Coach's Corner

The level of frustration in the Husky nation has reached the boiling point. Right, wrong, or indifferent, when that point is reached, the inevitable call for the firing of the coaches is right there behind it.

It is sure to become a public topic from now until the end of the season. Sure, there are five more games, but these Husky fans are so sick of being losers that they are ready for an execution right now. A public hanging is what I envisioned when I wrote this.

To fans, there is only one answer, and that is to fire the coaches. After all, this is what this group of coaches deserves for all this losing that they have inflected upon the innocent fans that pay to see it.

After all, those coaches had three years to turn this thing around so let's dump them and just start all over again, right? I mean it must be that this team has obviously been taught to lose by those stupid losing coaches.

And to boot, Oregon is REALLY good, if things weren't tough enough.

I am continually amazed by the level of passion and the anger that losing generates from the fans. Losing is the pits. It's hard to swallow. And there is no way we can accept losing. Cause we are winners. Aren't we? Well anyway, we used to be.

Nobody likes to lose.

There you have it - another great revelation from this writer.

But I guess my point is that the venom and hostility that it ignites in some fans kind of shocks me. There are a lot of tough people out there when it comes to the internet and call-in radio. They talk a tough game and have all of the answers.

Being on both forums of media, I'm hearing a lot of calls for "Guillotine! Guillotine! We want blood….heads to roll. We don't deserve to have our Saturdays wreaked by these idiots. We pay good money for these tickets and we deserve to win. These guys are the worst."

Face it, we are in great despair, this is the pits, and somebody has to pay for this misery they have inflicted upon the fans.

I am now seeing first-hand why so many turned on us when we had problems in the late 90's. Yes, we were winning more than we lost, but it's just that we weren't winning enough.

I guess it's a built in frustration that comes with being a true fan. If all the money spent just for buying season tickets isn't enough and then having to pay for parking, pre-game partying, snacks at the game, and a solemn dinner afterwards, not to mention gas costs, babysitters, and all the team gear we have to wear, it rapidly becomes just too expensive of a habit to continue when we lose.

I can honestly say that coaching is a wonderfully rewarding profession - especially getting to work with kids. After 50 years in the game of football I have found that the fine line between winning and losing is so precarious that sometimes you win when you're not suppose to and sometimes you lose when you were clearly the better team.

The bottom line is that winning is the only accepted outcome. Even though in every game one team has to lose, that is not an option. Win or else get out of the way. I do get that, but it just has always baffled me how people can be so cutthroat about someone else's job. Losing your job is no fun and certainly it happens in all walks of life but in sports, particularly big time sports, it is a quite public event.

What is really disappointing to me is that it becomes such a public topic of discussion and people completely lose their compassion and understanding for the coaches and their families as human beings. Anger can fuel discussions and rants to cross the line from judging someone's job performance into their personal well-being, and that has always kind of been strange and uncalled for. And that, to me, seems like you are no longer talking about sport but rather some misplaced personal issues.

Another aspect of the whole psychology of losing is how difficult it is to shake the long term effects from your brain. Collectively speaking and from the team standpoint, when losing sets in, it sort of perpetuates itself. If something is going to go bad, somehow it does. It's like a self-fulfilling prophesy. For two games in a row the Huskies have carried their belief of winning well into the fourth quarter only to have victory snatched from their grasp by the jaws of defeat. It is almost like the team was helpless as soon as the momentum swung.

Just as winning begets winning so does losing beget losing. The mind and the emotions are tied together and there is no doubt that this Husky program just doesn't know how to win or at least win on a continual basis. It seems like the kids wait around for the bottom to fall out. They had this last game won and all they had to do was close the door but they just found a way to let it get away.

Obviously, not a single kid or coach wanted it to happen but when losing runs deep as it has for the last five years in Husky Football, it's a tough habit to break. I know for fact that Coach Willingham has been trying to address these very elusive psychological barriers. I know he is good with kids. I know he is the kind of coach you would want your kid to play for. I know he understands the sport of football and has brought back discipline and structure to the program.

I also know he is losing and unfortunately that is the bottom line.

Sure, there are some rats scurrying from the ship. Sure the ship is listing. But the captain knew that this would not be an instant fix. He knew after watching the film when he first arrived what he had inherited. He also knows that if he doesn't stop this losing then the losing will include his job. He is not deterred. He is strong in his faith and believes in what he is doing.

It's what he is not doing that is so hard to understand. He is not winning.

I don't have the answers. Most of the fans who want his head don't have the answers, either. I think the answer lies deep within each of the staff and players on the team, that they have been so depressed by losing that they are more afraid of losing rather than expecting to win. It showed in their body language in the last two fourth quarters. It was obvious how they performed.

The only things they can do now is try and suppress the negativity and hold fast to the will to win and go out and beat Stanford.

As for the disgruntled fans, they too need to remember that whatever is going to happen will be decided by the UW President and his board of regents, and that will not be done until after the season is over. So let it go for now and get behind the team and hope they can win some games coming down the stretch.

I am not trying to imply there is no fault with the coaching. Ask them and to a man they will each accept the blame. I can't even imagine their lives right now because I was never faced with this kind of losing in my 30 years of coaching.

There have been a lot of mistakes and distractions made over the past ten years that have had an accumulative effect on the stability of this program. I don't think they can afford to lose the 14 kids they already have committed and I would not want to see another wholesale coaching change. It would mean the 5th head coach in 10 years and I'm sure that would NOT help these kids to get out of this losing funk.

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