The Murphy Defense
Deer velvet antler, a four-leaf cover and some tape
Posted 12 April 2003
could be a championship season for the Washington Huskies in 2003. Already
people are championing senior QB Cody Pickett for the Heisman Trophy. The
Dawgs should be favored to win the conference championship and be contenders
for the national championship. There is only one man standing in
Washington’s way. His name is Murphy.
He's the guy responsible
for Murphy's law. In fact, there is more than one of his laws, but they all
mean the same thing. A couple of his laws
is as follows:
Murphy's law worked against the Dawgs last season when
they blew the opener against Michigan by having 12-men on the field in the
waning seconds of the game. That coaching error led to a winning field goal
and a whole new genre of jokes: The Neuheisel-count-to-11 jokes.
The UW coaches need a new defense to defuse those
redolent, odorous heehaws, while throttling Murphy himself. Call it the
Murphy Defense—a defense against Murphy's law. Here's how it works.
Besides unanticipated coaching errors, there are plenty of things that can go wrong with the
2003 version of the Dawgs; however, several of them, if they should occur,
seem particularly devastating.
For example, an injury to senior quarterback Cody
Pickett would be particularly appalling since there is no one behind him
with any experience. The most seasoned quarterback with the team is Rick Neuheisel, the coach, who’s burned up his eligibility. He was the MVP of the
1984 Rose Bowl and the last man to run for a one-point conversion in the
Pickett aside, old Murphy could strike the receiving
corps as well.
The Dawgs were rife with wide receivers and flankers
last season. Now they’re left with two wide receivers, Charles Frederick and
Reggie Williams. Murphy has already taken out two Z’s, Justin Robbins, whose MRI was inconclusive last week, and Nate Robinson, who has opted for full-time
This means the Huskies will need some help from its
freshman class or, perhaps, from backup quarterback Isaiah Stanback, who is
gifted enough to play either X or Z.
If Murphy should reduce the receiving ranks further,
using the injury bugaboo, he’ll do it in the most frustrating way
You know, like striking a player with an arthritic toe.
Call it the “Shaq-right-toe” syndrome—in effect, the one that has made a four-peat
for the Lakers seem as impossible as finding Saddam’s remains under a
mountain of rubble or as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest without an oxygen mask.
Here's the first part of the Murphy Defense: deer
To counter Shaq’s syndrome, the UW trainers need to
treat Frederick, Williams and Pickett with deer velvet antler, which was
well known to the ancient Chinese. This herbal remedy can be used to increase
vital forces, strengthening the muscles and bone and reducing the effects of
Although that's an Rx for Shaq's syndrome, there is one
other syndrome to conquer. It's called the "yips" syndrome, which is
the mental aspect of Murphy's law--an example being Neuheisel's brain
infarction at Michigan. The derivation of the yips is well known.
In golf, an involuntary movement of the hands during
the putting stroke is called the yips. It strikes amateurs and professionals
alike, at the worst possible moment.
For instance, you have a four-foot birdie putt waiting
on the green and you’re playing with a foursome that makes a snail seem
fast. You’re the last one to putt, and the three other guys, who are putting
for double bogies, collectively take five minutes to hole their putts.
You’ve been iced, baby. Naturally, you yip your birdie putt, driving it five
feet past the hole. You miss the come-back putt and settle for a tap-in
This week at the Masters, Seattle's Freddie Couples,
photo above, is
using a belly putter, the Patriot Missile of Murphy defenses against the
yips on the PGA tour. Ryan Moore, the amateur from Puyallup, is too young
for a belly putter because a flat belly won't cradle it.
Likewise, the yips syndrome works against kickers and punters,
as well as golfers.
They sit on the bench worrying about an eminent kick as the offense runs out
of downs or as the clock winds down. Sometimes the opposing coach will
call a timeout to reinforce the yips syndrome while a kicker is waiting to
enter the game, giving Murphy his best shot at him.
How could the yips syndrome work against the Dawgs next season?
The Huskies must break in two freshman kickers, Sean
Douglas (punter) and Michael Braunstein (kicker). Tim Galloway will undergo
a baptism of fire as a long snapper.
With this trio in Murphy's clutches, his salivation
glands should be as wetted as any of Pavlov’s dogs.
Blocked punts, shanked kicks and bad snaps are all in
his arsenal--aimed at Douglas, Braunstein and
Galloway as they valiantly attempt to gain some experience.
Especially, say, in the opening game against Ohio
State, when the Huskies play the defending national champions at the
venerable horseshoe in Columbus in front of a national TV audience. Old
Murphy could have a field day then, conspiring with Jim Tressel to give the
yips to our kickers and long snapper.
What is the best Murphy Defense for a kicker, punter or
They should be wearing a decal, a replica of a four-leaf clover
on their jerseys and, when they enter the battle, they should be singing:
“I’m looking over a four-leaf clover” to drown out Murphy's, "My Irish
To have an impenetrable season, the UW will need some deer velvet antler and a
four-leaf clover--and, er hum, maybe some tape over Neuheisel's mouth to
prevent a last-second substitution.
Who is afraid of Murphy's law, with the Murphy Defense
in tow? Not this fan. I'm mailing the Murphy Defense to coach Neuheisel,
that is, some deer velvet antler, a few four-leaf clovers and a roll of
He's already got a belly putter.