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Pre-Fall Mailbag #3

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Or maybe it's number 2. I honestly have no idea. The time bleeds together.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, first, it's the useless facts.

A normal raindrop falls at a rate of about seven miles per hour.

"Cleveland" spelled backwards is DNA Level C

Netherlands is the only country with a national dog

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by removing one olive per salad in its first class meals.

Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.

It's possible to lead a cow up stairs, but not down stairs.

"Dreamt" is the only word in the English language that ends with the letters "MT".  I dreamt the Huskies had a great year in 2015.  It's a dream I have every year about this time.

On to the questions.

MontlakeMiker:

Which QB do you think has the greatest chance of being the starter for the Boise Opener? What percent chance would you give each QB of being the starting QB: Lindquist, Carta Samuels, Browning, Rodriguez?

UWPD: I'd put the odds on Jeff LIndquist starting the opener.  He's been in the program twice as long as KJ Carta-Samuels, eight times as long as Jake Browning, and infinitlely longer than Rodriguez, who is barely here.  I'd say the odds are 50% on Lindquist, 25% on Carta-Samuels, and Browning and Rodriguez share the rest equally.  I'm not alone in the opinion that the main reason Rodriguez was brought in was to ensure Browning's redshirt year.  While no part of me thinks Chris Petersen is going to be on any sort of hot seat in the next year  or three, the fact is that Browning was brought in to be the first of what we all hope will be several of "The Man" at the quarterback position.  Unless someone manages to beat him out as a redshirt junior, in what will be Petersen's fourth season as a head coach, Petersen's success is married to Browning's in the same way that Steve Sarkisian's was to the offensive line class of 2010 that included Colin Porter, Erik Kohler, Colin Tanigawa, Ben Riva, and Micah Hatchie.  Things didn't work out for Sarkisian, but Petersne has already shown a penchant for mitigating his weaknesses in recruiting better than Sarkisian - who had little trouble finding potential at the QB position but struggled to recruit the offensive lines.

gliderdawg:

"You want questions!?You want questions!? You think you're entitled? You can't handle the questions! I'll ask the question...Son, we love a game that has balls...and those balls have to be guarded by men who play QB and wear purple and gold...who's gonna do it!? Lindquist, KJCS, Browning,or the JC sleeper Rodriquez? "You don't have to answer that question!"

UWPD: Did you order the Code Red?

Darin Johnson:

The Dawgs are going to be two touchdown underdogs to Boise State. Are we ever going to see a road win in person?

UWPD: I'm not totally sure, but...Are you asking me out?  It kinda seems like you're asking me out.

Let's be realistic here - since you kicked what I figured to be a chronic case of giganticbitchywifeiasitis, we've been in a doldrums of Husky football.  And we've picked some doozy of games to go to.

By all measures, Boise State deserves to be a double-digit favorite.  But by just about every quantifiable measure, this is the first of those games in which the Huskies hold the high cards in terms of the coaching staff.  I'm sure that wasn't the case at Stanford in 2009 or 2011, and I'm pretty sure it wan't the case at BYU in 2010, etc.....

I'm not going to be even a little surprised to see a win in Boise in September.

Ben Nice:

Which players that did not play last season are most likely to start or play key roles this season?

UWPD: Good question.  Ignoring guys that weren't on the roster last season (true freshmen or JC transfers), I'll start with who I'm not selecting.

On defense, I'm not selecting Greg Gaines or Vita Vea on the defensive line, although I expect both of them to play, and play fairly significant roles.  On offense, I wouldn't be shocked if the staff figures out a way to get Jomon Dotson some touches because of his athleticism, and I can can easily see Jesse Sosebee and/or Kaleb McGary getting playing time on the offensive line at some point in the season as rotational players, or even starters if the injury bug strikes.  And if the tight end position wasn't as deep as it is, I'd have a hard time not picking Drew Sample.

My breakout redshirt freshman on defense is Jaylen Johnson.  He was one of my favorite players in the 2014 signing class simply for his sheer motor in attacking the ball.  He might not have eye-popping measurables, but once he sees the ball, he simply goes and gets it.  Relentlessly.  Johnson was said to have a good spring this year, and in the scrimmage, he dominated several reps of the Oklahoma drill with the offensive line.  I'm looking forward to seeing him on the field this year.

On offense, my breakout redshirt freshman is KJ Carta Samuels.  While I don't believe that Jeff Lindquist is necessarily as entrenched in the starting role as many seem to, I do think he'll get the nod against Boise State.  Whether or not he keeps the job beyond that remains to be seen.  Even if he does, though, the UW has started a backup QB in at least one game per season in eight out of the last ten years.  Odds are that the Huskies are going to have to count on Carta-Samuels to play meaningful snaps, and maybe a lot of them, at some point this season.

gohuskies:

When will we find out for sure if Matthew Atewe will be eligible in 2015-2016?

UWPD: This is the NCAA we're talking about here.  One of the most capricious, subjective, and arbitrary organizations on the planet.  We'll know when they think we're ready to know.  It'll either be tomorrow, or sometime in August of 2019.  Or some point in between.

In all honesty, I have a tough time seeing how he's going to win this appeal.  Players get hurt all the time.  Coaches change jobs every year.  I can't think of many instances when the NCAA has deemed either event a grounds for immediate eligibility, outside of a few times when a coach has left between signing day and a player enrolling in school.  Even that is rare, though.

It seems more likely that if Atewe is given an extra year of playing time, it'll come on the back end of his career as a sixth year of eligibility.  I'm not sure I think that's very likely either, though.  But as I said, this is the NCAA.

Lucas Shannon:

How concerned should we Husky Fans be about the coaching staff's struggles to land top wide receivers? We seem to do pretty well landing talent around the rest of the field, but it seems like locking down wide outs has been a struggle for this staff.

UWPD: Ah yes, wide receiver recruiting.  Probably the greatest subject of teeth-gnashing on this blog outside of the offensive coordinator., and fueled by the most excellent trolling of our own Chris Landon (I kid)...

While it seems like there are a lot of factors suggesting that the UW is a prime landing spot for a top-flight receiver in this class (the allure of the UW + Chris Petersen + Jake Browning, etc.), it's just not happening.  I find that disappointing for sure, but I also think that the sample size here is small enough to fall under the heading of randomness still.  If it continues for a couple of more years, then there's reason to re-examine things.  Right now, there isn't enough data to say there's even an issue.

To put it another way, there's nothing about the UW's current situation that suggests receivers wouldn't want to come here, even though they aren't (and it's worth noting that although things don't look great, there's still a long way to go in this class).  Brent Pease may not be a recruiting dynamo, and maybe not a net plus in attracting receivers, but at worst he's a neutral.  His personality seems to fit exactly with the other coaches on this staff (patient teacher), whereas Dan Cozzetto stood out in stark contrast to the rest of the High-Fiving White (and Black, and Polynesian) Guys on Steve Sarkisian's staff.

Cammet:

There is lots of talk about having an inadequate receiving corps and how such a problem raises a red flag. How much of a problem is this though? You see the Seahawks right next door who have been successful with WRs who simply fit their mold and are not exactly viewed by everyone as elite. Why can't the huskies have similar success to the Hawks by turning an unknown (ex: Chris Matthews) into a clutch contributor?

UWPD: Well, first of all, Chris Matthews made a great special teams play, and then had one very big game.  Granted, on the biggest stage imaginable, but still, it was one game.  And I have to say that very little about what happened in that game looks like a sustainable offense for the Seahawks.  You simply can't count on any receiver outside of a very few making that many of those types of plays in a single game.

What the Hawks have that the Huskies don't, is a dominant running game on offense, and a defense that can largely carry the team on its backs to wins.  If the running game (meaning the backs plus the offensive line) steps up in 2015, then the passing game becomes that much more effective regardless of who is at receiver.  But the Huskies right now look to be a team that is going to have to scratch and claw for every yard out there every single week.  An infusion of talent at just about any position is extremely desirable.  Relative to the rest of the skill positions on offense, receiver seems like the incremental best bet right now.

Huskytude:

Aside from removing machines and putting in free weights - can you provide any more insight into the changes that Coach Socha has implemented since he has been here? It seems like a lot of folks are placing a lot of faith in his process, but it is not clear to me about any philosophy changes versus Ivan.

UWPD: First off, as I've said many times, I was shocked to here that Ivan Lewis and Steve Sarkisian were able to design a brand new weight room, and then fill it with machines.  While some machines have their place in a weight room, free weights can replicate most every one of those lifts with superior results.

Under Lewis, the focus was flexibility, speed, and core strength over bulk.  Under Tim Socha, bulk and functional strength are the focus.  Obviously, this is a dramatic oversimplification, as workouts are still geared toward position groups, but hopefully you get the idea.  Socha is a much bigger believer in compound lifts (Olympic lifts) like squats, bench press, and cleans versus plyometric or isolation exercises.

UWdadVanc:

What position do you expect Brandon Wellington to play at UW? I've seen him listed as Safety, RB, LB, and also just "Athlete". It would seem that safety is where the need is greatest since it appears that UW is in better position for some other LB's and not many other safeties at the point.

UWPD: From what little I've seen of him, my guess (or at least my hope maybe?) is that he ends up at linebacker.  Even when he runs the ball, he looks like a linebacker to me - downhill and attacking.  At his current size, I'd wager he'd outgrow safety even if that's where he got his start at the UW.  And while I think he could be a dominant running back should he stick to offense, I think the replacement cost for the UW is higher at linebacker.  With a versatile athlete like Wellington, I'm not sure you worry as much about need as you do his greatest impact on the team.

NewOCPlease:

Even during the season last year my concern was different from others about the 2015 season. Many people were worried about all the talent we would be losing on the Dline and Shaq. But my concern was the offensive line. Not the talent we would lose but the replacements. I have way more faith in the Dline replacements than the Oline replacements. Specifically from a talent perspective I expect Qualls and Mathis to really break through. I question the talent and potential of the guys expected to step up on the Oline. Am I wrong in assuming this? And who do you expect to actually step up on the Oline and become immediate difference makers?

UWPD: I'm right there with you.  It's been my biggest ongoing concern for the offense for well over a decade.  And I'm concerned going into 2015 for the same reasons you are - it's a complete unknown.  And because of that, I think the biggest instant difference-maker on the line is Chris Strausser.  The Huskies haven't gone out a recruited an offensive line, so they're going to have to make one.  And Strausser has a fairly impressive resume of doing exactly that.  It's time for this unit to just be better than they have been.  It might not happen over night, but the trajectory needs to be established.  This year.

Thanks again for reading, folks.  Don't forget to tip your waiters.