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The Dawg Days of Fall
made it. Finally, after suffering through the abysmal no-Dawg-days of summer --
4 hour baseball games, 14 year old gymnasts, Hootie Johnson, NASCAR et al --
September has kicked its cleated boot through the locker-room door and brought
with it a much-needed whiff of crisp fall air. Char-seasoned grill grids,
Oktoberfest ale, falling leaves, and the hint of unshowered trombone
players...AH, SMELLS LIKE HUSKY FOOTBALL!
And through that aforementioned door rumble the padded, purple clad, white
stitched shoulders upon which the hopes of 70,000 Dawgfans so heavily weigh. The
players parade onto the brazen green turf of Husky stadium like a procession of
cannon-fire, leaving all in their wake to wonder: who the heck are these guys?!
For the first time in umpteen-million years, the quarterback position at the UW
was not a foregone conclusion at the end of the previous season. From Pickett to
Tui to the Huard boys to Billy Joe, Mark...all the way back to time out of this
28 year-old's mind (and most of his elders', he'd venture a guess), Dawgfans
have rested assured that the next great Husky QB was nipping at the heels of
last one drafted. Not so this year. I had visions of Gilby at two minutes to
game time this coming Sunday, eyes squinting, tongue stuck between teeth in
concentration, rearing back to haphazardly fire a dart at a roster sheet. I can
still hear the echoes of Lou Gellerman's announcement, "...And your starting
quarterback (back...back...back...), at 6-6, 330 pounds
(pounds...pounds...pounds), freshman Jordan White-Frisbee (ee...ee...ee)." Eek.
At least he's tall.
So it seems as though Casey Paus must've done...something...to finally earn the
starting nod from Gilby last week. So be it. Rumors abound regarding the new
offense and the possibility of Stanback and/or Bonnell splitting time with Paus
from game to game. All that's fine and dandy, but I say, in my most Eric
Cartman-esque voice, Hey, why don't you give the ball to Kenny?!
The Pac-10 mantra of When In Doubt, Air It Out is wearing thin. In this
post-9/11 age of political correctness and sensitivity with regard to anything
that shocks and/or awes, I firmly believe that one General Keith Gilbertson
needs to hit Husky opposition with a ground attack of Pattonian proportions.
Kenny James needs at least 25 carries a game. The fact that a Washington running
back has not ran for over 1000 yards in a season in nearly a decade is
un-American. Let the other guys say, "It was a good loss"! Now you
sons-of-your-mothers know how I feel.
But let's "flip da script", as the kids say. No, really, they do. I saw it on
MTV-2. Anyways, as a guy with the forum nickname Defenensewinschampionships1991
once said, "Defense wins championships!" Relative to their Pac-10 counterparts,
the Dawg D has been fairly proficient in stuffing the run in recent years. But
wait, you say, nobody runs the ball in the Pac-10! Yeah, well...hey, man, shut
up, you're harshing my buzz. In a league where hucking, chucking, winging,
slinging, gunning, firing, heaving, launching and otherwise disregarding the "3
yards and a cloud of dust" wisdom of one Paul "Bear" Bryant is the modus
operandi, the ability to rush the quarterback is where it's at. The jury is
still out on the lone senior lineman, Manase Hopoi. Another question to be
answered is whether Hopoi's young comrades will prove to be to green too
contribute or too inexperienced to know that they aren't supposed to dominate.
Moving Evan Benjamin up to linebacker from safety should provide for a bit more
of a pass rush as well. Luckily, Derrick Johnson and Jimmy Newell are a couple
of the better DBs in the Pac-10, because it could be well into the season before
the Dawgs find out who their QB crusher is...if they have one. If nothing else,
I have no doubt they'll get it sorted out just in time for the Apple Cup. New
players or not, some things never change.
Time to take a deep look into the crystal pigskin. A throng of naysayers are
decrying impending Husky doom from newspaper to website to magazine. These same
naysayers are claiming that Matt Tuisasopo is a possible candidate for the
starting quarterback job. Admittedly, I do have a somewhat ominous feeling about
the upcoming home opener. I figure that the Dawgs will make up for a slow start,
though, by slapping Touchdown Jesus with a little old-time religion also known
as General Gilby's Ground Attack. While the latest Tui spends his time saving up
Northwest League paychecks to afford tickets for next year's Silvertips season,
I say the preseason is hardly the time to make weak predictions. And while I'm
not saving my own hard earned dough for a trip to Pasadena just yet (probably
wait for '05 on that one), I envision the media being the ones making excuses
while the Dawgs dance on the field of Martin Stadium, wrapping up the #3 spot in
Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at