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Mailbag- "Brought to You by Ragu" Edition

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The best friendships are those where each person believes he has a small amount of superiority over the other.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Useless facts to make you feel smarter:

  • It is illegal to hunt camels in the state of Arizona.
  • A sneeze can generate air particles leaving your body at 100 mph.  During this act, all bodily functions, including the beating of your heart, cease.  This is the reason it's not possible to keep your eyes open while sneezing.
  • One if four Americans has appeared in some way or another on television.
  • One in eight Americans has worked at McDonald's.
  • 70% of all boats sold are used for fishing.
  • The most Rolls Royces per capita is found in Hong Kong.
  • On average, there are 61,000 people airborne over the US in a given hour.
  • The highest rate of consumption of Coca Cola per capita is found in Iceland.
  • Firehouses of old had circular staircases when the engines were pulled by horse.  The horses learned to walk up straight staircases.
  • The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.
  • The Eisenhower interstate system originally required that one mile in every five be straight, so that it could be used as an airplane landing strip in case of war emergency.
  • The Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as necessary because when it was built, Virginia law required segregated bathrooms.
  • If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19, which is the largest amount of change possible without being able to make change for a dollar.
  • In Aspen, Colorado, you can have an income of $104,000 per year and still qualify for government subsidized housing.
To Ragu's your questions.

Rhaego:

Will Pete Kawhiahatkowskiz leave us if we have another year or two of stellar defense?

UWDP: An equally important question is if Pete Kwiatkowski would leave the UW.

I don't know.  I don't really think he'd leave to take a different position as a defensive coordinator, if that's what you mean.  I get the impression he likes working for Chris Petersen a great deal.  I don't think that Kwiatkowski has a great deal of ego concerning his title, as Chris Strausser and Bob Gregory hold the Associate Head Coach and Assistant Head Coach titles respecitively; given the autonomy and success Kwiatkowski has, I find it difficult to fathom Petersen wouldn't give him one of these titles if it was the difference between keeping Kwiatkowski or losing him.  And maybe more importantly, Kwiatkowski appears to be secure enough as a professional for Petersen to give Jimmy Lake a "co-defensive coordinator" title (likely in order to keep Lake an extra couple of years).

I can't find any real credible rumors attaching Kwiatkowski to any head coaching jobs.  The rumors are largely blogger-associated, and few and far between.  It's possible that there's a parallel to Jim Lambright here - a really loyal guy that really likes what he's doing, coordinating really good defenses.  It's possible that Kwiatkowski has the itch to run his own program, or will in the future.  And even with the success he had at Boise State, his profile is a lot higher at Washington than it was with the Broncos.  It wouldn't surprise me to see him mentioned more often in rumors moving forward, but with the money top-flight assistants make these days, it'd probably take a Power Five job to pry him away, and nearing 50 years old, that gets less and less likely with each passing year.

sport697:

How good should John Ross be this season? Coming off a big injury, should he still be the quick speedster he once was?

UWDP: The one saving grace of John Ross' injury was that it occurred so early, giving him almost a year and a half of rehab work prior to the start of the 2016 season.  And as the results of the recent Husky combine show, Ross certainly hasn't lost any of his straight-line speed.

If nothing else, I think Husky fans can count on John Ross bolstering a Husky kick return unit that averaged a pedestrian 20.2 yards/return in 2015.  Ross already has three returns for touchdowns in his career, plus a couple of them called back as the referees decided to insert themselves into the action.  The excess of speed Ross possesses allows him to turn small creases into big holes, and get yards no other member of the team can.

It's a little tougher to know what to expect from Ross as a receiver.  The biggest reason for optimism in my mind is that he was able to add 15 pounds to his frame without sacrificing any of his speed.  At the very least, that added strength should allow him to better deal with bigger defensive backs at the line of scrimmage, better handle blocking assignments, and be stronger with the ball in the air.

At the same time, though, it's worth noting that outside of his ability to turn short catches into big gains, Ross really hasn't distinguished himself as a receiver.  Through two seasons, he has 33 catches.  Even with the lack of playmaking ability from the receiving corps in 2014, the coaching staff saw fit to move him to cornerback (granted, also a position of significant need at the time).

Although the most likely scenario is that Ross steps into the role that Jaydon MIckens vacates, he and Chico McClatcher are two of the biggest non-running back threats the Washington offense can put on the field.  I hope that the staff gives Ross a look at one of the outside receiving positions....

Ross is an upperclassman now.  He's entering his fourth year in the program.  He should be healthy, and is quite a bit stronger than he was the last time he took the field.  I expect him to take a step forward as an all-around offensive player in 2016.  With that speed, he's got a really high ceiling.

JoeinWSea:

What can the fans do to make the Pac-12 stop sucking at officiating?

UWDP: What can fans do?  Write letters.  Complain to each other.  In short, not a whole lot.  It's a top-down process.  Until Larry Scott or the administrations that employ Larry Scott, decide to take drastic action to fix the problem, not much is really going to happen.

As much as I want the "right" call to be made, the Pac 12 is spending too much effort in taking the game away from the officials on the field (or court).  The announcement that targeting can be called by review officials even if not called on the field is a good example of this.  I'm willing to bet you see targeting called far more closely in 2016, as the stripes on the field overcompensate for the Eye in the Sky looking over their collective shoulders; nobody wants to be the one to miss the call on the field.

GlendaleDawg :

Hi Brad. How many Gatorade State Players of the Year are currently on the Udub roster? The three that I can thing of off-hand are:  Dissly (MT); DBG (AZ), and McGrew (CA). Also, to the best of you knowledge, are there any more on the horizon? Thanks, GD in the DSW.

UWDP: Austin Joyner was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington in 2014-15, and Jake Browning was a two-time winner in 2013-14 and 2014-15 in California.  As far as I know, those are it.

That's a tough award to project.  For the 2016-17 year, Salvon Ahmed is probably the best bet.  In 2018, though, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Jacob Sirmon brings one to the UW.

Rhaego:

No tourney for the Dawgs this year, seems like Romar is going to be done-so if we have Fultz, Atewe, and Timmins and no tourney appearance. Will we be Pac12 favorites next year if Chriss and Murray stay? Top 3?

UWDP: What do you mean, Romar is going to be done?  You think there's a chance he gets fired at the end of this season?  If you do, let me disavow you of that notion right now.  It's not going to happen.  For all intents and purposes, the UW doesn't even have the mechanics in place to make it happen (an acting AD doesn't draw enough water to fire him), even if there was a groundswell to do it.  And as much as some fans want it to be the case, there really isn't a consensus of fans that want him fired.

If you want to argue that he's lost the mojo that made him the most successful coach in modern program history, that's one thing.  I might agree.  Probably not.  You can argue that he didn't get as much out of this season's roster as he should've.  The problem with that one is that as talented as this freshman class is, it simply doesn't come close to the ones that have actually had success at places like Duke or Kentucky.

With the current roster a year older - Andrew Andrews + a freshman Marquelle Fultz and redshirt freshman Sam Timmons, the Huskies are a top three team in the Pac 12, fairly easily.  It's a team that could win the conference.

OsidePup:

Which Husky player received the largest rookie signing bonus?? Which player earned the most in his NFL playing career??

UWDP: As far as I know, Jake Locker's $7.65 million signing bonus is the largest for any UW player.  Mark Brunell made more than $50 million during his career.  I doubt any Husky player made more than that.

Rhaego:

What are the best bathrooms on campus? Hint: I won't tell you because I enjoy the solitude.

UWDP: I guess that depends on your criteria.  For solitude, I think it would be hard to beat some of the ones in the Fisheries buildings.  Yes, my undergrad degree is in Fisheries Biology.  Getting one of those is the sure-fire way to end up in grad school.

What about bathroom graffiti?  One of the best I saw in my time there was:

Here I sit, in the vapor,
wondering who took all the toilet paper.
How much longer will I linger
before I'm forced to use my finger?

horndawg:

I know the NBA draft is all about potential but why would you enter it (if you were baby boy or Marquese ) when you have Tony Wroten (athleticism but no ability to shoot) as Example A. Yes, all it takes is one GM to fall in love with you, but both have serious deficiencies in their games and until they at least add weight/strength to their slight frames, they will be riding the pine for the next couple of years. Why not stay and develop their game (at least Romar has shown the ability to develop guards), and parlay that into a lottery pick.

UWDP: For any first round draft pick, I can give you literally millions of reasons.  Guaranteed millions.

As much as we fans want to romanticize the notion of the love of playing for our school, the reason that most big-time college basketball players play is to get to the NBA.  The vast majority have their dream squashed and end up playing all four years, but almost all of them believe they're destined for stardom the day they first take the court at <insert name> University (or the University of <insert name>, if you must).

I hope they'll stay, because I agree that neither really looks ready to contribute much to an NBA right now in the short term.  But for their development, it can easily be argued that focusing on basketball 100% of the time is better for their development than the NCAA-limited number of hours they can spend with the Washington staff, while still at the very least going through the motions of being a UW student.

Part of what makes Dejounte Murray and Marques Chriss so good is the confidence they have in their ability.  Neither thinks he's going to fail.  Neither thinks he's going to end up being Tony Wroten.  And both know that the real money, whether a lottery pick or later in the first round, is made on the second contract, not the first.  That's what they're playing for.

I hope they come back, but at the same time, I realize that it's for every bit as selfish a reason (my desire to see them get wins for the UW) is leaving would be for them (taking the early money).

Rhaego:

Tell us something we don't know about Gecko Landon.

UWDP: Here are a few things (some might actually be true...)

  • He speaks four languages, but one of them is not English.
  • He calls "pants", "trousers."
  • He thinks a good haircut should cost at least $50, and there should be a little pain involved.
  • His left foot is two sizes smaller than his right.
  • He knows all of the choreography for "Riverdance."
  • He sings soprano in a barbershop quartet that exclusively does Motley Crue songs.
  • He wears his sunglasses at night, because Corey Hart told him to.
  • When he first came to this "football" blog, he thought he finally found a place to discuss soccer.
  • He's not a vegetarian because he loves animals, it's because he hates plants.
  • When he plays checkers, he always has to be red.
  • His favorite outfit is a loin cloth paired with cowboy boots.

Mikesbike:

There has been a bumper crop of walk-ons recently.  CP seems eager and determined to get these guys on board. To what extent do walk-ons normally stick with it for all four years, especially if they have little chance of playing? Who among them has a realistic chance to see playing time?

UWDP: Yeah, Petersen has done a good job of getting some talented guys excited about the prospect of walking on at the UW.  And a good walk-on program is no small part of a successful program; they make up close to 20% of a roster, and they frequently play a huge role in how much value a team gets out of practice in work against the scout team.

I honestly have no idea what percentage of walk-ons last all four (or five) years in the mostly thankless job of being tackling dummies Monday through Friday with little hope of seeing the field on Saturdays.  I wouldn't guess very many do.

I highly doubt any of the walk-ons from the class of 2016 see the field this year.  There are several on the roster who played some in 2015, though (I'm not including graduating senior long snapper Ryan Masel).  As far as I know, Hayden Schuh had the most playing time, as he was a regular member of the kickoff team.  Special teams is the easiest route to playing time, though, as I'm sure you all well know.

Husky in Oregon:

Somewhat known for using gadget plays at Boise St, and always mentioned on various telecasts, I don't  recall that Peterson has actually used very many. I don't consider a fly sweep to be a gadget...unless of course if Hall throws a pass. Can you recount a few (or hopefully our commenters will too)?

UWDP: Yeah, I tend to agree with you.  I think he got that reputation largely from the conclusion of the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma in his first season as a head coach.

Of course, now that I'm trying to think of them, I can't remember very many.  Marvin Hall threw three passes the last two seasons, so there's three.  I remember that Deontae Cooper threw a pass to the QB each of the past two seasons, and that neither went anywhere.  Dante Pettis had an aborted pass attempt last year against Utah (I think?).  There was the disastrous fake punt near the end of the Stanford game in 2014.  Tristan Vizcaino took a fake field goal into the end zone against Utah State last year.  There were a couple of fake punts that worked I think, but I can't remember them specifically right now.

Rhaego:

Do I smell a Pac-16?

UWDP: A couple of years ago, I would've given you a pretty emphatic "yes,"  because the Big 12 seemed so unstable.  Texas still has the propensity to be ungodly greedy, but there's enough money in that conference's current TV contract that I think it will take something cataclysmic to tear that conference down today.  I think it's more likely they find another two schools (so they can have a conference championship game), and it survives.  For now.  Ultimately, I think that college football is going to undergo some sort of dramatic realignment, but I don't think that a Pac 16 will necessarily be part of it.  It's going to be some fundamental shift, maybe part of breaking away from the NCAA or something like that, that results in the current Power Five teams forming their own conference structure and playoff.  Or something like that.

HUSKYinTheMidAtlantic:

Next recruit to commit to UW is........?

UWDP: Good question.  There are others that might have some actual insight into this, and I hope they'll answer below.  Junior Day is coming up soon, so it's probably going to be someone coming out of that.  Call it a wish, but I'll go with Henry Bainivalu.

All for today, folks.  Time to starting getting into shape for spring practices.