Dawgbytes - 9/28

Last week we were told by Tyrone Willingham, 'Don't fall for the hype.' Well, for all the hype that Willingham is buried under, he'd need to buy a Caterpillar tractor to pull him out. The hype seems to follow him like a lost puppy. This week it's all about the matchup of two African American head coaches. Ironically enough, Saturday's game between Washington and UCLA will mark only the 12th time it's ever happened.

"I look at it as something significant," said Willingham Wednesday when asked about the game. "But at the same time I clearly know what my job is. I put all of it in perspective.

"I never lose my focus."

Willingham and UW Special Teams Coordinator Bob Simmons have been in over half (six) of the 11 games coached between two African American head coaches, their record an impressive 5-1. Another former UW assistant, Matt Simon, was in two others as the head coach of North Texas.

Sept. 24, 1988 UNLV (Wayne Nunnely) 26, Ohio (Cleve Bryant) 18
Sept. 9, 1993 Temple (Ron Dickerson) 31, Eastern Michigan (Ron Cooper) 28
Nov. 18, 1995 Louisville (Ron Cooper) 57, North Texas (Matt Simon) 14
Nov. 9, 1996 Oklahoma (John Blake) 27, Oklahoma St. (Bob Simmons) 17
Sept. 27, 1997 Oklahoma (John Blake) 35, Louisville (Ron Cooper) 14
Nov. 8, 1997 North Texas (Matt Simon) 26, New Mexico St. (Tony Samuel) 15
Nov. 8, 1997 Oklahoma St. (Bob Simmons) 30, Oklahoma (John Blake) 7
Oct. 24, 1998 Oklahoma St. (Bob Simmons) 46, Oklahoma (John Blake) 26
Sept. 4, 1999 Oklahoma St. (Bob Simmons) 24, La.-Lafayette (Jerry Baldwin) 7
Dec. 1, 2001 Stanford (Tyrone Willingham) 41, San Jose St. (Fitz Hill) 14
Sept. 21, 2002 Notre Dame (Tyrone Willingham) 21, Michigan St. (Bobby Williams) 17

For his part, Dorrell - himself a former assistant at Washington under Rick Neuheisel - has publically stated how he looks up to Willingham as a role model and mentor for his success. "I think it's what we all have," said Willingham when asked about being an example to others, also noting people such as his parents clear through to Dennis Green and Bill Walsh as people that have mentored him. "We all are role models, we are all examples. Hopefully we all are mentors at different times and stages.

"And for my part, hopefully it's to coaches, period, because when I speak at clinics, I don't just speak to African-American coaches. I speak to all coaches."

Tough road ahead: Washington will be playing its third opponent that is ranked in the current AP Top 25 this weekend in No. 20 UCLA. The Huskies have already played current No. 12 California and No. 13 Notre Dame. The only other team in the nation that will have played three currently ranked teams after this Saturday will be Michigan. The Wolverines have already played No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 17 Wisconsin and take on No. 11 Michigan State this Saturday. Also notable is the fact that the Huskies play Oregon (currently ranked, essentially, No. 31 as an "other receiving votes") No. 1 USC and No. 14 Arizona State in its next three games after UCLA.

"I don't think it surprises me, based on the conference that we're in," said Willingham when asked about the Huskies' tough schedule. "The Pac-10 is pretty good football and I think it's getting better and better. Years ago when I was in the league before, you had maybe one or two teams. At one time I was part of one of those teams that people thought you didn't have to worry about. Now it's not that way in the conference. A lot of the teams that were once at the bottom kind of have their games together and are making their way to the top."

UW gets Young-er: Chancellor Young, a 6-3, 215-pound receiver from Seattle's O'Dea High School - by way of Duke University - has officially enrolled at Washington and will be available to play for the Huskies starting in 2006 with three years to play three. This is the second child of Charle Young's that Willingham will have coached. The first was Charles Young at Stanford, a player Willingham said was a 'marvelous young man, marvelous player - a very tough, very physical player'. "We're excited about adding him to our program," Willingham said about Chancellor on Wednesday.

Don't call it a scout team: Young will start practicing right away with the team, but he won't be just doing work preparing the team for that week's opponent. "The way we run things, his coach will be able to see him do everything that he does," said Willingham. "That's different than some systems, where you send them down to another field to do service work or scout work. There, no one ever sees him. But in our system, our coaches get a chance to put their hand-print on them every day. I think that has an opportunity to make him a better player, and that's why we think it's very smart for young men to choose our program, because they get coached all the time."

No rest: Willingham was asked about Washington's BYE week next week. He said that the team will practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week's BYE week. But what about the weekend? "You never get the weekend off if you are a college football player," he said, matter of factly. He also mentioned that the younger players and players not seeing a lot of time on the field to date could see some time 'playing the game'. "Depending on where you are, you can give those guys sufficient time to play the game so that they get better also," added Willingham.

Good effort: Willingham chartacterized Tuesday's practices as, "Good effort, good work." He also noted that it's a tough time of the week to gauge intensity and energy because the team is installing their game plan. "There are a lot of ways to do it," said Willingham when asked about the installation. "You could change everything every week. You can keep some things constant, but just change how they look and change how you attack and come at people. You hope that there's some carryover from week to week so your team gets stronger as it progresses toward the latter part of the season."

Us versus them: Since this will mark Washington's first real road test (the first game of the season at Qwest Field against Air Force was technically a road game), Willingham noted that it's a good chance to continue to team-build. "It's because the hostile environment brings that attitude of 'you against the world'," he said. "Usually when you hit the road, you don't have to speak of it, it's pretty visible. It's just the team, and that has a tendency to bring you a little closer together and give you that attitude."

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