With Pac 10 Media Day now behind us, I have to express my disappointment with the scarcity of interest displayed in the 2009 Husky football team. I found Sark's speech elegant, but the media's reaction completely lackluster. It's true that last year's team was 0-12 and that Sark preempted questions about last year's results, but please... Who can't come up with a question or two for a completely new coaching staff of a Pac-10 team and since when has any reporter refrained from asking questions that have already been answered? I was particularly disappointed with how few questions were asked of Donald Butler, a member of a linebacking corps that welcomes back the conference's leading tackler from 08 and the 6th leading tackler of 07.
That being said, here are several questions (and many didn't make the cut) I could have asked...
Q's for the Coach Sark:
Where are your strengths? Specifically, which units do you think can compete with the best in the Pac?
Last year's O-Line was projected to be a strength; it wasn't and was ultimately a disappointment in 2008. Despite the loss of Juan Garcia and Ryan Tolar's shift to center, will this year's O-Line be better than last year's?
TE's Kevario Middleton, Chris Izbicki, and FB Paul Homer have all shown flashes of greatness either in past seasons or in practice. Given that the offense you plan to run should feature both positions more prominently, could you comment on your expectations for each of these players?
Washington appears to have a lot of young talent at receiver; reports have indicated improvement regarding Locker's accuracy. How many receivers do you plan on using in 2009 and do you expect D'andre Goodwin to retain his first-target status in the upcoming season?
How many RB's do you expect to get regular carries? Chris Polk appeared tentative in his limited time in 2008: do you expect him to be more receptive to contact this season and do you expect Demetrius Bronson to see the field this season; what is the depth chart at this position?
What does it say about the 2009 Huskies that you brought a leader on the defense (and it wasn't Daniel Teo'Nesheim or Mason Foster) and not Locker?
Having rarely been accustomed to owning an underdog mentality, do you see an advantage to an
underwhelming public opinion?
Given how many Husky fans feel about former coach Rick Neuheisel, can you use that as motivation to develop a neo-rivalry game?... as a big proponent of tradition, can you motivate your players to get up for a game the fans might like to win as much as WSU, Oregon or USC?
Q's for Donald Butler: With the linebacking unit projected to be a strength, how have the linebackers stepped up to deal with playing time? Could we see some 3-4?
With the secondary being a vulnerability in 2008, has the linebacking corps seen any schematic changes to compensate? (Same Q could be asked of pass rush I suppose)
Would the team react different to a mid/early season Jake Locker injury in 2009 opposed to in 2008, how much of a role did Jake's injury play in the disappointing season that was last year?
Do you expect to overtake Mason Foster or EJ Savannah in tackles this season?
What would you guys ask?
One last thought... The new conference head Larry Scott sure made his mark as a college athletics Karl Rove (subtly) noticeable. Taking a page out of the SEC's book, every coach mentioned the difficulty of the Pac-10 in much more creative and forceful words than in the past. It made me think (no political commentary here) of back in the Bush heyday when every Republican talking head would use the exact same talking points to frame the debate of the country's politics. I hope the Rove strategy works as well for the Conference of Champions as it did for GW Jr. (pre-2006).