Angry Huskies look to smack Cardinal around

The Huskies have tried confident this year. As in, “We can win every game we play. We can compete for a Pac-10 title.”

They’ve tried resilient. As in, “We can bounce back from these losses and have a good season.”

The Huskies have tried inquisitive. As in, “We need to find answers and start winning.”

Now, the Huskies are trying something different.

They’re trying angry. As in “What it comes down to is how bad everybody wants to finish this out. It’s a gut check about what you want to do after being socked in the mouth over and over. Are you just going to stand there and take it, or are you actually going to do something about it.”

That last quote came from Trenton Tuiasosopo on Monday, when the usually soft spoken linebacker from Mariner High School expressed the anger that seems to be growing on this team.

To which Husky fans should be saying: Good. It’s about darn time (feel free to replace darn with a less-newspaper friendly word if you so desire). If a five-game losing streak to some of the nation’s top teams wasn’t enough to get players fired up, then an embarrassing home loss to Arizona seems to have done the trick.

“We’ve just got to play angry man,” said cornerback Byron Davenport, who will be fueled by a double dose of anger having been benched in the first quarter last week. “It’s to a point now where it’s just like, what else can we do? We can have meetings and stuff and say we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do that. But I’m tired of all that stuff. We know what we’ve got to do, we’ve just got to go out there and just do it. It’s not like we’re going out there and laying down for people, we’ve just got to go out there and finish these games off. It’s frustrating. We’ve got to go out there and smack these guys in the mouth.”

So there you have it Stanford, watch your mouths this weekend because the Huskies sound poised to do some socking and or smacking Saturday. This game could set up nicely for Washington to let out a season’s worth of pent up anger on the Cardinal (then again, you could have said the same thing last week, and we all know how that turned out).

And what better team to take your anger out on, Huskies, than a Stanford team that embarrassed you at home last year. Remember, Huskies, the 0-9 Cardinal team that came in looking hopeless, only to fly back home smiling with a 20-3 win. So go ahead, Huskies, be angry about last year. Be angry about this year. Your coach wouldn’t mind.

“I think it’s a good term,” Tyrone Willingham said. “I’m not opposed to them being angry. But the whole key is, we’ve got to just continue to work towards a level of excellence, and just striving to be absolutely the best we can and just finish the deal. That’s the big thing for us, just finish it. I think we’ve knocked the door long enough, now let’s kick the sucker in.”

Or maybe they can sock the door in the mouth. Either way, a little bit more anger can’t be a bad thing for a team on a six-game losing streak.

Asked if the Huskies needed to pay the Cardinal back for last year’s loss, Louis Rankin gave an appropriate answer for a struggling team.

“We feel like we’ve got to pay every team back,” he said.

Even the head coach on the hot seat, the one sitting on a chair that started the year warm, cooled off after a 2-0 start and has been heating up rapidly each week as Washington’s losing streak grows, even the usually reserved Willingham showed more emotion than usual ending a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“There has been no time in my career for one reason or another that the heat hasn’t been on Tyrone Willingham,” said Willingham, speaking with more passion than he usually shows the media. “When I took the job at Stanford, the heat was on. When I took the job at Notre Dame, the heat was on. Here, the heat is on. The only thing that solves any of those problems is just winning football games. We are a football team that is very close to doing that an awful lot. No matter how you cut it, no matter what you look at, what statistic you look at, this football team has played good football. Now we might not have played it long enough to win particular ballgames, but we’ve played good football. And we’ve got to shore up all those areas where we’re weak at, and we’ll do a lot of winning.”

With that, he slapped his hand on the table, gave a little smile, and ended the press conference.

Anger. It just might be what these Huskies need.

Contact Herald Writer John Boyle at jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more on University of Washington sports, check out the Huskies blog at heraldnet.com /huskiesblog

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