Thursday, January 31, 2008
Ed Donatell is an excellent addition to our football program and I am excited that he will be leading our defense," said Willingham. "He is an outstanding football coach with a great deal of experience at both the collegiate and professional levels. With his background as a NFL defensive coordinator, he understands what it takes to stop some of the game's most complex offensive schemes. I believe that his experience will translate well to our program and give our players a clear understanding of what it takes to excel at the highest level of competition."
Here is Ed's official UW Bio up loaded to the website this morning.
Ed Donatell Bio
“Anybody with half a brain can get on the Internet and say whatever they want — pay no attention to that.”
With that being said we are going to let it all hang out, and ask Race how he really feels about Husky Football.
1. How long have you been following Husky football, and what if any is your present, and previous association with the program? Are you a Tyee, or a booster?
My earliest memory is being at home with my grandma taking care of me and talking to my folks on the phone when they were in LA for the 1961 Rose Bowl against Minnesota. I was 4-1/2 years old. I used to read that program and the SI with Schorledt on the cover on a regular basis.I listened to all the games on the radio and suffered through the long draught after the 1963 Rose Bowl season.I started attending games in the 1973, 2-9 season under Jim Owens with my mom as she got two tickets in the divorce. I joined the Tyee in 1987 with the new deck and we combined our points for the 1990 season and have great seats right next to the DJ Center. That's 35 years of attendance for me.
2. You have been pretty consistent about your feelings concerning Ty Willingham since the day he was hired, would you illuminate us on your reasons why you don't think he should be the head coach at Washington?
I was never impressed with Stanford and marked them as a sure win each year. During the 1999 game that could have decided the Rose Bowl for us I knew Stanford would fold in the 2nd half and they did. The 2000 game was the best and worst of Ty. Stanford made a great comeback after the injury to CW and then let us score the winning TD in a three play 80 yard drive. Stanford had talent, but no grit or fire.
I felt that his time at ND was enough to convince any alert observer that he wasn't cut out for the kind of big time pressure to win that he would find here, just as he did at ND. At Stanford he could win some and lose some and have a winning season followed by a losing season, but that never was good enough before here if you ask Lambo, who had 6 wining seasons in a row and got fired.
Hiring a guy who had just been fired and then talking about everything but winning and losing led me to think that Turner had a very different agenda than what we were used to here. I think that fear has been born out.I didn't think then and I don't think now that we will see the kind of consistent winning that we want here. Rick, minus the off field stuff had the kind of reasonable arc that we were used to here over a 4 year span - top three league finishes and one championship. Had Lambo closed the deal on a couple of Rose Bowl runs he wouldn't have got fired. I just didn't see Ty reaching that level, let alone DJ iconic status.
3. Tell me what you like, if anything, about Ty Willingham?
I met him and he is very impressive in person. The company I worked for was re carpeting the coaches office and I was there with a guy who had been recruited by James, but never qualified. Ty took time for us and made us both feel very important and acted as if that new carpet might be the difference in a Rose Bowl run. I came away thinking, what a great guy.
I think he could be a great face and spokesman for the program, but as at ND, he won't do it. That baffles me.
I think he could be as aggressive as Rick in recruiting and winning and not get the same scrutiny because of his clean reputation.I also like how he gave UO their only loss in 2001.
4. How do you feel about Mark Emmert as far as football is concerned?
I've been very disappointed. Ty clearly deserved to be fired for 11-25 and instead, Emmert has left a festering wound and blown our chance at Jim L. Mora. The Emmert we heard about at LSU is not the Emmert we have here. I suspect that is because of the people he answers to at UW. But the good Dr. needed to step up and take the heat and he didn't. He would have a lot of support and the fall out would have been no worse than the stuff we are seeing now that is being printed to support the decision to keep Ty.
But he is an excellent President outside of football.
5. What was your opinion of former AD Todd Turner?
A remarkable man who I love and admire. His fight against the evils of doing what is required to win and his refusal to gild the Lilly and his inspired hire of Coach Willingham will go down in the annals of Husky Football as heroic acts that cost him his job. I seriously wonder why he got fired since his philosophy has won the day at UW and he wasn't fired until Emmert let him keep Ty. I suspect he was a bit too honest about the distaste for winning and the boosters truly hated him, so firing him and keeping Ty was seen as a way to try to keep he money flowing in without doing the whole job and firing Ty as well.
6. Interim AD Scott Woodward has only been on the job for a month. What is your opinion of him so far? Should he be a candidate for the permanent position?
While I don't agree with going after state funding, I give him credit for putting together a group and giving it a shot. I think the lack of money raised is a big red flag in regards to how the big money views the program though.
He and Dr. Emmert are on the same page so I think he should be a candidate. How that page ends up reading is of interest to me. I'd like to hear him distance himself from some of the Turner Doctrine, but it is really too early to make any judgement. I don't know him at all.
7. What is the best way for Husky fans in your opinion to get the point across to the current administration that being mediocre is unacceptable?
The hard way. The hardest way. Don't show them the money. It is almost impossible to ask the ticket buyer only to give up years of points, but I am almost there. I'll probably not send in the Tyee and buy a couple tickets to keep in line.
The big wallets need to close them. Make the decision to pursue this path hurt. If they want mediocre football, then give them mediocre revenue.
8. You have said that the upper campus at the University of Washington does not want to have a winning football program. Why do you feel that way?
I have felt that way since the botox poisoned face of Ms. Hedges announced the "retirement" of Don James in August of 1993. If we are adults and realists we realize that big time winning football brings a certain amount of off field publicity that is not good. That is a universal truth from the west coast through the Midwest to Florida. It can be managed and kept under control but it cannot be eliminated unless you eliminate the big time winning. UW panicked at the bad press and decided no more.
I have also said since that time that it is clearly the University's right to make that call, but they are hypocrites because they kept the pricing and funding of big time winning football in place to fund the non embarrassing Olympic Sports that Ms. Hedges spent 100 million dollars on while Husky Stadium quietly rusted by the sparking softball stadium.
Hiring Turner and hiring and retaining Willingham seal the case.
9. Do you really think there is a conspiracy to keep the Husky football team mediocre that involves the athletic department management, President Emmert, the upper campus, and the local media?
I think the timing of the pro Ty emails are interesting. I think the coordinated campaign in the media to keep Ty is interesting. I think the lack of criticism of both Ty's record and gameday coaching gaffes is interesting and something that coaches across America must be shaking their heads at. The Times report on the emails that focused on the boosters and acting like it was something new that they would want Ty fired played right into the hands of those who want to keep Ty. I think the smear job on our last Rose Bowl team plays into those hands and finally:
Keeping Ty will keep us mediocre assuming he reaches that level here someday and all the entities that you mention are all in favor of that and worked together to make it happen against the wishes of 70% of the fan base at great cost to the financial health of the program.No coach here has ever had three losing seasons in a row. No coach here before Ty would not have been fired. All this fear over firing a 11-25 coach is ridiculous. And yet he is still here and highly praised to boot. That makes him the perfect long term answer to keeping mediocre football in place.
10. What are your feelings concerning the timing of the release Sunday of the Seattle Times Investigative reports of the 2000 Rose Bowl team?
Had they been interested in a fair and honest evaluation of Rick's program versus Ty's and our program versus other programs, it would have been interesting. Instead it was a pathetic smear job designed to get people to stop complaining about Ty still being here and it only made things worse.
Emmert's decision to keep Ty will generate far more bad pub that firing him would have.
11. What are your feelings concerning Rick Neuheisel's tenure at Washington?
On field I was very impressed. The last 5 years have brought a certain nostalgia for Lambo, a great Husky who led the program through tough times and never had a losing season, but when he was fired there were solid on field reasons and he was unable to finish the deal several times and his recruiting was going in the wrong direction. Now he looks like Vince Lombardi, but you have to look at things how they were then.
Rick brought an enthusiasm and a Rose Bowl win, something only three coaches in our history have done. We were in the hunt and got two Holiday Bowls to go along with that. That is very solid.His teams were trending downward and losing to Cal shocked us and having to close out strong to get that last bowl was hairy, but at least he could close strong. And he could win the 2nd half.
I don't know about all the evaluation stuff on recruiting but I do think our lack of development of players began under him. His defense was poor, but his hire of Snow was good, as Gilby found out.
I think he was on the hot seat for year 5 for legitimate on field stuff due to the standards that we still had at that time. We'll never know if he would have made it or been fired.
As for the off field stuff most of it was nothing more than a bunch of old women crying about a guy that was kicking their ass - yes that is you Bellotti and Barney. For some reason Rick's secondary violations were worse than Oregon's major violation for forging an LOI. Ms. Hedges let Colorado put their sins on us for secondary violations. Colorado was a cess pool before, during and after Rick.
He looked at other jobs and got raises. Okay. But he stayed. Ty left Stanford for ND and called UW while at ND. This is routine stuff. Rick wasn't slick, he always got in trouble for stuff that other coaches did all the time.
The off field stuff was magnified by an administration that over reacted as usual and did the incredibly stupid thing of firing him in June that killed our program and brought us to where we are. Rick was no angel and deserves his fair share of the blame. But we didn't need to kill the program to get rid of him. We could have waited until December and fired him then and got our next coach.
Just more evidence of an administration that has no clue or concept of what it takes, nor do they care to.
12. Any predictions regarding how the Husky football team will do in 2008? Will we go bowling?
Ty missed his two best teams here. Now we are green as gills and light in all the places you need to be strong. We'll get hammered at UO and everyone will remember why they wanted him fired.
Had we got a couple of minor bowls the last two years that were easily in our reach, he'd survive 08. He will anyway, but not because he should.
13. We all know Jim Mora is no longer a possibility, but who would you like to see replace Ty Willingham if a change is made?
14. What is your opinion regarding this years recruiting class?
A good class that he needed to have two years ago to do him any good this year. He finally got the in state guys and he gets credit for a solid class. Some playmakers, some good looking beef and some hope.
15. Do you think the hiring of Ed Donatell as defensive coordinator will make a difference in how the defense performs in 2008?
Ty is all about the best defense being a good offense. Baer was unfairly maligned because if you're going to give Ty a pass for not having talent why doesn't Baer get one? He was Ty's guy for 13 years so I make the assumption that he played the defense Ty wants to play.
Donatell is going to get a green D line and secondary and instructions from Ty for what schemes to play and the blame for a disastrous defensive year.
16. How do you feel about Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano, is he the right guy for the job?
He could be but he has been pretty spotty and has the same number of wins here as Ty. When forced to play a power running game we do well, but Tim is all too happy to start throwing it all over the field.
Too many three and outs and too many failed third and short plays.
17. What do you look for from Jake Locker in 2008? Should we hire a QB coach and move Lappano's responsibility to RB's?
If we hire a QB coach, which should have been done when Jake was a true frosh, I look for improved throwing, great running and our only hope to outscore some teams and win a few games. A great talent and leader who is destined to get as many bowl games as John Elway if Ty stays here.They better keep him healthy, no other QB on the team has thrown a pass in D1 ball.
18. How do you feel about the talent level of the current team? Do you feel the level has significantly increased during Willingham's tenure?
No. This class may help, but Ty inherited highly ranked recruits that neither Gilby or he were able to develop into winning teams. You'll see this year how he has or hasn't elevated the talent.
19. Do you feel Willingham will keep his job no matter what the teams record is next season?
20. Do you feel that Washington can have an elite football program without bending the rules and embarrassing the UW, and the community?
Yes - other than the occasional police blotter, but we've had that under Ty as well. You can't control the media. Is USC going to fall on their sword or ride it out and protect Pete? We should all be adults, or get out of the game. This kind of pregnant stuff isn't working.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
In the summer of 2004, the UW Board of Regents appointed then-Louisiana State University chancellor Mark Emmert as the university's new president. Shortly thereafter, Emmert hired Todd Turner as the director of intercollegiate athletics, and six months later Tyrone Willingham came on board as the Huskies' head football coach. Those three key appointments served as a clear and unmistakable response by the UW to the issues that have been documented in great detail by the Times articles. From day one under Coach Willingham, the Washington football program has delivered a consistent message. It is a program that embodies the highest degree of integrity, a dedication to character and honesty, and an unquestioned concern for every student-athlete. Coach Willingham should be commended for his devotion to the development of the young men that have been entrusted to his care.
"I am excited about the foundation we are trying to establish at the University of Washington. That foundation consists of four basic core values for our football team: To be champions on the field, in the classroom and society, and to have fun in a positive and respectful manner. I believe we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that we have a program that embodies those ideals. Our goal is to be a championship football team and I believe everyone in our program shares that objective. There is no question that I believe winning and integrity are not mutually exclusive. Changing the culture of our football team has been a priority for all of us in the athletic department and our players are responding to that positively.
If you really want to trace the reason Todd was let go all you have to do is follow the quotes. He has some dandies in there.
It's clear that Gilby's a veteran and knows what he's doing," Turner said. "He's been through some adversity in his career, but I think that's toughened him up. He's focused and determined now, and you can see it, and that excites me."
To their credit they ran the success stories of Anthony Kelley, and other athletes after graduation. They also brought up the tragedy of Anthony Vontoure. I have always felt that Anthony never received the proper mental help while he was at UW. That of course is a subjective opinion since I wasn't there.
Mark Emmert is featured in an article which says you can win, and you can win properly. "You do not have to give up your values to be competitive in sports," Emmert said. I completely agree with that statement.
Quotes, and comments from current head coach Tyrone Willingham are conspicuously absent. You would think that he would have something to say if asked about how he currently is running the program as opposed to how it was run in the past. I am sure the presidents office is controlling damage on this one, plus Willingham is in Hawaii recruiting this week. Good week to leave town and hit the islands if you ask me.
I for one would enjoy a close look at how the program is run under Willingham, and what the current players have to say about it.
The Times tries to make people think that Todd Turner was fired because the football team wasn't winning. That is partly true, but the biggest factor was a disconnect with the boosters, fan base, and finally the Presidents office. Nobody could argue with Todd's mission, but his comments and attitude were turning everyone off. The athletic department needs to raise $150-$300 million dollars, and Turner simply wasn't the guy to get it done.
The Times also tries to make the limp point that Willingham is under fire because he is trying to win with integrity. His problems are very similar to Turners, and have little to do with integrity.
You can win with integrity, and you can find coaches other than Ty Willingham that can do that. Willingham lost a number of games last year because his team simply wasn't coached very well in the second half. That has nothing to do with integrity, or values, it has to do with coaching.
Is every other team in the Pac Ten winning without integrity?
The debate about Willingham should be decided by what we see on the field in 2008. We need some winning to go along with that integrity.
Backtalk With Johnny B
Nathan Ware, and I talk about the Times articles in the latest edition of Backtalk with Johnny B in the Seattle PI this morning.
John: What do you think motivated the Seattle Times to run this story now besides selling newspapers?
Nathan: I don't think there is any other motivation behind it besides selling newspapers. They're killing the P-I right now. This story has been great for sales and web traffic. I bet the editors have been high-fiving in their offices all week. I've never been one who believes that the Times has a vendetta against the school. They just want to sell papers and they know smut sells. Seriously, it's been a great week at the Seattle Times. They are loving every minute of the hysteria.
I wish Rick Neuheisel, and UCLA the best. Everyone deserves a second chance, and Neuheisel is no exception. The Times articles try to categorize Neu as a win at all costs type of guy who put performance on the field way ahead of academics. rick was far from perfect, but I think Rick actually did a very good job with the majority of his players. You can say whatever you want about the man, but one thing is for sure, he did care for his players. I think Rick has the opportunity at UCLA to really build something special.
Our favorite Husky Half Brain, and I did a little Q&A session this week where I ask Race questions about his views and feeling concerning Husky football. I will be getting that out tomorrow after we have had a little time to talk with each other. We had 60 mph winds out in the Midwest accompanied with snow last night. It seemed to have overloaded phone circuits last night so I was unable to make long distance calls for awhile. After I talk to Race this afternoon I will get it published.
Oregon Arena Correction
Last week I erroneously said that the State of Oregon was providing tax money for the new basketball arena on campus. The Ducks are not getting tax money for the program or new basketball arena. The money will come from bonds to be paid back in 20 years backed by the 100 million and growing legacy fund.
Pac Ten Alley
Now it is time to take a walk down the coast and see what our neighbors are up to.
The Duck basketball team has had some tough losses lately. Will Ernie Kent survive beyond this season?
Malik Hairston scored 21 to pace Oregon, which sent the game into overtime when Bryce Taylor made a layup as time expired. USC (13-6, 4-3 Pac-10) was nearly perfect in the overtime session, going 5-for-5 from the field -- all 3-pointers -- and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line as they quickly broke away from the 74-all tie and the Ducks could not keep pace.
The Stanford basketball team is the class of the Bay Area this year.
Dunno about you, but I thought the game was pretty much over at halftime. I mean, Stanford got five minutes and no points our of Brook Lopez and still had a 31-30 lead?
Cal needed to be up by six or eight at that point. That the Bears could do no better than a one-point deficit indicated that it wouldn’t have the firepower to keep pace with the Lopez-led Cardinal in the second half.
Ex Tulane, Missouri, USC, and Arizona coach Larry Smith passed away this week.
"First and foremost it is a sad day for college football, the University of Missouri and all of those that had the opportunity to know Coach Smith and his family. I want to give my condolences to the family -- they are a special group of people who have had a tremendous impact on many, many lives.
California poached a late recruit from Oregon State this past week.
Dominic Galas has gone from being a Beaver to a Golden Bear. The 6-foot-2-inch, 270-pound senior offensive lineman at Central Catholic High changed his non-binding commitment from Oregon State to Cal. Galas, who recently was named to the CalHiSports.com all-state football team, became a hot commodity following a strong performance in the CIF Division III State Championship Bowl Game in Carson. That was when Cal offered Galas a scholarship. He's the No. 9-ranked center in the country, according to national recruiting Web site rivals.com.
At least the Beavers have baseball to look forward to.
Take a look at the game flow charts from both of Oregon State's games last week. You'll notice that the Beavers put together decent first half performances in both games, then tapered off in the second half. Does this mean that our opponents are just more athletic, and our guys are tired in the second half? Are coming out of the locker room flat? I don't know.
Are the Trojans having a down recruiting season?
USC is an unimpressive 18th in the latest Scout.com rankings, but I've consistently said that team rankings are too subjective in recruiting. When USC was always No. 1, it was a dose of nice publicity, but that's not what makes the Trojans a perennial title contender.Besides, I'm reminded of Billy Packer's recent quote. ``This may make all the recruiting experts angry but (O.J.) Mayo is a good player, he is not a great player . . . he could be a good player. He is not a great player.''That was a criticism directed at the recruiting experts, not Mayo
The Sun Devils have lost three straight.
ASU lost another one point game to Washington State last night, making it two in a row against the Cougars. The most frustrating part for me wasn't the officiating, or the no call at the end, but rather that the game was ASU's for the taking and we didn't take advantage when opportunity presented itself.
Our friend Nestor over at the UCLA blog has been following the Seattle Times articles, and has also been reading my opinions in the blog.
In case you have not seen it already we want to make sure all of you are aware of a series of articles the Seattle Times is running about the legal problems concerning the 2000 Rose Bowl team. bruinmike88 has already posted a diary on it. John Berkowitz from Washington Sports Blog, who I have a lot of respect for did a post about it this AM. Here is John's synopsis of what has been covered in these stories so far:
Here is the reaction to the Times Series from the WSU blog. Oh by the way, how many Cougar football players have been arrested this week?
So how about that UW story in the Times?? The story stinks so badly that they have to spread it out over FOUR DAYS of in-depth sleeze. Wow. And they want $150 million of King County tax money?? How many soccer moms in King County, who had no clue about any of this, are throwing up in their morning latte's? Rape with Jerramy Stevens, among a long list of F-UPS?? Shootings with bloody fingerprints of Pharms, yet they let him play?? What's next? It's obvious the state reps have heard from some registered voters over the last week or so, hence the about face of Dr. Evil himself, Frank Chopp. But, remember, this isn't just front-page sports page news. This is TOP FOLD, A1, front page news on the most circulated paper in the Pacific NW. Hard to ignore these kinds of stories. I don't know how much of you have read it so far, but it's pretty disgusting. A fan of UW, WSU or Spokane Falls CC, the thing is an embarrassment for college sports.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Stories like these need to come out but they need to come out sooner rather than later. Especially for me in Curtis' case I would like to have had a opportunity to help change his behavior. Now that the Times has open this can of worms, what's going to be done to fix future problem with this brand College Athletes? I would hope these articles were geared at effecting change so in the future we would not have read about the ongoing misconduct of college athletes.
This statement is from his wife Michelle.
To those that question, Curt was a wonderful man, athlete, husband, and father...when he wanted to be. Other times he wasn't. So what, I've put all this in the past and I have not let one person degrate him to this day in the precsence of our beloved daughter. Not once. Not ever. Yes, We had problems, we went our separate ways. That is just that. Nothing more, nothing less. Let Curt rest in peace. Please do not disrespect his memory or his legacy. I dont, and I don't wish for anyone else to either. May he rest in Paradise...
Look at the title of the series and you'll see the negative-slanted sensationalism: "The disturbing story behind the last great UW team". Let me edit that for them: "The sad seven-year old story that has been rehashed by every paper in town about a few bad apples among mostly good citizens from UW's last great team". Let's try the same routine with the headline from the Jeremiah Pharms article. Their headline is "Key UW linebacker played entire season after his bloody print was tied to shooting". My version would be "Key UW linebacker played the entire season while the prosecutor's office assembled their evidence".
Semantic make a difference. Pharms by the way was tried, sentenced, punished, and served time for his crimes. Word has it that he has changed his life around since leaving prision.
Williams could certainly play. The question was: Why was the UW allowing him to?
Society in general usually throws kids like Curtis into the scrap heap. Despite his shortcomings he kept trying, and when Neuheisel took over he had straightened his life out enough to be able to contribute to the team. Right, or wrong that straightening out happened after his wife moved to Alaska and he was able to concentrate completely on academics, and football.
When you accept students, or recruit athletes to an institution you are taking them on as human beings. They all come with baggage, some more than others. As educators, coaches, and counselors you try your best assist them in becoming the best people they can be in their four to five year stay.
If you think athletes are the only students at UW who get second and third chances think again. Same thing with the overloaded court system. You can tell a story any way you want, but the story in the Times is far from complete.
The one thing about athletics is that some who are recruited are ill equipped to deal with the responsibility that comes with being a student athlete. Anthony Kelley was also one of those kids, he should never have been admitted to a school like Washington. Athletics were his saving grace, and while at Washington he had the chance to blossom into one of the better academic success stories ever associated with the team.
As far as UW athletes are concerned, or athletes in general there are way more success stories than there are failures. That of course does not make as interesting reading as the train wrecks do. The Times is focusing on the bad associated with the 2000 team, but what about all the success stories which by the way make up over 90% of the team?
The point is when you give kids from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to succeed, and they do succeed, you are helping society in general. Athletics gives a lot of these kids the only chance they will ever have.
Curtis was no angel, but he was starting to get it before he was injured, he was back on the right track. Athletics gave him the chance to make something out of his life, and begin the journey toward becoming a better person.
On a side note....Curtis continued to work for his degree from his wheelchair till the day he died. In the end Curtis was one of those success stories.
Simply put until the 2007, and 2008 recruiting classes Washington has done a poor job filling the holes that needed to be filled. Willingham was severely burned by going the JC route in search of a quicker fix.
Roy Lewis was one of the best corners in the league last year, his graduation this year will leave a large void in this unit for 2008. Byron Davenport struggled with leg injuries last season but he should be very solid for his final year in 2008. Flanking him on the other side will be either Matt Mosley, Vonzell McDowell, Marquise Persley, or Jordan Murchison.
McDowell started against Syracuse and did a decent job early, but as the season went on his inexperience, confidence, and lack of strength began to show. He faded out of the lineup around mid season. Murchison has the talent, but missed half the season because of off field problems. With those problems resolved he could be a key piece next season. Marquise Persley redshirted last season but impressed the coaches enough on the scout team to be in the mix for a starting job this Spring. Mosley had plenty of playing time last year and had mixed results. He is still learning the position, but I liked the way he came up to the ball last year, it showed agression.
Washington brings in lots of help to supplement the existing cast this Fall. Adam Long, Justin Glenn, and Anthony Gobern will all get long looks in Fall camp to see if they can break into the rotation. Adam Long is a kid they are taking a long look at, no pun intended.
The consensus is looking up for this unit because for the first time in almost a decade simply because they have enough numbers, and depth to work with. Experience is another matter, but talent and speed have returned to the position. Byron Davenport is the key to this unit. He has the most experience, and will be counted on to make an impact. I thought he played well when he was healthy. I think Matt Mosley goes into Spring as the other starter, but as I said earlier, the other spot is up for grabs. what the heck, both spots are probably up for grabs coming off last years performance.
Coach Donatell is known for his attacking defenses, so if we are all lucky the ten yard cushion is a thing of the past. To be succesful in the Pac Ten you have to play a good man defense. You need corners that can come up and make hit while still being able to stick to their coverage assignments like a glove.
Monday, January 28, 2008
1. Marvin Bayless....This Safety from Texas visited late this month and is rated the 50th best Safety in the country. He is waiting for an offer, and Husky coaches said they would get back to him by the end of this week. The Huskies could always move one of their larger safeties if needed to OLB.
2. PaiPai Falemalu....Ty Willingham is in the Islands this week and you can bet he is going to stop by this linebackers house to try to secure a commitment. The Huskies definitely want this kid, but he remain at home.
3. Bradly Roussel....The ILB from Louisiana committed in December but switched to Tulane after Washington asked him to wait a couple of more weeks. Tough to say if he would reconsider Washington, but it's a possibility.
4. David DeCastro....Washington has been making progress but chances are he is headed to Stanford.
5. Donovan Carter....He is still on the board but it will take a miracle to get this athlete away from Walker, and Willingham.
6. Demetrius Guice....Nobody ever answers questions about this kid, but he is a grey shirt candidate for 2009.
7. Benji Kemoeatu....The #2 rated Center in the country always shows up on Washington wish lists. Not sure why he hasn't been offered. Washington supposedly is looking at another lineman in the Islands, not sure if it him or not.
8. Jeffrey LaFrance....A JC receiver with good size and speed from California. this kid has good size and speed, but doesn't graduate till May. You always have to throw a surprise JC guy in there at the end as a possibility.
9. Gerald Hill....The Tacoma athlete is an intriguing candidate that hasn't been mentioned lately who could fit in at TE, or LB. He transferred to Charles Wright from Curtis last year. The move down of a couple of notches in competition didn't help his recruitment.
The stories on the players so far are well written, and they have a familiar ring, and that is the Hedges, Neuheisel, the police, a private attorney who was a UW alum, and the King County Prosecutors office gave these guys the benefit of doubt so they could stay on the playing field longer than they should have.
The first story was about Jerramy Stevens and it absolutely turns the stomach of anyone who reads it. It also is something that was just as well documented eight years ago as it was in yesterdays article. On a side note I always felt Stevens should have been kicked off the team. I always felt Neuheisel made a critical mistake concerning Stevens.
Today's story is about Jeremiah Pharms, and while still interesting it is a rehash of the same information that came out eight years ago. There will be two more stories in the series, and one will feature deceased Husky football star Curtis Williams who had some problems off field before straightening himself out enough to become a star in the UW secondary. Curtis's unfortunate injury and subsequent death has made him a martyr in the eyes of many. The Times will slay that myth later this week.
The timing of the stories just happen to coincide with the end of the 2008 recruiting season, and a bill that will be introduced in the legislature today to provide $150 million in funding to help remodel Husky Stadium. Since this all happened eight years ago the Times, or any other publication could have chosen to run the stories anytime they wanted, but why now?
Washington has gone 11-25 since Ty Willingham arrived to rebuild the program. Ty while not winning on the field has significantly changed the culture of the football team. His players go to school, they graduate, they donate considerable time to the community, and most importantly they stay out of trouble a lot more compared to their predecessors.
A football team is a microcosm if society. You are going to have kids that get into trouble no matter what you do just like the rest of the world in general. All you can do to prevent that is try your best to recruit kids with high morals, and do your best to guide them while they are under your supervision. Every once in awhile some will disappoint you, but if you put the right system in place, and recruit the right kinds of kids you are headed in the right direction. You can look inside the programs of Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State just to name a few, and find the same type of problems at times that manifested itself in the Husky program under Rick Neuheisel.
The real story here is that Washington has done an excellent job of cleaning up those problems after giving the presidents office, athletic department, and the football program a clean sweep five years ago.
The Times on the other hand believes that the firing of AD Todd Turner last December may herald the return of those win at all cost days at Washington which is one of their reasons for saying the stories are valid to run today eight years after they transpired.
I for one question the motives of the Seattle Times concerning the release of these investigative reports. I know they have the right to do it, and the public has the right to know, but after eight years you would think most of this would have been put to bed. I feel the timing of the reports is calculated precisely to prevent state funding for one half of the Husky Stadium remodeling project.
Bob Condotta says to wait till the end of the series to pass judgement. Sorry Bob, the timing is way to suspicious for me to buy that argument.
What is your opinion?
Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry of the Seattle Times
Ken Armstrong is a senior writer at the investigative desk, not sports. He has been one of the 5 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize on 3 occasions, most recently for last year's Pulitzer in recognition of his story "Your Courts, Their Secrets", for which he was also in the running for the Goldsmith Prize from the Schoenstein Center for Politics, Press and Public Policy and was awarded the Gold Medal for Excellence in Investigative Reporting from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2004 he received the Washington State Bar Association's Award for Excellence in Legal Reporting.
Nick Perry is the senior Higher Education Correspondent for the Seattle Times. He won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for a recent look at underfunding of the UWs Computer Science department and how community leaders were supporting the department and its quest for additional monies as critical to the state's infrastructure future. He previously reported on involvement by the UWs Office of Student Financial Services in a scandal with a Florida-based company that was marketing bunk loans to UW students and led the story that exposed the December-revealed news that the Seattle Marathon is actually only donating 1% of its proceeds to the UW Medical School, despite implications to the contrary.
Wildcats Punish Huskies
All thoughts of a possible sweep in the desert were extinguished on Saturday when the Arizona lit it up for a secnd game in a row with three's from the perimeter. You can live by the threes, and die by the threes, but at this point Arizona will be tough for anyone to stop at home shooting the way they have. Getting a split in Arizona is still a very good thing, and I look for this team to continue to improve over the rest of the season. An important goal for the team is to emerge with a winning record in conference play over the first half of the season. If they can accomplish that anything is possible.
Support Your Local Gunfighters
I received a lot of excellent feed back on this post in Dawgman, and this site over the weekend. the post was a call to arms for all Husky fans to support the stadium initiative by writing letters to their state representatives.
I think the importance of doing that was significantly brought to the forefront after the release Sunday of the Seattle Times Investigative report series. We all have to realize that we need to put petty concerns aside, come together, and fight for the life of the Husky Football program. Powerful forces are at work to make sure that the program never is rebuilt to the level it was in the early 90's. In fact those same forces would like to see Husky Stadium torn down and the team moved downtown to Qwest Field which for all intents and purposes would destroy the program permanently.
If you haven't written your representatives, you have three, get it done today. It may not seem like much, but it does make a huge difference when the representatives hear the opinions of their constituents.
Nathan Ware "We Are All Smarter This Morning"
The Times also informed us that former coach Rick Neuheisel ran an undisciplined ship. Don't you feel smarter knowing that fact on January 27th, 2008 when Neuheisel hasn't coached here in roughly five years? I'm sure that you had never heard about Neuheisel's inability to instill discipline. Good luck, UCLA fans. The Times also informed us that Barbara Hedges was an incompetent athletic director. Don't you feel smarter knowing that fact on January 27th, 2008 when Hedges hasn't been here for four years? I'm sure that you had never heard about Hedges' incompetence.
Cory MacKay is a Cougar
Cory MacKay has decided to pass on an offer from UW to become a LB, and go to WSU to become a WR. That means the Huskies still have up to two spots to fill before LOI day. This decommit doesn't really bother me at all since Washington actually has higher ranked recruits still on the board waiting for scholarship offers. Paul Wulff is still trying to pry Kavario Middleton ansd Jermaine Kearse from the Huskies at this time, but the chances are about nill that they will change their minds.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Taking us to the present I have never seen a single coach in state history who has been more under fire than Tyrone Willingham. Ty has been on the job three years and has produced a very mediocre 11-25 record. Last years team while competitive in every single game finished a disappointing 4-9. The sad reality of coaching is that no matter what accomplishments you achieve on or off the field winners win, and losers are fired. Nobody is more aware of this than Ty Willingham.
When Ty came in he inherited a team that was far from competitive in every game. The program had fallen to what I believe to be its lowest level talent, and spirit wise in the modern era. I stated at the time that it would take five full years to get the program back on its feet, and I still believe it today. His first recruiting class was marred by lack of time, lack of work by his predecessor, and the reality of a very small class since there was little room at the inn. To be successful with that class Ty had to get verbals from Stewart, and Felder who both ended up at Oregon and Cal respectively. I don't think any incoming coach had much of a chance with those kids.
That being said I still thought there was the potential of bowl games while rebuilding. The last two Willingham teams had bowl potential. The first was derailed by an injury to Isaiah Stanback, and last years team was held back by the worst defense we have seen at Husky Stadium in modern times. You can make a reasonable argument that Jake Lockers 45% completion ratio was another reason for the failure, but UW scored more than enough points last year to win almost every game they played if the defense wasn't at a historically low level.
Tyrone enters the 2008 season with the best recruiting class in the Pac Ten, the eight best in the country, and probably the best recruiting class UW has had since Don James retired. I find it to be remarkable that a coach who has his back up against the proverbial wall could put together such a class even with the abundance of in state talent this year. We all knew this would be a cornerstone recruiting class, and all of us figured after the Arizona game that it was going to go completely down the tubes. Most of us thought that the hiring of of Jim Mora would be the only way to save it.
While I was in Hawaii something interesting happened. As we got off the plane and checked my smart phone I was surprised to learn that Kavario Middleton, and Jermaine Kearse had verballed to Washington. Only the week before most of us assumed those two kids were headed out of state. Why would they stay home to play for a coach that was about to be fired and who had a 11-25 record while at UW? The answer was clear, they liked Willingham, their coach liked Willingham, and they both felt by committing that they could help him save his job. They would still come if he was dismissed, but make no mistake about it, they liked Coach Willingham, and the way they were recruited.
The next day I met Kim Grinolds, and Chris Fetters at the hotel pool for a little catch up, and Husky chat. We all assumed at that point Ty was likely out the door, but we all had to admit that the commitments of Kearse, and Middleton couldn't have come at a better time for Willingham.
The Huskies of course lost another game they should have won in Hawaii. The Huskies started impressively but blew a 21 point lead. That my friends was all about coaching. Hawaii went off the BCS to be thrashed by Georgia, and the Huskies headed home for another holiday at home. It appeared to most at the time that Willingham had coached his last game for the Huskies.
We have all read the different versions of what happened after that, in fact there are websites devoted to it thanks to my good friend Race Bannon. So there is really no reason to re account that tale. The bottom line was Willingham was coming back for at least one more year, and Todd Turner was forced out as the UW athletic director. Predictably soon after that DC Kent Baer was let go after a 13 year run with Willingham. Ever since Baer was fired we have had a lot of silence coming out of Montlake. Ty is not talking to the media until a new DC is announced. He has spent his time interviewing assistant coaches, and assembling a stellar recruiting class which has exceeded all of our expectations.
What type of Tyrone Willingham are we going to see after the hiring of Ed Donatell is announced, and Washington unveils its 2008 recruiting class on Febrauary 6th? Will Ty be as elusive as ever, or is he going to step up to the plate and start promoting the program to the public? Is he going to open up practices this Spring and actually answer questions directly during press conferences? Will this experience make him more open, and trusting, or is it going to make him more determined to keep doing it the way he has been doing it the past three years which has resulted in a disenfranchised fan base?
Interim AD Scott Woodward has given us some clues by saying that he has been talking to Willingham on almost a daily basis concerning those type of issues. Everyone should agree that Willingham is a good man with a lot of natural charisma. The problem is a lot of us don't get to see that. In the Northwest we are used to entertaining coaches. We feel comfortable with guys like Jim Owens, Don James, Jim Lambright, and even Rick Neuheisel. All these guys had one thing in common. They communicated well, they all did their best to sell the program, and they most importantly made everyone feel like they were part of the machine.
How many of you out there feel like you are currently part of the machine?
I think that right there is the most important area Willingham needs to concentrate on the most between now and Spring football. He of course will be in Olympia with Emmert, and Woodward in February trying to raise funds to remodel the stadium. I think that time is going to be critical for him and his tenure at UW. Not only does he have to win to keep his job, he has to prove to his bosses that he can sell the program at a very critical juncture to the zoo that resides at the Capitol in Olympia.
Willingham also needs to reach out to the fan base and bring everyone back together. Easier said than done at this juncture, but it is far from impossible. All he has to do is use the tools available to make that happen. That means hitting the air waves for frank discussions with Softy and the Honks on a regular basis. It means calling up Art Thiel so you can have a series of chats. It means sparring with Jim Moore in a friendly way. It could mean meeting Bob Condotta, and Molly Yanity for lunch just to shoot the breeze. It means getting airtime on the local TV stations. It means doing something for the fans and media that will give them meaningful look at the team this Spring. It means more than anything opening up in a way he never has before to do the job in a completely different way. Dale Carnegie would call it "How to Win Friends and Influence People". It may sound corny, but it really works, and that is what needs to be done to turn this thing around.
Support Your Local Gunfighters
Whether anyone likes it or not Tyrone is going to be our coach for at least one more season. I think it would be a good idea for the fan base to try to unite behind him, the program and the team. I know what I am saying is unpopular, but if we are ever going to move forward we all need to start pulling together in the same direction.
Now is the time to buck up and start caring again. Now is the time to start emailing your state representatives or calling them on the phone to tell them how you support the use of public funds to help remodel Husky Stadium. The University can't get this accomplished without the support of the public. Husky fans need to get vocal, they need to be heard, and most importantly we need to show up, and be heard now! Don't wait another minute, contact your state representatives and make your feelings known!
This is one of those issues where your voice really does matter. Frank Chopp made this comment this past week.
"In fact since then, no House member, and nobody else for that matter in terms of the Legislature, has come to me and asked to support the project. That's sends a pretty strong message."
Make sure whenever you send a message to your legislator that you also copy Mr. Chopp to let him no that you indeed care, and you do want it done! Frank is a consummate demigod type politician, make sure he knows how you feel. He will pay attention to you!
Click on the link below to find who your state representatives are, and take the time it takes to send them an email. It only will take you a couple of minutes, but every email you send is going to make it a lot easier for the University to get the job done.
Find Your State Representative
While you are at it send emails to the writers, and editors at the Seattle Times, Seattle PI, and News Tribune. Make sure these people know how you feel. Don't let the anti sports/anti stadium people dominate the discussion. Let your opinions be known!
It is time for all Husky fans to unite and become a viable part of the machine once again. It is time for us to shake off our apathy, and petty concerns so we can insure that our children, and children's, children have the same opportunity we have had in our lifetimes, and that is to spend memorable afternoons in the Fall on the shores of Lake Washington rooting for our beloved Huskies.
The wins are going to eventually come Husky fans. Don't listen to the the baloney that the University feels more comfortable with a mediocre coach, and a mediocre football program. President Emmert knows that the only way to self fund the entire athletic program now, and in the future is to have a successful football program. If Tyrone is the man to get this accomplished it is fine with me, if he isn't that will become very apparent at the end of next season and changes will be made.
In the meantime lets all unite and rebuild Husky Stadium into the greatest football stadium in the country! This investment will keep paying out well beyond your lifetime, but time is short, if we don't act now, and the stadium is not remodeled the team may have to move downtown which would destroy the program.
Washington comes into town with a three game winning streak, momentum, and confidence. To win the Huskies are going to have to close the perimeter, play their own pace, and make sure Jon Brockman has another one of his double/double performances. It is tough to find a player having a better year than Brockman on the West coast. The kid is animal, and when he stays out of foul trouble he has the potential to dominate inside on offense, and defense.
The last time UW faced Arizona in McKale Center it was a disaster that resulted in a 84-54 loss. It wasn't just a disapointing loss, it was a mugging, and this years edition of the team wants to erase that bad memory. UW needs to split on the road, and win at home to qualify for the post season. A sweep down here would really help them make up some ground.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Washington was hampered by injury at linebacker last season. You could see the play fall apart as the health failed and the season went on. Remember how fast they looked at Syracuse? Well injuries slowed them down by mid season.
Donald Butler was supposed to be an anchor in the middle but pre season surgery for a knee injury limited his play for most of the season. He would have been better served with a RS season, but depth forced him on to the field of play. Daniel Howell was hobbled the entire year and was a shadow of his former self. EJ Savannah played well, but missed time here and there all season. He may never get completely healthy.
LB coach Chris Tormey got a lot of criticism starting with the Ohio State game. A lot of experts, and I mean real experts, not just Tim Meamber, felt that the LB crew was out of position most of the game, and poorly prepared. Tough to say if it was Tormey's, or Baer's fault. Was it just simple execution? Poor Alignment? Poor coaching? Whatever the reason something wasn't clicking back there.
Make no doubt about it though, there is a new sheriff in town by the name of Ed Donatell who should be able to bring new blood, and shake things up in 2008. Ed has a lot of experience, and has been a DC in the NFL. We should see improvement next season.
This coming season the Huskies return five experienced players to man the 3-4 positions depending on which alignment they decide to go with. EJ Savannah emerged as the best player on the unit last season, while Freshman Mason Foster served notice that he is going to be a force in the future. Trenton Tuiasosopo started the majority of the games in the middle, but he was a falloff from a healthy Donald Butler. You have to admire Trenton for coming back from those horrible injuries, but he just isn't fast enough. Chris Stevens had some big plays in limited action. One has to wonder why he wasn't utilized more as a pass rusher as he had been in earlier years. Good things to seem to happen when he is around the ball.
Cort Dennison who red shirted last year picked showed his potential working with the Scout team last season. Matt Houston played sparingly in his first season of action. The Huskies are bringing in a number of players who can be shifted to LB if needed in the future, but the two designated guys are Cory MacKay who will start off outside, and Kurt Mangum who will begin inside. Both of the newcomers should red shirt no matter which alignment UW goes with.
Victor Aieywa, and Quentin Richardson who are currently at Safety are players that could move to LB if a shift in scheme demands it. Both are big physical players who will see the field this season.
This unit needs to play better, stay healthy, prepare better, and be coached better. Savannah, Foster, and Butler are a very solid foundation to build on. Expect those three to be your starters next season if healthy. Behind them you have some question marks. Chris Stevens is a little too one dimensional. Too early to tell if Houston will develop into anything special. Dennison who gained scout team accolades last season could be a player. Tuiasosopo will provide solid minutes once again, but behind him we need another thumper to develop. That thumper should be Kurt Mangum who has the potential to be a good one.
When is Washington going to recruit the next great linebacker?
If you go back to 2001 Scott White, or Joe Lobendahn are probably the best UW linebackers of the last decade.
Scott "Fricken" White?
Joe "Slow" Lobendahn?
No offense meant toward those guys, but that might tell you a quite a bit why this team has been struggling since the last Rose Bowl visit. Where are the Michael Jackson's, Fred Small's, Andy Mason's, and Dave Hoffman's?
Savannah, Butler, and Foster really need to step it up next year. All three have pretty good potential when healthy. Is one of them the next great linebacker? Well E.J. has the talent, and Foster should be a sideline to sideline monster. We haven't had a great look at Butler because of his injury. Going into the Spring I would say this unit has more questions than answers.
Donatell sat out last year after not being able to catch on to another NFL gig. Ed was at UW during the 1980's for two years as a GA under Don James. He also was on Ketih Gilbertson's staff at Idaho. Most Husky fans should be satisfied by the choice since he has a prior connection to the school, and also is associated with Mora. Ed worked in the NFL from 1990-2006 as a defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator with the Jets, Chiefs, Broncos, Packers and Falcons.
The news on Jim Mora is the Seahawks are about to make it official that he is going to take over when Mike Holmgren retires after next season. That should put to bed any rumors that Mora is going to return to his alma mater to coach next season. Mora is a hot commodity. He could have had the UCLA, or Washington Redskin coaching jobs if he had wanted. His two day interview with the Redskins may have forced the Seahawks hand in making the offer early.
I am really happy with the hiring of Donatell. He has a lot of experience and should bring a whole new philosophy to the Husky defense. Yes, I like him even better than DeWayne Walker. Walker could certainly recruit, and he did a good job turning around the UCLA defense, but to me he was the flavor of the month. I think Donatell is what the Husky defense needs, plus it keeps the majority of the staff in place.
"As a much more famous American once said, 'I have not yet begun to fight,' " he said. Evans and university lobbyists would, by Friday or Monday, have a sponsor in the Senate for a bill proposing public funding, Chopp be damned -- as well as anyone else who questioned the wisdom. "If somebody says they want a piece of this, I'll go up against anybody," he said. "I'll guarantee we can knock down anyone's arguments over need and urgency."
As I said yesterday, this is far from dead.
As for Frank Chopp, who appointed him God?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Washington built the lead to 48-40 on Pondexter's three-point play with 11:44 remaining. Arizona State cut the lead to three points three times, but after Harden missed the first 1-and-1, Brockman's three-point play put the Huskies ahead 56-47 with 7 minutes left.
This is a big win for UW and guarantees a split on the road, but why settle for that, Arizona is beatable too!
Frank Chopp is an idiot!
After only four days, and a couple of Kent Schramm opinions it looks like Frank has changed his mind. What moron, the money from those taxes is mostly from out of state ivsitors, and it is is for the explicit purpose of supporting athletic venues in King County. Education? None of that money is earmarked for anything but sports facilities! Who does this guy think he is trying to fool!
Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, just put an end to the uproar about authorizing taxes to pay for half of a proposed $300 million renovation to Husky Stadium. Chopp said Thursday his statements last week about being open to the idea had been blown out of proportion.
"All I said, at the request of former Gov. (Dan) Evans was that I'd take a look at the proposal," he said. "I made it clear that we are not talking about state tax dollars for that project because all that would do is take money away from education - including higher education. That's the extent of it," he said. "In fact since then no House member, and nobody else for that matter in terms of the Legislature, has come to me and asked to support the project. That's sends a pretty strong message."
Asked if it's fair to say he doesn't think it's going to happen this session, Chopp replied: "That's fair to say." Chopp said he had no plans to push for enabling legislation that would extend the some of the stadium taxes set up to pay for the King Dome, Safeco Field and Qwest Field.
"I just said to Gov. Evans that I'd consider it, so I asked people to consider it. Nobody's come to me ask for support for it."
For the Record, this is what Chopp actually said last week:
"I'm open to talking to the university about it because it's obviously a public facility," Chopp said. "It can be used for a lot more than just Husky football. They are talking about a series of high school football games. If you have ever been to Memorial Stadium in Seattle, it's in pretty bad shape. "I'm willing to talk about it with them," he said. "It's not professional, it's not for profit and the players make nothing." Compared to the Sonics, the University is a more sympathetic cause. "By light years," Chopp said. "That's a long ways." Safety issues are also in play, Chopp noted.
"There are several different revenue streams that we are looking at," he said. "One of them would just be some local thing that we would authorize, so that's a possibility."
"I'm not likely to support money coming out of the state general fund for it unless it's seeen in context of all the other capital projects that we have to do for higher education," he said. "The Univesity of Washington has done quite well with the capitol budget process over the last ten years. So really, is this a priority compared to those other needs?"
Frank Chopp is a an idiot, and this isn't dead, it is only starting, we shall overcome Frank!
Jim Moore chimes in that is what is good for the Husky is good for the Cougar.
Actually, if a few of my dollars from a restaurant tax go toward the renovation of Husky Stadium, fine, as long as Washington State gets to milk the cash cow, too.
I just happen to agree with that, and throw in EWU, WWU, and CWU. There is more than enough money to take care of all of them ,and the Sonics if need be if you simply extend a tax that is levied mostly against non residents of King County.
Frank Chopp is an idiot, and UW is pretty stupid for going for the money without WSU, EWU, CWU, and WWU. This is far from being over, they wil get it done.
If you look at next years roster it seems the Huskies have filled about every slot for next season. That means the last spot remaining will go to the best athlete left standing.
C David Decastro, and LB Donovan Carter seem to be the top kids left on the board. Obviously if either wants to attend UW they will gladly take them. That being said they are both longshots to attend UW at this point. It looks like UW will finish second respectively to Stanford, and UCLA on these two kids.
The next in line could be S Marvin Bayless from Texas if they decide to fill the spot with another DB. Bayless said the Huskies would get back to him at the end of the week to let them know where he stands as far as an offer goes. Note that we probably already have 6 DB's in the current class once players are moved to the positions they are best suited for.
UW also could sav the spot for next season if they can't find the right type of kid who they think will make an impact. The last two weeks till LOI day always has a few surprises, so it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.
My first preference would be for us to take another offensive lineman, you can never have too many. If we indeed switch to a 3-4 another LB would come in handy.
There is an unstubstantiated rumor floating around today is that ex Atlanta Falcons defensive assistant Ed Donatell is a candidate to become the new DC at Washington. Donatell coached under Jim Mora at Atlanta, and he also spent some time with DJ in the 80's. This rumor started over on the free board at Dawgman, and I have no idea if it has any legs, or not.
Just the fact that he coached recently with Mora makes me raise my eybrows on this one. I know Willingham wants to find the best man, and Donatell would be a great choice, but the Mora connection makes it pretty iffy to me.
Back to Tenuta, I am sure someone will contact him for a statement later in the day. The odds of this one having legs is pretty slight since Tenuta does not really have West Coast ties, or a prior relationship with Willingham.
We could beat both these clubs, and if we do, we can start thinking about a possible NCAA Tournament berth again. Finishing as low as 6th with a 10-8 record in conference will probably get the Huskies in this year.
10-8 would be pretty remarkable, but I have the Huskies officially pegged for 6-12 in conference this year based on what I have seen so far. I could be wrong, and hope that I am, but this team is going to have to really blossom from nowhere to move into that position.
Washington's opponent tonight is Arizona State which has been the surprise of the conference this season. What makes the Sun Devils go is their tandem at the guard spots which just happens to be an area which Washington has been lacking this season. For UW to win tonight they need to shoot the ball better, and outphysical ASU. ASU guard James Harden is questionable for tonights game, and his health could be one of the keys to the contest.
(Let me add this morning that this is still a rumor, and nothing has emerged in print as of yet. Tenuta would be a real surprise because he would be more inclined to work somewhere in the East because of his ties back there. Someone also wrote about it in the comment section of Condotta's blog so that makes two people that said they had heard the rumor on the GTU flagship station in Atlanta.)
(Bob Condotta of the Times called the radio station and confirmed that they were talking about a possible fit between UW, and Tenuta, but never said that he had taken the job, or was even being considered for the position.)
Jon Tenuta is the former Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets college football team. In the wake of the November 26, 2007 firing of Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey, Tenuta was named Interim Head Coach, but was not retained by incoming head coach Paul Johnson. He also coached the Yellow Jackets' defensive backs and was one of the highest paid coordinators in college football.
Tenuta previously served as a defensive coordinator at five other schools, including Marshall (1987), Kansas State (1988), SMU (1990-94), Ohio State (2000) and North Carolina (2001).
Luke Huard served as the defacto QB coach last season. Luke will be back this year and he is an up and coming assistant who never achieved the success in college that his brothers (Damon), and Brock accomplished while at Washington, and in the NFL. Is Luke the right guy to be handling mechanics for Jake Locker?
We all agree that Jake Locker is one of those once in decade type of players. One of our readers and constant commentators T90 recently mentioned that QB guru Greg Barton had mentioned that Jake really needed some tutoring throwing the ball. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, or Greg Barton to figure that out, but the question is will the coaching staff at Washington acknowledge that in the short term?
Most of us think that the hiring of a Defensive Coordinator will be the biggest move this Spring.
Many insiders, me included, feel that hiring someone to tutor Jake Locker in throwing mechanics is much more important. Can UW put the egos aside and hire a tutor for Jake?
If I am Ty Willingham that would be my first priority because if I am going to keep my job beyond 2008 it is going to be saved by the arm of Jake Locker.
The best QB coach in town for a long time has been Jim Zorn. Jim of course isn't available, in fact he is interviewing for the OC position with Snyder of the Redskins this week. UW needs to find someone out there like Jim that can truly coach a QB.
Kurt Mangum Verbals
Inside or middle linebacker Kurt Mangum has verballed to Washington according to all the usual suspects. Mangum is a big physical guy whose only question mark is speed. Kurt just happens to be Gale Sayers nephew, but he could use some of his uncles speed. The interesting thing about Kurt is that he is planning to graduate early which means the Huskies have one more spot available for the 2008 class if he does indeed graduate early and is hear for Spring practice. My gut says that he sign at least one more guy to round out the class. It could be C David DeCastro, LB Donovan Carter, or S Martin Bayless.
Two weeks to go until letter of intent day and we have solid top ten class. That is pretty hard to believe after a 4-9 season.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
When you have the 8th ranked class in the country going into the final weeks before LOI day you can afford to be choosy with only a spot, or two still open.
Two Guys You Make Room For
C David DeCastro....yes, the Huskies still haven't given up on him, and his interest has been increasing ever since his visit. Chances are he ends up at Stanford, but stadium construction, a top ten class, Tyrone, and Denbrock are making a solid impression. LB Donovan Carter is another guy they will wait for. He likely ends up at UCLA which opens the door for someone else, but he is worth the wait.
Those Who are Likely Waiting
LB PaiPai Falemalu from Hawaii is another possibility. S Marvin Bayless is a kid that has to wait for UW to make up his mind to see if he can fit in. He has great numbers and bloodlines. LB Bradly Roussel is headed to Tulane, but that could change if UW strikes out on the other three LB's. You know UW has to have another LB in the class one way or another. LB Kurt Mangum can enroll in time for Spring ball so he would count against the 2007 class. UW is also rumored to be looking at a JC receiver, but I would think they have that position covered unless something big jumps out at them.
Something for Winter 2009
TE Demeterius Guice from Portland is still out there. We haven't heard a word from him in quite some time, but he would be a great get as a grey shirt candidate. He won't make the 2008 class, but he would look great in purple and gold for 2009.
The Monkey Wrench
Let me add this tidbit, the recruiting class could also be filled out by none of the above. You heard right, the Huskies just might be working on some other kids the recruiting services haven't mentioned. I have heard some rumors of this but haven't been updated on the status since Long, and Carroll verbaled.
Holmgren is Staying another Year
Mike Holmgren coach of the Seattle Seahawks is staying for another year, after then it is likely off to retirement, but you never really do know in pro sports do you?
Art Thiel of course can't resist poking fun at Husky fans by suggesting that Jim Mora Jr. is the annointed heir in waiting over in Kirkland. No matter what happens Jim will have his choice of jobs anywhere in his hometown, and across the country in 2009.
If both the Husky, and Seahawk head coaching jobs are open in 2009 which one will Jim Mora take?
He says coaching the Huskies has been his lifelong dream, but coaching the hometown Seahawks has to be up there too, plus much more lucrative. You need to win to keep either job, but even in your hometown the NFL stands for "Not For Long". The UW on the other hand is a place you can stay for twenty years if you play your cards right.
Art sums it up in this manner.
But Huskies fans can look at it this way -- if it doesn't work out for Mora with the Seahawks, the UW job comes open regularly.
Out on the recruiting trail the Huskies nabbed two and lost one this past week. CB Adam Long, and OG Allan Carroll officially joined the recruiting class over the weekend. The Huskies currently have the top class in the Pac Ten, and #8 in the nation according to Scout. John Tate a CB I liked a lot from Edison HS in Fresno apparently won't be coming to UW for undisclosed reasons. Lot's of rumors out there on this one, and nobody will know the true answer till the kid tells somebody about it.
No new news on the assistant coaching situation at Washington. the Huskies are still searching for a DC, RB, and TE/ST coaches. The only recent rumor I have heard is that DJ Williams is a possible candidate for the DC promotion, and UW will hire another DB coach. Nobody really knows what is going on except Willingham who refuses to be interviewed until he makes his choices public. One interesting name Bob Condotta brought up today was Matt Simon a former Husky RB coach who was let go by the Chargers this week.
Jim Moore has had little to say about the new Husky Stadium proposal. You would think Jim must be doing a little investigative work on the plan and keeping his pencil sharpened. He just might think it is a good idea because it opens the door for help in the future if the Cougars need it. Obviously I think that is the way Cougar fans and alums should be thinking. By the way the state of Washington paid for their very nice basketball arena by the way. They also chipped in funds when Martin Stadium was rebuilt after a fire.
Nathan Ware is also a little puzzled that Jim Moore hasn't gone ballistic yet.
Last night, I posted that I was surprised that Jim Moore hadn't wrote about the Husky Stadium issue. Sure enough, Jim chimed in this morning with a short snippet about a conversation that he had with Governor Christine Gregoire. She noted that "safety" was a key concern about Husky Stadium. I agree, Husky Stadium is very unsafe. We need to fix that immediately. I've felt very unsafe at Husky Stadium recently and I had originally thought it simply had something to do with Kent Baer's defense but now I know it actually had something to do with the stadium.
Did you read the Art Thiel piece in the PI earlier this week. How can you write so many lines and really not say anything about Husky Stadium? Are you for it, or are you against it? One thing for sure, Art doesn't admire Frank Chopp.
I mean nobody wants to see the Sonics go, but Clay Bennett isn't exactly an honorable type of guy. For the record I wouldn't mind seeing public money used to renovate Key Arena, but I wouldn't want to see it used for a sports palace in renton that would be under Bennett's absolute control. I think the city has only one option, and that is bleed the guy financially till he gives up and sells to in town interests. If he can't break the lease there is a good chance of that happenning.
Pac Ten Alley
We are back after a week off spent on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I don't like Florida that much but we have a friend that lives there that lets us stay free. Warm weather, golf, and free, are always on my agenda.
So now that we are back lets take a little walk down the coast to see what our neighbors have been up to.
Oregon released a photo of what their new $200 million basketball arena is going to look like yesterday. It looks pretty nice to me, and it will seat around 12,500 for basketball. The state of Oregon is providing tax money for the project.
The University of Oregon today released the latest conceptual design for a new $200-million arena, just days after a key legislative committee lent support to the project's financing package. The architectural team of Ellerbe Becket/TVA Architects created the rendering as part of a pre-development effort that will continue to advance the design until a final decision is made on the project. "We know more right now about the structure of the financing plan than we do about the final design of the arena," UO President Dave Frohnmayer said. "However this rendering illustrates why we have no doubt that the final product will be stunning."
Jon Wilner chimes in with news about Stanford, and Bay Area college basketball.
Now that conference play has ramped up for all the Bay Area-affiliated leagues, a quick matter of business: I want to get this entry posted on Monday morning/early afternoon, while the weekend action is still fresh in everyone’s mind and before the focus turns to upcoming games.
Will Arizona be the first Pac Ten football team penalized for a poor graduation rate?
The University of Arizona football team might not go to a bowl game in 2008, but it’s not because the Wildcats are going to be ineligible because of its Academic Progress Report.
Internet rumors on message boards swirled on Monday that the Wildcats were going to lose four scholarships and be bowl ineligible in 2008. Wrong.
Ben Braun is on the hot seat at Cal. Look for him to be dismissed if he can't get the Bears into the tournament this season.
Coaching does make a difference. The Cal women’s basketball team, coached by Joanne Boyle, is first in the Pac-10 Conference with an 8-0 record (17-2 overall). Meanwhile, the men’s team, coached by Ben Braun, has sunk to ninth. So at a recent boosters meeting, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour was asked when she would hire a men’s coach who was the equivalent of Boyle. Braun is reportedly still there because some alumni who donate heavily to the school’s athletic program support him. Can’t fault Barbour. These alums are important to the drive for improvements to Memorial Stadium. A successful football team brings in substantially more revenue than basketball. The Bears’ decline has been accelerated by the improvement in conference coaching; coaches such as Ben Howland at UCLA, Herb Sendek at Arizona State and Tim Floyd at Southern Cal have significantly upgraded those programs.
Our friend Jake at the OSU blog brings up Mike Montgomery as a possible candidate to take over the basketball program next season. If they can get him it would be awesome, but would he really want to leave the Bay Area? Was Giles a scapegoat, or just a bad kid? I think more will be coming out on that story in the next few days. Did anyone really think he was going to be a savior?
We need to consider ex-Stanford coach Mike Montgomery.
USC is also looking to fill some coaching slots.
Pete Carroll spoke to former Michigan and current Louisville defensive coordinator Ron English last month, but said it was to help secondary coach Demetrice Martin find a job. But sources said that a potential job was also discussed if Raiders coach Lane Kiffin fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, which we discussed last week.
ASU is having a basketball resurgence under the coaching of Herb Sendek.
ASU's 10 game win streak was finally snapped Saturday night at Stanford. After leading by 10 at halftime, ASU faced foul trouble and poor shooting in the second half to pick up the first conference loss of the season.
My friend Nestor over at the UCLA blog is totally high on the fumes coming from the hiring of Rick Neuheisel. Keeping DeWayne Walker, and hiring Norm Chow are reason for the Bruin faithful to be excited. Rick has also been on the job for a month and hasn't broken any NCAA rules yet which is a new record.
This hiring could be a direct, smoking-hot hit."We tell our athletes, marry yourself to your future position coach, that's the guy you'll live with," said Bruce Rollinson, the venerable Mater Dei coach. "And now, if you're a quarterback going to UCLA, you're getting the real deal."Rollinson is coaching the kid rated as the best high school player in the country, quarterback Matt Barkley. And although Barkley comes from a USC family and seems to be a lock for the Trojans, he did make an unofficial visit to UCLA last week. The conventional thinking is that Barkley would never dump Carroll for Chow. But then, the conventional thinking was also that UCLA Coach Neuheisel would never land Chow in the first place.
The Cougar Blog brings up the question what about us? Well we have been funding your athletic program with state funds ever since it started, and if you need some more I would be happy to give it to you.
Ok then. If you are going to open the state coffers for UW, well, the natural question is, what about Milhouse? What about the Cougs?? We'd only need about $40 million and things would be fantastic in Martin Stadium. How about making it a joint request for WSU and UW to upgrade their football stadiums and ask for a cool $200 million? Or should we send Jim Sterk to Olympia right now with a plan to say "excuse me, but I GOTTA GET MINE!"
Last year it was Hawaii, the year before it was Boise, and next year it is probably BYU's turn to beat the Huskies and proclaim they are good enough to play in a BCS game. for what it is worth, BYU was much better than Hawaii last year, but neither would have gotten into the second division of the Pac Ten.
It seems that everywhere I turn, I see people talking about BYU getting into a BCS game next season. Bronco Mendenhall has stated--admirably, in my opinion--that his goal is to elevate the program from the conference champion that plays a middling Pac-10 team in Las Vegas, to one that goes to top-tier bowls, and then eventually finds itself in a position to once again compete for a national title. The not-so-subtle message is that, after consecutive years as conference champion, the Cougars should expect nothing less than a BCS bowl in 2008. Players of course repeat this mantra, and media such as the Sporting News and the New York Times are picking up on the idea as well.
Oklahoma picked up Jay Norvell who was the offensive mastermind at UCLA last season.
Former UCLA and Nebraska offensive coordinator Jay Norvell has joined Oklahoma's football coaching staff as the receiver's coach/co-offensive coordinator.
Here is the latest from Notre Dame. He may not follow recruiting, but I do, and the Irish have the top class in the country. Most of it has been in the bag since early Fall.
Sorry for the extreme lack of updates, but in Irish Land, there's really been very little going on outside of basketball. I don't follow recruiting for a variety of reasons - it scares me, I don't understand it, it's inaccurate, I'd rather not end my days ranting about the decisions of 17-year olds - so that's not going to be covered, and while we may eventually look back at some of the particular high and lowlights of the 2007 football campaign, the sooner that entire debacle is put to rest. I was also going to touch on how depressing the pigskin postseason is, and how the NCAA just needs to cut the Big Ten, PAC 10 and Rose Bowl out and make a playoff, but that's not happening either, so we're left with a bunch of stuff going on - primary season, Oscar nominations - that have nothing to do with Notre Dame. What's that leave us with? Some hoops.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I grew up with the track, and it never really bothered me till I started going to road games and seeing stadiums with fan seating closer to the field. Being right on top of the action should be the first step of any renovation project. I was puzzled when Turner said that it might not make the first phase. If you don't start with replacing the lower bowl you aren't really going anywhere. If you look at the conceptual drawing you see the new intimacy that will be created. Husky Stadium can be very noisy. This redesign if implemented will make it the noisiest by far in the country.
Imagine sitting in an individual plastic seat rather than squeezing together on benches. Imagine having enough room in front of you so the person passing you doesn't fall in your lap. Imagine having wider walkways, and better ingress, and egress to the concourse.
What all that does is get people into the stadium earlier where they are probably spending money because they don't have to wait in line 40 minutes to get a hot dog. It improves the atmosphere inside the stadium. One of the biggest complaints people have about the support of the team is that too many fans are not in their seats before kickoff. Sure the record of the team has something to do with it, but avoiding the masses squeezing in is a big part of it. If you make it intriguing, and comfortable enough inside like they are planning people will get their earlier, and stay longer.
No more track, no more moat, and no more obstructed view seats. It goes without saying that this is the most important part of the project, and it will be the most important to all ticket holders.
2. The Old Upper Deck
The South side of the stadium is currently an embarrassment. Have you ever gone to the restrooms in there? It's absolutely disgusting. The concourse which seemed so large when I was a kid is dark, smelly, and cramped. The lack of revenue producing opportunities is appalling.
A complete refurbishment of this section of the stadium will happen under the new plan. All the seating of course will be reconfigured with a special club section for high rollers in the prime seats.
Notice the covered parking garage behind the South Deck in the drawing? On top of that puppy you are going to have a lot of open space to work with adjacent to the existing concourses. The UW could really do a lot of stuff with this area. Imagine parking your car in the garage and taking the elevator, or escaltor to the mezzanine level. You can tailgate pretty good on rainy day in a garage, and you can go up to the party concourse before the game quite easily.
Take a good look at that Western end zone. This pretty much guarantee's every ticket holder in the stadium a great view with the addition of more covered seating. The West end zone roof will really deflect noise back on to the field. The seats are going to be brought in close to the playing field, and an upper deck will increase visibility dramatically in the cheap seats. A real upper and lower concourse to serve this side of the stadium will be built along with the seating. This going to put the stadium entrance a little closer to Montlake.
Montlake Avenue of course will be undergoing major renovations of its own as part of the Sound Transit Station, and the 520 project. I have always wanted Montlake Avenue to be more of a pedestrian plaza. The plans of course are not even close to being agreed on at this point, but running some, or all traffic under a lid from the Montlake Bridge past Hec Edmundson would reduce congestion, and give the UW more ways to expand out from the increased footprint of the West endzone.
4. The East End Zone
Those sweeping views of Lake Washington are going to be preserved under this plan. The mish mash of of aluminum bleachers across the running track is going bye bye. The East end zone will now be part of the new bowl which will encircle the stadium. Low Level seating and a seperate concourse will spread traffic around the outer edge of the stadium reducing congestion within. The main scoreboard may be replaces with two new video scoreboards placed on the angles which would not block the view.
5. Food, Restaurants, Shopping, and Restrooms
I mentioned the food service earlier, and what a nightmare it is in there, not to mention the very average quality of most of the products served. Most of that has to due with the poor facilities they have to work with coupled by the lack of space.
The West and South sides provide the opportunity to get it right in the same manner as the stadiums downtown. You could conceivably have room for restaurants in addition to improved menus and services. This part of the stadium will have increased pedestrian space that is going to open up a lot of opportunities in these areas.
I would love to see a couple club type full service restaurants that could open up on the South, and West sides of the stadium.
You are finally going to have adequate bathrooms in every part of the stadium. The old bowl holds the footprint for most of the restrooms in the facility. We are talking a 1920 plan here. The new bowl will allow designers to build on completely new footprints. There will be more restrooms, and there will be modern restrooms. Currently only the upper deck on the Northside house the only decent restrooms.
6. Press, Coaches, and Presidential Boxes
The view from the Washington press box is one of probably the very best in the country. It also isn't very comfortable up there. The boxes are pretty cramped and spartan by modern day standards. Would you really want to be up there during a 7.2 earthquake? Nothing special going on about the food up there either according to Chris Fetters.
7. Locker Rooms and Office Space
In this day of age a new locker room is just gold when it comes to recruiting. Take a look at what they did at Oregon, it is pretty amazing even if it seems way over the top. The thing is the Ducks got a lot of publicity, but it wasn't nearly as way over the top as facilites at Texas, and Nebraska to name a few. Everytime someone builds a new locker room it is going to be a showpiece. The new locker rooms at UW will be politically correct, but a dramatic improvement over what we currently have which isn't too shabby by the way.
Jim Lambright always dreamed of an office overlooking the field from the West endzone. I am not exactly sure of the location, but new coaches, and administrative offices are part of the plan. What a fantastic place to talk to a recruit and his family while replays from Husky history play in the background on the scoreboard. I know they have remodeled the office over in Tubby Graves and built the Legends Center but this is going to a be a big step up.
How big is the parking garage going to be?
Will it be built in the first phase, or will they wait to see what happens with 520?
A 5,000 car parking garage would require around 2,000,000 square feet, and would have up to eight levels. You are talking a footprint of 500 by 500 feet for a building that size which would be two to three levels above ground, with the rest below. If I remember correctly the UW would be compensated by the state for any intrusions on the south parking lot. That money would go for things like the mitigation of lost parking which would likely go toward building the garage.
Whatever they do they need to put public space on top of the structure, not cars. It needs to be open space that serves as a pedestrian plaza before games. It needs to help increased the footprint on the Southside concourses.
520 is likely going to change this side of the stadium in the next decade, lets hope we can mitigate any loss of open space.
One of the main complaints Montlake residents have about Husky game days are the traffic it generates. The Sound Transit station that will be built next to Husky Stadium is really going to add to the uniqueness of the facility. People from Northgate to Federal Way will eventually be able to travel to games without the hassle of finding, and paying for parking. Moving people more efficiently through the neighborhood, and around the city will really help the traffic, and improve game day at Montlake.
Every time I fly into Sea-Tac I have found it absurd that there isn't any reliable mass transit into the city for travelers. You find it in almost every major city but Seattle. It is going to be great when the line is finished with service to downtown, followed by Husky Stadium. I won't even need a car anymore when I pop in for a game. It is going to be a hassle while they are building it, but it is going to be great when it is finished.
10. Highway 520
Does anyone really know when they are going to kick off 520 contruction? Does anyone really know what the final plan will end up like? Will there be a sweeping overpass in Union Bay in front of the stadium descending into either the South Parking lot, or University Village? How will it effect Montlake Avenue? Lots of things are being kicked around, but one thing is for sure. $6 tolls are coming to the 520 bridge sooner than later.
I would like to see a six lane plan with as little encroachment on the south parking lot of the stadium as possible. I would also like to have the bridge built to handle light rail. If you are going to build it, build it right from the get go with all the parts you need at one time. One thing is becoming more, and more obvious. Whichever plan they do finally come up with will likely intrude on the South parking lot. 520 has been the wildcard so far. It is imperitive that UW finishes it's stadium renovations by the time that project kicks off in 2012 or later.