Tag Archives: Tyrone Willingham

It’s Time for Sarkisian to Unleash Locker

When Washington quarterback Jake Locker was a freshman in 2007, he rushed for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns.  He was playing for former coach Tyrone Willingham and offensive coordinator Tim Lappano, who basically threw Locker out there to run a version of street ball.

Now that Steve Sarkisian is Washington’s head coach, he’s placed great emphasis on keeping Locker in the pocket and minimizing the number of hits his quarterback absorbs from defenders.

The desire to keep Locker healthy is understandable.  But as the 2009 season has moved into November, the Washington offense is digressing.  The team is now 3-6 and the odds for a bowl game are fading for a 7th consecutive season.

It’s time for Sarkisian to call an additonal 10 runs for Locker per game, and use Locker’s greatest strength (his mobility) as an asset for an offense that desperately needs more productivity while keeping the other team’s offense off the field.


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Time for Sarkisian to make pitch for Northwest Championship

… or something akin.

Washington’s all-time record against its Northwest foes may be 178-101-15, but you wouldn’t know it from the way Oregon carved up the Husky defense yesterday like a Thanksgiving Turkey.  From that abysmal performance, it seems Washington has not closed the gap with Oregon, who has whipped Washington six years in a row.

With the hopes of a bowl game fading to black, UW’s first year coach Steve Sarkisian needs to conjur up new ways to get the team motivated.  Long-time Husky fans can remember when former coach Rick Neuheisel conjured up the idea of the “Northwest Championship” to infuse motiviation into his 4-5 team.  That team responded by going 3-0 against Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State. 

In Sarkisian’s case, the loss to Oregon nullifies the possibility of going 3-0.  But he needs to provide them with a realistic goal to strive for.  Yesterday against Oregon, the team seemed to regress to the same defeated body language and effort that pockmarked the Tyrone Willimgham era.

Rick Neuheisel’s Northwest Championship

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An unlikely source of Inspiration for Willingham

Another day, another loss, in this apocalyptic season for the ages.

The Washington Huskies are now 0-10 for the year, and losers of 12 straight games dating back to 2007. 

In the latest disaster last night, in which the tepid Huskies fell to lowly UCLA 27-7, one quote stood out in the aftermath from a senior who had played his final game at Husky Stadium.  

“Coach really didn’t want us to get too emotional,” tight end Michael Gottlieb said.  “He wanted us to approach it like it was any other game, so I tried to choke back the emotions a little. I was a little emotional, a little sentimental, but for the most part, I just tried to approach it like it was any other game.”

Tyrone Willingham

Tyrone Willingham

Football is a tough and violent sport, and requires emotion from the warriors who play it.  Perhaps most perplexing about Willingham is why he would try to tap out the fire that his players exhibit. 


As Willingham’s era at Washington concludes, he’s got one great opportunity for victory over the equally moribund Washington State Cougars next weekend in Pullman.

What the Huskies would respond to most would be for Willingham to be out of character this week.  To overturn some tables, and get emotional.  To give his players the sense it’s okay to play with some reckless abandon.

Willingham would be wise to mimic Seinfeld’s George Constanza, from that classic episode called The Opposite.  George made a startling revelation that could help Willingham too.  Not just for the players’ sake, but for Willingham’s also.  I want him to taste victory in the 11th hour and avoid the stigma of an 0-12 season.  

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Washington Huskies vs. Syracuse: When Men were Men

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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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Jake Locker’s total focus on beating the Oregon Ducks

Jake Locker

Jake Locker

Washington quarterback Jake Locker doesn’t really know or care if he remains limited in practice today, tomorrow, the rest of this week or next week.

Aug. 30 in Eugene, Ore., is his only concern now.

And his status that day, he said, won’t be a concern.

Asked Tuesday by Bob Condotta if he’ll be 100 percent for the season opener against the Ducks, Locker said, “I don’t expect to be anything less.”

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Nathan Ware and Johnny B talk Husky Football

Here’s edition #1 of the 2008 season of Nathan Ware’s weekly talks with John Berkowitz, a fellow UW blogger who runs a successful UW blog.  Nathan and John talk each week throughout the season and give their thoughts on what’s happening with UW athletics.

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