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The uniform fits just right, it's Taylor made
By Rich "Malamute" Linde, 12 October 2001
Taylor Barton, courtesy of dawgman.com In Taylor Barton's first major role of the season for the Washington Huskies, it was a dream come true, although it's not the way he wanted it to happen, having to replace starting quarterback Cody Pickett, who suffered a separated shoulder in the second quarter of the USC game. 
Obviously nervous and out of synch with his center Kyle Benn, Barton fumbled three center exchanges after taking over for Pickett. To start the third quarter, the Washington coaching staff eased him into the game by letting him run two plays from the shotgun. Before working with the center again, Barton ran the ball twice, which took away his case of nerves. After that there were no problems with the center exchange. He had a magnificent day, throwing for 197 yards, completing 11 out of 20 passes, with no interceptions. With the scored tied at 24, he engineered the final drive, which took the Huskies to Trojan 15, where John Anderson kicked a 32-yard field goal to win the game with only 3 seconds remaining on the clock. 

Kicked around like an old, wet shoe, Barton has been as peripatetic as a wandering nomad. Out of Beaverton, Oregon, he was recruited to Colorado by Rick Neuheisel, when he was the head coach. After Neuheisel left Colorado, Barton became disenchanted with the Buffs, and ended up at City College of San Francisco, where he played last year and led the Rams to the JC Grid-Wire National Championship game, completing 22-of-37 passes for 281 yards and three TDs in a 31-13 win over Bakersfield. 
The Huskies gave up two scholarships to get Barton (shown at the left), since they had promised not to recruit former Colorado players after they hired Neuheisel. In 1999, when Washington found out that Neuheisel and his coaching staff had violated the quiet-day visitation rule, it penalized itself. Part of the penalty was not to recruit former Colorado players, since Neuheisel had talked to Barton on the phone after he left Colorado. It seems that Barton had walked into the room when Jerry Nevin, football-operations director for Neuheisel at Colorado, was on the phone with Neuheisel, and Barton asked to speak with him. That's a no-no as far as the NCAA is concerned, even though Neuheisel encouraged Barton to stay at Colorado. 
It took a long letter written by Barton to University president Richard McCormick to turn the tide. Washington backed off from its original stance, which it claimed was poorly written, and turned the matter over to the Pac-10 compliance committee. Ironically, the Oregon athletic director, a member of that committee, recommended the punishment, which paved the way for Barton to enter Washington. As it turned out, it was two scholarships well spent. 
Barton is the most cerebral of the Husky quarterbacks, being a student of the game. Although he's the new kid on the block, he's had no trouble mastering the Husky play book. And he can run the option as well, an important ingredient in the Husky attack. Most likely, he'll end up coaching football after his playing career is over.
Barton throws with touch and can hum the ball when he has to. With  natural ability and field presence, he'll stay in the pocket until the last possible second before releasing the ball, the situation arising. 
On Saturday, Barton will start for Washington against UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The game will be regionally televised by ABC. Barton has finally found a home, and win or lose, it will be a dream come true. As far as Husky fans are concerned, his uniform fits just right; after all, it's Taylor made.
Post Script:

On October 13, UCLA beat Washington 35-13 on a blistering hot day in Pasadena.

It was a courageous game for Taylor Barton who was too woozy to talk to reporters after the game; he was suffering from a sprained ankle and a headache. As a precautionary measure he was taken to the UCLA Medical Center. 

In the second quarter, the Bruins were flagged for 15 yards after Dave Ball gave Barton a double whammy across the top of his helmet. Barton had just thrown an interception and was getting to his feet when Ball cannonaded him from behind. They were forty yards away from the play, the ball downed in the end zone. Ball should have been sent to the locker room. 

Barton was 23-44-1 for 340 yards and one touchdown. Without a running game to help him out, Barton was scrambling for his life throughout most of the game; he was sacked four times and credited with 11 rushes for -10 yards. He was hit 40 times or so by UCLA defenders. The Huskies rushed for -8 yards on 29 attempts.

Taylor Barton bio and itinerary:

  • 210, 6'2", Junior, Communications major, Beaverton, Oregon, born 10/03/1979. The son of former NFL quarterback Greg Barton, who was a member of the Detroit Lions in 1969 and also a starter in the Canadian and World Football League. 

  • 1997. Senior, Beaverton High. Threw 56 TD passes, including 24 in the playoffs.

  • 1998. Redshirted at Colorado under Rick Neuheisel. Five months later, in 1999, Barbara Hedges, athletic director at Washington made Neuheisel an offer he couldn't refuse and Neuheisel left Colorado for Washington.

  • 1999. At Colorado, Barton was demoted to fourth string under head coach, Gary Barnett. He played in two games, completing 3 passes. Transfered to CCSF.

  • 2000. City College of San Francisco. Superprep's top ranked Junior College player, 2000. Offensive MVP of the 2000 JC Grid-Wire National Championship game. Started six games for the Rams; completed 62.5% of his passes for 2059 yards and 24 touchdowns. Transferred to Washington, along with Kai Ellis.

  • 2001. Replaced Cody Pickett during the USC game last week. Starting quarterback for Washington against UCLA this week.

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