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October 16, 2006In a single play, the entire scope of a team's season can change. One play can end national title aspirations or crush bowl dreams. One play can mean that the face of a program, the one player that a team is built around, could find himself sitting on the sidelines for the rest of the year with a cast around his foot.
Just that kind of play occurred in last Saturday's loss to Oregon State. Isaiah Stanback went down with what is being called an arsometatarsal articulation of his right foot that will end his season, and effectively his career at the UW.
In his place, Carl Bonnell will find himself starting under center for the first time since 2004. Bonnell finished off last Saturday's game against the Beavers, throwing for ten yards in a failed comeback attempt.
Bonnell has 279 passing yards on 27 of 68 attempts in his career.
"I might as well start with the best," the junior said. "It's going to be a big challenge."
The Washington offense has been planned this season to emphasize the qualities that Stanback has that differ from other quarterbacks around the nation. Including designed running plays and deep routes, Tim Lappano and his staff wanted to take advantage of the all-world talents of their injured signal-caller.
While Bonnell is cannot run the 100-meters quite like Stanback, his game is actually very similar to what the senior can do.
"The joy of this year is having two guys that are similar in style," Coach Tyrone Willingham said.
The similarity between the two was actually taken into account when the offense was designed, with the coaching staff knowing that Bonnell could fit into the system pretty easily.
"Carl and Isaiah have pretty much the same attributes," guard Stanley Daniels said. "They both run 4.4 (in the forty-yard dash), both have cannons, and we know that [Bonnell] can do the same things."
Even though Bonnell did not play at all last season, being delegated to third on the depth chart behind Johnny DuRocher, Willingham is still confident in putting him into the starting role.
"I am pleased with his progress and he has started to get more comfortable," Willingham said. "He's making a better effort to get more involved with the offense."
As the unquestioned leader of the team thus far into the season, Stanback will have to be presence on the sidelines now rather than in the game now.
"His leadership will not disappear," Willingham said. "He'll be there pushing them. You miss his presence on the field, but someone has to find a way to step up."
Bonnell welcomes this opportunity to become a leader on offense himself.
"I have to get down there and get some points," he said. "That will get a lot of guys behind you."
Nonetheless, Bonnell has quite a task in front of him. He is not Stanback and he knows that.
"I don't know if you can fill Isaiah's shoes," he said.
Is there another Bush in the Pac-10?
For three years, the Pac-10 saw the presence of Reggie Bush as the most dynamic player in the country. He was exciting and could do things that no other players anywhere could accomplish.
Now, with Bush playing professionally in New Orleans, a new standout has stepped up to take the conference by storm. California's DeSean Jackson is a guy who can do many things well, using his 2.29 speed to spark a high-powered Golden Bear offense.
"He's been a big play guy," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "He is an explosive guy when he gets the ball on his hands."
On Saturday, it will be up to the Huskies to stop him.
"Nothing helps unless you can put 12 men on the field," Willingham said.
As just a sophomore, Jackson currently has 33 receptions for 582 yards and eight touchdowns. He is also a force to be reckoned with in the punt return game, finding the endzone twice.
He had a punt return touchdown against Oregon two weeks ago in which he reversed the field twice before scoring.
"There are not many guys that can do that," Willingham said of the play.