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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 4, 2009 at 10:32 AM

January answers, volume one

Off we go with the first set:
Q: Any news regarding the stadium renovation? I know there’s a report supposedly to be issued on the renovation of Key Arena and how possible THAT is going to be in the coming years. How about Husky
Stadium? Do any of Steve Sarkisian’s duties, now that he’s here full time, include lobbying for state money?

A: My understanding is that all news regarding any specifics of the renovation — such as when it might start, etc. — are on hold until the school finds out whether its efforts to get public money from the Legislature are successful. The whole thing at the moment revolves around that. There have been some rumblings that there could be an announcement of some sort regarding private funding of some sort, but I was told there is nothing planned and that those rumors are just that — rumors. A”s for Sarkisian, I think his main task is to turn the football program around. He might make an appearance or something like Tyrone Willingham did, but I think Mark Emmert and Scott Woodward will handle most of the lobbying duties.
Q: As a measure of interest in the program, I was wondering about the number of hits to your blog. The actual number is not important, but my guess is that it started out at a decent number, fell through the
season as things unraveled, and then shot up during the coaching search. Which would mirror how most of us felt about the program.

A: I actually don’t really get regular reports so I don’t know for sure. But I was told that there was a record number of hits during late November, early December, when the coaching search was at its most heated. I also have been told the UW football blog has been among the most visited of the Times’ blogs since its inception, showing that there has been a lot of interest in the program even during its lowest period.
Q: Will the team be competing to start on special teams? Or will it be like last year where the 3rd and 4th string players were named to start on special teams.
A: I really don’t know for sure what Sarkisian’s philosophy is about special teams — that’s among the things we’ll begin to find out as we go along. However, I think it’s a fallacy that there are some teams out there that use all their starters on special teams. I think most teams do it the same way — a mix of a few starters who can handle the extra work load with a majority of backups and regular reserves. That appeared to be the USC philosophy the last few years, though it’s worth noting that special teams have been a spotty area of USC’s team at times during the Pete Carroll era so Sark may have his own thoughts. As for Willingham’s UW tenure, the special teams weren’t any good most of the time, but Willingham did use starters at times — Louis Rankin and Roy Lewis returning kicks, for example. And I remember a lot of fans criticizing those moves wondering if it was smart to risk using starters. So that can be a no-win for coaches. .
Q: I’m curious about Ken Norton Jr. Just after the Sark announcement, you posted Jake Locker’s thoughts about the hire. In it, Jake said he didn’t have much (any?) contact with Sark as SC’s linebackers coach primarily recruited in the state. Have you asked Jake about Norton? Also, what’s your gut feeling on
Norton becoming the new DC?

A: Everything I have heard is that Norton will be hard to uproot from the LA area. He obviously doesn’t need the money and his roots are in southern California and it sounds as if he’s not really looking to leave. I have not asked Locker about Norton — he did mention that about the USC LB coach but did not mention Norton by name so I don’t know how much of a relationship they have.. Interestingly, Rivals.com lists Sarkisian as Locker’s recruiter while at USC. It also says Jim Michalcizk handled his recruiting at Cal so Locker may already have a relationship with UW’s new offensive coordinator.
All for now.

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