Washington started the process of rebuilding it's coaching staff yesterday by firing Kent Baer, and Bob Simmons. Trent Miles left the week before to take the head coaching job at Indiana State. Those three were the nucleus of the staff that Willingham brought from Notre Dame.
Most Husky fans have been asking for the heads of these coaches for the last couple of years. Most are absolutely sure that the Huskies would have won more games if someone else was in charge of the defense and special teams. The reasoning is if you throw Jim Mora in the coaching box, the second half collapses immediately stop, and the team is headed back for bowl games.
Not so fast....while I was never a fan of Baer's defenses, the main reason Washington has had problems on defense and special teams has simply been talent, and depth. Teams that are deficient in talent and depth fade in the second half no matter how much heart they have.
If you take a look at Don James special teams which were a work of art you will notice that he had plenty of depth to work with. Special teams were the place for young rising stars to get attention before moving into the starting line up. Depth, and lack of speed is the biggest reason special teams at Washington haven't been special over the last three years.
I think special teams actually improved this season. We did better in every category except on kickoff returns which was massaged by moving the ball back five yards this season to create more excitement. Special teams will improve dramatically again in 2008 simply for the reason that there will be more talent and depth on the team.
Against all odds the 2008 recruiting class may be one of the best since the early 1990's. Don't pay too much attention to the star ratings since the local kids are usually docked a star they would have had if they lived in California. This class is solid, fast, and balanced. It is exactly the prescription that is needed to cure what ails the Washington football program. More than anything talent determines what your fate is going to be out on the football field. This class has tremendous talent in all area's.
It is no secret that Willingham is in the double secret probation phase of his coaching career. Any assistant who signs on with the program comes with the understanding that this is likely only a one year gig unless Washington is bowl bound next season. So exactly who do you tap to fill the holes in the coaching staff at this point?
I don't think Ty is going to have any problems finding quality coaches to replace Miles, and Simmons. Dino Babers from UCLA has already shown plenty of interest in the RB position and has extensive recruiting ties in Southern California. As for Simmons he was a defensive coach that was an odd fit coaching TE's, and special teams. Ty shouldn't have much problem finding a coach that can take up his slack or perhaps assist in a different area.
The key hire will be at defensive coordinator. The challenge is to find one of the most dynamic up, and coming assistants in the country to run the defense. If they can't find anyone to bite, Chris Tormey likely will assume the position and Ty will bring in a LB coach to replace him.
I have always liked Tormey, but his units performance this year was lackluster. He also didn't show us anything that would indicate he was the type of guy we need to rejuvenate the defense. If they promote Tormey it means that they couldn't find anyone else, and that will be a bad sign in my opinion.
I don't know exactly which direction UW is going to go on this, but for Ty to survive he needs to bring in new blood, and fresh ideas on defense. He needs to make a splash with a lot of sizzle or he would have been better off retaining Baer. The most important recruit of the 2008 season is going to be the defensive coordinator.
Jim Moore of the PI has decided to take the angle of lambasting Ty for Kent Baer, and Bob Simmons.
He's an undeserving fall guy, Paint Dry Ty's scapegoat for a 4-9 season. Just once I'd like to see a head coach who takes the sword and spares his assistants.
This is an interesting comment because Ty did fall on his sword at Notre Dame for refusing to fire assistants. I guess you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
According to newspaper reports from California the Huskies are going to go hard after UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker. Walker is a finalist for the head coaching position along with Norm Chow, Rick Neuheisel, and John Harbaugh.
In a twist, though, sources said if interim coach DeWayne Walker is not hired as the full-time coach, the University of Washington will make an "intense" push to hire Walker as its defensive coordinator.
Walker meets all criteria for being a great hire. He understands the Pac Ten, is recognized as one of the finest young coaches in the country, and he is a tremendous asset as a recruiter. The word is Walker would like to stay at UCLA even if he isn't named head coach, but UW will be able to pay him quite a bit more than the Bruins.
Walker is in line to be a head coach sooner than later no matter what he does. Turning around the Washington defense would give him a big boost towards a BCS coaching position. Keep an eye on this rumor, it has legs.
Walker joined the Bruins from the Washington Redskins, where he had coached the secondary, specifically the cornerbacks, the previous two seasons (2004-05) under head coach Joe Gibbs and highly-respected defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. He also served as secondary coach of the New England Patriots for three seasons, the first two (1998 and 1999) under Carroll and the third (2000) under Bill Belichick.
Walker began his coaching career at Mt. San Antonio College (1988-92), serving as secondary coach for four seasons before becoming defensive coordinator in 1992. He then gained valuable experience by coaching at Utah State (1993), BYU (1994), Oklahoma State (1995) and California (1996-1997) before moving to the Patriots. Walker played three seasons professionally - one in the CFL (Edmonton Eskimos in 1982) and two in the USFL (Oakland Invaders in 1984 and Arizona Outlaws in 1985).
In college, he was a two-year starter at Minnesota (1980-81) after playing at Pasadena City College for two years.