Husky Football Readies For Fall Camp
July 29, 2002
Upcoming Schedule: The Washington football fall camp gets underway next week when freshmen and newcomers report Tuesday, Aug. 6 and practice Wednesday and Thursdsay. On Friday, Aug. 10, the 105-man varsity squad reports to campus and on Saturday, Aug. 10, two-a-day practices begin. Practice times during two-a-days are typically 10:00-11:45 a.m. and 4:00-6:30 p.m. This season, the entire fall camp will take place on the UW campus. The past three seasons, Washington spent the preseason at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. Two-a-day practices will run from Saturday, Aug. 10, through Wednesday, Aug. 21. Scrimmages are set for Saturday, Aug. 17 (open to the public) and Thursday, Aug. 22 (closed to the public). Picture day is Saturday, Aug. 24, at Husky Stadium. The Huskies' season opener is Saturday, Aug. 31, vs. Michigan at Michigan Stadium. The game will air live on ABC-TV and kicks off at noon eastern time. The UW team will leave on its opening road trip one day earlier than normal, Thursday, Aug. 29. The home opener is the following Saturday, Sept. 7, vs. San Jose State at 12:30 p.m. The first day of classes at Washington is Monday, Sept. 30.
Head Coach Rick Neuheisel: Husky head coach Rick Neuheisel begins his fourth year at the helm of the Washington program. In three seasons, Neuheisel has led the Huskies to an 26-10 overall mark and an 19-5 record in Pac-10 play. Last year, Neuheisel led the Huskies to an 8-4 overall record, a 6-2 conference mark and a trip to the Culligan Holiday Bowl, marking his third bowl trip in three seasons at Montlake. The Huskies also finished in a tie for second place in the Pac-10, meaning that they've finished in the top two in the league in each season of Neuheisel's tenure. In 2000, Washington posted an 11-1 overall record, a 7-1 conference mark and shared the Pac-10 Championship. After beating Purdue, 34-24, in the Rose Bowl, the Huskies finished with a No. 3 ranking in the final national polls. In his first season at Washington (1999), Neuheisel led the Huskies to a 7-5 overall mark, a second-place tie (6-2) in the Pac-10 and a trip to the Holiday Bowl. Neuheisel became the first Husky coach in history to lead the UW to a bowl game in his first season as head coach. Prior to coming to Washington, Neuheisel served four seasons as the head coach at Colorado, posting a 33-14 (.702) overall mark with the Buffaloes. His career record, in seven seasons, is 59-24 (.711). Neuheisel worked for six seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, UCLA, before joining Bill McCartney's Colorado staff in 1994 as the quarterbacks coach. Originally a walkon at UCLA, Neuheisel won the starting quarterback position as a senior and led the Bruins to the 1983 Pac-10 championship. He was named the MVP of the 1984 Rose Bowl that saw UCLA defeat Illinois, 45-9. Washington fans remember Neuheisel's tremendous performance when he completed 25 of 27 passes to set an NCAA record that was only recently broken by Tennessee's Tee Martin. Neuheisel, a member of the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, still holds the Bruins' single-season (69.3) and career (68.3) completion percentage records.
Coaching Staff: Seven of nine members of Washington's 2001 assistant coaching staff return for 2002. Six of the nine current assistants have been on the UW staff since Rick Neuheisel's arrival prior to the 1999 season. However, despite having seven of nine assistant coaches back, there has been a little shuffling in the position assignments. The two coaches who left - inside linebackers coach Tom Williams to Stanford and running backs coach Tony Alford to Iowa State - have been replaced by newcomers Cornell Jackson and Bobby Kennedy. Jackson will coach the inside linebackers in a direct switch for Williams, but Kennedy will serve as wide receivers coach, overseeing a position that was coached by a graduate assistant last year. Veteran coach Chuck Heater moves from cornerbacks to running backs coach while Bobby Hauck will expand his duties from safeties to all the defensive backs. The UW coaching staff includes seven coaches that have served as coordinators and two (Keith Gilbertson and Steve Axman) that have been head coaches. Gilbertson served as the head man at Idaho (1986-88) and California (1992-95) while Axman was the coach at Northern Arizona from 1990 to 1997. Axman also once served as offensive coordinator at UCLA. Defensive coordinator Tim Hundley has been a coordinator at Oregon State and Idaho while defensive line coach Randy Hart was the defensive coordinator at UW from 1995-98. Hauck headed up the special teams at Colorado before coming to Seattle while Heater was the defensive coordinator at Colorado State (1991-92). Offensive line coach Brent Myers was offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona under Axman and spent two seasons as offensive coordinator at Boise State.
Newest GAs: The Huskies added two new graduate assistant coaches to the staff this year, both with names that will be familiar to Seattle-area football fans. Luther Carr III will assist on offense while Ty Gregorak is the defensive graduate assistant. Carr was head coach at Seattle's Garfield High the last four seasons and is the son of Luther Carr II, who was a standout Husky player in the late 1950s. Two of Carr's uncles, Gary and Dave, also earned varsity letters at Washington, in football and basketball, respectively. Gregorak, who prepped at West Valley High in Spokane, Wash., earned three letters as a linebacker at Colorado, playing two varsity seasons under Rick Neuheisel in Boulder. A 2000 Big 12 All-Academic selection, Gregorak retired from playing prior to his senior season due to shoulder and knee injuries. As a junior in 2000, he started eight games and finished fourth on the team in tackles.
Pickett's Charge: With two years remaining in his college career, junior quarterback Cody Pickett has already begun his assault on the Husky record books. Pickett broke four UW records, most significantly the single-game passing yardage mark. In a 31-28 win over Arizona (in which Pickett also ran in the winning touchdown with 13 seconds left), he broke Cary Conklin's 1989 record of 428 passing yards in a game with 455, despite a separated right (throwing) shoulder suffered two weeks earlier vs. USC. Pickett also broke the UW single-season record for passing yards per game (240.3), passing yards by a sophomore (2,403) and 50-plus yard passes in a season (five). Here's a rundown of records set by Pickett in 2001, as well as other top-10 finishes:
Category Total PlacePassing Yards Per Game 240.3 1stPassing Yards in a Game 455 1stPassing Yards by a Sophomore 2,403 1st50-Plus Yard Passes in a Season 5 1stTotal Offense per Game 246.3 2ndTotal Offense in a Game 473 2ndPassing Yards in a Season 2,403 3rdPassing Yards per Attempts 7.98 4thTotal Offense in a Season 2,463 5thTotal Offense per Attempt 6.41 8th
Preseason Pundits: Washington has been fairly highly regarded in the various reputable preseason college football preview magazines, ranging from a national ranking as high as No. 6 (by Athlons) to No. 12 (Street & Smith's and Sporting News). The Huskies are picked to finish either first or second in each magazine. Here's a rundown of where the various magazines rated the UW, with national ranking, Pac-10 place and all-conference players (no Huskies earned preseason All-America consideration):
Magazine Rank Pac-10 Preseason All-Pac-10 SelectionsAthlon's No. 6 No. 1 Williams, Mahdavi, Alexander (kr)Lindy's No. 7 No. 1 Williams (1st; also offensive player of the year), Pickett (2nd), Anderson (2nd), Ellis (2nd), Mahdavi (2nd), McLaughlin (2nd)Sporting News No. 12 No. 2 Williams (1st), Mahdavi (1st), Ellis (1st), McLaughlin (2nd)Street & Smith's No. 12 No. 2 none
Poll Positions: While none of the recognized major college football polls have been released yet, there are a number of preseason polls that have weighed in on the upcoming season. According to collegesports.com (the official web provider of the Huskies), Washington ranks No. 9 in a composite of 14 preseason polls (including all of the four preseason magazines listed above as well as other web sites, newspapers and preseason magazines). The Huskies' highest rating in any of the 14 polls is No. 6. Athlon's, CBS Sportsline and Fox Sports all tabbed the UW with the No. 6 spot. The UW's lowest ranking comes from College Football News and Phil Steele, which both selected it as the No. 17 team in the nation.
Home Winning Streak: Washington enters the season with the longest active home winning streak in the Pac-10 Conference at 14 games (Nebraska's 21-game home win streak is the nation's longest). The last time the Huskies lost a home game was a 28-7 defeat at the hands of Arizona State Oct. 16, 1999. The Dawgs won their remaining two home games that year, and have won all six games at Husky Stadium in each of the last two years. This season, the Husky schedule includes seven home games, including five in a row in the early part of the schedule. The modern Husky record for consecutive home wins is 17, set between 1991 and 1993, so if the Huskies can win their first four home games, they'll set a new modern school record. Last year, Oregon ran its home win streak to 23 games before losing to Stanford at Autzen Stadium. The Pac-10 record for home win streak is 26 (California, 1919-23). The Huskies' all-time record is 44 straight home wins, set from 1908 to 1917 (mostly prior to the founding of the conference), in the midst of the UW's 63-game overall unbeaten streak, still an NCAA record. The 44-game home win streak was broken by a 0-0 tie with Oregon State in 1917, but the UW went on to win six more home games after that, extending their home unbeaten streak to 51 games. The 44-game home winning streak is still the sixth-longest in NCAA history.
Experienced O-Line: Last year, the primary preseason concern for the Washington football team was inexperience on the offensive line. This year, that would seem to be one of the least of the coaches' concerns. Last year, only senior center Kyle Benn entered the year with any significant game experience. This year, he's the only regular not returning. Four starters - senior Elliott Zajac, juniors Todd Bachert and Nick Newton and sophomore Khalif Barnes - all return to the line. All but Newton started all 12 games last season (Newton started 11). Aside from the four returning starters, the Huskies also have five other offensive linemen returning after having earned their first letter last season: junior Jason Simonson and sophomores Aaron Butler (who started once in Newton's place), Ryan Brooks, Dan Dicks and Andre Reeves. So, in other words, the UW offensive line returns four starters and a startling nine lettermen in 2002.
Same Goes for ILBs: Last year, inside linebackers Ben Mahdavi and Jamaun Willis both started all 12 Husky games. While only Mahdavi, a senior this year, returns, Washington has remarkable depth at the position. Six lettermen, who have a combined 10 varsity letters to their credit, return for the 2002 season. Aside from three-time letterman Mahdavi, there's also juniors Marquis Cooper and Tyler Krambrink (both two-time lettermen) and sophomores Tim Galloway, Matt Lingley and Joseph Lobendahn. While Mahdavi is a shoo-in to return to one starting spot, the battle for the other will be a dogfight. Lobendahn, a special teams stalwart last year during his true-freshman season, came out of spring No. 1 on the depth chart.
Record-Setting Reggie: UW wide receiver Reggie Williams became the first Husky ever to start the first game of his freshman season, and got his career off to a bang. Not only did he set four UW and Pac-10 records, but he had some of the more notable receiving days in recent UW history. In the first game of his career, the season opener vs. Michigan, he caught four balls for 134 yards. Against Washington State, he posted an 11-catch, 203-yard day, setting Apple Cup records in both categories. He went on to be named co-Freshman of the Year in the Pac-10 and was a Freshman All-American. Here are the four UW and Pac-10 freshman records he set:
UW and Pac-10 Freshman RecordsSingle-Season Receiving Yards 973Single-Season Receptions 55Single-Game Receiving Yards 203Single-Game Receptions 11
New Family Ties: The Huskies' latest set of incoming players, which will report for the start of fall practice next week, includes, as has become common, a number of players with some sort of tie or another to the Husky football program. Freshman tight end Jason Benn, for instance, just missed playing with his older brother Kyle, who graduated after last season after starting each of the last three seasons as the Husky center. Freshman cornerback Matt Fountaine wasn't nearly as close to playing on the same team as his older brother. Jamal Fountaine earned four letters (1990-93) as a defensive lineman at the UW before playing in the NFL for San Francisco, Carolina and Atlanta. Freshman receiver Nate Robinson's father, Jacque, was a four-year letterman running back at Washington, leading the team in rushing in 1982 and 1984. The elder Robinson is the only man ever named the MVP of the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl and still ranks No. 7 on the UW career rushing list with 2,300 career yards. Freshman DB Kim Taylor is a cousin of current Husky Zach Tuiasosopo and former UW QB Marques Tuiasosopo. And, while not a connection to the Huskies, freshman offensive lineman Robin Kezirian is a cousin of current UCLA player Blane Kezirian.
Old Family Ties: Aside from the freshmen with the various family ties to former Huskies, the rest of the team includes its fair share of UW and football connections as well. Redshirt freshman safety Evan Benjamin has two connections - he is the son of former Seahawk Tony Benjamin and the younger brother of Paige Benjamin, a senior on the UW volleyball team. Redshirt freshman Will Conwell is the nephew of former UW tight end Ernie Conwell, now with the St. Louis Rams, while quarterback Casey Paus is the younger brother of UCLA QB Cory Paus. Redshirt freshman tight end Andy Heater's father is Husky recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Chuck Heater while RS-freshman tailback John Gardenhire is the son of former Husky offensive lineman John Gardenhire, Sr., who lettered at the UW in 1980 and 1981. Junior safety Owen Biddle is the nephew of former Husky Greg Brooks while soph offensive lineman Aaron Butler is the younger brother of former Dawg linebacker Hillary Butler. Sophomore Dan Dicks' uncle Norm was a two-year letterman footballer before eventually becoming a U.S. congressman. Finally Zach Tuiasosopo is the younger brother of former Husky star Marques Tuiasosopo, as well as former All-Pac-10 volleyball player Leslie Tuiasosopo, who's now a Husky assistant coach.
Randon Notes: The Huskies' Aug. 31 game at Michigan is the earliest in UW history ... Washington will open its season on the road for the fifth time in six seasons ... the Huskies went 2-2 (1-1 each at BYU and Arizona State) in those four previous road openers in the last five years ... Washington has won 15 of its last 16 home openers ... the usual UW schedule calls for two non-conference home games and one non-league road game; this year that road game is at Michigan ... during the last 12 seasons, Washington has gone only 5-6 in such games (there was no non-conference road game in '92), but the list of opponents is a strong one: Purdue (1990 win), Nebraska (1991 win and 1998 loss), Ohio State (1993 loss and 1995 loss), Miami (1994 win), Notre Dame (1996 loss), Brigham Young (1997 win and 1999 loss), Colorado (2000 win) and Miami, Fla. (2001 loss) ... senior linebacker Anthony Kelley has travelled to South Africa twice in the last year and a half and, this summer, brought a group of South African youths to Seattle ... last season, Washington led the Pac-10 in attendance for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons, averaging 72,469 fans per game ... not bad, considering that Washington has a smaller capacity than five of 10 conference schools (Arizona State, California, Stanford, UCLA and USC) ... UW has lost only 10 games under Neuheisel, with five of those losses coming by a TD or less: '99 BYU (35-28), '99 UCLA (23-20 OT), '99 Kansas State (24-20), 2000 Oregon (23-16) and 2001 Texas (47-43) ... lest you think that the Huskies don't win the close ones, 15 of the UW's 26 wins under Neuheisel have been by seven points or less.
Celebrity Golf: Earlier this summer, Husky coach Rick Neuheisel put in an appearance at the Amercian Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe and fared rather well. Neuheisel carded a 13-over par 229 over three rounds (77-76-76) to finish 17th in the 74-man field. Former hockey player Dan Quinn took the title with a three-under 213, beating perennial celebrity golf ace Rick Rhoden by two strokes. Neuheisel finished behind former UW quarterback Chris Chandler (10th at 224), but ahead of other notables like ESPN analyst Joe Theismann, Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier, former vice president Dan Quayle, and NBA legends Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. For his efforts, Neuheisel took home a purse of $5,431. Quinn won $100,000 for taking first place.
Husky Huddles: Husky Huddles, pre-game tailgate parties, will be held prior to every home game in the Dempsey Indoor Practice Facility. These tailgates feature food and beverages, big-screen TVs, special Husky Legend appearances and the Husky Marching Band. Admission is free and food and beverage are available for purchase. A Husky buffet is $22 per person for food an alcoholic beverages (beer & wine); $17 per person for food and $12 for children under 12. Prices are $25/$20/$15 at the door. For reservations, call the Athletic Department at (206) 543-2210. Doors open three hours prior to kickoff.
Kickoff Luncheon: The annual Husky Kickoff Luncheon, featuring head coach Rick Neuheisel, Husky players and coaching staff, is slated to take place Wednesday, Aug. 28, at Dempsey Indoor Practice Facility on the UW campus. Tickets are $40 per person or a table of 10 for $400. Fans will sit with a Husky coach or player (selected at random). For more information or to order tickets, call (206) 543-2210 or (206) 685-3739.
Husky Tickets Online: For the first time ever, Washington football tickets may now be purchased online at the UW's official athletics web site: www.gohuskies.com. Remaining tickets for all six Husky home games were released for individual sale this past Wednesday, Aug. 15, and seats remain available for all games. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Husky Ticket Office weekdays 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and at any TicketMasater location.
Picture Day: The annual Husky Football Picture Day, in which fans can meet and take pictures of all the Husky players, is set for Saturday, Aug. 24, beginning at 12 noon. Fans and players mingle on the field of Husky Stadium together in a unique event featuring free food and beverages. Admission is free as well.
Five in a Row: After opening the season on the road at Michigan, the Washington football team stays at home for five consecutive games, marking the first time since 1931 that a UW team has played five straight at Husky Stadium in a single season. In the early part of the last century, it was relatively common for the UW to play much more than half of its games at home and five-game homestands were not rare. However, since the '31 season (the Huskies went 4-1-1 in a six-game home stretch that year), the Huskies have never played more than four in a row at home in any one season. Three times, however, the Huskies have stretched lengthy homestands over two seasons. The UW played its last three of 1969 and the first four of the 1970 season on Montlake. In 1973-74 and 1975-76, the Huskies played six straight home games over two seasons.
The Schedule & TV Appearences: Washington's football schedule this year features, for the first time, 12 regular-season game, as do nearly all of the Division I-A schedules across the nation. But more unusually, the Huskies play five consecutive games at home. After opening with a tough challenge at Michigan, where Washington hasn't played since 1984, the Dawgs play host for five straight games. After home games with UCLA and Oregon State, the Huskies finish the season on the road against their two biggest Pac-10 rivals, Oregon and Washington State. Thusfar, only two Husky games have been selected for television, though several more at least will be picked up at a later date. The Michigan game will air live on ABC-TV while Fox Sports Net will carry the Wyoming game. All UW games air in the Northwest on tape delay on Fox Sports. Air time for the replays is Sunday following each game at 3:00 p.m. (subject to change due to other programming). David Locke and Sonny Sixkiller call the action on the replays. Here's the schedule (all times Pacific and subject to change):
Date Opponent Time City TelevisionAug. 31 at Michigan 9:00 a.m. PDT Ann Arbor, Mich. ABC-TVSept. 7 SAN JOSE STATE 12:30 p.m. PDT Seattle, Wash.Sept. 21 WYOMING 7:00 p.m. PDT Seattle, Wash. Fox SportsSept. 28 IDAHO 12:30 p.m. PDT Seattle, Wash.Oct. 5 CALIFORNIA 12:30 p.m. PDT Seattle, Wash.Oct. 12 ARIZONA 12:30 p.m. PDT Seattle, Wash.Oct. 19 at USC 12:30 p.m. PDT Los Angeles, Calif.Oct. 26 at Arizona State 7:00 p.m. PDT Tempe, Ariz.Nov. 2 UCLA 12:30 p.m. PST Seattle, Wash.Nov. 9 OREGON STATE 12:30 p.m. PST Seattle, Wash.Nov. 16 at Oregon 1:00 p.m. PST Eugene, Ore.Nov. 23 at Washington State 2:00 p.m. PST Pullman, Wash.Note: All UW games will air on tape Sundays on Fox Sports Net Northwest.