Canzano: Oregon-Washington rivalry... in their words
Players and coaches tell the story.
I’ve covered the Oregon-Washington football rivalry for more than two decades. Over the years, I’ve interviewed a variety of former athletes, administrators and coaches about their roles in the series.
The rivals first played in 1900 — a 43-0 Oregon victory in Eugene. They’ve now met 114 times in the series, with the Huskies holding 61-48 advantage. There have been five ties. On Saturday in Seattle, Oregon and Washington play amid the highest stakes ever.
Two undefeated teams.
Both ranked in the Top 10.
This week, I dug up dozens of my recorded interviews. Among them, former Oregon head coaches Rich Brooks and Mike Bellotti, ex-UO defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti and former Washington head coaches Chris Petersen, Steve Sarkisian and Rick Neuheisel.
I also re-listened to my 1-on-1’s with former Husky quarterback Damon Huard and Ducks’ defensive back Kenny Wheaton — rival players forever linked by “The Pick.”
The Oregon-Washington rivalry in their words here:
Rich Brooks (Oregon Ducks head coach 1977-94):
I don’t know if you know there was an old rule between the four northwest schools. The ADs had a gentleman’s agreement that they wouldn’t travel by plane. They’d agreed to travel by bus. That worked fine and dandy until Washington coach Don James was bringing a team down to Oregon in the 1980s.
We’d just put in new Omniturf. I remember this very well. We were watering the sand in. We were watering the field when he came out for pre-game warmup and we had the sprinklers on. Don saw it and went nuts. He thought we were trying to make it slick. We were just trying to keep the sand from getting in the player’s uniforms.
On the same bus trip, somewhere up above Longview, Wash. the Huskies pulled their two team buses into a rest stop. Don James was on the first Washington bus and the second team bus had passed him.
Don James instructed the bus driver to pull over and contacted the other bus and ordered it to pull over too. He proceeded to chew out the bus driver and tell him: “You never, ever, ever let the second bus pass the first bus — ever!”