Category Archives: Washington Huskies

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Lemons to Lemonade

My alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies, got left out of the Big Dance. Even though they won the Pac-12 regular season title, a couple of bad end-of-the-season losses, kept them out of the March Madness NCAA tournament. They ended up being a #1 seed in the national Invitational Tournament (NIT).

These are 20 year olds. They were discouraged and upset about not being selected to the NCAA tournament after winning their conference. The NIT, though prestigious in history, was of little consolation. It would have been very easy to walk out on the court in the first game with a bad attitude and leftover baggage. That would almost certainly lead to an even more embarrassing loss and a terrible off-season.

On Tuesday, the Huskies defeated their arch nemesis Oregon to advance to the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden in New York. They won three games to earn that distinction. Now they will play on national television in the Big Apple. No matter what happens, this has been a success. They turned lemons into lemonade.

Give credit to the coaches for excellent leadership. Give credit to the players for staying tough. And give credit to the fans for sticking behind them. It was a team effort.

Hey…winning the NIT in New York would be really cool for these kids and the University. Let’s support them. Go Dawgs!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Huskies Should Be Dancing…Barely!

The Pac-12 championship win by Colorado should actually bode well for the Washington Huskies. Colorado earned its way into the March Madness tournament with a close win over Arizona. The popular thinking is that a maximum of two teams from the weak Pac-12 conference make it in. Here is my case for the Dawgs…

  • They are the Pac-12 regular season champs. Bad conference or not, over the course of the season, they won it outright.
  • Cal didn’t make it to the championship game of the tourney, either. Everyone said they were a lock, but an embarrassing loss to Colorado may have changed that.
  • Arizona, who lost in the championship game, was beaten twice by Washington head to head. If that doesn’t mean anything when looking at tie-breakers, then something is wrong.
  • Nobody else has a claim.

I actually think you will see both Washington and Cal sneak in. They may both have to play on the first weekend (or play in games). Who cares, though? It’s about getting in. That being said, there is cause to be a little nervous until your name pops up today. Stay tuned!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Class of 2012 – Wait and See

The Huskies class looks pretty good. Now. The real test will come over the next 2-3 years. It’s funny to look back over the recruiting classes and see how guys actually turned out to be stars. Of course, it’s all across the board.

I’m pleased with how my home team and alma mater did. Landing Shaq Thompson, Jeff Lindquist and a few of the other guys whose names I can’t quite remember now sets them up for a bright future. In the end, however, it will all come down to execution on the field. That comes from coaching, talent, and a bit of serendipity.

The crazy thing is how many kids flipped back and forth in just the past few days. Maybe reform is needed for the process, but I don’t see it happening. As Steve Sarkisian said today at his press conference, it boils down to finishing strong. Let’s hope that the Dawgs finished strong with the right guys!

Huskies Land Big Fish in Football

Sure, the Dawgs were spurned by a couple of former players kids when Josh Garnett (Scott Garnett’s son) and Zack Banner (Lincoln Kennedy’s son) chose Stanford and USC respectively over their pop’s alma mater. Yes, it hurts but let’s be real. Maybe these guys wanted to make a mark in a school different than where their fathers played. I get that.

But all is not lost…

Steve Sarkisian landed an even bigger fish. Shaq Thompson is the #1 rated safety in the country and one the top 5 players nationally. Certainly, all these kids still need to perform, but this was a coup for the Huskies. They also picked up a few more kids from California this evening and their class is rounding into fine shape.

You never know what you’re getting. Sometimes kids don’t pan out. But, on a week that sets the stage for years to come, the Dawgs should be pleased even if they didn’t land Garnett and Banner. The best of the bunch may be heading to Montlake!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved



Romar Leading Young Dawgs – Future Bright

The University of Washington basketball team is young. Really young. Gone are floor leaders like Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Poindexter, and Jon Brockman from years past. The roster is filled with freshman

Lorenzo Romar

and sophomores, and even a scholarship football player. The Dawgs have at times looked clumsy and out of sorts. They’ve lost games they should have won. And, through all of that, they find themselves atop the Pac-12 (with a whole lot of other teams) at 6-2, and 13-7 overall after a win against Arizona State last night in Tempe.

At some point, we need to recognize the job Lorenzo Romar has done with this program. It’s one thing to recruit great players, which he has done. But, it is an altogether different thing to take a group of young players and guide them through turbulent times and growing pains, while still winning. That is exactly what he has done. Marv Harshman (Coach Romar’s old coach) at this point is certainly the king of coaches at Washington, at least in the modern era. I see Lorenzo Romar surpassing his mentor at some point. Why? He’s much younger when he got started here; has a long term deal at his alma mater; is a terrific recruiter; and most of all lives by his convictions. And, as it seems, he may know a little bit about X’s and O’s.

This team featuring Terrance Ross and Tony Wroten may end up being his best to date in the next year or so. In the meantime, they may still find a way to win the Pac-12 and go to the Big Dance. And all the credit goes to Lorenzo Romar…

But, that’s just me…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Thriller in LA – Dawgs Go Dancing Thanks to IT

The Washington Huskies thrilling victory over the Arizona Wildcats was one for the ages. The defending of their Pac-10 tournament championship sent the Dawgs back into the NCAA Big Dance as a #7 seed against Georgia. Who knows what that seed would have been if they had lost?

A couple of notes on the game…

1. I’ve been watching the Huskies basketball program since the mid-1970’s and the James Edwards era. Isaiah Thomas’s performance was the greatest individual effort I’ve ever seen. He played all 45 minutes (in fact he played every minute of the tourney thanks to Venoy Overton’s suspension); he scored 18 points in the first half when Matthew Bryan-Amening was blanked; he made the kept the team in the game down the stretch, including the assist to send the game into overtime; and then he sealed the deal with a fade-away jumper to win the game as time ran out. A ridiculous game…

2. The two freshmen – C.J. Wilcox and Terrance Ross – came up huge in the tournament and down the stretch in this game. They each hit 3-pointers like veterans to get the Dawgs into OT. The future is bright for this program.

3. Lorenzo Romar is a gamer coach. In other words, he makes all the right moves at the key times for this team. That comes in very handy come tournament time.

4. This team can get by Georgia, but the disappointing play down the stretch puts them in a situation that if they do advance, they will have to beat North Carolina, the #2 seed, to get back to the Sweet 16. Hey, but this is March Madness, right?

Bottom line – that was gigantic win for the good guys. It showed tremendous heart and character by players and coaches as all things looked dark and ominous after the Venoy Overton calamity. That shows great leadership both in coaching (Romar) and players (Thomas). This was the kind of win that a team can build momentum from. Who knows, maybe the best is yet to come…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Hawks Showed Up…Next the Saints

I asked for it and I got it.

The 12th Man indeed showed up and so did the Seahawks defense. That was the loudest stadium I’ve ever been in and definitely had playoff atmosphere. The Hawks fed off it and it turned into another NFC West banner in Qwest Field.

A few comments from last night:

  • I couldn’t believe arguing with people on the ferry ride home about Charlie Whitehurst’s performance. The dude was on the winning side of the game, for goodness sakes! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he’s our next franchise QB. However, he played a decent game (in fact his stats were better than Sam Bradford’s). His mobility saved easily 5 sacks and actually picked up positive yardage. Charlie’s job was to not lose the game and that’s exactly what he did. He’s a capable backup, a young guy who’s learning, and played a solid game. ESPN’s Trent Dilfer (a guy who won a Super Bowl as a “solid” QB) said as much after the game. Cut the guy some slack. He played a game good enough in the biggest game of the year.
  • The defense was crazy. I know it wasn’t the New England Patriots, but Sam Bradford has had an excellent rookie year, and Steven Jackson is a stud. To hold the Rams to 2 field goals was unbelievable. I loved how Aaron Curry, Chris Clemons, David Hawthorne, Lofa Tatupu, and Marcus Trufant played. Will Herring played a great game. This was a total team effort and a sight for sore eyes.
  • Pete Carroll is the right guy for this city. He brings a great energy that really gets the 12th Man going. I think good things are on the horizon.
  • I expect that Matt Hasselbeck will start if he’s healthy. He’s the veteran; he’s got playoff experience; he played a good game against the Saints last month; and he’s the right guy. However, if he can’t go or plays poorly, I have less issues with Charlie Whitehurst than I did 2 weeks ago!
  • Marshawn Lynch bounced back after being stripped of the ball and ran in “beast-mode” the rest of the way. He could not be stopped in the 4th Quarter when the Rams knew we were running.
  • I don’t care what our record is. The Mariners won 116 games in 2001 and didn’t win the American League to go to the World Series. This is about getting to the playoffs by winning your division.
  • I just LOVE that the Giants, who humiliated us at home earlier this year, aren’t even in the playoffs. That’s really cool.

This was a huge win for this franchise. Just like the University of Washington needed a bowl game and the rest was gravy; the Hawks needed to get to the playoffs and the rest is gravy. Two years ago, the Huskies were 0-12 and the Seahawks were 4-12. Now, the Dawgs have upset Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl and the Hawks are NFC West Champs. Unreal.

Legendary Win for Huskies

1978 Rose Bowl over Michigan – Warren Moon, Spider Gaines, Joe Steele, and Michael Jackson (the real thriller)

1992 Rose Bowl over Michigan to win the National Championship – Steve Emtman, Billy Joe Hobert, Mario Bailey, Lincoln Kennedy

2010 Holiday Bowl over Nebraska – Jake Locker, Chris Polk, Mason Foster, Alameda Ta’amu

After 8 years left out of the dance, and without a bowl win since Marques Tuiasososopo led the Dawgs in the 2001 Rose Bowl, Jake Locker and the gang brought the University of Washington back to relevance in college football.

I thought the game would be close, but I didn’t think we (especially the defense) would dominate. The score wasn’t indicative of the route. A couple missed field goals (one of the upright), a wide-open Jermaine Kearse being overthrown by Jesse Callier, and not being able to punch it in from 1-yard out on two occasions could have really made the score look bad for the guys in red.

Some overall thoughts:

  • Steve Sarkisian gives me the impression he’s a lot like Don James was. Give the guy 3 weeks to prepare and he will beat you.
  • Nick Holt had been much maligned for his defense’s efforts this year. He and his unit made up for it big. Kudos to him and his staff.
  • Jake Locker can now cement his place in Husky history. In my nearly 40 years of watching Husky football, I rank him behind only Tui on the all-time QB list.
  • Mason Foster would look good in a Seahawks uniform. I think he’s better than Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry right now.
  • If recruits are looking for a team in the Pac-12 (weird, huh) trending up…look no further than Seattle. You have a hot coach and a hot program.
  • Thank you Jake for staying. You passed up a lot of coin and you were rewarded. You may even get to be drafted by a better team in the NFL now.
  • It’s great to be a Husky!

Now if we can get Sark’s old boss to fire up his squad for Sunday, this could be a really great New Year’s weekend for football in Seattle!

Jake Locker
Jake Locker
Warren Moon
Steve Emtman

Happy New Year everyone!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Thoughts on Huskies and Seahawks

Thoughts on this past weekend on Huskies and Seahawks…

1. The Apple Cup win saved the season for the Huskies. Now, there is a definite step forward from last year. Had they lost, they would have had the same record, the same “no bowl game,” and would have wasted Jake Locker’s senior season.

2. Jake Locker’s legacy is cemented. Without a bowl game, Locker would have been thought of as simply a great talent in a tough time. Now, he’s the guy who brought the program back from the darkness to a bowl game.

3. No matter what happens now against Nebraska, the Dawgs season is made. They can play footloose and fancy-free and I believe will be more competitive. If they pull off a miracle win, the season will go down as one of the greatest ever based on where they were 4 weeks ago and where they’ve been the last 8 years.

4. Chris Polk is “beast-mode.”

5. I’m glad they kept Tyrone Willingham that extra year. Made it possible to hire Steve Sarkisian. All things for a reason.

6. I don’t know what Pete Carroll said at halftime against Carolina, but he needs to bottle it.

7. A win against San Francisco on the road makes the only “must-win” game the rest of the way against St. Louis.

8. Matt Hasselbeck must be re-signed. To continue to move forward next year, you must have a quarterback. Ask Arizona.

9. Pete Carroll was the right hire. Last year’s team would have lost by double digits in the same scenario.

10. I love meaningful football games in December!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Rallying the Troops

Steve Sarkisian showed yesterday why college football is different than pro football. In a similar situation, with 4th and 1 for the season, 2 seconds left in the game, and down by 3 points, the pro coach kicks the tying field goal to go into overtime. There’s little flexibility with jobs in the NFL. In college, it’s different. Sark rolled the dice, trusted in his offensive line, QB, and RB, and won what might turn into a landmark game for the revitalized Washington Huskies.

The Husky win means next week’s Apple Cup game against WSU means more than just state prode. It means a chance to go back to a bowl game for the first time in 8 years. This proud program is starving for it.

My favorite part of “The Call” was Sarkisian rallying the troops on the sideline together. Everyone, the offense, the defense, the special teams, and the last guy on the traveling squad, bought into and was behind the call an the play. That’s leadership.

This will be a fun week leading up to what could be a tremendous Apple Cup. Don’t get me wrong; I’d be happy with Washington blowing the Cougars out early. I just don’t think that’s going to happen. I see a close game in hostile territory for all the marbles of post-season. Should be fun.

P.S. How about that Husky defense led by Mason Foster. Nick Holt’s group has been widely criticized all year. However, when they have been most need in the past two games, they’ve only surrendered one touchdown and that was 7 quarters ago! They will need a similar effort next week.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved