Monday, June 18, 2007

The Monday Morning Wash

Hope everyone is ready for Summer as we near the longest day of the year on June 21st. The weather has really kicked in back here in Chicago, along with the humidity. School of course is now out of session, and vacation has begun for nearly everyone.

Talking about vacation, my wife, and I are going to be traveling to the Pacific Northwest over the fourth of July. I hear the weather out there has been less than optimum, but we are going to try to bring the sun back with us. I can remember some rainy June's, and July fourth's growing up.

The College World Series is in full swing, and Oregon State which has been on another season ending hot streak faces off against tourney favorite, and Pac Ten champ Oregon State today. the Beaver's will their ace Mike Stutes on the mound today. The game will be televised on ESPN at 4 pm PST.

Stay Spencer Stay

Spencer Hawes was not ready Sunday to publicly reveal his basketball plans, but he has been invited to the NBA draft in New York and all signs point to Washington's center passing on school and moving on. Hawes, 19, is faced with a 2 p.m. PDT Monday deadline for removing his name from the draft and retaining college eligibility.

Most observers feel that Spencer will be picked within the top twelve if he opts to stay in the draft. I think it is a mistake for him to make the move right now, he could really use another year to develop his game at UW. I just don't see Spencer despite his potential playing very much in the NBA next year, and that retards growth despite the paycheck. Of course if he blows out a knee, or ghurts his back next year it will retard his paycheck, so there are a lot of things to consider.

Hawaii Contract and return game finalized

The contract for UH's regular-season finale against Washington Dec. 1, 2007, at Aloha Stadium has been concluded. It calls for UH to play a Sept. 10, 2011, return game at Seattle, UH said.
The Huskies will receive a $350,000 guarantee for the game, one of the largest cash payments made by UH to an opponent.

UH has traditionally offered opponents the choice of cash or a package that includes airfare, lodging, cash and tickets. The Huskies chose cash, and the contract calls for them to receive $50,000 more than cross-state rival Washington State will receive for its Nov. 29, 2008, appearance at Aloha Stadium.

Ohio State Preview

The new leadership at QB will tell much as to how far next year’s Buckeyes can go. Enter drop-back hurler Todd Boeckman, an understudy for the past few years who will be thrust into the limelight. Boeckman has the arm and pedigree to succeed, but how long he takes to properly adjust to real game pressure dictates the potential of this offensive juggernaut.

RB Antonio Pittman’s prowess will ease him in Pittman’s experience and ability should keep DLs respectful, though losing Stan White could affect the impact of the running game more than losing linemen Datish and Downing inside. But Alex Boone will have the QB’s blindside (only 14 sacks allowed by entire OL). Depth with Chris Wells (top prep RB in ’06 recruiting class) should keep defenders tired as he and Pittman rotate early and often. The star of this offense and a potential Heisman finalist – is WR Ted Ginn. Still, he is but one of the talented Buckeyes at receiver (Gonzalez, Robiskie) who can burn foes deep as well as via short routes with YAC. Ginn also explodes on punt returns, though coaches need to find a new kick returner to keep Ginn healthy.

Then there is the defense, which was supposed to need 2006 to adjust to six new starters in the back seven. Coach Jim Tressel improved his legacy even more by fielding a defense that shut most foes down for 60 minutes.

Nagurski Award winner Jamie Laurinaitis leads a group of sophomores and juniors that will play with cohesion and determination to make each game a shutout, and they can hold up their end of that bargain. But the DL is the biggest team concern with Richardson, Pitcock and Patterson departing. Soon-to-be juniors Vernon Gholston and Lawrence Wilson, along with over-achieving Robert Rose, look like they should tow the line on the outside, so it is only inside that needs extra attention in spring/summer practice's. The LBs are rangy enough to be able to help in this area, though teams that spread the Buckeye defenders may find the most success running between the tackles. Kickers Pettrey, and Pretorius went a combined 3-for-5 from 50 plus, and both are back. If 2006 was any indication, be sure not to underestimate Tressel’s ability to take supposed weaknesses and turn them into definitive strengths. The Buckeyes look to be reloading for another run as one of the nation’s best.

The Consensus on Ohio State

The Buckeye's once again figure to be in the top ten once everything is said, and done at the end of the season. They are however not going to be a finished product when they arrive in Seattle, and like Boise State they have some holes to fill, most notably at the QB position. Ohio State was manhandled last year in the National Championship game, and it was obvious at the end of the season that the Big Ten Champs were not playing at the same level of Florida, and USC.

For Washington to compete against Ohio State they need to be able to generate some offense against what is always a tough defense. Ty, and Lappano need to study the Florida game film to throw the change ups needed to keep them off balance.

On paper nobody expect's Washington to compete with the Buckeye's, but UW is on an upswing, they are playing at home in front of a supportive audience, and the Buckeyes shouldn't be firing on all cylinders as they break in a new QB against what should be an improved Husky defensive front. Look for the game to be similar to last season against Oklahoma where Washington gave the Sooner's all they could handle till mistakes allowed Ohlahoma to pull away in the fourth quarter.

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