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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

April 28, 2009 at 9:43 PM

April answers, volume six

Getting through as many as I can though also realizing that I didn’t get to some of these in time. So I’ll throw open a new forum for questions soon — or you can do so here.
For now, a few more answers.
Q: You frequently mention the “seven-on-seven” portion of practice. Since it’s been five years since we’ve had the fortune to have this type of insight into practices, I wonder if you could explain what this is, which positions are included and which are excluded, and how it works.

A: Here’s one I didn’t get to in time but still worth an answer. The seven-on-seven is when the skill guys on offense and the back seven on defense go against each other, typically almost all passing. So that means no linemen on either side of the ball. It’s work the skill guys can do when the linemen are working on more specialized stuff or whatever. It’s also a familiar drill for players since it’s often how they do stuff in the summer when they practice plays with no pads or contact. It’s also familiar because many players participate in seven-on-seven passing leagues during their high school days. I know these are particularly big in California. When I worked down there, many high schools would play seven-on-seven tournaments during the summer. I covered a few because they often told a lot about what you might see out of a team that fall, who was playing where, which QBs looked good, that sort of thing.
Q: Seeing that the college football landscape has changed since the 90s and the Oregon and Arizona schools and also Cal are now bigger factors than they were, do you see UW as a program that can have continued long-term success once the Dawgs get back on their feet? Former elite programs such as Minnesota, Nebraska, Ole Miss & Colorado have struggled to stay relevant in big business college football.
A: First off, good question, though I’d say that it’s been quite a while since Minnesota and Ole Miss have been considered elite so not sure how relevant their situations are to where UW is now. Colorado also was elite in smaller bursts than UW. Nebraska, meanwhile, was a little more elite than UW, I think most would agree. But as to your general question, I don’t see any reason why UW can’t get back to where it was for most of its 1977-2003 run — meaning, winning 7-8-9 games a year and competing for significant bowl games and Pac-10 titles. Unlike, say, Ole Miss and Minnesota, I think UW has a much better foundation due to its support, recruiting base, tradition and the fact that its historic standing has been to stand with UCLA as the main competitor in the conference behind USC. Minnesota is a ways behind Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State and maybe a few others, depending on how you want to define it, on the Big Ten food chain. Other Pac-10 schools have obviously had more success than UW the past five years and there’s no question the landscape is different. It won’t be as easy to get back as it was to get there in the first place 30 years ago. But even during a time of pretty historic lows UW has still been able to put together recruiting classes that on paper ranked with most other schools in the conference — in both 2006 and 2008, for instance, UW had classes ranked better than Oregon’s, according to Scout.com. Point being, much as UW’s status may have slipped, it doesn’t necessarily seem to have hampered the school’s ability to draw interest from recruits, the single most important factor in success.
Q: I was curious how the competition was going for the punting job.
A: There didn’t seem to be much emphasis on the punting competition during the spring — which isn’t to say there wasn’t an emphasis on punting itself as they certainly spent time putting together the punting team — since the guy they expect to win the job isn’t here yet. That would be JC transfer Will Mahan. The Huskies had two walk-on punters on the roster in the spring — Andrew Lutton and Kiel Rasp — and they got some reps. Lutton seemed to be ahead of Rasp. But Mahan is fully expected to come in this fall and win the job.

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