Sunday, August 31, 2008
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.
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.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The Ducks have come out and dominated from the get go jumping out to a 14 point lead. Washington hasn't been able to do anything on offense and they haven't been able to stop the Ducks on defense. It could be a very long night. Oregon out gained the Huskies 151 to 29 in the 1st quarter. My first impression is opening night jitters for a young team. The Huskies need to develop some rhythm.
The Huskies have settled down and developed some rhythm and have closed the Oregon lead to 14-10. Washington is playing much better in the second quarter on both sides of the ball. Quinton Richardson made a nice interception. Jake looks to be around 80% tonight. Kavario Middleton has caught three passes and it looks like he will be a major weapon this season. The offensive line isn't getting any push on running plays. The Washington running game is once again all about Jake scrambling.
Looks like Roper could be out with an injury so they will go with their 3rd string QB in the second half. Moselli played the last three minutes of the first half and looked fine.
The Huskies trail 14-10 at halftime.
Can Willingham out coach Bellotti is the second half?
Adjustments in the second half were a major problem last season.
Both teams go three and out on their first series but Oregon gets a nice punt return from Byrd and drives it quickly to the endzone to take a 21-10 lead early in the third. Looks like the Ducks have taken back the momentum.
Oregon goes with Chris Harper who is the third Duck QB of the night.
Washington isn't moving the ball at all in the third quarter. Poor field position and lack of adjustments that work are hurting them.
Washington special teams rears its ugly head for the third time tonight when Jarius byrd makes another great punt return breaking Husky arm tackles.
The third quarter ends with Oregon on the UW 16 driving to put this one away with a 21-10 lead.
Washington still hasn't broken its habit of being out adjusted in the third quarter.
Harper is the best QB I have seen tonight. He is going to be a great Dennis Dixon clone. Good chance the Ducks go with him the rest of the year.
The Ducks have used three QB's tonight. What is this a spring scrimmage?
The Huskies hold to start the fourth quarter and the Ducks hit a 41 yard Fg to take a 24-10 lead. This is still a gem, but UW needs to get something going on offense.
UW goes for it on 4th and 3 around mid field and Jake gets pounded. On the next play Oregon hits a big on to Williams to take what seems to be an insurmountable 30-10 lead.
Habben has been eaten up all night. UW's offensive line has been terrible tonight and that is the real story of this game. I think it may have been the worst Washington rushing performance I can remember seeing.
Trailing 30 -10 the Huskies panic on the next series throwing long on every play hoping for a miracle. The offensive play calling and execution has been terrible the entire second half.
UW's defense is getting really tired, way too many arm tackles as the game winds down. It looks like they are giving up.
Oregon drives it down the field again to take a 37-10 lead.
23 straight unanswered points in the second half by Oregon.
Ty says "No Mas, No Mas"....Jake Locker gets pulled from the game and Ronnie Fouch comes in.
Fouch has a decent drive going until one of Kearse fumbles after a reception.
Oregon takes the ball and drives it down the field to take a 44-10 lead with 46 seconds left.
This was one of the most important game of Ty Willinghams career and it ends up as being the worst loss in his tenure at Washington.
The Ducks are favored by two TD's but if you bet on these type of things they probably won't cover the spread because the gap between the two teams has been shrinking over the past six months.
One key for Washington in this one is hanging on to the ball. Young skill players tend to put the ball on the ground and if that happens the Huskies will be in trouble quickly. If Washington can eliminate the mistakes they have a chance to pull an upset in the opener.
I will be back around game time.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Nathan and I are predicting games every week over in the PI Blog.
Here are Nathan's predictions for week 1.
Oregon State 31, Stanford 17
Oklahoma State 38, WSU 20
Arizona 45, Idaho 10
Arizona State 46, Northern Arizona 19
Cal 33, Michigan State 27
USC 31, Virginia 24
Tennessee 30, UCLA 16
Oregon 31, UW 20
Here are John's predictions for week 1 under Chicago Dawg.
Stanford 20, Oregon State 17
Oklahoma State 45, WSU 17
Arizona 52, Idaho 3
Arizona State 52, Northern Arizona 17
Michigan State 31, Cal 24
USC 38, Virginia 7
Tennessee 42, UCLA 17
Oregon 27, UW 24
Last nights game between Stanford and Oregon State was viewed by most as a toss up and it was that way until later in the second half when the Cardinals started taking advantage of Beaver mistakes.
Lyle Moevao was 34 of 54 for 404 yards and three touchdowns. Sammie Stroughter had 12 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns, and Shane Morales had 13 catches for 151 yards and a TD. You would figure with that type of offensive production that the Beavers would win this football game.
Stanford did two things much better than Oregon State. They ran the ball and didn't cough it up. Toby Gerhart had a career-high 147 yards and two touchdowns in his return from last years season ending knee injury. The Tree outrushed the Beavers 210 to 86. The Beavers had two key interceptions and two fumbles in the second half which sealed their fate.
You can draw more than a couple of conclusions about Oregon State from this first game.
- Oregon State's offensive line has a lot of work to do if they are going to compete against the better teams in the Pac Ten.
- Oregon State's defense is rebuilding not reloading. The Beavers have a long way to go to return to the level they have been at over the past three years.
- Lyle Moevao was able to get the ball to his receivers most of the night but the Beavers need to develop a running game to help him out.
- Sammie Stroughter is back and the OSU receivers are one of the top tier groups in the league.
Here are a couple things you may have picked up about Stanford.
- Being able to run the ball for over 200 yards during the game took a lot of pressure off Tavita Pritchard who was only 10 of 17 for 91 yards.
- The Stanford defense shut down the OSU running attack. They also picked up some key turnovers which was the main factor responsible for the victory.
- Harbaugh's Cardinals didn't turn over the ball.
- Stanford is still a work in progress on offense until they can get some semblance of a passing game going.
- Just by the way....Jim Harbaugh can coach!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
A very one dimensional Stanford team is having little problem the Beavers leading 36-20 with eight minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Gerhardt has rushed for over 200 yards.
Washingon is better than both of of those teams plus they are better than WSU and UCLA.
If UW finishes lower than fifth this year in the Pac Ten this year it is is all about coaching.
The most telling statistics listed below show that the Ducks are returning 53 lettermen compared to only 30 for Washington. The Ducks experience rating is 2.88 which means this team is close to averaging out as juniors. The Huskies on the other hand measure out more like a team made up of redshirt freshman and true sophomores with a 2.12 average.
A big key for Washington in this game will be getting a significant boost from almost thirty players who will be playing in their first college football game. Chris Polk, Alvin Logan, Senio Kelemete, and Quinton Richardson will be starting for the first time in their very first games as Huskies. The rest of the group is going to get the chance to make an immediate impact too.
New Husky Blood for 2008
QB Ronnie Fouch RS
TB Chris Polk
TB Willie Griffin RS
TB Brandon Yakaboski RS
WR Alvin Logan RS
WR Devin Aguilar
WR Jordan Polk
WR Cody Bruns
WR Jermaine Kearse
WR Anthony Boyles
WR Chancellor Young*
TE Mike Izbicki RS
TE Kavario Middleton
TE Romeo Savant* RS
OL Nick Scott*
OL Scott Fancher RS
OL Mark Armelin RS
OL Scott Schugert RS
DL Senio Kelemete
DL Alameda Ta'amu
DL Everette Thompson
DL Tyrone Duncan RS
DL Nick Wood RS
DL Kelani Aldrich RS
LB Kurt Mangum
LB Cort Dennison RS
CB Quinton Richardson RS
CB Marquis Persley RS
S Tripper Johnson*
Returning Offensive Starters
Returning Defensive Starters
2.12 yrs Washington
2.88 yrs Oregon
The odds makers feel that Oregon will beat Washington on Saturday night by two touchdowns. If you look at the two teams on paper that is a pretty fair appraisal. The Ducks are stronger and more experienced than Washington at most positions.
That doesn't mean Washington can't win. What makes the start of any college football season exciting is that you don't know what the young guys will do.
Take USC for example. When Pete Carroll came in the program was way down. In his first season he played a lot of young players and finished 6-6. Washington beat USC his first season and he went head to head with Rick Neuheisel for every top recruit on the West Coast that Winter. He won most of those battles. The rest is history. Carroll's program hasn't lost more than two games in a season since then. The key down at USC has been to go with the youth.
Washington is doing that this year coming off its best recruiting class in over a decade. The big key for this season is for the young guys at the skill positions and defensive line to perform like upperclassmen. They are going to make mistakes but they are also going to make some very good things happen.
Stop the Oregon running game.
Make no mistake about it, the Ducks are going to come out running the ball hard at the middle of the Washington defense. Oregon has three very capable running backs that will all play and keep the position fresh all evening. Oregon wants to get the running game going so the safeties have to creep up to help stop it. Once that happens the Ducks like to go deep for the quick score.
Oregon has a great offensive line. They dominated the Washington defensive line last season. Keep a close eye on Elisara, Kelemete, Kirton, and Ta'amu. If they are getting blown off the ball it won't be a good sign.
Establish the run against Oregon
Washington needs to come out and establish the run early in this one. Locker lines up behind one of the best offensive lines in the conference. His RB's may lack experience but they have the talent to take advantage of the holes that can be created in the middle of the Oregon defense.
Louis Rankin may be gone but I think you will enjoy the styles of Chris Polk and Brandon Johnson more. Both of these guys know how to get yards in the middle. Polk is a legitimate big play threat every time he touches the ball. David Freeman, and Willie Griffin may also be in the mix.
Divide up the carries between Locker, Polk, Johnson and Homer anyway you want, but the Huskies need to go over 250 yards on the ground to beat these guys.
Get off to an Early Lead
You don't want to play catch up on the road against Oregon. If Washington can get off to a good start and take the Ducks out of their running game it is going to be a big plus. An early lead makes the other team do things they would rather not do. If you can put the game on the young shoulders of Justin Roper you can force the Ducks into making some mistakes and beating themselves.
Hold on to the Ball
You need to minimize mistakes to beat a team like Oregon. Fumbles, interceptions, and blown scoring opportunities which plagued the team last year have to go away in 2008.
Washington's young receivers need to get open against one of the nations best secondaries. Once they get open they need to catch the ball. The 5-6 drops per game which murdered Locker's passing statistics last season need to go away.
I think it will be tough for Washington to play mistake free with so many new players in key positions, but a positive turnover ratio will be key in this contest.
A Game of Emotion and Adjustments
Washington did a terrible job last season making adjustments during games. The inability of Willingham's coaching staff to counter what their opponents were doing in the second half cost this team 4-5 wins.
Coach Willingham has to prove himself as a game day coach that can match wits with the best of the Pac Ten. The second half of the Hawaii game was hard to watch because Ty looked like a deer in the headlights on the sidelines.
DC Ed Donatell is a big upgrade over Kent Baer. The Husky defense will surprise you on Saturday night. They still aren't there from an experience factor but they are rapidly closing the gap in talent. Oregon is at a slight disadvantage because they really don't know what the Washington defense is going to throw at them.
For Washington to win on Saturday night they need to outcoach the Oregon staff. Willingham actually had a pretty good record against while he was at Stanford. Washington has really never been in a game with Oregon since Ty arrived. For some reason the Huskies have come out flat against these guys. They can't do that on Saturday night and expect to win. Willingham needs to get this team fired up in what may be one of the most important contests of his career.
Oregon State and Stanford open the Pac Ten season tonight in Palo Alto. The Beavers have placed a priority on starting fast this season. They have started the season 2-3 the past two seasons, only to lose once more the rest of the way to post the second most wins in the conference to Southern California. After visiting the Cardinal, the Beavers travel to No. 22 Penn State next weekend.
The Beavers are favored in this one by 3.5 points but I think Stanford is going to surprise the Beavers at home and come away with the upset. The Cardinal are strongest early in the season before depth starts becoming an issue. Harbaugh has proven he can get his teams up for big games and a victory in the opener will help sell some future tickets in what has become a very empty Stanford Stadium.
The key match up in this game will be the Cardinal offensive line versus the front seven of OSU. Last season the Cardinal rushing attack averaged just 111 yards per game and three yards per carry. The Stanford line, however, should be much improved in 2008 and the Beavers entire starting defensive line and linebackers from 2007 are gone.
The key story in this game is the Cardinal are getting better, deeper and are coached extremely well. The Beavers are trying to prove that they are reloading rather than rebuilding.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Jerry Brewer of the Times writes a sensitive follow up to Bud Withers earlier article.
I've abandoned trying to dissect Tyrone Willingham. I don't think there are any secret meanings behind his words and don't believe he's a very complicated football coach. It's much easier to accept him for who he is -- a rigid coach who never deviates from his beliefs and values -- and leave it at that.
Players Make a Mockery of Coach Willingham
Jim Moore of the PI comments on some of the better Willingham impressions on the team.
Tyrone Willingham comes across as being pretty uptight. He's also predictable. You know what you're going to get from the UW football coach -- not much. And you'll get it in measured monotone doses, as if war looms. Which is great. His dial-tone delivery never changes. Deep down, very deep down, I love the guy. Love that he closes practices (less to do) and love that he takes everything so seriously (more to mock). Even drill sergeants think he needs to lighten up.
We did learn that TB Chris Polk has been throwing up before games since he was six years old. that means you really don't want to sit next to him on the bus to Eugene.
Polk gets so nervous before games that he usually throws up, often multiple times, a habit dating to when he was 6 years old and due to his advanced abilities was thrown in against a bunch of older kids.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times chimes in with the obligatory pat on the back of Juan Garcia.
They call it a small miracle, which is humorous because Juan Garcia, the proprietor of this gift, weighs 305 pounds. Offensive linemen are such understated behemoths. Give them something to marvel, and they make it all practical.
You can't have a preview without reviewing the legend of Jake Locker.
Since he arrived at Washington in 2006, Jake Locker has been the focus of most of the attention, the one around whom the program's hopes have revolved.
Over at the PI Molly Yanity writes about the freshmen return men.
Polk, now a true freshman with the Huskies, will return kickoffs Saturday at Autzen Stadium when Washington opens the 2008 season against Oregon. He could be the first Washington player to touch the football.
Molly also writes about the long road back for Chancellor Young.
Never did Young, a former All-America football player at O'Dea High School, figure he'd trade stretch nylon football pants for Carhartts. But he'd been expelled from the University of Washington for academic reasons, and his dreams of football grandeur were going up in a cloud of gypsum plaster dust.
John Boyle of the Herald writes about Jordan White Frisbee
It's late morning on the Monday before Washington's season opener, and Jordan White-Frisbee feels out of place. "It's crazy being here," the senior guard says, referring to the weekly press conference that takes place on each Monday of a game week. "I've never been invited to anything like this."
John Boyle also had the opportunity to speak with Tim Lappano.
Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano stopped by late this afternoon to answer questions about his offense (guess the OC wouldn't be answering questions about the defense, eh?)
Don Ruiz of the News Tribune remarks on a shortage of cupcakes.
By late Saturday night, the Washington Huskies will have begun their football season 1-0 or 0-1.
They’ll also be 1-0 or 0-1 in the Pacific-10 Conference race, and 1-0 or 0-1 in the annual round-robin against their Northwest rivals. That raises the stakes for the Huskies’ opener at Oregon, but not necessarily the degree of difficulty.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
On Saturday, August 30th at 10:00 EST, the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks kick off the 2008 college football season with a televised conference showdown on Fox Sports Network.
The 21st nationally ranked Oregon Ducks are listed as the -13.5 favorites by the oddsmakers to win this contest. This Washington/Oregon betting preview by Jimmy Boyd is here to help you better handicap this matchup as it breaks down both sides. Make sure you check out his college football picks each week to see who he likes to beat the spread.
While the Ducks finished the 2007 season 9-4, they couldn't help but be a little disappointed. Nine games into last season, Oregon had climbed to No. 2 in the BCS rankings and was ready to contend for a national title. But all of those hopes were lost when Heisman Trophy candidate Dennis Dixon went down with a season-ending knee injury. Without Dixon under center, Oregon dropped its final three regular season games before rebounding with an impressive 56-21 win in the Sun Bowl over the South Florida Bowls. Dixon's replacement in 2008 will be Justin Roper. He starred in last year's Sun Bowl victory, throwing four touchdown strikes. He will get the nod to start the season opener as projected starter Nate Costa will miss eight to 10 weeks following a knee operation.
Besides having to atone for the loss of a Heisman Trophy candidate, Oregon must also try to adequately replace running back Jonathan Stewart. Stewart led the Pac-10 in rushing with 1,722 yards last season and was drafted 13th overall by the Carolina Panthers. While Oregon's two best offensive weapons are gone from last season, the team is still considered to be a top-tier team in the Pac-10 conference.
Nothing has gone as planned for Washington Huskies head man Tyrone Willingham. He is coming off a disappointing 4-9 season in which the Huskies were only able to win two Pac-10 games. Willingham has also become the first coach in Washington history to have three straight losing seasons. What that does is put him on the hot seat. A season opening loss to rival Oregon will have the athletic administration all but ready to send him packing at season's end. If there is hope for Willingham, it lies in super sophomore QB Jake Locker. Locker is attracting NFL scouts by the bunches with his combination of speed, power, and athletic ability. He was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year after tallying 3,048 yards and 27 touchdowns. He set a Pac-10 record with 986 rushing yards by a QB.
With Locker under center, there's no doubt in my mind that the Huskies will be able to score the football, the big question is if they will be able to stop anyone on defense. In last year's matchup with Oregon, the Huskies put 34 points on the board, but relinquished 55. The Huskies gave up 661 yards and allowed the Ducks to rush for a school record 465 yards. With Washington's young team being another year older and with Oregon not having Jonathan Stewart, things should go better for the Huskies defense. But will things go well enough for them to have a chance to pull off the upset? We shall see, but the college football lines aren't giving them much of a chance as two touchdown underdogs.
The biggest question right now in my mind is if Savannah wants to even come back and play for Willingham at this point? EJ doesn't have a redshirt year left so if he transferred he would have to sit this year out the rest of this season and only have one year left. Seems to me the coach has the leverage.
Ty-Tyee Discipline Gate Redux
Bud Withers of the Seattle Times runs his look at the JC Cornell debacle and the signs that Ty may be cracking under the pressure. The Seattle Times had the extra motivation to run this story after Ty Willingham cut Bob Condotta off from asking questions that would be answered in the press conferences.
- The kids that were there before he arrived were not very good.
- The coaches project Kelemete as a future All American candidate.
It seems to be more of number two because Kelemete showed up to camp in absolutely perfect shape and has a motor similar to Daniel Teo Nesheim. Sources are telling me that Kelemete is the best looking Husky DL since JWF was a freshman.
Alameda Ta'amu isn't all that far behind and will also see a lot of action this year. He also hit camp in good shape despite weighing in close to 350 pounds. Look for Washington to try to play a rotation of at least eight defensive linemen this year in an effort to keep everyone fresh and keep attacking the ball.
"The question of the day is "how did UW end up with 2 true freshmen in their starting lineup for the season opener on the road?". I'm OK with TB Chris Polk starting the game. By all accounts, he's a freak of nature. But, the fact that Senio Kelemete is starting at DT speaks to how the other DT played during training camp."
Nathan - I think Kelemete is going to be a player right out of the box.
The News Tribune Husky Section
Click the link to read five juicy stories on your favorite team.
The Huskies will receive word one way or another today on if Craig Noble passed his California Exit Exam test. Since he has missed the entire camp it is likely he will red shirt or delay enrollment until January.
Washington - You have to take Locker over Roper going into this one. The less mobile Roper was named the starter on Monday and has a nice touch. Jake on the other hand has improved his passing and is always a great running threat. We all assume Jakes leg should be close to 100% for this one which is another big plus for UW.
Oregon - Washington brings three very talented TB's and a great FB. The Ducks have three guys that are proven and that makes the difference. If Washington can outgain Oregon on the ground it could lead to a win on Saturday. You give the advantage to Oregon on paper but word out of Washington practices is the Husky tailbacks are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Oregon - The Huskies have plenty of talent and virtually no experience. It isn't like the Ducks are all world out here either but they have more experience. Jaison Williams puts Oregon over the top going into the game.
Oregon - The Huskies are improved but until Kavario becomes an every play player I have to take the Ducks. Ed Dixson is one of the better TE's in the league.
Washington - These are two of the top units in the conference. Washington has a lot of depth and strength inside with the only weaker point being depth on the flanks. The return of Garcia gives Washington an extremly slight edge.
Oregon- The Huskies and Ducks have similar holes to fill with strength out on the ends. This could be a reach but I think Kelemente, and Ta'amu are going to answer Washington's questions at this position as the season goes on. The Ducks go with two seniors so they have the edge.
Oregon - This position is pretty even. You have two of the conferences best in UW's Daniel Teo Nesheim and Oregon's Nick Reed. Give the nod to Oregon because they also have Will Tukuafu who has more experience than UW's Darion Jones.
Washington - The loss of Savannah for at least this game makes these units pretty even. Paysinger, Matthews, Bacon, are very solid. The question that needs to be answered for the Oregon defense is the middle of the front seven. I still give Washington the edge because they are stronger in the middle.
Oregon - Oregon has one of the best defensive backfields in the nation. Chung, Byrd, and Thurmond are all going to be NFL draft picks. The Huskies are dramatically improved back here but Oregon is in a different league going into game one.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Nick Scott a walk on offensive tackle from Drake cracked the depth chart and will be backing up Ben Ossai. Chris Polk is the starting tailback backed up by Brandon Johnson. The mild surprise here is that freshman David Freeman has cracked the three deeps.
Jordan White Frisbee earned a starting job at OG. Ryan Tolar will be backing up Bulyca, Garcia, and JWF.
Over on defense De'shon Matthews is listed as a third string defensive end after starting the fall as a #1 defensive tackle. Obviously the team feels solid enough going with Elisara, Kelemente, Teo'Nesheim, and Jones.
Walk on Tripper Johnson remains with the two's at safety. Jason Wells will play but is still being treated cautiously coming back from knee surgery. Darin Harris will start at SS with Victor Aiyewa backing him up.
Jordan Polk and Quinton Richardson are listed as your KOR men. D'Andre Goodwin is going to be handling punts.
Perkins and Ballman have earned all the kicking slots.
WR 11 D’Andre Goodwin 5-11 175 So./Jr
9 Devin Aguilar 6-0 195 Fr./Fr.
LT 79 Ben Ossai 6-6 332 Jr./Sr.
69 Nick Scott 6-4 337 Jr./Sr.
LG 76 Jordan White-Frisbee 6-5 368 Sr./Sr.
65 Ryan Tolar OR 6-5 321 So./Jr.
70 Morgan Rosborough 6-6 382 Jr./Sr.
C 58 Juan Garcia 6-3 305 Sr./Sr.
64 Matt Sedillo OR 6-3 320 So/Jr
65 Ryan Tolar 6-5 321 So./Jr.
RG 72 Casey Bulyca 6-6 339 Sr./Sr.
65 Ryan Tolar 6-5 321 So./Jr.
RT 71 Cody Habben 6-6 316 So./Jr.
67 Skyler Fancher 6-5 294 RFr./So.
TE 86 Michael Gottlieb 6-5 249 Sr./Sr.
83 Walt Winter OR 6-4 254 Sr./Sr.
80 Kavario Middleton 6-5 255 Fr./Fr.
4 Chris Izbicki 6-3 249 RFr./So.
QB 10 Jake Locker 6-3 222 So./Jr.
8 Ronnie Fouch 6-1 203 RFr./So.
7 Taylor Bean 6-1 199 RFr./So.
TB 1 Chris Polk 5-11 200 Fr./Fr.
6 Brandon Johnson OR 5-9 207 So./So.
20 David Freeman 5-7 190 Fr./Fr.
21 Willie Griffin 5-8 198 RFr./So.
FB 30 Paul Homer 6-1 239 Jr./Jr.
32 Luke Kravitz 6-0 228 Sr./Sr.
WR 3 Alvin Logan 6-2 218 RFr./So.
15 Jermaine Kearse 6-1 180 Fr./Fr.
DE 66 Daniel Te’o-Nesheim 6-4 263 Jr./Sr.
92 Everrette Thompson 6-6 255 Fr./Fr.
96 De’Shon Matthews 6-4 260 So./Jr.d
T 99 Cameron Elisara 6-3 289 So./Jr.
74 Alameda Ta’amu 6-2 348 Fr./Fr.
T 93 Senio Kelemete 6-4 260 Fr./Fr.
37 Johnie Kirton OR 6-3 296 Sr./Sr.
91 Tyrone Duncan 6-2 278 RFr./So.
DE 59 Darrion Jones 6-2 245 Jr./Sr.
50 Kalani Aldrich OR 6-7 240 RFr./So.
96 De’Shon Matthews 6-4 260 So./Jr.
OLB 24 Joshua Gage 6-2 226 Jr./Sr.
5 Matt Houston 6-0 232 So./Jr.
ILB 9 Donald Butler 6-1 242 Jr./Jr.
57 Trenton Tuiasosopo 6-2 243 Sr./Sr.
OLB 40 Mason Foster 6-1 229 So./So.
29 Chris Stevens 6-1 218 Sr./Sr.
FS 8 Nate Williams 6-0 207 So./So.
34 Tripper Johnson 6-1 210 So./Jr.
SS 15 Darin Harris 5-11 208 Sr./Sr
41 Victor Aiyewa 6-1 209 So./So.
CB 28 Quinton Richardson 6-0 200 RFr./So.
6 Vonzell McDowell, Jr. 5-9 178 So./So.
CB 23 Mesphin Forrester 6-2 202 Sr./Sr.
19 Matt Mosley 5-10 180 So./Jr.
Washington Special Teams
P 12 Jared Ballman 5-11 186 Sr./Sr.
17 Erik Folk 5-11 199 RFr./So.
13 Ryan Perkins 5-10 205 Jr./Sr.
FG/PAT 13 Ryan Perkins 5-10 205 Jr./Sr.
12 Jared Ballman 5-11 186 Sr./Sr.
KO 12 Jared Ballman 5-11 186 Sr./Sr.
HLd 8 Ronnie Fouch 6-1 203 RFr./So.
SNP 49 Danny Morovick 6-4 213 Jr./Sr.
KOR 82 Jordan Polk 5-8 161 Fr./Fr.
28 Quinton Richardson 6-0 200 RFr./So.
PR 11 D’Andre Goodwin 5-11 175 So./Jr.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
These are 12 kids that I picked out to highlight today that you seldom see written about. Each is on track to be a key contributor in 2008. All of them have been around four to five years. They all might not be starters but this collection of scholarship late bloomers and walk on's are going to be counted on to provide impact this season season.
Each one of these guys bring some special skills to this team that is often used in a situational basis. You want improved special teams in 2008? Included are some very key contributors that will help with that goal.
FB Luke Kravitz Sr
This is Luke's fifth year in the program and the legacy recruit from Olympia has seen a lot of time on the field at the FB position and special teams. Luke plays behind Paul Homer but the coaches have equal respect for the abilities of both players. Kravitz has had some type of nagging injury each year he has played and this will be the first time he has left training camp unscathed.
The coaches like the way Luke catches the ball out of the backfield and maybe this year the coaches will call his number more often.
WR Chancellor Young Sr.
Chancellor originally committed to Duke and stayed one year there before transferring to Washington. He had to sit out a year and had a breakout spring game. He was never heard from again after suffering from academic problem. Chancellor is back for his last season as a walk on and he had a good fall camp. That camp will get him a shot catching the ball and playing on special teams in 2008.
Young is very good athlete and will get every chance to play this season. Pencil him in immediately for special teams. Don't count out time at receiver because he is the big and physical guy we possibly lack.
WR Charles Hawkins Sr.
Hawkins from Chicago transferred from a small program in Iowa. He has worked his way high up enough on the depth chart to get extensive time last spring. He dropped a couple of passes in the spring game that probably hurt him, but it wasn't like anyone else other than Goodwin was lighting it up either.
Charles will get some opportunities to play in 2008.
TE Walt Winter Sr.
Walt came to Washington as an Army All American LB. he was moved from LB to DE and asked to beef up early in his career and the move didn't really fit him even though he gained some playing time. This is his second year at TE and he is starting to blossom at that position and will open the season as the #2 behind Mike Gottleib who has been slowed down by a hamstring injury.
Walt should have been at TE all along.
OL Morgan Rosborough Jr.
Morgan has been a work in progress ever since he joined the team. Morgan is a giant man the training staff has spent three and one half years sculpting. He always had light feet but he needed to lose weight and gain strength. He saw his first action last season at OG and will get his reps in again this season at the crowded and deep position. Morgan is the fourth guard behind Tolar, Bulyca, and White-Frisbee.
Next year he will compete for the starting job alongside Tolar when the other two graduate.
LB Josh Gage Jr.
Every guy dreams about walking on to a division one program and earning a starting job. Josh did that this year when EJ Savannah went into exile. Gage isn't your usual walk on. He has impressed the coaches with his ability since he joined the team.
Obviously a healthy EJ would be the starter but it is nice to see Gage get his shot.
LB Fred Wiggs Jr.
You hear Fred's name called quite a bit during games. He tends to be around the ball a lot on special teams. He has played a lot since he walked on from O'Dea becoming one of the leaders on special teams.
Fred is a big hitter so keep an eye on him.
S Tripper Johnson Jr.
A 26 year old walk on safety from Newport HS in Bellevue. He signed to play baseball out of high school and bounced around the minors for eight years. He walked on this spring and was running with the 2's for the most part. He is going to be a valuable reserve in 2008 and a boost to the special teams.
Johnson is going to play plenty over the next two years.
S Darin Harris Sr.
Harris has started a lot of games for the Huskies in between sitting out with a broken back. He teamed with Forrester for most of last season after Wells went down. The young talent at safety and the return of Jason Wells still hasn't knocked him out of the rotation.
Harris is your likely starter for the opener beside Williams.
LB Chris Stevens Sr.
The coaches need to find a way to utilize Stevens more in 2008. The absence of EJ should give him more time out there. Chris can be a big play type of player in the right situations. In the past he has lined up as a pass rushing DE and has caused some serious havoc.
Ed Donatell needs to maximize this kid this season.
LB Trenton Tuiasosopo Sr.
Trenton has started a lot of games since recovering from a near fatal bicycle accident. He will be listed as starter 1-B at MLB this year. Trenton is very solid against the run so I believe we will see him used on a situational basis this year when Donald Butler is on the field.
I could see Butler and Tui playing besides each other during obvious running situations.
DE Jovan O'Connor Sr.
I don't know if Jovan has ever played a down since he hit campus five years ago. He was listed as the #1 DT at the start of Spring than quickly moved down the depth charts. He lost 40 lbs since school ended and is now listed as a DE. I don't know if that translates into playing time but Willingham must like this kid to keep him around this long.
Roper is a different type of QB than a Costa or a Dixon. The 6'6 Roper simply is not as mobile as those two. This slows down the game a bit for Washington. Roper is a decent QB but he won't give the Huskies as many reads as Costa would have. Washington will be able to key more on the Oregon running backs who will be attacking Washington's young defensive line.
Costa was going to be the starter this year over Roper because he had a lot more upside. Roper out performed in camp this fall but most felt that Costa would be the better QB over the long term. He fits what Oregon likes to do a lot better than Roper.
The line in this game is two touchdowns in favor of Oregon but in my mind the gap has been closing between the two over fall camp.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The most important development has been the added contributions of the true freshmen. Washington is going to play a lot of young kids this season.
At running back Chris Polk, David Freeman, and Johri Fogerson have all showed they are ready to play immediately. Terrance Dailey isn't that far behind but will likely red shirt since the position also returns Brandon Johnson, Willie Griffin, and Brandon Yakaboski.
Tim Lappano has stated that they are going to go with a rotation of three running backs this season. Chris Polk and Brandon Johnson who is now rounding in shape figure to be the first two to be called on. The third is a bit of a mystery with Freeman, Fogerson, and Griffin running neck to neck into the final week of practice before the opener. Expect at least one of the true frosh in addition to Polk to play this season.
Going into this camp the biggest question mark was running back but the coaches feel those questions have been answered and the position will be one of strength in 2008. Look for Chris Polk to contend for freshman of the year honors in the Pac Ten. This kid is going to do some very special things over the next four years if he stay healthy.
Questions are still being answered at wide receiver. D'Andre Goodwin is the only sure thing so far with Alvin Logan not too far behind. Both of those kids are likely to be your opening night starters. Behind them will be Devin Aguilar, Anthony Boyles, Jermaine Kearse, Cody Bruns, and Jordan Polk in no particular order.
Vince Taylor who arrived late is probably going to be the only player to end up saving a year of eligibility. I also think it is a given that they move Vince over to safety to build some depth for the future. The loss of Curtis Shaw due to personal problems hurts since he was the fastest player on the team plus he had game experience.
Over at TE Kavario Middleton has had an exceptional camp and is catching on very quickly. I expect him to be a starter by mid season even though like all frosh he could benefit from a year in the weight room. Everyone knew that Kavario could run and catch but what is impressive is how far his blocking has come along in camp. tim Lappano. The coaches are saying that he is everything they expected him to be and more.
Another great surprise at TE has been the emergence of 5th year senior Walt Winter in his second year at the position. Walt came in with a lot of recruiting fanfare and has played quite a bit since he has been at UW. Walt however has never been a star and one reason for that is he never was at the right position. He was recruited as a LB but was asked to put on weight and play DE. He got some reps in games but never broke into the starting lineup. The move to TE though has given him a home that works well with his talents. Walt is a smart kid who blocks well and has shown in practice that he can be a reliable receiver. Walt is going to see a lot of action this season backing up Mike Gottleib.
Perhaps the biggest question mark going in to the season for me was the defensive line and it still is. If you listened to Ed Donatell's comments the day after the scrimmage he is still looking for some answers at these positions. he mentioned he wasn't that happy with their play while watching the scrimmage but after he watched the film a coupl of times he felt that they did OK.
Daniel Teo Nesheim is the only given this unit really has at this point. The fourth year junior will compete for all league honors in 2008. Darion Jones who has a lot of talent will flank him on the other side. DeShon Matthews and Cameron Elisara are the guys slated to start in the middle. Those two are my biggest question marks going into the season. Both are going to be starting for the first time and while they looked solid this past Spring they lack size and experience. In a perfect world Matthews and maybe Elisara would be playing out on the end. They both will see some time out there in the future. You hope the quickness they can bring can offset the lack of size in the interior.
Coach Donatell would like to develop a large rotation for these positions with only the massive freshman Alameda Ta'amu staying inside at all times. That means plenty of potential playing time for Johnnie Kirton, Nick Wood, Tyron Duncan, Kelani Aldrich, Everette Thompson, and perhaps Senio Kelemente is he catches on quickly after arriving late. All of these young guys are having decent camps and will contribute in 2008.
Craig Noble who was supposed to compete for playing time is going to end up red shirting. He missed all of camp waiting for his Cal exit exam test score. If he doesn't make it soon they just might have him wait till January to enroll.
I think a really big key this season will be the play of Alameda Ta'amu. If he can make his presence felt in the same that Jordan White Frisbee did as a freshman this line may come together better than most people think. It is a lot to ask out of a true freshman but this kid is 350 pounds of almost pure muscle. I really haven't seen much of a belly on him in the photos I have seen. The coaches have been working him in a similar way as Juan Garcia because he still has the lingering effects of a foot injury suffered in high school. All indications though show he is healthy and ready to contribute.
Youth will be served and counted on at Washington in 2008. How quickly these kids come along will be a large part in determining the fortunes of this team this season. One thing for sure is they are going to learn quickly with Oregon, BYU, and Oklahoma as their first three assignments. This is going to be a baptism of fire for these kids and it is going to be very exciting to watch.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Its time to take the weekly walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to.
Addicted to Quack chips in on the injury to Costa. This extent of the injury is still a mystery but it is looking more and more like Roper will start next weekend.
1320 "The Score" is reporting that Costa has injured the same knee that was surgically repaired last year. Good news is that he finished out the practice and then discussed this with the coaches. From what we've heard, he will be getting an MRI tonight. However, Oregon's orthopedic surgeon is out of town, so results may not be back until Sunday. At this point, we don't know the extent of this. It could be very serious, or quite minor. He won't be playing for at least a few days.
The return of Toby Gerhart is boosting Stanfords gridiron fortunes.
The last time Stanford's Toby Gerhart played a football game, he ran like an All-American.
But while shredding San Jose State for 140 yards in just 12 carries last September, Gerhart partially tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Expected to be out a few weeks, the running back spent the rest of the season on the sideline.
Arizona looks back at the #12.
With 12 days to kickoff we look at the number 12, and we remember some great ex-Wildcat quarterbacks. It was a difficult choice to pick the top ‘Cat at #12, but in the end we had to go with Arizona’s current passing leader, Tom Tunnicliffe.
Kevin Riley was named the starting QB for Cal's opener.
Following Thursday's practice, Cal coach Jeff Tedford announced that he has named sophomore Kevin Riley as the Bears' starting quarterback for the season opener on Aug. 30 against Michigan State. Still on the field, he was quick to address the elephant in the room as he met with media members. "Kevin is going to start, might as well cut to the chase," Tedford said. "Kevin's going to start the first game. We feel like both of them have had great camps. Kevin's going to take the first snaps, and we'll see how it goes from there."
Jake at the Beaver Blog is happy to see the horse collar be outlawed.
The best thing for Beaver fans is the elimination of the horsecollar tackle. James Rodgers was tackled this way on 3 separate runaway plays last year. They were touchdown saving grasps for USC, Stanford, and (uh...I don't recall the other one, anyone remember?). So that's great news! We need that guy to stay healthy and keep churning out the highlight reel runs.
USC was scrimmaging yesterday.
After USC assistant coach John Morton forgot to play Jordan Cameron into the scrimmage Saturday, Cameron got the first play of Thursday's scrimmage, a 32-yard pass from Garrett Green. Cameron led all receivers with three catches for 81 yards. He also drew a pass interference penalty and was called for pass interference.
ASU is sorting out its defensive backfield.
On the defensive side of the ball junior Terell Carr has also come a long way in camp and looks to be solidifying himself as the best choice for starter in the corner spot opposite Omar Bolden. Suffering from a case of the drops earlier in camp, Carr has been more advantageous with his time including an impressive pick yesterday that elicited a chorus of "Atta way T-Carr" shouts from his teammates in the secondary.
All things Bruin from Bruin Nation.
We will start our Friday roundup with a little perspective from our defense. They are feeling confident after getting better of our developing offense during most of this fall camp. However, projecting that confidence doesn’t mean they are counting our offense out. Briah Dohn has a good report today in the Daily News on Reggie Carter’s (one of our key defensive leaders) perspective on our offense:
WSU reviews the top comments of the week.
Just eight days until kickoff?? Please tell me, where did this summer go? Unbelievable. Some quick links to get your day started, and then it's your turn. We'll go over some of the top comments of the week.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Bellotti was more optimistic today and said Costa could be back as early as Friday.
Once again these are unsubstantiated reports so until the coach confirms it we have no idea of the seriousness of the situation. Expect as is the custom for word to be delayed as long as possible so Washington has to prepare for two different QB's.
I want to add that we all hope Nate is OK.
Coach Bellotti typically runs one of the more accessible BCS programs in the country. From the team's perspective, there is too much at stake on Aug. 30 to freely disseminate certain types of information regarding UO's preparations for the start of Pac-10 play.
For example, UW boss Tyrone Willingham was quoted in Tuesday's Seattle P-I as wanting to know who Oregon's starting quarterback is going to be for the opener. "You'd like to know," Willingham said. "It gives you a better look at what the skills of that individual are. So, if you can have that information, it's better to know."
One of the big questions going into this game is who Oregon is going to go with at QB. For the most of the fall it was going to be Nate Costa, but Justin Roper the star of last years Sun bowl bowl victory has pulled even with him as the team heads into crunch time.
You have to think that Bellotti has a pretty good idea and will make a decision by Saturday, but the starter could actually end up being a game day announcement which is designed to keep Washington on its toes as far as preparation is concerned.
Whoever the starter is he will be guarded by one of the very best offensive lines in college football. The Ducks game plan will be to run the ball at the soft underbelly of Washington's smallish and inexperienced defensive line. This will take pressure off whoever the starting QB is and it will put the highlight on Oregon's trio of NFL bound running backs. Make no mistake about it, Oregon is going to try to establish ownership of the line of scrimmage before opening up the passing game in this one.
Coach Bellotti expressed concern at the offense’s tempo in last Saturday’s scrimmage. The Ducks went to a consistent no-huddle look last season, and became so efficient that they got off two snaps against USC at mid season in a span of just 13 seconds. With Dixon graduated the timing and rhythm just may not be there yet.
When I saw the Ducks in Husky Stadium last fall I thought they had the best offense in college football. We were all just amazed by the gamesmanship going on in the backfield. It was almost impossible to tell who was carrying the ball at times. You would think one second that the Huskies had stuffed a play only to see a Duck sprinting around the corner with the ball unmolested.
I think it is a given that whoever starts at QB won't be able to execute as well as Dixon in the opener but they may not have to. The Ducks have a solid offensive line and with the speed and size at RB they should be able to gain their yards playing straight up against almost anyone.
Oregon has the ability to be a great football team in 2008, but there biggest obstacle just might be the opener against Washington because the offense may not be running on all eight cylinders yet.
Whenever you are going up against a team with an athlete the caliber of Jake Locker anything can happen. Locker almost single handedly kept Washington step for step with Oregon in 2007 through three and a half quarters. With an additional year under his belt and Dennis Dixon gone the Huskies hope that gap has been closed.
“I think we’re a great football team, and I’ve said this before — if we don’t beat ourselves, there are very few teams out there that can beat us,” Bellotti said. “And I really, truly believe that.
This game is going to answer a lot of questions for the Pac Ten on opening night.
What Oregon is doing is actually what I think most of us who cover UW would like the Huskies to do --- be open, or pretty close to open, during spring practice and the beginning of fall camp, when there is really very little game planning going on, but maybe get more restrictive once the season nears.
Most of the programs in the conference and country do that these days because it helps promote the team and build excitement for the coming season. Willingham feels that opening practice at any time to the media distracts his coaches and players.
A longtime observer of Washington football told me that the coach simply hates the chance of any criticism. It isn't simply a matter of information leaking out to opposing teams. He doesn't want anyone commenting on how he runs his practices. If the players aren't doing a lot of hitting for instance he doesn't want someone to criticize his methods. He feels information is power and if he controls all the information he is controlling his power. In other words the coach wants to eliminate the chance of anyone second guessing him.
It is that same type of logic Willingham used when he banned fans and family who travel on the road to see games from staying in the team hotel. Up to 10,000 fans used to follow the Huskies on the road for each game. Obviously all of them could not stay at the team hotel but the hotel lobby was a central meeting place for all Husky fans when they were on the road.
I don't know if you have ever been to a road game pre Willingham but it was a carnival atmosphere in those very recent days. KJR or whatever radio station was following the team would set up in the hotel lobby on Friday and do a live broadcast. Husky fans from all over the country would meet each other and share their passion for Husky football. The team, fans, families, and friends were all together the night before the game in a charged atmosphere which helped the team build the emotional edge it needed to conquer the opposing team on the road.
I remember the days of a Rick Neuheisel, Jim Lambright, Don James being available in the lobby and mixing with fans and boosters to let them know how important they were to the program and they sincerely meant it. If you wanted to talk to Jim Lambright for a few minutes he had the time and made you feel glad you were there. It wasn't unusual to have a chalk talk with one of the assistants over a cold frosty beer.
Those former Husky coaches knew that having 10,000 Husky fans in the stands when you were on the road playing a team such as Michigan was a great source of pride and comfort. It simply was an edge that most programs in the country did not possess.
The number of fans that travel to watch the Huskies on the road is dramatically down. I was amazed at how few Husky fans were on the road when we played Arizona State last season. The majority of Husky fans at the game were made up mostly of sun birds who had moved down from the Northwest.
What the coach and the team are missing out on is the tremendous emotions that help propel the team to improbable victories in the past.
Who can ever forget the Whammy in Miami? Do you think that win would have ever been possible without the support of the 12th man on the road?
The thing that has made Washington football so special over the last 100 years is it has been our team. Husky football is the one thing some bandit in Oklahoma can never take away from us. Husky football is something that is in our blood. We all grew up with it going to the games with our fathers, and fathers, fathers. It isn't just sport it is a deeply rooted Northwest tradition of pride, excellence, history, and community involvement.
The message from Coach Willingham is loud and clear. He doesn't want anyone around his team at home and on the road because he feels it is a distraction. He wants to control the environment. The coach wants his players to focus on the task ahead without any distractions.
What the coach and his team may be missing out on is the key ingredient of emotion. With the nations toughest schedule staring them in the face in 2008 a little emotion and support from loyal fans may be the secret ingredient this team is lacking.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
First of all Juan Garcia didn't suffer a setback as feared by Molly Yanity of the PI earlier today. He did have a bit of a scare, but nothing to worry about. The coaches think he is still solid. One of his relatives passed away and he went home to attend the funeral and that is why he missed practice. Tolar isn't getting much work at center which means they think they are going to be fine with Garcia and Sedillo.
Practice was cancelled this afternoon to give the players some rest. They had hoped to run what the coach called a game mock up but it was mostly for the coaches benefit not the players. He sensed the legs were getting heavy and probably after factoring in the weather decided to call it an early day. The practice can be made up at a later date if needed.
On the injury front Nate Williams is just bruised up a bit and will be fine. TE Mike Gottleib is back on track to start against Oregon. Willingham also mentioned that Walt Winter is really coming on this year. Kavario Middleton is getting it and is getting hIs blocking down in addition to be a very important receiving option.
The coach said that center Mykenna Ikehara has been one of the freshman standouts of camp. Tim Lappano told Bob Condotta of the Times it was too early to say whether Ikehara will play this season and the preference would be to redshirt him, but that he could play this year if needed. I commented earlier today that it has been evident since this kid stepped on campus that he is the next great Husky center.
Tick...Tick...Tick...AAndy is back over on the Dawgman message board.
Franchise Faithful...Kickoff 2008 is a little over a week away in Eugene...The anticipation and expectations for this season have not been seen in years...2008 is the Rubicon for a program that will define the direction of the Franchise for the next five years...With so much at stake...where is the excitement?...Previously the beginning of a Husky football season was not unlike May Day in the Former Soviet Union...All the power, technology, and depth on display for the football world to marvel at...So what do we have today?...Cross your fingers and hope the Huskies exit Eugene without embarrassing themselves...If that is not the case...is this true Husky football?...Well yes...and yet we are asked to remain patient...The patience of the faithful has grown thin...and the sense of excitement is just as thin...
The good news is that Washington is slowly getting all the injured players back to full strength. Locker came back on Monday along with Brandon Johnson so the coaches are really going to be focusing on keeping them healthy. Johnson has two weeks to shake off the rust and get ready.
Getting the safeties healthy is another big concern. Jason Wells is still coming back from his knee injury, Victor Aiyewa is still slowed by his groin, and Nate Williams came up with a gimpy ankle. If the Huskies were playing tonight the starters at safety would be Harris and Johnson. Thankfully we have almost two weeks to go so I imagine if there are no setbacks we should be fine on opening night.
Juan Garcia has really put himself in contention to play in the opener. I would have to say this has been the surprise of camp so far. Matt Sedillo has been slowed down with a concussion so it is going to be great to get some depth back at the position. Mykena Ikehara is a kid that could play this year if needed. Remember his name because this kid will be the next great Husky center. Hopefully they won't need him and he can build some muscle this season and keep that extra year of eligibility. (Quick note on this one is that the PI's Molly Yanity says Garcia may have suffered a setback. We will report about it later today if true after Ty concludes the press conference.)
An official depth chart probably won't be released until next week, but here are some pretty solid guesses on what it will look like. Not a lot of surprises here except for Harris over at safety. He is the only safety that isn't dinged up so I think he will get the nod over Aiyewa early. Wells is going to play a lot this year, and once the coaches are satisfied his knee is fine I bet he ends up starting beside Williams. As far as depth goes i would love to see them move Fogerson and Taylor over. I think it is just a matter of time with Taylor, but fogerson has impressed at RB.
QB Locker, Fouch
TB C.Polk, B. Johnson, Griffin, Freeman
FB Homer, Kravitz, Sylvester
WR Logan, Aguilar, Young
WR Goodwin, Kearse, Hawkins, Boyles
SB Bruns, J. Polk
TE Gottleib, Winter, Middleton, Izbicki
OT Habben, Fancher
OT Ossai, Armelin
OG Tolar, White Frisbee
OG Bulyca, Rosborough, Shugert
C Sedillo, Garcia, Christine
DT Elisara, Kirton, Kelemente
DT Matthews, Ta'amu, Wood
DE Teo Nesheim, Duncan, Thompson
DE Jones, Aldrich
WLB Gage, Houston
SLB Foster, Stevens
MLB Butler, Tuiasosopo
CB Forrester, Mosley, Persley
CB Richardson, Davenport, McDowell
SS Harris, Aiyewa
FS Williams, Wells, Johnson
KR C. Polk, J. Polk
PR Goodwin, J. Polk
PK Folk, Perkins
Husky Fans Form Factions
This is an interesting outsiders take on the message boards over at Dawgman.
Last year, with Jim-Mora-to-the-Huskies talk at frenzied pitch, I actually saw a guy at Husky Stadium with a Jim Mora Jr. button.
Fitting, I thought, because the battle between the pro- and anti-Willingham forces was beginning to resemble a political debate–with both sides having developed specious talking points (pro-Ty: It’s Gilby’s recruiting!; con: Look at Notre Dame!), and disingenuous counter-arguments meant to stifle debate (pro-Ty: you’re scaring off recruits!; con: don’t blame the players!).
But now the campaign is at a new level. The sides have actually created political parties. Over at the Dawgman.com message boards–which I like to check in on every once in a while to destroy my faith in humanity–the pro-Willingham forces are being called POSIDawgs, and anti-Willingham partisans are known as NEGADawgs.
My point in writing the article was to point out that there was a much better way for the athletic department to handle these type of things when they come up. I think most rational people can agree with that.
Once again we keep this place pretty positive during the year and are in a mode now where we judge by results on the playing field each week during the season. However this site isn't to be confused with the Ty Willingham Fan Club. You can't even come close to being objective or fair when you ignore the day to day reality (good or bad) that surrounds the way the program is currently being run.
I don't have a fire Ty agenda at all. I want to see the team win, the players to have fun, and the stadium to be full every weekend. I want to see our players graduate, stay out of trouble, and live to see a rebuilt Husky Stadium.
If Willingham is the guy that takes us there I have absolutely no problem with it. I will however continue to question his leadership at times when needed. Anyone who is 11-25 does not get a free pass on scrutiny and fair criticism.
Here are two posts that take opposing views that are very well thought out and deserve mention. I think both of these guys hit the nail on the head from opposing angles.
The first post is from ROB N who is one of our regular readers.
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?
The next post is from Husky Fan in NY.
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!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
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.
Remembering how he helped solve a mystery involving a similar theft when he was an ensign earlier in his career, Queeg attempts to recreate his former accomplishment by insisting the strawberries were pilfered by a crewmember with a duplicate key.
Queeg orders every key on the ship collected, and a thorough search made. During the search, the captain is confronted with evidence that the messboys ate the strawberries. Queeg loses all enthusiasm for the search, though he orders it to continue, and it is continued in a desultory way amid public mocking of the captain.
To be continued...
Monday, August 18, 2008
Chris Fetter's from Dawgman decided to ask Ty about the status of EJ Savannah today.
A question was asked about E.J. Savannah and whether or not he would be available for the Oregon game with the amount of practice time missed, and Willingham asked if we had seen him at practice. A follow up was asked to find out Savannah's status and TW was unsure as to why the question would be asked. When asked if E.J. was on the team or off the team, TW simply said, 'Your eyes are as good as mine'. And it was left at that.
If you watch the replay of the conference, and watch Ty's face you get a pretty good idea that EJ may have played his last down as a Husky while Ty is head coach.
Ty had these comments on Jake Lockers return to practice.
"TW said that Jake did '100 percent' more than he's done since the injury because before that he was doing '0 percent'. He added that Locker won't be expected to be 100 percent for a while, and 'wouldn't even be 100 percent the day he gets there'."
When asked what he and doctors saw in Locker, Willingham said, "Jake. That's what we saw: Jake. Jake's eager, anxious and ready to get involved."
OK, so what in the heck does that all exactly mean?
Confer among yourselves.... .
I am sure you have all seen the movie in which Humphrey Bogart does an excellent job playing the excessively paranoid Captain Queeg.
In the novel it quickly becomes apparent that Queeg is prone to eccentric behavior. Queeg displays an oppressive command style and is prone to unprovoked angry outbursts. From the first, he begins to make mistakes that endanger his ship. After refusing the assistance of his predecessor in command, he grounds the Caine on a muddy shoal his first time underway. He panics in a fog and nearly collides with a battleship, and passes the blame to his helmsman, starting a series of incidents that eventually results in a scripted court-martial and mental breakdown of the helmsman.
To be continued... .
We are talking some serious secrecy when a coaching staff doesn't even let you know if they plan on scrimmaging or not. Oregon on the other hand had a scrimmage on Saturday that was open to the media and public.
Bud Withers of the Seattle Times drove down to Eugene to take it in.
Nate Costa, believed to be the guy who will take the first snap when Washington visits the Ducks on Aug. 30, struggled in his first live action since injuring a knee last October, completing only 2 of 10 pass attempts and failing to get the Oregon offense into the end zone.
The results of this scrimmage were pretty mixed. Is the Duck defense so good that they smothered the UO offense, or is the offense in total rebuild mode right now?
Costa went up against the number one defense and had a tough day. Roper on the other hand went up against the #2 defense and looked like he was making a potential move to take over the starting job. The competition is getting very close and both QB's may see action against UW.
According to Ted Miller of ESPN most of the offenses in the Pac Ten struggled against the defense in scrimmages this past Saturday.
You will notice once again that there are no links to a Washington scrimmage because Willingham isn't talking. He may get around to it during his Monday press conference if he is in the mood.
Sounds like some of the Pac-10 offenses had trouble linking up
This is the halfway point in camp and the number one goal Washington has this week is to get kids like Jake Locker, Brandon Johnson, Mike Gottleib, Byron Davenport, and Victor Aiyewa back into practice.
Most of us expected to see Locker back late last week. He has been throwing and running stairs, but he has not returned to full contact work.
The Huskies have double practices on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week. The final or first scrimmage of the year depending on if Willingham will let us know should be this coming Saturday.
UW has the day off next Sunday and on the following Monday starts its game week preparations.
Backtalk with Nathan Ware 2008
Nathan and I haven't done an edition of backtalk since spring practice concluded. This week we attempt to talk about the team in general as we march through training camp. Next week we will start focusing on the Oregon game.
Here's edition #1 of the 2008 season of my weekly talks with John Berkowitz, a fellow UW blogger who runs a successful UW blog on blogspot.com. John and I talk each week throughout the season and give our thoughts on what's happening with UW athletics.
Locker and Johnson are Back
Husky fans can heave a heavy sigh of relief today because Jake Locker was back at practice this morning. Also back in pads were tailbacks Brandon Johnson and Brandon Yakaboski. Safety Victor Aiyewa appeared to be going full speed, as did backup center Matt Sedillo, who was still in a red no-contact jersey. Cornerback Byron Davenport was not present. Freshman defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu was also not on the field. As far as Ta'amu goes I think he is a kid they are going to be careful with ala Jaun Garcia which means he will only go once during two a days.