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Willingham Comments on ND...

Guest IrishTobey

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Guest IrishTobey

By John Henderson

Denver Post Staff Writer



Los Angeles - Growing up in Oregon, my friends felt the Washington Huskies' arrogance reached a level all its own, somewhere between that of Donald Trump and British royalty. It never bothered me much. I figured if you win six Pac-10 titles and a national title in 16 years, you have a right to sip pinot grigio in opposing stadiums.


As it turns out, the Huskies can be really bad and pond scum of the Pac-10 and still be arrogant. Today, if you look up "arrogant" in Webster's, you'll see a purple W with one of those stupid little dogs on it. Do you know what Washington did to ease the fans' burden of a 1-10 season, its worst in history and first losing record since 1976?


Raised tickets 33 percent.


Athletic director Todd Turner, on the job one year, told alumni he needed a 90 percent renewal rate to reach financial goals to start turning around the program. Here's the scary part and what makes me think Washington, which opens Sept. 3 in Seattle against Air Force, doesn't have a rebuilding job comparable to Pompeii's, as some believe: The renewal rate is at 89.7 percent.


There is one big reason: the hiring of Tyrone Willingham.


Whether it was his remarkable job in getting conference rival Stanford to the Rose Bowl in the 1999 season or the fans agree with me that he didn't get a fair shake at Notre Dame last year, the Huskies faithful believe in this guy. Getting fired at Notre Dame after three years has not diminished their faith in him or his faith in himself.


I sat with Willingham during lunch at the Pac-10 media day here Tuesday and he didn't come across as the boring, corporate robot his critics portrayed at Notre Dame. He was relaxed, funny and, above all, confident.


"I've been very lucky in that from the time I started in sports as a little kid I won, basically, at every place and in everything I've done," said Willingham said. "That was no different at Notre Dame. I mean, there were two (regular-season) years of winning records, two bowl games in three years. That's not bad."


At Notre Dame, that's not considered good, either. At least, not good enough.


But forget that Notre Dame's independent status has become a burden and the average prep All-American hasn't cared about Knute Rockne since the 1980s. And forget Notre Dame defiled its policy by firing a guy before his contract ended and that Touchdown Jesus' upraised arms now spell "H" for hypocrisy.


Willingham knows the Pac-10. The Pac-10 knows him. He's known as the guy who lifted Stanford to four bowl games. They know he was twice named Pac-10 coach of the year.


He hinted Notre Dame had unrealistic expectations.


"The question I ask is how many coaches in this room - and you'd say there are some good coaches in this room - have won a national championship?" he said. "So all of a sudden are the other guys are bad coaches? I don't think so."


The problem is - and my Oregon Ducks friends would call this more of a gift - Willingham's Huskies are dog-awful. Their defense was porous under Rick Neuheisel in 2002 and the offense was laughable under Keith Gilbertson in 2004.


Their 42 turnovers last year, seven more than any other school in the country, topped every school in the past decade except for Army's 44 in 2003. Washington was last nationally in scoring and last in the Pac-10 in scoring defense, pass efficiency and red-zone offense. The defense gave up 11 scoring runs of 20 yards or more.


Neuheisel whiffed on so many quarterback prospects that Willingham's choices for manning the rebuilding project are senior Casey Paus, he of the five touchdowns and 17 interceptions; junior Isaiah Stanback, who never met a blitz he didn't try to outrun; and sophomore Johnny DuRocher, a transfer from Oregon.


Willingham's first spring game at Washington ended 3-0.


However, he has a commitment from Ferndale (Wash.) High School's Jake Locker, considered the top prep quarterback on the West Coast, and the fans' Pavlov's dog-type devotion secures the type of resources that made those fans arrogant in the first place.


Well ah shucks let's go 6-5 every year and join conference USA. That attitude is the exact reason he was fired. How does he justify what he was paid for a winning record 2 out of 3 years. I might ruffle some feathers here but I'm so sick of the Ty is a father figure, Ty is a great guy, Ty is this and Ty is that, ty graduated his players. That's horse crap. He coached at Stanford and Notre Dame. That's like saying I'm mother Theresa b/c I didn't cut in front of an old lady in the check out line. Hell's bell's!! Barry Switzer could coach at Stanford and ND and the players would graduate. The university graduates the players not the football coach. I'm more jacked for the season than I was. I hope ND beats Washington by 40. I hope Travis Thomas, Justin Hoskins, and every other talented player that Ty and his staff threw under the bus and failed to utilize have huge games. I really liked Ty alot when he was here but the more he talks the more I realize he really did think that 6 or 7 wins was fine. Ty is a respected and quality man but so is my grandpa, and my Uncle Larry, and my old teacher Mr. Bailey and, my elders at church and so on. That quality does not make you a good football coach. Ok I'm done ranting. I didn't even get started on the writer of the piece of crap and his uneducated pathetic narrow minded jabs at ND. I'll leave that up to you guys. Please get here Sep 3rd. [/b]

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Guest SirJohn

:D :D Ahahah Toby great. I'm personally selling "Ty dyed" Tee shirts this year. The constant crapola dissing and hate do do get 'tyersome.' The report was the best.


Sir John

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Guest Irish19

He's got to take into account that a bad coach doesn't field competitive teams. A bad coach sticks with his gameplan even when his gameplan doesn't work. A bad coach is loyal to incompetent assistants. A bad coach is loyal to his seniors, regardless if he is putting the best players on the field. A bad coach is inconsistent. Sorry Ty, but you were a bad coach.

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Guest Snatchy_McPants

Maybe someone here can refresh my memory. I don't recall when Notre Dame ever sent out a press release or edict stating that "All coaches, no matter how terrible, shall receive 5 full years of employment. The university will suffer through embarassing losses and devastating recruiting gaffes and take it on the chin. We hire our football coaches out of the goodness of our heart, not to win football games........or National Championships. We consider our coach's salary a charitable donation and thus take it as a tax write off." Ok, got a little carried away there. The only "logical" argument people seem to toss around is that "Faust and Davie got 5 years!" Yeah, and guess what, that turned out to be a MISTAKE. Are we not allowed to learn from mistakes? Apparently not.

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