Monday, October 15, 2007

The Monday Morning Wash

The Husky Nation isn't very happy this morning after being thumped in Tempe by another top ten team. UW obviously has the toughest schedule in the country, but that isn't giving anyone any form of solace with the Oregon Ducks coming to town this weekend. The Ducks just might be the very best team the Huskies have played in this bloody gauntlet of a season, and hope is now at an official all time low.

If you go over to the boards at DM you see the reaction, and it isn't pretty as many of the faithful have begun emailing letters to Todd Turner requesting that he fire the current coaching staff at the end of the season if things do not drastically improve. They have a point, it is the middle of the third year of the reign of Ty and the team simply isn't winning, or getting noticeably better. They still make the same type of mistakes they made when he took over, and the talent level hasn't increased enough to overcome those type of mistakes.

The debate here at the hotel has been what is exactly wrong?

"It's obviously a difficult thing to talk about, because I don't have the solution for it," coach Tyrone Willingham said. An honest answer, but for 1.5 million dollars a year it is your job to have that answer.

The main theory is multi fold, and nobody really knows how to explain which is interesting since the head coach had the same type of answer for the media on Saturday night. Just when it looks like things have turned around this team chokes, and crumbles in the second half. How exactly do you pinpoint something like that?

Many fans point to second half adjustments by opposing coaches. ASU started out the second half by spreading the field out which gave them more room inside. UW looked the same on offense, and defense which makes you think that the team just doesn't have enough talent to make adjustments. We have one look, and once teams adjust to it we really don't seem to have much to counter it with.

Another thing to consider was intensity. ASU was a lot more fired up than UW to start the second half. If you were in the stands it was visibly apparent. The Sun Devils came out at a different emotional level on defense to start the third quarter, and UW had no answer for it other than self destruction.

One more thing to look at is performance at quarterback. Jake Locker simply isn't getting better passing the ball even though he had a decent first half against the Devils. In the second half he was just a deer in the headlights out there. The game simply hasn't slowed down for him yet, and the likely hood of that happening this season is now just becoming a pipe dream. Jake despite all his talents is simply not ready, and there just happens to be a senior on the bench who might be capable of doing a better job of passing the ball if the receivers can get open. That is a big IF from what I saw on Saturday.

Jake's running numbers are going down each game. Take away the big TD run, and you will see that ASU basically has negated the one advantage he has right now over most QB's. Expect every single opponent left on the schedule to have similar results until he can show he can complete 55% or more of his passes.

On Saturday night our defense played well in the first half and was actually knocking the crap out of Rudy Carpenter, but the immobile Rudy who isn't all that talented, was still alluding by just a hair the grasp of Husky tacklers and making the type of plays it takes to keep drives alive. You have to give this kid some credit because the harder we hit him the harder this kid responded to it. You might not like him, but he has developed into a winner.

The long runs we gave up were very disappointing, and conditioning has to be called into question since this always seems to happen in the third quarter. Tired offensive linemen simply aren't making the plays they did earlier in the game. Wear down the Huskies in the first half ,and reap the benefits in the second half when they are tired.

What Should Happen?

Most fans are calling for the head of Willingham which is a reasonable reaction when you are 2-4 and very close to bowl elimination. A smaller group of fans are asking for patience pointing to Rich Brooks at Kentucky who has assembled a top ten team this year after struggling the first few years on the job.

What do I think? I think Rich Brooks proved a long time ago that he could coach, recruit, and build a program out of nothing if given the time. His success at Oregon, and now Kentucky are proof of that. Willingham on the other hand has had minor success at Stanford, and little or no success at two of the most resource heavy programs in the country, Notre Dame, and UW. Ty hasn't proven enough in other words, even though I am not quite ready to toss him, and his staff into the trash heap.

I like Ty the person, but we all should expect much better out of Ty the football coach. He simply hasn't done the job yet, and that job has been to win, and bring in better talent. The recruiting classes have been average, he tends to avoid recruiting anyone that the top tier Pac Ten schools want out of the state of Washington, and performance on the field indicates that there are simply much better game day coaches out there.

UW has a choice to make if the slide continues to 2-11, and I am telling you right now that it is a very distinct possibility that we don't win another football game this season. The team is down, they are starting to lose faith in their coaches, and when that happens it is very tough to turn it all around, especially when you have the best football team in the country visiting Husky Stadium next weekend.

The choice UW has to make is whether to buy out Ty for 3 million and bring in someone better suited for the job. Nobody wants to make that choice, and we are weeks away from that becoming a reality, but with up to 350 million in capital improvements to be made by 2012 this program needs to start winning, or we just might lose Husky Stadium to the wrecking ball.

As Todd Turner said when he fired June Daugherty, the program lacked sizzle. Todd needs to realize that the chances of Ty ever sizzling, as opposed to just fizzling are even greater. Personally I like Willingham, and I would hate to be the man who has to can him, but hey when you hire someone that isn't working out that is what they pay the big dollars for you to do or you end up getting canned yourself.

I honestly don't think Ty is going anywhere this year, with a 25 man recruiting class coming up this Winter it isn't the right time to make a move. Fire Ty in December and you risk blowing a big class, and also get a little national criticism. The 2009 class on the other hand is going to be very small in comparison, and after year four if we are in the same boat we are in today I have little doubt that Turner will pull the trigger at that time.

Pac Ten Review

Oregon State had the upset of the week beating California on the road. Our worst nightmare's have come true, OSU is putting it back together for the second half when we play them, and UCLA on the other hand is falling apart. I would have loved to have switched those two dates.

Stanford lost in the 4th quarter to TCU after leading for most of the game. Stanford just ran out of horses in this one, but expect a top twenty recruiting class from Harbaugh this year.

USC almost lost at home again, this time to lowly Arizona. The Trojans are going to lose a few more times before the year is over, and Sneaky Pete exits to the NFL just ahead of an NCAA investigation.

Oregon just obliterated WSU which should be very scary for Washington fans. I will be in Husky Stadium this weekend and personally wish that I hadn't bought the plane tickets since I could be much more productive back home in Chicago.


dcdawg said...

I'm disappointed too, but I'm not willing to give up on Ty and Todd yet. I've always believed that a coach should be given five full years to demonstrate his ability to win or turn a program around, and I still believe Ty deserves five full years, even if UW ends up 2-11 this year (which I don't think they will). The UW program was in complete disarray three years ago, and Ty is still in fix-it mode. Also, the competitive balance is much different than it was 10-20 years ago, mostly due to scholarship limits, and a "resource-rich" school can no longer expect to dominate year in year out. The Pac-10 is competitive from top to bottom, and that's a good thing, but it makes the rebuilding process that much harder for a damaged program, because there are no easy wins anymore. Now, if Locker still can't throw downfield and the tailbacks still can't run for 100 yards a game and the defense still can't tackle in 2009....then I don't think anyone will block the door that Ty will be tossed out of. But in the meantime, I will continue to give Ty the benefit of the doubt.


What does it feel like?

Seriously, what must it be like?

Not that long ago UW was THE model of how to build a national powerhouse from nothing and to do so with integrity. Then, thru a sheer lack of integrity and astounding blundering, a 100% total and incurable implosion such as NCAA football has never before seen and probably never will again.

Making matter worse, you have a horrible coach that had his contract non renewed after screwing up ND. At least they knew how to cut their losses, but UW is way too liberal to fire a black coach. He gets to enjoy his bling and keep that program in the mud as long as he wants. That must be galling to all those proud alums. Twenty years of recruiting players no other PAC 10 team wants. Stealing players from teams like San Diego State or some JC school. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

So here it is! THE big week. UW’s annual bowl game against Oregon. Or at least as close as UW will get to a bowl game over a 20-30 year period. Oh sure, there may be a team along the way that lucks into a few wins and maybe some minor toilet bowl game somewhere. But let’s face it- this is the week every UW fan turns to each year. The annual fanny kicking administered by Oregon to a program in utter and permanent disgrace.

Oh well, keep it close for a half and claim your moral victory.