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Mailbag: “Da Bears” Edition

Chicago Bears v San Diego Chargers Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Regular useless facts.

  • All gondolas in Venice must be painted black, unless they belong to a high official.
  • Hummingbirds can fly backward.
  • If you find yourself in quicksand, lie on your back and raise your legs slowly to prevent yourself from sinking.
  • The only animals that can contract leprosy are humans and armadillos.
  • A shrimp’s heart is in its head.
  • In France, the minimum age to buy alcohol in a bar is five.
  • Iguanas, koalas, and Komodo dragons all have two penises.
  • At a rate of one number per second, it would take about 12 days to count to a million, and 32 years to count to a billion.
  • Michigan was the first state to have roadside picnic tables.
  • If the air conditioning at the Houston Astrodome was turned off, the entrance of humid air would cause it to rain inside.

To your questions.

Peterson shows TOO much loyalty to long time players.

Why do the Coaches let Chico on the field during tight games!?


I love Chico, but since his devastating injury he has certainly had his problems. Do you have any insight about his health status and/or the coach’s confidence in his continued contributions to the team. Your article “Rocks” - thanks for all the hard work.

UWDP: Chico McClatcher is a proven playmaker for the offense, and the offense needs a guy that can make plays on his own. McClatcher is going to lose the opportunity if he keeps coughing up the ball, but until then, he’s averaging almost 15 yards a reception by taking short passes and getting additional yards. He’s the only guy on the roster that’s really shown he’s capable of doing that. I don’t think he’s suddenly forgotten how to hold the football, so I hope he continues to get his chances. Maybe he isn’t a return man, though.....

Other than being “healthy enough to play,” I don’t know anything else. I think he’s probably at the point that it’s a matter of shaking off the rust, and that he might be pressing a little too hard in the small number of opportunities he’s being given.


What was going on between Byron Murphy and Montez after that pass deflection

UWDP: It was Myles Bryant (not Murphy), and I don’t know, but it certainly would’ve been fun to hear. It definitely got under Montez’s skin, and ruffling a QB is a good thing. Bryant toed the line in getting a taunting penalty (and giving the Buffs a first down) a little more closely than I bet the coaches wanted to see, but I actually liked seeing the swagger. I think it’s been missing a little from the secondary this season.

Maybe it had something to do with the pick six Bryant had last season off of Montez?


The Bears score against average teams, but their defense wins games. Do you believe the UW can keep their defense on the field and tire them out.

Just an out of the box comment. Can you believe Ohio State threw the ball 75 times.

UWDP: I think it might be overly generous to say that Cal can score against average teams. They can score against really bad defenses, but that’s about it. Cal turned the ball over 14 times in back-to-back-to-back losses to Oregon, Arizona and UCLA, and that can start to take a toll on a defense. The ship was righted against Oregon State, but, y’know, Oregon State....

Cal’s defense looks very much like Washington’s defense in design. Washington’s offense should have success against a conservative defense, since the passing game will incorporate the tight ends and a lot of multiple receiver routes (instead of max protection and two men in a pattern). Yes, I think the Huskies will do more than enough on offense to win another 24-10 type of game.

Utterly shocked that an Urban Meyer-coached team can’t run the ball. It’s not like this is his first year at a new school, either. It wasn’t just the Purdue game; Minnesota held the Buckeyes to less than 3 YPC the week prior. I don’t like Meyer, nor am I a fan of Ohio State. That game was a lot of fun to watch, and Rondale Moore for Purdue can play.


Im not an NFL draft guru but how can BBK be a fringe prospect? A guy that hustles ,makes plays and knows what he’s doing doesn’t have a place on a roster? Seriously?

UWDP: He has tremendous instincts and reactions to the ball, too. He’s going to be missed next season, no matter how much certain groups within the Husky fan base (mistakenly) think he’s a liability on the field.

He’s a good athlete that can run, but the NFL draft is mostly about potential. Things like height, weight, arm length, and hand size play a big part in a guy’s future employment opportunity. But that’s the draft, not the roster. He can play football far too well to be done with the game after this year. He’s going to make a team, and probably continue to be seen as an overachiever.


With the season half over what grade would you give Hamdan and Lake? They both have had ups and downs but is the coaching better than it was a year ago?

Second question: will McClatcher be used in critical situations again?

UWDP: The defense hasn’t produced style points that are important to a lot of Husky fans, but they get an A+ in their most critical job (and the only one that actually matters): they don’t let the opponent score. I cannot say one way or another if the defensive coaching is better or worse than it was a year ago; it’s the same guys doing the same things. I think the change in play calling duties from Pete Kwiatkowski to Jimmy Lake is mostly much ado about nothing. I think the staff has done well working around certain limitations on the roster.

On offense, I think Bush Hamdan is doing exactly what Chris Petersen wants him to do, the same way that Jonathan Smith did. Again, I pretty much think the change is mostly a non-event. Things wouldn’t look different (in either direction) if Smith was here instead of Hamdan.

Jake Browning

Where does my pick against the Buffs rank among my other picks this year?

UWDP: It ranks as your “Most Recent.” By far your best tackle, though.


I know I should know this, but is Ahmed still hurt? How come so many carries go to Pleasant and McGrew when Ahmed is average king?

UWDP: Everybody is banged up at this point in the season, but yes, Salvon Ahmed has a minor knee twinge from the Oregon game. He missed a lot of playing time against Colorado due to the throat slash penalty.


If a player fumbles the ball out of bounds in the field of play the ball is placed at the spot of the fumble and the team retains possession. What is the reason for the rule being different if the ball is fumbled in the field of play but the ball goes out of bounds in the end zone and it is ruled a touch back for the opposing team

UWDP: Players used to be able to fumble forward and get the extra yardage if the ball went out of bounds. When that was the case, it made more sense that a fumble through the end zone resulted in a turnover, in order to make intentionally fumbling near the goal line come with some risk. Today, a turnover on a fumble through the end zone might be the most punitive penalty in all of sports. I don’t know if it’s ever discussed as a rules change, but my opinion is that is certainly ought to change.


It was mentioned on the broadcast that we haven’t made a pass out of the wildcat. It sure seems like teams put 11 in the box when we go wildcat. Have we done ANYTHING other than run it straight into the line? I don’t believe so.

UWDP: I think we’ve seen a handoff to either the back coming in fly motion or to the zone read running back in the past, but I could be remembering that wrong. Not this year, maybe last?

Either way, it’s surprising how well it’s worked given the lack of threat of anything but a straight-up-the-field run. I don’t love the play by any stretch, but it’s harder to be intellectually honest in criticizing it when the success rate is as high as it is (and of course that doesn’t mean it always works - no play does).

PDX Dawg

Do we collectively owe Jonathan Smith an apology?

UWDP: What’s your thought on that?


Urban Meyer lost to Purdue by four touchdowns. Is he an elite head coach?

UWDP: You’ll have to define elite in terms of college football coaches. It’s tough to argue with his results overall on the field. One game doesn’t change that. Maybe the other stuff that seems to surround him does?


Thank you for the coverage of our Huskies!

Quick question: Does it matter (in terms of web site statistics, etc.) what format I use to read the blog posts? For example, I typically read with Feedly but I sometimes wonder if that means I don’t count as a unique visitor to a page. Since UW Dawgpound is free, I want to make sure I support your work. Thanks.

UWDP: Good question. I don’t know, but maybe Ryan Priest, Max, Chris, etc can let us know.


I hate to move the narrative in a foul direction, but is UO QB Justin Herbert going pro at the EOY? It would be nice to face someone new in 2019. Thanks, GD.

UWDP: All I can really tell you is that every time he and I talk about it, he’s really torn.

He’s a guy that checks all of the appropriate NFL boxes, and can do a lot of really good things. He’s got a really big flaw (accuracy in the face of pressure) that he needs to fix.

p&g blud in nevada

Yes I know how to spell the real word ! just wanted to spare the feint of heart any unnecessary anxiety when reading my user name. To quote an elder statesman in Tempe ( you play to win the game) !! What happened to that often times riverboat gambler I watched for years in Idaho. I hope that c.p. will be more aggressive in the remaining 4 games to up the probability of winning out. What say you?

UWDP: I think that Chris Petersen developed a reputation of being aggressive and utilizing all sorts of trickery in large part based on the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, and that it isn’t really deserved. He’s always been a very conservative coach. But the more talent he has, the less risk there is in “going for” certain things at certain times (like 4th down), so I think he’s actually more aggressive when he already has the greatest advantage over an opponent.

I’d love to see blowout wins, but I also will tolerate precisely zero additional losses to get there. It’s like play calling - what we actually want is to see plays that work. Winning in a sustainable manner is the most important thing.


When are we going to accept that Coach K should be the defensive coordinator and NOT Jimmy???? I Love Jimmy as a secondary coach and recruitor, but he cannot be a defensive coach!!!! What the hell man!!!!!

UWDP: I’m going to consider this the first few shovels full as fans start to dig the rabbit hole. Don’t go down the rabbit hole.

Not football related

Golf team not the same since Matt Thurmond left. He was at UW for 15 seasons; and when he was here the team usually was in the top 10. Now we rarely hear about the team. Do you know why Thurmond left abruptly? Was he not happy at UW?

UWDP: As I recall, money was part of it. And I think coaching golf in Arizona has a lot of benefits over coaching golf in Washington.


Give us a hot take. A weird stat. A new debate; something we haven’t argued about yet.

UWDP: Try again, with a “please.” No music, no dancing.

How do you differentiate between “controversial” and “offensive?” That’s a line that gets blurred a lot.


Pondering the shift in the fan base attitude. Seems negativity and fretting over elements and performances is at least a sign that people care and maybe a better indicator of being a true fan than the other end, feelings of infallibility . Care to comment wise sage?

UWDP: “I have certain views on things. I consider myself to be a fan. Ergo, people that hold views similar to mine are obviously better fans.”

Care to respond, rosemary?

Thomas C

Scheduling has cost UW a lot this season. The dawgs had to travel 3000 miles to play Auburn with its “home” field advantage, and then the crazy Pac-12 schedulers made UW play a second in sequence road game against a two-week rested Oregon squad. If things were different we should have won at least one of those games. Comment?

UWDP: Hopefully the conference addresses the issue of a team playing consecutive road games playing a team coming off a bye. Maybe the rule is all teams coming off byes have to play on the road? But I’m simply not going to rail against playing Auburn (outside of the fact that it wasn’t a home-and-home, that is....). I love those games as a college football fan. It would be at the expense of the good of the game if those matchups disappear.

What’s up with the south?

Is Utah a better team or USC just down and bad? They’re a different team away from home. Do you think USC will be looking for a new coach later this year. It’s crazy that they haven’t found a great coach. I believe that’s a dream job for most coaches.

Anyways, If we get pass Cal this weekend the Standford game is going to be huge as they’re still in the Pac-12 race (They play WSU this weekend) Hopefully Standford wins and that game will be for the north title.

UWDP: I think Utah has finally managed to start playing a little better. It’s making that win for the Huskies look pretty good as time passes.

USC....what a mess. I don’t think Clay Helton survives into 2019, almost no matter what. There’s no excuse for USC to be unable to run the ball.

Since rankings don’t really matter anymore than I agree, the best thing for the Huskies’ chances to win the North is carnage.

Pac 12 scheduling

What’s up with the Pac 12 scheduling? Why can’t they get it right? LSU and Alabama play in couple of wks but both of them get a buy before their game. Oregon got a buy prior to playing Washington. I was looking at Stanford’s schedule this year and they had a buy before a Thursday game. This week they play WSU basically giving them extra time to prepared for WSU and to heal up. (I know they’re likely the only fans that’s fine with a Thursday game) But this isn’t fair. Also every other year Stanford gets both Oregon and Washington at home. The same with Oregon but it’s this year; That scheduling is likely why they traded north division tiles at the beginning of the Pac 12. It’s crazy how unfair the scheduling is for some teams.

Last year USC had to go throughout the whole season without a buy. We had to face Oregon and Standford back to back for years when they were both good. Finally the ND getting the ability to play their last game in California every year is getting annoying. It’s messes up the whole scheduling. It’s unfair that most Pac 12 teams don’t travel to California as often as we should.

UWDP: In the south, I think they actually call it a “layaway,” not a “buy,”

I think the Pac 12 values conference parity, not protecting its most likely playoff contenders. Like the NFL, where the Super Bowl winner has the hardest schedule the next season.

Actually, I think the Pac 12 mostly values the schedule working out mathematically more than anything - the last thing they want is to publish the whole thing and then realize that they have Cal playing Oregon at home the same week Arizona is hosting the Golden Bears, while UCLA has four byes and only plays 6 conference games.

Teams that play on Thursdays always have a mini-bye before and after the Thursday game.


Cal has had 3 different starters at QB this season. The one who started last week’s game against Oregon State got his first start this year. Who is it going to be and why?

UWDP: It sounds like it’s going to be Chase Garbers, who’s the better passer between he and Brandon McIlwain. Ross Bowers hasn’t played since the first game. He could be injured, he could simply be the odd man out, or maybe he’s just done at Cal. It’s a little surprising that he hasn’t had another chance.


It is pretty clear that the Huskies have some holes in their roster. This year we don’t have a player capable of getting to the QB (sacks or pressure), causing turnovers (interceptions of fumbles [Bierria is missed]), or breaking big plays. Who do you see as candidates to step it up either the rest of this season and next year? Ahmed with more touches? Murphy? Bowman with more playing time?

UWDP: On offense, I think Ahmed has the most big-play potential of the healthy members of the team. Myles Gaskin, if he can play, does as well. But really, I don’t expect to see anything real “different” at this point (on either side of the ball, really). Guys will either step up, or the Huskies will continue to be the team they have been to date.

On defense, I think that Levi Onwuzurike could provide an answer. Or Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. Or Ryan Bowman. I also expect the interception numbers to change moving forward.

It’s really hard to say about next year. New QB, no Gaskin, a few players coming off redshirts at could look a lot different. It’s the same on defense, with the potential to have a lot of losses in the secondary, plus some more experience from talented (but very young) guys up front.

Kitty Rainbow Laser

Realistically, is an 8-team playoff coming anytime soon? If so, potentially when? Current model, the entire Pac12 conference is eliminated by mid-October this season. Weeeeee. :-( But, create a playoff where each power-5 conference gets an automatic, conference champion bid, and the Pac12 still has 5 - 6 teams playing do-or-die games into November. That sounds awesome to me! And, Apple Cup as a potential playoff, play-in game with the Pac12 title game meaning a birth to the playoffs? Yes please! Any chance this could be a reality any time soon?

UWDP: The current TV contract with the playoffs runs through 2025, so I doubt we’ll see anything different until then. After that (and leading up to the date it expires), yes, I’m sure we’ll begin to hear about it. The impetus is going to be a “deserving” B14G/SEC/ACC/Teaminamajormediamarket champ missing out.

If it’s going to expand, go to the FCS model. 24 teams, first round byes, the football equivalent of March Madness. The Rubicon has been crossed, let’s get as many great games at the end of the season as possible.


The offense has seemed moderately out of sorts all year. You can see flashes of an effective unit that could score a lot of points, but it hasn’t come together. And the issues have seemed to change game to game. What’s your diagnosis? And do you think it could still come together or is the offense what it is at this point in the season? Seems like we’re going to need more than mid-high 20s to beat Stanford and WSU.

UWDP: I think the coaching staff sees an imperfect offense, and has set about trying to win games by minimizing risk exposure on offense, given the exceptional ability of the defense to shorten a game and prevent points being scored. I think the offense has the ability to do more than it’s done to date, and will attempt to do more when the need arises (like if they find themselves trailing in a game). If the Huskies need more points, the offense will abandon risk mitigation to attempt to score them, but if they don’t, they will continue to move forward while ultimately trying to get the game clock to 0:00. People that point to the decision to go for it on 4th down against Colorado as proof that the coaches are looking to put a dagger into the opposition neglect the fact that going for it was actually the most conservative position to take in that situation.


With Hunter Bryant on the verge of returning how do you see him fitting in or changing the two TE sets we been running so far this season? Does it become a three man rotation or does Hunter see time at the SE or slot (doubtful he takes time from Fuller)

UWDP: It’ll be interesting to see, especially if the staff wants to try and conserve a redshirt. No matter what, he’s going to get worked in pretty slowly, the same way he was last season as a freshman. He’ll probably have a few plays designed for him. I don’t think he’ll see time at receiver, but more likely in the three tight-end sets that were the staple of the offense in 2017.

Dirk Diggler

Does Gardner Minshew really think he can steal my headband and get away with it?

UWDP: Apparently so.

In the post-game interview last week he was asked how the Cuogs planned to celebrate the win, and he answered “the right way.” I wonder what that means, in Pullman....

Larry Scott

How did I get the job in the first place? How is it that I’m the highest paid commissioner out of all 5 conferences? Why haven’t I been fired yet? I will now go rest upon my pile of money and wait for answers.

UWDP: Blaming Larry Scott is easy, and at least partly appropriate. At this point, though, he’s a symptom, and the real problem is with the people that employ him - the Pac 12 presidents.

For those that don’t read it, Jon Wilner’s “Pac 12 Hotline” is consistently a great read. I love his idea about a Pac 12 football steering committee. That would be a great way to reduce Scott’s impact on football.


Why isn’t ‘hands to the face’ called when an offensive player with the ball stiff-arms a defender in the facemask?

UWDP: The explanation that most officials give is that the offensive player with the ball is allowed to ward off a defender with his free hand, but is so limited in this regard that open-handed contact with the face mask is allowed. A “punch” to the face may be called, but even that isn’t too likely.

I’m surprised we don’t see more “facemask” penalties called agains the offense, though. There’s a lot of liberty taken with grabbing (like Oregon’s receiver in the game two weeks ago, which was called).

Oregon Dawg

Is this the end of USC as a preannual top 10 team? Yet again the Coach is on the hot seat, recruiting is down and Oregon and UW are both ahead right now, fan base is pissed but seems to be getting used to losing (like UCLA), and on and on.

UW didn’t lose 12 game out of the blue in 2008. One mediocre coach after another and bad decisions by administration which ultimately led to the Willingham era. Reason we didn’t fire Willingham earlier is because we had fired 3 coaches before him and were desperate for some stability. Which is exactly where USC is now. Desperate for stability.


UWDP: USC is in the midst of a downturn, but they have way too many advantages to be “permanently” down.

Hiring coaches is luck, mostly. Pat Haden added “not doing a good job evaluating prospects” to that, twice.

Washington got to 0-12 because Mark Emmert didn’t have the guts to fire Willingham after Todd Turner fell on his sword for him. Yes, Turner was actually the bigger problem, so getting rid of him was critical. But Emmert has said he knew that Willingham was overwhelmingly likely to fail in 2008, but he didn’t have the courage to face the backlash that would’ve resulted from firing him.

USC isn’t desperate for stability. They’re desperate to win. Big difference.

King Husky

Did BBK get one of his finger nails ripped off on Saturday against Colorado?

UWDP: That’s the story I read. If so, it’s going to hurt - a lot - for the rest of the season. Better him than me.

All for this week.