I was reading all the local papers this morning during the aftermath of Nick Holt's first press conference yesterday at the University of Washington and it looks like he succeeded in getting everyone pretty excited.
Sportswriters are a funny bunch. It takes a lot for them to get excited. Consider the fact that all this hoopla is about an 0-12 team. Enter Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt who set the local media on fire today in way I really can't remember for at least over a decade.
Scott Woodward made a comment during the coaching search that Husky fans get more excited by sacks on third down than they do about long touchdown passes. The truth is we like them both but we absolutely love a strong defense.
Woodward said he was going to bring back defense and make a splash with his coaching hire so everyone was initially scratching their head when it leaked out that USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian had been picked for the job.
Most of that head scratching ended after Sarkisian's first press conference. He came out and said all the right things we had been waiting for but what exactly was he going to do about defense?
Yesterday we all got our answer when Nick Holt stepped to the podium. Most importantly it was exciting to watch the Seattle media fall in love with him at the same time we did.
There is nothing like positive ink in the newspaper when you are trying to recruit potential athletes and rebuild an aging football stadium. They call it buzz and Steve Sarkisian, Nick Holt, and the University of Washington put buzz firmly back on the map in Seattle yesterday.
At Tuesday's gathering, Holt generated enough energy to light up a small town, something needed at Washington as much as better players. Listen to Holt for a few minutes and even middle-aged reporters were ready to hit somebody.
To say this guy is a piece of work is to say the statue of David is a nice chunk of marble. If Holt gets any more intense, the city's hazmat unit is going to surround him with cyclone fencing and yellow tape. Even his two-syllable name is bluntly representative. The guy wouldn't waste time on a sissy third syllable.
Combining the rah-rah salesmanship of Richard Simmons and the kick-butt mentality of Richard Butkus, Holt is a walking, talking, fire-breathing Isley Brothers hit:
He makes you want to Shout!
And then run through a wall!
My favorite quote of the day came from Sarkisian when he was told by a reporter that the reporter wanted to ask him an "off-the-wall recruiting question.'' Said Sarkisian with a smile: "Ask me any question you want.'' That's not exactly how the previous head coach would have approached it.
If you didn't see Nick Holt's introductory news conference on GoHuskies.com, pull up a chair, er, rise up and watch it. The guy is nothing but fire! And, as former Huskies assistant coach Dick Baird said after the news conference, "We need it."
That's heavy talk for a fan base used to walking home after games with their tails between their legs lately, but the hire of Holt signals a sea change in the way Husky football is perceived - not only locally, but also on the bigger stage. Press conferences usually aren't held for defensive coordinator hires, yet this one didn't seem out of place at all. The post-conference applause didn't necessarily seem out of place either, especially when you pair it with Sarkisian's grand entrance exactly one month ago.
Yes, the spectacle of it all felt just a bit contrived, but pretty damn refreshing considering the jolt of electricity Sarkisian has sent through the lines of Husky Nation. Heck, he didn't even let Holt unpack before taking him along for an in-home visit Monday night.