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Get Excited – It’s Only 11 Weeks Until Kickoff of the 2008 NCAA College Football Season
There are only 11 weeks left until the 2008 NCAA college football season kicks off. The best part about this week is that there are only 11 Saturdays left before the Washington Huskies travel south to face the Oregon Ducks in their opener. Husky trainer Ty Willingham better have his players ready to win.
Obviously Willingham MUST lead Washington to a winning season and a bowl appearance or his time as a Husky trainer will be over.
Ever since Willingham started his first season in Seattle, Husky fans and boosters have been disappointed by his poor record. In 2005, Washington was 2-9 and last in the Pac 10 Conference. In 2006, Washington was 5-7 and second-to-last in the Pac 10. In 2007, Washington was 4-9 and last in the Pac 10. You see the image.
An 11-25 record and no bowl appearance left Husky fans spellbound, confused and bewildered. Stacked against Don James’ 18-year-old career record of 153-57-2 (72%), a bowl game record of 10-4 and winning 22 consecutive games from 1990 to 1992, Willingham’s mark looks truly lame. .
The Washington Huskies have a proud football tradition that has fallen on hard times with Willingham at the helm. Before Willingham, the Huskies won 15 Pac-10 Conference championships, 7 Rose Bowl titles and 2 NCAA national championships. No wonder Husky fans are snapping their helmets and stripping memorabilia from the game room walls.
Washington hasn’t had a winning season since 2002 (the last season under Rick Neuheisel) and had 4 consecutive losing seasons for the first time in Husky football history. Ouch! It’s time to stop messing around and get down to it.
Willingham was ordered to march to have better coaches around him and responded by hiring Ed Donatell as the new defensive coordinator and Brian White as the new tight ends/special teams coach.
Donatell is a veteran NFL defensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Donatell seems like a sensible type of guy who could drop a player on his back if needed.
White really made his mark at Wisconsin as a running backs coach and offensive coordinator, helping the Badgers to 9 bowl appearances, including Rose Bowl selections in 1999 and 2000. He coached the Heisman Trophy winner 1999 Ron Dayne, 2001 NFL first-round pick Michael Bennett, and 2001 Big 10 Freshman of the Year Anthony Davis.
There may be nicer, more patient, more loyal to losers coaches in America than Ty Willingham, but god only knows where they might be.
Willingham’s main claim to fame in Washington has been keeping the program clean (no NCAA recruiting violations or other indiscretions), signing up-and-coming players to join freshman sensation Jake Locker, making display of integrity, academic standards for players, and good sportsmanship, and become chairman of the board of directors of the American Football Coaches Association.
Winning football games (ultimately the only reason he will remain as head coach of the Huskies), on the other hand, has been very elusive for Willingham.
So far, Willingham and his Huskies have reminded me of what Lou Holtz had to say on a beautiful Saturday – “When all is said and done, more is said than done.” Lou Holtz had a way of cutting the chase.
For Willingham, the future is clear: have a winning season in 2008 and go bowling, or walk away.
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
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