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Dawgs run over Berkeley Berserk-eley
Offensive line takes charge
Malamute, 18 November 2007

Without QB Jake Locker at the helm, the Washington Huskies took it up a notch and, behind the running of Louis Rankin and true freshman Brandon Johnson, whipped the California Golden Bears, 37-23, at Husky Stadium on the rainy shores of Lake Washington. 

Tyrone Willingham: "I think our young men played today played probably as consistent of a football game as we've played. The offensive line had control of the football game for most of the day. Louis Rankin did one heck of a job in having his second 200-yard rushing game this year, and Carl Bonnell did a masterful job of running and controlling our offense and not having any turnovers. I think those were the major keys that enabled us to be successful."

Some thoughts:

The stats are spiraling upwards. The Dawgs have yet to pull a "Tree." The hot seats are filling with liquid nitrogen. A corner is ready to turn. The OL is cooking. The NegaDawgs are flaming at the mouse. Todd Turner is leaving his bunker. Lappano is gloating, and so is "the unfairly fired one, maybe."

Best of all, Bears' coach Jeff Tedford, a model for Willingham naysayers, went off "Berserk-eley" on his players in the locker room for losing to the "league's worst team.".

The statistics below are a joy to behold. The statistical trend throughout the season was totally reversed on Saturday, for what should have been California's stats, according to trend, belonged to  Washington. Fans, take a gander at those stats in the right column and rejoice. They portend a bright future for Tyrone Willingham and the Washington Huskies. 

Remember that the Huskies played a front-loaded schedule. Assuming Jake Locker would play, I think the Dawgs could either beat Oregon or UCLA if they played one of them next Saturday.

Also remember that last year's stats went south after QB Isaiah Stanback's season-ending injury. The penultimate game against Stanford is still too upsetting to recall. The Dawgs haven't come a cropper his season, pulling anything like a "Tree."

Does this mean the Dawgs have turned the corner? If they win the Apple Cup next Saturday, the answer is a resounding "yes," regardless of what happens in Honolulu.

The coach has repeatedly said the offensive line is the most important positional unit on the team, and it continues to develop superbly under Mike Denbrock's tutelage and the coach's urging. All of the OL will be back next season, except for Chad Macklin.

With his 224-yard performance, Louis Rankin became the first 1,000 yard rusher at Washington since Rashaan Shehee accomplished that task 10 years ago.

The team took it up a notch for its missing leader. Carl Bonnell, you are the man, with your workmanship performance, leadership -- and no turnovers.

Washington (4-7, 2-6 Pac-10) controlled time of possession (33:43 to 26:18) and ran off 75 offensive plays to 55. The Huskies had four three-and-outs compared to ten from last week. One of the three-and-outs resulted in a fumbled punt recovery, and the offense had the ball back again. Notice how much more aggressively and energetically the defense plays when it's not on the field so much.

The Dawgs whipped Cal on both sides of the line of scrimmage, more so on Cal's defensive side. Cal's great offensive line didn't give up a sack. It ranked fourth in the country in sacks allowed going into the game.

The Bears turned the ball over three times, to the Dawgs' nada-zip. The Dawgs are +0 on the season in turnovers. Last season, the Huskies turned the ball over 22 times against 14 thefts (-8), which ranked 104 in the nation.

Credit Offensive Coordinator Tim Lappano for switching from the spread option back to his power-running game in Locker's absence. He's kept both a two-back power-running scheme and one-back passing formation on the front burner, running a blend of the three formations during the season. Oregon coach Mike Bellotti stayed with the spread option after QB Dennis Dixon went down in the Arizona game. Bellotti has said it's too complicated to teach both offensive schemes.

The nega-dawgs took what must be an un-BEAR-able shot to their rants, for if this is not a signature win for Coach Willingham, it was, at the least, a quality win -- this over a team once ranked as high as second in the country.

For the second week in a row, the Huskies won the second half, reversals from most of their previous games this season.

Maybe the "unfairly fired one" is gloating a bit. His former charges -- Rankin, Anthony Russo, Chad Macklin, Juan Garcia, Bonnell, Cody Ellis, among others -- acquitted themselves notably.

What's up with Cody Ellis' and Carl Bonnell's synergism? In his last three games with Carl at the helm, going back to the last Apple Cup, Ellis has caught passes for 64 yards for a TD (WSU), 86 yards for a TD (OSU) and now a 51-yard catch against Cal that led to a field goal.

Prediction: By my count, there are at least three Internet sites that have sprung up within the last two weeks urging the firing of Tyrone Willingham, Todd Turner or both. By the end of the season, those sites will morph into the bit bucket of ignominy. I hope. :)

Tyrone, the other coaches and -- ahem -- loyalty

When I think of Coach Willingham, I think of parity, continuity in the program, a  clean NCAA slate, law-abiding players, high graduation rates, enthusiasm, focus, hard work, an outstanding role model, a wry smile, loyalty and true freshmen that portend better recruiting. These are all reasons to retain the services of Coach Tyrone Willingham, in my opinion.

Yeah, I know that 11-23 (overall) and 6-19 (Pac-10) suck big time, and that the W/L record should eventually be the bottom line with the AD. That will happen, if necessary, just not now. Now is not the time because of the reasons stated above.

Gods of football, please grant me patience, self-reliance and an unwillingness to live my life vicariously through the achievements of others. I graduated from UW through my own hard work, acid holes in my pants, ether in my lungs, and guano down at the dump.

Randy Hart is an unbelievable coach to watch at practice. Heís a blue chip coach. I wonít quibble with his continuing presence, although I donít know a rip move from a swim move.

I donít know enough about coaching to voice an opinion on anyone else, not being able to separate lack of talent from some wretched statistics. That is, do you blame some poor stats on the team for its lack of talent or do you blame poor coaching methods or both? I have never played the game at a high level and canít even coach myself during a round of golf. I trust Tyrone to make the wise coaching decisions.

I know Tyrone is loyal to a fault, but loyalty is an admirable character trait as we all know.  His personality sparkles at every Husky gathering I attend. I called him a ďwinnerĒ to his face at the last one, hoping my white hair would cast an air of senility about me and get me off the hook for being so frank. It did.

Loyalty (Maudlin prose. Two of my golfing partners developed Alzheimer's).

The stuff below is not meant to refer to anyone on the current coaching staff and should be taken as a general comment.)

Barring total incompetence, weíre talking about some senior moments, forgetfulness, a 9 Ėto-5-work-ethic, calling people by their wrong names, a limp in the gait, halting speech,  falling to sleep in a meeting, a snort of breathless apnea,  losing a rental car in a strange parking lot -- stuff with which most young people associate incompetence and old age.

If he canít find his fluorescent golf ball, you pick it up from the heavy rough and toss it back onto the fairway to speed up play. If he draws a blank on a name, you fill in the blank without a derisive chuckle casting an air of impertinence. If he falls to sleep in a meeting, you give him an imperceptible nudge.

In the meantime, you cook up a good retirement deal for him. You base his severance package partly on how many divorces have halved his net worth over the years and how much character he has shown in dealing with them.

When youíve been in the trenches with a competent friend who has suffered numerous wounds over the years and, suddenly he is bleeding retroactively, you patch his wounds and ease him onto the final shelf, for we are all comrades in this war as one.

 

Team 1 2 3 4 Score
Bears 6 14 3 0 23
Huskies 14 14 6 3 37



Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
12:50 UW TD Louis Rankin 5-yard run; Ryan Perkins kick. UW, 7-0
5:27 UW TD Brandon Johnson 5-yard run; Perkins kick. uW, 14-0
1:40 Cal TD Nate Longshore 19-yard pass to Cameron Morrah. Fumbled try for point snap. UW, 14-6
2nd qtr
9:14 Cal TD Longshore 16-yard pass to Craig Stevens; Jordan Kay kick. UW 14-13
7:23 UW TD Luke Kravitz 1-yard run; Perkins kick. UW, 21-13
1:25 Cal TD Longshore 14-yard pass to James Montgomery; Jordan kick. UW, 21-20
0:12 UW TD Carl Bonnell 12-yard pass to Marcel Reece; Perkins kick UW, 28-20
3rd qtr
11:41 UW FG Perkins 45-yard kick. UW, 31-20
8:29 Cal FG Kay 21-yard kick. UW, 31-23
0:13 UW FG Perkins 29-yard kick. UW, 34-23
4th qtr
7:54 UW FG Perkins 19-yard kick UW< 37, 23


Statistic Cal UW
Total First Downs 16 20
  Rushing 8 16
  Passing 8 4
  Penalty 0 0
Total Net Yards 383 442
Net Yards Passing 236 108
Net Yards Rushing 147 334
Completions-att-int 20-28-1 7-19-0
Punts, yards, average 4-187; 46.8 5-207; 41.4
Sacks By (number, yards) 3-24 0-0
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 7-150-0 6-133-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 3-23-0 2-64-0
Kickoff Yards 6-357 7-413
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 0-0-0 1-0-0
Penalties Yards 6-54 7-55
Fumbles, no., lost 3-2 1-0
Time of Possession  26:18 33:42

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Cal          
Nate Longshore 20 28 236 3 1
           
Washington          
Carl Bonnell 7 19 108 0 1
           
Cal Rushing No. Yds tds long  
Justin Forseth 22 141 0 58  
Lavelle Hawkins 1 5 0 5  
James Montgomery 3 3 0 10  

TEAM

1 -2 0 0
           
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Louis Rankin 21 224 1 46  
Curtis Shaw 2 9 0 9  
Luke Kravitz 3 5 1 3  
Brandon Johnson 23 121 1 18  
Carl Bonnell 4 -23 0 1  
Paul Homer 1 0 0 0  
TEAM 2 -2 0 0  
           
Cal Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Lavelle Hawkins 6 58 0 17
Robert Jordan 4 71 0 42  
DeSean Jackson 4 31 0 16  
Craig Stevens 2 33 1 17  
Justin Forsett 2 10 0 10  
Cameron Morrah 1 19 1 19  
James Montgomery 1 14 1 14  
           
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Marcel Reece 1 12 1 12  
Anthony Russo 3 26 0 12  
Johnie Kirton 1 11 0 11  
Robert Lewis 1 8 0 8  
Cody Ellis 1 51 0 51  
           
Punting punts yds long Avg
Cal
Andrew Larson 4 187 46.8 57
           
Washington          
Jared Ballman 5 207 41.4 58  
           
Attendance: 60,005          

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

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