A silent mutiny, a
mutiny of the heart
Are we back to Dobie, Cherberg and Owens eras?
Richard Linde, Updated 17 November 2003
The Huskies gave up 729
yards to a California team that was 5-6 on the year. There was a differential of
426 yards between the teams and 47 points on the scoreboard. Never has a defense
given up more yards in school history. The players
had so many reasons to want to win this game, a game they lost 54-7.
For Keith Gilbertson, it was a
chance to prove Bay Area writer Glenn Dickey wrong. Before Gilby’s hiring,
Dickey said that Gilbertson was not head coaching material. It was a chance for
the Gilbertson persona to question the $1 million buyout in Jeff Tedford’s
contract. No one is talking about a buyout in Gilby’s 4-year contract. It was a
chance for Gilbertson to avenge his firing at Cal, where he coached the Bears
from 1992-1995, with a 20-26 record.
For the Dawgs, this was a chance
to put the disappointing loss to Arizona behind them, while keeping their hard
fought 10-game winning streak at Berkeley alive.
Win one for the Gilbber, should
have been players’ mantra after Hugh Millen, former Husky quarterback, wondered
last week if players think "Rick got screwed, (and) now they’re getting this
program that is thrown upon them they didn’t sign up for."
The Huskies needed this game to
qualify for a bowl.
Revenge, winning streak, Arizona,
the mantra, the buyout all went down the drain in what could be a defining
for the Gilbertson regime. Going to a bowl seems less likely, considering the Apple Cup next
week that closes out the regular season against eighth-ranked Washington State.
Frankly, in a way, I think
Gilbertson has been dealt a bad hand.
In this game, due mainly to
injuries, the Huskies were without 14 players counted upon at the end of last
season to perform significantly this season.
"Oh gosh, yeah, this is way more
than I've ever seen in my coaching career," Gilbertson told the Seattle Times
this week, commenting on the injuries. "I can't think of any year where we've
suffered them as frequently as this."
However, injuries, defections, or
whatever, should never be an excuse for losing. That's a moral victory I'll
never buy into, nor will Gilby.
During the game, Gilbertson
repeatedly pleaded with his defense to show some heart. Finally, completely
flummoxed, he gave up trying, as his team had long before.
So, the question remains, why did
the team apparently quit on Gilbertson, and so early in the game? Surrendering 729 yards to
a 5-6 team says a lot about giving up. Scoring just 7 points says something
also, regardless of what the coaches and players will say.
"No disrespect intended," Cal center Marvin Phillip told the San Jose Mercury
News. "But we were pounding the ball down their throat and they were giving up.
Even after that first touchdown, you could tell their will was gone."
Is UW reverting back to the days of Gil Dobie, John
Cherberg, and Jim Owens when player revolts ruled the day? Player revolts sent Dobie and Cherberg packing, and the black player rebellion in 1968 contributed
to Owens' exit, albeit in 1974.
Personally, I don't believe any player consciously gave up
on the game, and I don't believe any player is giving up on Keith Gilbertson.
More likely, a four-year assault on the program has taken
its toll, has caused an implosion of spirit and will. Never have the Huskies been as emotionally
drained, over so long a period of time, and so
The never ending assault on their mentor, the one who
taught them as Dawgs, has forever plunged a knife in the heart of his prodigy.
No, this was a silent mutiny, a
mutiny of the heart, and paradoxically, though it was never intended--but,
perhaps, a kind of Karma--an avouchment of support for Rick Neuheisel.
Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at