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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 16, 2009 at 12:09 PM

February answers, volume seven

Another round. …
Q: Going into this season many felt the WR corp was at least a position of depth, if not quality. After signing one WR on LOI day and talk of going after two from Eastern Washington, it seems the coaching staff does not feel confident with the returning WR group. How do you see this and can we assume the same opinion stands for other positions as well?
A: First off, while I know everyone wants to forget what happened last season, it has to be remembered when discussing the talent on this team that UW went 0-12 last season. That means this team needs help everywhere. No position can really legitimately be regarded as a proven strength in such a circumstance. So that’s surely how the new coaches are looking at it, especially Steve Sarkisian, who is judging this talent against what he just had at USC and probably isn’t finding too many spots, if any, where the talent here matches what he had to work with there. That said, I would think that if you were rating UW’s positions in terms of immediate need, receiver wouldn’t seem to be at the top of the list given the return of every key contributor, including the team’s most consistent offensive player of last season in D’Andre Goodwin. But Sarkisian wants to put in a pro-style offense, and you need good receivers who can win one-on-one battles to do that. The EWU guys would only be here for a year so that would be a true quick fix kind of deal if that worked out. Maybe he would hope he could redshirt some of the true frosh who played last year if those guys came in. As for his thoughts on other positions, again, this team went 0-12 last year, 11-37 the last four year. I’m sure they think every single position can use an upgrade.
Q: How does the football scholarship program work? I know we can only have 85 players on scholarship at one time — can a scholarship be revoked if a player is not performing up to Pac-10 standards as determined by the coach for any given reason at ant given time? And do you think there will be a big shake up in our current scholarship players prior to next football season? Will some players be encouraged to leave the program?
A: Unlike as is sometimes assumed, scholarships are indeed renewable every year. Technically, they can be revoked for just about any reason but the University of Washington’s stated policy is that they will not be pulled strictly for athletic performance reasons (here is a link to UW’s official policies on scholarships). In general, as long as a player is fulfilling academic and athletic obligations (staying eligible, attending all required workouts, staying out of legal trouble, etc.) a player will not have his scholarship pulled before getting at least four years (remember the Suddenly Senior controversy?) But what does happen is that coaches will meet with players and discuss frankly that player’s future in the program. If a player is only a year or two into his career but the coaches figure it looks like he’ll never play, both sides may decide it’s better for the player to go elsewhere. Such attrition is common in all programs, but especially when a new coaching staff takes over. As players see that their roles might change, or that they won’t fit in as well in a new system, some may decide they would be better off somewhere else. It won’t surprise me at all if there are 3-5 departures of that sort this year. I have no idea who they might be and I wouldn’t expect them until after the spring, after the coaches have their first in-person look at the players and the players finally see how they might fit in on the field. But it will be little surprise if some attrition occurs.
All for now.

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