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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 11, 2008 at 9:45 PM

More on Willingham and White

Here are a few more notes from the Tyrone Willingham teleconference today discussing the hiring of new assistant coach Brian White:
— Willingham said White had a one-year contract in contrast to new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, who got a two-year deal. Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano is also expected to get a new contract that will cover two years. All the other assistants were on one-year deals last season and this indicates maybe they will remain that way.
— Willingham still has to find a running backs coach. Willingham said he didn’t want to definitively say that White will be the tight ends/special teams coach to leave the option open that he could change his mind based on who he hires for the other job (White also has extensive running back experience so he could handle either role). Willingham said White is “multi-talented so if there is something I need to change based on the next person I need to look at I have the flexibility to do that.”
— Willingham said there was no timetable for hiring the other job, though it would seem obvious that he would want someone in place by the time spring ball starts. Asked when he would fill the other job Willingham said “when I’m comfortable and think I’ve got the right person. … I’m usually very patient about most of these hires.”
— The obvious goal for White is to improve the special teams play, which lagged in most areas last year and helped lead to the firing of Bob Simmons. “We were making some improvement, I don’t think there is any question about that — we led the Pac-10 in punt returns,” he said. “So where were some good things there. But I needed to feel a little better and see a little more progress and hopefully this will allow us to do that.” UW led the league in punt return average at 11.0 but struggled in areas like kickoff coverage (ninth in the Pac-10) and kickoff returns (also ninth).
— Asked about the fact White has significant experience coaching running backs, including a long stint as running backs coach at Wisconsin, Willingham said that White “felt comfortable at a lot of postions but what my needs where, where I saw him at, I felt he would be a better fit at tight ends and special teams.”
— Willingham said White was on an initial list of candidates, that he looked at “a lot” of guys, and then came back to White at the end.
— Willingham said improving the tight end position is another obvious priority for next season and that the first task, with White now in the fold, is to “see how we can make that position more beneficial for us.” Noting the influx of talent at that spot (Chris Izbicki, Kavario Middleton) Willingham said that if the players there give the Huskies “some really great play then quite naturally it becomes a focus of a part of our offense.”

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