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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 26, 2008 at 11:50 AM

December answers, volume four

I haven’t forgotten your questions and will try to get to as many as I can over the next week.
So off with another round:
Q: How close was Scott Woodward to dumping Tyrone Willingham for the Cal game? And did UW ever have a standing offer on the table for Jim Mora this year? In other words, was there ever a ‘drop dead’ decision date for him to accept the UW job?
A: On the former, I don’t think he ever considered it. I really think once it was decided to keep Willingham on — and remember, they asked Willingham to stay and wanted him to stay — they were going to stick with it. Woodward’s comments a few weeks ago indicate he wasn’t thrilled with the work Willingham did the last month, but I don’t think they ever thought about pulling the plug on that. As for Mora, there are a million rumors out there. My understanding remains that there was a deadline of sorts for him to say he’d be interested in the job, but not that there was ever an official offer — my understanding is that there was never so much as a sitdown meeting or anything with Mora.
Q: Do any of the returning Huskies have a shot at All-American status next season and if you were to predict from what you have seen, who has the best shot(s) of making it in the NFL? Does Daniel Te’o-Nesheim look to be in line for both or is he just a good football player on a bad team?
A: All-American could be a stretch for players on a team that was 0-12 this season. Te’o-Nesheim, however, will be the most decorated player heading into next season and likely to earn some pre-season all-conference mention, and maybe be listed as a guy who could break onto national lists — it’s hard to tell about the national picture a bit until you know who all is coming back. Other than DTN, Jake Locker remains the most talented player on this team, the one who at any moment could leap into stardom. It won’t surprise me at all if he really thrives under the tutelage of Steve Sarkisian and takes a big step up in production this season. NFL futures can be harder to predict because what works in college doesn’t always work in the NFL. Te’o-Nesheim is a hard one to call because he’s probably not big enough to play every-down DE in the NFL. But he’s a very good player and I would think he has a chance to play a longtime in the league in some role. Locker and Kavario Middleton might be the two most physically gifted underclassmen by NFL standards. Some of the younger D-linemen could also blossom into NFL players down the road. Alameda Ta’amu obviously has uncommon size and if he can get production to match, you’d think he’d be highly valued.
Q: Obviously Sark was recruiting for SC before he got the job here and there must have been some recruits that both schools (UW and SC) were recruiting. Does he stop recruiting these guys (conflict of interest) or all these recruits fair game?
A: Sarkisian said he will not recruit any players USC is actively recruiting. What I would imagine is that he might go after players USC had recruited at some point but may no longer be offering, or never offered in the first place. But he said that while he is at USC finishing up he won’t try to hit up guys who are there on visits and start telling them to become Huskies.
Q: Do you think Chris Polk will remain at RB under Sark, or switch back to WR? Of all the RBs, I felt David Freeman looked the most promising, but there seems to be a logjam at WR. What are Sark’s plans for Polk? Also, is it safe to assume that the TE will be better utilized in Sark’s offense? Middleton looks good enough already to be one of the best UW TEs ever, but his injury and/or the offensive strategy barely used him after the BYU game. After watching teams like Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona, the TE is a deadly weapon if used correctly.
A: USC recruited Polk as a WR but I don’t know if that means that’s where Sarkisian wants to play him now. But given his versatility and the fact that everything is up for re-evaluation, I think the new staff will certainly look at where Polk can help them the best. The old staff obviously thought he was the best TB they had, however, and I would think that given the uncertainty at that spot the new staff will consider Polk as an RB. As I pointed out in a prior post on this, however, Polk first has to get healthy. He had a serious shoulder injury that may need some more time to recover from, and that could impact what the new staff does with him, as well, whether he can take all the pounding needed at RB. As for Middleton, I would think he would be one of the players most excited about the coaching change. USC tight end Fred Davis caught 62 passes in Sarkisian’s offense in 2007 and won the Mackey Award. So it is definitely an offense that likes to utilize the TE.
Q: What’s the level of involvement that Sarkisian and the other coaches can have w/ the players between now and the start of spring practice? Do they run the winter conditioning program? If not, is it the new Strength and Conditioning person who runs the winter conditioning program, or are the players on their own, with upperclassmen organizing the conditioning drills? Also, do you know yet when spring practices start?
A: The new coaches can have a lot of involvement in the off-season conditioning program, and will once school starts up again after the New Year. The new strength coaches will be involved in that, as well, but the coaches can also take part. What they can’t do is any football-related activity. But all the off-season program can be organized by the staff during this time of year, unlike the summer, when only the strength coaches can be involved. As for the start of spring practice, I don’t know and I doubt it’s been set yet. But logistically, it can’t really be any different than it ever is — the last week of March/first week of April. UW always begins spring drills following the end of the winter quarter and spring break as it wouldn’t make sense to start it much earlier, but you also want to get it over with by the end of April so coaches can hit the road recruiting in May and also give the players some significant off-season recovery time.
More later.



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