|Comments on ASU/UW game
|UW 21 ASU 15, October 14, 2000, Tempe, Arizona
|Arnolds army, hunkered down
Before Paul Arnold committed to Washington, he tripped to UCLA, over a weekend when the Santa Ana winds were blowing. After the trip, Arnold said his heart was in Los Angeles. Since the devil winds can warm the cockles of your heart in the fall and winter months, I thought he was headed south.
Paul Arnold came out of Kennedy High School (Seattle) carrying press clippings that perhaps were a tad too heavy. The Sporting News rated him the number 5 back in the nation and the 15th best player overall. PrepStar rated him the number 1 running back in the Western Region. Hed run the 100 meters in 10.6 seconds, the 200 in 21.8 seconds, and the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds. He was elected student body Treasurer. His accolades went on and on, too numerous to mention.
Along with other fans I was delighted he chose Washington. I became a member of Paul Arnolds army, and I say that with all due respect to Arnold Palmer. I am a member of his army, too.
But right now a pawl is hanging over our heads. We, the members of Paul Arnolds army, are hunkered down as the slings, arrows and criticisms are hurled at him.
Ive got some egg on my face, an arrow in my back. After their stunning performances against Oregon State, I called Rich Alexis and Paul Arnold the A-team, a tandem that would take some pressure off of Marques Tuiasosopo. Against Arizona State, one half of the A-team imploded, the other half exploded. Former Husky quarterback Hugh Millen wrote in his Monday morning quarterback column (Seattle P-I, 16 October), "Somebody etch this commandment on a stone tablet and give it to (Wayne) Moses: Thou shalt keepeth Rich Alexis in thy ballgame."
Some of Arnolds army has gone AWOL, not doubt about it. What can he do to redress his apparent shortcomings? Hang on to the ball, attack the middle more vigorously, be the target of more passes? I can opine more, but Im not coaching the Dawgs.
The coach said that because of minor injuries Arnold didnt have a whole week to prepare for Arizona State, that maybe he shouldnt have started. He ran for 22 yards on 5 carries, and didnt catch a pass. He fumbled twice. He played a lousy game. He received a stinger after throwing a perfect block, a no win situation.
Other than Alexis electrifying run, the offense played abysmally. The defense rescued them, a payback owed, in arrears one week. Yes, Marques Tuiasosopo didnt give the game away, but a senior quarterback is supposed to do that on the road, not give the game away.
As for Paul, one week up, one week down. Whats wrong with him? Ill offer an opinion.
In a perfect world, he would have redshirted in 1999. Another year of physical preparation seemed necessary. You want to savor a perfect diamond before you cut it up and put it to use.
This is not a criticism of the coaches. Paul Arnolds speed was sorely needed last year. Partly due to the sanctions, the Huskies had a dearth of tailbacks. His long runs against the Air Force and Washington State were spectacular, his run against the Cougars putting the game away. But in other games, he was criticized for some apathetic looking runs and blocks.
Then theres the mental aspect. Considering all the notoriety, how would Arnold have reacted to a redshirt year? Mentally, it would have been a bitter pill to swallow. It just couldnt have happened, at least not in his backyard.
Life isnt fair. Because of his youth, hell likely run hot and cold the rest of the season. This young man is a Jeckyl and Hyde at this stage in his career. One week hes the center of a Horatio Alger story, the next hes auditioning for the part of Othello. He was Pac-10 player of the week before the defensive tempest in Tempe.
I think hell have an outstanding junior year and perform more consistently. He has too much speed and size not to be a good one. And, yes, he reminds a lot of people of O.J. Simpson. But the Juice spent some time at the J.C. level preparing for the pack.
In a pass-catching role, he might blossom sooner rather than later. That might be necessary because of Rich Alexis performance thus far. Its a possibility.
Nevertheless, I hope they keep the A-team intact, with Arnold starting at tailback. Am I still a private serving in Arnolds army? You bet I am, and Im not going AWOL.