Sept. 1, 2008
Willingham and Locker
Monday Press Conference
The Game: The Washington football team (0-1 in the Pac-10, 0-1 overall) opens its challenging, seven-game home schedule this Saturday as Brigham Young (0-0 in the MWC, 1-0 overall) visits Husky Stadium for a noon game. The Huskies will be looking to rebound to a season-opening loss at Oregon last Saturday night while the Cougars, ranked No. 16 in the preseason AP rankings and No. 17 in the coaches' poll (the next rankings don't come out until Tuesday), are coming off of a 41-17 win over Northern Iowa last week. The Huskies will play three straight at home as the BYU game is followed by visits by Oklahoma and, after an off week, Stanford.
Huskies vs. Cougars History: Washington and Brigham Young will be meeting for the seventh time ever this Saturday. It's the first meeting since the 1999 season, when the Dawgs traveled to Provo for a Thursday night game in former coach Rick Neuheisel's first game as the Husky head man. That 1999 game marked the fourth straight season that BYU and the UW played one another. The Huskies hold a 4-2 edge in the all-time series, which began in 1985, the year after the Cougars won the National Championship ahead of No. 2 Washington. In that first game (Sept. 14, 1985), the unranked Huskies fell to No. 16 BYU 31-3 in a game played at Cougar Stadium. The following year, the Huskies returned the favor at Husky Stadium. In that game (September 20, 1986), the Dawgs, ranked No. 7, handed the 11th-ranked Cougars a 52-21 loss. The Huskies re-opened the series with the Cougars on Sept. 14, 1996, when unranked Washington sacked BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian eight times and Rashaan Shehee rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-17 win over the 14th-ranked Cougars. The following season in Provo, No. 4 UW opened the schedule with a 42-20 win over No. 19 BYU. In 1998 at Husky Stadium, the No. 9-ranked Dawgs ran their win streak over BYU to four games with a 20-10 win over the unranked Cougars. Toure Butler had two returns for touchdowns to lead the Huskies - a 98-yarder on kickoff and a 35-yarder on an interception. In the most recent UW-BYU game, on Sept. 9, 1999, Cougars quarterback Kevin Feterik led the way in a 35-28 Brigham Young win. Feterik completed 39 of his 59 pass attempts for 500 yards and three touchdowns, the last of which (a 38-yarder to Chris Hale with just 1:16 on the clock) proved the game-winner. Hale, a freshman and son of then-BYU athletic director Val Hale, scored the winner with his first college reception. The Huskies were led by sophomore quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who threw for 237 yards on 22-of-36 passing while also running for two scores. His two rushing TDs both came in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 28-28, but on the final drive of the game, the UW fell short, advancing to the BYU 12-yard line before Tuiasosopo's pass on the game's final play went out of the endzone incomplete. Husky head coach Tyrone Willingham is 1-1 vs. BYU. His Notre Dame team beat the Cougars, 33-14, on Nov. 15, 2003, in South Bend and lost to BYU, 20-17, in the season opener the following season in Provo (Sept. 4, 2004).
Television: The Washington-Brigham Young will air live on to a national audience on FSN with Barry Tompkins, Petros Papadakis and John Jackson providing the commentary. Additionally, "Huskies All-Access" airs Thursday evening on FSN. The program is an up-close look at each Husky game, with features, one-on-one interviews and sideline video.
Radio: The Husky Sports Network, with its flagship station KJR 950-AM, will carry the live broadcast of every football game to three different states and British Columbia, Canada, on 21 different radio stations. Longtime play-by-play man Bob Rondeau and color analyst Chuck Nelson are joined by sideline reporter Elise Woodward. Many game broadcasts will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio on channel 194, 195 or 196 and can be heard over the internet via the Dawg Channel at gohuskies.com. Also, the UW-BYU game will air live nationwide on Westwood One Radio with Kevin Kugler and Terry Bowden on the call.
Washington-Brigham Young Ties: There's not crossover between the coaching staffs or the player rosters at the UW and BYU. Husky tight ends and special teams coach Brian White and Brigham Young offensive line coach Mark Weber were on the same staff as one another at UNLV in 1994. Also, Husky defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and BYU linebackers coach Barry Lamb spent three years together on Keith Gilbertson's coaching staff at Idaho from 1986-88. Additionally, Cougars quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman spent some time as a player with the 49ers when Husky offensive coordinator Tim Lappano was a member of Denns Erickson's staff. Brigham Young's current roster features three players from the state of Washington: freshman RB Jerry Bruner (Vancouver/Evergreen), freshman LB Spencer Hadley (Connell) and senior WR Bryce Mahuika (Vancouver/Evergreen). The Huskies have no players from those high schools. The UW roster includes only one player from Utah: redshirt-freshman LB Cort Dennison, who attended Judge Memorial High in Salt Lake City. No BYU players went to that high school. A few Huskies and Cougars attended the same high school or junior college. BYU DL Bernard Afutiti and Husky safety Jason Wells are both products of Mt. San Antonio College. Husky freshman C Mykenna Ikehara attended Kamehameha High in Oahu along with BYU's Kaneakua Friel (a year older), Travis Uale (a classmate of Ikehara) and R.J. Willing, a junior. BYU's roster also features one of only a few Division I players from the Big Island of Hawai'i in junior DL Ian Dulan, who attended Kamehameha-Hawai'i. Husky DE Kalani Aldrich is also a product of that Big-Island school and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (Hawai'i Prep) is another rare player from the Big Island.
Home Openers: The Huskies are 85-26-5 in home openers (whether the first game of the season or not), a percentage of .754. (Washington did not play any home games in the 1890 or 1893 seasons.) That mark includes a 28-game streak of home opener wins that ran from 1908 to 1935. Before falling to Air Force in the 1999 home opener, Washington had won 13 straight since falling to Oklahoma State on Sept. 7, 1985. Washington fell to Fresno State in the 2004 home opener, which was also the season opener, and lost to Cal in 2005 in the second game of the year, but first at home. Last year, the Dawgs beat Boise State, 24-10, in their home opener. In 2006, the Huskies beat San Jose State in the home (and season) opener, 35-29. The Huskies had posted wins over Indiana (2002) and San Jose State (2003) in other recent openers. In 2001, the Huskies opened vs. No. 10 Michigan, beating the Wolverines, 23-18, in a mild upset. Husky coach Tyrone Willingham holds a career record of 8-4-1 in home openers while at Stanford (3-3-1), Notre Dame (3-0) and UW (2-1). His teams have won six of his last seven home openers, beating Boise last year, SJSU in 2006, and losing to Cal in 2005 with the UW; while beating No. 8 Michigan in 2004, Washington State in 2003 and Purdue in 2002 while at Notre Dame; and Boston College in his final season at Stanford, 2001.
Open On The Road; Home In Week Two: In the vast majority of the 119 seasons of Husky football, the UW has opened the season with a home game, meaning that this year's season-opening scenario of a road game in the opener followed by a home game in week two is relatively uncommon. However, it has happened 18 times (including last season). On eight of those 18 occasions, the Huskies won the road game in week one, and in all eight of those cases, the UW won the following game at home. When the Huskies have lost on the road in the opener (as they had 10 prior times before last week), they've come back to go win five, lose three and tie two games the following week at home. Four of the last five times the Huskies have lost a season opener on the road and returned home the following week, they've won that second game: 1994 (lost at USC; beat Ohio State), 1996 (lost at Arizona State; beat BYU), 2002 (lost at Michigan; beat San Jose State), 2003 (lost at Ohio State; beat Indiana).
Huskies vs. The Mountain West: Washington has played six of the nine teams that currently make up the Mountain West Conference. The Huskies have never played Colorado State, New Mexico or UNLV. Against those six teams, the Huskies have compiled a combined record of 17-8. Broken down, that's 2-6 vs. Air Force; 4-2 vs. BYU; 2-0 vs. San Diego State; 1-0 vs. Texas Christian; 6-0 vs. Utah; and 2-0 vs. Wyoming. The Huskies' most recent meeting vs. a Mountain West team was a 20-17 loss to Air Force in the 2005 season opener, played at Qwest Field (officially, that was an Air Force home game). The last time a MWC team came to Husky Stadium was 2002, when the Dawgs beat Wyoming, 38-7.
Playing The Freshmen: A total of eight true freshman saw action in the Huskies' season opener at Oregon: Devin Aguilar, Jermaine Kearse, Senio Kelemete, Kavario Middleton, Chris Polk, Jordan Polk, Alameda Ta'amu, Everrette Thompson. That surpasss the total of seven that saw action in the 2007 season. In 2006, only two true freshmen played. In the Oregon game, two freshman (C. Polk at tailback and Middleton at tight end) started the game. Additionally, Jordan Polk was on the field for the start of the game as a kickoff returner and Kelemete was listed as a starter, but the UW opened in a nickel defense, so he wasn't on the field for the first play and therefore did not officially start the game.
Captains: Washington does not have season-long captains as Coach Tyrone Willingham will name game captains each week. Each game's set of captains are informed of the honor the Friday night before each game and revealed to the fans, etc., when those four designated players take the field for the coin flip prior to each game. Here are this year's game captains:
Oregon: Donald Butler, Juan Garcia, Jake Locker, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim
Only the Big Boys: As of last season, Washington is one of just five NCAA Division I-A programs that has never faced a non-Division I-A opponent since the current division setup was established in 1978 (the division's names have undergone a change this year, but the setup is still the same). Both Michigan and Ohio State fell of the club as the Wolverines opened last season with Appalachian State and the Buckeyes vs. Youngstown State, both on the same day. The five schools that have yet to play a non-Division I-A opponent since the advent of the current format are Michigan State, Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and Washington.
The 100-Yard Factor: Since the 1947 season, Washington is 166-45-3 (.783) when a Husky player rushes for 100 yards in a game. The Huskies went 3-1 in such games in 2003, 1-1 in 2004, 2-3 in 2005, 2-1 in 2006 and 3-4 in 2007. In last year's season-opener at Syracuse, tailback Louis Rankin rushed for 147 yards in a 42-12 Husky win. Rankin had 255 in a win at Stanford and both Rankin and Brandon Johnson went over 100 in the win over Cal. However, the Huskies lost to Ohio State, Arizona and WSU despite 102, 157 and 103 yards, respectively, from Jake Locker, and lost at Hawaii despite 145 from Rankin.
History Lesson: Successfully rushing the football and winning go hand-in-hand for the Huskies. Since 1990, UW has rushed for 200 yards in a game 71 times. The Huskies' record stands at 59-11-1 (.838) in those contests. Since the 1995 season, Washington is 34-8-1 (.802) when rushing for 200 yards. The UW was 3-3 in such games last year (wins vs. Syracuse, Stanford and Cal; losses to Arizona, WSU, Hawaii).
Playing at Home: Washington has gone unbeaten at home 13 times in its history, including six times in the last 19 seasons. Washington has won 79 of its last 113 (.704) games at Husky Stadium with one tie (79-33-1). Since 1980, the Huskies stand 127-44-2 (.740) at home. Since 1990, the Huskies are 49-25-1 (.660) at Husky Stadium vs. Pac-10 opponents.
Historic Husky Stadium: The 2008 season marks the 89th season of play in Husky Stadium. Original construction on the facility was completed in 1920 when Washington played one game in the new campus facility. Thanks to several major renovations, Husky Stadium's seating capacity has increased to its current total of 72,500. UW's all-time record in Husky Stadium currently stands at 344-156-21 (.680).
Family Ties: As is the case with most seasons of Husky football, there are a number of players on the Washington football team related to either current or former Huskies. Linebacker Trenton Tuiasosopo is a first cousin of former Huskies Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo as well as older sister, Leslie, a standout Husky volleyball player and now an assistant coach for the UW volleyball team, and younger sister Ashley, a sophomore on the Husky softball team. Fullback Luke Kravitz' father Al, was a defensive end that lettered at the UW in 1970 and 1971. Fullback Paul Homer is a cousin, by marriage, of former Husky offensive lineman Aaron Dalan, who married former Washington women's basketball player Gena Pelz. Cornerback Matt Mosley is a cousin to former Husky Luther Carr. Outside linebacker Fred Wiggs is the younger brother of former Husky defensive lineman Sekou Wiggs and, freshmen Chris Polk and Jordan Polk are cousins. Lastly, freshmen Riley Gervais and Taylor Lappano are the sons of current Husky assistant coaches Steve Gervais and Tim Lapanno.
Young Wideouts: The UW's wide receiver corps this season features only one player (not counting tight ends or backs) who entered the season with a college reception and only four who had played in a college game. D'Andre Goodwin was the lone Husky to have caught a pass in a UW uniform prior to 2008, with six last season. Only he, Charles Hawkins and Tony Chidiac had seen game action as Huskies, while senior Chancellor Young played in 11 games and caught two passes as a true freshman at Duke in 2004.
Experience On The Line: While Washington is undoubtedly young in certain units this season, the offensive line is a particularly veteran group. In fact, the Husky offensive line entere the season with six players who started at least three games last year and four who started 10 or more in 2007. As a whole, entering the season, the Husky line had started a total of 75 games: Casey Bulyca, 11; Juan Garcia, 25; Cody Habben, 3; Ben Ossai, 21; Ryan Tolar, 12; Jordan White-Frisbee, 3 (not counting 8 starts as a DT in 2004). That number did not count tackle Nick Scott, a regular starter the last two seasons at Drake.