A couple of weeks ago when me and some of my cohorts decided to hit up a husky football practice, we took a visit to the team shop afterwards. While exploring the clearance rack(since I’m broke and everything) I stumbled across a t-shirt describing the ‘Bark heard round the world.’ Of course it was referring to the 16-13 upset over then #3 USC, which of course meant Husky football was back, right?
USC stumbled to 8-4 and the Emerald Bowl, disappointing by their standards, while Washington missed out on a bowl by a game.
The bark had died down a bit.
Then there’s last Friday.
To understand the significance of this day, we need to first reflect on the state of our two beloved major Husky athletic programs.
The football team has been the definition of mediocre, having their best season since 2003 just this past year, going 5-7. This is considered a successful season, based on the past four under Tyrone Willingham, which tells you all you need to know about Husky football.
The basketball program has been much better. Lorenzo Romar has accomplish five NCAA Tournaments, three Sweet 16 berths, two pac-10 tournament, and one regular season Pac-10 championships. And there is that number one seed.
But, with the least bit of success, us Seattle sports fan always yearn for more, and yearn for levels of success that are quite frankly, unprecedented and uncharted territory for us.
On Friday, we got more.
Infront of thousands of fans watching a live broadcast, Terrance Jones gave Seattle what it wanted.
A chance to be elite.
Joining his team mate and child hood friend, Terrance Ross, who is already an elite prospect himself, Jones gave Washington a class that can propel the already Pac-10 favorites, to a potential Final Four favorite. He chose the Huskies over John Calipari and Kentucky, who will have at least two freshman picked in the lottery of next months NBA draft.
Me and fellow NASORB blogger Casey ‘McLain’ have gotten into our fair share of verbal joustings about Lorenzo Romar, his recruiting, the expectations of Washington basketball, and really dissecting the job he has done at the school. I wouldn’t say Casey is not in support of Romar, but he’s more critical, and takes his recruiting victories more with a grain of salt. Were Brockman, Hawes, Roy, or Gaddy really victories, or did they fall into his lap? Casey already knows my response to these points, but they are fair points to bring up none the less.
Romar himself answered this kind of speculation on friday. By landing Jones’ team mate Terrance Ross, Romar was able to dip out of state, and grab a kid who was coveted by Oklahoma, Kentucky and Kansas just to name a few, and convince him that Washington was the place to be. And that’s the point that Romar brought up during his press conference on Monday. Calling this team his “Third generation,” no longer when a kid picks Washington is it just “Oh, he’s going to Washington? Why?”
Instead, it’s, “Oh, He’s going to Washington? That’s a good school.”
Of course, we have the whole issue with Terrance Jones having an unsigned Letter of Intent, and the phone call that John Calipari placed to Jones afterwards to stir up the kids emotions, and potentially make him drag out his decision even more, and it seems like that is what Jones is doing.
And, to jump off the Lorenzo Romar high horse, Jones’ decision was at the last minute, and based on interviews I’ve heard from the kid he made the UW choice because of Terrance Ross and desire to play with him since the 8th grade. Proximity also played a role. But let’s also be real here, Washington isn’t the program it was seven or eight years ago. It’s realistic for a one and done player to come to an already good program, and have the exposure, coaching, and experience of winning he would feel he needed before making the NBA jump, and Romar has no qualms about being a rent-a-program every once and a while.
A fourth trip to the Sweet 16 in the last seven years seems like an almost guarantee with Jones, with an even better chance of getting over that hump and potentially to the Final Four.
Indeed, if and when Jones finalizes this dramatic saga by signing on the dotted line, Washington will be ready to take off.
Now, taking a trip north from the Jefferson High gym in Portland that made so many Husky faithful happy, we go up I-5 to Seattle, where there was yet another gathering of happy Husky faithful, the much more optimistic bunch, who congregated for the Football spring game.
‘Friday night lights’ it was dubbed. A nifty idea from Sark, a night spring game on Friday night. And boy, did I love it. Why? Because I didn’t have the miss the NFL draft like I did for the last two years. But oh, believe me, this doesn’t come with it’s headaches. The traffic that created a two hour car ride from Auburn to Seattle sure was fun, all for 30 minutes of beer pong at the tailgate and an hour and a half of rain soaked, defense oriented, boring football. Nick Montana’s white team triumphed over the Jake Locker/Keith Price led purple team, 14-13, and it was the last two minutes that made Dawg fans leave the stadium all giddy with excitement.
So, you’ve all seen the whole, Joe Montana to Dwight Clark game winning drive against Dallas, right? Or when Joe the Great crushed the hearts of Bengal fans everywhere(which I think is just Ohio) when he hit John Taylor with 39 seconds left to give the Niners the win in Super Bowl XXIII.
While not quite as glamarous the stage as his daddy, Nick gave Husky fans a glimpse of the greatness that comes with the name he’ll be wearing on the back of his jersey in the fall. Nick led an 80 yard touchdown drive in the two minute drill, which included a fourth down conversion in his own territory to keep the drive alive. His supporting cast wasn’t exactly Dwight Clark or Jerry Rice either. Instead, walk on William Chanlder and converted QB Luther Leonard were his stars. But, it was good enough to cap it off with a two yard TD toss to Leonard for the win.
Let’s not all get excited and book advance trips to Pasadena in anticipation of the Montana era, but why shouldn’t we be excited about him? Yeah, yeah, it was just a Spring game. But I’ve watched Montana during the spring, and while there’s obviously things the kid needs to work on during his (hopefully) redshirt year such as getting physically stronger and being able to diagnose pressure specifically, this kid was bred for football, has the guts and straight up raw talent to succeed on this level and he displayed that during the Spring game. Montana is bred for the offense that Sarkisian will run, and if he brings the uncoachable intangibles to the position? Don’t get me started.
You can say I’m over reacting. But also processing the fact that this program has improved dramatically over the course of a year, and taking a look at the talent that Sarkisian is continuing to bring in, is it far fetched to think this team will compete for a Rose Bowl in the latter stages of Montana’s husky career?
Perhaps. But this is the Sark Attack, and we have the Savior 2.0. And on April 30th we got a glimpse of the future.
Just as Terrance Jones announced on the 30th he was going to be a part of taking Husky hoops to the next level, Nick Montana demonstrated how he will take Husky football to the next level.
I wonder what’s in store for us for the next Husky Holiday.