Tag Archives: Derek Johnson

PODCAST: Huskies Prove to be Road Warriors with win over Utah

The boys are back to analyze Washington’s 31-14 win over Utah last Saturday in Salt Lake City. Listen to the episode via iTunes or by visiting Mevio.


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Huskies are Back to “Putting on the Black Hat and Going into the Other Guy’s Back Yard”

A few years ago, when I was writing Husky Football in the Don James Era, I interviewed former Husky linebacker Dave Hoffmann. He said something that stuck with me. We were talking about a tough road game environment that the #1 rated Huskies faced at Arizona.It was a game Washington lost.

Hoffmann said:

What a freakin’ war. I hit my ass off that day. I always loved playing in the heat and on the grass. I also loved putting on the black hat and going into the other guy’s backyard. But we had won 22 games in a row., and we were going to have that winning streak snapped… We were ranked #1 in the nation, and we were going to lose that too. I knew that it was going to feel devastating. There was only a minute or so left, and I remember getting into my stance and waiting for the snap, feeling dehydrated and hot, and I took a moment there and thought… “I love this! I love this feeling I have right now. It’s being out here engaged in the fight and it’s what I love. I’m out here pouring everything I’ve got into a great fight, and I’m going to keep coming.” I’m sure all my teammates on the field felt the same way.

I thought about that quote yesterday as the final seconds ran out on Washington’s 31-14 victory over Utah. For so many seasons over the past decade, we’ve seen lethargic football and losing seasons, augmented by excuses coming from a fan base and UW athletic department that had tragically lowered its standards.

But here was a Husky team going on the road in a conference game and taking over in the second half. We haven’t seen this kind of thing in years. The Huskies kicked Utah’s butt all over the field. Quarterback Keith Price and tailback Chirs Polk are arguably the best run-pass combination in UW history, rivaling Hugh McElhenny and Don Heinrich from the late 1940s/early 1950s.

The psychological coaching job perpetrated by head coach Steve Sarkisian at half time yesterday was one for the ages. The unconventional method of loosening up Price and getting the team fired up really showed itself in the third quarter.

Price should benefit greatly from next week’s BYE, giving his aching knees and ankle a rest. And then the Huskies face woeful Colorado in a home game at Husky Stadium. Should Washington win that game, they will be 3-0 in the conference and 5-1 overall. They will certainly be ranked. And the season will be crackling will countless possibilities.

With remaining road games at Stanford, USC and Oregon State, the Dawgs will have three more chances to put on the black hats and go into the other guy’s back yard– with new found attitude and confidence.

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WAR ROOM PODCAST Episode #5: When a Man Loves a Football Team

The boys are back this week to dissect Washington’s win over Cal. Matt also chimes in with a disturbing tribute to the great Michael Bolton.

Click here to listen directly on Mevio. For iTunes, click the icon on the right side of the screen.

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ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and the Feminization of America

By Derek Johnson

As I type this it’s Saturday morning and I’ve got ESPN Game Day on the TV. I just turned the sound down, as they began their weekly Tom Rinaldi segment.  I’ve got some jazz on in the background now.

American society as we know it is being emasculated with each passing year, and ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi is a symptom of the cause.

Each Rinaldi segment features somebody that died from cancer, is dying from cancer, whose father died from a rare disease, some player that got run over by a tractor, or some other tragedy related to a player or coach from the college football landscape.

I’ve never liked Rinaldi but have never given it much thought. But as I was listening to a recent edition of the Husky Half Brains podcast, co-host Race Bannon pointed out how much he can’t stand the Rinaldi segments. He talked about how the only thing he wants to do on Saturdays is enjoy a day of watching college football. Do football fans need to be subjected to these formulaic tear-jerker stories week after week?

It really struck me this morning that I feel the same way. College football is one of the last bastions of masculinity in America. We get enough tragedy and misery as it is during the week in news reports found on TV and the internet.

Right now I just glanced at the screen again and the Rinaldi segment seems to be wrapping up. Some bearded middle-aged guy is sobbing and tears are running down his flushed cheeks. There’s no doubt that he probably has good reason to be sad, but that’s not the point.

The point is that context is everything. Running an occasional story telling of someone’s tragedy is fine. But weekly, formulaic segments that actively seek out and exploit tragedy is something that lacks integrity and doesn’t give people what they really need on a Saturday morning. It allows for “Oprah Moments” to seep into all areas of society, in a time when we need less examples of vulnerability and more examples of what it means to be a strong man.

Note to ESPN: Put an end the Rinaldi segments. Leave the Oprah Moments to the talk shows and news shows. Just give us college football.

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Nebraska Game Forces Matt Rogers to Dumpster Dive on the Ave; Dawgs set Sights on Cal

Washington’s second half meltdown against Nebraska leaves Derek feeling concerned and costs Matt everything he owns.

Lost wagers from Nebraska game left Matt Rogers to scramble for food. But both he and the Dawgs will bounce back!

But Kyle saves the day –and the podcast– with a list of positives backed with the strong conviction that this team will still make it to a bowl game.

Listen to the episode on Mevio or click the iTunes link on the right side of this page to listen to it on your MP3 player.


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Washington Football: Will Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt be the next Jim Lambright… or Kent Baer?

By Derek Johnson

It will be interesting to hear the reactions from Matt and Kyle after witnessing the Washington-Nebraska game. The 51-38 defeat had both positives and negatives in abundance. Quarterback Keith Price is an exciting young talent and it seems like the sky’s the limit for him. Chris Polk is such a hard runner and tremendous asset for this football team. Without Polk, the Huskies might be 0-3 right now, instead of 2-1. Wide receiver James Johnson re-emerged by accumulating 106 yards and 2 touchdowns in receptions.

But that defense, aye carumba. They entered the game ranked dead last in the NCAA for 3rd down efficiency. Today, they surrendered over 300 yards on the ground. Nebraska players and coaches mentioned how they sensed the Huskies defense getting tired and fatigued by halftime.

In today’s post game interview, defensive coordinator Nick Holt started to roll his players under the bus, before stopping himself and including himself in the criticisms.

These are themes we heard during the Willingham years of 2005-2008, with a defense led by quarterback Kent Baer. The Huskies would often play a competitive first half before collapsing the second. They would often surrender record-setting performances to opposing QBs and running backs. And both Willingham and Baer were infamous for blaming their players. When I interviewed Husky players for Bow Down to Willingham, they almost universally described how divisive that was to team morale.

On the plus side, the Husky defense was bringing the lumber against the Cornhuskers, with several hard hits on the ball carrier.

But there’s a feeling of uneasiness to this season. Chris Polk and Keith Price, if healthy, might be enough to get this team to 6-7 wins and a minor bowl. But any opponent with a competent, accurate quarterback, will likely slice this Husky D to shreds.

It’s now the third year that head coach Steve Sarkisian and his DC Nick Holt have been at Washington. If the defense is regressing, it begs the question: Will Holt’s legacy prove to be a success like former UW defensive coordinator Jim Lambright? Or will be go the way of the disgraced Kent Baer?

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PODCAST: Matt Rogers Bets his House that UW will Beat Nebraska

Matt Rogers takes no prisoners in predicting a Washington win over favored Nebraska. Not only that, he implies that Derek and Kyle are traitors to the cause for their predictions.

To listen to the latest show, click this link for Mevio version, or click the iTunes logo on the right side of the page for downloading to your MP3 player.

Go Dawgs!

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