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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 26, 2008 at 10:54 PM

Answers, 11-26

We’re ready for another set of questions and answers.
First, however, I wanted to pass along this story out of Utah that the Utes hope to make a big play to keep coach Kyle Wittingham in the fold. The story notes no meetings or discussions have happened yet, so this is just a report that the AD there, Chris Hill, who was offered the UW job in 2004 before turning it down, sounds willing to do everything he can to keep Wittingham there.
Now on to some questions:
Q: Anything new on the coaching front?
A: That’s a question I get in a variety of different wordings several times a day. Since my last post, I heard from a knowledgeable source that the two main targets now may be Pat Hill and Chris Petersen. As I wrote before, Hill is known to be interested. Petersen seems a little more uncertain. I hear lots of things from lots of people and don’t pass them all along. But this seemed like fairly good info so I pass it along in that context. But I don’t come close to presuming I know with much certainty all that is going on. Woodmert are doing a good job keeping this one quiet, as they did the AD search, and there is a lot going on we don’t know about. I’ve also heard a lot of rumblings about Jeff Tedford of late, for instance, as well. So we’ll see. (For more detail on the coaching situation, read the post below.)
Q: Could you get some sort of an explanation on how in last year’s Apple Cup WSU receiver Brandon Gibson is wide open late for the winning TD and this year another Cougar receiver is open late in the game? How can the same mistake be made two years in a row against the same team?
A: Some might argue this is the third time in four years a similar mistake has happened if you go back to the Trandon Harvey TD that won it for WSU in 2005. One thing to remember is that the defensive coordinators were different in the 2007 and 2008 games, so the calls weren’t the same or anything, and Ed Donatell obviously didn’t have the history of having been with the team last year when it happened. In 2007, it was apparently strictly a mental mistake — a call didn’t get communicated clearly from the sidelines to the players, and you had some defensive players thinking it was a blitz while others were in a regular Cover Two. That miscommunication allowed Gibson to get open. This year, the problem seemed more physical. I tried to detail the play in this story today. As Tripper Johnson explained, the team was in a quarters coverage, which he said is a pretty routine coverage for a two-minute drill situation, designed to keep things underneath. He said he simply blew it, and Quinton Richardson also appeared to just get beat on the play. Coaches have defended that the defense was the correct call and I haven’t heard too many people say it was necessarily the wrong defense.
Q: I’d like to hear your insights as to the state of Washington football next year. Can you break down the defense/offense starters, etc., for next year and what the new HC will have in the way of talent and the major issues he’ll face?
A: That’s a good question, and I plan on writing full entries on that topic at some point. But the cliff’s notes version is that I think the Huskies could make some rapid improvement next season. UW could have nine starters back on defense if Trenton Tuiasosopo gets a sixth year, and will also welcome back former starting safety Jason Wells, assuming he can make it back from the knee injury that caused him to redshirt this season. The only certain defensive losses are CB Mesphin Forrester and DT Johnie Kirton, and the latter split time this year with freshman Senio Kelemete. So there is a lot of experience back on defense next year, the most in quite a while. And the presence of all those good, young DLs is a particular cause for optimism. Offensively, UW loses just three starters — tight end Michael Gottlieb, center Juan Garcia and guard Jordan White-Frisbee. The latter two could be tough to replace as the Huskies haven’t used their OL reserves at all this season. But Kavario Middleton is waiting in the wings as the next TE. Add a healthy Jake Locker, maturation from all those young receivers and backs, and UW’s skill position players could be much better next season. A year in the weight room for all the young DLs, and continued maturation of the back seven, and the defense could get a lot better, as well. I think cornerback and the middle of the O-line loom as two of the biggest areas of concern for next season. The kicking spots also need to be filled. UW had just 16 scholarship seniors this season, so most of the players should be back. But overall, I really think this team could get to the 4-6-win range pretty quickly with the right coach.
All for now.

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