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Mal's Mailbag, 15 June 2006

My last two articles have provoked some e-mail, which I have responded to below. Fans, thanks for your interest in my website. However, I'm just a diehard Dawg fan who likes to write, do a little research and, mostly, get to know other fans of the Huskies and find out about how they feel. 

-- D. J. writes (No, not Don James), in response to the article I wrote, "Was Neuheisel an effective recruiter at UW?"

“Boy!  You are REALLY cooking the numbers with this one.  Let's just list the quibbles, and then decide whether there's anything left of your thesis.

“1. By counting people you believe are "NFL worthy," you anchor your audience to the largest possible number of players in the NFL from Neuheisel's classes.

“2.  You include eight rookies in the 18 total in NFL camps, six of whom are free agents -- long shots to ever make a team.  (Although you could probably reasonably have included at least Ware and maybe Robinson.)

“3. You omit any discussion of what a good percentage of players into the NFL is.

“Well, let's see if we can guess about number 3.  For simplicity, let's say there are 30 NFL teams and 120 major college teams; the NFL carries around 50 players and colleges carry about 85.  The length of an average pro career is probably close to the same five years as a college one.  That means that one in six college players can expect to play in the NFL -- 15%.  Ignoring this year, since we don't know how many will actually make it, and including Ware, makes 11 players from three Neuheisel classes in the NFL.  Assuming each class is about the same size, we'll say these three classes comprise 3/4 of the 86 for four classes -- 63.  Eleven is 17% of 63.  A little above average, but way below the numbers you're suggesting.  

“Don James put (about) 74 players into the NFL over 18 seasons.  That's 4.1 per year over a long span -- including picking up a losing program.  Neuheisel picked up a basically winning program, and put 3.7 players per year into the NFL.  So far.  If I'm right about the free agents, his number is likely to come down after this year.  But more important, it's in keeping with the conventional wisdom on Neuheisel: Running good programs into the ground and leaving town (by choice or otherwise) before the bill comes due).

“Of course, you can argue about whether players in the NFL is a good criterion for judging recruiting success.  And I would all but dismiss the class rankings, which in fairness you basically did, too.

“Why are you making a project of Neuheisel and his reputation?  Even if you're right, who cares?  He was obviously a good motivator and his players liked him.  He got some big name recruits.  He had the sense to play to the strengths of Marcus Tuiasosopo -- if it did take him three or four games to figure it out.  But his teams were soft.  They won, when they did, by emotion and the talents of a few great players.  Like WSU does.

“A provocative article.”

D. J.

Reply:

You’ve run amok with the facts in the article and trapped yourself in Darwin’s black box, the opening of which suggests that intelligent design rules the universe. ;-)

I would like to extricate you but I can’t, for the premise of the article states quite clearly that the players listed in the three tables suggest that Rick wasn’t the terrible recruiter he’s been made out to be. Other than that tepid suggestion, the article says nothing else about Rick’s recruiting skills – and doesn’t mean to. There’s a good reason for that. Not all the data are available, and they won’t be available for a couple of years; that will occur when all of his recruits have used up their eligibility.

But I can answer a couple of your questions: “Why are you making a project of Neuheisel and his reputation?  Even if you're right, who cares?”

Answer: The initial explosion that struck the University of Washington was instigated by a single person, the anonymous Peter Wright, who reported Neuheisel’s auction activities to the NCAA. Restoring Rick’s reputation is essential to ensuring that no one individual can have that much power again. As one begins to realize that Rick wasn’t the scoundrel the media have made him out to be, he needs to ask himself a simple question: What really went wrong at the University of Washington in 2003 – and in 1992, for that matter? The answer to this question is rooted in a number of articles I have written.

Best Wishes and thanks for your interesting comments. I'll keep them in mind when I write the final article on this topic.

-- R.S writes

“Just want to know how you think the upcoming season will be like.  I hope to fly up to Seattle and catch a game later on in the fall.  (My first since I graduated from UW, the 2000 season when we went to the Rose Bowl, Marques' senior year.)  What did you see in the spring game?  Any info?

“I personally expect a close to .500 season, (I'll be happy with that, but if we go bowling this year, I'll happy crazy.)”

Reply to R. S.

The Huskies have a couple of mobile quarterbacks in Isaiah Stanback and Carl Bonnell, both of whom should help offset the deficiencies we have in the offensive line. It’s the running game that is of concern, as it has been for a number of seasons. However, Willingham is happy with what he saw in the spring and thinks the OL can open some holes for James, Hasty, and Rankin. One or more (if needed) of the three running quarterbacks can post some numbers on the ground.

Moving Dashon Goldson to cornerback most likely will shore up that position. Roy Lewis had an excellent spring and seems to have locked up the other corner.

The punters/kickers shouldn’t have been live in the spring game, in my opinion. One of the defensive linemen was blocked into Ryan Perkins, rolling over on him after he punted the ball. Because of that apparent mistake, the kicking game is now an area of concern for the fall months, along with the inexperience of the offensive line and the dearth of running backs.

All in all, though, I think the Dawgs are capable of beating San Jose State, Fresno State, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford, OSU, Oregon and WSU. A six-win season is certainly possible.

I hope you can get to one or more of the games. We’re flying up for Picture Day, Band Day and the first game.

Mal

-- R. P. writes in response to my article, "Neuheisel deserves another chance at coaching college football."

 Dear Malamute,

For many seasons I enjoyed, very much, your articles (on Dawgman) and then they stopped. Now through the "Dawg Tales" section, much to my delightI, I've found you again!! How do I become a "subscriber" to your wonderful, well written, and insightful website/news letter? I met you and your beautiful wife at a ucla (small case intended) game, a few years ago, that was the high point of the day for me, as da daWgs lost to the bruins...I concur EMPHATICALLY about Da-Rickster coaching D1 again!! I was thrilled when "Babs the Bad" hired him, and I'm STILL dismayed that he was let go...under Da-Rickster, instead of 3-19 for the last 2 years, we would have had at least 2 Bowl games...I'm going to predict where Coach Neu's next D1 coaching job will be "drum roll please": Pen State U.!!  Yours, R. P.   

Reply:

Thanks for the kudos. I really appreciate them, as does my wife. Access to my website is for free, as it should be, since my opinions trump my expertise.  You could be right about Penn State. I've had a couple of queries from that area.

Mal

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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