EDITORIAL: Have you had enough yet?

Dr. Emmert. Mr. Woodward. Have you had enough yet? If Saturday's Homecoming loss to OSU wasn't enough to finally convince you that Tyrone Willingham cannot coach competitive football at Washington, I have no idea what will. The man is out of answers and out of excuses. Having him in place is just a distraction now because there is no way his message is getting across to this football team.

How can it be?

And Todd Turner: Thanks for providing "sizzle" when you made this hire. I would've picked another adjective, by the way.

But back to the issue at hand. Dr. Emmert and Mr. Woodward, as a proud alumnus of the University of Washington I have to ask you a few questions:
Have you had enough of fan apathy?
Have you had enough of the "Why are you asking me that question?" arrogance?
Have you had enough of watching your coach getting outcoached every Saturday?
Have you had enough of being in the Bottom 10 week after week?
Have you had enough of the thoughtless game day decisions?
Have you had enough of delay of game penalties after the opening kickoff?
Have you had enough of a head coach who speaks as if he's confused by his own shadow?
Have you had enough of the person who thinks the W on the helmet stands for Willingham? Have you had enough of the iron curtain mentality that now is as much a part of Husky football as losing? Of boring, unmotivated football teams that look like they are afraid to do or say anything that might put themselves in the coach's doghouse?

And last but not least: Have you had enough of losing? Four years of losing under the current regime, as a matter of fact. Four years of trying to turn the corner only to find the coach didn't realize it was a u-turn. Four years of trying to get this team to climb the hill only to find that the coach had led them off a cliff. Four years of running through the front yard to carry his mail, only to step on a rake.

Last Saturday, members of one of the most important teams in Don James' tenure, Washington's 1978 Rose Bowl squad, were on campus. They could've really had some words of encouragement to the embattled team of 2008. At the very least, it would've been fun for the kids of today's team to reach into the tradition-rich Husky past and experience it, use it as a new form of motivation.

With apologies to the late John Belushi "But Neeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooooooooow!" Tyrone Willingham wasn't given enough notice so he couldn't fit it into the schedule. Yikes.

More than one parent has told us that they sent their kids to the University of Washington to come to a great school and to play football, not so Tyrone Willingham could teach how he wants them to be. This kind of controlling environment might have worked if it produced wins, thereby creating a fun atmosphere for the team and fans.

I'm not seeing much fun on Saturdays except in the parking lot. And this past Saturday, I was shocked at how few people were there. The tailgate felt about 30-40 percent lighter than usual. That was confirmed by watching the band fire up for an empty parking lot about 2.5 hours prior to kickoff. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the band started playing by the gate with no one to hear or see them. Then I saw the Husky team making their way from the busses and walking through about 80 fans that had lined up, most of them confused as to what was happening. The Husky team looked very dejected and unmotivated, like they'd rather be anywhere else but there at that particular moment. They looked as if they were being led off to slaughter, and in the very back wearing a golf cap was Tyrone Willingham.

Don't get me wrong – I love the fact that the school is attempting to make the team more visible to their fans and involve them, but the damage has been done. Dr. Emmert and Mr. Woodward: Your fans either didn't know about the walk or - what's worse and probably more accurate – your fans didn't care.

Looking up in the upper decks during pregame from the parking lot, you had to look hard to find people. Any people. I counted 38 specs from where I was enjoying my beverage up in the north deck, and some of those may have been ushers. It was like watching an old friend die, seeing Husky Stadium so empty on a Homecoming afternoon. Dave Mahler had it right when he said watching UW football right now is like going to hospice. The patient is about to expire, but it doesn't have to be that way. This is not a knee jerk reaction. This is an editorial from a proud UW Alum and 12-year website and magazine publisher that has been patient. I have lost all patience now. I've had enough.

I ask again: Have you had enough yet? If you have, do something quickly because apathy takes years to overcome. Once people get out of the habit of spending money and spending every Saturday of the fall in Husky Stadium or following the team on the road, it's hard to get them back. People are easily distracted today, and you will undoubtedly be raising ticket prices at the same time. This is a recipe doomed for failure unless you can prove to these people that you really care about Washington football.

One last thing – those that tell you that recruiting will be shot if you change coaches now don't know what they are talking about. An interim coach can recruit as well as Willingham can at the very least, and that way all uncertainty is removed. Thus any kid that commits during the interim period is committing to the school, which is what they should be doing in the first place. The new coach can then hit the ground in December - assuming you'll have him on board by then - and be able to recruit hard for almost two months. It won't be a strong class, but it won't be a redux of the 2005 class either.

Have you had enough yet? If you have, do something. Do it now. Not in December. Not in November. Do it Sunday. Remove Tyrone Willingham and start with a clean slate.

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