Mad Son's Ramblings: The War is Over (We Won)

Franchise Infidels - praise Allah!  The crusade against Husky football has been repelled!  With Emperor Michael Young replacing Holy Roman Emperor Marcus Emmert I, interest in suppressing our beliefs has diminshed to the point where Commander Woodward was left no choice but to withdraw and call a truce.  Coach Petersen is the result of a holy war lead by Imams Johnson and iDawg (RIP), Caliphs TDNC and Damone and Shah Bannon.  Much praise to our righteous leaders.  Much praise to our holy soldiers.  From all of our hard fought internet efforts, finally today we are free to celebrate Husky football with a hope and passion unfelt in decades of warfare.

While the Petersen hire may not be a grand slam like Saban or Belichick, there really weren't a huge number of options better than Petersen.  He *IS* a proven winner.  If you discount this season and games against the Huskies, he has an 84 - 6 (.933) career reacord as HC at BSU.  Sure if you count this down year (which I guess people actually saw coming on some level) and the bizarre losses to Willingham and Sark that drops CCCP to 92-12 (.885) which admittedly is still damn respectable even in a non-AQ conference.  Everyone knows about the BSU BCS bowl victories, especially over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.  Peteresen has done more with less and is much more in-line with the disciplined, authoritative style we favor here.  Sure, Gundy or Briles would have been alright hires (Briles more so than Gundy) but they wouldn't have implemented a style of football we would have enjoyed as much.  Until Peteresen earns his pay here there is no reason to laud him as our savior (RIP Jim) but I think we're at a point where everyone can agree to let it play out.  The fact that we didn't have to pay Sark to leave us is just icing on top of getting a real coach for once.  This was a coup and surpassed all of my expectations for Woodward.  I think he would not have fired Sark if he didn't go to USC so maybe this was dumb luck and hiring Petersen was just a fluke.  Regardless it is time to doog it up for a bit.  I haven't felt so proud of Washington and worn so much gear around town for a long time.  Hopefully we'll start winning more and this won't be a short lived phenomenon.  Will Pete bring us where we think he can and fully restore our pride and reputation?  Tock... tock... tock...  if he does UW will extend our record streak of decades winning a Rose Bowl which started back in the 60's.  At least we have a little football tradition...

This does of course end the dream of Mora for the time being.  CCCP has the potential to be here for a long time and he is of a similar caliber as Mora.  Our chance to hire Mora, the one rare alum who actually would be a good coaching choice, has officially passed.  It is too bad we never got the chance to be right, but he has landed on his feet and when we are facing him regularly in the Pac-12 championship game we will still remain vindicated.

It is really strange though how Haden chose to hire Sark.  There are really three possibilities here:

1) Pat Haden is an idiot who thinks Sark is a good coach despite all the evidence which is easily understandable to a 13 year old non-Rhodes scholar.  This is like hiring Willingham and saying "well he went to a Rose Bowl and won national coach of the year".  Saying that Sark took an 0-12 team to a 5-7 team (and up to an 8 win team when you watered down the schedule enough) is a similar level of no-research.

2) Pat Haden thought he could find a great coach with a season-long coaching search but ended up striking out and decided he needed to hire someone eventually.  Sark was a clear choice to get scapegoated later, especially with the ongoing effects of sanctions so Sark is really planned as Kiffen II.

3) This has been a long con between Haden and Sark to infiltrate UW and instill a soft, undisciplined culture and to leave huge holes on the lines.  Sark and Haden strategically planned a five year trajectory that was destined to crash and burn a few years later due to lack of depth, yet provide just enough of an illusion that Sark was hireable to the Troojanest of fans.

Which of these scenarios is real?  Impossible to say.

I do remember five years ago people fretting about Sark being poached from us, particularly because he would want to go back to USC or the NFL.  I realized then that having a sought after coach was a good problem because it meant your program was succeeding.  I never envisioned that having a coach poached would be a boon that saved the program from entrenched mediocrity.

So why didn't we go with the Nussmeier hire, following in the mold of the Sarkisian hire and taking the low-cost, low expectation hire?  One poster posited that it could be because Stanford set an example for upper campus that being an elite academic institution and having an elite football program are compatible.  I am not sure I buy that or that Stanford even cares.  They had a budget stadium remodel and hired a successful lower level coach.  They didn't go out and spend big and then they simply hired one of his coordinators.  If Stanford goes out and makes a big hire after Shaw leaves that will show they have gotten serious about football.  Even a blind Emmert finds a good coach now and again.

Looking ahead I don't know or care what bowl game we'll be playing it.  It clearly will be mediocre and the selection process is tomorrow (as of the time I am typing - you may know the answer by the time you read this).  What is important here is that we are going to a bowl and Petersen will get 15 extra practices with his new team.  Early indications from Twitter are that the players are impressed by CCCP (meaning he is not a fat frat boy).  Players will buy in, at least to start, and I would too given his success.  If Petersen can get this team playing consistently for a bowl game, with the talent levels we have victory will be all but guaranteed against one of the little sisters of the poor.  Getting his system implemented and teaching our players how to play football will be the real key.  Not that I don't want Tui to get to coach, I wish him success in his future endeavours - but this is not play time.  Maybe he will remain on staff in some capacity.

The most important assistant staff member will be Chris Strausser.  We need an offensive line coach and with a track record like Strausser we should be able to attract top talent.  The depth chart, coaching, and program should all be favorable for 18 year old beef.  Tosh I think would be good to keep.  He obviously has a reputation as a great recruiter but at UW is pretty much a one hit wonder.  I do feel like he has been a pretty good DE coach but I am not sure I have seen a lot of development in our DTs... Shelton was already himself and Littleton... maybe improved...  not that Tosh had a ton to work with but I am not seeing the NT or 3T of the future on our roster...  Sirmon was good but is gone if I recall... Wilcox is... meh... take him or leave him.  I have grown less impressed by him over time.  Heyward is a huge loss for the DBs.  On offense I am happy to be rid of Kiesau and finally being rid of Cozzetto has been a long time coming.  I have no idea what Tui's real capabilities as a coach are but as noted before I would hope he is good enough to stay.  Paopao I will have forgotten about by tomorrow if he leaves today.

On top of filling out the coaching and staff, Coach Pete needs to start recruiting.  His first recruit needs to be 10* Bishop Sankey.  If CP has Sankey next year, we can beat anyone.  Not like our backups are helpless cripples, but Sankey is All-American caliber even if the national pundits haven't recognized it.  After that it is back to 18 year olds.  No FREE PUB, no waiting until January - starting right away, getting players to see what will be built at UW.  I trust CP to get the players he wants and I absolutely trust his ability to identify talent.  BSU has put out way more NFL talent than they had any right to and like everything, that all begins and ends with the head coach.

Speaking of Sankey being under valued nationally, how about all of his records?  Most by a UW RB in a career, even broke Dillon's single season record.  Just imagine if he had stuck with WSU?   We wouldn't have won yesterday.  We may not have been bowling last year or this one even.  Hopefully Cooper can have a big year next year now that he has actually gotten to play a bit.  Other than the Cooper pipe dream, D-WAyne could be good.  It will be interesting to see if Petersen utilizes some of our FB types as well.

Thinking back to the Apple Cup I remember standing in a concession line and hearing some guys griping about Price.  I pointed out that we were a pass-first team under Price and a run-first team under Miles.  If Price had the full benefit of Sankey he would have the same opportunities as Miles.  The goons behind me in line agreed, but then didn't understand the implication clearly since they thought that meant putting Miles in, not fixing the play calling.  Regardless they will get their wish - Price has one last game and is gone.  Following him comes Miles, Lindquist, and Williams.  I wonder what promises Sark lied to Williams about.

The Pac-12 refs were as shitty as ever in the Apple Cup.  You'd figure eventually the Pac-12 could get it right.  The conference recognizes we have national renown for an inability to properly officiate and even hired Tony Corrente to try and improve things.  So far no results.

The Apple Cup was my first game in the renovated Husky Stadium and I had many of the same gripes people aired earlier in the season - concessions are still minor league baseball quality, the big screen has ridiculously stupid content, the W at midfield is upside down, etc.  I didn't really care about the strip boards and if they bring us money then fine.  I did really dislike how the band has been minimized though.  Maybe it is fitting given our shitty band director but it really took a way from a lot of involvement with the game.  We desperately need a new band director and to let the band be more involved.  I know there were speakers which would periodically pipe the band noise around but it was insufficient.  My wife is the resident marching band aficionado and she said it is easy for a band to execute routines like Ohio State does... it is just effort for the band director.  The point is the stadium experience was lacking and is an issue that should be addressed.  Short term monitization could have long term repercussions.

Things are looking good right now and we have a right to smile, but I leave you with a quote from my old friend Albert Einstein, "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.  The important thing is not to stop questioning."

Evens & Ends

I just heard Mark Dantonio say he needed to go dance with his team in the locker room... maybe Sark knew what he was doing...  I would have expected more coaching changes by now.  Wyoming hired Bohl - that is a stepping stone if I ever saw one... may have saved Pelini his job.   Stanford blew out ASU.  Hard to believe we almost beat Stanford and got plungered by ASU.