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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 9, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Woodward: Football team’s mid-term grade an F

You had to be up early to hear Washington athletic director Scott Woodward’s interview on KJR-AM this morning, and I frankly wasn’t.
So I only got around to listening to it a few minutes ago, as you can do yourselves by clicking here.
For the most part, Woodward didn’t say anything he hasn’t said before. Of most note, he reiterated again that he doesn’t foresee anything that would cause him to fire coach Tyrone Willingham during the season.
What might be most eye-catching is that Woodward volunteered that if you had to give a letter grade to the program at this point in the season, it would be an F.
“I will look at the whole body of work,” Woodward said. “If you look at this as a grade and halfway through the semester, you look at this as a midterm, we have an F. But I’m going to look at the whole body of work and consider past year and situations. But it is an F if you are looking at the mid-term grade.”
Asked again why he wouldn’t make a change in season, Woodward said: “I just don’t think that’s the Washington way. My belief is we do things a little classier up here and do them a little better. For me to contemplate that is in my estimation counterproductive. It’s like leaving a team orphaned. It doesn’t accomplish what you want, especially off the field. … I’m as concerned about the kids going to school and doing what they are supposed to do off practice time, lifting and eating well and behaving and doing all that. And we have to be cognizant of that. I know everyone is into the now factor and solve it immediately. What I want everyone to know is I am going to solve it and it is going to be something we figure out. I just don’t think doing it in the middle of the season is prudent or the right thing to do.”
Woodward said he is “having a lot of sleepless nights these days, to be frank with you. It’s something I take very seriously and that concerns me. I look these kids in the eye and wake up every day and think ‘what am I going to do? What’s in the best interest of those kids and this program?’ It’s something I take very seriously.”
Woodward also said that he thought the program was in poor shape when Willingham took it over.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that coach Willingham inherited a beaten-down program. It was what a lot of people dubbed ‘a train wreck.’ It’s made progress, but in a lot of people’s minds, not enough. I’m going to judge that at the end of the season, but so far it’s not enough for me. I’ve made it very clear I’m not happy at all, nor are the student-athletes or coach Willingham.”
Woodward again contrasted the situation here to LSU in 1999 when current UW president Mark Emmert fired Gerry DiNardo with a game left, saying the program there was “out of control. Not only was the performance poor on the field, we were 2-8 at the time, but the program was out of control.”’ He said that “I just don’t see it” in terms of that situation being similar to here.
Asked how Willingham could return for another year, he said “he has to win ball games and that’s the bottom line” though he wouldn’t say how many.
Woodward also said he wouldn’t step in to stop Jake Locker from playing another position if he is medically cleared to play, though he said “I have told Jake personally in the training room that he’s out of his mind if he does it.” He said that “I have never seen coach Willingham put a player in harm’s way nor do I think I will.”
Woodward also said he had no issue with the decision last week to play Cody Bruns and Terrance Dailey.
“They signed up to play football and to help the team and if (the coaches) think the young freshmen can help the team, then they will do so,” he said. “I am very, very concerned, more concerned, with the young play of our interior, especially on the defensive side of the ball. those kids were not strong enough to play and they had to play because of lack of depth. that concerns me more than the skill position players going in — 99 percent of those kids want to get on the field.”

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