Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times is at his best today with an article on why the Huskies think they played so poorly in the first three games of the season. (Actually, Bob is always at his best, but this is really good stuff)
"He was sweating, he was spitting," said linebacker Cort Dennison of what was a rare time for Holt — who like head coach Steve Sarkisian worked at USC before coming to UW — to speak to the entire team. "He brought a passion about his talk, about the belief we needed to bring in each other. And he emphasized that you can't do anything in one quarter, it's got to be four quarters. And if you don't play with a fear, you are going to play faster and play better as a unit. And when he told us that we really tuned into it and believed what he said."
It's obvious to most of us this team wasn't playing up to its potential the first three games, no one was playing loose, illustrating how much pressure the kids feel to get this program turned around and headed to a bowl. It also demonstrates how the veterans haven't been conditioned to win during their tenure at Washington.
I have communicated with a few of the athletes on the team this season and one thing is very clear and that is how much the really care and are doing everything they can to turn this program around. I clearly understand how much pressure they have put on themselves and how sometimes feel like they are letting us down.
One of my favorite posters commented this week that my grades after the USC game might have been a little too generous. He may be right, but after a win like that I do feel generous. The defense might not have performed as well as we like, but they held USC out of the end zone in the fourth quarter and that was key to winning this game.
I think the win over USC took an enormous burden off of every single player's shoulders. I believe it will be the catalyst that makes these kids play loose, play with confidence, and--most importantly--have fun while they are doing it. What they need is to know that every single one of us is behind them and we have confidence in them as the season continues.
Changing a culture is harder than most of us think. Football starts with learning how to win. Beating USC on the road will continue to pay dividends all season.
WR Kevin Smith, who looked pretty good returning kicks, will be out for a couple of weeks with a broken thumb. Jessie Callier and Sean Parker will likely assume his role while he is mending.
Cameron Elisara suffered a shoulder stinger early in the game and could have returned but that they decided it would be more prudent to hold him out.
Johri Fogerson is still out with a hip flexor injury and remains doubtful for ASU.
Erik Folk was named the Pac 10 Special Teams Player of the Week. He had four field goals, including the game winner against USC over the weekend.
The Oregon State homecoming game on October 16th will kick off at 7:15 pm and will be televised by ESPN.