Tag Archives: Washington Huskies

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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The last time Iowa went to the Rose Bowl….

Washington vs. Iowa

 

January 1, 1991…..   The Washington Huskies of Don James (9-2) defeat Hayden Fry’s Iowa Hawkeyes (8-3) in the Rose Bowl’s highest scoring Rose Bowl ever 46-34.  UW Quarterback Mark Brunell passes for two touchdowns and runs for two more. Iowa never quits after trailing 33-7 at halftime. Greg Lewis rushes 128 yards in 19 carries for the Huskies. In the 20-point fourth quarter “never say die” Iowa resurgence, quarterback Matt Rodgers runs for two scores and passes for one.

WASHINGTON 46, IOWA 34

Read about other Rose Bowls:    http://www.tournamentofroses.com/photogallery/RBGtimeline/1990s.htm

Derek Johnson’s new book:  The Dawgs of War, Afterword by Rick Neuheisel

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For the Trojans, the ASU game was “Like the Washington Game”

How bad was USC on third downs at Arizona State?

Try Washington-bad, says Freedomblogging.com.  

So said Trojans coach Pete Carroll, who compared his team’s 2-of-13 effort vs. the Sun Devils to its infamous 0-of-10 vs. the Huskies on Sept. 19.

“It was like the Washington game in a sense,” Carroll said. “You don’t convert on third down, you don’t get your chances. It became a very conservative game for us. We just played off the defense.”

USC seemed to be getting better on third downs. But in the past two weeks, the Trojans are 6 of 27. They rank 106th in the nation at 32.41 percent, one spot behind … gulp … UCLA.

“We had 3-4 weeks where we improved,” Carroll said. “We have not been consistent at all.

“Third downs and the red zone are always the hardest for new quarterbacks. It’s been that way for years.”

So wait, this is a Matt Barkley thing?

Read more:  http://usc.freedomblogging.com/

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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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Neuheisel hoping for Fresh Start for his UCLA Bruins

Although it’s tough to imagine John Wooden’s UCLA basketball teams ever struggling through a five-game losing streak, the Bruins’ current football coach realizes the Wizard of Westwood has plenty to teach him about the Bruins’ plight.
Rick Neuheisel has turned to Wooden’s writings for instruction and solace during UCLA’s skid, which didn’t quite end in last weekend’s 26-19 loss at Oregon State.

“While winning is important, it’s not the way you judge yourself,” Neuheisel said Monday, paraphrasing Wooden’s words. “You keep judging yourself by how you’re learning and how you’re trying, and if you continue to work hard, those wins will come.”

The Bruins’ history lesson for the week doesn’t end with Wooden. UCLA (3-5, 0-5 Pac-10) will don powder-blue throwback jerseys for Saturday’s visit from Washington (3-5, 2-3) in hopes of recapturing the spirit of the 1967 team led by quarterback Gary Beban, the only Bruins player to win the Heisman Trophy.

For 15 surprising minutes against the Beavers, the UCLA offense finally looked as sharp as Neuheisel expected it would be all season long. Quarterback Kevin Prince led two touchdown drives capped by two-point conversions in the fourth quarter, tying Oregon State at 19 with 2:06 left.

 Read more: http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_13697193

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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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Cal’s Formula for Getting to the Next Level: Fire Tedford, Hire Mora

Cal coach Jeff Tedford

Cal coach Jeff Tedford

When the Cal Bears came to Husky Stadium in 2002, Washington fans viewed the game as standard fare. After all, the Bears hadn’t beaten the Huskies in 26 years. Cal was also coming off a 1-10 season from the year before. The Huskies, meanwhile, were only two years removed from their Rose Bowl Championship. The expectations in Seattle were for a comfortable Washington win.

But the Bears arrived with first-year coach Jeff Tedford. The Pac-10 didn’t yet realize it, but he was in the midst of transforming the entire football culture at Berkeley. It was certainly on display that day against the Huskies. Tedford had his safeties come right up to the line of scrimmage and manhandle Washington’s star receiver Reggie Williams. The Bears roughhoused their way to a 34-27 victory—which sent shockwaves throughout the Pac-10. After the game, as the Bears gathered in the visitor’s locker room, they chanted “76,000 disappointed fans! 76,000 disappointed fans!”

By the end of that year, the Bears finished the season at 7-5—a remarkable 6-game turnaround. The next season featured a watershed moment. In triple overtime at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, the Bears stunned top-ranked USC 34-31. As gleeful fans stormed the field, it was an epic moment under the lights. The consensus along the west coast was that California Bears football was about to ascend into the stratosphere.

Six years have passed since that time. Tedford’s Bears have not become the Pac-10’s colossus. They’re like an airplane sitting idly on the tarmac and not getting airborne. There have been 10-win seasons in 2004 and 2006, but no appearances in BCS bowls.

The 2009 season was supposed to finally be Tedford’s moment to challenge USC’s supremacy. Running back Jahvid Best was a Heisman Trophy candidate and Syd’Quan Thompson a premier cornerback. The Bears opened up with a 3-0 start and twice topped 50 points. Their national ranking climbed to #6.

Then came games against Oregon and USC, in which the Bears became stunningly bad. They lost to the Ducks 42-3 and the Trojans 30-3. They went back-to-back games without scoring a touchdown. Their quarterback, Kevin Riley, has completed a dreadful 38% of his passes. Defensive players hace been constantly out of position while the wide receivers are dropping passes like an assembly line. All this has dropped the team from the national rankings. And to top it off, rumors are circulating that Cal players are increasingly recalcitrant to Tedford’s gruff ways.

After eight seasons to evaluate Tedford’s performance, it’s evident the Bears have reached a ceiling. The problem is that expectations for greatness are now a part of culture at Cal. Therein lies Tedford’s self-created problem: the more he succeeds, the higher he’s expected to climb.

Seahawks coach Jim Mora

Seahawks coach Jim Mora

Meanwhile in Seattle, Jim L. Mora is coaching the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. The team is 2-3, coming off a win over Jacksonville. Mora is a coach in the Pete Carroll mode—young, energetic and defensive minded. He relates very well to his players, and speaks their language. From his days as defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, Mora is renown as a defensive mastermind and dynamic presence. Respected players that have played for him, like ex-Husky Lawyer Milloy, rave about Mora’s ability to get his team enthusiastic. Others, like ex-Husky Lincoln Kennedy, have described Mora’s reputation throughout the NFL as being almost too much of a player’s coach. These characteristics are indeed geared more for the college game and are Carrollesque.

Mora has now entered a situation in Seattle where he followed future Hall of Fame coach Mike Holmgren. But the team’s core is aging and a mere shell of its ‘05 self that played in the Super Bowl. Mora has already been fired from the Atlanta Falcons in 2006 and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him under pressure by the end of the 2010 or 2011 seasons, if a string of 6-10 and 5-11 seasons occur. In earlier times, Pete Carroll struggled twice as a head coach in the NFL and was fired both times. Then he was hired by the USC Trojans, and the rest is history. The NFL is jokingly known as “Not For Long” for a reason.

If by 2010 the Seahawks are struggling…. and if the Bears finish with another 8-win season and requisite Holiday Bowl berth, firing Tedford and bringing in Mora could be the key to challenging USC for Pac-10 supremacy.

Derek Johnson’s book The Dawgs of War: a Remembrance can be purchased at Derekjohnsonbooks.com

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