The Huskies take the field at 4:30 today, beginning another football season.
So, in keeping with a dumb little personal annual tradition, I pulled out a Sporting News coffee table book I have called "Every Saturday in Autumn." It's mostly an ode to the color and traditions of college football, and I finger through it each year just to remind myself of the great job I have and the fascinating ride we're about to begin.
Every season has its preseason questions that aren't answered fully until the post season. Some of this season's top questions: How will Jake Locker begin his UW career? How will this hyper-mobile quarterback operate behind a huge but largely non-athletic offensive line? Will center Juan Garcia develop into an all-conference anchor in the middle? Will Louis Rankin have a breakout season -- say, 1,000 yards? -- or will one of the less experienced tailbacks get a chance? Will solutions be found for all the problems obvious in the Huskies' kicking game from last spring? Will a single star tight end emerge from the pack? Will this veteran defensive line finally meet what once seemed to be a game-disrupting potential? Will those new linebackers make up for in athleticism what they lack in starting experience? Will the Huskies find a secondary that can defend the pass in this pass-happy league? Is that schedule going to be as tough as it looks? If so, how patient will the fans be with an improved team that doesn't produce an improved record?
The answers will begin taking shape today. And, of course, I'll continue trying to pass those answers along to you. There will be almost-daily stories in pages of The News Tribune. And I expect there will be more-than-daily entries in this blog.
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There also might be some technical improvements on the way. Photos are likely to start showing up. And perhaps audio and even occasional short video clips. However, I'd like to hear from you about that. Every day, I tend to receive a lot of information through various interviews and the rare open practice (today's practice is one of only two fall practices open to the press). I rarely pass all of it along, because not all of it seems useful. I tend to put more raw information into this blog. Then try to add more context to the stories in the paper. Sometimes, for example, I put the entire written transcripts of interviews on this blog. But I'll usually use just the best quotes in the paper. So, I don't know if the audio clips -- with their ums, and ahs, and less interesting answers -- increase the quality of your Husky-fan experience or just slow you down. Some bells and whistles are nice. Some are just distractions.
The way I can find out, of course, is if you tell me. Please feel free to let me know what you think of these new technologies as they show up. And also please let me know if there are questions you want me to ask or players/coaches/issues you'd like me to profile. It's a long way to the first game, and longer still to the final whistle of that 13th game in Hawaii. I hope this blog and our newspaper coverage can help you enjoy the season that's about to unfold. Please let me know how I can make it better.