The wrath of the press

The one thing you don't want if you are a prominent person living in the Pacific Northwest is to have the Seattle Times all over your backside.

This weeks victim is Husky defensive coordinator Nick Holt whose sin against humanity is being in charge of a unit that gave up 65 points to Stanford and 51 points to Nebraska.

Everyone including Holt and his players know that the Husky defense should be playing better. As I said on Sunday the defense hasn't been playing as a cohesive unit this season. Too many mental mistakes are being made by the players and the coaching staff isn't doing a great job making adjustments during the game.

They can do better, they know it, and nobody including Holt is trying to side step that. The challenge over the second half of the season is attaining that continual level of improvement going forward. Ultimately that is where Sark, Holt, and the staff are going to be judged.

Coach Holt on reading the newspaper or listening to the radio - I guess you've got to have thick skin. And I know you guys love us and want to us to do well --- I really do. And we want to do well. We are more disappointed than you guys, trust me. We, trust me, we get really pissed off.

Steve Kelley writes this morning - "Nick Holt isn't upholding his end of a very sweet bargain. Washington's defense isn't getting better, either individually or collectively." - Steve comes up short of saying he should be fired at the end of the season but says he needs to be more aggressive, bolder, and more creative over the rest of this season.

Jerry Brewer wrote this immediately after the game  - "Not since Kent Baer disgraced the sidelines has Washington seen a defensive effort so porous. Of course, Baer's run as defensive coordinator ended just four years ago. So, unfortunately, you know bad defense when you see it. And this was almost as awful as it gets."

Even the UW Dawg Pound got in the act - "All fingers now firmly point toward DC Nick Holt who was completely over matched in every single way last night. I hate to say it but the Huskies could probably do a lot better than Holt for a lot less money. He just doesn't seem to have what it takes to be a big time DC.

Jerry Brewer like most of us had lightened up a bit on Monday when he wrote this - But panic now? No. The team, as a whole, is making too much progress. Rebuilding is an uneven process that requires multiple phases. A team can look pretty and, to borrow from Sark, pretty dang ugly at once.

It's now Wednesday and most of the emotions that drove us to light up the torches and grab the pitch forks have subsided. We all have to face the reality that after two full recruiting classes there still are not enough mature horses in the stable to compete head to head with an elite team like Stanford.

One thing that has changed as Coach Holt noted yesterday is the overall record of the team. The team is winning more game than they lose. They went to a bowl game and won it last season because of defense. They are 5-2 this season and in a great position to win 8-9 games only a couple of years after going 0-12...that is serious progress.

A naysayer will comment that Sark and his offense have driven most of those wins but defense has been there too. They were instrumental in the drive to a bowl game last season. They haven't been perfect but they have played well enough for the Huskies to have won 10 of their last 12 games which is a serious accomplishment for any program.

Most of us are tired of being told that we need to be patient. We have been hearing that since 2002 but the fact is we have to be patient. Sark was given a rebuilding job that was going to take up to five years and frankly he is ahead of the curve at the mid point of year three.

What this team needs more than anything is a couple more strong recruiting classes and the continued physical development of the existing players on the squad to get to the next level which would be beating the Stanford, Oregon's and LSU's of this world.

There is a lot more talent and depth on this squad than there was three years ago. Every single thing about this program is better than it was before Sark and company arrived. It is only going to get better with a new stadium and football operations center on the way.

So I am thinking that while Nick Holt deserves some scrutiny he also deserves more respect than we are giving him. He also deserves the time to get his defense built from the ground up - not to mention the time for that defense to become physically mature.

In the present we need to deal with an entertaining football team who wins more than they lose - that isn;t a bad thing either - you have to go back a little over a decade to find that.

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