I hope you all had a safe and sane fourth of July this year. We had a great one here in the Chicago area but I have to say today has been mostly devoted to napping after taking relatives to the airport this morning.
On the Husky front we have reached the time of year when the coaching staff begins to take a long break to spend time with their families and recharge the batteries before the season begins in August. There is still a lot going on at Montlake as the players continue working out in the weight room, picking up some classes, and doing seven on seven drills four times per week.
We are hearing the informal workouts have been going well with around 50 to 60 players in attendance every day. Roy Lewis who is a former Husky CB has been working out with the team to get ready for the pro season and he says the difference in what is going on right now is like night and day compared to when he was a student.
Roy says the pace of the workouts is really fast in fact it compares very favorably with what he is currently doing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also commented on the attendance and organization that is happening this year and once again it has been taken to a completely different level.
This is pretty good news because as I commented in June we always here in the paper how hard everyone is working every year only to find out from insiders that it is a bunch of baloney. Everything that I am hearing from the inside and outside seems to belay the fact that Sarkisian has turned things around in a big way in a very short time.
What that translates to when they start playing a tough schedule is hard to decipher till we see the product on the field.
Dick Baird picked out five reasons why the Huskies will improve in 2009 in a Dawgman column today. I never read it till I finished my column today but our analysis is pretty similar. dick of course looks at everything through purple glasses. I agree the team will be better conditioned but even though I know Coach Lewis has done a great job with the guys in the weight room I still say it takes two years of that type of work to achieve the total retransformation he is touting.
Here are a few things that I think we can expect.
- Better conditioned athletes: That means they are going to play much better in the second half of games this season. How often did we see the team fall apart in the third quarter the past few years? Tired teams do that and I have always felt that overall conditioning was very suspect at UW under Willingham, and Gilbertson.
- Attitude: You can expect a 180 degree turnaround from last year on the attitude front. If the head coach shows no emotion and has a poor attitude what do you expect the players to do?
- Locker: You think Jake may benefit from having two of the best QB coaches in the country working with him? We saw a better Jake as spring went on and that will carry over to the fall. We didn't get to see him use his wheels this spring but you can count on the coahes to utilize those skill in the pro set this fall.
- Game Planning: The coaching is taking a quantum leap as far as knowledge and leadership goes. Sarkisan and Holt only know winning from their tenure at USC and they know how to instill the same principles at Washington. Remember how many times Willingham looked like a deer in the headlights while he was here? Expect solid game plans built around what the team does best.
- Defense: Nick Holt brings a lot of tougness and experience to the the Husky staff. The Washington defense has been in sleep walk mode for most of this decade. That will change in 2009 with battle tested young players who are a year older and wiser manning the line positions. The linebackers are some of the best on the West Coast and if they can get a young secondary back in order that gained experience the hard way last year they just might surprise quite a few people this season.
KJR Dawgman show Podcast
Saturday morning radio may not be your cup of tea during the summer season but the Dawgman show on KJR gives you all the Husky recruiting news you can use each week. Now that they are pod casting it you can listen to it at a more convenient time. For me that would be after my wife goes to bed.
Filling in the blanks at WSU
This is a humerous fill in the blanks editorial from the Daily Evergreen on the problems they are having over in Pullman.
Here is a little financial information on the WSU athletic program from the News Tribune. I think at least half the Apple Cup will be played at Qwest in the very near future.
Fiscal year 2009 came to an end Tuesday, and the WSU Athletic Foundation forecasts a $1.5 million drop in donations from last year’s record total of $8.26 million. Final numbers have yet to be calculated. Donors dropped from 6,200 to 5,500 in one year. WSU already had the fewest athletic donors and donation dollars in the Pacific-10 Conference.