Washington Huskies coach Chris Petersen said he’s OK with the NCAA’s proposed early signing period in college football, but said the date of said period will be “critically important.”
After years of consideration, the NCAA Division I Council this week proposed two new, three-day signing periods — one beginning the last Wednesday in June, and another in December in conjunction with the junior college signing period.
Currently, high school recruits can sign binding letters of intent on the first Wednesday in February.
Petersen said a signing period in December could be helpful.
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“I think it can be moved too far forward, where kids truly are not ready to decide and commit. They think they are, but they’re not, and too many things change,” Petersen said. “I’ve always been in favor of that one that if we’re going to do it, it’s probably right before December, where the coaches can go out. Kids have had a chance to visit. It’s a month or so away from the normal signing period, but if kids want to sign then and they’ve had a chance to visit and make a decision, I don’t think that’s too far away from what we have already.”
Such a signing window, Petersen said, would help mitigate the attempted poaching — which has become commonplace — of committed recruits during the December contact period.
Because of that, recruiting in late November and December becomes as much about visiting and protecting prospects who are already committed to your school — baby-sitting, in a sense — than it is about trying to secure recruits who are still undecided.
Adding a signing period in December could solve some of those problems, Petersen said.
“That could save a lot of time, energy, money,” he said, “because what happens is, when the coaches go out, and kids are committed, that’s when the gloves come off and it gets ugly, and guys are trying to get your guys to decommit, when the coaches get face to face with them.”
The NCAA is also proposing to increase the number of full-time assistant coaches per team from nine to 10. Petersen said he hasn’t given that much thought — “I don’t have a super strong opinion on that,” he said — but figures many teams might use the extra spot on a dedicated special teams coach.
Petersen currently employs Bob Gregory, UW’s linebackers coach, as the special teams coordinator. Before him, it was Jeff Choate, who was the defensive line coach.
That approach has worked so far, which might lead Petersen to explore different options for a 10th assistant.
“I think you need to think about it and go, well, do we like how our special teams are being run now?” Petersen said. “Maybe we can use it somewhere else.”
Washington has sold out its allotment of tickets for Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. game at Oregon. “To be able to catch a quick flight or drive in a half a day,” Petersen said, “I think that stuff is important, and I think it makes it good for college football.” … Asked about the Huskies staying relatively healthy through their first five games, Petersen replied: “It’s just luck. That’s all it is. I don’t know what else to say.” Oregon and UW’s previous opponent, Stanford, have lost several key players to injuries.