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Mailbag - "Questions on Things I Know Nothing About" Edition

Once, when my wife and I were arguing, she told me I was acting like a child. I told her that made her a pedophile, and I wasn't going to stand there and argue with a pervert.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

First a useless fact or two.

  • Overly simplistic passwords account for more than 80% of all computer password hacks.
  • The top three health-related searches on the internet are (in order): Depression, Allergies, and Cancer.
  • Dentists recommend toothbrushes be kept at least six feet from a toilet to protect from airborne contaminates during flushing reaching the toothbrush.
  • Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
  • Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are 50 years of age, or older.
  • The first owner of the Marlboro company died of lung cancer.
  • Every U.S. president has worn glasses (even if they aren't photographed in them) until Barack Obama.
  • Mosquito repellents don't actually repel mosquitoes; they make you invisible to them by blocking the sensors that alert them to your presence.
  • Walt Disney was afraid of mice.
  • The King of Hearts is the only king without a mustache.
  • Pearls dissolve in vinegar.
  • It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a season's worth of footballs.
  • Humans are the only primates that don't have pigment on the palms of their hands.
  • Months that begin on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th.
  • The only two days of the year that never have a game played by one of the major sports - NFL, NBA, NHL, and the MLB - are the day before and the day after baseball's All-Star game.
  • The finger prints of Koala bears are virtually indistinguishable from those of humans, and have been used to to throw police off in crime scene investigations.
On to the questions, most of which I know nothing about.  But that won't stop me from writing lots of words.


Are the Husky football helmets really going with the black facemask?

Looks like some minor tweaks have been made to the unis (especially the gold pants and white on the helmet trim and chin straps). Any updates?


Please tell me that the helmets are going to be Gold!


Any juicy rumors on new unis?

UWDP: I don't pay a lot of attention to uniforms, especially during the offseason unless there's some big unveiling like there was in 2014. That one was done in April, so since we haven't seen anything, I doubt there are going to be major changes.

Even during the games, I actually don't pay much attention to what the team is wearing after the first couple of minutes, now that I think about it.

I'm sure we're going to see at least one game in "traditional" purple and gold (plus those black sleeves). We're going to see a game in all black. We're going to see the white helmets. We'll probably see the gold chrome helmets (wait - did they wear those the last two years? I don't even remember). I actually think a purple chrome helmet could be cool, if they can get the purple color right.

I don't know anything about black facemasks, except on the black helmets. Nor have I seen any changes to the helmets or jerseys. Anybody that can add something in the comments, please do so.


I hesitate to ask because I don't want to speculate at player attrition, but how many LOIs will Coach Pete ultimately be accepting on NSD?
Rick Anacaona:

The Huskies need three OL recruits this cycle.  Who will they be and when will they commit?


What will be the final number of recruits this year?

Chris Denton:

Why no offensive line commits so far? Henry Bainvalu, Foster Sarrel Jaxson Kirkland, and Alijah Vera Tucker among others.

What's the current status on recruiting prospects? Alijah Vera Tucker and Isaih Palo Mao in particular?

UWDP: Again, this is a subject that's not my forte. I hope the people that follow recruiting will chime in and add what they can.

The class is going to be small. There are only 10 scholarship seniors on the roster. As for guys that are going to leave early on merit, I've said many times that Sidney Jones will be gone. A lot of people think Budda Baker is likely to go (although I'm not as convinced). With outstanding seasons, there are a couple more early entry possibilities; I'd include Elijah Qualls and Azeem Victor as the most likely to put up the seasons that could make it a possibility. In the next tier, you could include Keishawn Bierria, and if we really get crazy, throw in John Ross and Coleman Shelton. Let's assume three early NFL entrants. Add in a retirement and two transfers, and that's 16 scholarship spots open. That'd be about my guess, give or take one.

As for the linemen, I'd love to see them start committing as well. The Huskies are in on some national-type recruits, even though a few are local guys. Of's top 300 recruits, only a little better than half have committed somewhere as of yet. It's still pretty early in the process.

Add what you know below.

Daenerys Targaryen:

If Pac12 teams were given designated Westeros Houses, which House would each team belong to?

UWDP: I know that this is a question referencing Game of Thrones. I know that there are various houses. Beyond that, someone else is going to have to answer this one, Danny. I've tried to watch the show on a couple of different occasions, but lost interest after a season or two both times. It might help if my wife wanted to watch, but it's definitely not her thing. With the exception of college football and to a lesser extent, college basketball, I don't watch enough TV to have time to follow a series on my own, in addition to whatever one we binge.

Anyone that wants can take a stab at this.


Future Pac24, 12 teams Top tier, 12 teams bottom tier with relegation. Go.
UWDP: I'm not sure why I'm doing this to myself.

I know the "relegation" is in regards to soccer, but once again, not something I've bothered to learn to know about.

But if there's ever some sort of expansion to four or five twenty-team uber-conferences - the ultimate division of the "haves" and "have nots" in college football - I think that what you'll see is current conferences sort of merge. For one, it'll make the most sense geographically. Two, it's the easiest. That seems to be a fairly significant driving force for athletic departments these days.

If this type of thing ever does happen, the Pac-12 had better be at the forefront of it as opposed to being late to the party, because it's the conference with the greatest chance of really being screwed. The SEC and ACC are fairly natural partners, so it likely would come down to the B14N and Pac-12 raiding the Big 12 (which even with the recent talk about expanding, seems like it's a wet willie from Texas away from falling apart) for the best teams there. If Texas and Oklahoma move north, the Pac-12 could be forced to pick the leftovers there, plus a bunch of other schools west of the Mississippi that aren't really worth the effort, relative to the bigger prizes out there.


Rank the road-game venues.

UWDP: Assuming you're talking about this year, that means Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Cal, and WSU.

Of those, I haven't been to Utah, but that's the one I'm hoping to make this season. It's a smallish stadium, but really well put-together. I love the setting, and they've historically had a great student section.

I haven't been to the renovated Memorial Stadium at Cal, but it's still just a big bowl. It's cut into the side of a hill, so half the people enter at the top of the bowl and walk down to their seats, which is different. The pitch of the seats is nearly flat, so seats at the top of the bowl are quite a ways away from the field. The location is fairly nice, and the train makes getting in and out easy. Taking a car is every bit as bad as driving to Husky Stadium.

Arizona Stadium is unique because you can obviously tell it's been built in small bits over time. Its address is 1 Championship Drive. Heh. The seats themselves, the bathrooms, the concessions...pretty bad. It needs some major work.

Ah, Autzen. It's populated with Duck fans, which makes it untenable to most Huskies, but the fact is that it's actually a nice stadium. Not very big, but the sight lines are really good, and just about every seat feels like it's right on top of the field. I've been there lots of times. The first was the game in 2002. Duck fans were absolute asshats that day. Every other game has had a similar score, but with the wrong team on top. Duck fans, for the most part, have been increasingly hospitable.

If it was someplace in Texas, Martin Stadium would be one of the best high school venues in the state. Maybe the best, although not the biggest. The location, right in the heart of campus, is pretty cool. But man, that's a small stadium. Really small. I haven't been post-remodel, but the facilities in the visiting section were a joke. Not that I'd expect Cougar fans to care; I know I wouldn't. There's actually nothing "wrong" with Martin Stadium. It's just...cute. You want to tell it what a fine young man it is, and how big it's going to be when it grows up.

There's a ton of different ways to rank the stadiums, so it's tough to make a list. If I was the only person in there (so, just from a "watching a football game" perspective), it's tough not to put Autzen first, even though nobody is going to like that answer. I think I'd really like Rice-Eccles, as I tend to love the high desert and mountains.

I don't know. Let's hear your thoughts.


If all the pieces work like they can, which never happens in football, what is to stop this team from being in the CFP?

UWDP: Reality is the biggest thing that's going to stop it.

Sure, I can come up with dream scenarios with every bounce going the Huskies' way in 2016, where the offense develops into a coldly efficient machine and the defense dominates. But quite frankly, this team just isn't good enough. It doesn't have the depth or playmaking ability on offense.

You could see the rebuild that was going to have to be made with this team in 2015 back a few years ago (regardless of who was going to be the coach). Lots of us talked about it. 2016 was going to be better, and 2017 was the year things could really break the Dawgs' way. The defense is ahead of the curve, but the offense really isn't.

Quite frankly, I don't think this team is good enough to be a Pac-12 champion. It could happen, but I wouldn't bet money on it. Playoffs? No way. Look at it this way: to make the playoffs, the Huskies are going to have to win a bare minimum of nine Pac-12 games. I can stare at the sun, or squint enough to make that happen. But it's not a reasonable expectation under anything but a bizarre set of circumstances.


Been awhile since I've seen a 'State of the Pound' piece by management comparing our blog to other SBN blogs by readership, comments, and (most importantly) recs.
How are we doing?

UWDP: I haven't heard many specifics of late, but I know that the is one of the most popular Pac-12 blogs on the sbnation network. I think UCLA's is number one, but I can't remember. I think Cal and UW are the next two in line. Chris Landon has the stats, and maybe he'll be willing to share something at some point soon.

And as an aside, Chris in particular has done a phenomenal job of growing this site. There are a lot of other people that deserve credit as well (and I don't mean to discount them in the slightest), but Chris is the one that's been the primary driver in organizing things here, in getting content here out to the greatest number of eyeballs possible, and providing the content the content himself. He and I joined this place within a couple days of each other back in 2008. While I've spent almost all my time as an ordinary commentor, Chris has published twelve hundred articles, fanposts, and fanshots. That's a one, followed by a comma, followed by a two, and then two zeros. The vast, vast majority of those have come in the last three years or so.

I receive a substantial salary to post here. But I don't think Chris gets paid anything to manage this place. It's all voluntary on his end. And it's a lot more work than most people would probably guess. But if you ever get a chance to talk to him, it'll become clear pretty quickly that business growth-and-management-type things are pretty much intrinsic to his nature. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to hear that his children were "networking" and "plugged-in" and "part of the team" long before they could walk. He's a good guy to work for and with around here. He does a great job.

This is the most popular Husky-related website on the internet. That's pretty cool.


Which Coordinator or Assistant is most likely to be hired away next?
Or alternatively, fired?
Then, most likely replacement?

UWDP: I'd say Jimmy Lake, hands down. He's had too much success as a recruiter, and he's gotten the results on the field. I think Chris Petersen gave a nod to that by making him the co-defensive coordinator, even if it's really only a celebratory title (not that that's the case). At the same time, it's raised his profile to the rest of the college football world, since he's not going to necessarily be a first-timer when he's hired away. And as much as I hate to say it, I think it's going to happen after this season.

As to who might be fired, I know there's a large segment of the fan base frothing at the mouth to read Jonathan Smith's name here. It might be true. If it is, I think it's going to be more about the work he does as the quarterbacks coach than as offensive coordinator.

As to who would replace Smith, a lot of fans think Jeff Tedford is simply waiting in the wings to take over. I don't necessarily think that's as true as many do. For one, it'd be an absolutely huge departure from the way Petersen has done things to date. I think Petersen relishes the mentoring/teaching aspect of coaching, and particularly in these two roles. I also think (and have said many, many times) that Petersen is the de facto offensive coordinator; the person holding that title is really just in charge of running Chris Petersen's offense. And I'm not sure that Tedford is going to be comfortable running someone else's offense.

If Tedford is hired, it's probably a stopgap. And maybe it's a sign of the evolution of Chris Petersen. Maybe, though, it's Petersen getting another strong teacher in front of his latest mentee, Bush Hamdan. As thing stand right now, Hamdan fits the profile of the young, up-and-coming, malleable Chris Petersen protégé that Petersen likes to groom and promote through his system. Not necessarily in 2017 (if the need arises), but soon.

I'm sure the other name people want to hear is Marques Tuiasosopo. Marques Tuiasosopo. There.

I feel like this is a loaded question, HuskyinExile.


Any new competitive games that Socha and Pete have sprung on the players since the stair climb at the Space Needle??

Which of the coaches (if any) are foregoing their vacation time to supervise in the Leap Program and summer conditioning??

UWDP: No idea on that first part, Oside, but I'm sure Tim Socha is keeping the guys' attention this summer.

With the rules changes for offseason conditioning and practice, I'm sure most of the coaches have been around campus virtually all summer. Not just to keep tabs on the players and get in the allowable face time, but I'd wager that summer is tremendously busy in preparing for the start of fall and the upcoming season.

"Vacations" and "coaching" are like putting the wrong sides of two magnets together. It just doesn't work.


Is @Aruzona worst 'trap' game on schedule?
Recommend adding a voting bar of other possible trap games.

UWDP: The first Pac-12 game, and the first road game of the season? Nah, I really don't see that as a "trap" game. Even though Stanford is coming into town on a short week the next Friday. There are too many things holding the players' attention in that one.

I'd say Cal is a bigger trap game than that one. The second of two straight on the road, and it's sandwiched between Utah and USC. It's a trip fairly close to home for lots of guys. I could see the focus waning a little on that one.

Oregon State has the potential as well. Especially if the Huskies are coming off a bye following a couple of huge wins.

Patently Purple:

Is the basketball team good now?
UWDP: Like, today?

The Huskies lost their top three scorers (around 50 points/game), top three rebounders (17 per game), and top two assist guys (over 9 per game). And they were a .500 team in the Pac-12 with those guys.

But I think they're going to be better in 2016-17. I like that they're going to have a true point guard, and I always like having a skilled big man. There was also a trio of talented freshmen that willingly took a bit of a back seat as Andrew Andrews, Dejounte Murray, and Marquese Chriss asserted themselves.

You'll have to define "good," I suppose, but I doubt I'd call them that no matter your definition. Talented, with a high upside, yes. But somehow, even younger than last year, and in need of someone to lead. I think they'll be fun to watch. I think they can make noise in the conference, especially later. It's going to be fun to watch.


Is Nick Holt still AWESOME?

UWDP: Nick Holt's Western Kentucky defense was #60 by FEI and #52 by S&P. If you look at the picture of him on his WKU bio page, he looks just as awesome as ever.


So the hype train is rolling, Petersen wants to stop it, blah blah blah, we know all about that. My question is, what can Petersen do to stop it? Particularly when it comes to Browning, the pressure is on, and a sophomore slump usually stems from these sorts of things. I'm interested to see how it will effect Gaskin, and I'm glad the nonconference schedule is a cupcake this year. It also helps that the run defense is not a strength for any of their first three conference opponents, which will hopefully take some pressure off Browning. But besides running the ball, is their anything Petersen can do to take pressure off Browning and the rest of the team?

UWDP: Ignoring the hype surrounding a team is going to be the most difficult thing for Chris Petersen to manage between now and kickoff in September.  Some coaches might choose to manage it by cranking Public Enemy's "Don't Believe the Hype" at top volume during practice (and by that, I mean unintentionally feeding into the hype).

The biggest thing that Petersen has at his disposal in managing his team is the fact that they haven't actually done anything of note yet. They haven't won games, they haven't really beat good teams, they didn't finish the season on some epic winning streak to make a bowl out of nowhere. They didn't discover some sort of secret weapon at midseason, and even the best players and units had their hands in the letdowns that happened along the way.

I'm sure Jake Browning feels some pressure, but I'm not sure it's going to be any greater than being a starter at QB as a true freshman. I also don't think the external pressure is greater than the pressure he puts on himself. The real danger for Browning is probably in overpreparing, and then overthinking. I think this is a really well-designed staff to deal with that sort of thing though; to a man, they're extremely intense, but they're also patient, experienced teachers.
Other than coming in to camp out of shape, I really don't have any concerns with Myles Gaskin experiencing any sort of dropoff. The likelihood of that these days is extremely low. I don't think that pressure is going to impact him, largely because what he does is instinctive and not really based as much on thinking. It's possible he reads his press clippings. I don't think that he's the type of person with a high risk of that, and again, I think there are a lot of coaches on the staff to "help" him if his head starts to get too big.

Ray Brown:

How would you classify the point of emphasis or focus points for each head football coach over the past 30 years at UW that makes them unique in terms of football style?

UWDP: Sort of a difficult question to answer because I don't actually "know" any of these guys; most of what I can give you is just perception. But I'll try. Going back 30 years takes us to the last third of the Don James era, followed by Jim Lambright, Rick Neuheisel, Keith Gilbertson, Ty Willingham, Steve Sarkisian, and Chris Petersen.

I think Lambright and Gilbertson are very similar. Both were excellent coaches, but seemed to lack a few certain qualities that separate position coaches and coordinators from head coaches. I can't say exactly what they are. Maybe organization, maybe communication, maybe something else, maybe both plus something else. Whatever it was, it likely falls into the notion of "leadership." Both men were given the UW job in adverse circumstances and not by merit; Gilbertson earned the Cal job with his work as UW's offensive coordinator, but short of an incredibly lazy hire, I doubt he would've been given the UW job had Hedges not fired neuheisel in June. Same with Lambright. Don James wanted him to be the head coach, but I'm not sure an AD would've hired him had the circumstances not made it a necessity. Both were dealt tough hands, but I don't think either would've ultimately succeeded regardless. I admit a lot of that is simply "the odds."

In their personalities and styles, there are a lot of similarities between Sarkisian and neuheisel as well. Both had bright stars when hired by the UW, and both probably would've benefited from being a decade older and having had to deal with actual adversity prior to being given the reins. Each had relative success right out of the gate by being very different from his predecessor; they brought energy and enthusiasm to otherwise moribund ships. Sarkisian obviously had personal demons to fight, but both men were somewhat victims of their own success.

I'm not exactly sure what I think about Willingham. I think that we he was hired by Notre Dame, he started to see himself as the face of a movement ahead of being a football coach. If that's true, it's not entirely his fault.  But I don't think he possessed any special qualities as a football coach, other than the perception of himself that he (and others) created, including work ethic. I think that part of his earth-scorching on the way out of the UW was simply a defense mechanism.

There are a lot of similarities again between Petersen and James. That's blasphemy on a lot of levels. But almost the opposite of Lambright and Gilbertson, they exude "head coach" in just about everything they do. You can tell they have a plan, even if they don't articulate every aspect of it. They command respect simply with their presence. I think both would've had the same level of success in the boardroom that they do on the field. That quality that they have, and I can't really define it, it's innate. You can't learn it, and you can't copy it. You're either born with it or not. It remains to be seen at this point if Petersen can make all of that translate to wins on the football field. Even though "the odds" suggest he won't, when you listen to him and watch him with the team in the brief glimpses we're given, he's the kind of guy you'd bet on.

Jon May:

Say the Dawgs finish the season at 10-3 or 11-2, does that impact any of the players expected to leave early for the NFL?

UWDP: It'd probably increase the attention on individual players. But the decision to leave is going to be based far more on individual production than team success. At the same time, if the team goes 10-3 or 11-2, it almost undoubtedly going to mean a lot of individual achievement to make the team that good.

Yeah, if the team is that successful, it probably means Husky fans see a pretty bad situation as far as players leaving early.

Patently Purple:

Coach Pete needs a new hoopty to push around the 206. What should he choose?
UWDP: I see Petersen looking for value and safety. A low-mile year-old Volvo SUV.

Lowered, with spinners.

All for today.