Dawgman.com Diary 11/18

Well, that was a fun weekend. After hearing way too many "Touchdown California"-calls from Bob Rondeau on the radio last Saturday, I thought the radio was instead a broken record player. My wishes and hopes turned out to be untrue and I have now come to terms that we were about two quarters of play away from giving up 1,000 yards of offense in one day.

The question is, can the Huskies come to terms with that fact and finally get their heads straight to play a Washington State team looking to kill them?

Instead of smelling roses in January, we are left with sniffing apples in November. For the first time in a long time, there may not be another game to look forward to after this one. Falling short of preseason Rose Bowl goals and landing in the Holiday Bowl or Sun Bowl? Fine. That is understandable. But falling short of EVERY bowl? Come on now. That is unheard of.

The one thing that I will never know is why it takes playing a school within driving distance to bring the best out of the Huskies. Defeating Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington State should be the norm and not an upset. (I'm still waiting for that 2002 Northwest Championship Trophy in the Husky Hall of Fame, by the way.) Losing to Arizona and California? In the same year? In two consecutive weeks? This is a nightmare.

"We lost basically but it's past me and past everybody else and now it's on to the Cougars," said Reggie Williams during what could be his final collegiate press conference interview. "They've been winning a lot of ball games and they're in the top-10 in the nation. They can cause a lot of turnovers on defense and they are good team."

A good team they are. The Cougars' senior class this year has seen the most wins and success out of any class in WSU football history. However, they have one thing missing from their resumes and that is a victory over the Huskies. Will the Huskies gift-wrap that and hand it over to them on Saturday? I sure hope not. If they have any ounce of Husky pride or any knowledge of purple and gold heritage, they will go out there and defend their stadium from the crimson and gray.

Realistically, this could be déjà vu all over again. In 1997, the Cougars clinched a Rose Bowl berth at Husky Stadium and they, along with their fans (who were on OUR goal posts that day), celebrated on the field. One has to wonder if Washington State enjoys watching big brother falling to Arizona and Cal just before they get their crack at him.

"I really don't know and I really don't care if they respect us or not," said Williams. "I'm going out there to play."

And play he does. In the two games Williams has played against the Cougars, he has racked up incredible numbers. As a true freshman in 2001, he caught 11 passes for 203 yards and as a sophomore last season he caught 12 passes 169 yards.

"We just have to come out here and practice hard and stay focused this week and come out and play hard this Saturday," said Williams.

So tell me Reggie, when did any one of you guys tell us that you were going go out there and practice lightly, get out of focus and go out and get beat this Saturday? You guys are saying the right things, but why is it I come to you every Monday and you tell me that you'll do the same thing next week and produce the same results?

This is Apple Cup now. Everybody has to DO what they SAY.

"Yeah this game is special no matter what," Williams said of the Apple Cup. "We could be 0-11 and the Apple Cup will be the same at the end of the year."

Last season, there was talk that Williams started the chaos on the field of Martin Stadium. When asked what his greatest memory of that game, he said with a smile, "I got hit with a bottle so it was kind of funny. That's what I remember the most. I had my helmet off and they got me clean (pointing to the right side of the head)."

But the big question is, will this be his last game at Husky Stadium along with 19 other seniors this Saturday? Of course, he gave the answer everybody expected.

"I haven't thought about that at all," he said. "I'm just going to focus on beating Wazzu."

Over on the other side of the room, Greg Carothers was doing his part in his final Monday press conference. He reflected back on the forgettable performance in Berkeley.

"Yeah. I can't really NOT come to terms with it," said Carothers. "I saw the film and I'm not exactly happy about some of things that happened but they need to be fixed. This is the last game and I'm not going to dwell on it so we just need to get going."

As to why it happened, Carothers was just as lost as everyone else.

"I think we have a lot of great players," he said. "I wouldn't trade these guys for anybody in the world. But for whatever reason, we just can't make the plays that we need to make."

Carothers also wants to make sure he does not leave Washington with a loss to Washington State for his final act. Like the seniors at Washington State who have never defeated Washington, Carothers has never lost to Washington State.

"It's just rivalry week," he said. "It's just a huge week all around and we've had some great games against them and it's going to be a good game," said Carothers.

He continued, "Everybody brings up the post game, but I don't remember the post game. They were handing out roses the night before and that sticks out to me more. The bottles and things? I guess I'm kind of a weird guy because I like stuff like that. That's what college football is about and that's what a rivalry is."

The former safety-now-linebacker stepped into one of the most difficult situations imaginable when he replaced the late Curtis Williams as a true freshmen. Looking back in his career, Carothers has many fond memories.

"I'll remember a lot of things," said Carothers. "Mostly the players I played with. They mean a lot to me. Obviously you're going to remember the downs, but the ups ... you're definitely going to remember those too. The opportunities, the places I've played, the people I met, and it's just been a great experience.

"Like I said after the game, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wouldn't go to Oklahoma right now. I would not go that university right now. They win a lot of games and they've got great coaches, but we've got great coaches. I love the guys that we play with and I wouldn't trade it for anything. No regrets. None whatsoever."

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