Friday, December 07, 2007


I haven't had that much time to write this week since we have been in Hawaii, but maybe it was a good thing because it gave me a lot of time to think about what was going on back in Seattle after the game.

I think most of us expected to have a new coach this week after the loss in Hawaii. The momentum for Willingham's ouster had grown to a fever pitch on talk radio, and on the message boards. Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times was even calling for Ty's head. All the rumors we heard seemed to point in that direction after the game.

A couple things changed that. First of all Ty is bringing in the type of in state recruiting class he was supposed to bring in this year. He has put that proverbial fence around the state during a crucial recruiting year. Second of all even though his win/loss record has been terrible his kids didn't give up a single time this year, they also kept their noses relatively clean. In other words there was little if any dissension in the ranks at Montlake despite the tough times.

Make no mistake about it, the commitments of Kearse, and Middleton were two of the most important votes of confidence involved in bringing him back for another year. I can say with certainty that if those two recruits had decided to go to Oregon we would be searching for a new Husky head coach this morning.

While Washington is in the process of cleaning up in state this year they haven't exactly been lighting it up in California. Craig Noble is the lone difference maker on paper recruited this year from the Golden State. Willingham needs to do a much better job down there, and it seems to me he went to Plan B very early this season while banking on the chances of landing an excellent in state class. Of course it is still early, we have no idea how any single player will pan out over the next four years, but UW is taking way too many two star kids this year.

When Mark Emmert got back on Sunday he polled the decision makers and there were still enough people in Ty's camp, or at least on the fence who felt he deserved at least one more year to get the ship headed in the right direction. Politically it was the right decision to make. UW will save a boatload of money, and even though Emmert says it didn't figure into the decision it was a factor. An even bigger factor would have been the national backlash that would have been generated. Even though none of us are satisfied with the current state of the team any sane person knows that it was going to take longer than three years to put it all back together. Finally there is the continuity thing, and I have to agree it is a big factor. You can't change coaches every three years and expect to get anywhere.

The ball now is completely in Ty Willingham's court. The edict is to win now, or there isn't going to be a fifth year. There will be no talks of contract extensions, but there will scapegoats, and dismissals on the defensive side of the coaching staff. Ty has one year to get it right if he wants to keep coaching at Washington. The decisions he makes as far as his coaching staff over the next few weeks will be crucial.

I have mixed emotions about the decision. I was ready for Jim Mora Jr, or Jeff Tedford to come here and work some miracles. I don't care about the politics, I care about the performance on the field, and it was obvious that our coaching staff was getting out coached every week. We had a legitimate chance to win every single game this season. We were ahead at halftime during eight games, and we only came up with four wins. I think we can do a lot better than that even in a rebuilding year playing the nations toughest schedule. In my opinion the coaching staff underperformed on game day this year.

I said a couple of weeks ago that I could live with another year of Ty if it comes to that. I still feel that way even though I was in favor of a change. There are however quite a few people who have said they are going to put their money where their mouth is. They are going to stop donating, buying tickets, and going to games. I can't do that, win or lose they are still my Huskies. I grew up with this program, and while I have been disappointed with the performance for quite some time I can't imagine doing anything else on a Saturday afternoon.


t9odawg said...

I'm dropping my Tyee donation down to white with the difference from purple going men and women's crew. I've donated extra to crew since Gerberding's bimbo took the gameday program selling away from crew and gave us free ones from Husky Fever (guess where hubby worked?).

Emmert's comments on Softy's show Monday will make Dawgman's wishes for healing the fan base in his editorial hard to achieve.
I'm less than impressed with Emmert's views of what a "real" Husky fan is.
I'm a Husky fan for life and have options as to how I support them, blindly sending money and hoping it gets better is not my way. No more away games for me until winning is important.
I read Ty's "Hopefully" in his presser as less than full confidence in himself and his coaches.
I don't expect Ty 4 to look any different than what we have seen for the last three unless he replaces Baer

John Berkowitz said...

I may have made the same decision as Emmert. I know that sounds funny, but it is a lot easier not being in charge and just being a fan. There were a lot more factors than wins and losses that went into that decision. Check out Art Thiel's column in the PI for some reasoning on the decision.

I think we are going to see some significant changes on defense. I think Ty understands that his coaching career could be coming to an end if he does not make immediate changes.

I don't think I have ever seen a coach that under fire and still survive, and that includes Jim Owens.

My bet is Ty coaches one more year and they show him the door.

Kate, and I really enjoyed meeting you at the game. I will get some pictures up once we get some rest. We got in at 4:30 am this morning....ouch!

prrbrr said...

JohnB, well stated. I also can live with TW for 1 more year and give him that chance to prove me wrong or confirm my suspicions fostered after the Az game, I do think he will prove the latter. We might lose out on Mora, but I think its a good approach to take.
2. I think we let Neu go too early as I believe the downtrend was there and we could have dismissed him after his 5th year and avoided the Gilby disaster plus the RN lawsuit and bad pub. Not to mention a true search, which we may be able to do next year.
3. My sticking point for Ty was the team didn't quit on him, even in the face of bad decisions. I think the recruiting is going fantastically, but I too am concerned with the many sleepers.
4 Didn't get to meet you at hawaii, maybe another time, By chance. the hotel we stayed at was the team hotel so saw all the players and players(ME, TT, TW, and all coaches except not surprisingly Baer who must be tired of room service. Jake is truly a very nice young man, and a lot bigger than we thought, linebacker size.
5. I will not give up my tickets nor downgrade. I have a set limit on $$ to UW athletics so that amount will not change, if TT raises seat prices, the donations to other programs we give to such as crew will take the fall. Not criticizing anyone, we all must do what we feel is best for ourselves with our support. That said, anyone who is TYEE and elects to not renew even one non TYEE season ticket clearly doesn't understand the rules on priority. Those are the ones i always thank each year for my improvement in seats.
5. Later John I truly enjoyed your blog for football again this year, liked a lot of what you did with other blog sites and also Nathan Ware of PI.

t9odawg said...

My decision to downgrade to white is not much of a risk at this point in time given the empty seats in HS . Whenever I need extra seats I get really good ones under cover. It wasn't that way a few years back, even when Gilby was here. Lot's of Tyee "nonfans" having been voting with their wallets in the recent past

John Berkowitz said...

You might even get improved

abg said...

You were ready for Jeff Tedford to come here?
His troops gave up on him during a better year than we had!

John Berkowitz said...

So ABG let me get it are 100% behind Willingham and you think he has done a fine job so far?

All you think is that he needs a little more time to get his system in place?

Let me ask you a patient should we be with Willingham?

prrbrr said...

T90, what you are doing is absolutely the smart thing to do, I was aiming at some of the posters at DMan. By keeping even 1 ticket anywhere you maintain the points as it says CONSECUTIVE years of season ticket holding. Any TYEE who doesn't renew at least 1 season ticket somewhere in HS gives up his points in line. It would take $500. a seat to make up for 1 year of previous holding, so if you had 1 TYEE ticket for 5years and decided to renew after 1 year not buying, you would have to contribute$ $2500 in that year to make up for those lost points. That is why I said I thank those TYEEs that don't read or understand the rules of the game when my seats improve every reallocation year.

prrbrr said...

Also for T90, the purple level seats next to me were empty all season long, that is correct, not even 1 game were they occupied, so you could easily have moved there shortly after the game started and enjoyed the seats for less $$ by buying the white level and still keep your priority for when better times appear.

t9odawg said...

Exactly my thinking prrbrr.

Bump back to purple when the nightmare ends and we can get a coach that will create some excitement.

Actually, we got our first season tickets in 1990 when there was a lull in Tyee membership because of what would be stellar years in the TW era but were disappointing years in the DJ era

abg said...

"So ABG let me get it are 100% behind Willingham and you think he has done a fine job so far?"
Show me where I said that.
I have said, quoting Gary Pinkel, that 'you can't build a successful football program if you change coaches every four years.'
I stand by that. Ty has one year to show real progress, i.e., win at least 8 games. Then, you need to look elsewhere. Part of my support for Willingham is a reaction to the irrational vitriol unleashed by some critics, who would rather see the Huskies lose than keep Willingham. If Willingham wins, keep him. If he can't can him. But hatred is something else. Not going there.

John Berkowitz said...

Just to let you know ABG this has never been a hate Willingham site. I think most of us began losing patience with him after the Arizona game.

I was actually in favor of giving Willingham his five full years, but coaching gaffes and lack of game day preparation have changed that opinion.

This was a serious rebuilding effort, and the 2008 class should bring us pretty close to full strength numbers wise, bit it will take another couple of years to get there experience wise.

I can live with willingham and his staff if they do a much better job than they did in 2007.

abg said...

If this was a hate Willingham site, I wouldn't read it. In my opinion, this and Ware's blog are the best Huskies blogs and the ones that really dig into what's happening, not just making superficial judgments. The February 2006 analysis of recruiting from 2001 to 2006 was a masterpiece, the best of its kind I've read.

t9odawg said...

I know a lot of people that don't like Ty as a coach and none of them hate him. I think the word hate gets used or misused too much, for me personally, it's not worth the effort to hate Ty. I just want him to go away :-)

John Berkowitz said...

Thanks for the kudo's on the recruiting class articles. I am going to be doing more of that type of the stuff in the offseason.

I think one thing that most people don't realize, and John's from the PI picked up onit the other day is we have a couple of missing classes for all intents and purposes.

No matter who the coach was it was going to take five years to turn the talent quotient around. I have always maintained that.

The 2008 class by the way is a cornerstone class just the way the last Neuheisel class was. These are the type of classes which shape the program for five years because of overall numbers and need.

I think most people started panicking that our in state guys would head elsewhere after the losses started piling up in the second half. That didn't happen, and you have to give credit where credit is due.

You think a good in state recruiting class would have saved Bill Doba? Of course it would have, and recruiting was the one single biggest factor he was let go...they didn't think he could turn it around...and honestly he didn't either.