It's one thing to lose, but please be entertaining while you are losing. Last years team lost in a very entertaining fashion. They were in every game, they never gave up, and they invariably folded after being outcoached in the second half of each game. This team is starting to extinguish all doubt in the first quarter and that my friends is when you have to make a coaching change at mid season.
People ask if we have hit rock bottom and I have to sadly tell you no. The bleeding will continue for the rest of the season and this team is in very real danger of not winning a single football game in 2008. There isn't a single thing Washington is doing right now that is better than the competition on or off the playing field. Sadly it is only going to get worse as spirts sag and injuries continue to mount.
It isn't an illusion. Washington's players are not as fast or as well developed physically as the teams they are playing against. Part of that is youth, but a bigger part is a coaching, conditioning, and development program that simply hasn't worked very well over the past five years.
This season reminds me way too much of 2004. Gilbertson was coaching in desperation that year and put the white flag up early. Before he did that he played Ceasar Rayford, Eric Lobos, Greyson Gunheim, and Jordan White Frisbee. That could have been Washington's starting 2008 defensive line.
Here we are in 2008 and Senio Kelmente, Ta'aumu Alameda, and Everette Thompson have all blown a key year to get bigger and better. What make matters worse is WIllingham isn't done yet. He played Cody Bruns, and Terrance Dailey this past weekend way after the game was out of doubt. Once again that is when you have to make a coaching change at mid season.
Whoever the coach is in 2012 will still be feeling the ramifications of the coaching decisions that were made in 2008. It would have been all so simple if Washington had only pulled the plug on the Willingham regime after last years Hawaii game.
What is holding Washington back right now is the fear that things will get worse if they fire Willingham right now. Number one they want to avoid the national political discussion of firing the nations most prominent black head coach and the sitting President of the AFCA at mid season.
Secondly the administration honestly feels the players will be better served by allowing Willingham to babysit them until the WSU game.
I think that benevolent stewardship plan theory may have gone out the window when he played Bruns, and Dailey this weekend.
One of the things we have been saying is that firing the head football coach is a good start but it won't change anything unless the culture of the UW Athletic Department is radically altered.
Change started Sunday when Scott Woodward fired longtime Senior Associate AD Mary Tuite this weekend. Mary has been in charge of Olympic Sports at Washington for the past 14 years.
Jeff Compher, an executive associate athletic director, left last spring to become the new athletic director at Northern Illinois University. Also leaving since the start of the year was Scott Barnes, UW's senior associate athletic director for advancement who left to become AD at Utah State.
The decisions Scott Woodward and Mark Emmert make over the next six weeks will shape this athletic department over the next decade. Keep a close eye on who they hire to replace Tuite, Barnes, and Compher. Since this is Woodwards first AD job the senior associates he hires will give us a good idea on what direction the department is headed.
Pac Ten Power Ratings
1. USC...Kicking the crap out of the Ducks is always a good thing.
2. California...Getting better every week
3. Arizona...Rose Bowl scouts were in Tucson this week.
4. Oregon...Dominating loss knocks the Ducks for a loop.
5. Arizona State...The Devils just aren't getting better.
6. Oregon State...Close loss to Utah on the road
7. Stanford...Fell short against Notre Dame
8. UCLA...Beating WSU keeps them out of the cellar.
9. Washington...Season in free fall
10. Washington State...Could they beat Central Washington?