Washington Huskies Coaching Search Heats Up

John BerkowitzSenior Analyst INovember 18, 2008

One of the most interesting stories of the week is that AD Scott Woodward picked up a couple of commitments from tight end prospects this past weekend. Marlion Barnett and Grant Cisneros each decided to commit to the school rather than any particular head coach.

It wasn't as if the rest of the Pac-10 was beating down their doors, either, so they decided to commit now rather than wait for an offer that may not be there once a new head man is announced.

The main recruitment activity for Woodward is for a new head football coach. You would think that bringing in a top-notch coach to repair a currently 0-9 program wouldn't create a lot of interest from the coaching elite. That isn't the case, though, because coaches around the country consider UW a top 15-20 type of job. As Kyle Whittingham said on KJR a week or two ago, it is still Washington.

The scuttlebutt out there seems to think it will be one of these five coaches who will agree to take the reigns in the next couple of weeks.


1. Jim Mora

Sure, he publicly stated he wasn't a candidate, but he also hadn't been contacted. From what we are hearing, they have been pursuing him with a full-court press. Expect speculation to heat up this week regarding Mora.


2. Gary Pinkel

The Missouri Tigers won't be playing for a national championship this season after going through the gauntlet in the nation's best football conference this season. Many say Pinkel would be crazy to take the UW job, but this is his last chance if he truly wants it.


3. Jeff Tedford

Wouldn't it be great at halftime during the California game in December if Tedford switched sidelines? Word has it that Tedford is very interested and maybe he desires a change in scenery after rebuilding the California program. He would be my personal top choice because he has a West Coast staff in place and would be able to salvage the recruiting class. Don't forget that Tedford is also one of the hardest-working coaches in the country.


4. Chris Petersen

The Boise State coach isn't saying anything publicly, but it is known that Husky boosters admire what he has done since he was named head coach at Boise. That includes a BCS bowl win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. This season his team is undefeated and could gain another BCS berth if Utah slips up.


5. Kyle Whittingham

Speaking of Utah, Whittingham would be willing to listen if contacted. I am not sure of the interest on UW's part at this time but he said on KJR that he would be honored to be considered if it came up.


Jake Locker out for the rest of the season

One of the more interesting stories I read yesterday was the announcement that Jake Locker was likely finished for the year. Did anyone out there really not know that Locker was finished for the year? Didn't the word shattered, not broken thumb mean anything?

Jake will be ready by next spring after plenty of physical rehab to get the thumb back in shape enough to grip a football without pain.

Hopefully Jake will also have a real quarterback coach who can take him to the next level. One of the surprises of this season was the fact that he didn't seem to improve between his redshirt freshman and sophomore years.

Northwest quarterback guru Greg Barton had commented last season that Locker needed a lot of work with his throwing motion. The UW coaching staff didn't want anyone working with Locker from outside the program. They also didn't make an effort to hire a real quarterbacks coach, which was a real mystery.

If you want to point to one thing that brought the staff and team down in 2008, it was the failure to develop Locker as a bigger passing threat. That failure, of course, exposed him to the potential for injury such as when he threw a block during the Arizona game.

Another case in development as far as passers go is Ronnie Fouch. Does anyone really think that Fouch is getting better as the season progresses? He isn't, and the absence of a true quarterbacks coach is one of the main reasons. Job No. 1 for whoever is the new head coach is to bring in a quarterback guru to develop UW's passers

Wouldn't it be great to watch someone like Jeff Tedford or Chris Petersen work with the Huskies' quarterbacks?


Quote of the week

"Coach really didn't want us to get too emotional,'' Gottlieb said. "He wanted us to approach it like it was any other game, so I tried to choke back the emotions a little. I was a little emotional, a little sentimental, but for the most part, I just tried to approach it like it was any other game.''

If you really want to know the single most important reason that Ty Willingham has not been successful at Washington, this quote sums it up nicely. Washington teams under Jim Owens, Don James, Jim Lambright, and Rick Neuheisel all played the game with a lot of emotion. They may not have had as much talent on the field as some of there opponents but they made up for it in many cases with the way they approached the game.

As one player who graduated last year recently said, "Willingham sucks all the fun out of playing football!"