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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 29, 2008 at 2:43 PM

December answers, volume eight

Another round, though first I give you Rick Neuheisel’s response today to the comments made earlier by Ken Norton Jr. Seems pretty evident Norton isn’t moving over to UCLA should DeWayne Walker leave, which all could conceivably impact UW’s search for a new defensive coordinator, as well.
Now on to the questions:
Q: Can you give us an update on what’s likely to happen with Chris Izbicki?
A: I got several of this variety regarding Izbicki. No doubt, he is probably among those most welcoming the coaching change as he appeared to be in Tyrone Willingham’s doghouse after getting in some minor legal trouble during the off-season. I don’t think he played a down this season, which no question is odd given all the blowouts. That said, I think he still has some progressing to do to become a regular player. A number of you have sent me e-mails pointing out how highly-rated a recruit he was. But as has been illustrated thousands of times everywhere, that means nothing once a player gets to college. Coaches thought Izbicki was making some progress as a blocker but he apparently had a ways to go as a receiver. He should benefit greatly from Steve Sarkisian’s “clean slate” but I still see Kavario Middleton as the starting tight end on this team moving forward.
Q: What do you think is a realistic goal for the Huskies next season? Assuming Jake Locker is healthy, and taking into consideration the returning starters, is a bowl game out of the realm of possibility? Maybe I’m being a little optimistic, but six wins doesn’t seem completely out of the equation, although 4-5 may be a difficult task. Obviously, it’s difficult to draw anything from a team that won zero games, but there were a few bright moments (i.e. Goodwin’s play, Teo ‘Nesheim).
A: Man, that’s really hard to answer until we see the complete coaching staff, what the offense and defense are going to look like, etc. I think a leap to 3-4 wins is most realistic as UW still plays a brutal schedule next year — LSU at home and at Notre Dame, both of which UW is likely to be double-digit underdogs. Idaho and WSU at home figure to be the only two games right now in which the Huskies would be favored. But strange things obviously can happen in college football and if Locker comes back completely healthy and there’s some massive improvement on the lines, who knows? I wouldn’t rule out six wins and a bowl game, but I wouldn’t make reservations yet, either.
Q: The UW football page has the schedule out through the next two seasons. Whose job is it to work the following schedules, how much influence will the new coach have, the losing seasons. Are we on everyone’s non-conference short list for “C” opponent?
A: College football scheduling is often done years in advance, enough so that you can’t really schedule based on what a team just did because that team could look drastically different by the time you play them. UW has a few games scheduled out through 2012 and I know is talking with some schools further out — that’s simply how it’s done. So I don’t think anyone is looking at UW as a “C” opponent because by 2012, the Huskies could easily be right back to being pretty good. No school is going to assume UW is going to remain an 0-12 program for long simply because it would be foolish to assume any school would stay in that state for long. Instead, you look at what they usually are and assume that’s what you’ll get. Scheduling is generally handled by the AD and coach together. They set a general philosophy, then contact other schools. The AD works out the details so the coach doesn’t have to get into that. But in general, nothing happens without the coach’s consent.
Q: What do you think of the bowl selection process? I would have liked to see a match up of USC with Texas, or Alabama, or maybe Texas vs. Alabama. It doesn’t seem like the best of the rest are playing each other outside of the championship game.
A: Until there’s a playoff, the systems is always going to be flawed. So with that in mind, I like the tradition of the Rose Bowl and have no problems with USC playing Penn State — I’m really looking forward to that game. I agree that some of the matchups could be a little better, but I actually find Utah-Alabama pretty intriguing. Like most, I’d love a playoff, though I still think it’s going to be a while. And through the years, it seems games that appeared great on paper often have petered out on the field and vice versa. So guess what I’m saying is that since the only way to really fix it is to have a playoff, I’m only going to get so worked up about it until the day that happens, though I’m not holding my breath.
Q: Tell me about your family and how you got into the business of Husky sports. It seems like the best job in the world. Am I right?
A: It I a great job, but since you asked the question, I feel compelled to make one correction of a common misnomer — my job isn’t really in Husky sports. Instead, I am employed by The Seattle Times and their assignment for me right now is to cover UW. They could tell me tomorrow to cover the Storm or the Mariners or high schools or something, and that’s what I’d do. I love college football, and college sports in general, so this is the job I prefer. But I’ve covered everything from time to time — I did the Sonics for a year, the Seahawks for a year, all kinds of different high school and college teams here and in Idaho and California. I even spent a summer in Eugene. I grew up loving sports and newspapers, so I just always wanted to be a sports writer — don’t take it the wrong way, but the sport and the team matters only so much. What matters most to me is that I have a sport and a team to cover and a newspaper to write for. As for my family, I have a wife and two kids and we live in the South Sound area.
All for now.



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