Sunday, August 31, 2008

Signature Tyrone Willingham

This was one of those games that looked atrocious from the very first snap. This game was all signature Tyrone Willingham as the Huskies showed up emotionally flat and ill prepared for the opener with Oregon.

The Huskies had eight months to prepare for one of the most important games of Willingham's coaching career. What his team gave him was the worst performance of his Husky coaching career. This was the type of game that ends coaching careers.

How can you not be emotionally, physically, and mentally prepared to play Oregon in the opening game of the season?

Oregon is a top twenty type club but this edition does not come close to comparing with the squad that visited Husky Stadium last year. The Ducks simply outplayed Washington in every single facet of the football game last night.

There was no trickery or deception in this one. The Oregon lines simply came out and dominated Washington on both sides of the ball. This was nothing more than an old fashioned butt kicking.

This one could have gotten ugly early as Oregon raced off to a 14-0 lead against a UW nickel defense that featured three safeties. We all hoped for an attacking style and what we got was more prevent defense from the onset. The Huskies were very fortunate to be behind only 14-10 at halftime after Locker rallied the team in the second quarter when the Oregon offense sputtered a bit.

The second half was another episode of the worst of Ty Willingham "Deja Vu". Once again the opposing team made adjustments which countered the momentum UW had built up in the second quarter. Once again Washington had no answers. Once again Washington came out flat to start the second half.

The Husky offense was shut down completely in the second stanza unable to throw or run the ball. Special teams contributed shanked punts and poor kickoff returns which gave Washington terrible field position which only contributed to the offensive difficulties.

The Washington defense which looked like it had settled down in the second quarter was gassed after the first series of the second half. It is tough to make tackles when you are laid out on your back. Once again you have to question this teams physical conditioning.

The Washington offensive line was dominated the entire evening by Oregon. I really can't remember seeing a single scrum they won all evening. This was pretty surprising because the OL had been touted as being one of the better in the conference this year. Cody Habben had terrible game out at tackle as he was beaten continuously all night. Juan Garcia played almost the entire game which was great but he wasn't impressive.

Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano didn't do his team any favors as he called perhaps his worst game in purple and gold. The Huskies were predictable and uninspired all evening.

The Washington version of the spread offense doesn't spread the field. UW repeatedly ran the ball up the middle rather than trying to sweep it outside. Obviously they wanted to go with the supposed strength of the team which is the interior offensive line. It didn't work and Chris Polk and Brandon Johnson were smothered at the line of scrimmage the entire evening.

Locker dropped back to pass the majority of the night which allowed the pocket to collapse around him. You have to question why UW didn't roll out more since it would give Locker and his receivers additional time and more options.

Jake wasn't himself last night. It was obvious that the lack of practice time had hurt his conditioning and thrown off the timing between him and his receivers. He had a bit of a limp so you know the hamsting was still bothering him. It also looked like he suffered a chest or shoulder injury late in the second quarter which slowed him down in the second half.

For Tyrone Willingham this game was a nightmare because it signals the end of his coaching career at Washington. It was obvious to all observers that nothing had changed in the off season with this Washington team. All the same problems are here with the addition of a lot more inexperience. Things are not getting better, they are getting progressively worse, and everyone knows it is about time to pull the plug.

Up next is a BYU squad which is probably on a par or better than Oregon. The following week the Huskies take on possibly the best team they will face all season in Oklahoma.

The odds are pretty good that Willingham will submit his resignation during the bye week before the Stanford game. Washington will be 0-3 at that time hand and possibly have a scoring differential of about 170-30. That isn't a pretty picture.

Rumor has it that he tried to do that after the WSU loss last year but Todd Turner talked him out of it. That is probably the biggest reason Todd is no longer AD at Washington. Count on Scott Woodward to take it without argument this time around.

Bright Spots

One of our readers wrote in asked us to highlight a few brigh spots. There weren't many but here are the ones I noticed.

QB Ronnie Fouch came in during the fourth quarter and played pretty well against the Oregon "B" team. To be honest he looked better than Jake last night.

Quinton Richardson had a nice night at CB picking up his first interception.

LB Mason Foster picked up ten tackles.

DT's Alameda Ta'amu and Johnnie Kirton looked like the best of the group out there last night. I can see them both getting more playing time next week against BYU.

TE Kavario Middleton is going to be a force once he gets his blocking down. He is an incredibly smooth receiver but his blocking is still a year away.


Anonymous said...

Solid analysis of the game. You can't start a game much flatter than the Huskies did last night.

If/when Willingham submits his resignation will be a good/bad day for UW.

Good because Ty's gone.
Bad because it will signal another set back on the rebuilding process.

Hard to believe, but this Oregon-Washington rivarly has not been much of a rivarly the last 5 years.

bigdave967 said...

If he gives his resignation mid season than what do you do...Ed Donatell take over, which might have been his idea from the beginning. Defense looked like they were a 5th grader fighting an 8th am i going to go through a whole year of my friends laughing and calling me all season when Washington gets beat like that!! PSU fans Suck but at least they schedule teams they can beat. What the F are they thinking...not even USC schedules these teams.

How GOD awful was special teams...I am going to go INSANE if i have to watch these guys play this bad for a whole nother year...

John i were right! Ty needs to go..........NOW!!!

I think i hate him!

They should pull out all the stops and get Lloyd Carr, or the Def coordinator Sarsinski (??) from USC. What the he## am i supposed to do for 4 more months. Forget recruiting if they play like this the rest of the season. If they dont bring in a charismatic, proven coach then it will be 10 years before UW is a top team again...I have to go before i lose my mind.

Sorry for the venting.

All i can hope for is that this team gets their heads out of their a$$es now!

They better bring their A game next week.

Anonymous said...

I like you blog, and now I even actually agree with you!

I just hope they don't hire another "savior coach" or a big name coach. I believe that was behind the hiring of Neuheisal (which was a mistake to me) and Willingham as well.

My thinking is that the best hires are either those who were successful at a lower level, like Ohio State did and WSU as well (which is one reason I really liked their decision on their new coach) or those on the way up, like Don James. I'm trying to remember the big name coach lobbying for the Husky job when they hired James, Daryl somebody, wasn't it? He would have been a savior coach, to my mind.

The thing is to me is that coordinators aren't always good head coaches, ala Gilbertson. But successful head coaches at lower divisions are, and with better resources can been even better at the highest level.

I'd love to hear your thinking about this.

Anonymous said...

Agree with everything. Last nights game was a disgrace.

All of us want a return to Huskies football as we knew it. Tough, smash mouth, FUNDAMENTAL football.

I just do not understand the offense play calling of Lappano STILL after 4 years now.

I also feel we need a head coach that wants to involve the community and supporters more.

Alas, Mora Jr. is now taken. My other choices (since we are on the topic) to bring back HUSKIES football and a charismatic coach would be Gary Pinkel but that is unlikely now.

So disgusted.

bigdave967 said...

I like the idea of getting a lower tier coach but someone like Brian Kelly who started at D2 and has now taken Cincinati to a bowl game and made them a pretty good team. We need a great coach from the MAC or Mountain West who wants to take a big time program back to the top. Urban Myer was that coach and now look.


KingChinook said...

I wouldn't mind seeing Kyle Wittingham from Utah. If they wind up convincing the Utah AD to come to UW, you could almost count on it. Anyone who has carried on a tradition of winning bowl games and defeating Big 10 and Pac 10 teams gets my vote.

Joe said...

Agree with most of your analysis John. The team came out with no emotion at all. There are two types of coaches, methodical grinders/disciplinarians and players' coaches. Ty is obviously the first but he can't seem to inspire his team at all. After all these years of losing his approach just isn't working, I see a team on the field that is used to losing and is so scared of making mistakes that they are too hesitant. How many times last night did you see someone with a chance to make a tackle in the backfield take a double step and blow their chance?

I posted a couple threads back about our entrance before games and the lack of excitement it generates. If you combine that with the complete lack of emotion that we are seeing on the field from our players and the lack of emotion from the coach it makes for a pretty bad recipe. It is going to be interesting to see what the atmosphere will be like for the BYU game, I feel bad for the players because they are not going to get much support from the home crowd and that can have a very negative effect on a team.

hairofthedawg said...

My only disagreement is with the term "scrum". Scrums are contested, and generally feverishly...didn't see that from the Dawgs last night. Man, I had to resort to beer,not necessarily a bad thing. I was almost sad the game was on TV, it sucked so bad. I think my turning point was with the UA game last year and if it's possible to reach the same point twice from different directions...I'm there. Get rid of the uncharismatic waste of space and get the sparks of talent I did see some decent coaching.

Football is a game of attitude, not comportment, although there is a time for both, just not on a football field, and the Huskies had neither last night. Attitude is knocking a Duck on her ass. Comportment is helping her up and asking her if she'd like another. I wonder how they felt having the Ducks helping them up.

Expletive deleted!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thaidiamond said...

Good game analysis, particularly where you wrote: "The Washington defense which looked like it had settled down in the second quarter was gassed after the first series of the second half... Once again you have to question this teams physical conditioning."

I've heard similar analysis and what I found surprising was that we ran 40 plays in the 1st half -- to Oregon's 20!

Oregon's drives were much quicker in the 2nd half. Either 3 and "out" or 3 and "in." We didn't see the Ducks marching 80 yards in some 6 or 8 minute drives that would have kept our defense on the field for a dozen plus plays.

Yet our defense was the one "gassed"?

If that's the case, it doesn't just question our speaks volumes!

Anonymous said...

I'm really sick of people claiming that firing Ty will be a set back in the rebuilding process.

Ty isn't rebuilding, he's just digging a deeper hole for the program to climb out of. The minute he's fired, the "rebuilding effort" will receive a huge boost. The question of whether it will be successful depends on Emmert's true motives and how that influences the next hire.

SunDawdger said...

John B -
I don't disagree that this is a "coach-killer" game and I'm not even going to argue the reasons for keeping Ty. I don't even believe them myself.

All that being said, I hope you are NOT taking the blog down the "I hate Ty" road. You know, the path where all the blame gets focused on one spot and the only result is a bunch of lathered up fans that can do nothing else than argue with those that are trying to make other points about the team/program. It is unproductive and laborious. It also brings out the crudest behaivor in Dawg fans. We can all agree that we have a coaching problem and, short of a major upset of Oklahoma, he's gone. End of story. Let's spend our blog time on the team and the games.

That said, we need to start holding Jake accountable. This was not a good test for him given how putrid the o-line was last night, but in those times where he did have time to throw, he showed some bad habits: locking on to one receiver, happy feet, and overthrowing. He is not a natural passer at this point. If he can't show that he can deliver them (even to well covered freshmen), every other team is going to put nine in the box, just like Oregon did. This is the season that he has to learn how to deliver the ball.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much how it happened. As a duck fan, I have to agree with you're coaching analysis. How can your "star" running back say "I didn't expect the crowd to be that hostile".

Not preparing your players for Autzen is a total failure in coaching.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for not being prepared. I enjoyed all of our scoring and your lack there of.

WenatcheeDawg said...

Someone get on the phone to Steve Sarkisian at USC now to begin the courtship. Time to bring in a young, energetic Pete Carroll type who can once again recruit in California and bring excitement back to Montlake. Pinkel and Mora Jr. are probably where they are going to stay, but last night was definitely Exhibit "A" on why Ty needs a "For Sale" sign in front of his home.

I was excited to see the team unveiled last night, but like you observed a largely uninspired, predictable, same-old, same-old team - on BOTH sides of the ball. Seriously, I understand the need for tendency breakers, but how many times did we try to belly the ball only to see a 0-1 yard gain? Until we can do something on the perimeter, the book on us will be to stack 8 in the box, keep contain on Jack, and make us beat someone deep.

I will give Ty this: he came in and cleaned up the program. Great. For that, I thank him. Years 3 and 4 were supposed to be years where the wins would come. It is becoming apparent that Ty is not doing anything other than driving away long-time boosters and changing the culture at the UW for the worse to one that accepts losing. Clearly, taking The Tree to the Rose Bowl was a fluke which TW has been riding ever since.

I could live with the loss, as playing in Autzen with a team as young as ours cannot reasonably be expected to win this game 9 times out of 10. That being said, please play with some F-ing passion. That starts with preparation, which breeds confidence. I saw some guys who played with passion and others who looked scared to screw up. Apparently 8 months isn't long enough for Ty to get his guys ready to play.

I supported the TW hire. I said give the guy at least three years. Now, it is time to move on.

I say let the Steve Sarkisian for UW head football coach in '09campaign begin!

UDub'99 said...

I think we all owe Notre Dame fans an apology. I was one of those that hopped on the Ty and media bandwagon and chastized ND for firing him like they did. Man, I feel stupid and I actually apologized personally to all my ND friends.

Anonymous said...

Been a Huskie fan since my dad played. 2 words....CHIP KELLY

huskie22since85 said...

2 words.....CHIP KELLY

Derek said...

You guys berated us and lambasted us while you celebrated your new hire. "You racists!" you said. You were proud of your hire.

Despite all of that, everyone at Notre Dame stands in solidarity with you, because we know what wolf in sheeps clothing Ty Willingham is. Better yet, a golfer in football coaching clothing. The destroyer of programs has fallen upon you and destroyed yours, too. We really fell bad for all Husky fans, but you haven't even caught the worst of it, yet. Wait until you fire him...

John Berkowitz said...

SD - No, I don't want the blog to head off in that direction either.

This is never going to be the "Fire Willingham" web site.

I think there are plenty of other things to discuss even though the coaches tenure will be called in to question until he starts turning it around.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the assessments here about head coach Ty but what about the other coaches?? In my book, Tim Lappano's play calling since he has been here has been "interesting" to say the least. I do not know if they are even using the player's abilities rather than just plugging in the offensive system they want to use.

Donatell is a good hire after having Baer here. Though only one game and againest a good team like Oregon, I have not yet seen changes and the PASSION I was hoping for.

ToddRhodesECI said...

Everyone knew it would come to this, especially us ND fans. I hope you guys have an easier time restocking the cupboards than we did at ND but after 3 years and some good recruiting, we're getting there. You guys must have better golf courses than South Bend because I think he's doing even worse at UW than he did at ND and the only thing I can think of that would make that happen is more opportunities to golf. Too bad he can't take recruits golfing...

Even if someone does come in and implement a scheme that fits your players and puts you at 10 wins the next year, you'll still be racists for firing the everyday-but-Saturday best coach in the land.

Jake Locker Fan said...

Gotta agree with the sentiment that the UW coaches are horrible at making adjustments. All last year the UW looked good until half-time, then the other team made adjustments both offensively and defensively, and the UW could not respond.

If they can't make adjustments, at least hire a motivational speaker (or provide Locker some training) to fire the team up at half time.