University of Washington fans are hiding the purple and gold sweat shirts in the closet as the beloved Dawgs have gone 0-3 on the season and fans, alumni and even those who only watch the team on television or listen on radio are calling for the head of coach Tyron Willingham.
After bowing to Oregon 44-10 to open Pac-10 play, the Huskies played better only to lose to Brigham Young 28-27 when the tying touchdown turned into a 35-yard point-after-touchdown, following a rare celebration penalty, was missed.
Two weeks ago No. 3 Oklahoma ventured into Seattle for the first time (it was the first time in the state for the vaunted Sooner program) and the visitors dismantled the Huskies 55-14 in a game that wasn’t even close.
Is it the coach? Is it the scheme? Is it personnel?
I think it’s all of the above and then some.
Willingham hasn’t gone from a brilliant coach to a bad coach in 10 years. In 1999 he took his Stanford Cardinal to first place in the conference, was fourth the next year and in 2001 the Cardinal went 9-3 and tied for second.
He went to Notre Dame and was 10-3, then 5-7 and 6-5.
At Washington he went 2-9, then 5-7 and was 4-9 last year. Pundits say he inherited a bad team. Give him time, they begged. Well, time is up, folks. This is his fourth season and the freshmen he recruited are seniors.
Willingham has not had a red-shirt program. That’s a program where new recruits are given a year on the scout squad. They work out with the big club but do not see game action. They learn the system, work in the weight room and then get acquainted with college life in the classroom and beyond.
The programs with that system usually play seniors and a few juniors on the varsity, the rest of the juniors and sophomores play the next year and those red-shirted freshmen begin the process of becoming regular players.
Against Oklahoma, many true freshmen played on the varsity. Eight of those saw action in the first game of this season and the Sooners, older, wiser and more experienced, handled them with ease.
On the other hand, Willingham has trouble recruiting and is getting some pretty good in-state players by letting them know they might be playing right away as true freshmen and not have to go through five years in the program.
I like the red-shirt program.
The scheme? The Huskies are trying to run the spread offense with a young team, unproven receivers and no real break-away tailbacks. Quarterback Jake Locker is a great athlete, has some quickness but never was a thrower in high school and doesn’t seem to be improving no matter who is the quarterback coach.
I think he’d be perfect in an option attack. If I were coach, I’d make him a tailback and get a signal caller who can throw.
All the skill people are underclassmen, so there is hope. Can they beat Stanford this Saturday? Let’s hope so, or Willingham might not last the entire season.
Congratulations to Spencer Moorman of Port Angeles. The 16-year-old Port Angeles Roughrider footballer brought home a gold medal and two silvers from the Sub 17 Pan American Games in Peru two weeks ago.
Moorman set a new American record with a clean and jerk lift of 172 kilos to take a gold medal in his class. He hefted 131 kilos to win silver in the weightlifting snatch event and his combined 303 won silver. All were personal bests.
His dad is Rider football coach Keith Moorman, who is glad to have his starting offensive tackle and defensive lineman back in football gear. Spencer missed the first two games. He said he had trouble with the food in Peru, especially the chicken foot soup. He didn’t like the chicken foot he found in the bowl.
Port Angeles Speedway is winding up the season with championship races this Saturday and then some real big events in October to wind up what has been a good season.
Don’t miss these last few chances to see the cars roll.
Jennie Webber Heilman has to be one of the top girls volleyball coaches in Western Washington as she comes up with good, solid net teams year, after year, after year and this season is no exception.
Her girls always have top fundamentals and teamwork is outstanding. Get to the Rick Kaps Gym every chance you get when the Sequim volleyball girls are at home.
Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.