Bellotti, Willingham make debut Saturday

By Arlie Rahn

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It would be an understatement to say the Pacific 10 Conferenceıs two newest coaches have some big shoes to fill.

But that doesnıt mean Oregonıs Mike Bellotti and Stanfordıs Tyrone Willingham wonıt try their hardest to fill them.

Bellotti, who served six years as the Ducksı offensive coordinator, took over the head job when 1994 Pac-10 coach of the year Rich Brooks was hired to coach the St. Louis Rams. This marks the second Pac-10 coach the Rams organization has claimed in the last 10 years. (Southern Calıs John Robinson left the Trojans to coach the Los Angeles Rams in 1982, then returned to USC in ı93.)

Bellotti is entering a program that has achieved its best season in almost four decades ‹ the Ducks went to the Rose Bowl last season, their first in 37 years ‹ and therefore is content to stay with what has worked.

³I told our new coaching staff when we came in, itıs not like we will have to fix something thatıs broke,² Bellotti said. ³All we really have to do is fine tune it.²

Willingham, who served as an assistant for Dennis Green both at Stanford (1989-91) and with the Minnesota Vikings (1992-94), takes over the position vacated by Bill Walsh. But he inherits a program that is moving in the opposite direction as Bellottiıs. After finishing second in the conference in 1992, Stanford has dropped to seventh the last two years and is rated by many to finish last this season.

With that in mind, Willingham reverting to the grass roots of college football.

³I want our players to develop a physical approach to football,² he said. ³This not only includes a defense that flies to the ball, but a total team that has excellent pursuit.²

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While many teams use their season opener as almost a preseason ‹ scheduling doormat teams to beat up on ‹ three Pac-10 schools are not wasting any time before getting into the big games.

Saturdayıs Pac-10 showdown between Arizona State and Washington will mark the first game in two years the Huskies will play a game that has a bearing on their postseason plans. And for Washington coach Jim Lambright, it is about time.

³Iım just happy to be out of jail,² he said about the end of the programıs two-year suspension from postseason play and television appearances. ³We feel that this year is a new start for us and a chance to leave the the last couple of years behind us.²

Also, UCLA will face No. 10 Miami on Saturday. The last time the teams met was New Yearıs Day in 1985 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Bruins, led by quarterback Steve Bonoıs 243 yards passing , defeated Miami 39-37.

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The Pac-10 signed agreements with the Cotton, Plymouth Holiday, Sun and Jeep Eagle Aloha bowls this season to assure that four of the leagueıs teams will be in postseason play (assuming that they all win the NCAA-mandated six games against Division I-A opponents). This agreement will in no way affect the current contract the Pac-10 has in sending the conference champion to the Rose Bowl. It states that a second conference team (not necessarily the second-place team) will go to either the Cotton or Holiday Bowl, a third to the Sun Bowl and a fourth to the Aloha Bowl.

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