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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

June 2, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Answers, volume six

We’ll try to get back in our regular routine by answering another set of questions (and by the way, you are more than encouraged to keep the questions coming).
Q: Is it perceived as a huge advantage for the Huskies that they are going into the Oregon game with a new defensive coordinator for whom opponents don’t have any scouting tapes?
A: Not sure if I’d say “huge” since football ultimately comes down to personnel. But it’s certainly one of the bigger advantages UW has heading into this game and one that the Huskies will try to exploit as best they can — expect the coaches to give as little detail as possible about what the new wrinkles in the defense this fall. First games are always interesting from the standpoint that every team is usually debuting something new in its scheme, be it just a few tweaks or a complete makeover, with the Huskies obviously tending more to the latter on that scale this year with Ed Donatell taking over as coordinator. Donatell has worked in the NFL since 1990 so opponents wanting to get a sense of what he might do will have to look at those tapes. But even those may not reveal much as Donatell has said he’d like to incorporate more 3-4 looks into UW’s defense, something he never really did in the NFL. UW didn’t reveal a lot of that in the spring, but it’s likely the package will expand more in the fall, especially once the young DLs arrive and coaches get a sense of just who will be able to legitimately contribute this year and how much.
Q: Do you have any comment on this report that the team is not united behind Tyrone Willingham?
A: Without their being much detail in that report it’s hard to really comment a lot. In general, however, I would say that any team that has lost as much as UW has the last few years is always going to have some players questioning things. Willingham himself has admitted on several occasions that at some point players have to see some proof that what you are asking them to do is working or they may start to stray. This is obviously the key year for that, especially given the uncertainty over Willingham’s future. Everybody has to be aware that UW either wins this year or Willingham is gone and should the season start off with a few losses whether the players stick together will play a huge role in determining how the rest of the season plays out. It’s all about winning this year.
Q: Why does it seem like schools like Oregon keep getting help from the JC ranks and Washington doesn’t. Does Willingham even look at JC players?
A: Willingham did early in his tenure at UW, signing seven in 2006. But UW hasn’t had much success with JC players under Willingham (something I detailed in this post here last fall) and he has acknowledged those failures helped steer him away a bit from going the JC route. He also said early on, however, that he hoped to go to the JC ranks mostly to fill in holes for immediate needs and then build primarily with high school players. Some close to the program, such as former assistant coach Dick Baird, also say it is more difficult to get JC players into UW since the school doesn’t offer a PE major. It’s never been something that UW has done a lot of under any of its coaches and I would think that will always be the case. USC, UCLA and Stanford also don’t venture into the JC ranks a whole lot, either.
More later.

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