Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Now You Know the Rest of the Story

You might have noticed the Captain Queeg posts in the blog the past two days and thought to yourself what the heck is going on? What is this leading up to? What does Captain Queeg have to do with Washington Husky football?

Well Husky fans, I have a very sad story to tell you.

Coach Tyrone Willingham has a new policy in force this year that the Tyee's who are invited to watch practices aren't allowed to post about their experience on the internet. Obviously they don't want anyone posting sensitive information that could result in an opponent gaining a competitive advantage. I can respect that. I do get information from friends that do attend practices and I do not post that information even though it is second hand.

A member over at Dawgman who is the nephew of Husky legend Bo Cornell went to a UW football practice last week. He wrote a positive post about his experience that had very little if any information about the practice.

This guy was totally pro Willingham and up till last week he actually believed that Willingham should be given an automatic five year extension. This guy was Willingham's biggest fan and I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have a signed Ty poster on the wall of his bedroom.

When Willingham became aware of the post on Dawgman he had the athletic department track him down and permanently ban him from attending practices. His family who have owned the tickets for decades were threatened with the restriction of their Tyee privileges as further punishment.

Here is the post that raised Ty's ire, you be the judge. Was there a single thing in there an opponent could use? Did it deserve such a harsh reaction?

Was quite happy with the intensity and the effort that was being put forth by the players.

Got a chance to watch Donatell and JD work together with the defense. Lots of coaching and it was clear all the players were totally engaged and helping one another.

Some players showed some serious fire. Bulyca just exploded on a guy for slacking. I watched each line going through drills and there was absolutely no screwing around. Not putting anything out there, but I was quite happy to see a couple things.

Chris Polk isn't the only Polk with speed....wow. Chris Polk's family was there and they were having a good time.

I personally really like this coaching staff. Donatell is first class. Gervias is a total stud. I really hope it stay intact from the HC on down.

I have seen the recruiting process first hand and I think from a recruiting stand point they know what they are doing. Regardless of what many say.

If it is a 4 win season I would still be inclined to see TW another year. Though I don't think it would happen. There is a certain player with the number 10 on his jersey who loves playing for Willingham. Remember that when you bash the coach that there are others that take it personally and they know about it.

Considering this coaching staff and the level experience and their level of desire to be here this staff will not fail. Like Fleenor said we cannot pin the season on one player. They have got to put it together as a team

He sums his feelings up with this comment.

"This is what I get for being 4 year typologist.......dirt kicked in my mouth for supporting Ty and his coaching staff. I am saddened by this and have always looked forward spending this time with Dad and getting a chance to go to practice. I have shrugged off the mounds of complaints about Ty and didn't give them much weight. I can only imagine what the big donors must feel like."

So you fly off the handle and permanently ban this guy from going to practice and threaten his family with the restriction of their Tyee privileges after they have been contributing to the program for over thirty years?

How hard is it to make a friendly phone call and remind the poster of their Internet practice posting policies and retain a friend of the program?

If this was an isolated incident I wouldn't even bother posting it, but I get calls a couple times per week concerning the way Willingham treats current players, former Husky players, alumni, boosters and in this case the common fan who idolized him.

There are so many people out there that don't have a clue what the coach is doing behind his purple curtain. It is high time that people started getting a glimpse of the real Ty Willingham. It isn't very pretty.


Dawg10 said...

If you have ever attended practice, especially this year, you know the rules. The Tyee who took him should know the rules and told his son. When you sign in, you are re-told the rules.
It is not that difficult.
I recently started reading this blog because the lack of negativity toward the coaching staff... in the last two days it has been nothing but.

Good bye.

John Berkowitz said...

I am well aware of the rules and abide by them.

There are however right ways of doing things and wrong ways of doing things.

This wasn't just wrong, it was terrible, mean, and vindictive.

This was an extremely paranoid over reaction to a non issue that could have been handled by a friendly phone call if needed.

A number of similar things have happened over the past year that really defy explanation. Either the guy is losing it, or he simply isn't a very nice person.

If you follow blindly and don't question leadership once in awhile you won't get anywhere in this world.

I keep it very even handed on this site, but this isn't a blindly loyal fan site. We try to look at it from all angles to keep it interesting and objective.

Don't let the screen door hit you on the way out.

PhinneyDawg said...

How are you so sure it was Ty who handed down this punishment?

I imagine he's got more important things to do than monitor message boards on the internet.

I'd like to see definitive proof that this came straight down from Ty (rather than someone in the front office who's job is to monitor such things) before I see such mudslinging. Especially this close to the start of the season and a huge game.

Anonymous said...

John, the UW football program needs the two posters on this thread about as bad as the world needed communism.

What a complete dolt TW is, and continues to be.

Please, continue to shine light on TW.

There is a reason we've been 11-25 over the past three years and it isn't the players. It's the same reason we went 1-10. Leadership on all levels at the University.

Go Dawgs!

John Berkowitz said...

Phinney - No, I don't have a copy of the interoffice memo. I do have the word of the person it happened to and how the conversation went down. I trust the source, and also made a call or two to confirm it to make sure.

You would be surprised what Ty reads, or is clipped for him to read, not much escapes his attention.

PhinneyDawg said...

Wow, that's damning proof you've got there. * rolleyes *

Honestly, for someone who runs a semi-professional blog read by many people, that is some hack reporting.

Aside from that, this guy (or his father) signed a non-disclosure agreement. You usually don't have people sign such things without taking them very seriously.

John Berkowitz said...

Phinney - First of all I respect your opinion, but...

You have all the information.

You have word for word what the guy wrote about his experience.

You need to make up your own mind about whether it was the appropiate reaction or not.

You also need to make up your own mind about whether this guy is telling the truth or if it is a fabrication on his part.

I really have no doubt that he is telling the truth so I ran with it.

Anonymous said...

Why are we so quick to believe some things we read on the internet and quicker still to dismiss others?

Everyone who got that form knew what was expected and what was not allowed.

I don't blame the guy for being excited, but if you do idiotic things expect consequences.

Also, it's not like the AD/Ty can defend themselves with regards to how this situation was treated...all we hear from is the guy who's pissed and saddened he can no longer attend practice.


Anonymous said...

besides, since when did the coach ever give us anything but half truths and innuendo anyway. touché coach!

John Berkowitz said...

I for one would never post anything about practice that is not covered in the press conference.

The story is about the over reaction and how it was handled. The point is it could have been handled much better with the same end result.

Anonymous said...

Can you go into more detail as to what the "overreaction" was?

I know a lot gets lost in tone and word online. Did you personally talk to the person who was involved?

(first anonymous 4:07 pm)

Anonymous said...

What a hack job... you are only reporting about what happens at the press conference? Or are you reporting about what was reported at the press conference?
I will squeeze out before the screen door hits me as well.

Anonymous said...

John,,,you should go back and watch the ending of the movie.

I seldom post but have always enjoyed your blog. you have for the most part stayed away from mudslinging and that has been a breath of fresh air. I,m so sorry you,ve now gone down this path. Its not to late to back up some; I hope you do, if not I think you will be hurt by this.
I hope not.
anyway thanks for your efforts everyday I know it cant be easy.

Jason said...

John- Good reporting, you are not the only blogger/site to cover this. Aside from dawg10 and phinneydawg, nobody else had the guts to be anybody but "Anonymous". I agree it was a bad situation that could have been handled much better. I have never seen a more alienated fan base and this is a good example of how it happened. I am surprised at the number of trolls that peruse your blog. Love your blog, I read it from Atlanta. Keep up the good work!

Eric said...

I am a loyal dawg fan and also an avid reader of your blog. While I think it is a shame that the UW Football program is so closed lipped and non-fan friendly, I also think they have a right to closed practice. I personally hate not having more information, but I also recognize that no information would be enough for me! Further, I wonder how much of this is Ty related vs. the program office. Does Ty really sit around and search for blogs to shut down?

John Berkowitz said...

Of course they have the right to close practice during the season.

In the Spring, and in the first two weeks of camp it simply doesn't matter. The majority of the schools in the country open up practice during those times.

Once you start game planning nobody complains about practices being closed because it is a common practice at many schools.

If you want to promote the program you need to give the media a little access. When you don't give them any access they don't have much to write about which doesn't help you sell tickets or recruit.

Currently the media is allowed to watch the first 25 minutes of practice which consists of stretching than they have to leave.

The press conferences which are supposed to fill in the gaps are a travesty because the head coach refuses to answer direct questions.

If you really want to see something embarrasing go the Go Huskies site and watch the press conference where they ask about EJ Savannah. Ty acts like he has never heard of him before.

My point is this guy is the highest paid state employee in Washington and he needs to stop jerking people around.

Anonymous said...

Willingham sounds like a hardass and not particularly pleasant, but I don't see the Queeg parallel. Specifically, I don't see the analogy to the 'who stole the strawberries?' incident.

It all seems a little overheated to me. Probably if the coach loosened up a little the heat would dissipate.

On the other hand, it's only college football. I suggest everybody cool off and wait until the season starts.
Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Well John, if your goal was to generate controvery and be famous by writing insulting idiotic opinions, YOU WIN!

However, husky fans are not going to let NEGAS be the only voice about the state of UW football this year.

Regarding folks signing up as "annonymous", it is because its the only convinient way to do so.

Rob M said...

Alright, everyone and their mothers has thrown in their two anonymous cents. I'm frankly a little surprised at the fervor with which several guys have stood up for Ty. It, in some bizarre way leads me to believe that he must be doing something right in that if he's got these guys in his corner, he must be holding a certain level of favor amongst some of the important boosters and donors. Then again, 1/3rd of the country still supports George W.

Do your critics regarding this Queeg series realize you started this blog to bolster support for Ty? Minus a little jab in backtalk the other day, it seems you tend to give Ty the benefit of the doubt in football-related matters and have been quick to sing his praises when he succeeds, the recruiting class of '08 for example. I'm not sure where you stand on issues of Ty's employment, neither as the future coach of this program nor whether you could rewrite the past. It doesn't really matter. Your allegiance to the team and program has been unwavering, so good riddance to the idiots who won't allow you to expose a character flaw in a man you might still consider the best chance for the team's near or long-term success. Coach blew it on this one. Maybe he'd take it back, I don't know. He ought to want to.

To all of those in Husky Nation who are sick of Ty Willingham as a topic, you must appreciate that he's Dr. Frankenstein as well as Captain Queeg (he created this monster). Except for the most resolute of the Montlake rabble-rousers, every Husky fan in the world would love to track Chris Polk's challenge for the permanent starting role. Would like a semblance of a depth chart at DT. Would be interested to know from what distance Ryan Perkins can still split the uprights. That is all stuff we can talk about! When Ty restricts the stories that come out of lower campus, the restriction itself becomes a story. Apparently Ty believes he can win an intelligence war with his football opponents and that will give him an edge that will lead to more wins. I wonder how many 4th quarter leads slipped away at Husky stadium because the place was only 3-4's full.

Is Ty a good coach? Has he been a victim of sub-par talent? The answers are debatable. He put together several winning seasons at Stanford, at least after he had the chance to put his team together. He had Notre Dame in the chase for a national championship, then left the program with a back to back BCS Bowl roster. Ironically, Willingham was chased out of South Bend for too man blowout losses, but at Washington it's been the narrow ones that have had us pulling our hair out. At best he's good, at worst he's bad. I guess he's always inconsistent.

Despite another tough schedule, this is likely TW's career-defining season. He had the chance to bring in some guys— any talent gaps will be tough to justify; he adjusted his supporting cast and any late game breakdowns should fall on his shoulders; for this season to be a success, he needs a signature win, an upset that sets the tone for the season. If Ty limps in with 6 wins, I'll still consider this year a failure.

If that's the case, he'll be lucky to get fired with the plausible deniability that he just got shafted again from an unreasonable and impatient fan base. He'll point to his off-field successes and make sure his future employers know just how bad the team was when he took the helm. He'll point to whatever lucky coach gets Jake Locker as a senior and call the 2010 Rose Bowl the house that Ty built.

If Ty can haul in 8 regular season wins, which I believe is more realistic than a lot of frustrated fans, then I think some people should just shut up. Not you, John, but some people. The Willingham era has been frustrating so far, but this team is very near a verge, very close to almost breaking out. Wins this year will largely come from one good recruiting class and one great recruiting class, a coaching shakeup, and Ty's ability to keep his team on his side despite the $#!+storm that has blown in. That would all be evidence of good coaching, his poor PR aside. 8 wins could mean a contract extension and perhaps the moment the tide turned, launching the golden age of TW's era and burying the bad memories of Neu and Gilby's wake.

I supported Emmert's decision to keep Ty on for this year because I felt it was both the honorable decision as well as the correct (or at least least premature) decision. My support wavers by the day. If the Dawgs can end the season with at least 8 wins (either 7 in the regular season + a bowl win or 8 in the RS and a bowl loss), I won't have to regret that support. Anything less and I'm done making his excuses.

Keep doin' what you're doin' cuz you're doin' it well. Your position as a blogger is important specifically because it frees you from needing that inner-office memo to publish your editorial when you know what's what.

Sorry for taking so much space. See you at Autzen?

Anonymous said...

While the Tyee office and/or athletic department could've handled it better, that's not the main issue here. So this guy wants to cry that he wasn't told nicely enough that he broke clearly stated rules?!? Somebody call the WAAAAAAAMUMBALANCE!!!!

THIS ISN'T NAM PEOPLE, THERE ARE RULES HERE! People that get to attend practice have to agree to those rules and they know (or should) full well that these practices, particularly right now, are under strict scrutiny. For all things holy, we open AT Oregon! If any purple veins bleeding Husky fan can’t at least try to make it a point to just follow the rules as they are clearly stated then this wouldn’t even be an issue, but these guys just ignore the rules and the UW has said “ENOUGH”.

The UW has EVERY RIGHT to dictate the rules as they see them – it’s not just Ty either. James had closed practices, Lambo, and Gilby too. This program is bigger than some stupid fan that can’t keep his big mouth shut on message boards.

What’s even more disturbing is that Dawgman lets these guys post those reports knowing full well that the UW doesn’t want to see that on message boards. It’s like they set Ty up to look bad no matter what.

Again, this is a huge game in 11 days and UW has a large advantage in having a new DC and is most likely engaging a bit of gamesmenship with the Locker injury and possibly some others. If one guy posts anything about his privileged access then other people might think it's ok as well and go into even more detail.

If you can't handle the ramifications of breaking rules by which you agreed to abide, don't break them in the first place!

-Husky Fan In New York

bigdave967 said...

Can I post anonymously???

John, you know I have been reading your blog for all of 2 day...kidding, for about a year now. I love your stuff and I look forward to every new post and even the comments. We typically do not see eye to eye on a lot of things (thats what keeps me coming back) but I would say that when it comes to Ty you are a "glass half empty" kind of guy. No shame in it though. I think that if a guy was given specific rules about internet/bloging about practices he should have had half a brain to know not to do it. This is preschool where people get timeouts and sit in the corner. He signed a contract (apparently) stating the rules.

So I think that maybe Ty could have handled it in a softer tone (though i dont really know what was said and i am trusting you on this) but he had all the right in the world to do what he thought was appropriate.

I think we are all in for a treat and the past 4 years of sub par football will be a distant memory.

Anonymous said...

The man is a program killer. Plain and simple.

Anyone who bought into this "Ty Willingham...great, principled leader" bought into a complete and total fabrication.

Anonymous said...

To the last post, why don't you at least wait until the season starts? Also, was the program vibrantly alive the year before Willingham arrived with a 1-10 record, barely any talent, no recruiting class, and Hedges as AD? Didn't think so.

Meek Speaks said...

the frustration in this part of the nation is at a tipping point... that is why these threads / posts / blogs are surfacing before the season.

willingham is paid like a world class coach and delivers us bottomfeeder results, fans are given zero incentive to invest emotionally or financially in the program at all. the stadium is a crumbling joke with that absolutely ridiculous track in the middle that nobody in the entire history of mankind can seem to fix, the gameday experience is boring, the band plays nothing of interest, the school uniforms are a point of contention every year, those who bleed purple and gold should look at other schools' coaches and see what they wear on the sidelines and in press conferences. ours? they wear black. where the hell is black in the husky style guide? we get more radio interviews with coaches from around the country than we do with uw and when we do get one from the local program, it's just gobbledeegook that leaves you more frustrated than before and less informed... and less interested.

i've said it before, but as a non-alum husky fan i am simply hanging on because of jake locker at this point and once he leaves, there is absolutely zero incentive for me to continue buying tickets, uniforms, souvenirs.

btw, i do get the stolen strawberries analogy. continuing to front when you're wrong. you know the old adage, if you don't know where you're going, any path will take you there.

Anonymous said...

Winning will make games a lot more lively. Bringing back "Tequila" would be fun too. Why did they get rid of that?

John Berkowitz said...

Meek- You sum it up pretty well. Take away Jake Locker from this team and interest would be amazingly low.

I have been going to games since the 60's and there was once no better place to be a on a Saturday afternoon. Nowadays I prefer the road games because they are much more fun. Husky stadium is basically dead on game day. It has become such a sterile atmosphere.

Anon- The song Tequila lacks proper comportment....lol.

Anonymous said...

What about "Louie Louie" or even better, "Get Off My Cloud" by the Stones?

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Husky nation? The fact that people still defend Tyrone when there is literally zero tangible evidence is extremely alarming.

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