Monday, July 30, 2007
Bill Walsh passed away yesterday at 75 from Leukemia. Walsh was one of my favorites as a 49er head coach, but that his star diminished for me when he started talking trash about the Huskies being a mercenary program. I wish Bill, and his family the best despite those comments, and the world will miss him. Ty of course was one of his disciples, and he was able to see him the weekend before he passed. It is tough to find a bigger coaching legacy than the one that was created under Bill Walsh.
Hard to believe but we are only a week away from the opening of Fall camp for the Huskies. there will be plenty of news coming out once camp begins so stay tuned. The Huskies also picked up a pretty big recruit in QB Dominique Blackman who is rated the 15th best QB in the country by Scout. Washington's legacy of treating black QB's fairly was a big factor in his decision to come to UW.
The California Golden Bears (10- 3 overall, 7- 2 PAC-10) proved that they could amass yards and score. They also ably shut down defenses. In 2006, they tied for first in the PAC-10 and went on to humiliate Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl 45- 10.
The offense has innumerable looks and combinations. The Golden Bears are deep just about anywhere, allowing them to rotate players easily and with confidence. Junior QB Nate Longshore (60.2% COMP, 3,021 YDs, 24 TDs, 14 INTs) was one of the best in the PAC-10. Longshore is a sharpshooter who has worked hard on his decision-making and mobility. Top targets include junior DeSean Jackson (59 REC, 1,060 YDs, 18.0 AVG, 9 TDs) and senior Lavelle Hawkins (46 REC, 705 YDs, 15.3 AVG, 5 TDs); the talented duo has plenty of backup. Senior Justin Forsett (119 CAR, 626 YDs, 5.3 AVG, 4 TDs), a solid force, takes over the running back duties after three years of backup work. The offensive line should be effective as long as its members stay healthy.
The offense scored an average of 32.9 PPG, which was great. Even better, the defense kept opposing forces to only 19.3 PPG. The Golden Bears proved to be best versus the run but fairly dismal, rated 103rd, when defending against the air game. This year there's plenty of tough competition for the secondary spots. Two starters return—CB Syd'Quan Thompson and ROV Bernard Hicks (2 INTs). Junior LB Zack Follett gets to start; he's being touted as a major force, while junior All-American LB Anthony Felder is back after nursing injury problems last season. The frontline has plenty of openings and a lot of talent looking to fill the spots.
Over the past four years, the Golden Bears have been for four bowl games, winning three. They will be in a bowl once again. Count on the Bear's to compete once again for a BCS bowl.
The Consensus on California
The Bear's have been the second best program in the Pac Ten ever since Jeff Tedford arrived on campus. Cal has played USC to the wire too, but they haven't picked up that big victory which puts them over the top in their quest for the national championship. When you look at Cal think the University of Washington ten years ago when they were one of the most dominant programs on the coast.
Washington took Cal to the final tick last season with reserve QB Carl Bonnell leading the charge. That gives the Huskies a little confidence after getting thrashed by them a few years in a row after dominating them for around thirty years. You used to circle the Cal game as a victory, but now the roles have been reversed.
For Cal to be successful they need to shore up the defense and get better play from quarterback position in 2007. Despite the numbers which were impressive Cal had no business allowing the point, and yardage total UW was able to put on them last season.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
We are in Martha's Vineyard which is off the Cape in Massachusetts's. We started the trip in Darien, Connecticut where we were fortunate to do a little boating in Long Island Sound. Just want to relate that this corner of the country is very special, and scenic. We heard one day that Eric Clapton was performing at a private club on the water in Greenwich, Ct.. We loaded up the boat and enjoyed a free concert on the water. MV is like the San Juan's on steroids. Very pretty area, but much more developed. No Kennedy sightings as of yet, but we are staying right across from Chappaquiddick in a town called Edgartown which dates back to the 1600's. Have to say the whole place is special, and will be back again some day. Tomorrow we go by ferry to Boston for a few days. I am really looking forward to that since it is one of the cradles of the American Revolution.
Sorry about the brevity this week, but we are having a great time. On the seafood scene we have enjoyed Lobster everyday, but at this point still have to give the edge to Seattle in that department. It's early, and we are trying to be fair, and we won't have a real guage on it till we get out of the toursit area's and hit local spots in Boston.
Molly Yanity turns in her best work of the season in a story where she reports on what the Husky football team has been doing conditioning wise this summer. To me it sounds like these guys are jelling early, and we may see the best conditioned Husky team in over a decade.
Oregon State Preview
The Oregon State Beavers (10- 4 overall, 6- 3 PAC-10) have only been to 10 bowl games, but they have won 60% of them. In the last seven years, they've gone to five, winning four, including their 2006 appearance in the Sun Bowl where they beat Missouri 39- 38. Last season they place 3rd in the PAC-10. This year they will contend for one of the top spots again.
The Beavers scored 27.8 PPG with most of their yardage coming from the passing game. Look for the club to take some pressure off of its QB by utilizing Yvenson Bernard's (296 CAR, 1,307 YDs, 4.4 AVG, 12 TDs) tough grit more than it has in the past. The QB position for Oregon State is still up in the air. Two sophomores are battling for the job—Shane Canfield and Lyle Moevao. Canfield holds the edge right now. Senior split end Sammie Stroughter (74 REC, 1, 293 YDs, 17.5 AVG, 5 TDs) has the sure hands and speed to make him the teams' go-to, big down man. On the line, Jeremy Perry, now a junior, is one of the nation's best offensive guards. Overall, the Beaver "O" line looks tough and solid.
Oregon State held opponents to 22.2 PPG by mainly stuffing the run and putting a lot of pressure on QBs. OSU had 47 sacks and 60 other tackles for a loss, which together equaled 107 hits for a loss, totaling 528 yards lost. That led the country. Senior DE Dorian Smith (9 sacks) returns to this talented line. Senior WLB Joey LeRocque (98 tackles, 44 solo) anchors an expert line-backing corps. Last season the secondary made its share of blunders, but there's hope that experience will turn that around.
The Consensus on Oregon State
Experts are picking big things for the Beaver's this year who finished stronger than any other team in the Pac Ten last year including USC who they knocked off late in the season. Coach Riley has proven himself after being on the hot seat early last season. It is hard to believe that the OSU faithful wanted to dump him after a slow start. Things have of course changed and the Beaver Believers truly believe there team has a shot at a BCS bowl in 2007.
My take is not so fast. Sure the Beaver's were manhandling UW even before IS went down with a season ending injury in the second half, but I think UW has better talent on the roster than the Beaver's do coming into 2007. Washington of course needs to prove they are better on the field in Corvallis, but if you don't approach each meeting with OSU thinking it's winnable you might as well join the Big Sky. Look for the Beaver's to finish in the upper division of a very competitive, and very even league. The difference between the #3 team, and the #8 team won't be that much this season.
Monday, July 23, 2007
The Cardinal offense scored an average of only 10.6 PPG, earning a national ranking of 118th. T.C. Ostrander (47.6% COMP, 918 YDs, 3 TDs, 5 INTs), a fifth-year senior, becomes a starter for the first time. Look for Harbaugh to utilize an up-tempo, West Coast offense. Stanford has a trio of receivers in seniors Mark Bradford and Evan Moore and sophomore Richard Sherman. If used properly, the three can become a true threat in the conference. Junior LT Allen Smith is the foundation of the frontline. Hopefully, they can step-up more than they did in 2006. The line gave up 50 sacks in 2006. The running game needs both junior Anthony Kimble and sophomore Toby Gerhart to contribute.
The Stanford "D" gave up 31.4 PPG, giving up a whopping 210.5 YPG (ranked 117th ). Pass coverage was much better, with the Cardinal team ranking 23rd in the nation. Scot Shafer is the new defensive coordinator and he'll institute a new, more aggressive 4- 3 configuration. The defensive line has four returning starters and some competition from the new guys. Clinton Snyder and Brian Bulcke will try to assume leadership roles in the LB unit. Corner Wopamo Osaiosai brings playmaking skill and versatility to the field in a sound secondary.
The Stanford Cardinal team will not be rebuilt overnight, but Harbaugh may be the harbinger of good things to come.
The Consensus on Stanford
Stanford is going to be better, but not better enough to win a Pac Ten game next season unless someone experiences a complete meltdown like the Huskies did last season. UW should have no problem with these guys if they stay healthy at QB. Keep an eye out for these guys though, Harbaugh will get the rebuilding job done over time.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Who has been the best coach in the Pac Ten over the last thirty years?
Don James UW 59% (13 votes)
Pete Carroll USC 18% (4 votes)
Mike Bellotti UO 9% (2 votes)
Jeff Tedford Cal 0% (0 votes)
Terry Donahue UCLA 5% (1 votes)
Mike Price WSU 0% (0 votes)
Dennis Erickson WSU, OSU, ASU 0% (0 votes)
Bruce Snyder Cal, ASU 0% (0 votes)
John Robinson USC 9% (2 votes)
This weeks question:
What place do you think the Huskies will finish in the Pac Ten this coming season?
The Pac Ten scribes are getting together this week, and doing their annual prediction. Bob Condotta of the Times predicts 8th, so does Molly Yanitty of the PI which is no surprise since she always follows Bob's lead which is smart because I don't think she is that knowlegable. I pray for the day they return the assignment to Ted Miller. Ted by the way wouldn't rank us any higher either.
What it all comes down to is while everyone expects Washington to be better, they also expect them to struggle with a RS quarterback who is facing the toughest schedule in the country. Another factor is most of the teams in the Pac Ten, especially USC are expected to be better also. Experience at QB is a huge factor, especially in the pass happy Pac Ten. Washington State comes in at #9, and they have a senior QB who should be able to put up some decent numbers this season.
I guess the point is neither team will get any respect until they start winning on the field. UW has a chance to make quite an impact with their schedule this season if they can get some breaks.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
We start off with Ted Miller of the PI who writes about Oregon dropping it's Wrestling program to reinstate Baseball, and offer a competitive cheerleading program. I really like Ted, and it is great he has decided to pick on UO, it's about time someone did. Pushing Moos out the door will be something this program regrets for a very long time, just like Washington not hiring Moos when they had the chance. Nothing against Turner either, but Moos really got it going down there.
Does the UO budget now include money for bronze poles, mirrors, and disco lights? Ken Kesey (former UO Wrestler, LSD Lover, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) must be rolling around in his grave.
We follow with some snippets from SI's Stewart Mandel. If you are a Husky fan there are some words of encouragement. If you are a Cougar fan you likely won't be happy.
We then move onto the Seattle Times Bob Condotta who has done an exceptional job with his blog over the past year. Bob takes a look at academic casualties over the last decade or so.
Ted Miller shoots one over the Bow of Oregon
It was just a matter of time till someone started taking shots at the new Oregon AD. I also think it won't be long till the NCAA takes a shot at the Oregon program. Something hasn't smelled right in Eugene for some time, and it isn't the pulp mill. Now that they have a neophyte booster running the athletic department it is just a matter of time till they get caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.
Kilkenny is not a typical athletic director. He's a big-money booster who helped force out Bill Moos last fall. He spent three undergraduate years at Oregon but never earned a degree. He had no previous experience in athletic administration before he was hired, but he apparently is better at, er, "handling" Señor Swoosh, Nike Pooh-bah Phil Knight, the Ducks' ATM, who didn't feel like Moos was enough of a sycophant.
SI's Stewart Mandel on Washington vs Ohio State
I think that Ohio State game has definite upset potential because it's early in the season, when it's likely the Buckeyes' untested offense will still be a work in progress. That said, Washington's offense will have to be much improved to have any success against OSU's defense. Remember, the Huskies got off to a pretty good start last year, winning four of their first five (including UCLA and at Arizona) and nearly knocking off USC before QB Isaiah Stanback went down and the season went south. Stanback was the heart and soul of that offense and a talented enough athlete to become a Cowboys fourth-round pick even after the injury.
This will be a critical year for Willingham, and much will depend on the performance of his new quarterback, redshirt freshman Jake Locker, the Huskies' savior-in-waiting the past two years. Willingham has recruited well enough and the defense should be dependable enough for Washington to be a bowl team if Locker comes through. The biggest problem, however, is going to be that murderous schedule. The Huskies could definitely use an upset against either Boise State (Sept. 8) or Ohio State (Sept. 15) early to get the momentum going. And they definitely can't afford to lose at Syracuse the first week.
Mandel also takes the time to give us his list of the top ten worst coaches in college football.
4. Bill Doba, Washington State: With each passing year, it becomes painfully apparent that Doba a super-nice guy and the former legendary high school coach is in way over his head. After a successful 10-3 debut in 2003, he's gone 8-17 in the Pac-10 since.
Bob Condotta of the Times takes a look back into the past of Husky Football academic casualties. This is what he came up with.
Of Lambright's five full classes, he signed 98 players, with six not gaining initial admittance. Of those six, one (Multiauaopele) eventually played for UW.
Giving Neuheisel credit for the 1999 class, he had five full classes at UW and signed 115 players with eight not gaining initial admittance. Of those eight, three later became Huskies.
Gilbertson's only full class was in 2004, and he lost two of 23 players, neither of whom ever played for the Huskies.
Willingham has had three classes and of 63 players he has signed, it appears that at least nine will have been initially ineligible. Of the six ineligible from earlier classes, five won't ever play for the Huskies.
Obviously, on the surface it appears that a higher percentage of Willingham recruits are having trouble getting into school than recruits of previous UW coaches.
Pac Ten Alley
Now it is time to take a walk down the coast to see what our neighbors are up to.
USC, like Washington duck's nobody when it comes to scheduling. Could they get ambushed in Seattle? Will Josh Booty say, "All I saw was purple!"
You know about those pundits that say the Trojan away game schedule is a monster? Well, if you thought the first half of the season was a cakewalk over a relatively harmless group of opponents...
Jeff Tedford has built quite the program at Cal, and once again they are touting another Heisman candidate.
For the second consecutive season, the Cal athletic department has started a Heisman Trophy campaign for a standout junior, launching a Web site devoted to receiver/returner DeSean Jackson this week.
The euphoria of winning two consecutive national championships in baseball has the valley spinning. The Dam also takes time to make fun of Oregon's attempt to re-enter the baseball arena.
Now, I realize, the Beavers won their second National Championship twenty-some days ago, and that might not have been early enough for the Beavers to be considered for and ESPY nominations. But still, was it too late for ESPN to throw in a video of Joey Wong's miraculous double play, or Joe Paterson's strike three called that gave the Beavers their second National Championship? How hard would it have been to put in a clip of Kevin Gunderson forcing Chad Flack to fly out to center field, then showing Kevin throw his glove into the air, and be joined by all the other Beavers in the dogpile? That entrance video seemed to last five minutes.
The big news at Oregon is the new baseball, and cheerleading programs, but since Ted Miller already slammed that around we turn to news of Jordan Kent. I think the kid will be a fixture in the NFL for a long time. He didn't have a lot of experience, but I really like the way the kid moves.
Jordan Kent's three-year transition from complete football newbie to NFL player has come full circle, with reports that the former Oregon three-sport athlete has signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
What? Happy news from Nestor about UCLA football? Cat's sleeping with dogs? Rain falling upwards? What's going on here?
It's always tough to tell too much from any one practice, let alone an informal short & T shirt 7 on 7 type dealio vs a local JC squad, albeit one of my alma maters WLACC. But FWIW, (to this longtime practice regular), it is obvious that UCLA's overall talent level is picking up considerably. As is the confidence level & focus of the team.
Someone picked WSU to go bowling this season, and just not any bowl.
Trust me Cougar Nation, the staff here at the WSU Football Blog would accept the invitation RIGHT NOW if offered. This is by far our best case scenario.
THE BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL!
THE BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL!
THE BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL!!!!
Do they even care about football in Arizona? I guess they are a softball school, sound familiar?
Arizona softball pitcher Taryne Mowatt returned to Tucson on Friday from her experience at the ESPY awards in Hollywood, where she won for top female athlete of the year and top college female athlete of the year.
Wilner seldom writes about Stanford in his Stanford blog, but who can blame him, Stanford sucks. He did manage to ruffle some feathers up in the Pacific Northwest. By the way our scientific poll has Don James as the best coach in the Pac Ten over the last thirty years, so take that Jon.
Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve gone and ranked Don James No. 3 on the list of best Pac-10 coaches of the past two decades, behind Pete Carroll and Mike Bellotti, and now I’m feeling the wrath of Husky fans everywhere. I even went on a Seattle sports-talk show; the hosts wanted a piece of me.
UW isn't the only program in the Pac Ten that is looking for money for renovations.
Dan Zeiger of the East Valley Tribune has had to create his own stories this offseason thanks to this new-fangled idea called discipline. In the wake of a $30 million deficit and Sun Devil Stadium's structural inadequacies, the overall ASU sports program seems to be doing as well as it ever has as evidenced by Zeiger's article.
Out of Conference Opponent Blogs
Well the Hawaii blog is getting petty cocky aren't they? No mention of UW which should have a pretty tough defense. I bet the Hawaii blog a couple Pina Colada's that UW will keep Hawaii under 30 points.
No one will keep Hawaii to under forty points. Sound crazy? Only Alabama, Boise State and Oregon State were able to do it last year, and even those games were tight until the end. The offense rolled for over sixty in four games and should do that in at least six.
Not much news out of Boise, but at least they did well at the ESPY's. This blog should heat back up at the start of August.
The Boise State University football team went two-for-two at The 2007 ESPYS Awards co-presented by Hummer and Under Armour, Wednesday night, at the Kodak Theatre.
I really like the Syracuse blog, those guy's have a lot of fun poking fun at themselves.
Superficially, this fact only tangentially pertains to Syracuse University. As a proud American football playing institution, the Orange must vicariously take a hint of pride in the U.S.'s utter domination of its competition.
Some very interesting info on Ohio State, remember the Buckeye's will be breaking in a new QB in Seattle. Check out SMQ, they know ther stuff.
What is shaping up to be a work heavy week means light blogging. But, to provide some material for the start of the new week, I would highly recommend Sunday Morning QB's (SMQ) preview of Ohio State. Before you dive in, there are some things to know about SMQ. Their knowledge of just about any Division 1A college football team borders on frightening.
Monday, July 16, 2007
This weeks column has a lot of information since I have had plenty of time to catch up on what has been going on. Pac Ten Alley will also return this Wednesday, and it will be interesting to catch up with what is going on with our opponents. The following week while we are on vacation I will be posting reviews for Stanford and Oregon State. We will get back to our regular schedule in August.
Men's Crew Coach Bob Ernst made an interesting decision on Friday naming himself as the new Women's Crew coach at Washington. Ernst who is now 61 looked around nationally, and decided that the best person to reestablish the women's program was the man who built it from scratch in the first place. So Coach Ernst will finish his final years at UW as director of rowing, and helping rebuild the juggernaut he created when he first hit campus over 30 years ago.
Bob's goal is for the men's, and women's programs to win national championships in the same year just like in the good old days. Ernst feels that the competition has increased dramatically, and the challenge is greater on the women's side, so he will end up his career finishing what he originally started.
On the men's side a young Mike Callahan who is a 1996 UW graduate, will take over the men's program. He was captain of the Huskies' 1996 team, and rowed on four Pac-10 championship crews. Callahan who was hand picked by Ernst will assume the reigns of one of the most storied programs in the history of collegiate rowing. Mike has been the frosh coach the past three years and was instrumental in recruiting the current national championship men's crew.
I have always had a lot of respect for Coach Ernst, and to me it is hard to believe he is now 61 years old, it only seems like yesterday when he took over from the legendary Dick Erickson. Bob has been at the helm of the men's program for twenty years.
To me it is a total act of unselfishness on Bob's part, and that is what Washington Crew has always been about. Bob could have finished off his career by padding his record with a few more national championships, but instead is taking the more challenging task of rebuilding the women's program.
As we all know the football program hit a serious bump in the road last week when Aguillar, and Boyles failed to receive passing test scores. Both are going to retest on Sept 15th, and both could be able to enroll at the start of the Fall quarter if they get a qualifying score. Keep your fingers crossed because according to an insider the chances of that happening is only around 30%. Both players claim they are only a few points away from qualifying.
Trevor Guyton has decided to go to California to further his academic, and football career. He is the second big local recruit to head to the Bay Area this year. For close observers of the program it is a big warning signal since UW can't afford to lose any more local recruits in what should be a banner in state recruiting year.
Steve Kelley has never been my favorite sportswriter, but maybe it's just me. Maybe in the twenty five years he has been at the Times I never gave him a chance since he was the eventual replacement for possibly the finest sports columnist in the city's history Georg N. Meyers.
I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember Georg, but he was one of the guys that taught me to read. I never met him in person, but I read everything he wrote till the day he retired. I didn't pick up reading very well in first grade, but by the end of second grade I was a whiz at it, and Georg's column, The Sporting Thing, was a staple from which I practiced reading each day.
I remember a few times when I was young, before the age of Google, when I had an obscure sports question that I just had to have the answer for, I called the Times, asked for the sports department, and Georg actually answered the phone himself. He cheerfully gave me the answer I was looking for. I remember telling him I was surprised he answered the phone, he just chuckled, and said call anytime. He was a very classy guy.
Getting back to Steve he wrote an excellent column, one of his best actually, about his own life, and the influences he had as a young sportswriter. As I said earlier, Steve has been at the Times for twenty five years and this is the first time I recall that he has allowed the reader to get a good understanding of who he is, what he is about, and where he came from.
Blaine Newnham, one of my personal favorites retired last year. When I learned he was retiring I wrote him a letter asking him to consider writing on a part time basis if the opportunity arose. I explained to him that when Georg N. Meyers retired, a mentor of his, he never wrote much again to my knowledge. A whole generation passed by without ever having the privilege to savor his unique style. He thanked me for the compliment, and said it was something to consider. I have no idea if that letter had any impact on him, and I am sure other readers may have expressed the same sentiment, but he still writes a column once a week for the Times on Sunday's.
Mr. Meyers passed away earlier this year at the ripe old age of 91. I pulled this article up from the Times archives from 2000. Georg reminisces about the Kingdome before it's implosion.
The Times made a couple of excellent hires this past Spring.
Geoff Baker brings a breath of fresh air to the Seattle sports scene. Geoff is a beat writer who covers the Mariner's, and is starting to get the reputation of the hardest working sports writer in the city. You have to check out Geoff's blog, he pounds out a lot of information each day and is very respectful, and in sync with his readers.
Jerry Brewer is a new columnist for the Times, and I don't even think he is thirty years old yet. Jerry is one of the best young sportswriters in the business. If you haven't been reading his work you are really missing out because he truly has gotten it from the get go. Jerry doesn't try to be something he is not, and his style, and the way he conveys the written word is something I am envious about. I love Jerry's new blog as he writes the story behind each column he writes. Check him out if you want to read something original.
The Arizona Wildcats finished the season 6-6 and tied for 5th in the conference and once again didn't go bowling. But things are looking a bit better due to head coach Mike Stoops' decision for fire his offensive staff and bring in offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. It was Dykes who helped energize Texas Tech's offense by co-engineering their lighting-quick spread "O." You hope to see some improvement, but you also have to figure that the first half of the season will be another time of transition for the offense.
The Wildcats averaged only 16.6 PPG, which earned them a national ranking of 105. With QB Willie Tuitama (55.9% COMP, 1,335 YDs, 7 TDs, 6 INTs) calling signals last season, the Cats won. But part way through the schedule he was out time and again with concussions. If the line can be less porous, and it looks like they will be, a protected Tuitama, now a junior, will stay healthy. For the Wildcats to win they are going to need to find at least an additional ten points per game in the tough Pac Ten.
The new quick-pass offense, which features innumerable looks designed to keep opponents guessing, should help. Once again, multiple looks, means multiple repetitions to get it right, so early turnovers could be a problem. Junior WR Mike Thomas (50 REC, 597 YDs, 2 TDs) is fast off the line and down the field. Senior wide Anthony Johnson offers a taller target. At RB both Chris Jennings and Xavier Smith can run and catch. Sophomore H-B Earl Mitchell has the talent to be a star.
Arizona's defense was rated 35th in the nation, allowing 19.6 PPG. It would have been even lower if the offense hadn't put them in so many difficult situations.
The stellar Cat "D" returns 10 starters, including a solid front line and expert line-backing corps. The front-four has experience and depth. OLB Spenser Larsen (89 tackles, 63 solo) and ILB Ronnie Palmer (69 tackles, 41 solo) are topnotch players capable of shutting down opponents. At corner, senior All-Conference back Antoine Cason (3 INTs) is back for a fourth year with counterpart Wilrey Fontenot. Senior Dominic Patrick leads Arizona's deep and talented safety-squad.
The Consensus on Arizona
Mike Stoops is on the hot seat this year even though he has done a pretty decent job rebuilding a program that was in even in worse shape than the one that Ty Willingham inherited at Washington. Mike has proven he can recruit, even though the balance has been lacking at times, now he needs to take his Arizona team to a bowl game. He came pretty close last year as he coaxed the Wildcats to a .500 record, and to get to the next level he needs to get more points out of his offense. The hiring of Sonny Dyke's as offensive coordinator is his major move to get the ball figuratively rolling in that area. Defensively the Wildcat's were tough last year, but an offense that simply couldn't move the ball, or score points negated that advantage.
Washington has owned the Wildcats the last few years, and I don't see too many reasons why we can't beat these guys up at home after two straight victories on the road. Washington who also has suffered with a mediocre offense has had little problem with the Arizona defense, for some reason Tim Lappano knows the right buttons to push against theses guys.
Arizona can win 6-8 games next year if they can get it together on offense. they better do at least that well if Mike Stoops wants to keep his job. My opinion is they should give Stoops more time since the program was just terrible when he took it over. Another couple years of coaching stability will go a long way in restoring Wildcat football.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times confirmed the report on Aguilar saying that he needs to retake the writing portion of his SAT. If he passes he will be eligible to enroll when school starts, but he will miss Fall camp, and the first four games of the season. This is a tough break because this was a kid that was expected to contribute this season, and start next year.
Bad news obviously comes in two's because it looks like Anthony Boyles has some retesting to do, and will not make it in till January, and that is if he passes. Boyles is a kid who could have been starting by mid season, so this is a big blow to the program, hopefully both can get their academics in order so they can play on 2008. No confirmation yet from Boyles, so we don't know exactly what he needs to do to get eligible. These things usually have a few twists, and turns so stay tuned.
It seems both Boyles, and Aguillar are in the same boat, they both narrowly missed qualifying and have another chance to re-test on September 15th. If they pass they can enroll for Fall Quarter, and be able to practice with the team. Even if they both make it in they will likely redshirt since they will miss the first four games, and fall camp. Let's keep our fingers crossed on this one. It would be nice if they were available this year, but if they don't make it in UW will be under the gun to have any depth in 2008 at WR.
ET named rookie of the year
Former Husky wide receiver Charles Frederick was named 2007 Arena Football League Co-Rookie of the Year, the league announced on Thursday. Frederick, who played for the Kansas City Brigade, shares the honor with Tampa Bay Storm quarterback Brett Dietz.
Frederick ranked first among rookies in rushing yards (133), receptions (115), scoring (246 pts.), and all-purpose yards (2,129). He also ranked second among rookies in touchdown receptions (27) and receiving yards (1,385).
Frederick's 115 receptions stood eight shy of breaking the all-time rookie record of 122, set in 2006 by Kansas City WR Jerel Myers. He was also named to the All-Rookie Team last week and Rookie of the Month in March.
Frederick was a four-year letter winner at Washington, earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2003 as a special teams player. He finished his Husky career with 121 receptions (sixth most in team history) and 1,735 yards (seventh most).
Where will Washington end up recruiting wise in the unofficial national polls put out by Scout and Rivals in 2008?
Top Five 0% (0 votes)
Top Ten 0% (0 votes)
Top 15 0% (0 votes)
Top 20 25% (3 votes)
Top 25 25% (3 votes)
Top 30 17% (2 votes)
Top 40 33% (4 votes)
The small sampling responded that they would finish anywhere between 20-40 which is a safe bet. I however think we will finish inside the Top Twenty due to a strong in state class. I can feel the turn around coming as quickly as Jose Vidro hitting into a double play.
This weeks question:
Who has been the best coach in the Pac Ten over the last thirty years?
John Wilner out of San Jose who is featured in our Pac Ten Alley most weeks decided to rank the top coaches in the Pac Ten over the past 25 or so years. His number one was Pete Carroll, and his surprising #2 was Mike Bellotti who while consistent has only been to one Rose Bowl. He marked DJ down for going on probation.
This has been kicked around on the web, and in the local sports pages so let me ask you to give your unbiased opinion on who the best coach is. Carroll is pretty tough to beat, but if DJ had his level of talent every year the results would have been similar. DJ actually put the LA schools in a hole while he was here. UW was by far the top football school in the Pac when he bowed out.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
In 2006, the Oregon Ducks were beaten by BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl 38-8 after finishing tied for a disappointing 5th in the conference. The Ducks got off to a very good start last season, only to lose their last three regular season games. Inconsistency really plagued this team. This was an Oregon team that got worse as the year went on, and that is never a good sign for a football program. Oregon rebounded over the Winter bringing in it's best ever recruiting class on paper. Obviously kids up and down the coast saw opportunity rather than program on the start of a down swing.
Chip Kelly starts his first season as Oregon's offensive coordinator. He'll bring a more balanced attack, taking some of the big play pressure off of QB Dennis Dixon (61.2% COMP, 2,143 YDs, 12 TDs, 14 INTs). Dixon started throwing too many interceptions late last fall and lost his job to Brady Leaf. Dixon is likely to start this year and the implementation of a spread offense along with more running should help. Dixon signed with the Atlanta Braves this past Spring and has been concentrating on baseball rather than football this Summer. Bellotti is steamed up about it, and don't be surprised if there is a quick hook early in Eugene.
The receiving corps is fast, talented and deep, but they dropped the ball too much last season. Junior WR Jaison Williams (68 REC, 984 YDs, 6 TDs) and company must hold onto that ball. Junior RBs Jonathan Stewart (183 CAR, 981 YDs, 10 TDs) and Jeremiah Johnson can be a great one-two punch on the ground. IF Stewart is healthy, Oregon can ride him all season like UW did with Corey Dillon. The question is will Bellotti be willing to keep it on the ground more?
The line looks in good shape, and the Duck's have good size up front.
While the offense was averaging 29.5 PPG, the Duck defense was allowing the opposition to score 26.5 PPG. The secondary performed well, being rated 20th in the nation, but the front seven struggled as they allowed 148.6 running yards per game. Rover Patrick Chung (84 tackles, 49 solo), now a junior, was effective in a line-backing unit that played solid but unspectacular "D." As a freshman, corner Jarius Byrd was amazing, pulling down 5 INTs. Expect even more from this talent and the rest of the secondary. Line play must be more aggressive and tougher.
Oregon needs its QB to come through and its defensive line to make big plays. If that happens the team could garner eight or more wins. Swing contests include those versus Arizona State, Arizona and Oregon State. Those three games take place in the final four weeks of the season.
The Consensus on Oregon
We are all beginning to see some cracks in the machine that Bellotti built. A porous defense, and a QB who won't arrive till August to work under a new OC spells early trouble for the Duck's. An early gauge of where this team is will happen early on the road against Michigan. I don't expect the Duck's to fare well in Ann Arbor. Chemistry was way off with this team last year, and the major goal going into the season is going to be rekindling some excitement from within the team.
The Duck's had a great recruiting class last year. When Washington started to point downward after it's last Rose Bowl they didn't have the advantage of great recruiting classes, just turmoil, and coaching changes. Bellotti's longevity is a big part of the Oregon success story, and it also can get them through the semi lean times.
I think for Oregon to have a great season they need to rush the ball for over 2000 yards. If that happens it means things are clicking for Stewart, Johnson, and Dixon. It also means the Duck's won't be as prone to turning the ball over through the air. Oregon out gained conference opponents by an average of 136 yards per game last season, the highest in the Pac-10. That was undone, however, by a minus-10 turnover ratio. If the turnover numbers get a little better and that with a senior QB and a fairly veteran offense overall, then Oregon could shoot right back to the top of the conference.
Defensively the Duck's need to improve big time. Giving up over 26 points per game just kills you in this league. Once again improving the turnover ratio to give your defense a break would lead to improvement this season.
Washington can play with the Duck's, and it is going to be a big game since this is the first time in awhile that the Mallards have had to play in the hostile confines of Husky Stadium. UW has been outplayed in the last two meetings, and it is time for the Huskies to show up. The UW should be competitive with these guys, and be in a position to win in the 4th quarter. To do that the Husky D has to be as good as advertised, and Jake Locker will have to be steady in the saddle running the UW offense.
Most experts are going to pick the Duck's to finish in the upper division of the conference and finish the season in a bowl game. That will happen if they can turn up the defense and turn down the turnovers.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Up at Montlake they have delayed the debut of the final plan they are going to present to the regents for the remodel of Husky Stadium. One thing that is holding them up is agreements between the state regarding 520, and also the new Sound Transit Station. A number of readers of Dawgman were pretty critical, but to me it is no big deal. It is going to be complicated, expensive, and take a lot of time to get done.
One thing that is becoming very clear is that it is going to require public money. Imagine spending public money on a sports program that isn't owned by a private entity? Would voters stand behind that if it included money for WSU also?
Husky Stadium is looking more, and more like a 400 million dollar project which means for the most part that almost the entire stadium will be rebuilt over the next 10-15 years. Husky football has a great legacy, but large scale donations of that type are not part of that legacy even though the program has always been self supporting.
Arizona State Preview
Dennis Erickson arrived on the scene at Tempe this Winter, and after Spring practiced he declared that the Sun Devils had a lot of work to do over the Summer to get competitive for 2007. On paper you would think that Dirk Koetter left him with enough talent to get at least a running jump at things with a good chance to qualify for a bowl in his first season.
At QB Rudy Carpenter was wildly inconsistent when he was handed the job last Fall. He appears for the most part to be back on track this spring, though he wasn't terribly impressive during the spring game. One of the Sun Devils' weaknesses last year was at receiver. That may change after sophomores Kyle Williams and Brandon Smith emerged this spring, displacing more experienced players in the process as Erickson began to clean house.
At RB Ryan Torrain logged in over 1200 yards last season as the Devil's proved they could move it on the ground. The Devils are very deep at this position and need to get some of the kids who are in this log jam on to the field in 2007.
Arizona State returns essentially six veteran offensive line starters -- the five players who were first-teamers for the final five games of last season, and Zach Krula, who was a mainstay at right guard before going down with a severe ankle injury in 2005. Together, they could be the best and most talented offensive line the Sun Devils have had in years.
The Sun Devils' defense was atrocious in 2005. That same unit grew up dramatically in 2006, allowing just 117 yards per game on the ground, the lowest average posted by the team since 1997. Key cogs return with sack leader Dexter Davis in the mix as well as Josh Barnett at safety.
ASU is a bit thin up front, but in the mid-year JUCO signing period, the Sun Devils added Arizona Western Community College star Luis Vasquez, and Phoenix College standout Eric Tanner. Vasquez is a 6-foot-3, 247-pounder who led the NJCAA with 16 sacks as a freshman in 2005 and followed up that season with 15 sacks as a sophomore. His 31 sacks were more than any player in the NJCAA over the two-year period. Tanner is a 6-foot-2, 253-pounder who had 63 tackles and seven sacks last season. As spring concluded, Vasquez had risen to the first-team spot opposite Davis, ahead of senior Kellen Mills, while Tanner made substantial strides and was working with the second-team at times.
S Ryan McFoy's move from linebacker to safety by the second day of spring practice has created better competition at linebacker between Jeremy Payton and Troy Nolan. Look for more blitzes this year as Erickson opens things up. Nolan could be the biggest surprise on this Sun Devils' squad after all is said, and done.
The biggest problem with the defense is in the defensive backfield where players need to emerge to keep the Devil's pass happy opponents from tearing them apart. Justin Tryon has locked up one cornerback spot, but the other is a gaping void, particularly after Chad Green suffered significant head injuries in a car crash. JC transfer Jarrell Holman may be the front-runner at this point, but true freshman Omar Bolden could get into the mix if he get's in.
ASU doesn't have a returning field goal kicker. That job could fall to punter Jonathan Johnson or freshman Thomas Weber.
The Consensus on Arizona State
The Devils' are rebuilding, but the talent base isn't exacty bare. Expect the team to finish at the lower end of the conference as Erickson spends the year rebuilding it in his image. Erickson is the king of the quick turn around, and no matter the record at the end of the season his Devils are going to compete each game.
While this game is on the road the Huskies have a real good chance to bet the Sun Devils. I think if we weren't having QB injury problems last season we would have been victorious since they did everything to try to keep us in the game.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Mark Bruener 77% (20 votes)
Scott Greenwood 0% (0 votes)
Jeramy Stevens 8% (2 votes)
Ernie Conwell 12% (3 votes)
Dave Williams 0% (0 votes)
Aaron Pierce 0% (0 votes)
Cam Cleeland 0% (0 votes)
Erik Bjornson 4% (1 votes)
David Bayle 0% (0 votes)
Jeremy Brigham 0% (0 votes)
This weeks question:
Where will Washington end up recruiting wise in the unofficial national polls put out by Scout and Rivals in 2008?
If you look at the history of Willingham since he has been here his classes have improved every year since he arrived, but he hasn't had that breakthrough year we have all been waiting for. With a strong in state class Washington has the potential to have one of those years in 2008 which will set up the program for the long term. To refresh everyone's memory Ty has been finishing in the mid 30's to early 40's nationally the last two years depending on which sourse you follow.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
The Trojan's go into 2007 with the pre-ordained crown of national champions on their head. Troy was young last year, and almost grabbed another shot at the title before suffering a dissapointing loss to UCLA to end the regular season. What the Trojan's lacked last season was enough offense to get over the rough spots. While Booty had a great year by most standards the Trojan's were not dominating rushing the ball by any means. Pete Carroll of course keeps bringing in HS All Americans to vie for the job at TB, and chances are good someone on the roster has a Heisman campaign in their not too distant future.
Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback John David Booty, a truckload of All-American receivers and backs, and a line that is supposed to be even more athletic than a year ago return on offense in 2007. Trojans have WRs Vidal Hazelton and Patrick Turner waiting in the wings, plus seven former prep All-American tailbacks to ease the burden if the passing attack takes a little while to get rolling.
The Trojans have ten starters back on a defense that was talented, but green last season. Troy is led by pass-rushing specialist Lawrence Jackson, tackling machine LB Rey Maualuga and former O'Dea safety Taylor Mays. S Josh Pinkard will remain at safety despite some thought of moving him to corner following the emergence of Taylor Mays in '06. Pinkard started the season, but suffered a season-ending knee injury. Mays does not look to be leaving his spot any time soon. That just leaves more depth, and continued competition. Look for the Trojan's to be improved on defense this season, in fact you can count on it.
The Consensus on USC
Everyone expects the Trojan's to make another run at the title game. The Pac Ten actually keeps improving each year, but the best year to have caught them would have been last season when the Beaver's, and Bruin's caught them. USC squeeked by quite a few times last year, but a champion knows how to win close games. By the end of last season the Trojan's were problaby the second best team in the country. Experience does things like that, and those green players now have a full year under their belt in Carroll's system.
Washington of course will be the underdog at home in this one, and like the past couple of years they are capable of making a game out of it if Locker can give teams the same frustrating looks that Stanback did last season. IS made a difference with his mobility, and a mobile QB is the one thing that can give a disiplined D like the Trojan's have fits.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Now let's get on to reviewing UCLA, and Nestor, if you are out there please chime in since you are the expert on the Bruins.
The middle of this conference is so balanced that you could put most of the teams three through eight in just about any order. Experts are giving a slight edge to UCLA because of a defense that held two of the nation's best offenses (USC and Notre Dame) in check last year. The Bruin's also bring back 20 returning starters from last years team. Experience means quite a bit in this conference, and UCLA will have some horses.
The complete transformation of UCLA's defense in one year was suprising, even though UW's Stanback ate up the Bruin's in 2006. What once was soft became very sound by the end of the year. The next-to-worst run defense in the country (233 yards per game, 5.4 yards per carry in 2005), became the nation's ninth-best unit in 2006 (91.1, 2.8). Where teams hung 34.2 points per game on the 2005 Bruins, they managed just 19.9 in 2006. Bruce Davis, and fellow end Justin Hickman split 25 sacks evenly between them, Davis returns for 2007 while Hickman exits to the NFL.
LB Christian Taylor had 83 tackles and 13 1/2 tackles for losses. Keep an eye on LB Shawn Oatis who had a good Spring. Nine of the Bruin's returning starters on defense are seniors by the way.
While UCLA is going to have one of the better defense in the conference the major questions are on the offensive side of the ball. The Bruin's didn't get it rolling this Spring, in fact they seemed to take a step back after another round of position coach changes.
At QB Ben Olson started the first five games of the 2006 season before spraining his knee. Patrick Cowan took over from there and played better as the season progressed. Their competition for the starting job could be the most intriguing position battles in the conference. My money is on Ben, but I think both will play in 2007.
Tailback Chris Markey led UCLA in rushing (1,107 yards) and receiving (35 receptions) in 2006, and he returns for 2007. Derrick Williams, slated as his backup, missed the majority of Spring workouts with a concussion. His injury left the door open for Kahlil Bell, Chane Moline and Ryan Carew to gain experience. 13 of 14 players listed on the offensive line depth chart from last season are also returning, so the Bruin's should expect improvement opening up holes.
WR Brandon Breazell suffered a partially torn ligament that left one of the Bruins' top receiving threats on the sidelines during most of the spring. WR Joe Cowan, who had 35 receptions a year ago, was slowed with a strained hamstring. 6'4 Dominique Johnson, and Terrence Austin will be counted on to pick up the slack. The Bruins will have a slightly different look with new offensive coordinator Jay Norvell looking to throw deep more often than UCLA did in the recent past which has been problem in the past. Most think Dorrell has been way too conservative.
The Bruins are trying to find a replacement for All-American PK Justin Medlock. Kai Forbath and Jimmy Rotstein didn't show a lot in scrimmages this Spring.
The Consensus on UCLA
The consensus on UCLA is they will be in the upper division of the conference and challenge USC, and California for the title. That is based on defense that has the ability to be dominating in 2007. On the offensive side of the ball the Bruin's may not be able to score enough points to win consistently in 2007. To win in the Pac Ten you need to score between 27-30 points per game. Teams will score on you not matter how tough your defense is in the Wild West. So for the Bruin's to go anywhere meaningful over the holidays they need to jell on offense. Reviews this spring were spotty, so they have a lot to prove this Fall.
Washington of course is very similar. With a RS QB coming in we have a lot to prove also. UCLA is going to be the favorite in this one, but I would expect a game that is pretty similar to the last two years. I have to give the edge to the Bruin's due to the returning experience they have coupled with the edge of playing at home in the Rose Bowl. Dorrell however has struggled getting his offense going, and Willingham's staff has outcoached the Bruin's two years in a row. The x's, and o's will once again be the deciding factor in this one.
This is a winnable game for the Huskies, but just as winnable for the Bruin's. At this point without seeing Locker play a game it is hard to figure out just how smooth we are going to be by the time the fourth game of the season roll's around. You would hope after warming up against Syracuse, Boise State, and Ohio State that Locker would be pretty seasoned at this point.