An open letter to Todd Turner
1 March 2006
Dear Mr. Turner,
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
turned it around by turning to himself.
Rick Neuheisel turned it around by turning to
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?
P.S., Please give this to Coach
Willingham, and not Lappano.
* Jake Locker
** Randall, Lisa, "Warped Passages," Harper Collins Publishers, 2005.
(#) Todd Turner, December 14, 2004. "Anybody with half
a brain can get on the Internet and say whatever they (sic) want..."