We shift to basketball to open this week and say a fond farewell to Joel Smith who is moving on with a season of eligibility still remaining. Smith was supposed to be the next Bobby Jones, and looked the part early in his career until an injury slowed him down. Smith was never quite the same after that, and even though Romar would love to have him on the roster another year there simply wasn't room. You hate to see a kid with a great attitude move on with eligibility left, but that is how the game is often played with the small numbers involved in college basketball.
Observers who have been watching Isaiah Thomas in open gym on the UW campus are coming away very impressed. The kid has put on some muscle and looks ready to assume the role of the next Nate Robinson. By the way, he shoots a lot better than Nate did at this point of his career.
Venoy Overton has been working on improving his shooting touch, and seems to be doing pretty well hitting three's. With Appleby moving on Thomas, and Overton are going to need to pick up the slack from the outside.
Bob Condotta is hearing that the entire football recruiting class is going to qualify and be on campus by July 7th which is very good news. Scott, and Chris over at DM are saying not so fast, they still think there are a couple of kids that are going to be cutting it very close. No exact word on who those players are, but it won't be Lakes HS Kavario Middleton who is now fully qualified. It is very tough to figure out what is happening ahead of time because of the Purple Shroud of silence.
Then There Were Seven
Bob Condotta takes a close look at the 2005 class which was Willingham's first at Washington. When that class came in most of us gave Ty a mulligan, but with hindsight being 20/20 it seems his lack of immediate urgency may end up costing him his job.
Most critics of Willingham point to his first two classes as being very sub par. I am reserving judgement on the second class, but the first one was a program killer. You can put a lot of the blame on Gilbertson who closed down recruiting in September of that year, but Ty didn't hit the road the day he was hired, he chose to wait till after the dead period, and that was a major contributing factor. Jonathan Stewart was the prize of that class, and Ty did make an effort to recruit him, but when he headed to Oregon the fate of this small class was sealed.
UW had major holes at DB which were never filled because the transfers didn't make it in. Same thing happened the following year. Only now is Washington back to the numbers they need to be productive in the defensive backfield.
The departure of running back J.R. Hasty further depletes Washington's Class of 2005, which was generally considered to be the worst in the schools history in decades and is living up to that, uh, hype.
Pac Ten Alley
It's time to take a walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to. A lot of the blogs are still in hibernation but we fill in with interesting bits and pieces from the newspapers.
Have you ever seen a copy of the Oregon recruiting comic book? Pretty darn creative, and this week we have a link to the one they put together to recruit Jonathan Stewart.
Back in 2005, Oregon coaches enlisted students to design custom comic books for the Ducks' top 20 recruiting targets. Each comic portrayed the recruit as a hero who leads the Ducks to a national title. Oregon sent each prospect one page per week during the recruiting period. Here is the entire comic made for running back Jonathan Stewart, one of the nation's top recruits at the time.
Stanford has a bridge program of their own.
Padric Scott is one of 14 Stanford freshmen football players - out of a class of 18 - enrolled in summer classes that started last week. He's living in university housing, three months before the start of the fall quarter and what used to be considered the beginning of life as a college student-athlete.
Bowl game needed to save Mike Stoops job? People need to remember that Stoops took over from Mackovick who ran the program into the ground. The situation was even worse than the one at Washington when he arrived. That being said you still need to win, and you certainly need to win by your fifth year.
Mike Stoops' job security and a more explosive offense should be the top story lines for the Arizona football team. At least that's what the college football preseason magazines are saying.
Stoops, entering his fifth year with the program, has a 17-29 overall record and has yet to reach a bowl game.
It was year to remember at Arizona State, and they are just getting started.
Try to think of a single moment that captures Arizona State's year in sports. You can't. There are too many.The Sun Devils just concluded their best season of the Pac-10 era, with contributions stemming from nearly all teams.
Mike Montgomery is finalizing his contract at Cal.
Winning might not be everything, but it's becoming much more important at Cal. The university is about to sign another large long-term athletic contract, this one with new basketball coach Michael Montgomery, who will take in at least $1.7 million annually over the next six years. That's 61 percent more than his predecessor, Ben Braun, received last year. And it follows the seven-year contract renewal UC Berkeley inked with football coach Jeff Tedford that paid $2.8 million last year.
OSU picks up a QB that Washington was looking at.
Stockton, Calif. QB Cody Vaz (6-1, 200) had a great camp in Corvallis and quickly said "I do'' when offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf offered him a scholarship. ... Vaz was first-team all-State as a junior, throwing for 3,265 yards and 33 TDs.
Whe you put Norm Chow and Rick Neuheisel together you are going to be able to attract some pretty talented QB's. If UCLA has a current Achilles Heal it is at QB.
Quarterbacks Richard Brehaut of Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos and Josh Nunes of Upland are throwing passes with so much power and accuracy this summer that some UCLA and Tennessee fans probably wish they'd skip their senior years and enroll immediately at their future colleges.
The Cougar Blog takes a look at Hawaii.
In what is looking like a potential vacation for many, Cougar fans will head to the warm November weather of Hawaii after the 101st Apple Cup is in the books this year. Will it be a welcome change to dreary northwest weather on 11/29? Will the Cougs have anything left in the tank? Can they get up for one last game, playing a regular-season game after the Apple Cup for just the third time since '88?
Carroll steals one away from Neuheisel, and you will see this scenario played out many times over the next couple of years.
Byron Moore, a wide receiver/safety from Narbonne High School in Harbor City, changed his verbal commitment from UCLA to USC, according to his father. Moore (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) committed to UCLA in April but switched to the Trojans on Sunday night. One of the reasons for the switch was because Moore grew up a USC fan. "He's been going to their camps since he was in the seventh grade. There was something in his heart that said he wanted to go there," said his father, Byron Moore Sr. "At the end of the day, he felt in his heart he wanted to be at USC."
If you look at the top talent in the Northwest part of the country this year you will find quite a bit of it in Utah this year. This may be the top year ever for Division One talent in Utah.
A blurb on a Web site advertising coach Kyle Whittingham's Utah summer football camp for high school-age players pretty much says it all: "Last year, 15 camp attendees are now members of the Utah football team." Not to be outdone, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall told The Tribune last week, "If you don't come to a team's camp - and there are exceptions, but in general - you are going to have a very hard time being recruited or being offered [a scholarship] there." Get the point? If you have any desire to play for the Utes, Aggies or Cougars - unless you are a rare, blue-chip recruit - you better get yourself to one of their camps.
Boys will always be boys at Oklahoma.
There has been no official release on this and I really wouldn’t expect one until the week of August 30th if at all but look for offensive lineman Phil Loadholt to receive a suspension for last weekend’s DUI arrest. I’ve heard from a source that "Big Phil" is going to be suspended for the first two games of the season. Honestly, they could suspend the entire offensive line for the Chattanooga game and be alright but the Sooners could feel his absence against Cincinnati.
When we were talking about potential DC's last Winter the name of Georgia Tech DC Jon Tenuta kept coming up, but he ended up finding a home at Notre Dame. The words outspoken, and Ty Willingham don't really go together.
Jon Tenuta, Notre Dame's newest coaching addition on defense, recently spoke at a Notre Dame golf outing this past Friday. What did the famously out-spoken coach have to say for himself, as well as the program?
Rakes of Mallow also has a preview Jake Lockner in the "Profiles in Fear" section.
If Washington was a few games better in the win column last year, the Jake Locker Phenomenon would have been an even bigger deal. He was Tim Tebow West, the Great White Hope of the Pacific Northwest, a savior to a Washington program under the merciless golf gloved thumb of Ty Willingham. The 85th ranked recruit on Scout and 68th on Rivals, Locker was behind only Tim Tebow, our old friend Demetrius Jones and Jevan Snead as a "dual-threat" QB.