Yesterday was one of the busiest Monday's I can remember. It has been a long time since anyone got worked up about a walk on CB leaving the team. Let's hope today which just happens to be the last day of practice till the Huskies arrive in Syracuse is a little less surprising.
The number one thing to keep an eye on at practice today is the status of CB Byron Davenport. Word from Molly Yanity is that he looked considerably improved over the weekend warming up and sprinting. the coaches will make a determination today to decide whether he is recovered enough to make the trip to Syracuse. One thing is for sure, Vonzell McDowell will start, he will play the majority of the time, and Syracuse is going to throw at him and test him by fire on Friday night.
Bud Interviews the Dinosaur
Bud Withers of the Times has a nice interview with Pac Ten Commissioner Tom Hansen. Hansen is a Northwest native, and graduate of the University of Washington. Hansen is viewed by most as a dinosaur as he nears his 70th birthday. Under Hansen the Pac Ten has lost a lot of it's former lustre because he doesn't have the ability to think out of the box. Hansen for better or worse is the mouth piece of the presidents of the schools in the league. He is one of those guys who doesn't rock the boat, and takes direction from his superiors well. Innovation isn't in his vocabulary.
Hansen states in the article that he indeed is nearing retirement which would be a good thing for him personally and the conference. The Pac Ten needs a dynamic young leader to push the conference to new heights in the early part of the twenty first century. With Hansen all you get us all the reasons things can't be done any different way.
My candidate for Pac Ten Commissioner would be another man with Washington ties, current AD Todd Turner. Todd has the ability to think a bit out of the box, he has NCAA administrative experience, and he has been vocally critical of Hansen's leadership. While Todd isn't the most popular guy in Seattle from a football coach hiring perspective, he has stabilized the athletic department from fiscal and organizational standpoint, and has boldly moved forward with plans to modernize Husky Stadium in the face of overwhelming odds.
Hansen probably has a couple of more years left, so does Ty Willingham if he doesn't start winning this season and recruiting enough defensive backs. A Turner exit with upper mobility near the end of the Ty era at UW would make a lot of sense.
Whoever takes over from Turner, and Ty is going to have a lot easier road to hoe, but they are both going to have to be a lot more football oriented. How can a football coach not be football oriented? It all comes down to winning, promoting, soliciting donations, and selling tickets. Ty hasn't done any of those four things during the two years he has been at the helm.
Year three is a crossroads for Ty Willingham. He has the security of knowing that he will be here for five full years, but any talk of an extension will not happen till he starts winning games, and taking the Huskies back to New Years Day bowls.
Friday we get a good look at where he is in the process. UW needs to win the first two games of the season. If they start the season 0-2 the drums will start beating along the shores of Montlake because an 0-5 start will be very likely. If you can't beat Syracuse, and Boise, you are not going to beat Ohio State, UCLA, and USC.
The next regime at Washington will be football oriented by necessity, and it will have a tie to a purple and gold past. Jim Mora Jr if still available will be the front runner among the big booster set. As for athletic director look for someone more in the mold of a Mike Lude who knows how to include the boosters, and community in the process of building a winner. The Athletic Department under T/T has lacked that connection with the community. UW isn't going to go anywhere meaningful until that is fixed.
We are only at the start of the third year of the reign of Willingham, but he is a coach that could skip the hot seat and jump completely into the fire over the next six weeks.
Sports Projections Dot Com
Our good friend Nestor from the UCLA blog recommended me for a couple of different gigs over the Summer. One was to participate in Pac Ten predictions at Sports Projections.com
Here is the link for those projections from blogs, and websites up and down the coast. It was my first opportunity to participate, and it was fun to be able to do it. The site is interesting and has predictions for all Pro, and major college football teams.