Tag Archives: Scott Woodward

Okay Huskies, This isn’t Fun Anymore

Dawgs of Snore

Excuse the crudeness but it's apropos

Going into today’s game, I already knew a blowout was at hand.  I knew that Oregon State’s offensive and defensive lines were ten times better than the players we could send out there.  But from the game’s opening play, I was startled by just how pathetic the Washington Huskies looked.  There was no fire or confidence.  On passing plays, UW quarterback Jake Locker had an average of 0.0000023 seconds to throw the ball before being engulfed by Beaver defenders.

As the game progressed, the scoring margin between the two teams began to widen like the Grand Canyon.  And I began to wonder how it could ever come to pass that these two programs could be so disparate in their development.  The Beavs trounced the Dawgs 48-21 and it definitely fell under the category of “The Beavers could have scored 70 had they wanted to.”  The carnage left the Huskies with a 3-7 record and surrendering bowl eligibility for the 7th straight year.  Talk about shellshock- Husky Nation is reeling tonight.  The Beavers, meanwhile, still feel like the Rose Bowl is a possibility.  And good luck to them, I say.  Those guys play hard, and it’s a pleasure to watch a unit of different parts come together as a singularity and perform at a high level.

As for our beloved yet downtrodden Huskies…  Entering this  season nobody expected Washington to win the Pac-10 crown.  But the thought was that a great season would be 6 victories.  After the seemingly huge win over USC back in September, first year coach Steve Sarkisian could be heard repeatedly saying “it’s not going to take that long…  We’re not that far away from being an excellent football team.”

But that early season uplift of expectations has made this present slide all the more painful.  Washington has lost 4 games in a row, and 6 of its last 7.  Sarkisian is no longer talking with the swagger of September; instead he’s speaking in platitudes alarmingly similiar to his pathetic predecessor, Tyrone Willingham.

Now Washington football sits wondering what has befallen it.  We’re still a laughingstock that has been obliterated by two of its Northwest rivals.  The questions persist as to whether Sarkisian was a panic hire by the inexperienced athletic director Scott Woodward.  Should Woodward have gone after successful coaches with proven records like Gary Patterson of Texas Christian, Brian Kelly at Cincinnati or some other successful coach at a lower division school?

But Sarkisian is our guy and the jury’s still out.  Looking at the appallingly weak line play, one has to give Sarkisian some sort of pass until he can bring in some legitimate Pac-10 talent to man the trenches.  But it’s impossible to ignore the fact that this team is getting worse as the season wears on.  Indeed, things are unraveling in a manner not dissimiliar to a Tyrone Willingham team.

Considering Washington’s 12-57 record since 2004, more and more fans just don’t care anymore.  The prevailing feeling is that the University of Washington has de-emphasized football.  Can Sarkisian revive the tradition?  Or is it too late?  Only one thing’s certain– this ain’t fun anymore.


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Mason Foster’s Game-Winning Interception to beat Arizona

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Last four Minutes of Washington vs. USC (September 19, 2009)

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Husky fans are Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired (Bring on Sarkisian!)

By Derek Johnson

As Washington’s demoralized football team staggered across the seasonal finish line at 0-12, I considered the on-field failure in olfactory terms.  Just 16 years ago, Husky football had inhaled the musky fragrance of three consecutive Rose Bowls and a 12-0 record.  Now, in the wake of the Willingham era, the program reeks of a whorehouse at low tide.


Sarkisian and Matt Leinart

When I first heard of Sarkisian’s hire, I felt the remaining wind disappear from my psychological sails.  I felt like UW President Mark Emmert and athletic director Scott Woodward went on the cheap.  I felt UW a school worthy of hiring a big-time coach.  I also realized that I had reached a personal crossroads.  Did I want to continue to follow Husky football?  I had felt last year with all my being that Emmert’s decision to retain Tyrone Willingham for the 2008 season would be disastrous, and it certainly proved out.  The longest fifteen weeks in the history of Husky football.    

I asked myself if I really wanted to continue following a program that had clearly de-emphasized football.

 But two things changed my mind.  First, I harkened back to that quote last year from my friend Nathan Ware, when he addressed on his old P-I blog why Husky fans wouldn’t jump ship.  “For those of you on the I’m giving up my season tickets bandwagon, I feel your pain,” Ware said.  “Although, I’m not completely sure I believe that you’re actually giving up your tickets. Husky football is like crack and Jake Locker is your dealer.”

Jake Locker continues to be the one shining hope that things can turn around quicker than expected.  His injury in the fourth game this year expedited Willingham’s departure more than anything else.  For it had been Locker’s epic scrambling ability that managed to mask so many deficiencies from the poor coaching of Willingham and offensive coordinator Tim Lappano.  With the Locker fig leaf suddenly snatched away, the prideful Willingham acted like the Black Knight from Monty Python.  With each sliced limb/catastrophic loss, he responded in essence by shrugging defiantly and saying “it’s just a flesh wound.” 

Secondly, as I learned more about Sarkisian, the better I felt about Emmert and Woodward’s selection.  Sarkisian knows the west coast in terms of recruiting.  He comes from a USC program that has won 7 Pac-10 titles in a row.  He is young (34), energetic and hard-working.  If college football’s greatest coach deems him worthy of being OC, that’s worth something.  And Sarkisian will do what Willingham wouldn’t, and that’s sell Husky football to the public and infuse life into Husky Nation.  That’s why Monday’s press conference announcing Sarkisian’s hire will instantly galvanize the increasingly glum Husky fan base.

As 2009 progresses and Sarkisian performs triage upon this broken and dispirited team, a healthy Jake Locker will mask many of the team’s ills.  No longer will Washington trot out a disheveled version of the spread option offense.  Word is that Sarkisian will bring a pro-style offense with a reliance on power football – at least once he feels confident that his new players can carry it out.    

Having followed Husky football for so long, I have decided to throw caution to the wind and give the Sarkisian Era a chance.  I look forward to seeing the Washington Huskies build themselves back up.  I look forward to enjoying football again.  And I look forward to witnessing the Huskies recapture their rightfully prominent perch in the Pac-10 pecking order.



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Christmas Gift Idea for Washington Huskies fans


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Willingham Exit Strategy Damning UW to Football Hell

Back in December 2004, as Tyrone Willingham was being introduced as Washington’s football coach, he made a statement that– in retrospect — was strikingly bizarre.

“It is time for the University of Washington to return to being the Dawgs,” Willingham said.  “It is my understanding that a dog is a vicious animal.” 

Now eight games into his fourth and final season at UW, Willingham’s football team has lost all hope.  The Huskies are 0-8 and riding a 10-game losing streak.  Last Saturday’s 56-0 loss at USC was beyond an abomination.  Willingham’s players weren’t vicious, they were listless.  They weren’t tough as steel, they were soft like Play-Do.  They weren’t full of spit and vinegar, they were demoralized and flatter than a training bra for a 10-year old. 

Against the Trojans, the Huskies clearly gave up on their coach, whose 11-33 record is horrible by epic proportions.  As the only BCS Subdivision team without a win in 2008, Washington football has been reduced by Willingham to a smoldering rubble.

In daily life, when doctors and lawyers make colossal errors, they become vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits.  Conversely, when an incompetent coach like Tyrone Willingham destroys a football program, he’s given a $1 million buyout and publicly lauded for being a man of character and integrity.  

The reasons for this warrant discussion in a different article.  But rest assured the University of Washington is taking precautions to avoid any accusations of bullying their black head coach, as befell Notre Dame when they fired Willingham back in 2004. 

If Tyrone Willingham is a man of integrity and honor, he will resign immediately.  If he truly wants what’s best for the University of Washington, he will put the program above his own interests.  If he’s honest, he will admit that he has completely lost this football team.  He’ll realize that his overbearing pride causes him to cling to the wooden facade that he is a quality football coach.  If he only knew that some of his contemporaries at other schools mock him behind his back.  If he only knew that his coaching skills are not respected by his colleagues. 

If Willingham can look past his own ego, he will see a football team that is hurting and rudderless.  He will see a team devoid of self-esteem and a desire to win.  He will look into the faces of senior players like Juan Garcia, Michael Gottlieb and Jordan White-Frisbee, and realize that by finishing out the season, he is dooming them to additional misery and a possible 0-12 conclusion.

There’s a saying that goes, “Where there is no hope, the people perish.”  If Willingham truly wants to do right by his players, he can proffer them the gift of hope.  He can resign immediately, and remove his toxic presence from the team’s collective psyche, allowing for a potential spark of hope.

If only Tyrone Willingham could realize that by continuing to stay on as UW coach, the only interests served are that of Tyrone Willingham, and no one else.



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Some Random Questions on Husky Football

Alexis and Anderson, after clinching Rose Bowl berth


  • The Washington players are reportedly taking very well to new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.  If Washington coach Tyrone Willingham had fired the previous coordinator Kent Baer in 2005 instead of 2007 (when he was forced to) and hired someone competent like Donatell, would Willingham be on the hot seat now?


  • Washington’s recruiting is going poorly so far.  If the University of Washington felt sufficient support to bring back Tyrone Willingham as head coach, then why aren’t they giving him an extension to help sell recruits?


  • Why is it taking so long for Washington to name an AD?  With the sense of transitory leadership, it feels like a ship without a rudder.  Why don’t they just come out and acknowledge that interim AD Scott Woodward will be filling that role, even if for just a year?  


  • Does Jake Locker have enough of a supporting cast to carry this year’s team to 8 wins and a bowl game?


  • Will defensive end Daniel T’eo Nesheim’s presence be enough to anchor the greenest defensive line in the Pac-10 this year?


  • If the Oregon Ducks manage to badly beat the Huskies at Autzen Stadium in the season opener, will Washington’s collective psyche be able to bounce back and stay on track? 


  • Will Washington’s young gifted crop of wide receivers be able to impact games in the same manner that Reggie Williams did back in his freshman year of 2001?


  • Last but not least….  If the physically gifted former running back Rich Alexis had played football througout his youth instead of just one year in high school, could he have become and All-American and All-Pro?


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