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Montlake Musings & Getting Ready for BYU

CRN’s Monday night debut sent shockwaves around the nation. It got everyone’s attention in college football. Reactions have been pouring in from coast to coast. The chatter noted by norcald503 is pretty amusing. The reactions that have been most interesting and compelling to me though are the ones I have been reading out of Seattle. Specifically CRN’s first win as the UCLA head coach generated some amazing reactions around Montlake. I will share few examples and we can discuss whether they mean something with only one game in the season.

Keep in mind our win on Monday night came within 48 hours of Oregon’s total demolition of Washington, which John Berkowitz at Washington Husky Sports (that now has joined up SBN as UW Dawg Pound) called out as “the type of game that ends coaching careers” in a post entitled “Signature Tyrone Willingham.”

So with that in the background let’s review some of the reactions to Monday night’s Bruin fireworks at the Rose Bowl under CRN. Again from John B in a post titled “Good to back at UCLA Baby”:


Never bet against a Rick Neuheisel coached team. He knows how to get his team prepared and up for a big game.

Same point was echoed by Bud Withers from the Seattle Times, one of CRN’s toughest critics during his time at Montlake:

You talk about a hot-button guy in Seattle, Neuheisel is it. Whether you love him or despise him, give him this: Few coaches are better at massaging a team's psyche and helping it find a way to the winner's circle.

I scorned him as a coach five years ago, somebody who fell into the wondrous Marques Tuiasosopo, whom he had recruited for Colorado to be a defensive back. Then there are all the questions about his predilection for skill rather than nasty in recruiting.

But he helped engineer 15 fourth-quarter comeback wins at Washington, and tacked another pelt onto his wall against the Vols. Combine that knack for timing — delivering a line, if you will — with the wizardry of coordinators Norm Chow and DeWayne Walker, and you could almost hear some coughing and squirming at other Pac-10 sites.

The reactions from the message boards at were predictably more raw, visceral and intense in support of their former head coach. They were LIT UP during and following our games with posts in support and wistful of CRN.  skcdawg in long thread discussion how Huskies “haven’t felt this good after a football game”:

[T]hat was college football, that was electric Pac-10 football... That was RN getting it done and I for one couldn't help but root for the guy--despite his UW "sins" and legendary "slickness".

From the same thread, WashingtonBobcat:

Good for Rick. I know I am probably in the minority here but I am still a fan of Ricky Neu and hopes he does well for himself down there. I agree with the poster above also, he will have UCLA in a rose bowl in 2 or 3 years. It was nice being able to get excited about a game again.

And Matdawg08:

Started out hoping for a good showing for the pac-10. Ended with me rooting vigorously, yelling at my tv, and just overall emotionally charged for a UCLA victory.

It felt like I was watching a REAL Dawg game for the first time in years.

During the shellacking on saturday I hardly yelled or cared. Just sat in silence, depressed, yet not stunned in the least by the outcome.

Thanks Rick for giving me some joy this kickoff weekend.

There was more. UW Gary on how CRN “Finds a way to win in the end”:

Seems like the more things change, the more they stay the same - a Rick Neuheisel team "finds a way" to get the job done in the end.  I think back to all the comebacks in 2000, and the 2002 Apple Cup to name a few.  Do you remember once upon a time back during our last winning season when half time adjustments were the norm, and it seemed like the 4th quarter was ours if it was close? 

I miss Rick's 33-16 record of winning football, I can't help but wonder how much better off we'd be today as a program if Neuheisel was still our coach.  Like him or no, the bottom line is that we haven't seen winning Husky football since he left.

There was this observation from dawgcw on UCLA’s game plan:

Their inexperienced offense is running screens, running draw plays, mixing up runs inside and outside the tackles. I never thought I would say this, but I miss Skippy. They are playing inspired offense and defense. We played a rival for christ's sake and looked like we were playing Idaho. This pisses me off because I miss watching this type of football. I dread every time our defense comes out. I think if we force a punt we are lucky. Why do we see Stanford and UCLA plyaing inspired football so soon into their rebuilding and we get 4 years of crap? God I get more angry about this the more I think of it.

And I will end it with this note from TMacDawg:

Funny when you play "relentlessly" how the luck tends to bounce your way.

Great debut for Rick Neuheisel!

I'm crying in my beer.

There are lots more in those forums that are currently in total meltdown mode. Honestly, when I was reading those posts my stomach was all tied up in knots because it reminded me of the emotions we had experienced collectively following UCLA football in last few years. After going through what we have been experiencing last few years, I would never wish that on any fanbase, no matter how hated and despised they are.

I don’t know if these posts from (which in my understanding is one of the largest college sports online communities in the counties) and prolific bloggers such as John B represent the current sentiment of the Husky fans. I am assuming notwithstanding these reactions, there are still tons of Husky fans who are not as hyper informed and engaged as the ones connected via blogs and message boards, who maintain Seattle’s traditional media generated view on CRN. But still … it is really interesting to read some of these reactions from the Husky fans. I was frankly somewhat taken aback by reading all the outpouring of pro Neuheisel posts from Huskies fans. Again the emotions pouring out in those posts were very similar to what we had experienced last few years in BN. I have no idea how that drama will be resolved up North. But for whatever its worth, I am rooting for them so that it works out with or without TY.

I remember at that time there were bitter relationships between UDub and CU fans. From what I have read so far, I am hopeful that history is not going to repeat in the interactions between UCLA and UDub fans. I have always had the highest of respect for Washington program going back to the Don James era, and was envious when they were able to bring in CRN from CU.

Now … bringing up this topic is perfect … in terms of getting ready for our next opponent. Conveniently for us Huskies are playing BYU Cougars this weekend in another pivotal game for Tyrone Willingham. This game will provide us with the perfect opportunity to learn more about a well coached Cougars team. We already have lot of notes from our two meetings against them from last year. However, I think those guys will be a tougher challenge (IMHO) than Tennessee Volunteers this season, especially at their home stadium. It’s a game we all need to keep an eye on this Saturday and will try to track as much as we can, heading into our next game week against BYU.