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Willingham leaves without a whimper

Ty Willingham went out with a whimper last night at Husky Stadium at the hands of one of the people who helped put him in this situation... Rick Neuheisel. Truth be told Willingham isn't a very good football coach and it showed this season when the deck was stacked against him from the get go. Don't forget that the deck has been being stacked against the football program ever since the day Mike Lude was given his early retirement.

What was once the mightiest football program in the West. A program that  even surpassed USC for around a decade has fallen into such disrepair it is going to take a miracle to get it back to respectability. Make no mistake that the product you see on the field  is just as bad as the coaches who are responsible for it. Face the facts that whoever takes the job at Washington will have one of the nations biggest rebuilding jobs to perform.

This current Washington football team just may be the worst squad in memorable Pac 10 history. It has been years since a Pac 10 team finished a season winless and the Huskies are a good bet to do exactly that if they don't beat equally terrible WSU on the road next week in Pullman.

Take a quick look at the sorry statistics from yesterday's game. The Huskies were only able to gain 135 total yards against one of the worst teams in the conference. Never once was Washington able to threaten the Bruins on offense. Ronnie Fouch like most players under Ty Willingham isn't getting better as the season goes on. Each week you can see his confidence eroding the point where it is just sad to watch him flail around out there.

You can place a lot of that blame on the inability of Washington to mount a consistent running attack. The Huskies gained 96 yards on the ground yesterday mostly behind the work of Brandon Johnson who had 20 carries for 75 yards. Inexplicably once he had a little rhythm going the Husky coaches sat him down and inserted true frosh Terrance Dailey who fumbled the ball on the next play ending any chance Washington had of mounting a meaningful drive in the second half. That was just one of the five turnovers that UW had on offense on Saturday.

Defensively the Huskies turned in their best day of the season on Saturday led by seniors such as Johnnie Kirton, Trenton Tuiasosopo, and Mesphin Forrester. the husky defense limited the Bruin offense to only 135 passing yards and 157 on the ground. The Huskies also intercepted UCLA QB Kevin Craft three times. Holding an opposing team to under 300 yards in the Pac 10 usually means you have played well enough to earn a victory.  That wasn't the case yesterday as the offense only controlled the ball a little over 23 minutes last night which meant the defense was on the field way too much.

We all witnessed some quitting on the field last night but it wasn't by the players. With ten minutes left in the game the steam had been taken out of the coaching staff as they chose to play conservatively and keep the clock running. Like everyone else in attendance they couldn't wait to get out of the stadium. Willingham exited Husky Stadium night for the last time just the way he entered and that was with a loss.

What he won't have is an excuse for being fired this time. Nobody in their right mind is going to defend Willingham on his way out the door. You can talk all you want about the lack of black coaches in college football but Willingham has done nothing over the last five years to further the cause. Coaches have to win eventually no matter what their skin color is and the black community is still waiting for it's own Knute Rockne.

Willingham had the chance to be a "Rockne" when he accpeted the coaching position at Notre Dame. He got a second chance to do it Washington. If you can't recruit successfully and win big at schools that have such tremendous resources at their disposal then there is something fundamentally wrong with the way you run a football program.

For all of Willingham's faults he isn't the only one to blame for this mess. It is amazing that the work started by William Gerberding took almost twenty years to complete itself. Bill eventually got what he thought the upper campus wanted and that was a subservient athletic program wallowing in mediocrity with no chance to take away the spotlight from the school's academic mission.

They may have gone one step too far and that was by killing the goose that laid the golden egg for almost the entire funding of the University's athletic department. Take a good look at the stands the last two weeks. 25-30,000 in actual attendance in a stadium that seats 72,500? They can point to over 60,000 season tickets being sold but exactly how many of the people who didn't show up the last two weeks are going to renew?

The next coach they pick to lead the program has little margin for error. If attendance keeps falling there will be little argument left for remodeling Husky Stadium. With Qwest Field downtown the Huskies have a potential home field for a future that will only draw 30-40,000 fans per game. Don't forget for a second that regents like Bill Gates Sr. would rather tear the stadium down to make room to expand one of the nations finest teaching hospitals.

You have to wonder if that has been the covert plan all along. Destroy the football program, let the stadium disintegrate, and make way for a new medical center located on the shores of Lake Washington. If that truly happens they should name the place after William Gerberding because he was the guy who had the foresight to get things moving in this direction almost twenty years ago.


Team Stat Comparison
1st Downs 20 10
3rd down efficiency
7-17 4-13
4th down efficiency
0-1 0-1
Total Yards 292 135
Passing 135 39
13-22 7-24
Yards per pass
6.1 1.6
Rushing 157 96
Rushing Attempts
50 30
Yards per rush
3.1 3.2
Penalties 4-35 6-55
Turnovers 3 5
Fumbles lost
0 2
Interceptions thrown
3 3
Possession 36:52 23:08