experience, plus we are blending in some new talent. If IS can get them the ball, and he is going to have to do that in less than three seconds, we are going to be alright. Reese adds a whole new definition to the squad as a whole which will allow the offense to open up. Shackleford is coming off a strong year and he will compliment any tandem you put beside him. Williams is due for the breakout we have seen coming since he was recruited.