Willingham has a real problem to Baer
Rick says "no" to Dawgs
Richard Linde, 4 January 2008
people who have gone one-on-one with Rick Neuheisel
know how hard it is to say “no” to the man. Blame it
on his persuasiveness, charm and enthusiasm.
no wonder he was such a good recruiter at
Washington. Losing one to Rick -- the battle for DeWayne Walker --
is no indictment against Tyrone Willingham.
the long run, his real blunder could be in the
firing of Kent Baer. Now Willingham has a real
problem to deal with, not the virtual one the fans
and the media thought he had.
about the defensive coordinator position at UW. Who
in his right mind would want the thankless job?
Willingham has just fired a defensive coordinator who
was highly respected in his field of endeavor,
perhaps using his old friend as a scapegoat to
save his own job. Believe me Baer didn’t become
so naďve prospect might ask, “Geez, if I take the
job at Washington will I be a fall guy if things
don't pan out”? And
what happens to me if Tyrone is fired after next
season? If the Huskies should have another losing season,
their fifth in a row, Willingham is likely to pay
the price, as will his assistants.
Injuries, a lack of talent and an offense that
posted too many three-and-outs – especially in the
second half of games Washington lost last season
-- all worked against Coach Baer. His defense was on
the field far too long in many of the games, with too little
talent and a paucity of depth. Did he ever have a front four?
Think USC here. Well, we Husky fans can only imagine
what that would be like.
knew his secondary was suspect going into the
season. How do you repair a leaky faucet without a
pipe wrench and washer?
Baer’s defense gave up way too many yards, but that’s
not all on Baer. Give offensive coordinator Tim Lappano
some credit for his lack of offense and unwanted
turnovers at critical times. Also, what about some
of Baer’s assistants? Should they all go blameless
for that defensive malaise and those defensive
lapses that occurred in certain games?
remember Illinois gave up a record-setting 633 yards
to USC in the Rose Bowl. Should Ron Zook fire his
defensive coordinator, Vince Okruch? How about Juice
Williams’ performance in the debacle at the Rose
Bowl? It was bland at best, a screwdriver without
the orange juice. Hey, media, if Juice ever plays in
the granddaddy of them all again, please call him
by his given name, John, for he’s just a commonplace
quarterback. Both its offense and defense should be
faulted for Illinois’ embarrassing performance.
Historically, during the last 40 years at least, the
Pac-10 has always been a conference of quarterbacks
and potent offenses, and there were some outstanding
quarterbacks and offenses in the conference last
season, USC’s being just one of them. Before last
season began, the conference's elite were all set to
pile up lots of yards on the league's rummies.
its round-robin scheduling, coaching in the Pac-10
is the worst league in college football to be
looking for a coaching opportunity in a BCS bowl. Also,
the eastern mafia controls most of the BCS voters.
The formula is a joke, two thirds of it being made
up of biased people. That’s why Ohio state and LSU
are in the championship game. Drum beat: the SEC is
the strongest conference in college football, so
says the eastern mafia. Ohio State was rewarded by
the mafia for playing a weak schedule. What in the
hell is this love affair with the Buckeyes and the
SEC all about?
all this perspective in place who in his right mind
would want the DC job at UW, we continue to ask?
Probably some manic whippersnapper will want the
job, looking to turn his career into a Horatio Alger
Or maybe some guy over the hill looking to retire at
UW after a couple of years. Or, worse yet, a total
incompetent, who is on the chopping block -- an
Or the Huskies could
promote one of their current defensive assistants a
notch up in
from the defensive family include Randy
Hart (line), Chris Tormey (linebackers), and J. D.
Williams (secondary). Choosing one of them would be
as exciting as watching another rerun of “I love
Lucy,” not to say that any of them is a wonky as
Lucille Ball. They all lack pizzazz, as did Baer, and
carried Baer’s baggage last season.
Definitely, we know, the new coordinator will likely
bear little resemblance to the likes of either Ron
English or DeWayne Walker, both of whom have said no
Huskies should never have said no to Rick, and now
he has said no to them.