Road to 1991 Perfection: Tormey Appreciated Nebraska Win — He was Born in Omaha

Dan Raley

Chris Tormey knows his way around the Canadian Football League. He's been traveling up and down the Trans-Canada Highway in recent years, answering repeated requests to fill coaching vacancies.

Since 2015, he's joined the pro football staffs as an assistant coach for the Montreal Alouettes, the B.C. Lions, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and currently the Ottawa Redblacks. He's so well-connected, people regularly seek him out.

"It's really high-level football," Tormey said. "Really good quality play. Lots of good players. It kind of like the bubble guys for the NFL. Lots of fluidity back and forth between the two leagues. Really good coaches."

Tormey, of course, was a long-term fixture for University of Washington football, spending 16 of his 42 coaching seasons as an assistant working for four different leaders in Don James, Jim Lambright, Keith Gilbertson and Ty Willingham.

So it's no surprise this eventual University of Nevada and University of Idaho head coach would turn up on the sidelines and share in the Washington-Nebraska football game on Sept. 21, 1991.

Hey, Tormey was born in Omaha. He's still got family there.

He understood the significance as well as anyone of the fourth-ranked Huskies coming in and muscling their way past No. 9 Nebraska for a 36-21 victory at 76,034-seat Memorial Stadium in a crazy environment. After all on game day, the place becomes the state's third-largest city.

"To go back there and to play in that stadium, and to do what we did in the second half against that team, and that was a great team, was tremendous," Tormey said. 

He recalled the halftime discussion, where no one panicked after falling behind 14-6 at halftime and 21-16 after three quarters. He credited offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson with getting the Cornhuskers off balance with his play-calling, especially the draw play. 

And Tormey vividly remembers Husky All-American defensive tackle Steve Emtman absolutely destroying a screen play after first engaging with the Nebraska offensive line.

"I remember him knocking that guard back and the ball was thrown and there was a burst," Tormey said. "Flat down the line of scrimmage, from the middle of the field to the sideline, he was flying and he made that play on their screen. That guy, I can't say enough of what he did for our football team."

This is another in a series of articles and videos that will replay the UW's 1991 national championship season, which is the apex of Husky football. We don't have a 2020 season yet, so we'll use '91 as a conversation piece.

Tormey discusses his deep involvement with the Canadian Football League in this video.

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2
AimeeAllen
AimeeAllen

-I HATE THE WORD APEX-
91 isn't really any kind of apex to be true(as oh we had other national championships up to that point that we earned) to me as we have always been a legitimate program (outside the Willingham years). And the AP and UP coaches always were unfavourable versus The Huskies.... For a small short example, try the i think the 60' NATTY that who they Minnesota gave back how many years ago to UW?! Because AP writers already as declared Minnesota champ before all games were over. Writers are no different today.Sportswriters are gutless.

Dan Raley
Dan Raley

Editor

Aimee, I am no longer at the apex of my career so my word choices are possibly second-string at times. I'm just trying not to get waived.


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