Monday, November 06, 2006

The Monday Morning Wash

Yes, it is now tomorrow, and the sun has come up once again, even for Husky fans. If there is one thing that brings the venom out of the purple and gold these days it is losing to Oregon. The boards are full of people who spent there time negatively venting this past weekend after the loss. Typically they are the people who know the least about football, and how the game is played. You have your good comments though even critical, because after every loss, and win those type of questions need to be answered. Oregon was simply a better football team on Saturday, they dominated both lines of scrimmage, and that is why they won. It had nothing to do with lack of effort, poor coaching, or an individual performance. What it was was Oregon coming out and just playing to their potential and turning in their finest game of the season so far.

So we are now on to Stanford, and the Cards are just what the doctor ordered to help our now struggling team. The Tree is decimated by injuries, lack of depth, and a culture that has given up supporting them. What Stanford does do every week is bring effort to the table. The Cards may be terrible, but they haven't given up. This Saturday they are looking at Washington like a turkey on a Thanksgiving table. If there was ever the recipe for a letdown and an upset, this one is it. Washington better hit the field with some attitude or the underdog has a good chance to prevail. Stanford isn't going to lay down for anyone, they just keep fighting against the odds.

One of the strangest games of the weekend was Arizona's upset win over Washington State. Can you say choke, or what? The Coug's were on the brink of having a magnificent season after finishing near the bottom of the conference last season and they let opportunity slip away. In Puget Sound country we call it Couging it. What it does for a husky fan is give us some hope that we indeed can win the Apple Cup if we leave everything on the field and finish the year with two straight wins we can build on. 6-6 is an attainable goal.

USC had no problem rebounding against Stanford last Saturday, and the Cards were indeed the cure to their hangover following the Oregon State debacle. If the Trojans can win out the rest of the way they still have a chance to get into that title game if things get jumbled ahead of them, same for California.

As for the Golden Bears it looks like the UCLA prediction was pretty spot on. The Bruins battled, but California just had too much fire power for them

Oregon State is now bowl eligible after just destroying Arizona State. All those Corn valley people that wanted Mike Riley fired earlier in the year have some major crow to eat. ASU just didn't show up which makes our OT loss to them the previous week more haunting.

On the national scene Illinois gave Ohio State everything they had Saturday taking it to the last play of the game before losing. Ron Zook is building a program in Champaign, the record doesn't indicate the considerable progress that has been made their in his two years. Michigan struggled with Ball State. The MAC is not a pushover type of league. In these days of parity they get their share of players too.

Texas had no problem with Oklahoma State, but I am still predicting they fall to the Aggies in the finale.

Florida struggled with Vanderbilt who came close to pulling another upset. Nobody in the SEC really impresses me this year, but you could say that about any league this year. Tennessee finally went down after a number of close ones to LSU. Arkansas snook by South Carolina, and if it wasn't for an embarrassing opener to USC would be undefeated. Bill Clinton must be proud.

Boston College went down against the Deamon Deacons, and Maryland is now in the drivers seat of the ACC after a one point win over Clemson.

Notre Dame had problems with North Carolina letting them score way too many points. We still hope the Irish lose every week. USC is coming at the end of the month and they will lose to the Trojans because as we all know, Charlie Weis can't beat anyone he isn't supposed to beat.

Blast from the past

The Seattle Times has an interesting article this morning on Cal Jones, Ira Hammond, and Mark Wheeler. It is sad of course to read their tale 36 years later, but it is great to see how well all three have done in life. You can say the Times revels in picking this scab at least once per year as recruiting starts to heat up. Even now nothing elicits more opinion and controversy in the Northwest than the late 60's troubles of the Husky football program.

"I don't blame Jim Owens," Jones said. "It was the culture. He wasn't a black kid. He wasn't raised in a black environment. Why did it take so long? Because of our racism and our blindness, we can't see our weaknesses."

Hammon says: "If Jim Owens were here right now, I would hug him. I would wrap my arms around him, and I would thank him for making me who I am today."

I was just a kid back then, I was at every game these guys played, and Mark Wheeler was a legend to me growing up, he was the kid who stayed home unlike Bobby Moore who fled to Oregon. Cal Jones was the king of cool with his outrageous hats, and Ira was as sure handed a receiver as you will ever see. Carl Bonnell could have used a guy like him last Saturday.

The Seattle Times however makes an unfair statement toward Coach Owens at the end:

"They hear Owens is in the stands. At halftime, they make their way across the stadium to where they heard the old coach sits. They want to say hello and thank him for making them who they are. But Owens had left his seat. He won't be back."

For those in the know the old coach hasn't been well in recent years. The Big Fella's health has been fading. So that comment is a cheap shot. If he had been asked he would have been on the field, simple as that, he has never ducked anything.

I give credit for Owens sticking around to clean up that mess rather than taking the easy way out and retiring. I also was critical of him not waking up long before he was forced to clean it up. Point is man is not perfect, and those were different times, and if you didn't live in them you have no idea what the struggle was about, and a good idea of the people involved in the struggle. Owens was slow to change, so was the entire country, but give him credit for what he did do, not what he didn't do. He didn't run, that says a lot to me.

Owens was symbiotic of the University, and the state at that time. There was no bigger icon in Washington at the time. For better or worse the state, the university, and program are all better because he was here. The same can be said for the players both black, and white who fought for change. I will always be a fan of Coach Owens, and an even bigger fan of Calvin Jones who had the courage to return and help bring change to the culture of the Northwest. Calvin didn't run either.


hairofthedawg said...

Excellent commentary on an article I enjoyed reading too. I was a kid as well and wasn't aware of the controvery back then, or at least don't remember being aware of it now.

I also thought that I had missed the news that Coach Owens had passed. Thanks for clearing that up. I wish he had been asked as well.

prrbrr said...

The sun did rise again. HIE, great rational post on the boards calling cry babies out. Last week was wierd for us as its the first game all year we didn't attend in person. You said it, Stanford is looking at this game as its best chance for a W. We had better be ready and not hope to beat these guys with a vanilla offensive and defensive game plan. We can lose if we play this like San Jose and let them hang around. We need to come out firing on all cylinders and put this one out of reach early like USC did. Stanford had probably more personnel losses than us, so in obvious pass situations, time to put more heat on their 2nd string QB. With the loss of Ala, it might be time to put C Stevens back in the DE rush slot, esp in passing downs. BTW, I thought Hemphill and Forrester did well in playing for Wells last week, and Goldson and CJ played their usual strong games. I worry we might let Furd stay close and take another game unnecessarily to the wire where we have to keep the starters playing. How nice would it be to get ahead early, and play Roseborough, Berglund, Bulyca, S Sampson, Trenton T, and rest the starters before the Apple Cup. Lastly, totally agree with you on the Seattle Times article. Except for that cheap shot implied comment on JO not being there, it was very nice. I missed that incident because I had already left, but the trouble signs were there much earlier. We would often have discussions on this with the black players I knew from 63-68. I guess the Times still needs to talk about this as it is part of our history, but they should also have balanced it with the progress of being the only D1 school to have head coaches in the 2 main revenue sports who happen to be black. On a side note, the Times article failed to mention that Don Smith just recently passed away.

Health Insurance Expert said...

Coach Owens hasn't passed, that will be front page news when it happens, but he has been ill recently and had to turn down a ride on the team plane to watch the Oklahoma game. Ty Willingham invited him as a guest. He did plan to attend a game or two in Seattle this year as he expected his health to improve over the Fall.

As far as the crybabies go they are just the usual suspects. Point is there is a lot to be proud of this year, and they are right, last weekend was not a proud moment. The players were beaten, and we were outcoached in many aspects of the game. Those things are obvious. Talent and depth has an impact, and people need to realize that it is going to take another 3 years of hard work to get back to where we want to be.

PrrBrr you mention Stevens, he has been more absent than I have liked this year. I reall haven't seen a satisfactory blitz package using his speed this season. have to mention though that Scott white has had a great year at his position, so that has limited his time.

Back to coach Owens, there is always a cheap shot. He is a big man, and can take those shots, but they are also unfair. You notice you didn't see Cal, Mark, or Ira taking a shot at him, they just wanted to hug the old Coach.

The writer, a guy by the named Greg Bishop probably isn't 30 years old, so it is really hard to be objective when writing about that period if you did not live in it, or experience it. I think the players tried to explain that to him, and it did get across.

A guy like Blaine Newnham, Art Thiel, or Dan Raley might be the best writer for such a subject.

A huge point is the is was 36 years ago, it is time for bygones to be bygones. there is no reason for Jim Owens to continue being villified, it serves no purpose.

Health Insurance Expert said...

Don Smith passed away, I missed that? Don was an interesting character I got to know on occasion, he was an interesting guy.