Chat with Mason Kelley
Welcome to HuskyNation! On Friday, reporter Mason Kelley stops by to chat about the state of Washington football.
Kelley joined ESPN.com in 2012 after spending three years as the high school sports coordinator at The Seattle Times. He has written about high school, college and professional sports since 2004, working for newspapers in Florida, California, Idaho and Washington.
Send your questions now and join Kelley Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mason Kelley (2:00 PM)
It's Friday, which means it's time for this week's HuskyNation chat. Thank you for stopping by to talk Washington football and recruiting. It's a unique week with the Huskies playing a game later tonight. I'll take questions for the next hour. Fire away.
Huskywood (san diego)
What do you think is holding this team back from taking that next step? Year 4 for Sark seems stuck in neutral, not only can't win on the road, but get thrashed. Tonight is a must win for UW if this is going to be a successful season and carry momentum into a pivotol 2013 season.
Mason Kelley (2:04 PM)
There are a few factors that have threatened to derail the 2012 season. The injuries along the offensive line haven't helped. A brutal early season schedule certainly didn't do the Huskies any favors. And the program hasn't executed well on the road. However, with all that being said, if the Huskies win tonight and then rip off three more wins to end the season, the program will have eight wins heading into a bowl game. I think, before the season, anyone would have taken that as a sign of a successful season.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
So Im going to go out on a limb by saying the Huskies are who we thought they were BUT in the opposite way in which we thought it. I think alot of us figured the offense would win us 7-8 games but it seems that the defense is the one winning us football games thus far. We need to end the road woes tonight or this season can still turn ugly right Mason?
Mason Kelley (2:06 PM)
This is a big game tonight. The Huskies need a road win. And they need to score more than 21 points against an FBS program. The Huskies can do both of those things tonight and, if that happens, 7-8 wins should be the expectation heading into a bowl game.
What's your final outcome prediction for tonight's game?
Mason Kelley (2:08 PM)
While I don't have a score in mind, I think the Huskies finish with more than 21 points and get their first win on the road. It seems like it's time for the offense to get untracked. It's time for the offensive line to take the next step and give Keith Price enough time to throw the ball down the field and put the ball in the hands of his playmakers.
Give me a name of a surprise recruit (football) UW gets that is not already a verbal commit.
Mason Kelley (2:11 PM)
I get this question all the time and, to be honest, I don't have a great answer. The problem is, if they're not committed, anything can happen. I mean, even verbals don't guarantee anything anymore. However, I will say this, I think Washington feels very good about where it is with Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead). There have been a lot of rumors here and Mattingly told me he is still committed to Notre Dame, but I think the Huskies feel good about him ending up in purple and gold before the season ends.
Obligatory Myles Jack update?? I want to see him in Purple and Gold!!!
Mason Kelley (2:14 PM)
Nothing new to report. He remains committed to UCLA. The Huskies continue to pursue him. I think he would be a very important piece to Washington's 2013 class, which would put the program in an even better position with 2014 safety Bishard "Budda" Baker. Jack was at the win over Oregon State. He said he didn't rush the field, because he wanted to soak up the scene. He also said Tosh Lupoi has laid out the Huskies' plans for Jack 1,000 times and, each time, the picture becomes a bit clearer. Washington has a chance, but there's still work to do before Jack flips.
joe sullivan (bremerton)
Do you see any top recruits flipping or others committing to Washington in the later stages?
Mason Kelley (2:18 PM)
If last year's class is any indication of what we can expect before signing day, the Huskies are sure to have some surprises in the 2013 class. The two top targets to flip right now would be Myles Jack and Danny Mattingly. However, it is encouraging that Max Redfield is planning an official visit to watch the Huskies' game against Utah.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
You think that Chip Kelly is going to the NFL or staying put for the long haul?
Mason Kelley (2:20 PM)
This isn't a question I can answer accurately. I haven't interviewed Chip Kelly and have no idea about how much he wants, or doesn't want, to coach in the NFL. I will say this, he has had so much success at the college level that, if he decides to coach in the NFL, he can always come back to college.
Troy (Burlington, WA)
Any of the commits we should be really worried about losing at this point? Who, in your estimate, will be the suprise that Sarkisian always seems to land?
Mason Kelley (2:22 PM)
I haven't talked to any current commits who seem to be wavering in the commitment to the point where there is reason to worry. Damore'ea Stringfellow enjoyed his trip to Nebraska, but said his heart is still with Washington. Sean Harlow is looking around, but his commitment still seems solid. And, as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of names floating out there as potential surprises, but I haven't heard anything that is so solid I'm ready to report.
As far as recruiting goes, what can we expect from next week's Utah game?
Mason Kelley (2:26 PM)
This is going to be a big one, at least it looks that way based on what has been coming out so far. USC commit Max Redfield is the headliner right now. We could also see Eddie Vanderdoes in Seattle for that game, and 2015 QB Brett Rypien said he was planning on coming over for the game. I would expect a list at least as long as the one that attended the Stanford game.
Reggie (Bothell, Wash.)
What can you tell me about 2014 defensive end Bryson Allen-Williams. He has a Washington offer, right?
Mason Kelley (2:29 PM)
Bryson Allen-Williams has been blowing up lately. He texted me twice this week, saying he received offers from Maryland and North Carolina. Washington will make a push for the prospect from Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove. He already has double-digit offers and will continue to add more.
Zachary (ky )
Will the Huskies make it to a bowl game this season?
Mason Kelley (2:31 PM)
With four wins already and four winnable games remaining, it would take an epic collapse for the Huskies to fail to earn a trip to a bowl this season. Again, if Washington can win on the road at Cal tonight, there is no reason to think it can't win the next three and finish the schedule with eight wins heading into a bowl game.
Dr. John (New Orleans)
What QB on the Huskies roster or commit list has the best chance to be the next Jake Locker?
Mason Kelley (2:35 PM)
That's a tough question. I think the Huskies have several dual-threat quarterbacks in the program right now and Troy Williams is on his way in 2013. While watching him in high school, I saw a lot of similarities between Locker and Jeff Lindquist. The freshman has struggled during this redshirt season, but I think he still has plenty of potential and the skill set that most matches Locker. However, right now, I would have to say that it seems like Cyler Miles is the most likely candidate to eventually replace Price. A lot can happen, though, before the Huskies have to make that decision.
The Huskies win tonight 24-21. I also know the results of the Presidential election but I am not telling until next Wednesday.
Mason Kelley (2:36 PM)
Hey, that would mean a road win and the Huskies pass the 21-point plateau against an FBS opponent. I think the program would consider that a win-win.
Do you see the coaches working with Keith on his mechanics? Look a little out of whack this year.
Mason Kelley (2:42 PM)
I haven't been to as many practices recently with my focus being on recruiting, so I can't really comment about how much the staff has worked on Price's mechanics. Between the line's struggles and the graduation of a few playmakers, Price has tried to take on a lot this season. In fact, at times, he has taken on too much. In many ways, it seems like his struggles have been more mental than physical and it looks like he's sorting them out. I'm expecting a breakout performance from him tonight.
You mentioned Lindquist has struggled this year, what specifically has been the issue? I know he's a frosh so I would expect some struggles in the first year.
Mason Kelley (2:44 PM)
I think that's just it. He's a freshman. There's no doubting his arm strength and knowledge of the game. At this point, I just think Cyler Miles has performed better. The struggles are to be expected, considering there is a significant adjustment to be made from high school to college.
Whats your take on Eddie Vanderdoes giving UW an official visit? Any chance??
Mason Kelley (2:47 PM)
I sent him a text earlier this week and didn't hear back. But it sounds like he is going to visit for the Utah game. If he ends up at the game, the Huskies have a chance. There is always a chance when a prospect visits. However, I don't know if he is planning on the trip with casual or serious interest. It certainly says something about the program that big names continue to take trips to Seattle, even though they have committed to other programs.
Keith H (Seattle)
Mason, what's this week's game(s) of choice?
Mason Kelley (2:50 PM)
I'm going to guess and say you're talking high school matchups here. One of the most intriguing matchups is Lakes vs. O'Dea at Seattle Memorial Stadium. If I had to pick one game to his this weekend, that would be near the top of the list. I would also be interested in seeing Mountlake Terrace vs. Kennedy Catholic.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Sarkisian and the Husky offense miss Nussmeier more than you thought? Or do the struggles lie exclusively with the offensive line?
Mason Kelley (2:52 PM)
There are plenty of factors that have impacted Washington's offense this season. I think Doug Nussmeier was definitely a big loss. Things seem to be working out well for him at Alabama and I think the Huskies miss having him in the program. Now, I also think Sarkisian has more than enough talent as a play caller to get his offense going, which is where the other factors come into play.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Mason, I'm going to the game tonight. What keys to victory should I be looking for in the Huskies play?
Mason Kelley (2:54 PM)
No. 1: Get the ground game going with Bishop Sankey again. No. 2: Keith Price needs a breakout performance. No. 3: The offense needs to score more than 21 points. No. 4: The defense needs to replicate the performances it has produced at home, on the road.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
Should Husky fans be nervous about Aaron Gordon moving to Washington?
Mason Kelley (3:00 PM)
I don't think Aaron Gordon will make a decision for a while. The Huskies are in his final five but, as I understand it, he won't sign during the early period, so his recruiting will continue. Washington has a chance, but the program is going up against some heavy hitters.
Mason Kelley (3:01 PM)
Well, that's it for this week. Thanks for stopping by. I will be back next week. Feel free to send any additional questions via Twitter to @masonkelleyESPN or e-mail to masonkelleyESPN@gmail.com and I will work them into next week's mailbag.