This was one of the type of games that make you do some reevaluating. It reminds me a little of Rick Neuheisel's Holiday Bowl loss to Texas. For all intents and purposes that is when the slide we are currently in started. UW hasn't been able to defend the pass very well for over five years, not to mention the problems we have with the run. Plain and simple we are not very good on defense, and this team may represent the worst defensive team in the history of the school.
WSU's final touchdown really summed up the season. The team doesn't know how to finish, and it is obvious that the coaches aren't putting the players in a position to finish. That one particular play was the result of a terribly blown scheme where half the team was blitzing, and the other was in cover two. There is absolutely no excuse for that in the final minute of the last conference game of the season.
Still it wasn't just the defense that lost this game, it was a terrible offensive game plan contributed also. Washington drove California into the ground last week with a backup quarterback and a strong rushing game. Washington moved completely away from what gave them perhaps the best win in the Willingham era last week over California. UW threw the ball 37 times yesterday completing only 12 passes, with two interceptions. The Huskies also lost a fumble on one of the few receptions one of their receivers actually were able to make. UW receivers dropped at least six very catchable balls yesterday. If you make a couple of those catches dives don't stall, and you probably come away with a win.
Washington didn't lose on Saturday because WSU had better players. Washington didn't win because they didn't execute very well on either side of the ball. The team didn't execute well because the coaches ignored what the team has been becoming very good at, and that is simply running the ball. You have to wonder why these guys keep sabotaging themselves.
My friend Nathan Ware seriously doubts that UW will make a move such as firing Willingham, and Turner after the team returns from Hawaii. He thinks the best we can hope for is that they replace a couple coaches, but even that is dicey since Ty refused to do that at Notre Dame.
I on the other hand think that there is a very good chance that they make a move because booster favorite Jim Mora is in town, and very available. That move will cost a lot of money, and the big bucks guys will have to step up to make that happen. Word on the street is they are ready to make that kind of move if Emmert allows it.
I have always liked Willingham, and I think he has done some good things at UW since he arrived, but it really comes down to winning football games and putting butts in the seats. Willingham hasn't accomplished either, and the program may not be able to afford to give him another year to see if he can get over the hump.
Washington should have finished with at least a .500 record last season, the loss to Stanford was inexcusable. Losing to WSU, and Arizona this season is inexcusable too. You need to win the games you are supposed to win even if you are rebuilding and we simply haven't done that.
On Thursday my wife, and I fly to Honolulu for the game. We leave with mixed emotions because of the expense, and of course the likelihood of another loss to finish the season. This was a game that should have meant something. This was a game that should be propelling us into a bowl with a win. What it has become is a reward for a senior class that has never been to a bowl game.
I think it is going to be very tough for this team to compete in Aloha Stadium on Saturday which is unfortunate because it will be on national television via ESPN. Willingham's team has shown up for every single game this season, and in every one of those games they have had a shot to win. Let's hope that continues for one more week.
We will be posting from Hawaii as time, and Internet connections allow.
Rumors About Doba
On rumor is circulating that it looks like Bill Doba has escaped the hangman's noose over at WSU according to our friends over at the WSU blog. Doba was a shoe in to get the axe before the Apple Cup, but that win, and the 2.8 million it would take to buy his staff out have apparently given him another year on Poop Island.
Another rumor posted over at Dawgman suggests that an inside source has divulged that Doba will announce his retirement this evening. that rumor says a settlement has been worked out which will allow the Cougars to pay the contract off over time.