A couple of interesting things out there today worth passing along. …
— One is this story from ESPN.com on how the Pac-12 has supplied far more coaches to the NFL than any other conference.
As longtime UW fans may be aware, the Huskies are not included on that list, having never had a head coach who later ended up as an NFL coach.
As the story notes, Don James had his chance to take over the Seahawks after Seattle fired Jack Patera early in the 1982 season.
The speculation was a natural as James was as hot as any college coach at the time, with UW having just gone to three Rose Bowls in five seasons and undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country at the time. And the Seahawk ownership group at the time included a few UW grads.
James wrote about it at length in the autobiography he penned in 1990 titled simply “James.”
As he tells the story, James decided quickly he didn’t really have the desire to work in the NFL, having been a college coach his entire career to that point, and decided to hold a press conference before a game at Stanford. As James writes “you’d think my announcement would have had a positive effect on our players” by quashing the media speculation.
But showing that maybe that stuff doesn’t matter as much as is commonly thought, a Stanford team led by senior quarterback John Elway played one of its best games and beat UW 43-31. (That was the same year UW lost the Apple Cup in Pullman and ended up instead in the Aloha Bowl).
Obviously, it’s a great what-if? to wonder how the fortunes of James, the Huskies, and the Seahawks might have changed had James decided to take the Seahawks job (I know a lot of people think a likely replacement for James at UW might well have been Jim Mora, in itself a tantalizing what-if?).
One reason UW hasn’t had a coach become an NFL head coach is simply the stability from 1957-1998 of Jim Owens, James and then Jim Lambright, all of whom were coaches who had no NFL background.
And since then, none of UW’s coaches have yet had enough success (or in the case of Rick Neuheisel, a controversial firing that threw his career off course) to warrant that kind of move.
Steve Sarkisian has been rumored to be courted by a few NFL teams (notably the Rams two years ago before they hired Jeff Fisher) and assuming he takes the next step with the Huskies soon, his name will likely continue to be floated for NFL jobs. As the ESPN.com story details, that’s just kind of the nature of the beast these days.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— NFL.com wonders if this is a make-or-break year for Jake Locker in Tennessee;
— Chris Polk says he’s lost 15 pounds as he tries to get on the field more in his second season with the Eagles;
— Desmond Trufant had to sit out this round of OTAs with the Falcons while finishing school;
— I’d sort of forgotten that Ben Ossai is with BC of the CFL (he’s mentioned deep in this story as pushing for a starting tackle job). Ossai and Reggie Williams, who just signed with Toronto, are the only two former Huskies I see currently on CFL rosters;
— Bud Withers wraps up the news yesterday from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, including the initiative to limit contact during football practices;
— Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com also has some thoughts on the Pac-12’s plan.