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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 10, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Bye week answers, volume five

One more round of answers before we head into the bye. …
Q: What are the specifics of Tyrone Willingham’s contract in terms of what the school would have to pay him to fire him? Do they save any money by not firing him during the season?
A: Willingham’s contract calls for him to be paid $1 million for every year remaining on his contract if he his terminated without cause after Jan. 2, 2008. So if UW were to fire him this year, it would owe him $1 million, since he has one year remaining on his contract after this season. So it really doesn’t matter if the school made a change now, or after the season, in terms of finances. When it did matter was last year. The school would have owed him $1.5 million for each year remaining on his contract if it fired him before Jan. 2, 2008 — or $3 million if it had fired him last December, as was obviously heavily considered, since at that time he would have had two years remaining on his contract.
Q: Whatever happened to Jake Merrill, the safety from Gig Harbor who was in the same recruiting class as Jake Locker at UW?
A: Merrill left UW a week or so into fall camp in 2006 after suffering a concussion that apparently also triggered some concerns about a hearing problem. He has apparently tried a couple of times to restart his football career at smaller schools in the area, and was on the roster at Western Washington earlier this year. But a recent story in the Tacoma News Tribune said Merrill was no longer playing for Western.
Q: I have a question about the offense. It seems to me that with the experience of the offense being the line, the Huskies would try to be a little more of a power running team. Is the offensive staff so committed to the spread that it cannot make a change? It was pretty obvious to me, starting with the Oregon game, that we were going to have trouble running out of the spread, and it just seems to have become worse as the season goes on.
A: A lot of people have made the same observation about the line, that it seems better-equipped for a power running game. We began against Arizona to see if that is true as the injury to Jake Locker compelled the Huskies to dump a large portion of the spread option package (almost anything involving the quarterback run) and went with more traditional spread passing and power running sets against Arizona. In fact, that was the hope against Arizona that the Huskies would be able to line up and run it at the Wildcats, coaches saying exactly what you said — they thought they had a size advantage up front that would make it work. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work against Arizona as the Huskies were as ineffective running in that game as they have been all season. But with Locker out and not wanting to get Ronnie Fouch injured, you will continue to see UW try to run it in more traditional ways. So I think we’ll get a test of your theory over the next few weeks,.
Q: Everybody keeps ripping on Husky Stadium all the time. Isn’t there somebody out there who still likes the place?
A: You mean other than opposing teams? Okay, cheap shot. And OK, I made this question up as a way to link this story in today’s USA Today listing the top 10 college football venues in the country, with Husky Stadium making the list. Of course, the list isn’t from an exactly unbiased source — former UW center Ed Cunningham, now an announcer for ESPN/ABC.
All for now.



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