The Washington Huskies begin a free weekend right after their Thursday afternoon practice.
However, most UW coaches will remain busy, trying to rev up their seemingly stalled recruiting efforts.
"Most (assistant coaches) have departed – some Wednesday night, some (Thursday) morning -- to get out to the local high schools and do that," Willingham said today. "I'm kind of limited in a sense because if you put seven (assistant coaches) out, the head coach can't get out with that number, and we've already go seven assistants on the road."
The Huskies have five known oral commitments to join the freshman class of 2009: safety Nathan Fellner (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West H.S.), cornerback Aaron Grymes (Seattle/West Seattle H.S.), cornerback Kenneth Pinkard (Dallas/South Oak Cliff H.S.), quarterback Keith Price (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco H.S.) and defensive end Andru Pulu (Federal Way/Federal Way H.S.).
That is the smallest number of commitments in the Pacific-10 Conference, and it has been more than a month since anyone joined the list. Prospects are thought to be waiting for clarification on Willingham's job status or at least some sign of hope from his 0-5 football team.
Willingham spent this week of practice trying to produce that by shaking up not only the usual practice routine, but also changing the contact-heavy focus of the previous bye week.
"I think we're on track to do what we said we'd do: Hopefully get a little healthy, give our guys some quality work and at the same time change it up just a little bit so they get the benefits of not feeling like it's just work, work, work, but have the opportunity to go out and have some fun," he said. "… Obviously, nobody says it's not a difficult time for the football team, but they seem to be having a good solid attitude about it. … We didn't do quite as much scrimmaging as we did the bye week before. We didn't feel like that would be an asset to us this week."
The Huskies return to action Oct. 18 against Oregon State at Husky Stadium. The Beavers play Washington State this weekend in Corvallis, Ore.
A couple of other notes:
Athletic director Scott Woodward told radio station KJR-AM this morning that he would award a failing grade to the Huskies season thus far. However, he repeated his commitment to reserve final judgment until after the season.
Finally, Washington currently holds the nation's longest losing streak: seven games. That's one fewer than North Texas, which is in action this weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette. UW and North Texas are the only winless teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision this season.