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Mailbag: “Happy 90th Anniversary of the Clip-on Tie” Edition

The Seattle Times

Useless facts

  • There are about 350 sheep for every person on the Falkland Islands
  • A hamlet is a village without a church, and a town isn’t considered a city without a cathedral
  • A group of goats is called a Trip
  • In Alaska, it is illegal to shoot Moose from the open window of an airplane or other flying vehicle
  • Residents of Houston, TX eat out an average of 4.6 times per week, the highest rate of any US city
  • In Jasmine, Saskatchewan, it is illegal for a cow to moo within 300 km of a private home
  • In Quebec, it is illegal for margarine and butter to be the same color.
  • In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital suspended workers for betting on when patients would die
  • Pearls melt in vinegar

As “Uncle Don” so famously said (at least according to the rumor), that ought to hold the little bastards for a while.


What has to happen to fix the image of the PAC12?

UWDP: The first part of the answer is the most obvious - win games outside of the Pac 12. At this point, it’s not even a matter of a Pac 12 team finishing with zero or one losses anymore. Central Florida’s long winning streak is a great media story, and the Knights successes are talked about in glowing terms, even as they’re being dismissed from the playoff conversation. With the Pac 12, those same talking heads consistently take the “yeah, but...” approach. “Washington State only has one loss, but....” It’s obviously much tougher for Washington State than it would be for Washington, or USC, Oregon, or probably Stanford, but when you look at a out-of-nowhere team like Kentucky, and the immediate and continual respect they got this season prior to their 4-3 finish, Pac 12 fans ought to be a little bit disturbed to see WSU ranked only one spot ahead of those Wildcats and behind four teams with three losses (yes, I know Washington is one of those teams).

The second thing is likely never going to happen, but us Pac 12 fans have to actually care more about all of this. Frankly, we don’t. We’re good at pointing fingers about the TV network and lack of respect and east coast bias, but we also run in front when it comes to staying home from games, finding other things to do, and signing on with TV providers that don’t give us what we say we want. Some of this is on us. We aren’t like the SEC (good and bad), but gloating about the ways we’re “superior” comes with a price, and this is part of it.


Would a playoff system that gives automatic births to conference champions favor teams in smaller conferences?

UWDP: You have to refine this question. Smaller in number of teams (like the Big 12, with 10 teams), or smaller in perception, like the AAC? How many teams are we talking about in this playoff (so, if you mean the latter, how are we arriving at the point that the MWC or AAC are getting an auto-bid)? The Big 12 plays a full round robin with nine conference games, so I really don’t think that’s an issue; I think you mean the latter, but you’d have to give more-defined parameters.


What’s your favorite Heartbreakers’ song. Louisiana Rain for me.

UWDP: Geez, I hate questions like this, because as soon as I try to name one, I have the immediate need to add about 20 more songs to the list. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have been around so long (Damn the Torpedoes is almost 40 years old now), and have had so many songs that get a lot of air play, that I hate to name one of the really popular ones that fans might be burnt out on. He’s also been around long enough that he became a much more refined musician later on than he was early, but without ever really abandoning his three-chord rock roots.

So, just sticking with The Heartbreakers, meaning no solo stuff from “Full Moon Fever” or “Wildflowers” (both great, I’m not as big a fan overall of “Highway Companion” but it’s still good) or any of the Mudcrutch stuff, I’m going to go with “Keeping Me Alive,” which was a song that didn’t make the cut for the 1982 album “Long After Dark” but was added to a huge box set that came out in the late 90’s (I think?). Good song, and at least sort of newish for casual Petty fans.


Brad, Do you know if there will be any official University functions in Pasadena during the run up to the game to celebrate past Husky Rose Bowl teams? I saw a Facebook post that said Bob Schloredt was going to the game and made me think we should be taking the time to celebrate the 60 & 61 teams.

UWDP: There’s the alumni association tailgate:

I don’t know if there’s anything beyond that.

It’s always a good time to celebrate Husky history, it’s something that I think the UW and Husky fans generally do a poor job.


Who’s arguably a better coach -- Chris Petersen or Urban Meyer?

UWDP: That’s a pretty broad question.

I think Urban Meyer is a really good football coach when it comes to producing wins. I also think he’s a bit of a fraud, and I’m glad I don’t have to root for him as the coach of Washington (but I fully admit I would if he was here).

I think Meyer is probably a better recruiter because he’s a more single-minded person. But I think Chris Petersen is far more intense and dedicated to winning than many other Husky fans and Boise State fans might (although I could be wrong on that). Whatever difference there might be in winning football games - if there is one, even - is small enough that i don’t want to have to take the tremendous delta in “the bad” that comes with each man to make up the very small delta in “the good.”

While I’m going to stop short of saying that Chris Petersen can stay at Washington as long as he wants, it’s just short of that.


The Huskies had 8 players total represented on the 2 deep All Conference team. Of those, only 3 are likely to return for next season, one on offense and two on defense - Nick Harris, Miles Bryant, and Elijah Molden (Special Teams). This suggests to me a significant drop-off in talent, at least to start with, next season.

On what basis do the majority of Dawg Pounders have such optimism UW will continue their march to another Conference title, and possibly a Playoff appearance, given this shortage of key players coming back.? Will 2019, in fact, end up being a rebuild season rather than a reload?

UWDP: Yes, there’s definitely a loss of talent, and great leaders, and really productive players. I think it’s very likely that Taylor Rapp and Byron Murphy both leave early, but I’m not as convinced that Murphy will as I am Rapp; Murphy just doesn’t have that long a resume to fall back on. Sophomores are much less likely to leave than juniors, and missing that half-season last year is a big chunk of his career when you consider the fact that Murphy just isn’t a very big cornerback. I think he’ll be a very good NFL player, and I think he “likely” goes.

I guess I don’t understand this notion of a significant drop in talent, Oside. Of the guys heading off into the big world, only Murphy really came here with “star” potential. Maybe Jake Browning. The rest of these guys were made or developed (or were underrated coming in - probably a combination of all three), and the same coaches responsible for the senior class is still here, working with the younger, more highly-regarded young guys. It’s natural for players to get better as they get older. Washington has good coaches. The only “drop” in talent is the one between some really, really good players and their backups, not between those really, really good players and “average” or even “really good” Pac 12 athletes. Who are going to be coached and developed and lift weights and train for the next calendar year....

Washington is getting pretty close to “well-oiled machine” “plug-and-play” “program” status. Not there yet, but the biggest thing missing is sample size. The adults that have made this happen so far are still here. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t actually see a good explanation for the defense being as good as it was this season, not with one legitimate two-gapping defensive tackle on the roster, the injuries at linebacker, etc.


Which assistant coach(es) is(are) most likely to NOT be on UW’s staff next season - either by way of a promotion in responsibilities to another team, or by being replaced by head Coach Petersen?

Which Graduate Assistants also leave / are replaced?

Does any graduating senior on the current Husky team get an offer from Coach Pete to become a Grad Assistant? Or, are we more likely to find one (or more) appear on a PAC 12 opposing team’s staff in the future (ala, Cort Dennison)?

UWDP: The answer to the first part is still Jimmy Lake; he’s the guy that’s got the big bright light shining over him.

As far as needing to be replaced, we can look at which units struggled the most and speculate, but while also keeping in mind that Chris Petersen isn’t going to want to make change and our evaluation of any of this is incredibly incomplete.

I really don’t have any clue about the graduate assistants.


With the slow starts against OSU and Penn State and the sluggishness against So. Miss. has there been any talk of Coach Pete changing up his bowl preparations a bit?

UWDP: I’m sure there’s talk from fans, but we certainly aren’t going to hear anything from Chris Petersen. He’s a thorough guy, so I’m sure he’ll self-evaluate the coaching staff in its entirety, but I think he also believes pretty strongly in his system.

Be careful of overreacting to small samples.

Tom Petty

What’s your prediction on what Urban Meyer does with his retirement?

UWDP: I’d wager he’ll be back coaching for one last hurrah within a couple of years.


What factors make you think we have a good shot at defeating Ohio State? Do we have receivers who will get open for Jake as most certainly load up to stop the run?

I believe we are seen as a one-dimensional offense.

UWDP: The single biggest factor is that Washington’s defense is exceptionally good at defending Ohio State’s greatest strength, which is their passing game. The next is that Ohio State’s defense is really only “pretty decent,” and could really struggle with Washington’s running attack. I don’t think the Huskies can win just on the back of the running game (meaning Myles Gaskin), but it should be effective, no matter what Ohio State tries.

The passing game is the big question mark on offense; not just the receivers, but the line and QB as well. Everyone is going to have to perform exceptionally well.


Hot question: Is BBK actually 1st team All-American good? I’ve heard a few people mention that the numbers have at least a little to do with personnel/circumstances.

UWDP: I’ve also heard people say he was slow and got blown backward all the time. Those aren’t true, either.

He’s a really good player on a really good defense. Do you somehow consider that to be a knock on his selection or something?

What circumstances? The fact that he was on the field?


Would UW have been going to a NY6 bowl if WSU hadn’t lost to USC? UW would not be going to the Rose Bowl because WSU would have represented the North. But with a win over a previously undefeated WSU, would that have been enough to jump UW up above LSU or Florida?

UWDP: That’s a really good question. The three-loss Huskies would’ve been out of contention for the North for a few weeks, so they wouldn’t have really been on anyone’s mind, but the win over WSU probably would’ve been a win over a top 4 team, so it would’ve been even more valuable than it was.

Part of me thinks that the committee wouldn’t have been able to stomach “rewarding” a conference that’s seen as bad as the Pac 12 is with a second NY6 birth. In the end, I think Washington probably sneaks in the very last at-large spot, but that’s purely a guess.


Ignoring the school and color scheme, what are some uniform/helmet styles that you find aesthetically pleasing? One that you’d be proud to see include the W and the purple and gold? We can then forward this to

UWDP: I typically like the simplest ones the best, which I’m sure is not the answer you’re looking for. I think Penn State’s uniforms are iconic, I like the numbers on the helmet for Alabama, I like the block “N” of Nebraska. I think the throwback jerseys that Adidas made for Nebraska a year or two ago that looked like the old-syle mesh from the 80’s were just...sick? Is that the word you kids use? Def? Is that it?

Uniforms aren’t designed with me in mind, and frankly, I’ve given up caring about them. I want the players to like them, and for them to avoid being offensive on the eyes like a certain team that rhymes with “fu...” I mean “Shmoregon.” I hope there’s one or two t-shirts made a year plus one hat that a middle-aged guy would be okay wearing, and really, I’d love to see a warmer coat made that has some wind resistance (team up with a local company like Outdoor Research?) as opposed to just sweatshirts or fleeces - I got pretty cold at a few games this season.


earlier this year i was concerned about the future of our RB core cause i truly wasnt sold that Ahmed could be a workhorse style back like Gaskin but after seeing how Pleasant ran and the emergence of McGrew later in the season im feeling much more comfortable in our RB situaion next year. Curious as to how you are feeling about it after seeing more of Pleasant and McGrew this year?

UWDP: I thought both Kamari Pleasant and Sean McGrew had some real moments at the running back spot. I had almost no expectations for Pleasant as a rusher, so to me he was the bigger surprise.

I think Salvon Ahmed, if he can stay healthy, is going to have a great year next year for the Huskies. I don’t want to commit sacrilege, but I think he will be able to give us 95% or more of what Myles Gaskin did, even if in slightly different ways. I had pretty high expectations for Ahmed this season, and I think he exceeded them more than any other player on the offense. Maybe Jaxson Kirkland would take that.

I don’t think McGrew is going to be able to get much bigger than he is right now, so he’s always going to be a “small” Pac 12 back. He’s really skilled in finding holes, and utilizing his blocking, and he runs really hard. Pleasant might have the higher up side because he’s more of a contrast to Ahmed, and his size will probably allow him to see the field more as a blocker. A couple new guys added to the mix heading in to 2019. It’ll be interesting to see what they can bring.


Do you feel we will see one of our talented young QB’s transfer sooner than later? We have an ABUNDANCE of talent with Morris coming in and Huard on deck for the future plus all the current talent on the team. I have always felt we could lose Yankoff eventually. Bridge-Gadd taking off to NAU wasnt a surprise and im just wondering if you think any other kids will do the same.

UWDP: Yes, absolutely. Those guys all know who’s coming in to Washington in the classes behind them (Sam Huard is obviously the big name right now), and there’s only going to be more on the horizon. The nature of running a program that’s attractive to quarterbacks...

By pretty much all accounts, Jacob Sirmon ran ahead of Colson Yankoff in 2018. If that continues, Yankoff seems the most likely to move on, since there wouldn’t be a path for him to ever see the field. Same thing the other way, though too - if Yankoff take a huge step, Sirmon could leave. If either or both close the gap significantly with Jake Haener, then he probably will look elsewhere. When you take two QBs in a single class, it really increases the likelihood you lose two in the near future, so it’s not impossible that the team is suddenly a little thin at QB heading in to 2020.


The wait is tortuous. Having to read numerous pundits share their thoughts as to why W can’t quite hang with Ohio is becoming a bit frustrating to say the least. Ohio is a very good team no doubt . And their Qb is somewhat mobile with a big arm. Their recievers are top tier as well. But can they consistently beat our DB’s? Does our rush take one more step with the extra practice? Does BBK we’re a cape in his final college game? If we can move the QB of his spot it’s going to be along day for them. Now can the offense we thought we would have at the beginning of the year get Healthy focus and get mad enough to shut some east coast folks up for 60 minutes? Im all for the Huskies declaring “were mad as Hell are not going to take it anymore”. And finally will we close out this recruiting class on high note? What say you wise men? Go Dawgs!!!

UWDP: A fellow Husky fan I sort of know told me he heard an ESPN talking head predict a 40-point Ohio State win the other day. Wow.

Yes, Washington is a good enough team to beat Ohio State. If I was betting money on it right now, I’d predict something in the neighborhood of 28-27 or something - a game that looks an awful lot like the Oregon game did.

The bang close to recruiting started last night with the commitment of Trent McDuffie to Washington - that’s a huge pickup. The Huskies could add four or five more guys, and I think we’re all going to be very pleased with this class.

Coach Hamdan

How should I call plays against a seemingly leaky tOSU defense to maximize our offensive output in this game? What areas should I look to exploit?

UWDP: Ohio State struggles pretty equally between the run and the pass (mid-70’s against both by S&P+). Given Washington’s penchant for running the ball, the answer is to utilize the running game, and not get impatient if a fired-up Ohio State defense has some early success stopping it.

Ohio State also gives up a ton of big plays, but is decent at forcing turnovers. Washington needs to be willing to attack down the field. This is tailor-made for the skills of Hunter Bryant.


1978 I watched my first Rose Bowl. Had a large dislike for Bo Schembechler and was happy to see them lose and in the process became a big Husky fan. 41 years later I’m going to my first Rose Bowl, thanks Coach Pete. Give us an All-Time Husky Rose Bowl Team. I’ll start with Warren Moon as the quarterback because he beat Bo and won me over. Who else belongs on this team from our 14 previous Rose Bowl teams?

UWDP: Tough ask, since I can’t really tell you much about any of the Rose Bowl teams prior to the 1990 one. Probably one better left for the fans below in the comments....


What is the perception of the 2018 season in your mind? Meeting expectations? Exceeding? Or simply disappointing?

UWDP: I expected this team to be in the neighborhood of winning the Pac 12 title, so they get a “10” for that (although it’s a little bit hard to “expect” a Rose Bowl....). They didn’t earn a lot of style points, on either side of the ball. Dinging them for that, though, is complaining about how they earned a Rose Bowl berth, and I find that to be a tad ridiculous.

This team has the chance to do something great still. Up until now, though they’ve met my expectations.


How well do you think the UW secondary will fare against an Elite passing attack like OSU’s? Do you think that we’ll over prepare for the pass and not be able to stop the run? Also, the huskies defense in the Fiesta Bowl last year struggled getting off the field on 3rd down.. Do you see that as a potential theme of this NY6 bowl as well?

UWDP: I’m not worried about preparation in the least. Washington’s coaching staff gives me a lot of confidence in the readiness of the team.

While the Fiesta Bowl was really bad in terms of giving up 3rd down conversions (Penn State was 14-18 on 3rd and 4th downs), it wasn’t a new thing that game. Washington is currently 65th in the country in 3rd down conversion defense. It’s not inability to make plays, it’s the Huskies conservative style that means teams have a high rate of converting first down. Washington plays a light box (few men in the box), meaning teams will have success with the run on 3rd and one-or-two-type plays, but the D isn’t going to give up big plays. Husky fans just need to make peace with this - it’s not going to change. Focus on the points given up, as you’ll be much, much happier.

Multiplying Dawg

My wife and I are expecting a baby boy late this December. If he is born, we watch the Rose Bowl with him and the huskies win, he will be protected by the blessings of the husky gods to prevent things such as Cougin’ it or worse wandering Eugene like a gypsy right?

UWDP: Seeing as how he’s born a Husky, he already has those things. A loss, any loss, is benevolence in allowing others to briefly sharing the joy we all get to experience every day.



I see many college QBs went thru some sort of QB coaching before the draft. E.g. Sam Darnold and Josh Allen had Jordan Palmer. Will Jake Browning go thru the same process?

UWDP: I’m sure he will. I’ve offered my services to him, but he hasn’t gotten back to me yet.


With everything being all Ohio State everywhere during this wait till the Rose Bowl, could there be the possiblity of folding under pressure?

UWDP: Of who folding? Washington? Ohio State? You? Me?

Oregon Dawg

Penn State, Alabama and Oklahoma State were all good teams and we lost as an underdog in those bowl games. Yet Peterson found a way to win as an underdog at Boise. What are we missing that Peterson had at Boise? My guess, Peterson is missing the edge that his old team had, since many disrespected Boise as a small conference team who played a cupcake seasons every year. They were called unproven and unworthy of a big bowl game every year.

Wake up call, Ohio State and much of college football disrespects the Huskies and the PAC 12. Despite nice PR statements from the Ohio State coaches, their fans feel slighted by having to play us.

We need to beat Ohio State and I believe we are getting stronger and healthier at the right time. My gut says we win. This feels like the Nebraska Holiday Bowl of 2010 with Jake playing his last game as QB.

Let’s go Dawgs! It’s time.


UWDP: Well, my first thought is that you’re talking about that Oklahoma win in Petersen’s first season as head coach at Boise State. Other than that, his only other major bowl game was the Fiesta Bowl in 2010 against a Mountain West opponent in TCU (Boise State was still in the WAC then), so I don’t think “underdog” “disrespected” etc. applied.

Outside those two games, Petersen’s Bronco teams played in 3 Las Vegas bowls, 2 Hawaii bowls, and a Poinsetta bowl. They lost as a prohibitive favorite to 7-5 East Carolina in the 2007 Hawaii bowl, lost to a mostly equivalent 10-2 TCU team in the 2008 Poinsetta Bowl (BSU was undefeated and favored), beat TCU in the aforementioned Fiesta, beat equivalent Utah in the 2010 Las Vegas bowl, beat very unhappy to be there ASU in the 2011 Las Vegas bowl as a big favorite in 2011, and then beat mediocre Washington in the 2012 Vegas bowl. Petersen didn’t actually coach in that last Hawaii bowl, he’d already taken the UW job.

I don’t know, I think there’s a bit of mythology now surrounding that Oklahoma game. Super fun to watch.


I’m seeing the coaching staff might be looking at an almost full recruiting class this year. Are there more Dawgs likely headed early to the pros? Who else is there that we might lose? I find it kind of unusual that we might take a class of 20+ since Pete usually aims for 16-18 guys every year. Please enlighten this fan!

UWDP: Besides Taylor Rapp and Byron Murphy, I don’t have any idea who would leave early. But there’s usually at least a couple of guys that transfer for more playing time or retire due to injuries, so we’ll have to see how that shakes out.

I don’t think Petersen’s goal is to take small classes, it just works out that that’s how many spots he has to fill. He’s probably going to have more this season, so he’s going to take more.

There are people with a lot better feel for this stuff than me, and they’re welcome to chime in below.


What’s your season long grade for Bush Hamden and why? We know it’s Petersen’s offense so how well did Hamden run it?

UWDP: This is a really difficult question to answer, because none of us really have nearly as much information about play calling as we like to believe. And as has been said lots of times by people far smarter than me, it’s pretty much impossible to separate play calling from execution.

For the disappointments that people have with the offense, I really don’t think many of them are due to play calling. You are free to disagree, but given the difficulties in analyzing something with so many unknowns - starting with “what play was called?” - you’re accepting a difficult task.

The offense most definitely wasn’t dynamic, but it’s really difficult to know how much of that was due to a very conservative style of play. No one was wowed with the quarterback play, but it’s hard to separate the line and receivers from the QB in evaluating the pass offense. I’m not approaching tears of joy when I think about Hamdan’s work this year, but I also don’t think he’s fatally flawed as a coach.

I’d give him a totally milquetoast “B” with the option of changing it after the Rose Bowl.

King Husky

What’s the worst thing about the Oregon Ducks?

UWDP: For me, it’s that the beat the Huskies in 2018.


I was surprised we didn’t see more throws to Hunter Bryant in the championship game. Were he and the coaches still adjusting after so much time off? If we can get him the ball, I see him being a major factor in the Rose Bowl. OSU will undoubtedly try to stuff the run. Wouldn’t it be a nice parting gift for Jake to have one of his best games ever. For that scenario to happen, I believe Hunter Bryant will need several targets or at least be a creative decoy.

UWDP: Yeah, I thought Hunter Bryant was going to be a bigger part of the attack as well. He only had the one catch, and maybe two more targets that game. The offense had him open for a huge play early in the second half on a little sucker play, but Jake Browning gave up on it too soon and dumped the ball off to Myles Gaskin for a short gain instead of hitting Bryant for what would’ve been 40 yards or more, and probably a TD.

In the second half, once it became clear that the offense wasn’t going to work too hard to force the ball down the field, I was a little surprised they didn’t start to work Bryant into the little dump-off routes Browning used to hit Jacob Kizer, Cade Otton, and Drew Sample on for some decent plays.

It’s tough to work that kind of guy into the offense more than halfway into the season. Hopefully, the bowl practices will help get him integrated more fully. No doubt he’s the type of weapon that can really open things up for the rest of the offense.


Is there any chance that you guys could do a full-season compilation of these great “Film Study” features? (collated into one large series Part 1 through 13 etc.) ? Merry Christmas!

UWDP: They already are - down below the top five or six stories on the front page, there’s a purple banner. Inside the banner is a hub called “Film Study Hall” that takes you to all of those articles, plus ones written by CoachB.


Will defensive turnovers be critical to UW winning this game? How many will be enough? Also, I heard a filthy rumor that Urban Meyer will take a year off of coaching and take over at USC once Clay Helton is fired. Any substance in that rumor? Would that be good for the Pac?

UWDP: Turnovers can have a huge impact, of course. Washington doesn’t absolutely have to win the turnover margin battle, but it probably can’t be more than -1.

It’s going to be more important that Washington moves the ball on offense, and turns red zone chances into TDs.

No idea on the rumor. As much as Husky fans wouldn’t like it, a good USC team helps the perception of the Pac 12. And it helps Washington, when the Huskies beat ‘em....


I believe that the three true freshman DBs have all played in four games. Do you think any of them sit for the Rose Bowl?

UWDP: Unless we see injuries and need those guys to actually play meaningful snaps to help Washington win the game, I think they all sit. I don’t think we see the coaches burn redshirts for special teams at this point.

All for this week, Husky fans.