Notes from the Press Box

In the end, it was just another overcast day in another semi-empty Husky Stadium, where once again a litany of Husky mistakes led to yet another loss to a mediocre opponent. The only thing that separated this game from all the others was the play of QB Isaiah Stanback. His style of play was mercurial; in my game notes I used the word "astonishing" six times to describe him, as well as "atrocious" an additional four other times.

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  • Despite the turnovers and the spate of poor decisions, Stanback was the only element to the Husky offense that created any sense of possibility. When he rolled out and scanned the field, he was as slippery and evasive as a fly-by-night personal injury lawyer. And in the interview room after the game, there was a sense from him that he was simultaneously sad from the loss-- yet vindicated (and even liberated) by his performance.

    Stanback's impact on the game was felt in the press box, in the stands, on the sidelines and in the huddle. Said OL Stanley Daniels afterwards: "You're a lineman, you're blocking your guy, and you see Isaiah running out there, making a big play to Shackelford or Joe (Toldeo), and it is an emotional up right there. That makes you excited, gives you a second wind. Like that throw to Sonny (Shackelford), I look over and Isaiah is running out there, and that play gave us a spark today."

    There are a host of other details from the game that would mean everything if this team was 5-1. But instead, the team is 1-5, and the remaining details will soon be forgotten and lost to history.

    Casey Paus had Louis Rankin wide open down the left sideline early in the game, but made such a horrible throw, that Rankin had no chance. A quality throw there gives Washington a touchdown. Later on, Paus was booed lustily for his second interception. But this one wasn't his fault; receiver Charles Frederick had alligator arms and did not extend for a football that was well thrown. It zipped right past #10 and into the diving arms of an Oregon State defender. The Husky offense was anemic as they tallied a mere 5 yards of offense in the first quarter.

    Yet following the 2nd interception, as Paus jogged off the field toward the sideline, the Husky fans really let him have it. Considering Paus and the others are amateur athletes not far removed from high school, it is disgusting to hear the crowd unload on a home town player like that. Paus' confidence is shot and he knows that he doesn't have his teammates' faith in him. While being interviewed after the San Jose State game, Paus was slumped in a chair. His glazed eyes and morose expression said it all. It is true that he is in over his head playing at the Division-I level. But the guy is going through a type of hell and I would hope that Husky fans could be more positive and supportive of him. The guy is a Husky and he is putting forth the effort to be as good as he can… But there I go being idealistic again.

    The rest of the game can be remembered for the three turnovers inside the five yard line. The horrific officiating (like a pass interference call on Derrick Johnson that bailed the beavers out of the shadow of their own goal line) or non-calls (like an OBVIOUS pass interference call where a Stanback toss drilled a Beaver DB in the back when the DB didn't even play the ball and shielded the Husky receiver from catching it.)

    And in the end, the Beavers pranced about the field and west end zone of Husky Stadium, dancing to the tunes of their band, whooping and hollering like they had just won the Super Bowl. We in Seattle know how far from grace these Huskies have fallen… But to the Beavs, Washington still has that W on the helmets and that still means everything to the Oregon State.

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