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Fall Camp Mailbag #1

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It's late. You can decide if it was worth the wait.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Instead of useless facts, I've decided today to dole out a helpful hint.  So here goes...

Brad's Fall Camp Helpful Hint:

If you ever find yourself chopping a bunch of jalapeno peppers, or even one jalapeno pepper for that matter, don't ever stop in the middle of your efforts to go take a whizz without first washing your hands VERY THOROUGHLY.  I can't emphasize this enough.  I've never had an STD, but I cannot possibly imagine that burn being any worse.

There you have it.  If you are chopping jalapenos, wash your hands before you pee.  Trust me on this.

To the questions!

Kirk's Conscience:

Why does UW continue to schedule FCS weaklings with their "C" slots in future schedules? Surely the plight of the Big 12 has taught us that SOS matters.

UWDP: This is one of those rare cases when both the long answer and the short answer are exactly the same:

Money.  To the long answer....

Season tickets make up the bulk of tickets sold for every game, and the 40,000 or so of us don't have the option to "decline" a particular game, no matter how badly we (and by that I mean me) want to.  And those opponents don't require the same guaranteed payout that someone like Ohio State, or Fresno State, or even Idaho would.  And they're willing to play those body bag games without requiring a return trip (a "home and home" series) in the process.  So, the Huskies can schedule one of those games each year even knowing the attendance will be relatively low and still make a bunch of money because of the season ticket holder captive audience and a moderate single game ticket sell.

Some will argue the opportunity to get backups and deep reserves valuable game action, but I personally hate those games with every fiber of my being.  To me, they're entirely a negative opportunity.  Aside from the chance of losing (which isn't really all that high most of the time), there's the chance of injury, the opportunity to look bad, and virtually no chance to actually look "good."  The Huskies have played four of those games thus far.  In two of them they were taken to the wire by Eastern Washington.  In one, they looked waaaaaaay too sloppy against Portland State.  Only the Idaho State game in 2013 went according to the script.  And it was boring.

But I'm a junkee.  If I could mainline Husky football straight in to my veins, I'd never leave my couch 365 days a year.  And so I go.  I still wake up with the same butterflies on game day.  My life revolves way too much around those 12 (or 13, or 14) Saturdays (or Thursdays, or Fridays) a year.

Mi(c)key:

Does feel like Coach Socha is more in line with what Stanford does in their weight training? We hear a lot about 0regon's facilities. What makes them better than what UW has to offer?

UWDP: To the first part about Socha, I don't really think so.  While Socha has served to create an environment where the totality of training (lifting, nutrition, rest) is similar, that's a trend that's become fairly typical in the strength and conditioning environment.  But Socha definitely seems more concerned with developing power than Shannon Turley does at Stanford, who has helped develop All-Americans that could barely bench their body weight.

And to be honest, I don't really know how well Turley's approach would work at a program like Washington's.  In a culture that big bench press numbers dictate how good a strength and conditioning coach is at his job, it takes a tremendous amount of buy-in to believe a program that lines you up against a guy that benches 150 pounds more than you and still believe that you're going to win.

As for the second part, I think fans don't understand how much of "facilities" goes beyond just the stadium.  No sane human being is going to pick Autzen Stadium over Husky Stadium.  But the weight rooms, the locker rooms, the academic support buildings....Oregon wins.  As much as I hate to admit it, they just do.  And more importantly, the Ducks are committed to winning the arms race.  USC isn't.  Oklahoma ins't.  Washington most definitely isn't.  But the Ducks are.  That's just a fact.

Lucas Shannon:

Hey Brad. I'm excited football camp is finally upon us.Can't wait for this season to finally get under way.

It surprised me a little bit when I learned earlier this week that the Huskies are set on signing a QB for the class of 2016, mainly because it seems that part of our recruting has gotten less attention when compared some other positions, such as to our defensive back and offensive line recruiting. So I guess my question is three fold.1. Do you think we have a chance at landing Tate Martell? 2. Did we focus too much attention on Jacob Eason this summer after failing to offer him early, and seeing that he seems solidly committed to Georgia? And 3. Who do you think we ultimately sign as our 2016 QB?
Thanks, and GO DAWGS!

UWDP: GO DAWGS!! right back atcha.

(as an aside, this question personifies my lateness in completing this mailbag)

I think it's a mistake to take a QB just for the sake of taking a QB.  If you can't land a guy that you legitimately think can eventually compete for the starting job, or even provide solid competition along the way, I simply don't see the value in signing what amounts to a body.  I get that Petersen understands all of this stuff better than I do, but at the same time, I don't think that makes him immune to being wrong.  And filling a scholarship slot in a small class with a guy that isn't going to make an impact on this team in order to balance numbers is wrong.  In my opinion, Petersen has to believe that he's going to find "the guy" in the next class or even two instead of settling.  As to your questions....

1.  It doesn't sound good, right now.  But at the same time, Martell seems to enjoy being courted.  If he's the guy that Petersen truly wants, it's not over until signing day.

2.  I don't think so.  But at the same time, I think it's important to ultimately pick a style of play, and recruit to it.  Especially at quarterback.  If you want to run the spread option with the zone read as a base, there's no point in recruiting Jacob Eason, period.  That's a bad fit for everyone all around.  If that's the offense you want to run, then I would've put all my eggs in the Dillon Sterling-Cole basket, who I think was BY FAR the best QB the Huskies had a shot at for 201 if that was the case.  Right now, I think the Husky quarterback recruiting is disjointed; I like all of the guys on the roster, but they aren't complimentary players one through four.  A high school player's recruitment lasts a couple of years - in that brief snapshot, they're going to get all of the "feel" for team they're ever going to get.  The Huskies with Jeff Lindquist at the helm aren't going to look the same if Jake Browning is leading the team.  And if Jeff Lindquist (or KJ Carta-Samuels) wins the job and is injured, Jake Browning isn't going to step in to the offense without making dramatic changes.

3.  Ultimately, I think if Armani Rogers ends up on an official visit, he signs with Washington.   And I think he's a pretty good QB.  But getting back to part two above, how does the UW offense look if Rogers is backing up Browning?

Ben Nice:

If Jeff Lindquist does not win the starting job is he a bust? How many 4 star QBs can't claim a starting job in their 4th year in the program so it would have to be trending in that direction, no?

UWDP: No.

Most four-star quarterback recruits never end up being collegiate starters.  Not in Power Five conferences anyway.

If that makes them all "busts" to you, then I guess that's up to your interpretation.

Grad and Dad:

My Q is a simple one. During the fall what will be the signs that our O Line and D line are coming together? My premis is this. This year's success depends on how well the guys in the trenches gel, play as a unit, and improve during the year. We have enough dynamic skill position players, that if given the chance will outperform expectations. If we get competent play out of our QB and our lines do gel, this team will suprise many. We all know where it will start if we do. What are the signs we will look for as Fall progresses?

UWDP: During the fall?  I don't think we'll know one way or another.  You get to a certain point, and there's just not much information you can glean from the Husky offense going up against the Husky defense.  Even ones against ones, because there's so much question on both lines.

We've really heard very little thus far.  I don't know what to make of that.  I don't think we'll know anything until September 4th,

Andrew M Smith:

Wouldn't Jake Browning winning the starting job be a disaster? In my mind, it would:

1) Dramatically increase the likelihood KJ Carta-Samuels transfers at the end of the season.

2) All but eliminate the chance a top-level QB commits for 2016 (that ship may have sailed anyway).

The combination of 1+2 would mean the huskies would have just three qbs on the roster in 2016. This makes me feel like there's no chance Browning starts this year. Am I crazy?

UWDP: As to part one, if Browning is named the starter, I agree that Carta-Samuels is immediately looking at transfer opportunities.

As to part two, I disagree with the notion of top-flight recruits chasing off other top flight recruits,.  The Alabama's and LSU's of the world sign the best line classes on both sides of the ball, year in and year out.  The USC's and UCLA's sign the best skill classes of the world, year in and year out.  I'm too lazy to do the research, but I'd wager it's more a matter of demographics than anything else.

If Browning is the best QB on the roster, he'll start.  If he's not the ultra-best, my guess is he redshirts.  As of today, my guess is that he redshirsts, and that's a good thing.

Durple:

So, Landon thinks we are going to finish with four conference wins. The media picked UW to finish fourth in the division. SI called UW a program "on the decline". What are the two or three things that realistically have to happen in order for UW to compete for the division title? Or is it even possible?

UWDP: Let's take these in order, because they're all interrelated to a degree.

Four wins is about right for this team.  That's what they won last year, and given the losses and the transition they're in, treading water is the expectation.  I agree with that.  With how muddled the North division will likely end up being, four wins could be a finish that's anywhere from third to fifth.  I'm not sure how six straight years right in that four to five win category equates to a "program on the decline."  It's not a step forward for sure.  But it's not a step back either.  It's mediocrity.  It sucks, but that's where the team is right now.

I don't think it's realistic that this team exceeds expectations to the level of competing for the division.  It's possible, but simply not very likely.  For it to happen, the three things that I think need to happen are 1.  The offensive line needs to drastically exceed expectations.  To the point that they end up putting a guy on the first team All Pac 12 roster, and another one that's second team.  2.  The quarterback play needs to be something along the lines of what Keith Price did in 2011 and 2013.  30+ TD's combined rushing and passing, 65% complete (or higher), and an adjusted QBR that's around 80.  3.  The defensive line emerges.  Again, a couple of guys first and second team All Pac 12.  Two guys combining for 25 sacks.  Playing stout against the run - more so than last year.  Like I said, it's possible.  But I don't think 2015 is the year.  Now, 2016......

KentP:

What if.....

We don't get hit with bs sanctions? What dies uw football look like the rest of 90s, 2000s and today?

UWDP: I have dreams about this.  Literally.

Don James was 60 when he stepped down.  Realistically, I don't think he was a guy that was going to coach much more than five years, so let's say he retires in 1998 instead of 1993.  You'd probably see at least a couple of more Rose Bowls in that time.  Maybe another national championship.  Maybe two.  Fan interest never would have lagged.

Picture senior day in 1998 in newly remodeled Husky Stadium.  James had announced before the season that it would be his last.  As the seniors come out with their parents, James is announced by Lou Gellerman.  James reluctantly trots out amid a standing ovation, and the large purple flag that had been lying at mid field is lifted, and the words "Dawgfather Field" are seen for the first time.

James and Jim Lambright retire together.  Instead of lagging in the arms race, the Huskies are leading it, as seen by the Don James Academic Center that opens in the fall of 1999.  Fans are nervous about the new coach, but ignoring her desire to make a "splash" and instead listening to James following his retirement, the Huskies have taken a chance on a guy from Michigan State named Nick Saban....

Thanks for reading, and I'm serious about those jalapenos, folks.