Category Archives: Husky Football

Five reasons why you, Jim Mora, should be the next Husky football coach

Hello Jim. You don’t need my advice, but I’m here to offer a few reasons why taking the Husky head coaching job is a good move, despite your $4- million per year commitment to the Seahawks. Let’s dive right in.

1. Husky fans love you way more than Seahawks fans do. Hawks fans think of you as the minivan parked in the driveway. You’re just kinda there. You’re practical. You get the job done. When you were new you were pretty cool. There’s always potential for an upgrade. No one’s really expecting much out of you.

Husky fans, on the other hand, see you as the Batmobile. You are the epitome of cool. There are no possible upgrades. You will get us to where we need to be rapidly and awesomely. We will take care of you better than we take care of ourselves. We expect a lot of you, and we know you can be counted on to deliver.

It’s all about love Jim, and Seattle sports fans love you as the Husky football coach, and just kind of like you as the Hawks coach. Money can’t buy love.

2. Two words: Jake Locker. You used to run an option-type offense in Atlanta that was deadly. You had a speedy quarterback with a strong arm and unmitigated raw ability. Your current quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, is none of those things. The quarterback you could have, Jake Locker, is all of those things and more.

He will be here for two more years if you’re here with him. The sky is the limit on what this team could achieve with a Mora-Locker campaign in ’09. From 0-12 to 12-0, who knows? The fact of the matter is the two of you could be great for each other, with your know-how and his ability to learn and improve. Think about it.

3. Coeds. As Seahawks head coach, your most attractive female fan is a senior citizen nicknamed “Mama Blue.” At UW, you can have thousands of young college girls screaming your name and worshipping the ground you walk on. Even better most of them will be over 18 years of age (and under 75). Sure, you’re married now, but coaching is a grueling profession that often leads to divorce and what better fallback option than a bunch of young ladies half your age who want to help make Jim Mora, III?

Take a look at this photo, Jim: You’re not trying to hit that, I know you.

4. Longevity. Did you know that the average head coaching tenure in the NFL is only about three years, Jim? Three years. In three years at UW you could go 0-36 and spend every day chilling with the frolfers in the quad and no one would so much as think of asking for your job. The bar is set so low for you on Montlake that Gary Coleman could tomahawk jam over it.

On the other hand, with the Seahawks you’d be replacing an icon. Your first loss will bring with it a week-long scrutinization of your abilities. An actual losing streak would plant you firmly on the hot seat. The baggage you’d be carrying around Qwest Field with you from the very start would be enough to gain Britney Spears’ pity. You want to be able to sleep at night don’t you, Jim? The Sandman is waiting for you at the Don James Center.

5. Boosters. So what if the school can only pay you half as much as you’d be making with the Hawks? The college game is blessed with more gift-givers than the North Pole, meaning every time you set foot in a local bar, a Husky fan will be there to buy your drink. Head up to the Ave or U-Village for a quick meal, and guaranteed it’s on the house. Try getting free provisions in and around the SODO area, and you’ll likely be greeted with a blank stare and a tab.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Jim. You want a new wardrobe, a car, a house, you name it, it’s yours. People will find a way to help their iconic college coach, but in the pros all they want to do is bring you down.

Jim, together we can do this. Help us help you. All you have to do is say yes, and the world can be yours.

Kiffin to take over at Tennessee

It’s official. Lane Kiffin will not be the next head coach of the University of Washington football team. The former Oakland Raiders head man signed on late Friday afternoon to take over the University of Tennessee football program. Kiffin will succeed long-time Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer, another candidate rumored to be in contention for the Husky head coaching job.

With Kiffin’s obligation to Tennessee, another candidate on an increasingly shorter short-list is out, and has UW one step closer to being stuck with a coach rather than choosing their guy. Seahawks assistant Jim Mora, Jr. was the first in a line of coaches to have expressed disinterest in the Husky job (despite rumors to the contrary). Earlier this week, TCU head coach Gary Patterson declined Washington’s offer, though he was rumored to be interested in Tennessee’s vacancy, possibly putting a kink in his plans.
Last week saw the departure of two other big names off Washington’s list. Gary Pinkel, head coach at Missouri, signed an extension with UM, while University of Texas offensive coordinator Will Muschamp was named the Longhorns’ “head coach in waiting,” all but eliminating his name from contention, as well.
One of the few big names remaining is that of Boise State head coach Chris Petersen, who is rumored to be close to signing a contract extension with BSU and is likely not interested in the UW job anyways.

The Top 11: Seattle sports heroes, #6-2

Heroes #11-7 can be found here. They are as follows: 11, 1995 Mariners supporting cast; 10, Ichiro Suzuki; 9, Brandon Roy; 8, Mike Holmgren; 7, Lenny Wilkens.

6. Steve Largent. The former Seahawks wide receiver was arguably this city’s first superstar athlete. He became Seattle’s first true Hall of Famer in 1992, after a thirteen-year career that saw him leave the game in 1989 as the NFL’s career leader in receptions (819), reception yards (13,089), and touchdown receptions (100).

Despite the national accolades Largent received at the back end of his career, he arrived in Seattle inconspicuously in 1976 after a trade with the Houston Oilers. A star wideout at the University of Tulsa, Largent wasn’t selected until the fourth round of the ’76 NFL draft. Prior to the start of the regular season the Oilers sent Largent to the Hawks in exchange for a 1977 eighth-round pick. There may never have been a better trade in Seattle history.

Following his football career, Largent turned his national stardom into a successful foray into politics. Beginning in 1994, Largent served in the U.S. House of Representatives as a member of Oklahoma’s first district, but resigned his seat in 2002 when he took an unsuccesful run for the office of governor.

In addition to his records and Hall of Fame selection, Largent was also a seven-time Pro Bowler and was chosen as a member of the NFL’s 1980’s All-Decade Team.

5. Lou Piniella. When Piniella came to Seattle in 1993, interest in his Mariners ballclub piqued, but expectations remained low. In 1992, behind manager Bill Plummer, the Mariners had put together one of their worst seasons in history, finishing 64-98, despite a roster brimming with talent. With younger versions of Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez (the 1992 American League batting champ), Jay Buhner, and Randy Johnson, the Mariners were on the verge of putting it all together but needed a leader to show them the way. Piniella became that leader.

Piniella’s impact on the team was immediate. The team put together their first winning season in seventeen years of existence with an 82-80 finish in 1993. They took a nosedive in the strike-shortened season of ’94, finishing 49-63, but were bailed out in a sense when playoffs were cancelled anyways. The 1995 season brought renewed hope, new players, and a new attitude to the Kingdome. Sweet Lou managed to get the most out of his team that year, sending the Mariners to the playoffs for the first time in their history and essentially saving baseball in Seattle.

When he wasn’t winning ballgames, Lou was winning over fans and players alike with his on-field tantrums. He would throw bases, kick dirt, toss his hat, yell and scream all in a futile effort to change a seemingly bad call. It was one of his finer points.

Lou stuck with the M’s for seven seasons after that miracle ’95 run, but departed following the 2002 campaign to move closer to his home in Florida. Upon returning to the Emerald City with his visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays club shortly thereafter, Piniella was greeted with a standing ovation and even gave addressed the crowd in red carpet fashion before the game.

Piniella is the manager that all Mariners skippers have been and forever will be compared to. He may not have won it all with this team, but he won over the fans of the city and kept a Major League team entrenched here for years to come.

4. Don James. When Don James resigned as head coach of the Washington football team prior to the 1993 season, he left college football as one of the last men in a dying breed. James was the type of head coach you rarely see in today’s game. His intensity and passion was visibly reflected on the field by his players, who, despite an age gap between mentor and tutor, played the disciplined, hard-nosed style of football that their coach demanded of them. James was a man who could command both fear and respect, which allowed him the luxury of eighteen solid seasons on Montlake as the leader of the Dawgs.

The Dawgfather emerged as the man to replace another icon, head coach Jim Owens, in 1975 after four years at Kent State University. He wasn’t the biggest name, nor had the most impressive resume, but at the age of 43 was ready to make the leap to a major Division-I school and happened to be the right guy at the right time.

James’ first two seasons at Husky Stadium were the definition of average. He compiled an 11-11 overall record over the ’75 and ’76 campaigns and couldn’t find a way to a bowl game. That all changed in 1977 when the Huskies rose to prominence, going 10-2 and becoming Rose Bowl champions. Following that season, James would take the Dawgs to 13 more bowls in his fifteen remaining years as head coach. His career apexed in 1991 when the Huskies won a share of the national championship.

Though he’s been retired for over fifteen years, the Huskies are still searching for the man to replace Don James. The team is now searching for their fifth head coach since James’ departure and to hear people talk about the Dawgfather, one would assume he had just resigned last week. Like Lou Piniella with the Mariners, James will now and forever be the coach that all other Husky coaches are compared to.

3. Gary Payton. Most heroes complement their achievements with humility, affability, politeness, and a sense of respect for others. Not Payton. Built like the one and only foil to all that embodies heroism, GP was a loudmouth, trash-talking, in-your-face gamer who never took a play off. He built his reputation on attitude and intensity, and would eventually become arguably one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Big for a point guard, Payton, at 6’4″, was the second overall pick by the Sonics in the 1990 NBA Draft. Coming out of Oregon State University, the wiry Payton was expected to team up with power forward and 1989 first-round selection Shawn Kemp to form an inside-out, one-two punch. The duo would do just that over the course of the next seven years, taking the Sonics to the playoffs in the final five seasons they played together.

After Kemp’s departure in 1997, Payton would last almost six more years in Seattle before being traded for Ray Allen in the middle of the ’02-’03 season. To this day, Payton is among the top three in fourteen different major statistical categories in Sonics franchise history, including being the leader in points scored (18,207), steals (2107), assists (7384), and games played (999). Payton eventually went on to win an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006, but still considers himself a Sonic at heart. He helped lead a rally this past year to keep the Sonics in Seattle, and continues to be a prominent figure in the Emerald City despite making his home in Las Vegas.

2. Edgar Martinez. Over the course of a professional career that began in 1982 and didn’t end until 2004, Edgar combined 22 years as a member of the Seattle Mariners organization with Hall of Fame numbers to become one of the most beloved sports figures in this city’s history.

He first appeared on the scene in 1987 as a pinch-runner, slender, with a mustache that resembled a small rodent. He wouldn’t crack the everyday lineup until 1990, after starting third baseman Jim Presley was traded to Atlanta. Over the course of the next fifteen seasons, Edgar would play in seven All-Star games, win five Silver Slugger awards, and collect two AL batting titles (1992 and 1995).

But even if you took away all the great years, the statistics, and the achievements, Edgar’s meaning to this city could simply be summed up in one moment. The Double.

The Double stands as one of the greatest moments in Seattle sports history. Like Joe Carter’s walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series, Michael Jordan’s push-off jumper over Bryon Russell in the 1998 NBA Finals, or Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” in 1982, The Double was a once-in-a-lifetime play that came to define an entire team’s season in one instant.

1995. Game 5. American League Division Series. Bottom of the 11th inning. Down 5-4. Runners on first and second. The opponent was the hated New York Yankees. The pitcher was Yankee ace Jack McDowell, brought in out of the bullpen to close the door and send New York to the ALCS. Mariner second baseman Joey Cora stood on second, Ken Griffey, Jr. on first. Cora could score to tie the game on a single. Junior, with his speed, could possibly score on a double. Edgar emerged in the batter’s box and assumed his stance, hands held high, the head of the bat pointing towards the pitcher’s mound, left foot raised up from the ground, weight back, neck cocked, squinting. McDowell came set, checked the runners, and delivered. As if in slow motion, Edgar uncoiled from his statuesque pose and released his bat through the zone. Smoothly, effortlessly he connected with McDowell’s fastball. A line drive down the left field line. Cora scored easily. Here was Griffey, now, steaming around third base, being waved in by a frantic Sam Perlozzo. Yankee catcher Jim Leyritz positioned himself in front of the plate, awaiting a throw that would arrive too late. Edgar Martinez of all people had won the game and the series.

Our #1 hero will appear in tomorrow’s updates.

Ryan Perkins, you have ruined my life

Ryan Perkins is the pseudo-placekicker for the Washington Huskies football team. He’s also the devil. In stunning fashion, Ryan Perkins has managed to ruin the few potentially joyous moments in this past Husky season by failing to do his one and only job.

First there was the infamous BYU “excessive celebration” game. A phantom penalty by Jake Locker near the end of regulation turned a chip-shot PAT into a 35-yard point-after instead. This, of course, pushed Perkins out of his 25-yards-or-less comfort zone and resulted in a blocked kick and a BYU victory.

Today, Perkins was at it again. With an 0-10 Husky team faced with the prospect of winning their first game, the 101st Apple Cup no less, Perkins missed not one, but two huge field goals that would have been difference-makers. With just over 3:00 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Perkins missed a 28-yard gimme that would have put the Dawgs up by six. Instead, with 56 seconds remaining in regulation, the Cougars were able to drive down the field and connect on a field goal of their own to tie the score at 10 and send the game to overtime.

Then, in the second overtime, with a chance to take a three-point lead and pressure the Cougs to convert on their ensuing possession, Perkins shanked yet another kick, this time from 37 yards out to all but seal the Husky loss.

After eleven of twelve games so far, Perkins is 7-11 on field goal tries and 15-16 on PAT’s. The 64% field goal conversion rate is bad, but made worse when you consider that Perkins hasn’t attempted a kick beyond 40 yards. That distinction is left up to distance kicker/kickoff specialist/punter Jared Ballman. Perkins has put up a “D” average inside what should be automatic range. Kickers are already one-trick ponies, so what does this make Ryan Perkins? A half-trick pony?

The numbers won’t likely show Perkins to have been a horrible kicker throughout his career, but when all factors are taken into account (no attempts beyond 40 yards, kicking on an artificial surface, the “clutch” factor, etc) he will have to be remembered as one of the worst full-time kicking specialists in Husky history, if not NCAA history. Of his five total misses (4 FG’s, 1 PAT), three have been at critical moments in the fourth quarter or overtime, in what ultimately proved to be game-deciding situations. He hasn’t just been inaccurate, he’s been inaccurate at the most inopportune times.

As if anyone cares, Perkins announced his retirement from football earlier this year, effective at season’s end. A debilitated knee has forced him to give up his trade, but were that knee not a problem, I know thousands of fans who would gladly help Perkins to the sidelines.

Besides the football aspect, there’s a level of ethics involved here, as well. Perkins was able to parlay his high school kicking ability into four years of free education. While his peers were paying thousands of dollars each quarter for the privilege to attend a four-year university, Perkins was sliding buy on scholarship money that one could argue he didn’t earn.

Ryan Perkins has been simply awful. I don’t doubt that’s he’s trying his hardest, nor that he’s truly a good person underneath that jersey, but when it comes to kicking footballs, Perkins is the walking definition of “failure.” He has put the rotten cherry on top of the poop sundae that is the Huskies miserable season, and in the process ripped out the hearts of loyal Husky fans all around the country. All I can say is good riddance to our lost season, and God forbid a kicker like Ryan Perkins ever set foot on Montlake again.

Kiffin should be next Husky head coach

With news breaking today that Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel is set to sign a lucrative contract extension to remain in Columbia, one possible replacement for Tyrone Willingham can be crossed off the list of available candidates. Husky AD Scott Woodward can throw Pinkel on the backburner along with Jim Mora, Jr. for now, and should start taking a hard look at currently unemployed Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin, the embattled ex-head coach of the Oakland Raiders and recent divorcee of Al Davis, has already expressed interest in the Husky vacancy…along with every other available collegiate head post. Needless to say, Kiffin is a big name that will attract attention wherever he ends up. Beyond being a big name, Kiffin has a number of attributes that should keep him on speed-dial in Woodward’s phone.

One, Kiffin is a West Coast guy with close connections to the Pac-10. Prior to taking the Oakland job, Kiffin was the offensive coordinator at USC, where he called the plays for one of the premiere offenses in college football. Additionally, Kiffin was a superb recruiter, inking letters from the likes of LenDale White, among plenty of others. He has a history of bringing in five-star players, as well as pitching to prep prospects in the Pac-10 corridor.

Two, Kiffin is young. Just 33 years of age, Kiffin’s youth would play two-fold as a college head coach: 1) He could be counted on to provide long-term stability to a program in need of it and 2) his closeness in age to many of the players he’d be recruiting would be more attractive for many kids than playing for an older guy.

Three, Kiffin runs a pro-style offensive system. While many Husky fans want to see a coach running the spread-option to come to Montlake, the transition from any other offense to the spread-option is one that takes time. As exemplified by Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, installing a new system isn’t always easy. And while Dawg fans would like to imagine that they’re patient enough to wait for such a system to develop, the truth of the matter is that a bowl appearance is an expectation within the next two years (i.e. before Jake Locker A.D.). Experiencing a major overhaul to the gameplan, then, should make little sense to the Montlake faithful.

Of course, there are a number of other candidates who will be interviewed for the job (including Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, no less), but none seems to make as much sense to us here at SSN as Lane Kiffin, the future of Husky football.

Have we really already forgotten about Felix Sweetman?

Fifth-year senior walk-on. Perennial scout-team member. Never really seen any game action. Chance to play in the Apple Cup. The story has been told before, but now it’s being told again, this time for a Husky long-snapper named Robert Lukevich. In recent weeks, Lukevich has been profiled by the Seattle P-I, interviewed on 950 KJR AM, and even had a Facebook group created in his honor. No knock on Lukevich, but I’m not impressed. I’ve heard this song and dance before, and no, it wasn’t being broadcast on a Sunday afternoon on TBS. This isn’t Rudy’s story, or even Lukevich’s. This story belongs to Felix Sweetman.

You may remember Sweetman. It was two years ago this week that the fifth-year senior walk-on QB was preparing for a chance to start in the Apple Cup. That’s right, START. Injuries had decimated the Husky passing corps, leaving only a banged-up Carl Bonnell and a green Sweetman left to practice.

The week before, versus Stanford, Sweetman had taken the field prepared to throw the first pass of his collegiate career when Bonnell decided he was healthy enough to play. This turn of events came immediately after starting QB Johnny Durocher was knocked out of the game with a concussion, only to find out later that he had been harboring a brain tumor for some time. Durocher’s season (and career) was over. Bonnell was one hit away from being done, as well. Felix Sweetman was a play away from being the starting quarterback of the Washington Huskies.

I want to reiterate that this article is meant as no knock on Lukevich. Lukevich has certainly paid his dues. He’s missed just one day of practice in five years. He’s transitioned himself into a long-snapper, as means of um, helping the kicking team. He’s also developed a friendship with Coach Willingham and is searching for the first PT of his career come Saturday. He’s been characterized as an all-around good guy, despite the fact that he’s planning on heading to law school next year.

But come on. First off, Felix Sweetman wasn’t in bed with Ty Willingham. And let’s face it, no one should be (sorry, Mrs. Willingham).

Second of all, Felix was one of a few guys who played–ok, practiced–under three coaching regimes. Do you know how hard it would have been to kiss three guys asses? I’d like to see Lukevich do that.

Third, his name is Felix Effing Sweetman (full disclosure: his middle name may or may not be “Effing”). Robert Lukevich sounds like he should be doing your taxes or examining your prostate. Felix Sweetman? You’re more likely to find him kicking your ass up and down the street all day long.

Yeah, Robert Lukevich is ok. But let’s face facts, people. Robert Lukevich is Caddyshack 2, to Felix Sweetman’s Caddyshack. Robert Lukevich is Saved By the Bell: The College Years, to Felix Sweetman’s Saved By the Bell. Robert Lukevich is the Remix to Ignition; Felix Sweetman is, you guessed it, Ignition. Lukevich might be the hot new kid on the block, but let’s not forget the man who started it all, Felix Sweetman.

The Top 11: Seattle sports villains, #6-2

The recap of villains #11-7, which can be found here: 11, Jim McIlvaine; 10, Shaun Alexander; 9, David Stern; 8, Erik Bedard; 7, Jeff Smulyan.

6. Tyrone Willingham. There’s a theory in dating that says if you aren’t very good looking, then you better have a great personality to make up for it. Apparently Paint-Dry Ty felt he was either the exception to this rule growing up, or was one hell of a sexy guy. Either way, the soon-to-be former head coach of the Washington Huskies football team has had without a doubt one of the most scrutinized tenures of any coach or manager in Seattle sports history, thanks in large part to two factors: his complete lack of personality and his inability to win ballgames.

Continue reading The Top 11: Seattle sports villains, #6-2