Execution goes wanting as Willingham simmers

Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham had to deal with noise, missed communications and constant interruptions Saturday. And that was just during the post-game press conference after Oregon had humiliated UW 45-21 in Eugene. Willingham tried his best to keep cool while still being hot under the collar, but it was clear he'd rather be sitting on a bed of nails than continue to talk about an utter lack of execution by his team.

"I think it's a great rivalry," said Willingham of the border bash that has recently gone the Ducks' way the past two seasons in convincing fashion. "I don't think we lived up to our end of the bargain today."

Always content to remain understated in front of a microphone, Willingham could have used these stats to back up his claim: outgained 570 yards to 238, out first-downed 30-15, out passed 424 yards to 117. "We were not able to control their passing game," he added. "We didn't do a good job with getting pressure, when we got pressure we didn't make a tackle. When we were in position to make plays we didn't tackle in the run or the passing game."

While both the offensive and defensive lines were dominated by the Ducks, Willingham wouldn't place blame with any group. "It wasn't one segment of our team, but all of our team," he said. "We had some opportunities early that we didn't cash in on, and when you're playing a good football team you have to do that."

The irony of the game was that it was the Huskies, and not the Ducks, that looked the part of the more-confident and better team early in the game. The Huskies were able to force a fumble on Oregon's first play from scrimmage, and then got a gift from UO running back Terrence Whitehead on the Ducks' very next play. Two drives within the opposition's 40, one drive within their 20, and all the Huskies could come up with was seven points.

In short, the Dawgs let the Ducks off the hook. And then the Ducks made them pay for it.

"It has to be more when you play against a good football team and you have those mistakes," said Willingham of Washington's apparent willingness to keep UO in the game when they could have had 14 early points. "We forced one and the other one they made themselves. But you've got to take advantage of that. We didn't do that. To come away with only seven points is not enough.

"At some point that comes back to bite you."

Willingham was not buying the idea of a bye-week letdown. "Our kids and coaches prepared well to play this offense," he said. "But they (Oregon) executed very well and did things right. And when we got ourselves in position, we didn't make the plays. Those are the things you've got to do. You've got to execute. And when you don't do that, it's hard to win."

The apparent lone bright spot for the Huskies was the play of punter Sean Douglas. His 44.9 average included a third-quarter punt for 19 yards that could have been a bigger problem if he hadn't bailed out a poor snap. He took a roughing penalty, and that penalty catalyzed a touchdown drive that accounted for the most plays (19) and longest time (9:52) than any drive in Washington football history.

"Anytime you have a punter that has the leg Sean has, it's an asset," said Willingham of the junior from Bellevue, Nebraska. "He can get us out of bad positions and put them in bad positions. A couple of times he did that and for the most part has done that all year."

When the game was out of reach, Willingham did admit that he toyed with the idea of putting backup QB Johnny DuRocher in the game. "At some point I did, but I wanted to make sure it was the right thing for the team, for Johnny, and for Isaiah," said Willingham.

All things being equal, he could have gone a number directions as far as personnel. Why didn't he?


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