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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 17, 2011 at 11:39 AM

February answers, volume three

Deontae Cooper, Husky Stadium and recruiting in this edition. ..

Q: Where does Deontae Cooper fit into the mix? He was receiving all of the kudos before his injury. Chris Polk is our between the tackles and Jesse Callier is the fly sweep resource, so who loses carries to Cooper?

A: As I mentioned in the review of the running back spot, Cooper’s first task is to get healthy and get back to where he was last August when he was earning those raves. I’d wait and see how that develops first before I’d start worrying much about who loses carries and all of that. That’s not to cast any alarm on Cooper’s rehab. He is said to be right on schedule with no complications to date. But he is recovering from an ACL, and even aside from that, he still has yet to have his first carry as a college player.

If Cooper gets healthy, I see him adding depth at tailback this year, spelling Polk or Callier when necessary, getting a few carries in multiple back sets and also potentially getting on the field as a returner, especially on kickoffs.

If the Huskies continue in the direction of the last four games of the 2010 season, when they averaged 43 carries per game, I think there can be lots of opportunities for everyone without anyone having to lose carries. I certainly don’t see Chris Polk losing any carries unless they either decide just to rest him some to keep him fresh or he gets injured.

Q: It’s been an amazing turnaround from 0-12 to bowl winners in two seasons, back-to- back recruiting classes and UW athletes returning to the draft board. Do you see UW winning more recruiting battles with USC and Oregon?

A: I think there was a word left out there, but I assume the questioner meant to praise the recruiting classes of the last two years.

But to answer the question, I’m not sure UW fans should ever count on the Huskies consistently winning recruiting battles with USC, especially with kids in southern California. Nobody has ever consistently done that — UW certainly never has, not even in the heyday of Don James — so it’s not realistic to expect it to happen now. UW has always won a few here and there (though the definition of some of those has sometimes been a little murky), but it’s just hard to envision it ever happening with much regularity. Obviously, the more successful UW is, the better chance UW has to win some of those battles. But there’s so much talent in southern California that the trick is to be the school that gets the best of the rest and not necessarily take on USC head-to-head all the time.

That’s obviously where your question about Oregon comes in. Oregon has risen to a point where the days of two decades or so ago when the Huskies didn’t have to worry about the Ducks in recruiting aren’t going to return. But even during Oregon’s ascent of late, UW has won its fair share of battles with the Ducks, especially with in-state players (Danny Shelton, Jermaine Kearse, to name two). As would be expected, Oregon kids will be more inclined to go to Oregon, and UW did lose a couple to the Ducks there last year. But it’s always going to be hard to win out over a kid simply wanting to stay in-state (part of the same reason UW has kept a lot of in-state players home the last few years even while struggling on the field).

I’m not sure how many out-of-state battles ever come down to just UW and Oregon to really even be able to keep score in any practical manner. And there’s also always so many variables in recruiting that definitively saying one school beat another for a kid can sometimes be tricky. James Johnson, for instance, has said his final choice came down to UW and Oregon. But he also said a clinching factor was that UW was going to let him be a receiver while Oregon wanted him as a defensive back. So is that UW simply beating Oregon for a recruit?

To your overall point, however, recruiting should improve as the team has more success on the field. However, UW’s recruiting — in terms of rankings, anyway — has consistently been in the top 25-30 the last decade anyway despite the losing (other than the coaching change years). So UW’s been winning its share of battles all along.

Q: With the Apple Cup moving to Qwest next year and the remodel of Husky Stadium starting early, what would happen if, miracle of miracles, the Huskies win the PAC12 and have to host the Championship game in December? Is there a problem if that game is held on Saturday and the Hawks play Sunday? Are the Seahawks working with the NFL schedule makers to keep that weekend clear?

A: The Pac-12 title game is set for Saturday, Dec. 3. The NFL schedules aren’t out yet, but it’s not that difficult to stage games on consecutive days (and the Seahawks wouldn’t be playing on that Saturday in any case). So I don’t really see any issue there. Pretty sure they’ve held games there on consecutive days in the past with all the games WSU has played there, etc.

Q: Also, are the UW and other PAC12 schools requiring tickets for the Championship game to be paid up front along with the rest of the season tickets, holding that money, and then refunding or crediting that to the following season if they don’t get it? Or will they send out the requests late in the season when the teams that have a chance to host it become more apparent?

A: No on the first part. On the second, pretty sure they’ll just do it the way the NFL does and have tickets go on sale as soon as it becomes apparent who will host it. Not really that difficult in this day and age to handle such a quick turnaround. Happens all the time with things such as the NCAA Tournament.

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