Monday, June 25, 2007

The Monday Morning Wash

Let's start off the morning talking about College Baseball.

A decade ago, it would have been hard to imagine Oregon State making it to Omaha, much less winning a national title. But with a 9-3 win over North Carolina on Sunday, Oregon State ranks with the greatest programs in NCAA history by clinching its second consecutive national title. Jorge Reyes was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player.

This was a big win for the Beavers, the state of Oregon, the entire region, and the Pac Ten Conference. Baseball isn't a revenue sport, but it does have potential if you win, and contributions to that program specifically to keep it in the black, takes pressure off the revenue sports as far as the budget balancing goes.

Washington has the potential in baseball, but what they have always lacked is facilities. Tubby Graves Field, the old home of the Huskies, was a complete joke. I think the head coach at the time also had to act as the head groundskeeper. Imagine having a job title that included gardening if you were the head athletic coach at UW.

The new field while an improvement is just as much of an embarrassment because the stadium has been awaiting funds for almost ten years to get completed. Despite this UW has a pretty good baseball program, in fact they put a lot of players in the pro's, and they even finished ahead of OSU in the conference this year. UW has the potential to do great things on the diamond if the stadium is ever completed.

High School Football Camps

Hard to believe that we are entering the stretch run of June already, and that means the next flurry of verbals will be coming during, and after Ty Willingham's camp at Montlake which started on Sunday, and ends next weekend. UW will have some gunslingers lined up to compete for scholarships at QB. The Huskies have offered three Californian's, but have yet to offer an in state QB, that could change by the end of the weekend. Also look for some local players who haven't been offered yet to finally get the nod after they have been evaluated.

Hawaii Preview

The Warriors have three starting spots to fill on the offensive line, one at running back, and another one at receiver. On defense, depending on what basic scheme is being run, both defensive end spots are open, along with one outside linebacker spot and a safety.

On offense the Warriors are led by Heisman candidate Colt Brennan who set an NCAA record with 58 touchdown passes last season, leading the nation in passing yards (5,549), passing efficiency (186) and completion percentage (72.6). He withdrew from the NFL draft to return for his senior season at Hawaii.

Brennan returned to spark change in the Warrior program as far as quality facilities go. according to Brennan the Warriors should be called the Spartans. Brennan complained there has been no soap in the football locker room showers for months and student athletes must pay for campus parking to attend practices, workouts and study sessions. "We spent all spring with no soap in our showers," Brennan told The Honolulu Advertiser. "Half of the soap dispensers are broken. How hard is it for us to have soap in our lockers?

Brennan has his top targets back in Davone Bess, Jason Rivers and Ryan Grice-Mullen, who combined for 3,168 yards and 36 touchdowns a year ago. But three starting linemen and the leading rusher are gone from an offensive juggernaut that led the nation in scoring, passing and total offense. Twelve backs competed for depth-chart position in spring practice, with explosive freshman Kealoha Pilares turning the most heads. OGs John Estes and Hercules Satele are polished pass protectors.

New defensive coordinator Greg McMackin has eight returning starters to work with as the Warriors move to a 4-3 scheme after two seasons in a 3-4 under Jerry Glanville. All-WAC candidates include DT Michael Lafaele, LBs Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard and S Jacob Patek. McMackin calls his linebacking unit, which includes Blaze Soares, the best he has ever been around. That's saying something, considering that his previous pupils include Ray Lewis and Julian Peterson.

Sure-footed junior Dan Kelly handles kicking duties for a third straight year. He hit 13 of 17 field goals in 2006, including a career-long 52-yarder. With P Kurt Milne gone, the team experimented with Kelly and Bess this spring, but the job goes to Juco transfer Tim Grasso when he arrives in August. It's almost an afterthought anyway, with Hawaii punting just 17 times in 14 games last year.

The Warriors must replace league-leading kick returner Ross Dickerson. CB Myron Newberry is the most experienced punt returner, but an intriguing option to handle both duties is incoming freshman RB/WR Gabe Tuata if he doesn't redshirt. Jones called him "probably the most exciting player I've ever looked at."

The Consensus on Hawaii

This is a tough way to wrap up a season. The Warriors are going to be very tough at home, and they are going to give the UW a Pac Ten quality game to end the year. Middle of the road Pac Ten teams are supposed to beat good WAC teams. Oregon State ended their regular season in Hawaii with a win. This is going to be a very good WAC team by the way, one that could be rated inside the top twenty when Washington heads to town. The Warrior's are likely to be favored in this one no matter how well Washington does this season from an optimistic point of view. That all being said UW should be at a level by that time of the season to be able to beat these guy's, because they should beat these guy's. UH has some standout players on offense, but they shouldn't be able to score more points then a good Pac Ten team. I expect UW to be a very good Pac Ten team by the end of the season regardless of the record and I expect this one to end up in the victory column for the Dawg's.

Next week we will start looking at our conference opponents for 2007 starting with the UCLA Bruins who the Huskies face on the road in the Rose Bowl.

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