Monday, March 31, 2008

The Monday Morning Wash

Spring is once again in the air and there is a flurry of Spring sports activity going on over at Montlake. Not much news about football this past week, but that will soon change since Spring practice is about to get under way.

The Husky football team has a lot of new faces on the coaching staff, and hopefully that will help the defense rebound from the most dismal season in modern football history. On the offensive side of the ball most can't wait to see if Jake Locker is an improved passer. The game will obviously slow down for him this year, and while he will be throwing to a WR crew with little experience the talent level at that position is making a quantum leap. Keep an eye on newcomers Chris Polk, Anthony Boyles, and Devin Aguilar.

At RB with Rankin gone, the inside track on the starting tailback spot would logically fall to sophomore Brandon Johnson, who was Rankin's backup last year and is the most experienced tailback on the roster. Johnson showed a convincing flash of what he's capable of when he ran for 121 yards on 23 carries last season vs. California. The only other tailback on the team is fourth-year junior J.R. Hasty, who carried the ball six times last season. Two other tailbacks who redshirted the 2007 season will be given every chance to fight for playing time -- Willie Griffin and Brandon Yakaboski. For Hasty it is definitely do or die time, and it will take an eye opening performance this Fall to get him out of Ty's doghouse.

We all want to see improvement at TE. Gottleib should continue to improve as a blocker, but Izbicki should begin to challenge for the starting job after a year in the weight room. He just has more natural tools than the other guys. Johnnie Kirton will be studying in South Africa, so he will be missing Spring drills. We all of course are waiting for Kavario Middleton to arrive this fall.

The offensive line should continue to improve. By this Fall the Huskies should be close to where they need to be as far as depth, and experience go. They will be a little green behind the starting tackles as Fancher, and Armelin are only redshirts, so you hope that Habben, and Ossai can keep healthy. On the inside Garcia, Tolar, Bulyca, White-Frisbee, Shugert, Sedillo, and Rosborough match up well with great Husky lines of the past. Keep an eye on Shugert, he is a future star, and the future isn't that far away. garcia should be the best center on the coast.

The bad news on the defensive side of the ball is the Huskies have to rebuild the defensive line. The good news of course is they are rebuilding perhaps the worst performing defensive line in the history of the school. Daniel Teo Nesheim is the only sure starter, all the other spots are up for grabs. The big question is whether Washington will go with a three man, or four man line? New DC Ed Donatell doesn't know for sure yet, but hints it will depend on the situation. He should have a better idea of what is going on after he evaluates the talent this Spring.

The LB's should be solid, and they represent one of the most experienced areas of the team. The question with these guys is health. They were walking wounded last year and it hindered their performance. Keep an eye on their health this Spring, I think that will be the key to their success.

The DB's lose some talent, but have a lot of new talent coming in the Spring and Fall. Wells will sit out the Spring rehabbing his knee, but will be back this Fall. Harris, and Forrester provide solid depth, and experience. That being said the improvement at the position will come if the young guys like Aiyewa, and Williams push the veterans to the side this Spring.

At CB Davenport will be the starter on one side with a free for all fight for the other side. Quinton Richardson is moving over from Safety, and if he breaks into the lineup the experiment could be a big deal because he can be an extra force shutting down the run. Going into Spring Murchison, McDowell, and Mosley have the most experience, and all three will get long looks.

Husky Crew

Crew season opened up this season with the annual Class Day Regatta on the Montlake Cut.

Expect quite a bit of improvement now that Bob Ernst has taken back over the reigns of the women's program. Before taking over the men's program he was the elite women's rowing coach in the country. Make no mistake that his impact will still be felt on both squads since he still is the director of the entire rowing program.

The junior class won the women's featured race and the freshmen boat ended up on top of a closely contested men's race, Saturday, as the Washington rowing team opened its 2008 racing season with the 107th-annual Class Day Regatta on the Montlake Cut.

The featured men's race included many lead changes between the juniors, sophomores and freshmen, but it was ultimately the freshmen boat that took the lead in the third 500 meters and held on to capture the George M. Varnell trophy. The freshmen crew won the race in 6:04.74, edging the sophomores (6:08.08) and seniors (6:09.65). The juniors finished in 6:12.25.
It marked the second time in three years the freshmen have won the men's race, as they also took home the Varnell trophy in 2006 - a season that saw those same freshmen win the IRA Championship. Prior to that 2006 triumph, a freshman crew had not won the UW men's Class Day race since 1947.


The Husky baseball squad has started off the season as one of the hottest teams in the country reeling off eleven straight wins, but that came to a dramatic stop this weekend as powerhouse Oregon State swept the Pac Ten opening doubleheader in Corvallis.

Chris Hopkins' 10th-inning single drove in John Wallace with the winning run as Oregon State swept a doubleheader from the Washington baseball team with a 2-1 win in the nightcap Saturday at Goss Stadium. In the first game of the doubleheader, Oregon State handed the UW an 8-1 loss to break the Huskies' 11-game winning streak. Washington finished the day 16-8 overall and 0-2 in the Pac-10. OSU improved to 13-7 and 2-0.


Aleah Macon struck out 10 Oregon State batters to lead No. 23 Washington to a 1-0 win in the Huskies Pac-10 Conference opener on Saturday afternoon at Husky Softball Stadium.
Macon held the Beavers to three hits and finished with her sixth double-digit strikeout performance of the season to improve to 11-4. It was her fourth shutout and 11th complete-game of the season. Washington (22-9-1, 1-0 Pac-10) scored its only run in the third inning on an RBI-single by Morgan Stuart. With two outs, Jace Williams hit a ground rule double to left field and then came home to score when Stuart blooped a single into right field over the head of OSU first baseman DeAnn Young.


The Washington women's gymnastics team battled back from a rocky start on balance beam, turning in some of their best performances on floor and uneven bars to place sixth at the Pac-10 Championships which the Huskies hosted at Bank of America Arena.


Washington men's golf shot a final round score of 9-over 297 to finish in sixth place at the 20th annual Oregon Duck Invitational held at the Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Oregon. Washington women's golf shot a final-round score of 20-over 308 to place fourth at the Oregon Duck Invitational at the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore., Tuesday.

Track and Field

Eight Washington athletes were selected to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships today by the NCAA Division I Track and Field Committee. Three Husky men and five women will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the championships this Friday-Saturday, Mar. 14-15.

The Washington track and field team picked an unfortunate day to make their outdoor season debut, but persevered through the soggy, cold conditions to complete the UW Outdoor Preview, one of just two meets at Husky Stadium this year. Given the strong winds and steady mix of rain and snow, fast times were hard to come by in the meet which featured a collection of local small colleges and club teams. Still, many Huskies got off to solid starts under the stadium lights. Washington's men are ranked ninth to open the outdoor season after placing 10th at the NCAA Indoor Championships two weeks ago. Several of the top Husky distance runners competed in the 1500-meters, with sophomore Kelly Spady just beating out junior Jake Schmitt for the win in a time of 3:55.84. Freshman Charlie Williams and redshirt freshman Riley Booker were third and fourth, respectively

The Husky women welcomed back senior Amy Lia to active duty, as she competed in the 800-meters, placing fifth in 2:22.66 in what was clearly a tune-up for the 2006 NCAA 1500-meter champion. Lia missed the majority of the 2007 season with injury and also was unable to run during cross country season. Lia ran second for much of the race but held back when Oregon State's Sylvia Veal made a kick to pull away and win. Sophomore Mo Huber ran a strong 1500-meters, placing second to OSU's Noelle Harer in 4:41.04, and freshman Kenna Patrick was third out of 29 runner in the 3000-meters, running 10:13.28. Junior multi-event specialist Liz Fuller won the 100m hurdles in a strong head wind, and Allison Lombardo cleared 5-2 ¼ to win the high jump.


The 20th-ranked Husky men's tennis team was dealt a 6-1 defeat by No. 4 USC today at the Nordstrom Tennis Center, dropping the Huskies to 12-6 and 0-2 in Pac-10 play. Senior Andy Kuharszky upset 54th-ranked Gary Sacks for Washington's only point this afternoon.

The 35th-ranked Washington women's tennis team closed out its non-conference schedule with a 7-0 loss to 29th-ranked Michigan today at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Huskies (10-8, 0-5 Pac-10) were playing their third road match in four days.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

We only have eight days till Spring practice opens at Washington and nothing has been announced to the media as far as fan, and media access goes. There had been word that interim Scott Woodward wants to open things up this spring, but Willingham obviously isn't in favor of doing that. There will likely be a couple of days open to fans in addition to the Spring game.

Most spring practices across the country are open because it really doesn't matter, and in the case of a 4-9 football team it doesn't matter at all. Opening spring practice is a great promotion tool, but we probably won't see it till we get a new coach. Once again i was hoping we would see a new Ty this Spring, but if it is going to happen it has not emerged yet.

Pac Ten Alley

It is time to walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to.

Oregon was bounced out of the tournament early, and Ernie Kent could be gone if Mark Few has interest in Oregon.

Malik Hairston scored 22 points followed by Tajuan Porter with 18 and Maarty Leunen's 13. But it wasn't enough to stop Charles Rhode's career high 34 points and the Bulldogs went on to end the Ducks season. As happened so often this year, Oregon controlled the first half but failed to seal the deal in the second. Early in the 2nd half Oregon led by 13 points but couldn't buy a basket for the last 15 minutes of the game. The question now is, can Ernie keep his job? There is a lot of talk about his future with Oregon. Time will tell. Five months until football.

Trent Johnson is taking the Cardinal deep this year, but the Bay Area media aren't exactly in love with him.

Much as he wants it to be a non-story — and he really, really really wants it to be a non-story — Trent Johnson’s ejection from the Marquette game has not faded into the background.
A coach getting tossed from an NCAA tournament game happens so rarely, and it feels so un-Stanford, that it’s a story. (It would be a much bigger story if the Cardinal had lost.)

Spring football starts earlier in Arizona than in most places.

The University of Arizona football team came back from spring break a little tired and some maybe with a little sun burn, but that didn’t matter as they were in pads working out on Monday. There was no breaking in point as the Wildcats went through their fifth official practice of spring (out of the allotted 15).“We had a good long practice. We were a little rusty offensively with the break,” UA coach Mike Stoops said. “We will get our timing back offensively.”

James Montgomery isn't coming to Washington, and he just might find out that a lot of big time programs won't be interested in him the second time around.

The Bay Area might be a nice place for some people, but it wasn't for James Montgomery. That was why Montgomery, one of the Sacramento area's most recruited athletes while at Cordova High School, decided to leave the Cal football program even though he was projected to be a starter this fall. "Berkeley is not the most normal place in the world," he said in a phone interview Thursday. "Coming from Sacramento, I just didn't like the surroundings. I pretty much didn't like the Bay Area." Since his official release from Cal on Monday, rumors circulated that he left because of a dispute with Bears' coach Jeff Tedford over playing time. Montgomery said that was not true.

Baseball season in Corvallis.

Following a three game series with Pepperdine, the Beavers headed to Provo, Utah for a mid-week series to tune up for Pac-10 play, which starts this Friday. The Beaver offense was alive for practically the whole game, as Oregon State used fifteen hits to beat BYU by the score of 15-7.

All three quarterbacks got reps with the first team today in practice and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said he wants to name a starter by the end of spring while Pete Carroll said he does not have a timetable.``Right now, I’m not worried about figuring it out,’’ Carroll said. ``Right now, we have a lot of information on Mark (Sanchez) and a little on the other guys. The kids are physically able. It’s who knows the system and can execute.’’

ASU was snubbed by the NCAA but they have made the most of it in the NIT, until losing to Florida on Tuesday by 13,

Walter Hodge scored 18 points and Chandler Parsons added 15, and Florida defeated Arizona State 70-57 on Tuesday night in the NIT quarterfinals.

Expect UCLA to roll towards the Final Four.

I don’t know about you but the Wednesday before Sweet-16 is always the toughest hump day of the year. The Pac-10 season with its slate of Thursday/Fri-Sat games gets us in rhythm for the tournament season. However, around this time of the season when Wednesday rolls around, I feel like I have had enough of my share of stories, articles, analysis etc, and just want to get started with the game. And with that note let’s start with today’s roundup. The most important item on our plate is LRMAM’s health. According to Coach Howland an MRI on Luc’s left ankle this week showed ‘no damage’:

I am picking WSU over North Carolina because despite the talent advantage the Heel's are not used to playing against the WSU's deliberate style.

With our biggest hoops game since the 1941 NCAA title game coming up Thursday, the experts are coming out of the woodwork to pick North Carolina. Dickie V, Digger, you know the usual suspects. I haven't seen any projections yet that say we will be blown out of the basketball universe, and everyone expects it to be a bit of a grind for the Heels, but in the end they'll be 8-10 points better. What, did you expect that anyone would actually pick WSU this week??

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

WSU Plays UNC on Thursday

The Cougars take on North Carolina in their Sweet Sixteen appearance on Thursday against North Carolina. Everyone in the world outside of the Northwest figures that the storied Tarheel's should have little problem with the overachieving Cougars from Pullman, but like the two last opponents the Cougars have faced the Heels are going to be up against a style of play they haven't seen this year.

UNC is talented, more talented on an individual basis than WSU, but the matchup of styles should make this a game that goes down to the buzzer. This is an early one, it starts at 4:27 pm on the West Coast, so be sure not to miss it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Monday Morning Wash

If you are a Husky fan this coming week, and the rest of the month, it is going to be absolutely deader than a doormail. Thank goodness the Cougars are still giving us a diversion by knocking the snot out of their first two opponents in the NCAA tournament.

I have seen a lot of Husky off seasons in my time, but I have never seen this amount of silence coming out of Montlake. Take Willingham for instance. We heard from him briefly after he fired his assistants, we heard from him when he hired the new one's, and of course when he announced his 2008 recruiting class. That is about four hours of verbal communication since the first of December. This guy really knows how to promote a 4-9 program when his back is up against the wall.

We all wondered what type of Ty we would see after he narrowly escaped the hangman's noose after the Hawaii game, and what we are seeing is an even more reclusive version. Fan's who have run into him here and there have commented that he has become even more aloof in person. Many believe it is a foregone conclusion that he expects to be gone after next year so he isn't really buying into any meaningful communicative change in 2008.

Bill Fleenor has been posting regularly over on Dawgman about the disconnect, and he has decided to withold football contributions until he see's some meaningful change. He gives examples of how the UW athletic department ignores boosters, and is unappreciative or at least ambilvalent about donor contributions. He gives the example of how proactive the athletic department at WSU has become in making their boosters feel appreciated.

In Kindergarten we all learned how to say Please, and Thank You, for some reason at UW as far as athletics are concerned many boosters including Bill Fleenor keep telling the tale of how this simple courtesy has become forgotten. Send the money, buy the tickets, but don't expect us to thank you, or work to make the experience special like it was in the past. Most importantly don't expect us to make you feel special or wanted.

Word on the street is that interim AD Scott Woodward really get's it, many would be happy to see him take the position on a full time basis, but don't expect him to make major changes in how the department is currently run as an interim AD. His job right now is simply to bridge the gap and keep things running till a new AD is hired. Whoever is hired as the next AD has a lot of work to do and fences to mend once he/she starts the job.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

WSU, and Pac Ten Going Deep

WSU is going to go a long way in this tournament because of their defensive style and team play. The Pac Ten figured out the Cougars as the season went on, but the rest of the country is just getting their first look at the group from Pullman which gives them a significant advantage as the tourney shrinks to 16 remaining teams next week. The Cougars have been dominating in their first two games dispatching Winthrop, and Notre Dame by healthy margins.

UCLA, and Stanford will join the Coug's next week, and both of those teams have figured out how to handle WSU. I think it is conceivable that all three could make the final four since each team is in a different bracket.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Zags Flounder, WSU Rolls, Vikes Bite the Big One

A decade ago, Gonzaga was everybody's cute, brainy upset pick. The Little 12th-seed That Could. The NCAA tournament felt more like a gift to Gonzaga than an expectation.
Since he took over the roll that Dan Monson began, Few has raised expectations. He has remade Gonzaga in March into must-see TV. Gonzaga, which opens the tournament today against Davidson, isn't cute any more. The Zags aren't little.

Gonzaga goes one and none and exits the tournament in the first round losing to little Davidson 82-76. So much for the pre tournament hype as the Zag's lost their last two games of the season.

With 3:36 remaining, Winthrop had scored five second-half points. The feeble record is 10, which Kent State had tied earlier in the day. More history beckoned for the Cougs.
And that's when coach Tony Bennett started pulling his starters. He only knew that his team led by 31 points, and it was time to be classy. In the nonchalance of garbage time, the record drifted away. So Washington State settled for allowing four measly field goals and 11 dinky points in one of the most riveting defensive stands you'll ever see. Yet after a 71-40 victory, the Cougars shrugged.

WSU has the talent and philosophy to go deep in the tournament.

The best basketball season in Portland State history came to an abrupt end on Thursday afternoon in the midwest. The 16th-seeded Vikings didn't have an answer for the talented number-one seed Kansas, losing 85-61 in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at Qwest Center.

Portland State goes down to Kansas and Ken Bone is likely headed to OSU of the Beaver AD has any sense.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

So much for winning the CBI

Washington obviously didn't want it as much as Valparaiso last night and the season comes to a stunning end. It might have been Washington's first game in the inaugural College Basketball Invitational, but it turned out like so many others the Huskies have played this year as UW self-destructed down the stretch, allowing Valparaiso to pull a 72-71 upset. UW missed its last eight shots from the field and didn't score in the final 3:10.

Lorenzo Romar and his squad need to go back to the drawing board in the off season because things simply aren't working very well right now for the Washington basketball program. No excuse to lose at home to an undermanned opponent to end the season.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

It is tournament time, and every team in the Pac Ten except Oregon State will be playing extra games this post season.

Washington is probably the favorite to win the inaugural CBI tournament which doesn't really have much luster going for it. If Washington doesn't win this thing it means that they lack motivation. The same type of motivation they lacked mid season when they were blown out by Cal, and Stanford at home.

The Huskies have been a real disapointment the past two years, and while everyone loves Lorenzo it is obvious that he needs to step it up as far as coaching goes. There is really no excuse for a team to shoot foul shots that poorly. Foul shooting is all about coaching. There is nothing different between hitting a free throw in middle school than their is hitting one in college.

Away from the line the Huskies were hamstrung all year by poor ball movement, and lackluster defense out on the perimeter. While Washington is indeed deficient talent wise out there, they never made the type of adjustments neccesary to be consistent enough to win enough games to get in the tournament, and that again is coaching.

I don't think any of us confused this years edition as a championship contending team, but they did have enough talent to get into the tournament this year. All they had to do was hit some foul shots, and set some screens.

I expect better things from the team next year. We have some serious help coming in at guard. We gain experience because most of the team is coming back, and the league is going to be hit hard by early graduation. Most importantly they have eight months to work on shooting free throw.

Pac Ten Alley

Lets take a walk down the coast and see what the neighbors are up to.

I am surprised too, but the Duck's had a decent record in the one of the nation's toughest conference's.

Surprise, surprise. The Ducks got invited, much to my surprise, and the seeding wasn't that bad, until they get to the 2nd round anyway (if they make it past the first.)I know that doesn't sound too positive but, they haven't been exactly stellar this year. It will be fun to see if they make it by Mississippi St. on Friday. Time and place to be determined later. **They will be playing at Little Rock, Arkansas. The game is at 4:25 pm local time on Friday and is being broadcast live on CBS.

Stanford has the ability to go a long way in the tournament with their version of the twin towers.

I’ll have much more on the brackets and the match ups later tonight/Monday morning, but for now — with my deadline for the print edition looming large — here’s a real quick look at Selection Sunday winners and losers … First, I’d have to call Stanford a winner and a loser.
The Cardinal gets the Big Red, Cornell, in Anaheim, which is basically the anti-Louisville scenario in every sense.

Arizona has the longest tournament streak in the country, and to make it even more ridiculous they have three ex wildcats who are int he tournament playing for other teams.

There are three ex-Wildcats in the NCAA tournament. Can you name them? Most obvious is J.P. Prince at Tennessee. He's averaging 8.3 points and 3.2 rebounds for the second-seeded Vols. Score a bonus point if you remember that former UA walk-on guard Beau Muhlbach is at Texas A&M. He is averaging a little more than seven minutes per game. Now, it gets tough. Who's the third? It's Boise State forward Tyler Tiedeman.

James Montgomery has left Cal, but don't look for him to be wearing purple and gold. UW has plenty of depth at TB, and Montgomery severely burned Willingham during his recruitment. Don't expect Ty to forget that.

Cal's supposed depth at tailback doesn't look so extensive anymore after projected starter James Montgomery was granted a request to be released from his scholarship. Montgomery, who would have been a redshirt sophomore next season, was listed as the Bears' No. 1 tailback on the team's depth chart heading into spring practice later this month. But the right to replace departed starter Justin Forsett was believed to be up for grabs, with highly touted sophomore-to-be Jahvid Best providing the stiffest competition.

Oregon State hasn't exactly set the world on fire this Spring in baseball, but Northwest teams are usually notorious slow starters.

We're now a few weeks into the season, and Beaver baseball coaches and fans alike are starting to get a feel for the roster as we approach the Pac-10 conference schedule. Thirteen games are in the books, with Oregon State's record currently at 7-6. I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce the Oregon State Baseball Report, a feature that will hopefully run weekly on Building the Dam.

Here is an interesting read on the amount of work Tim Floyd puts into preparation.

Here's the secret: Tim Floyd locks himself in a basement. You can only picture it by thinking of one of those evil-genius scientists, cackling at every minute discovery. Not only does the USC coach have an armload of film, but three Bunsen burners, a complex set of tubes, gyroscopes, centrifuges, the works. But Floyd is no more genius in cooking up a game plan than any other conscientious coach would be, at least to hear him tell it.

Arizona State was snubbed by the NCAA, but the Sun Devils should be very solid in the future with the foundation that Sendek has built.

After taking a step back and a deep breath, I can still honestly say our men's basketball program has taken HUGE steps in becoming a solid team for the long run. Like our football program, we have a coach proving to be the difference maker.

The Bruins will go very deep in the tournament and challenge to win it all.

UCLA starting power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did not practice Tuesday, but not because of his sprained left ankle. He was absent because of a final, but did some light shooting later in the afternoon.However, UCLA coach Ben Howland was uncertain if Mbah a Moute will be available when the top-seeded Bruins open NCAA Tournament play Thursday against No.16 seed Mississippi Valley State in the West region in Anaheim. "He missed practice, but he wouldn't have practiced anyway," Howland said. "If he's able to go, we'll play him on Thursday."

WSU starts the tournament in Denver, and every win will focus the spotlight on one of the best young head coaches in country.

Obviously the focus this week is on these guys, and for good reason. A 4-seed in Denver is nothing to sneeze at, as we wind up our best 2-year run ever in terms of NCAA appearances. I won't get too deep into it here, but as we commented yesterday, the message this week is simple - ENJOY this while it lasts. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no man, and that applies to this hoops program. We don't know what the future holds, so try to enjoy the gift that is the "precious present". That's easier said than done, and around 4:20 on Thursday many of you will be gnawing the fingernails and gnashing the teeth, but do everything you can to keep things in perspective!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Monday Morning Wash

It is tournament time, and Washington State, Gonzaga, Portland State, and Oregon will represent the Northwest in the Big Dance. The Huskies will be facing off against Valparaiso in something called the CBI.

The CBI is made up of all the teams rejected by the NCAA, and NIT. The .500 Huskies are a #1 seed in this tournament which means we could see a number of games at Hec Edmundson if they don't falter. This tournament doesn't really matter, but it is a nice chance for the team to get some extra work outside the conference and start preparing for next season. Brockman should be available which means the team should be able to win the thing if they stay focused.

Ken Bone has his PSU Vikings primed for their first tournament in a long time. They better enjoy the three hour brush with fame because Bone is likely headed to Oregon State to rebuild that program after the Vike's are eliminated against #1 seed Kansas in the opener.

Oregon slipped in unexpectedly, and that is good for the conference, and good for Ernie Kent who is trying to keep his job. A win or two by the Ducks would really help out his situation, but the Ducks have Mark Few envy. Oregon is a nine seed which isn't a bad place to be, they face off against Mississippi State.

Speaking of Mark Few his Zag's were upset in the championship game of the WCC tournament by Bill Grier and his Sand Diego Torreros. Look for Grier to take over at Gonzaga if Few heads off to Eugene. the Zag's of course are the darlings of the tournament, but they haven't exactly been themselves this year. they start off as a seven seed against Davidson which has one 22 in a row.

The Cougars are a four seed and they face ever dangerous Winthrop. Look for the Cougars to make it to the Sweet Sixteen.

Art Thiel can't resist knocking the CBI bound Dawgs this morning from his bully pulpit at the PI.

Gonzaga, Boise State, Portland State, Washington State. What's missing from this NCAA Tournament snapshot taken Sunday of Northwest college hoops? The biggest school and athletics program in the region. Maybe the University of Washington should move to a smaller conference.

He makes a good point, if they had learned how to shoot free throws they would have been in. I have to put this teams performance down as under achieving over the past two years. They were missing some parts, such as good guards, but they had enough to make the tournament if they were a fundamentally better team.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Women's basketball team rocked by another defection

Freshman guard Katelan Redmon, the leading scorer on the Washington women's basketball team this past season, has become the third member of her recruiting class to leave the Huskies.
Redmon's decision was announced Wednesday in an athletic department news release.
In deciding to end her UW career with three years of eligibility remaining, Redmon, from Spokane, followed fellow freshmen Candice Nichols, a guard from Carson, Calif., and Jess McCormack, a forward from Auckland, New Zealand, out the door.

Huskies Season Probably Over

One and done in the Pac Ten tournament probably eliminates the Huskies from post season play unless the power of the conference can get them a bid in the CBI.

The Golden Bears escaped with an 84-81 win over a UW team that for much of the night defied the theory that it was dead without its leader. With Brockman the Huskies probably get the win, and give the team credit, they played almost well enough to win without the best power player in the conference.

UW can look forward to next year when a power infusion at guard, and graduation around the league turns them into a tournament contender once again. Make no mistake about it, the addition of Isaiah Thomas if he qualifies will imprve this team where it needs it, around the perimeter.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Monday Morning Wash

Whoever ends up with the AD job at Washington is going to have some significant positions to fill since it seems the high level people Todd Turner brought in are actively seeking employment elsewhere. The latest to leave is Scott Barnes who will become the AD at Utah State.

Frank Fidler

Remember the day's when the Pac Ten had competent officiating, well a lot of those competent officials have retired, and one of the great one's passed away this weekend.

Frank Burke Fidler, 86, died peacefully at his home Feb. 27 with his wife and son at his side. His death was caused by difficulties after a fall, subsequent surgeries and several bouts of pneumonia, according to his son, Brett Fidler, of Bellevue. He was well known in Seattle athletic circles. Mr. Fidler officiated football and basketball at both the high-school and collegiate levels. He helped establish the Washington State High School Officiating Association and was selected as an official for the Rose Bowl in 1964 and 1976, among other high-profile venues. He spent several years coaching the Buchan Bakers Amateur Athletic Union basketball team and in 1956 his team won the national championship, and later toured, playing teams in the Philippines and Japan.

Like most officials of that era Frank was an educator who spent many years teaching in the Seattle school district. Officiating was a great way to moonlight and make extra cash in those days.

Frank also was the coach of the famed Buchan Bakers. The Bakers were a big deal in Seattle during the 1950's and very early 1960's. Back in the days when the AAU was big time the team won a national championship in basketball. The teams featured players like Elgin Baylor, Bob Houbregs, and the O'Brien twins during different periods.

Brockman Status

Jon Brockman is going to tough it out and try to play this week at the Pac Ten tournament. diagnostic test reveal that he suffered a sever sprain rather than a broken ankle which is good news for Husky fans. Brockman also points out that the Huskies beat California on the road a week ago when he only played 24 minutes because of foul trouble. The Huskies need to step it up considerably while Brockman is out of the lineup.


A new potential ownership group has emerged for the Sonics led by Microsoft billionaire Steve Balmer. This potential ownership group wants to stay at a remodeled Key Arena, and they only want $75 million form the city, and another $75 million from the state to renovate Key Arena. Even local stadium subsidy opponents are enthusiastic about the potential plan. Legislators on the other hand are saying that there isn't enough time left in the special session to handle it. Slade Gorton who is leading the cities effort from a law perspective to defense the existing lease says they have plenty of time if they want to get it done. how this effects Husky Stadium is simple, and extension of the tax if granted would probably be worked to include renovations at Husky Stadium. Keep an eye on this one, it could turn around quickly because it would be a win/win for all concerned. Of course in Washington State win/win never means a victory because there are always so many special interests involved. the state should jump on this one because this opportunity may never surface again in the immediate future.

If Clay Bennett refuses to sell the Sonics, speculation has centered largely on Seattle pursuing a struggling franchise such as the New Orleans Hornets to fill the void if a prospective new ownership group remodels KeyArena.

Nathan Ware Winding Down

As usual, great job this past year Nathan!

This will be the final Monday Morning Longsnapper until the beginning of the 2008 football season. I will continue the blog - without the MML - through spring football. The Snapper is an "in-season" column for me and - with basketball season ending - my main UW sports season is at a close. All good things have to come to an end - at least for five months. I'll be on "blogging vacation" for May, June, and July.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Huskies Lose Two OT Thriller To WSU

Washington (16-15 overall, 7-11 Pac-10) was handed its seventh consecutive defeat in the series when the 23rd-ranked Cougars (23-7, 11-7) scored the first four points in the second extra period and didn't let up winning the contest 76-73.

Just like the first encounter earlier this year the two teams fought from the tipoff to the very end of the game with the Cougars prevailing in the end.

While the Huskies lost the game, they may have lost something even more important, Jon Brockman hit the floor hard after going up for a rebound with 1:56 left and had to be carried off. No word yet on the severity of the injury, but it could be the end of the season for Brockman who is one of the top rebounders in the country.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pac Ten Alley

The regular basketball season comes to a close this weekend as the Huskies invade Pullman. The Huskies then will try to go 3-0 in the Pac Ten tournament the following weekend. Not an easy thing to do, but one thing the Dawgs have shown in the second half of the season is they can compete with anyone in the conference on a given night. Let's see if Joe Wolfinger can stay hot, he really adds a completely different dimension to the team. A 7 footer shooting three's, you don't see that every day.

Pac Ten Alley

Let's take a walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to.

The word coming out of Oregon is that Ernie Kent is going to need a miracle to be retained as coach next year. Bad decision by the Ducks unless they can coerce Mark Few to leave Gonzaga to come to Eugene. The Ducks are still on the bubble as far as the NCAA tourney is concerned with two games left against the Arizona schools

Marty Leunen (pictured) had a career-high 32 points and Oregon ended the game on a 12-3 run as the Ducks beat Oregon State 80-68 on Sunday. Leunen scored 23 points and hit six of his seven 3-pointers in the second half for Oregon (16-12, 7-9 Pacific-10 Conference) in the 329th meeting between the schools, the most in college basketball.

Stanford is headed to the NCAA tournament, by Jon Wilner speculates as many as seven teams could be invited.

Despite the eat-your-own nature of the Pac-10, it could send seven teams to the NCAAs without a major surprise in the conference tournament. It could also send just four. Seven is more likely, although not all that likely; the best bet is five or six.

Arizona is getting a look from a stud TE. Ty should contact the kid since we have two McClymonds HS kids on the current roster, and we have a need at TE.

Arizona might be in the running for NaDerris Ward, who was rated the No. 2 tight end in the nation coming out of high school in 2005. At least that is what the Athens Banner-Herald is reporting. The former Rivals No. 2 rated tight end from McClymonds High in Oakland is transferring from Georgia and is apparently considering Arizona and Oregon.

Nate Longshore is no longer a fan favorite at Cal.

The quarterback situation in Berkeley officially became delicious when backup Kevin Riley rallied the Bears from behind in the Armed Forces Bowl, running for a score and going 16-of-19 for 269 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

It is baseball season at Oregon State.

The Beavers won the Pape Grand Slam title Sunday afternoon with a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in front of 11,166 fans on a beautiful day at PGE Park. Down 4-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Beavers scored four unanswered runs-- one in the sixth, two in the seventh, and one in the eighth-- to seal the victory. OSU closer Kevin Rhoderick came into the game to pitch in the top of the ninth, and sat Georgia's three batters that came to the plate down in order. Rhoderick, who signed a letter of intent to Georgia before asking for a release and coming to Oregon State, recorded his second save of the season.

The Reggie Bush deal at USC is always interesting, what is even more interesting is the NCAA is going to ignore it.

An eight-month Yahoo! Sports investigation has revealed that Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush and his family appear to have accepted financial benefits worth more than $100,000 from marketing agents while Bush was playing at the University of Southern California.

More trash talk directed at Arizona from Arizona State.

In light of getting swept by the Sun Devils in their beloved cash cow men's basketball, one would think this would be a good week for the University of Arizona to lie low and wait it out until softball season starts, but leave it to our good friend Jeff Metcalfe to pile it on when some piling needs doing. Metcalfe, the ASU beat writer for the Arizona Republic, has been the only Republic journalist that has treated ASU like a hometown team as long as I've been reading it (about a decade) and today may be his finest hour. We'll get to Jeff in a moment.

A little John Wooden talk at UCLA. I am a sucker for anything John Wooden, and I hope he lives forever.

But, it's not the buildings or even the banners that make a trip to a UCLA game like attending the ultimate history class. It's not the timeless uniforms, which look exactly as they did when Abdul-Jabbar was known as Alcindor, either. When you attend a Bruin game, you often do so in the company of Wooden, who sits in the risers behind the Bruin bench. When Wooden is on hand, his presence seems to make time stand still. Wooden hasn't coached the Bruins in 33 years, but you get the sense he's still guiding them.

WSU fantasizes about Big Shot Bob.

But I digress Coug fans. Let's spin it back our way a moment. Who, exactly, is our "Big Shot Bob"? Who is the guy, at crunch time, that you want taking that season-altering shot?

Ed Pepple

Very nice article today on Mercer Island's Ed Pepple. Ed has been coaching at MI for 41 years which is pretty cool, in fact since I am only 49 he is the only coach I can remember ever being at the school. I was never much of a basketball player, but Ed did start a program that was emulated everywhere called the "little dribblers" which I did participate in. This may sound corny, but it may have been the best time I ever had in sports. Ed is 75 years old and still going strong. Here's to you Ed!

(I am going to be busy running around today, but will get Pac Ten Alley out later than usual because of those prior commitments. )

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Who is Going to Recruit LA?

Kim Grinolds of Dawgman brought up a good point on the DM message board, and that is who is going to be in charge of recruiting the Los Angeles area?

In 2008 Washington had an exceptional in state HS class, but in 2009 the consensus is the pickings will be below average. That means Washington will have to recruit California a lot harder, and deeper this coming season to take up the slack. I would be surprised if Washington takes more than six-eight athletes in state next season.

If you look at the Washington coaching staff they do not have a single coach with extensive recruiting ties in Southern California even though recruiting coordinator Chris Tormey knows the area well. The last Washington assistant with those type of ties was Eric Yarber who left a couple of years ago to rejoin Dennis Erickson at ASU.

Charlie Baggett who joined the staff last season as WR coach seems to be one of the logical choices even though he is not from that area. Baggett did an excellent job in South Puget Sound last season landing Kavario Middleton, and Jermaine Kearse from Lakes. Charlies only recently returned to the college game after an extended stint in the NFL. He went to school at Michigan State with Willingham, and most of his experience is back East, and in the Midwest.

DJ Wiliams is a very strong recruiter whose responsibilty has been the Bay Area, and the Central Valley of California. That is a big area of recruiting responsibilty so I don't see that being expanded into the inner city of Los Angeles.

Chris Tormey has been around Washington football forever and has proven himself over time to be an excellent recruiter, and recruiting coordinator. I imagine Chris will be spending a lot fo time with Baggett in Southern California getting introduced, and acclimated to the region.

Washington made some excellent hires this off season. All the new coaches bring fresh blood, past success, and new ideas to the program, but the major challenge the staff faces from a recruiting perspective is to fill a gaping hole in Southern California.


No official word from Washington at this point on the hiring of Steve Gervais, but expect a news conference as soon as his contract is finalized. Most people think he is going to be filling the RB coach position even though his bacground has been a tutor of QB's. Like all good coaches he can fill in at any position. Brian White on the other hand was hired as a TE coach even though he had a long run of success coaching RB's at Wisconsin. Tim Lappano's core background has been as a RB coach before moving up to offensive coordinator. He did a nice job though tutoring Jonathan Smith at OSU, and Isaiah Stanback at UW.

The point of this summary is that the staff could be reassigned once Willingham gets a feel for what he has before Spring practice. Ty as usual isn't communicating about what he plans to do, but personally I would love to see Gervais work with Jake Locker. Gervais is a former QB, and has been known for his work with QB's.

By the way the next great Washington QB after Ronnie Fouch is probably going to be Eastlake's Jake Heaps. I mention Ronnie because he is going to start a solid year or two before he graduates.

Scott Woodward

The Times ran an article on Interim AD Scott Woodward today, and his potential candidacy for the vacant AD position. Scott hasn't thrown his hat in the ring yet, but I think he ultimately will be the one who gets the job if he decides he wants it.

Ron Crockett, president of Emerald Downs and one of the school's most influential boosters, marveled at a recent Tyee Board executive meeting how quickly Woodward picked up the nuances of running the department. "He's an extremely capable guy and whatever he puts his mind to, he'd do a great job," Crockett said. "It's really up to the president and how he wants to handle the situation."Therein lies the big question — does UW president Mark Emmert want Woodward to have the job if Woodward wants it?

Nathan Ware on Steve Gervais

Personally, I think it's a brilliant move on Willingham's part that entrenches him a little deeper at UW. The administration at UW will see it as a recruiting coup in terms of persuading Heaps and his Skyline teammates to make UW their college choice. And, I'd be surprised if Gervais didn't excel in the position.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Steve Gervais Coming to UW

One of the finest high school football coaches in the Pacific Northwest is apparently going to accept an assistant football coaching position at Washington.

Steve Gervais, 54, has won six state championships, three with Eatonville (1985, '90 and '92) and two with Skyline (2002, 2005, and 2007). In 31 seasons as a head coach at four schools, the past 10 at Skyline of Sammamish, he has 244 wins — third all-time among active coaches — against 87 losses.

Many consider Gervais a coaching genius.

"He is the best high-school football coach in the state," according to Inglemoor's Frank Naish "and that's not a compliment I give out to be nice. I just believe it. He's won at all levels and he's won everywhere he's been and he wins with his own [district] kids."

Gervais, who played at Puyallup High School and Oregon State University, began his winning ways at Eatonville, where he was head coach for 16 years. After guiding the Crusaders to their third Class 1A state title in 1992, ultimately scrapping a run-oriented offense for an innovative spread scheme, he decided it was time for a new challenge. He spent two years at Gig Harbor and three at Rogers of Puyallup before coming to Skyline in 1998, the year after the school opened.

Gervais will reportedly coach running backs at Washington, but I could see Lappano taking over the RB's and Gervais working with the QB's. Whatever position he ends up coaching I think it is a fantastic addition to the Washington staff. It also doesn't hurt that he currently coaches Jake Heaps at Skyline who may just be the top QB in the country when the rankings come out for the 2010 recruiting class.

The Monday Morning Wash

Happy March everyone, Spring is just around the corner, and that means March Madness. The state will be likely represented by Gonzaga, and WSU in the NCAA Tournament while the Huskies should squeek into the CBI, or NIT. What that means if you are a Husky fan is a month long wait till Spring football begins. Expect practices to be more open this Spring if Interim AD Scott Woodward gets his way.

Husky Basketball

The Husky basketball team split in the Bay Area this weekend to guarantee themselves a winning record for the season. Like I said last week they are playing their best ball of the year so far even though that is a very subjective statement. Center Joe Wolfinger was the catalyst this past weekend and it was nice to see him finally putting it all together. It is a little too late to for the NCAA tournament unless they put together three in a row in LA, but if they beat WSU this coming weekend in Pullman it should assure a slot in either the NIT, or CBI.

Jim Moore

You are probably already aware that Jim Moore is going to be filling the gap left by Ted Miller who left the PI to work for ESPN. It should be a challenge for Jim to achieve impartiality because he really enjoyed the former gig of being the Go-2-Guy. We should see some of Jim's new work this week in the PI, but it won't be until later this Spring when he starts covering college football.

Locker playing Baseball

Jake Locker is going to play a little baseball this Summer to keep his stroke from getting too rusty. Jake will not be playing fulltime, and for the most part they are going to be putting him in situations where the risk of injury is pretty slight. Locker is the type of kid that makes MLB Scouts drool when they look at his potential, and I think it is a wise thing for him to keep his hand in the game to keep his options open after college. Jake won't be missing anything football related this summer, and Willingham who also played baseball in college supports the decision.

AD Search

The UW has named an AD search committee to come up with some candidates to take over the job full time in the Fall. Most insiders think that the person they come up with may already be behind the desk in the person on interim AD Scott Woodward. Scott has the political savvy needed to get the stadium renovation done, and he has the advantage of already being involved in the process. Woodward has already dropped plenty of hints that he is enjoying the job. I would put my money on Woodward.

Stadium News

Since we are bringing up the stadium the latest word is funding is dead for this seassion which makes sense since the state is preparing for an economic downturn. There is also the matter of the NBA stepping back in line to secure those funds since three local ownership groups have emerged to either buy the Sonics, or purchase another team and move them to Seattle. The economic reality is whoever purchases the Sonics is going to need either a remodeled facility, or a completely new building to make a go of it. What makes it all different than Clay Bennett is the local ownership groups are willing to pay half, or more of the construction either way they go. Bennett never wanted to pay a dime, he only wanted to chip in funding provided by naming rights.

As far as Husky Stadium goes everyone in State Goverment understands it is a problem that will not go away, and has to be dealt with one way or another. Like anything in the state of Washington it takes time, and usually only an emergency can spure them to action. UW needs to start developing a plan b of some sort to help get this thing going before construction starts on the light rail.


The UW is one of 76 universities that reported endowments totaling more than $1 billion in 2007, a trend some members of Congress have labeled disturbing in the face of constant tuition increases. Now Washington, D.C., lawmakers are toying with the idea of requiring universities to spend 5 percent of the burgeoning endowments each year.

The UW has an endowment (money given to it for the purpose of investment) of more than $2 billion, bolstered by a long fundraising campaign, and has kept raising tuition. The cost of an undergraduate year at the UW last year would have paid for three years 20 years earlier."

Congress wants school in the financial position of UW to start spending 5% of those endowments each year to help keep tuitions in line.


President Mark Emmert has become a hot commodity in the higher educational field. He recently turned down almost $2 million a year to become the president of Vanderbilt. The Vandy job is the highest paying college President job in the country. Emmert also has been a apprached byt he prestigous UC system. the draw seems to be he is succesful at raing funds, is a fine administrator that gets a long with people, and most importatly he is only 55 years old which means he has at least a decade of service left to perform. Most insiders are pretty confident that Washington will be his last stop sinc ehe is an alumnus, and Puget Sound is home for him.


Ashlyn Watson hit a grand slam and Aleah Macon struck out 11 to lead No. 25 Washington past No. 1 Alabama at the Husky Softball Classic on Saturday afternoon. Washington improves to 8-5-1 on the season, while handing the Crimson Tide (17-1) their first loss of the season.

Womens Basketball

The womens team is also saving it's best basketball of the season for the end as they knocked off league leading California at home this past weekend. Sami Whitcomb scored 24 points, and hit four 3-pointers during a decisive 18-7 second-half run as Washington stunned No. 9 California 74-66 on Sunday, ruining the Golden Bears' chance at their first Pac-10 title. Laura McLellan added 13 points and 5-foot-5 guard Emily Florence had 11 points.

Husky Crew

Mike Callahan begins his first season as head coach of the legendary Washington Crew. Callahan took over for Rowing Director Bob Ernst who opted to head the Womens program to bring it back to prominence. The Husky men are coming off a National Championship season and are expected to be one of the favorites to win it once again despite many team members taking a year off to compete for national teams.

03/29/08 Class Day Montlake Cut
04/05/08 San Diego Crew Classic San Diego, Calif. (Mission Bay)
04/06/08 San Diego Crew Classic San Diego, Calif. (Mission Bay)
04/12/08 Washington State Montlake Cut
04/19/08 Oregon State Montlake Cut
04/26/08 California Belmont, Calif. (Redwood Shores)
05/03/08 Windermere Cup/Opening Day
05/18/08 Pac-10 Championships Rancho Cordova, Calif. (Lake Natoma)

05/30/08NCAA Women's Championships (Day 1) Rancho Cordova, Calif. (Lake Natoma)
05/31/08 NCAA Women's Championships (Day 2) Rancho Cordova, Calif. (Lake Natoma)
06/01/08 NCAA Women's Championships (Day 3) Rancho Cordova, Calif. (Lake Natoma)

06/05/08 IRA Men's Championships (Day 1) Cherry Hill, N.J. (Cooper River)
06/06/08 IRA Men's Championships (Day 2) Cherry Hill, N.J. (Cooper River)
06/07/08 IRA Men's Championships (Day 3) Cherry Hill, N.J. (Cooper River)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Huskies Take Cal 87-84

Joe Wolfinger had his second exceptional game in a row leading the Huskies to a 87-84 win over California on Saturday. Joe scored 17 points in 18 minutes off the bench including four three pointers. The Huskies needed an outstanding night from the 7 footer because Jon Brockman was in foul trouble most of the night. The win assures the Huskies a winning record which should help them in their quest for a post season berth.

The key for Wolfinger's resurgence has been improved health, and conditioning. He broke his foot last season and was forced to sit out. It has taken this long for him to regain his stamina and shooting stroke. Joe is rarity because he is sort of a Ryan Appleby in a 7 foot body. His improvement in play is going to be a big bonus to the program over the next three years.

The Huskies face WSU next week before going on to the Pac Ten tournament in Los Angeles.