Monday, July 10, 2006

A look at Ty Willingham from the couch

If the Washington Husky football program has ever lacked anything during the last decade it has has been continuity without pressure. Ty Willingham begins his second campaign at UW with the solid support of his bosses as he continues the task of rebuilding the University of Washington Football Program. He has pressure to win but he is far from being in a win or else position. Ty can count on finishing out his contract at Washington.

Most people who have met Ty are impressed with him, they feel he has a lot to offer, and a recent post said that he seemed much taller in person, that carries a lot of weight, no doubt he is an impressive man. One thing that has gotten old is his lack of accesibility to the media. He hasn't won too many friends at the newspapers, but he never has in the past either. It would be great if he used some of the god given talents he shows in private when he is with the media, perhaps with a few wins we might see a less private Ty.

On the field his team was a little too shallow to compete well last year falling apart in the fourth quarter in a number of games they had a good opportunity to win. His second year was lack luster recruiting wise missing on two of the biggest in state prospects, still that can be expected after a few dismal seasons in a row. He seems to be off to a good start in his second year and a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that prospects, parents, and coaches know he is going to be here for awhile, and over the past two years he has been able to build up his contacts, and trust. Kid's also know that they have the opportunity to play right away at UW if they are good enough, and that is a plus.

Willngham needs to make a drive for .500 this year to keep building on that. He may not have all the tools, depth, and talent available to make that a certainty, but a coach that makes 1.4 million per year is expected to do that in his third year of rebuilding. Ty has five to six years at Washington to turn it all around, and I expect he will get the job done just like he did at Stanford which was a much tougher assignment at the time.

Willingham is a pretty conservative coach, and it will be fun to see him use a strong defense this year to hold a little more field position. One of the most interesting plays of last year was the record Stanback to Chambers TD pass against Arizona. It was pretty un-TY to make the call, or even think of it, but you have to give him credit for listening to his QB. I think that play made a deep impression on the whole team and elevated the confidence level a few notches which will carry into this season.

The biggest question going into his third season will be if everyone on the squad, his players, and the holdovers, have bought completely into his way of doing things. Since we haven't heard a murmur of discontent from Montlake yet we can assume he is making progress in changing the culture of Husky football.

Another thing I like about Ty is he doesn't give up on kids. Two players that quit in the past year and a half are now back on the squad, Shelton Sampson, and Ron Berglund. While neither will likely start they will add valuable depth we couldn't have gotten anywhere else if they had not returned to the program.

I look for Ty to succeed as coach at UW, and retire here. I wouldn't mind seeing statue of him out in front of the stadium either, but there is still a lot of work to do before that happens.

In the next post we will take a look at the Offensive coaches Ty has assembled led by Tim Lappano who has done a marvelous job since arriving at Montlake. Stability and continuity aid any program, and the fact that Ty staff has had few defections is a huge plus.


hairofthedawg said...

Nicely done John. I agree with most of what you wrote but I feel his staff will be a major factor in his success. In addition to positive comments from recruits and parents about Ty, I've read more of the same about his assistants, and, the current players at least say they're learning a lot.

I'd enjoy reading a similar analysis of his staff and the likelihood that Ty can keep it together should he succeed in getting the Huskies back to where they should be as a football team.



Health Insurance Expert said...

I think he has an incredibly solid staff, lots of experience and logevity including a couple of succesful ex coaches.

prrbrr said...

JohnB. now that i have figured this posting out, all of your blogs are great. A speculation question for you, since you seemed to be connected with the program previously. Why doesn't TW use one of asst coaches as a mouthpiece if he is uncomfortable with the media. Whereas RN loved the spotlight, do what JO did and send a minion to feed the media on occasion. Again, a thoughtful article