Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

I am back from vacation over in the islands and I have to tell you it was a whole lot better than hanging out in Chicago. I didn't write a lot while I was over there because frankly there wasn't a lot of football stuff to write about which is typical for late May.

Here are few brief tidbits that have come up that are interesting.

First of all Juan Garcia is progressing well without surgery.

The cast on his foot has been removed and he will bear partial weight on the foot over the next four weeks. After that period, he will be able to put full weight on his foot. He will remain on crutches the next few weeks in order to keep his full weight off the injured foot."

We all know that it took a full year for Stanback to recover from this injury, but Juan's injury wasn't nearly as serious which is a very good thing. Still the odds of him being the starting center against Oregon are not in his favor. Camp should open around the first of August, and that leaves him only a month to get back into shape, and regain full mobility for the start of practice....pretty tall order.

Realistically if we get a half season out of Garcia it is a bonus for the program, and even a bigger one for the kid who has NFL aspirations. He should be more than fully recovered when combines roll around next spring.

On the recruiting front Washington hasn't signed a player yet for the 2009 class, that will change in June during camp, but don't look for UW to sign many kids early this year as it is a wait and see year for Tyrone.

As for Tyrone it is extremely doubtful he is going to get a fifth year. Ty needs to win seven games next season for that type of consideration, and while the team will continue to improve the wins aren't likely going to be there. Every publication in the country lists him as being on the hottest seat. I don't want to go into details, but I don't think the team is very united behind Ty at this point which won't help matters this Fall. Bottom line....they aren't buying what he is selling, and playing football for him isn't fun.

The new AD, Scott Woodward, and Mark Emmert will make the call on the next head coach, and don't doubt for a minute that there isn't a candidate list already being put together for 2009.

I heard an interesting name this week, and it was current Seahawk coach Mike Holmgren. Holmgren of course will retire from the Seahawks after this season, but don't think for a minute that he is done with coaching. I know it is a longshot, but I thought I would throw it out there since Holmgren wouldn't mind staying in the area long term.

Another name of course is Jeff Tedford of California. Tedford is the hardest working guy on the Pacific Coast, and you have to think the stall in facility building in Berkeley is getting old. Add Chris Petersen of Boise State to the fantasy list also.

As far as the AD search goes UW is finding out that top candidates from other schools have no interest. The AD at Georgia Tech who was probably the front runner took his name off the list. Back on the list is former Oregon AD Bill Moos, and of course current UTEP AD Bob Stull. I think one of those two guys will get the nod despite being a little long in the tooth.

Pac Ten Alley

We open with lots of good, and not so good stuff in the Cougar blog. You hate to see a kid do something like this to himself, but before you pass judgement know that Cal is a good kid who made some pretty stupid mistakes. I predict he will bounce back and finish on top.

Dang. This is too bad. Calvin Schmidtke, the QB who tore it up last year in a pass-happy offense and a guy many compared to Jason Gesser, Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing among others? The kid who looked like the perfect fit in the new Todd Sturdy offense? Well, according to today's TNT, Schmidtke is OUT. That's right, Paul Wulff and Jim Sterk made the decision to release the promising young QB before he ever set foot on campus.

Michael Wines weighs in with some commentary on Phil Knight, and the coverage that his influence on the Oregon program has gotten over the past month nationally. Nice job Michael!

Personally, I don't think anyone will deny that "Uncle Phil" has a lot of pull at the U of O athletic department. But let's get realistic, why shouldn't he? Where was Oregon Sports 15 years ago? Have they improved, are the facilities something to be proud of (and still growing)? If the answers to these questions were no, then I say we having something to complain about.

As usual Jon Wilner contributes some good info from the Bay Area.

Now that there’s a chance they could happily snag Robin Lopez at 14 and not have to agonize over Brook Lopez at 3. (Do Nelson/Mullin think B Lopez is worth the third pick? I’m not so sure.)

A little baseball commentary from the Arizona blog. Bottom line is there are too many good teams in the Pac Ten.

Favoritism exists in college baseball, that can’t be denied. Two-time defending national champion Oregon State won’t get a chance for the repeat as they were left out of the field of 64, while Oklahoma and Arkansas were admitted to NCAA baseball playoffs. The Razorbacks didn’t even qualify to play in their SEC tournament.

Tedford has some comments about DeSean Jackson.

Cal Coach Jeff Tedford told the Daily News the problem last year wasn't so much with Jackson as it was with his family. "With outside opinions and outside advice always eating at DeSean, he was in a very tough spot," Tedford said

NIT Baseball tornament for OSU, is there really such a thing?

After an intense round of analysis and debate the first super-official college baseball NIT selection committee announced half of the field last night. Baylor received top honors. The Bears (32-26), who finished sixth in the Big-12 and missed out on the NCAA tournament, will continue their season this weekend as the top regional host in the NIT tournament. The College of Charlestown (39-20) and Missouri State (40-17) presented solid alternatives but in the end Baylor’s state of the art home field and demanding schedule carried the day.

USC picked up their 11th commit of the year and it is still May.

USC received its 11th commitment from defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo of Mt. San Antonio College. Now there's a name I can't wait to write on a daily basis.How good is Fangupo? I don't know but I know he was offered by Tennessee, Oregon, Arizona State, Oregon State, Missouri and Arizona.The Trojans might not be done at Mt. SAC. They are also looking at cornerback Dominick Gaisie, who is originally from Bishop Amat.

ASU wins Pac Ten Baseball Title.

No. 2 Arizona State clinched its second consecutive Pac-10 championship with a 13-6 win over Arizona Thursday night at Kindall Field at Sancet Stadium in Tucson. The win marks the second straight year the Sun Devils have clinched the conference title against the rival Wildcats, and it improves their record to 45-9, 16-6 in the Pac-10.

The Bruin Baseball team made the regionals. Nice new look over at the Bruin Blog!

Here's a look at this weekend's Fullerton regional where the Bruins will make their third consecutive postseason appearance. I'll have an in depth look at the Bruins' opening game versus Virginia Thursday afternoon. Teams have played up to 58 games. Some have won regular season conference titles; others have won conference tournament titles. A select few have even won both. One team has a mere 16 wins, while another has a gaudy 48 wins. However, starting Friday all of that gets thrown out the window as college baseball's second season gets underway with 16 regionals nationwide. One of those regionals is in Fullerton where the Titans will host UCLA, Virginia and Rider at Goodwin Field.


Anonymous said...

That's an astonishing comment about the team not being behind Ty and finding it no fun to play for him. Pretty much sends the season into the toilet if true. Now, the big, huge, major issue is: Who did you hear that from, and even more, how many different people on the team told you that?
As always on an Internet blog, the big deal is the source and attribution. If you can share those with us, it would make this major story digestible, if not palatable.

Anonymous said...

This means that they've given up on the new coaches before even playing one game.

John Berkowitz said...

I have been doing the blog for three seasons, and it is a mix of facts, opinions, and tidbits from other blogs. Everything I put out here is true, and usually backed up by a newspaper.

In this particular case I am running with opinions of people close, or inside the program, and that is about as far as I can go with it in public.

I've been watching or participating in football for four decades, and the teams that win are the ones that are united in focus the entire year. This team is still 60/40 or 50/50, that won't get it done against the competition we play against.

Overall I think the team will be improved. I think the defense under Donatell will be much better, and the kids love Donatell from what I hear. I have only heard positives about the new assistants.

Is that good enough for 6 or 7 wins with another rugged schedule?

Does a team that loses all its experienced skill players on offense improve enough to have a winning season after finishing in the basement the last couple of years?

Winning makes a lot of this stuff go away because winning is contagious, and it unites. Losing on the other hand is a cancer that continually eats the soul out of a team, it makes it fragile.

How we do in the first three games is going to set the tone for the entire season.

Take a good look at this schedule.

Aug. 30 at Oregon
Sept. 6 BYU
Sept. 13 Oklahoma

All three of these teams are contenders for BCS Championship series bowls in 2008.

If the Huskies start off 0-3 the wheels are going to come off pretty quickly.

The only thing that saves this team is a quick start which builds some confidence.

We aren't playing for draft choices, and I want UW to win every game, but I have been around long enough to know that happy, united teams win more football games than they lose.

Anonymous said...

All your points are valid, and I'm not in any position to disagree. I just think that, if true, the implications are devastating and pretty much ensure a terrible season, even worse than last year because of higher expectations.
It is one thing for a team without much experience, or even talent, to find chemistry and grow during a year and pull some upsets. But, if a team really isn't united and doesn't like its staff or playing with each other at their school, then nothing is possible except defeat. Since your report is the first I've heard of this problem at UW, I'm still digesting it. But, as I said, if the schisms are as deep as you indicate, this season is already over, because they'll need every bit of trust and confidence in each other and the coaches to even have the chance for a winning season. Without that investment in each other, 2 or 3 wins is all that's likely, and even those might blow away in the 4th quarter if the team isn't unified in its goals.

Anonymous said...

Since you can't name names, I wonder if you could charaterize those unhappy players as being mostly upper classmen or being the younger, newer ones?
I ask because almost every new recruit coming in this fall stated that one of the reasons they chose UW was because of the respect they had for coach Willingham. So, I'm thinking that the psychological revolt must be amoung the older players, which makes it an even bigger problem for the rest of this year. It will also, I think, mean that next year's team will have a different coach to worry about.

John Berkowitz said...

It has actually been a mix of players representing all classes. If it was just older players I would take it with a huge grain of salt.

Is the season over already?


No matter what these guys feel they will all be on the same page when drills begin in august, and if they start off at least 2-1 they should be able to ride on the shoulders of Jake Locker.

An 0-3 start which is very possible based on the opponents though may be pretty tough to bounce back from.

I think it is pretty obvious that they should have made a coaching change last December. Politics was the only thing blocking that move.

Don't get me wrong, I want Ty to still succeed, and root for the team to win every game. the writing however is on the wall that this will be his last season.

prrbrr said...

johnb, not great news to hear, but thanks for putting it out there. Winning does cure all, hope it happens, I never want to see a repeat of the CAL game in Gilbys first year where the team quit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post.
I was wondering if you could be more specific about something.
You write that the players aren't buying what Willingham is selling.
First, what is he selling?
Second, what aren't they buying and why?
I appreciate all your hard work.

dadcojohn said...

I think I will take it with a grain of salt. I appreciate your experience and years being around the program but I have also seen you take for gospel things said to you, then when something happens diffenet from that change your view emotionally to the other side and back again. I think I will wait and see how the season goes and hopefully see progress. I believe TW will not make it to 2009 but we will see.

John Berkowitz said...

Take it as you will, we all want to win in 2008. I would love to have a reversal of opinion because we were 8-4 etc... .

I think for the most part the players want to get emotional,vocal, fired up, and excited while they are playing. They want to come out of the tunnel fired up on game day, and that is actually frowned on. Ty likes it low key.

I think the off season work outs are tremendously important, and when a large percentage of the team is off doing stuff on it's own it is a pretty true sign that they are not buying in.

Anonymous said...

So, John, are you saying this team is not sticking together this summer? I agree that they need to be together in as many ways as possible, with as many players as possible this summer. So, what do you know about this situation? Are the players scattered to the wind and not planning to work out as a group? If so, why is the staff allowing this?

Anonymous said...

OK. I normally wouldn't chime in here but the two bombshells you slipped in this post were too much for me to ignore. Mike Holmgren and dissention among the team?! Now I know as a blogger you are not under the same standards when it comes to journalistic responsibility as say the NY Times, but a claim such as the one about TW calls for some sort of rational for the reader to consider it anything but rumor mongering.

Personally I think Ty should have been fired last year, but I do nontheless beleive he has the respect and commitment of the players he has signed at UW.

Can you back up this notion with something a little more concrete? The Holmgren stuff, while also intruiging, is making me lean toward dismissing this information altogether. Any reason to consider Holmgren to UW a real possibility other than the fact that he lives in Seattle?


John Berkowitz said...

This is most likely a lame duck year, the players know it, and the coaches know it. They read the papers, and they have lived through it on a day to day basis over the past 3 1/2 years.

The program has had a losing record for four straight years. That really hasn't created confident happy campers to say the least.

The key to me as I said earlier were the number of players off working out on their own rather than under the conditioning coach. I take that as a bad sign. That is a large sign of dissension.

Ty probably has the respect and committment of about half this team at this point. No coach is ever at 100%, even DJ, but half is never good. Still it is better than a John Mackovick who had 0% when he left Arizona.

Winning can turn that around of course, but his way of doing things hasn't brought the desired results.

Dismiss what you may as far as Holmgren goes, but he will probably coach again, and he has always said that in his next position he would like to get back to teaching at some level to finish off his career.

He lives in Seattle, his family has all moved back to Seattle recently, and family is very important to him. I don't see Mike ever leaving the West Coast again.

Would he actually entertain coaching at UW? I have no idea, but he certainly will be asked by major boosters to guage his interest in the position if it comes open this winter. That is the buzz at this point among contributors.

Like one of you said, this isn't the NY Times, but I'm not making the stuff up as I go along. I don't have an anti Ty agenda either, I always have hoped it would work out for him.

These are just some of the things I am hearing, and they come from pretty reputable sources.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog and I encourage you to keep posting things your hearing if you have legitimate sources.

As I said, I think Ty should already have been shown the door, but I'm not sure I agree with everything you would point to as signs of dissent. Last year when Dennis Dixon played baseball in the off season most wrote him off. Then he had the year of his life.

You raise valid concerns, I just don't think I would call out jump ship yet. The state of the team should be pretty obvious with the early tests on the schedule.

As far as the Holmgren thing goes, I would love to have him as coach. Just seems a bit of a reach at this point. Again, I appreciate your blog and any insight you can give us from behind the purple curtain so keep it up.

John Berkowitz said...

You make a good point on Dennis Dixon, the kid would have won the Heisman, and Oregon may have one the NC if he hadn't have blown out his knee.

As far as posting rumors goes I hear a lot of things that I simply don't post because I have been asked not to post them, or I simply don't agree with.

Some I believe, and some I take with a grain of salt no matter what the source.

Sure Holmgren is a reach, but if he was available, and if there was an opening, don't you think they would at least guage interest? Of course they would.

Anonymous said...

After hearing the Holmgren comment, well, I understand its speculation, and I want Ty and the Dawgs to win this year..but damn, that would be huge... HUGE!

Never before having experienced seasons like the last three, certainly it is only reasonable to expect that some of the guys might hit a "sophmore" slump in effort. I would expect (or at least hope)that this new recruiting class is still excited about being Dawgs.

Hopefully Donatell, White and Lappano can provide the energy to keep this program going.

Holmgren. Wow. Never even thought of that, in my opinion, that would be, EPIC.