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An open letter to Todd Turner
1 March 2006

Dear Mr. Turner,

I took this picture at the 2004 Band Day shindig. Hold your mouse over the photo, do a right click, click on “save picture as,” select your My Pictures folder, and name the jpeg “me.” I mean “you.” You get the gist. As you can see I’m into the Internet. :)

Last April, before the season started, ahem, I urged offensive coordinator Tim Lappano (see “Send Lappano to Gainsville this summer”) to experiment with the spread offense, the offense Urban Meyer made famous at Utah. Lappano had – and still has – two veteran, athletic quarterbacks in tow, Isaiah Stanback and Carl Bonnell, so I figured why not throw caution to the wind and go for broke. The Dawgs were headed for a pathetic season anyway; as it turned out they had a miserable season, ending up 2-9, using an offense designed to pulverize a brick wall with a Swiss Army knife. Stanback was doing an imitation of Fran Tarkington half the time and mimicked Houdini the other half.

Carl Bonnell lost some verve -- and, maybe, some pizzazz -- in Palo Alto two years ago. How’s that for giving your all and coming up empty? You were there; so was I; I saw you on the sidelines talking animatedly with Doctor Emmert and his wife. Dick Baird was there, too. Bonnell, as quick as a cat, lost all nine lives in just one outing. And I’m not talking about Schrödinger’s cat.

Add young Montlake Jake to the mix and you’ve got three athletic quarterbacks in tow for next season, all of them presumably going to waste. *

Seemingly, Coach Mike Bellotti of Oregon ran with my idea and installed a spread offense for Kellen Clemens, his athletic quarterback. The Ducks ended up 10-2 on the season, almost the reverse of the Huskies’ season. Duck fans are all over my website, so I’m almost sure one of them printed out my article and gave it to Bellotti – who thinks a URL means “unbearable, rotten luck.”

How’s that for an Internet half brain, Mr. Turner? (#)

The Lappano story was about creativity and imagination, not necessarily about the spread offense: You can’t resuscitate a dead Dawg with just mouth-to-mouth and paddles. Like the Wow! Signal, its symbolic message went hurdling into space, played to startled radio telescopes, and went spiraling into a black hole: The number 6EOUJ5, slurp!

As a Husky fan, it’s all about numbers now. You know, like:

  • 1-10 – the season before last

  • 2-9  -- last season

  • 4-8  -- next season?

  • 6.5 --  That’s what I’m thinking when I’m sitting up high in the sponsor’s booth in the rickety, old Press Box at Husky Stadium

  • 208 – The number of pages in the reduced Football media guide.

  • 20   -- A top 20 recruiting class for 2007

  • 104.5 – The real Husky Fever, not a tepid 98.6

I’m not thinking "national championship." That would be too greedy and unrealistic. How about fielding a representative team, with more wins than losses in its arsenal? That’s all I want for the Huskies, with no more blowouts against them. The high and low rollers, all of them loyal Husky fans, deserve at least that – maybe more, but certainly not less.

According to other fans, the game-day experience needs a happy face.

Our wish list goes on.

Sadly, as a football writer and poet, my thoughts are filled with “pathetic fallacies,” like in, “When Husky Stadium dreams of recent times, its forlorn howls waken its slumbering ghosts.” Or, “The cruel wind from Montlake quiets its fans.”

Tubby Graves, God bless him, is taking some action; his spirit is on a hunger strike, waiting on a winning season, according to a gravitational leak and his shared particles from the eleventh dimension.  “Torchy” is dreaming of another slush fund. The “Arm” is looking at reincarnating himself, as Don Heinrich. String theory is waiting for someone to do the math and dream up another dimension. Good Lord, help us Internet half brains out, Lisa Randall. **

On their way to London to see a show, three physicists dreamt up the crowning blow.

Talk about m-Branes and p-Branes! What happens when two m-Branes butt heads? Answer: a big bang. Life is all about creativity. ***

When I think of a coach nowadays, I think of Lorenzo Romar. To play at the Husky casino means crapping out, with never a full house. The Trojans and Bears mean hitting a 16 and going bust. The Rose Bowl is a thing of the past; the Holiday Bowl is for Bruins and Ducks.

So, what’s the Rx, Doc?

Jim Owens turned it around by turning to Bob Schloredt and, then again, to Sonny Sixkiller.

Don James turned it around by turning to himself.

Rick Neuheisel turned it around by turning to Marques Tuiasosopo.

Coach Willingham can turn it around by sending Lappano to Gainsville this summer. To save some money and time, send him to Eugene. Then, if necessary, turn to all three quarterbacks (Stanback, Bonnell and Locker) and run them into the game as if they were wide receivers. After that, stick with the one who does the best.

I know you aren't into X's and O's, but I'm going over the coaches' heads because none of them will listen to me. I wonder why?

Your Pal,

Mal

P.S., Please give this to Coach Willingham, and not Lappano.

------------------------

* Jake Locker

** Randall, Lisa, "Warped Passages," Harper Collins Publishers, 2005.

*** Parallel Universes"

(#) Todd Turner, December 14, 2004. "Anybody with half a brain can get on the Internet and say whatever they (sic) want..."

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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