Wednesday, October 18, 2006

San Jose Mercury News: Willingham, Huskies Rediscovering Success

By Jon Wilner

Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham inadvertently drew chuckles before the season when he pronounced the Huskies a bowl-caliber team.  Apparently, Willingham did not care that they had been picked to finish last in the Pacific-10 Conference. Or that they won two games last season and one game the season before that. Or that the roster was virtually devoid of high-end talent. ``The difference this year,'' he said Tuesday when asked to explain his preseason pronouncement, ``was our team believes a little more in the things Coach Willingham was saying.

``And I looked at the conference. You don't have to have the most talent to be successful, but if you play as a team, if you eliminate mistakes, don't beat yourself, then you have a great chance. I thought we did before the season, and I think we have a great opportunity now.'' After four wins and a controversial loss at USC, the Huskies were, in fact, bowl-bound -- and Willingham was stalking his third Pacific-10 Conference coach of the year award. Their prospects were waylaid Saturday when they lost to Oregon State and their quarterback, Isaiah Stanback, suffered a season-ending foot injury. But how Washington fares Saturday at Cal, and down the stretch, is in some ways irrelevant. The Huskies (4-3) weren't supposed to be competitive this season. The thinking in Seattle was that Willingham needed three or four years to get the program turned around -- not 1 1/2. It's just that no one told the man in charge.

Read the entire article here.

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