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Paul Silvi: Huskies Football Coach Jimmy Lake stokes rivalry with Oregon

KING 5 Sports Director Paul Silvi gives his take on UW's head football coach Jimmy Lake.

SEATTLE — For the first time all season, the state's big three football teams all won on the same weekend.

The Seahawks rolled the Jags, the 16-point underdog Cougars won at Arizona State and the Huskies rallied to beat Stanford.

I could wax on about each program (yes, Pete Carroll refers to his pro football team as a program). As much as I love what's going on at Washington State with interim head coach Jake Dickert, my eyes and ears draw me to the Huskies and their upcoming game against Oregon. 

Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake had one of those "shots fired" comments during Monday's press conference. Here was his response when asked if Oregon is much of a rival when it comes to recruiting. 

"The schools that we go against have academic prowess like the University of Washington, Notre Dame, Stanford, USC," Lake said. "So, I think that's made up and pumped up a lot in (the media's) world. In our world, we battle more academically prowess teams."

In other words, Jimmy could have just answered "no."  Instead, he stuck it to the Ducks and their fans.

And I love it. 

I'd love it even more if Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal fired back at Lake and the University of Washington - you know, something to stoke the rivalry.

The matchup already has a little something extra this season, considering the Huskies won the Pac-12 North last year during a mini-season, yet the second-place Ducks got to play in the Pac-12 championship game because of UW's COVID issues. The Huskies did the heavy lifting, while the Ducks said, "Thank you very much, we'll take it from here."

Jimmy Lake is a likable guy. In our business, we love a well-spoken coach with charisma. A coach who can give us a variety of 15-second sound bites. A coach who has an uncanny ability to describe his team using age-old boxing analogies like he just coined them. 

I'd much rather edit a Lake soundbite than face the agonizing assignment of grinding through a Nick Rolovich press conference, trying to find at least 10 seconds of something that made him sound remotely interested in what was going on.

In his first full season as head coach at Washington, Lake would likely admit he's learning something new every day. He waited over 20 years to get his first head coaching gig, so there's bound to be some lessons. 

What I saw Saturday night against Stanford not only surprised me, but really impressed me. The Huskies trailed Stanford by one point with 26 seconds left in the game. The Dawgs had the ball at Stanford's 20-yard line. All they had to do was kick a field goal, take the lead, and likely win the game. Their kicker, Peyton Henry, had already made four-straight field goals in the game and this would have been a very makeable 37-yarder. 

Instead, Lake put the ball in the hands of quarterback Dylan Morris and went for the touchdown. We were watching the game in the sports department, somewhat bewildered at the decision - until Morris threw a perfect pass to Jalen McMillan in the endzone for the game-winner.

I tell ya, Jimmy - that showed some ba...well, cajones.

Here's a program whose only two conference wins came against Cal in overtime and a winless Arizona team.

Kick a field goal, take the win.

Not this time.

Lake sent a tremendous message to his players, especially his young and, at times, maligned quarterback. He believed Morris could win the game and the kid went out and did it.

I'm not sure what kind of sustained success Lake will have at Washington, but when he shows up at a recruit's house, I get the feeling he'll not only say the right things, but when that kid goes to Washington, Lake will do the right things.

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