Coach's Corner

I don't know about you, but I've sure have been getting off on the sport of football lately. The past three weeks of bowl games and playoffs are definitely making a statement for this great sport.

I love it! Of course, I admit my prejudice and bias for the game. I think football is America's Sport. We are really the only ones who play it. We invented it. We have watched it become part of our national fiber. Football is as traditional in the fall just as Thanksgiving is.

It has always been a major part of my life in one way or another and I'm proud of having played, coached and otherwise been involved with it for over fifty years. It is a wonderful part of the educational process for all of the young men who get to privilege of playing it.

To see it being played, as it has over the past month, has been a real pleasure. I've seen lots of emotion, and some of the games have been simply amazing.

The NFL games this past weekend reflected the same sort of philosophy, as did the really good college bowls. Old time football was back.

Great defensive play, smash mouth running of the football, and lots of good old hard-nosed, hard hitting football. And the tougher teams almost always winning those low scoring defensive struggles. There have also been a few high scoring offensive duels, but all in all, lot's of great football. We will all remember the National Championship game where Texas knocked off USC as one of the greatest football games in our lives.

It seems to me that football though, that football is becoming just like baseball and basketball, it doesn't really start getting good until the playoffs.

Think about it. College basketball is cool and all, especially when you have expectations like the Huskies have. But let's face it. College basketball doesn't really start until March madness. Pro basketball doesn't even get interesting until the playoffs. Baseball only gets hot in the playoffs and World Series.

It's almost like the three main American Sports have the ending to their sport season designed to act as the climax of their sport. Right now football is absolutely captivating.

The bowl games were spectacular this year. Vince Young's performance has to rank as one of the all time greatest individual efforts in a Big game in the history of football. The National Championship game may have been the best ever! USC was dethroned and will lose a ton of great players to the pros. Still, their performance and run over the last three years has been incredible. They were a team for the ages. One of the finest winning streaks ever and certainly the best team in this decade, and perhaps this century (which is all of five years old).

Ohio State slammed the Irish in the Fiesta Bowl! They buckled them. They pounded them and made Charlie Weis look like an average coach. Both were power teams. It was Midwest football at its best. I didn't care who won. It was just good hitting. The Buckeye winning score of 34-20 didn't reflect their complete domination of Irish. They ran up 617 yards on the Irish and had 275 of those on the ground.

Alabama's pass defense against pass-happy Texas Tech was stellar. The Tide held a previously unstoppable pass offense to 16 of 31 for 226 yards. Their offense was pathetic but it was great defense.

I loved what happened to Miami. They too got hammered, but 41-3? You've got to be kidding me! They looked the worst of any Miami team in the past 25 years. They were terrible and very beatable. And they paid for it as several coaches were dismissed following that debacle.

West Virginia stunned Georgia 38-35, in the Sugar Bowl and that too was a great shootout (just as was the National Championship game was) once the defenses were figured out.

I watched all of the Pac-10 teams and really came away convinced that Washington isn't really that far away. I think they can and will compete with everyone else in this league come fall. Washington made great strides in their defense, running philosophy, and ball protection. They have good specialists back in the kicking game and their kids are going to be with the same coaches for two years in a row, something that hasn't happened in the last seven years. There is finally a sprinkling of continuity to the program after so many years of instability.

The Pac-10 did surprisingly well overall with the exception of the Ducks. It was obvious their disappointment in playing in the Holiday Bowl reflected in their game. They should change the name of that bowl to the "Disappointment Bowl" since it seems to always get a Pac-10 team that thought they were slighted by the BCS. A 10-1 Oregon team did almost exactly what a 10-1 California team did the year before them. They embarrassed themselves.

The year before that, the mighty Texas Longhorns got beat by, you know who? The Cougars.

One year it happened to us when I was coaching. We thought we deserved to be headed to the Cotton Bowl because we had tied for the Pac-10 Championship, only to find out we were headed to San Diego. Our kids were lifeless against Rick Neuheisel's Colorado team.

I hate the Pac-10 bowl ties to the Holiday and Sun Bowls anyway. Both are viewed as second tier bowls and it is disgraceful to play our 2nd place or runner up team against a 3rd or 4th place team in the Big-12 and our 3rd place team against 4th or 5th place team in the Big-10. Someone please explain that to Tom Hanson of the Pac-10. It looks weak, Tom.

If your kids don't buy all the way into to winning in their preparation, then it always shows up in the game itself. Both San Diego and El Paso are way too close to Mexico and both bowls even promote trips to the border towns on the other side. Now I'm into culture and all, but I can tell you that there aren't many good things that come out of sending 18-22 year olds across the border. Tequila and football don't match. Oregon LOOKED like they had been across the border.

That talented Duck team loses some key guys graduation and Ngata is gone to the NFL. Washington should be more competitive with the Ducks come fall.

ASU and UCLA looked meek. I didn't think either team played with any intensity on defense. I thought that as well when the Huskies played them during the season, and I really didn't think Oregon State was any better. The Huskies don't have that much more to go to beat any of those bowl teams and the same goes for the Cougars, Arizona, and Stanford, three teams who were not that much better than the Dawgs in 2005.

We can at least forget the Huskies' struggles and record over past few years because we have the Seahawks and some great other NFL games going on to keep us occupied. The defending Champs, the Pats, as well as Carolina, Washington, Pittsburg, and Da-Bears all run the ball, come after you on defense, and play it close to the vest. Old fashion, boring, football is back. Can you believe a team can win a playoff game with 120 yards of total offense?

Only the Colts and the Seahawks have the explosive balanced offenses that can dominant a football game. They will have to prove it with their play, but for right now, isn't it great to be following the Hawks? They've captured the northwest. They have a legit chance of going to the Super Bowl and many will be disappointed if they don't.

Hopefully there are three games left in Seattle's season. Top Stories