Category Archives: Washington Huskies

Who should be UW’s next coach? Here’s some suggestions

Possible candidates to consider when thinking about whom the Washington Huskies will turn to after football coach Steve Sarkisian announced that he was leaving to take the job at USC:

Jim Mora, currently head man at UCLA. Was a walk-on at Washington and former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. While in Atlanta, he once made the mistake of saying in an on-air interview that Washington was his dream job. It ultimately cost him his job with the Falcons. Mora has done a masterful job turning UCLA into a potential powerhouse. He seems like a good fit at the UW. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that Mora is the perfect choice, but Jack Wang of the LA Daily News seems to think that Mora would only use the UW opening for leverage to get a better deal for himself and his assistants at UCLA. Here’s another view: If Mora bolts for Washington, it’ll be because of UCLA’s incompetent AD.

Gary Pinkel, currently the head coach at Missouri. The Don James-disciple and former UW assistant has the Tigers ranked No. 5 in the country and he’s been linked to the Washington job before. Pinkel, 61, would be a popular choice with Washington’s boosters who have been unable to distance themselves from the James years. Pinkel, however, has a pretty good thing going while competing in the SEC, the best conference in college football.

Chris Petersen, Boise State. Who wouldn’t want this guy? He’s 92-12 in eight seasons with the Broncos. Petersen’s been linked to a lot of jobs in the past, including the USC job. He reportedly withdrew his name from consideration over the weekend. Petersen’s not a high-profile guy, and Washington seems like a lot better fit than USC for the guy who has been one of the most sought-after coaches in college football in recent years. This is the first year during his tenure that the Broncos never cracked the top-25 rankings.

James Franklin, Vanderbilt. Franklin, 41, is one of the rising stars in college football.  He was also linked to the USC job for a while. Former Washington State grad assistant is a charismatic leader and recruiter. Don’t know if the Husky job would interest him. Vandy is 17-8 in his two years and 9-7 in the SEC.

Beau Baldwin, Eastern Washington. Doubtful he’s the right guy for Washington right now, but he seems to be on a path that will take him to a BCS school someday. He repeated as Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year.

Chad Morris, offensive coordinator, Clemson. Third-year assistant at Clemson, a graduate of Texas A&M, has been linked to the Texas job if the Longhorns part ways with Mack Brown. At $1.3 million, he’s the nation’s highest-paid assistant. He was also named the American Football Coaches Association’s assistant coach of the year, by his peers.

Doug Nussmeier, offensive coordinator, Alabama. If Washington decided to go with a coach without head coaching experience, this guy might be at the top of the list. He was a former coordinator at Washington under Sarkisian for three years and is considered an excellent quarterback coach and one of the best offensive minds in the game. The Nussmeier bio, according to Wikipedia.

Justin Wilcox, defensive coordinator, Washington. Another candidate without head-coashing experience, but he’s built a pretty good reputation during coaching stops at Boise State, Tennessee and Washington. Reportedly going to USC with Sarkisian, but Some wonder if he has the personality to deal with the boosters and media?

Tom Cable, offensive line coach, Seattle Seahawks. Snohomish native was head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2008 to 2010 and also served as head coach at Idaho. Timing’s bad as the Huskies need someone right now because of the recruiting game.

Whoever ends up coaching the Huskies won’t have a chance to coach against USC and Sarkisian until 2015. The Pac-12 schools didn’t play this year, and don’t play in 2014 either.






Dawgs, Cougs both headed in right direction

The Apple Cup is in the books, the Civil War is over and the 2-year-old granddaughter is finally in the rack after watching the Disney-movie Ratatouille.

It’s been an exhausting day. Here’s some quick thoughts and links:

Apple Cup: Seven is the ugliest number when it comes to the Huskies during the Steve Sarkisian era, and Washington’s win over Washington State means they can put that number to rest. The possibility of four straight 7-6 seasons has been avoided. The Huskies will take an 8-4 record into whatever bowl game they wind up in. Some are speculating the Dawgs could face BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27. If you’d have told serious Husky fans at the start of the season that their team was going to wind up in the Fight Hunger Bowl, they wouldn’t have been pleased. The expectations were higher than that, but losses to Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State and UCLA brought the program back to earth. But a win in a bowl game and a 9-4 record will might make a lot of those fans forget about those lofty preseason expectations.

Washington State’s 6-6, and likely headed to a bowl (although there’s no guarantee). The Cougars probably exceeded most expectations, if not in the number of victories, certainly in how the program is now perceived. In two years, Mike Leach has the Cougar faithful believing because he’s got his players believing. WSU went to Auburn for its season opener and nearly beat the team that is ranked No. 4 in the country. The Cougs won three Pac-12 games on the road, and for a half, they out-played the Huskies. This year’s Apple Cup was decided by three or four plays.

Compared to the bad times that these programs have been through in the last 10 years or so, I suppose we should feel pretty good that the Huskies and Cougars are headed in the right direction. At least the programs matter. There were times when you couldn’t say that.

Civil War: Oregon State’s Victor Bolden scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 25-yard run with 1:38 left. They scored too fast. I knew it, you knew it, we all knew it. Oregon marched down the field and scored with 29 seconds left for a 36-35 victory. Bolden should have fallen down at the 10 and the Beavs could have run a couple plays up the gut and kicked a game-winning field goal. Of course, that’s easy to say and hard to do.

Marvin update: It’s taken a while, but it looks like Marvin Williams is finally going to be an option at the offensive end. Primarily an unselfish role player through the first eight years of his NBA career, the Bremerton High grad is getting more looks this year with the Utah Jazz. He had 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field in a Friday loss to Phoenix, had 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting in a win over Phoenix earlier in the week and had a 19-point game on 7 of 13 shooting in a loss against Dallas last week. He’s making 42.1 percent of his three-point attempts. The 27-year-old Jazzman missed the first five games after having Achilles surgery in the summer and missed another game after breaking his nose on Nov. 15.


This story about former NBA player Bison Dele, formerly known as Brian Williams, is one of the best I’ve read. And the design is incredible. I never imagined you could that kind of work on the internet. If you’ve never read any of the stories at, check ’em out. It’s some of the best writing out there.

South Kitsap grad and current MLB  free agent Willie Bloomquist partnered with an NRA group at a hog hunt in Texas to raise money for his Abe and Max Fund, which purchases electronics for patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Black Friday? What about the black days. Joe Posnanski takes a look at Black Monday, Black Tuesday, Black Wednesday, etc.

Lots of connections between the Saints and Seahawks.

I know you take the games one at a time, but I think the Cardinals, who visit the Clink on Dec. 22,  could pose more of a threat to beat the Seahawks than the Saints on Monday night. Arizona’s rolling. And if Seattle’s got the NFC West title wrapped up by its regular-season finale on Dec. 29, the Rams could steal one, too. The closing schedule is tough. Saints this week, and at the 49ers and Giants the following two weeks. That’s no picnic. And don’t sleep on the Cardinals or Rams, who outplayed Seattle but didn’t get the win earlier.

In case you missed Ken Rosenthal of writes that two sources used the word “desperate” to describe the state of the Mariners, who likely considering all free-agent options.


Quick hits: OC volleyball advances to semis, Kitsap pros, Bree, Kellys, UW, Hawks & more

Some links and Friday thoughts:

Moving on: Olympic College’s historic volleyball season continues. The Rangers (43-4) beat Tacoma 3-1 at the NWAACC Championships earlier Friday and takes on host Mount Hood Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The match will be streamed live here. Blue Mountain and Highline are in the other semifinal in the double-elimination tournament. OC lost its first set, but roared back to win the next three against Tacoma, a team it beat six straight times during the regular season. Winner’s bracket finals are Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with the championship match Sunday at 3 p.m. All tournament games are being live streamed.

Fantasy time: It’s that time of year when baseball fans can starting dreaming about signing free agents and making trades to help their teams. If you’re a Seattle Mariners fan, wouldn’t it be cool if they could figure out a way to start the 2014 season with Jacob Ellsbury in center field and Sin-Shoo Choo in left and have them hit 1-2 in the order.

Ah, the Huskies: Washington’s 6-4 and the thought of a another 7-6 season has Husky fans howling to the moon. There’s even an @fireSark twitter account out there. That’s a little harsh. Washington’s continuing road struggles and and inability to beat good teams is frustrating. The move to the hurry-up spread offense seemed like a good move at the time, and it still does, but maybe we should have realized that it wasn’t going to be an overnight success. Sark and his staff had been recruiting linemen to play power football for four years, and now they need quick, athletic guys up front to make it work.

And Washington’s lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball has been glaring. When you’re running the quick-strike offense, your defense is going to be on the field a lot, and this Husky defense, as promising as it looked early on, has been very average of late. They’ve not been able to recruit a true pass rusher, an NFL-type defensive end and that has been a problem.

That said, the biggest reason for Washington’s mediocrity is their lack of discipline. The Huskies are the most penalized team in the country and Sarkisian’s teams are among the most penalized in Husky history. Take a look at this report by Steve Rudman of The numbers don’t lie.

As disappointing as this season has been to date, Washington could still finish 9-4 by winning out and 9-4 is pretty good. If that’s how it plays out — Washington beats Oregon State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2) on the road, beats Washington State at home (Friday, Nov. 27, 12:30 p.m., FOX) and wins  a bowl game — everybody should be happy.

Seahawks-Saints: Everybody is looking forward to the Nov. 30 MNF showdown at the Clink. The Seahawks (9-1) have a bye this week and the Saints (8-2) are coming off of a rather ho-hum 17-13 win at Atlanta. Seattle won at Atlanta, 33-10, dominating the Falcons in every part of the game. Drew Brees will be a challenge, and the Saints defense is one of the league’s best, but Seattle has been playing at another level the past two weeks. I don’t see any kind of a letdown coming for this, not on a Monday night with the nation watching. I’m looking forward to the matchup between New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and Seahawks’ safety Cam Chancellor.

Still sliding: Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf won a bronze medal at the North American Cup races in Calgary last weekend, and is competing at Park City, Utah, this weekend. Schaaf finished fifth at the 2010 Winter Olympics and after a year of rehabilitation following hip surgery, she   was fourth at the national selection races last month. Only the top three were picked to compete int he World Cup. The 2014 Olympic team will be announced on Jan. 19 and points collected in international competitions will play a role when the team is named.

“I of course planned on making the national team so it was a bit of a shock and a scramble to make self-funded North American Cup happen,” Schaaf said. “Despite the Games being a long shot now, I found support in a wonderful company out of Denver called Crescent Point. It was truly heartwarming that despite my candor regarding Olympic qualification chances that a company would still have faith and support me like this.”

Schaaf teamed with Tracey Stewart last week.

“This has been a North American Cup like no other,” Schaaf said. “We were fully staffed and felt fortunate to have such incredible coaches along with a team manager and sled tech. Special thanks to Tracey for pushing me and keeping the dream alive.”

Update: Schaaf finished fourth in today’s first race, behind two Americans (No. 1 Elana Meyers and No. 2 Jamie Gruebel but ahead of USA No. 3 driver Jazmine Fenalator, who was eighth). The second race is coming up and will be live streamed.

Kelly green scene: Congratulations are in order for Bob Kelly, father of pro golfer Troy Kelly. Bob recently beat his age, shooting a 66  at Meadowpark Golf Course in Tacoma. One of his other sons, Ryan, also had a hole-in-one at the West Richland Golf Course while winning his amateur division of the Tri-City Budweiser Open in Richland. As for Troy, he plans to play in five tournaments next year and he’s also exempt for 14 PGA Tour events. Kelly’s 2013 season was cut short because of knee surgery.

Baseball musings: Kansas City’s signing of Jason Vargas (4 years, $32 million) could be a good thing for free agent pitcher Jason Hammel. The Giants reportedly have interest in signing the 6-foot-6 right-hander, a South Kitsap grad. … Willie Bloomquist’s name has been thrown around as a possible utility infielder for the Reds, Red Sox and Dodgers. The free agent from Port Orchard would prefer to re-sign with Arizona, but sounds like that might he a long shot. Last time around the free agency trail, Bloomquist turned down more money from the Giants to sign with the Diamondbacks. … Bloomquist and Jason Ellison were among those attending the memorial service for their ex-high school coach, Elton Goodwin, last weekend. … In case you missed it, another former South Kitsap star, Aaron Cunningham, signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs. Did you know that Cunningham once sold his car to rapper Ice T? Yeah, for real. … Drew Vettleson, the former Central Kitsap star, is a No. 5 pick in this fantasy draft. Check it out for their opinion about Vettleson’s upside. They project the left-handed hitting outfielder to be an above average player at the MLB level, hitting .280 with 20 home-run power during his peak years. Vettleson will likely start the 2014 season at Double-A. ... Brady Steiger, a South Kitsap grad and former Lewis-Clark State star who signed with the New York Yankees last summer, is available for private hitting lessons at the West Hills Vipers facility.




Physical O-lines still in vogue; Zags reload; Sherman shares more thoughts

How many of you saw this one coming? Stanford, a 10- or 10.5-point underdog on its home turf, beat Oregon 26-20 in the marquee college football game of the week on Thursday night.

The Ducks couldn’t score a touchdown in three quarters. So the Ducks’ national title hopes are gone, and Stanford has the inside track on earning a second straight Rose Bowl bid after upsetting Oregon for the second straight season. Stanford’s time of possession (42:34) told the story in this one, just as it did a year ago when Stanford won 17-14 in Eugene. Oregon ran just 74 players in that one and punted eight times.

And if you’ve seen Oregon QB Marcus Mariota play, you know he wasn’t himself. There were rumors before the game that he wasn’t 100 percent because of a knee injury and he didn’t look to run against Stanford and the Ducks were turned into a one-dimensional offense. The nation’s No. 2 rushing offense ran for just 61 yards.

I find it interesting in this era of high-powered, wide-open spread offenses, that No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Florida State, No. 4  Ohio State and No. 5 Stanford are all getting it done on offense with old-style physical offensive lines. They can protect the quarterback and beat you with a punishing run-game. Stanford pounded Tyler Gaffney at Oregon 45 times for 157 yards.


College Basketball

Gonzaga, as always, will be an interesting team to watch. They’ve got a 7-1 center (Przemek Karnowski), an exciting transfer from Providence (Gerard Coleman), and another promising transfer from Louisville (Angel Nunez) to go along with returners Sam Dower, Kevin Pangos and David Stockton. Go ahead and pencil the Zags into the NCAA tournament. They’ve made it 16 straight years and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be there again.

Not that it matters at this stage of the college basketball season, but Gonzaga is projected as a No. 4 seed in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology listings at The Washington Huskies are not projected to be one of the 68 teams selected to play in the NCAA tournament

I think the Huskies, picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12, could surprise. Perris Blackwell, a 6-10 transfer from San Francisco,  looks like a legit inside presence on offense, something the Huskies have lacked in recent years. Freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss might be the real deal and CJ. Wilcox is the real deal. I’ll also be interested to see how the Arizona State Sun Devils fare. I got a chance to see Shaquielle McKissic play in the NWAACC last season when he was with Edmonds CC and the 6-5 transfer, a Kentridge High grad, promises to be one of the most exciting talents in the Pac-12.

If Sherman was the commish ….

What if Richard Sherman was the commissioner of the NFL? He tackles that question in his latest column for Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) for Here’s an exerpt:

“It’s a difficult job, I’m sure, working for the owners while looking out for the welfare of the players. It always seems like a happy balance is being struck in late April, when a parade of draftees crosses the stage at Radio City Music Hall, each one giving Roger Goodell a handshake and a hug after his name is called. But for the rest of the year it’s clear that the interests of the 1,700 players pale in importance to those of the 32 owners.

Read the entire column here.



Respected Husky coach Don James dies

The University of Washington announced that former football coach Don James died Sunday.

James, 80, had been battling pancreatic cancer.

Don’t know that I’ve ever met a more respected coach, or a better coach for that matter. His attention to detail is what set him apart during his tenure (1976-1992) at Washington, where he went from a little-known coach from Kent State to one of the most respected coaches in college history. Every single minute of every practice was accounted for.

His assistants did the hands on coaching and teaching. James used to stand on a tower, observing it all from above. The assistants didn’t want to disappoint the head man, and it became a trickle down effect. The players didn’t want to disappoint the assistants, who didn’t want to be called into James’ office. He didn’t demand respect, but he commanded it and earned it with the way he went about his business.

Like a lot of coaches, James was careful with what he said before and after games when he was surrounded by a large throng of reporters. You’d never get any bulletin board material from James. The answers were often short and to the point. If you didn’t know it, you’d think James didn’t have much of a personality. But that was so off the mark. He was funny with a self-deprevating sense of humor.

If you waited until the mob of reporters disappeared, he’d step away from the podium and take questions in a more relaxed setting and more often than not this serious-minded man who break everybody up with a quip of some sort.

During his coaching years at Washington he spent a lot of time with his wife, Carol, at a cabin in the Allyn area during his down times, and you could find him playing golf at LakeLand Village or other courses in the region. He was always approachable, even when Sports Illustrated and other news outlets were naming him the No. 1 college football coach in America.

Respect is the one word that comes to mind when I think about James. Some took him to task for stepping down at Washington in 1993 after the school was  with recruiting violations. He felt the Pac-10 and his own administrator did not go to bat for him, so he resigned.   At the time nobody seemed to understand why he would do it.  But for James, it was a matter of principle. It was matter of right and wrong. He stood up for what he believed, and I respected him for that.

Here’s some links about James.

This one, from the vault, details the changes James that led to Washington’s national championship season in 1991.

Here’s a column from Terry Mosher at Mosher covered the Huskies for The Sun during the James era.

If you have access, check out the Seattle Times’ online site for a number of stories about James. They’ve already rolled out six stories about the Dawgfather.



Huskies at a crossroads (updated after ASU loss)


Well, I guess we have the answer to the question I posed at the end of this blog on Saturday.

Relevent or irrelevant?

The Washington Huskies found out, once again, that they’re irrelevant when it comes to the big picture of college football. Coach Steve Sarkisian called the 54-23 road loss to Arizona State “embarrassing,” and it was. Washington, coming off losses to Stanford and Oregon, still had a chance to have a special season. Now, they appear headed for mediocrity once again. It was a must-win game for both teams, and Arizona State rose to the occasion. The Sun Devils were very impressive as they took it the Huskies. The Huskies only brought back memories of the mediocrity that’s plagued this program in recent years.

Sarkisian said the Huskies were ready for the second-half of the season, but they were not. He didn’t offer any excuses.

“We appeared a little tired tonight, in my opinion,” he told reporters. “We didn’t appear as fast. We didn’t appear as physical. We appeared (to be) a team that was a little bit lethargic, and maybe we were a little emotionally drained. I don’t know. But that’s an excuse, and there are none. We don’t have time for excuses. We’ve got to fix it.”

Here’s some morning links.

Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer puts the blame on Sarkisian.

Art Thiel of wonders why Sarkisian couldn’t see that quarterback Keith Price couldn’t get the job done with his injured thumb.

Desert Downer. That was the headline on the Huskies’ own web site. The story points out that the game turned in the second quarter when Washington generated 14 yards in 16 plays and had three straight three and outs.

As expected, Washington’s no longer a top-25 team. The polls.


In about 30 minutes, the Washington Huskies will play their biggest  football game of the season, and not just because it’s the next game. I feel strongly that the outcome will determine what direction this team is going to go.

The Huskies found out they could play with then-No. 5 Stanford on the road, but they did enough things (bad specials teams, penalties etc.) to mess that one up.

The Huskies found out they could hang with No. 2 Oregon or a while, but by the end of the 45-24 loss it was obvious that they’ve still got a ways to go to get to where they want their program to be.

That brings us to today’s game against Arizona State, the third game in a tough three-game stretch. A third-straight loss could be disastrous for Steve Sarkisian’s program, which is coming off three straight 7-6 seasons.

Washington’s failed to avoid a three-game losing streak in the last four seasons, and another streak like that won’t bode well for this team.

Washington’s a three-to-four point underdog in a game that looks pretty even on paper. And don’t forget that ASU (4-2) needs this victory just as much as the Huskies. The Sun Devils, averaging 44.2 points per game, are in pretty much the same position as the Huskies. Like Washington, ASU thinks it has enough talent to make a run at a 9-win, or even a 10-win season, and a decent bowl game.

It’s not possible to state how important this game is for the Huskies. This is Washington’s best team since, well, probably 2001, but it won’t seem like it if they lose today. The boosters will be barking and the national pundits will stop signing their praises if they’re 4-3 heading into the final five games of the season.

Relevent or irrelevent? That is the question that will be answered today.


Predictions, links and other stuff: Ripken, Marvin, Snake, Mongoose, Willie B. …

* UW prediction: Sorry Washington Huskies, gotta go with Stanford. It’ll be close: 31-30.

* Seahawks prediction: Colts are dangerous, but Seahawks have DangerRuss and the best defense in the NFL: Seattle 27, Indianapolis 18.

* Watching the Cal-Washington State football game reminds me that Ripken Reyes (great name, huh?) has verbally committed to play baseball at Cal. Yes, he’s a shortstop.

Ripken is a junior at St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, Calif. He’s the son of Paul and Heidi (Westhoff) Reyes. Paul was a quarterback/shortstop at Olympic High who played college baseball at Spokane CC and Whitworth. He developed into one of the top hitters in men’s fastpitch, playing in Tacoma and Bremerton, and later in California. Heidi graduated from Central Kitsap (not Bremerton, as I posted on Twitter). Bremerton’s Pat Westhoff, who played and managed fastpitch, is Ripken’s proud grandfather.

* Watching the Cal-Washington State game also reminds me of what a great venue California Memorial Stadium is. It has some of the best views in college football, BUT IT’S NEVER FULL! So many empty seats.

* The Utah Jazz are “taking a cautious” approach with Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, who had offseason surgery on his heel and Achilles tendon. Hard to believe Williams, 27, is beginning his ninth season in the NBA. Seems like yesterday I was listening to him explain why he decided to go to Bremerton High to play with his buddies instead of riding the ferry daily to play at O’Dea, which arguably boasted the top program in the state at the time.

* I was just told that former Kitsap Bremerton Sun sports editor Joe Sherk of Port Orchard (yeah, he’s even older than me) has a credit in the movie: Snake & Mongoose that was just released. Sherk was one of the top motorsports writers around and eventually left the newspaper business to become a publicist. You still see his byline occasionally in The Sun. The movie is based on the rivalry between NHRA drivers Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen.

* Here’s a book I can’t wait to read: “Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile,” by Nate Jackson.

* Freshman Becca Schoales is off to a pretty good start at Washington. The South Kitsap grad has started eight of 11 games and scored three goals for the UW’s women’s soccer team. Freshman Paige Serwold, a Central Kitsap grad, has played in four games for the Huskies.

Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist ended up with a .319 batting average in the 47 games he played for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Willie is a free agent, and the Diamondbacks are loaded at shortstop with young prospects. Plus Willie has had some injury issues. Will Arizona bring him back as a utility guy? I think they will.

* Another South Kitsap grad, pitcher Jason Hammel, is also a free agent. Hammel (7-8, 4.97 ERA) was Baltimore’s Opening Day pitcher, but he struggled at times and found himself on the disabled list in July with arm problems.  Will the Orioles try to keep him? Doubtful, but he’ll catch on somewhere. He can be a fourth or fifth starter and he’s shown that he can pitch out of the bullpen, too.

* Oct. 25: North Kitsap vs. Kingston. If you’re a high school football fan and you’re going to go to one game this year, that’s the one. The rivals are unbeaten in Olympic League play and should still be unbeaten when they meet.

* The Olympic College volleyball team lost to Bellevue but is still ranked ahead of the Bulldogs in the latest NWAACC poll. Blue Mountain is No. 1, OC No. 2 and Bellevue No. 3. The Rangers only have five more home matches, including a Wednesday date with Skagit Valley. Check ’em out. Coach Beth Donnelly has OC playing at a really high level.



Links and thoughts while waiting for the government to rev back up

Shooting from the hip with linkage while waiting for the government to reopen:

Four weeks into the season, Don Banks at’s MMQB has the Seahawks and Broncos in the Super Bowl with Seattle winning 33-30.

My weekly Thursday column for The Sun was about the Mariners’ managerial search. I like Joe Maddon, so why not give his bench coach, Dave Martinez, a long look. He might be the answer.

Was going to head across the water to see Robert Earl Keen play some music, but never made it Wednesday night. Keen, a clever singer/songwriter from Texas, once competed in the rodeo as a bull rider. He’s what he had to say about riding a bull: “It’s like being in a can going 70 mph down the freeway and chucking the steering wheel out the window.”

I know it’s way too early to start thinking about it, but how cool would it be if the Saints and Seahawks are both 11-0 when New Orleans rolls into town Dec. 2 for a Monday night game at the Clink? Russell Wilson vs. Drew Brees, two quarterbacks who were supposed to be too short to play in the NFL. There are no gimmes on the schedule, but Seattle’s toughest tests should be at Indianapolis this week and at Atlanta on Nov. 10. The Saints’ schedule is tougher, starting with road games at Chicago and New England the next two weeks and another one at Atlanta. New Orleans also has to play San Francisco.

How will No. 15 Washington match up physically against No. 5 Stanford Saturday night (7:30 p.m., ESPN)? That seems to be the storyline going into the game. Can the Huskies, allowing just 3.80 yards per play, slow down the Bruisers from Palo Alto? It’s an intriguing matchup: Washington’s outstanding team quickness and up-tempo offense, similar to what Oregon’s used to become one of college’s elite teams, against a Cardinal team that would look a lot like Alabama if you put them in some Crimson Tide uniforms. Steve Rudman of poses the question: Can Washington can with an elite team on the road?

I have to admit that Washington is better than I thought they’d be. Bishop Sankey’s the real deal at running back. The nation’s leading rusher is so good in open space, but he’s better in the trenches than I thought he was. And after carrying the rock 40 times against Arizona, you know he’s durable. And don’t sleep on UW defensive lineman Danny Shelton. Only a sophomore, he’s Washington’s version of J.J. Watt, the Texans’ one-man wrecking crew. Shelton’s the guy doing all of the dirty work in the middle of the line, absorbing double-teams to free up teammates for tackles.He anchors a Husky defensive line known as the “Flintstones.” Read about it here.

I still can’t get that Golden Tate punt return out of my mind. It’s overtime and he fields the ball at the goal-line, maybe a yard deep, and gets it out to the 31. It set up the Seahawks’ game-winning field goal against Houston. I wonder what special teams coach Brian Schneider was thinking when he saw Tate take off.

Los Angeles Times writer Chris Defresne believes USC’s coaching search should send with Steve Sarkisian, providing the coach is willing to leave Washington. For Sarkisian, he seems to be managing the distraction well. At least better than Rick Neuheisel did during his days at Washington, writes Art Thiel of

Stewart Mandell of writes that the Washington Huskies are on the verge of becoming relevant after being down for so many years.

Talked to bobsledder Bree Schaaf today. U.S. Bobsled Trials are next week in Lake Placid, N.Y., and the Olympian from Bremerton is ready to go after a year’s worth of intense training. Look for the story next week.

PGA Tour golfer Troy Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad, has moved back to the Northwest. He’s living in the Lakewood/Steilacoom area after calling La Quinta, Calif., home the past few years.




Handicapping Dawgs and Cougs; Jonson tied for 5th at PNGA Amateur; Sherman’s softball game Sunday

Chris Huston, college football writer for CBS, took a look at the over/under lines on how many games Pac-12 football teams will win in 2013.

The line for the Washington Huskies was 7.5. It was 4.5 for the Washington State Cougars. Will the Huskies win more than seven games? Will WSU win more than four?

Here’s how Huston sized up the UW and WSU:

Washington, 7.5

Over (-120)/Under (-120)

The Huskies have been consistently mediocre under Steve Sarkisian with three straight 7-6 seasons. This may be his last chance to show he can get it done in Seattle. The talent is certainly there, with all-star recruits on both sides of the ball. But this Husky program is still trying to find its identity. The schedule does Sarkisian no favors, as Washington opens withBoise State, then travels to Chicago to take on Illinois. October is a bear, with a home game against Oregon sandwiched between road games at Stanford and Arizona State. It’s going to be tough for UW to break out of its 7-win gulag. VERDICT: Under

Washington State, 4.5

Over (-130)/Under (-110)

Mike Leach is in his second season in the Palouse and his team should be much improved after last season’s disappointing 3-9 record. Whether that will translate into more wins is the big question. The season starts out rough, with road trips to Auburn and USC, but games against cream puffs Southern Utah and Idaho means the Cougars should be 2-2 heading into a late September game against Stanford in Seattle. WSU doesn’t have Colorado on its schedule, but it also misses UCLA. The last three games against Arizona, Utah and Washington will determine the win total and I like Leach’s chances to get two of those three. VERDICT: Over.

If UW quarterback Keith Price gets his mojo back after a disappointing 2012 season, I think Washington has a chance to win nine, maybe 10 games. The defense was much-improved a year ago, and it should be even better. The offensive line should also be a strength. And, like Huston pointed out, this could be Sarkisian’s last chance to get it done. Another seven-win season and the honeymoon will be over. Another seven-win season and Sark’s stock will drop considerably.

I’m think Leach will get it done on the Palouse, but only if his team can get some sort of a running game established. Doesn’t need to be much, but it has to be better than it was a year ago when WSU ran for an average of 29.1 yards a game. They’ve got some experience up front, including John Fullington, the senior from North Mason who has started the last 30 games for the Cougars. Look for the Cougs to win six games. If they won’t win four, Leach might catch the next pirate ship out of Pullman.


Jonson tied for 14th

Bainbridge’s Carl Jonson, who will be a junior at UNLV, is tied for 5th after the first round at the PNGA Men’s Amateur, being played at Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon. Jonson shot a 3-over 75 on the Bandon Dunes course Saturday. He plays Bandon Trails today. The low 64 advance to match play. Here’s the leaderboard.

Jonson was medalist in this event a year ago at Wine Tree Golf Club in Walla Walla and advanced to the championship match, where he lost 5 & 4 to Ban Shotaro of San Jose, Calif. Shotaro also carded an opening-round 75. He’s playing in the same threesome with Jonson. The other player in the group, Mark Strickland of Mukilteo, shot 1-under 69 and sits atop the leaderboard.

Ed Jonson, Carl’s dad, won this tournament in 1974 at the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish.

Port Orchard’s Bjorn Bjorke is in a good position to make the cut to match-play after shooting 77 on the Bandon Dunes course. The Olympic College golf coach is tied for 16th at 5-over.

Sherman’s softball game today

Festivities for Richard Sherman’s Celebrity Softball Game Sunday, July 7, at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium begin at noon. Here’s a list of some of the celebs scheduled to show up. Lots of Seahawks will be there. Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals and ex-Sonic Shawn Kemp are also playing. Says here that Golden Tate’s the early favorite to win the home-run derby. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson will coach the teams.

Rainiers play 11:30 a.m. game vs. Reno on Monday

The M’s are out of town, but it’s still a good day to play hooky and go watch a ball game.

Tacoma’s just a 30-minute drive away and the Rainiers (20-11) are playing the Reno Aces (10-21) in an 11:30 a.m. getaway game at Cheney Stadium. The Rainiers had a 10-game winning streak snapped Saturday, but snapped back with a 6-5 win on Sunday. Shortstop/second baseman Nick Franklin’s hitting .325. Franklin, 22, might be ready for the majors if the M’s come calling, writes Larry Stone of the Seattle Times. Shortstop/second baseman Carlos Triunfel (he and Franklin alternate at the middle infield spots) is hitting .319. Catcher Mike Zunino, after a hot start, has tailed off to .202. Monday’s pitching matchup: RHP Randall Delgado (0-3, 9.62 ERA) gets the nod for Reno, while Tacoma will counter with RHP Andrew Carraway (3-1, 3.31 ERA). Here’s a link to the Rainiers’ blog, written by announcer Mike Curto. Here’s the Q&A I did with Curto prior to the start of the season.


Mommas, it’s OK to let your boys grow up to be college football coaches. The average salary for major-college football coaches exceeds $1 million, according to this report. The University of Washington’s Steve Sarkisian is making $2.550,000 million in 2013. He has two years left on his contract, which rises to $2.85 million in 2015.

Here’s one person’s list of the top 10 NFL games you should be looking forward to during the 2013 season. And, yes, the Week 2 matchup in San Francisco, when the Niners host the Seattle Seahawks, is one of those must-see games.

Ex-Sonics player and coach Nate McMillan and former WSU basketball coach Kelvin Sampson are reportedly going to get interviews for the vacant Milwaukee Bucks job. McMillan’s also interviewed for the Pistons’ job.

He’s 44-0, but is Floyd Mayweather Jr. the greatest boxer in history? Note even close, writes Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports. Mayweather hasn’t fought many elite fighters, writes Iole.

It’s time for the PGA Tour to start administering blood tests to catch golfers who might be trying to gain an unfair advantage. The way The Tour handled the Vijay Singh case was embarrassing, according to Robert Lusatich of