Long-suffering UW fans deserve more from the coaches
Remember when Washington coach Steve Sarkisian proclaimed after last season's stirring upset of USC that rebuilding this moribund program wasn't going to take long? Breaking news: It's going to be a long time. In fact, the Huskies seem to be regressing.
Seattle Times staff columnist
Steve Sarkisian was supposed to change all of this quickly. He was supposed to restore order to Washington football. Make the Huskies players again on the national scene. Return pride to a program that was crumbling like its antiquated stadium.
Remember when Washington coach Sarkisian proclaimed after last season's stirring upset of USC that rebuilding this moribund program wasn't going to take long?
Breaking news: It's going to be a long time.
In fact, the Huskies seem to be regressing.
This 41-0 loss to Stanford was Willingham Redux. The Huskies played without fire. They made the same mistakes in this lopsided loss they made earlier this season at BYU and against Nebraska.
Games as bad as Saturday's aren't supposed to happen anymore. These types of losses were supposed to be part of Washington's ugly past. Not the present.
But this loss was déjà Tyrone, something that belonged to the 2008 season.
For the second week in a row, Washington's defense surrendered more than 300 yards in the first half.
The Stanford offensive line opened holes as wide as the 520 bridge. On its first four possessions, the Cardinal marched 86, 42, 61 and 80 yards for touchdowns.
What does it say about a defense when its most intense member is coordinator Nick Holt? What does it say about Holt?
The Huskies looked ill-prepared for this game, as if the hangover from the lousy loss a week before at Arizona still was grinding at the temples.
It felt as bad as another home loss to Stanford in 2006 when the Cardinal was considered one of the worst conference teams ever. It was worse than Washington's loss two seasons ago at Cal.
That day they quit on lame duck Tyrone Willingham. What was the excuse this Saturday night?
Because more is expected from this team, this loss was worse than any game from the Keith Gilbertson era; worse even than the 2003 game at Cal when the Huskies allowed 729 yards of offense. That season was a ball of confusion. What is the excuse now?
The Huskies looked ill-prepared and uninterested.
Stanford's first touchdown came on quarterback Andrew Luck's 51-yard touchdown sprint, the same kind of option run that Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez burned Washington on in the third week of the season.
But the mistakes weren't just on defense.
This was Washington's worst offensive performance of the season. The Huskies now have gone more than 97 minutes without scoring. Their 107 total yards were the fewest they've gained since 1973.
Quarterback Jake Locker was as bad on his option reads against Stanford as he was against BYU. On one particularly bad read, he handed the ball to Chris Polk for a 9-yard loss.
Against Stanford's sketchy secondary, Locker threw for only 35 yards in the first half. Early in the second half, he threw into double coverage and cornerback Johnson Bademosi returned the interception to the Huskies' 22.
Locker finished 7 for 14 in the air for a mere 64 yards and he threw two interceptions.
If this game was the Battle for Buffalo, a referendum to see which quarterback — Luck or Locker — the Bills should take with their first pick, well, welcome to Buffalo, Mr. Luck.
If Locker, a fifth-year senior and Luck, a third-year sophomore, started this season even, Luck now is giant strides ahead of Locker.
But this wasn't all Locker's fault. His offensive line failed him again. In fact, the line of scrimmage remains Washington's biggest problem.
Late in that first quarter, Locker was sacked by Matt Masifilo, who schooled freshman right guard Colin Porter.
How many unblocked toss sweeps did the Huskies run? On third-and-three, Stanford gained 9. On third-and-one, Washington gained nothing.
And boos whimpered like the rain from the frustrated fans who expected much more this deep into Sarkisian's second season.
By the start of the second half, Husky Stadium was almost as quiet and almost as empty as it is for a spring game.
Fans who have suffered with this program since 2002 deserve more from the players, and more important, they deserve more from the coaches.
Where has the buzz of anticipation gone from that first Sarkisian news conference? Where is all that nail-eating energy Holt exuded when he was introduced to Seattle less than two years ago?
Temporarily, at least, the excitement has drained out of this program.
Eight games into Sarkisian's second season, Washington still is a bad football team. The Huskies aren't even as good as they were in the second week against Syracuse or the fourth week against USC.
At this point in the season, they may be as bad as Washington State.
|Jake's worst games|
|Jake Locker has had five games in which he has thrown for fewer than 100 yards.|
|Nov. 10, 2007||@Oregon State*||L, 29-23||6||14||16||0||0|
|Sept. 27, 2008||Stanford*||L, 35-28||5||9||51||0||0|
|Oct. 30, 2010||Stanford||L, 41-0||7||14||64||0||2|
|Sept. 18, 2010||Nebraska||L, 56-21||4||20||71||1||2|
|Sept. 29, 2007||USC||L, 27-24||13||28||90||0||1|
|*Left the game early due to an injury|
About Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley covers all sports, putting his spin on matters involving both the home team and the nation.
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