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Pigskin Pete
Pac10 2008 Grid Play
Promises Fireworks

     January 31, 2008 -- Lil' Ricky New-weasel (as ardent Husky fans have named him) has been hired to coach his alma mater UCLA...a move that should astound his fellow Pac10 coaches and set up a battle royal in Husky stadium Nov. 15 with the visiting Bruins.  The Seattle Times newspaper carried an insightful review recently of the sorry mess Ricky made of a Dawg program that had flourished for years as a reputable entity under coaches Jim Owens and Don James. Yes, he won, but he recruited players of questionable morals and then protected them from punishment for their misdeeds, then was fired amid an athletic department gone astray under the inept stewardship of Barbara Hedges, who hired Neuheisel despite his recruiting misdeeds at Colorado.   

Current Husky mentor Tyrone Willingham has correctly been given more time to rebuild the once proud program that was a national power.  He  has won sparingly to date with a squad largely composed of Neuheisel recruits.  Ty achieved his first recruiting coup this past season with freshman QB phenom Jake Locker, pride of little Ferndale, WA.  Ty responded  to his
critics by hiring a new defensive coordinator, Ed Donatell, veteran of 13 seasons as  an NFL assistant at Atlanta, Green Bay, New York Jets and Denver.  Donatell served under UW alum Jim Mora in Atlanta and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Husky coaching legend James at Kent State and then the UW. 

The now traditional rivalry between Oregon and Washington kicks off the '08 season in the Ducks' Autzen stadium, August 30th.  Locker, a retooled defense and a new crop of Willingham  recruits will debut.  

Feb. 6 tells recruiting tale

NCAA football schools will report their recruiting hauls the first Wednesday of the current month.  Alumni and rabid supporters breathlessly await the outcome that should be indicative of the immediate future of each school's grid program.  However there is no shortage of past individual success stories written by non-scholarship walk-ons.  Our next column will estimate
the true value of 2008 announced recruiting classes 

Roses & Raspberries...we fully expect the reward of posies to the Portland State coaching staff when the first recruits landed by the new Viking coaching tandem of Glanville & Mouse is revealed...no rewards are due UCLA for extending tricky Ricky's collegiate mentoring career...we must applaud the return to respectability and success being carved by the current edition of the NBA Portland Trailblazers, whose fans have returned to a home arena badly sullied by owner Paul Allen's sorry choice of Bob Whitsitt as GM and other now departed hires that almost destroyed the ethical and winning  legacy of the franchise brought to the Rose City by entrepreneur Harry Glickman three decades ago.   

© 2008 Oregon Magazine