Monthly Archives: March 2010

Spring Football Starts This Week for Huskies

It doesn’t seem that long ago that everybody was getting revved up for Steve Sarkisian’s first season at the University of Washington. The new coach opened spring practices and Dawg fans flocked to the stadium to see how the former USC assistant handled things.

Those open practices were a huge hit. The energy that Sarkisian and his staff brought was night and day from Ty Willingham’s methods. Willingham conducted closed practices and rarely opened up in interviews with the media.

Sarkisian was a breath of fresh air and the Huskies, coming off an 0-12, season, nearly made it to a bowl game.

Now, it’s time for Sarkisian’s guys to get things rolling again. Quarterback Jake Locker’s returning for his senior season and expections are high at Montlake. Spring drills open Tuesday, and once again, they’re open to the public. You have to sign if you show up, but you’ll be able to get a first-hand look at this year’s team if you desire.

Here’s the UW link that has all of the spring info, including schedule of practices.

Here’s the roster. Once again, there’s nobody from West Sound on the squad, not even a walkon.

Excerpts of Woods Interviews

We don’t have the room in our print editions, nor the desire I suppose, to run this stuff. But for those of you interested in what Tiger Woods had to say on Sunday, here you go:

By The Associated Press
Selected excerpts from Tiger Woods’ interviews Sunday with the Golf Channel and ESPN, the first time the world’s top-ranked golfer answered questions on camera since his early morning car crash last November.
From the Golf Channel interview:
— On how Woods let things get so out of control:
“Going against your core values. Losing sight of them. I quit meditating. I quit being a Buddhist. And my life changed upside down. I felt I was entitled, which I never had felt before. And consequently, I hurt so many people by my own reckless attitude and behavior.”
— On why Woods couldn’t say no to behaving that way:
“I don’t know. Now I know. But at the time, that’s part of what I learned in treatment. Being there for 45 days, you learn a lot. You strip away the denial, the rationalization and you come to the truth and the truth is very painful at times. And to stare at yourself and look at that person you’ve become, you become disgusted.”
— On what Woods’ playing schedule will be after the Masters:
“I will have more treatment and more therapy sessions. And as far as my schedule going forward, I don’t know what I’m going to do. … That to me is a little bit bothersome, too, in the sense that I don’t like not knowing what to do. But what I know I have to do is become a better person and that begins with going to more treatment.”
— On how Woods reacted to becoming “a punch line”:
“It was hurtful, but then again, you know what? I did it. And I’m the one who did those things. And looking back on it now, with a more clear head, I get it. I can understand why people would say those things. Because you know what? It was disgusting behavior. It’s hard to believe that was me.”
— On whether members of Woods’ inner circle were involved in his infidelity:
“That is not true. It was all me. I’m the one who did it. I’m the one who acted the way I acted. No one knew what was going on when it was going on. I’m sure if more people would have known in my inner circle, they would have stopped it or tried to put a stop to it.”
— On the state of his marriage:
“We’re working on it. And it’s a process that will remain private between her and I.”
From the ESPN interview:
— On why Woods felt compelled to issue a public apology, despite his insistence that it’s a private, family matter:
“Well, I owe a lot of people an apology. I hurt a lot of people. Not just my wife. My friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to me. There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person and my actions were not according to that. And that’s why I had to apologize. I was so sorry for what I’ve done.”
— On what Woods saw from himself in treatment:
“I saw a person that I never thought I would ever become. … I didn’t know I was that bad. I didn’t know that I was that bad. I was living a lie.”
— On what Woods expects for a fan reaction to his return:
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I am a little nervous about that, to be honest with you.”
— On confessing infidelity to his wife:
“She was hurt, she was hurt. Very hurt. Shocked. Angry. And, you know, she had every right to be.”

Would You Bet the House on Charlie Whitehurst?

(Yes, I messed up Whitehurst’s name on my original post; sorry about that).

The Seattle Seahawks rolled the dice and packaged some draft picks for a guy most of us have never heard of — Charlie Whitehurst. A former Clemson QB, he’s been stuck in San Diego behind Phillip Rivers and Billy Volek. But the Seahawks pried him loose. Some say the price was too steep — swapping No. 2 picks with the Chargers this year and giving the Bolts another third-rounder in 2011, plus giving Whitehurst a two-year, $8 million contract.

Value, however, is in the eye of the beholder, and something about Whitehurst impressed the new Seahawks coaching staff and front office regime. If it works out, it’ll be a steal for the Seahawks.

Here’s a list of some other free agent quarterbacks who recently found new homes: Former Seattle backup Seneca Wallace signed with Cleveland, as did Jake Delhomme; David Carr landed with the 49ers, A.J. Feeley went to Detroit, Brady Quinn’s now in Denver, Derek Anderson  hooked on with the Cardinals, Jim Sorgi will  be holding a clipboard for the N.Y. Giants, Shaun Hill’s now with the Lions and Rex Grossman joined the Washington Redskins.

Out of that mix, who would you want to be your backup for 2010? I’d just as soon gamble on Charlie Whitehursst. He’s never thrown a pass in an NFL regular season game, but that’s mostly because of the situation he found himself in San Diego.

Nine years ago, the Seahawks gambled on a backup quarterback who’d never started a regular season game. Matt Hasselbeck was stuck behind a guy named Brett Favre. Hasselbeck turned out to be pretty good. Let’s give this Whitehurst guy a chance.

Spring Training Links and Other Stuff

* Aaron Cunningham’s with his fourth organization in six years, and the outfielder might start the season at Triple-A Portland, but the South Kitsap grad is OK with that. He didn’t like how the season ended last year when he was with Oakland, and San Diego’s given him a new outlook. Check out this story that published Wednesday in the San Diego Tribune.

* Jason Hammel’s yet to walk a batter as his dazzling spring continues for the right hander from Port Orchard. The Colorado pitcher struck out six in five innings against the Mariners on Thursday.

* Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik said he’s yet to see a trophy awarded for the Hot Stove League, referring to the all of the buzz the M’s created with their offseason moves. Are they ready to make the next step? That’s the theme of this USA Today preview story.

* Looks like the Mariners are committed to playing Jose Lopez at third base. Boy, are they gonna miss Adrian Beltre’s glove work. As Boston pitcher John Lackey said of the new Red Sox third baseman: “Dude can play.” Adrian Beltre’s as good a defensive player who’s ever played the position. Yeah, I’m including Brooks Robinson, Clete Boyer, Mike Schmidt and anybody else you can think of. His defense alone was worth the price of a season ticket.

* Speaking of dudes who can’t play … Yuni Betancourt seems to have already worn out his welcome in Kansas City. One blogger wrote this:

Despite GM Dayton Moore’s assertions to the contrary, Betancourt is a vortex through which the entire team will get sucked if he’s allowed onto the field too much—and “too much” could just as easily read “at all.”  With Betancourt’s already abysmal glove and brutal batsmanship, nearly any middle infielder on the roster would be an upgrade. 


Jud Dines With the Spartans

Thanks to freelancer Howie Stalwick, the hardest working man in the Inland Empire, here’s a note about Jud Heathcote, who grew up along the shores of Manchester near Port Orchard. Now living in Spokane, the coach who led Magic Johnson and the Spartans to an NCAA title (or did Magic lead Jud and the Spartans?) doesn’t have to travel far to watch his beloved Spartans this March.

Michigan State faces New Mexico State today in Spokane.

Here’ s a note courtesy freelance writer Howie Stalwick, who’s covering the games in Spokane for The Sporting News this weekend:

SPOKANE — Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo says team chemistry has not always been ideal this season, so he sought out the perfect remedy after arriving in Spokane on Wednesday: A team dinner with Jud Heathcote.
“That was chemically a good move,” Izzo said Thursday as the Spartans prepared for their NCAA tournament debut today against New Mexico State.
Izzo assisted Heathcote, a South Kitsap High School graduate, at Michigan State before replacing his mentor when Heathcote retired to Spokane after the 1994-95 season.
“Jud’s been to just about every one of our NCAA tournaments (since Izzo became head coach),” Izzo said. “He’s been unbelievable, going a lot of places with us.
“He’s always a quick-wit guy … I love him. He’s the best. I enjoyed being with him last night.

UW Start Time Pushed Back

Because earlier games went long, the Washington-Marquette game won’t start until about 4:55 p.m. It’s on CBS (Ch. 7 or 107 for those with HD TVs).

The tournament’s off to a great start. The first four games were decided by 12 points, with two going to overtime. That matches the number of OT games played in the entire 2009 tournament.

You had to like the way Saint Mary’s took out a very good Richmond team, 80-71. Watch out for the Gaels. I think they’ll beat Villanova, the weakest No. 2 seed in a long, long time. Maybe the Big East was overrated. Notre Dame’s already gone. ‘Nova was lucky to beat Robert Morris.

UPDATE: 5:09 p.m.

Another Big East team, Georgetown, is trailing Ohio University by a double digit margin.

Washington’s playing well. The Huskies lead 17-16 with 12:07 left in the first half. It’s a good matchup. The offenses on both sides are having their way right now.

Pumas Down to 26: Johnson, Conrad, Dieng Gone

Weighing in On Tiger’s Return

He’s been seen playing a round with a PGA Tour buddy.

He’s been seen working with his swing coach.

Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, now a PR gun for hire, has joined his team to deal with damage control and help re-create his public image.

Yes, Tiger Woods is coming back.

The world’s greatest golfer announced that he will return to the game he’s owned by playing in The Masters next month at Augusta, Ga. (One of my favorite writers, Joe Posnanski, wrote this about Tiger’s return.)

All eyes will be on 14-time major champion and XX-time (nobody but Tiger knows how many extra marital affairs he had) cheater. The Masters will be the most watched tournament in the history of golf.

Don’t kid yourself. Love him or loathe him, you’ll be watching. You know you will. Won’t you? (Let me know what you think).

I think a lot of people will be pulling him for him. Before, he seemed almost too perfect. His carefully crafted persona seemed almost robot-like. He was too good. Even when his golf swing wasn’t pure, he somehow figured out ways to make seemingly impossible shots and drain clutch putt after clutch putt.

He was the face of golf with no challengers. As much as you admired his enormous talent, it was, in a way, easy to root against.

Sure, he’s probably lost a lot of his fans, especially females. Now that he’s been exposed, that he isn’t the person everybody thought he was, he’ll be viewed differently.

Do you think Tiger cares how people react to him?

I don’t think so.

Out in the public, I don’t think you’ll notice much difference in Tiger Woods. If anything, he’ll probably protect his privacy more than he did in the past. And that’s OK. I really don’t care what Tiger does when he’s not on the golf course. I don’t need or want to know details about his private life anymore than I want to know private details of Arnold Palmer’s life.

If Woods was cheating on the golf course, or using banned steroids that helped him become the golfer he is, then it would be different. But we’re talking about perhaps the most focused athlete of all time, a guy who has blocked out just about any kind of pressure imaginable to become the greatest golfer of all time.

Even in this day and age of TMZ and tabloid sleeze, I think Tiger Wood will show that he’s still the best golfer on the planet. It won’t surprise me if he wins the Masters.

Tiger’s not a Golf God on a pedestal anymore. Because of all of his issues, he’s now a bit of an underdog, and you know how America likes underdogs.

If I could give him any advice, I’d tell him to lose Ari Fleischer. Get rid of the PR flak, man. Be real this time. Be yourself.

Which Team Makes a Deeper Run: UW or Gonzaga?

That’s the question we posed in this poll. As of midnight Monday, 162 people had weighed in and 47 percent said the Huskies would go the farthest, while 37 percent voted for Gonzaga. Another 14 percent said both teams would lose in the first round. What do you think?

Me? I think both face difficult first-round games, but Washington matches up well with Marquette. Gonzaga’s more talented than Florida State, but the Seminoles are huge and like to keep the score low. If the UW and Zags both surive, you have to like Washington’s chances (against either New Mexico or Montana) over Gonzaga’s chances of knocking off Syracuse …. in a game that will be played in Buffalo, N.Y. It’s been a long time since Gonzaga’s been called a Cinderella, but if they get a chance to play Syracuse, somebody better break out the slippers.

Here’s one guy who gives the Zags a shot at knocking off Syracuse.

Remember the last time Gonzaga played in Buffalo. The late Dan Fitzgerald was coaching then. Bud Withers of the Seattle Times tells the story.

Marquette, meanwhile, sees a lot of themselves in Washington. Check out this story in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

And don’t forget to vote in the poll.