How do you score 56 points and lose?
That has been the topic for University of Washington football fans since last Thursday night when the Huskies lost to Baylor 67-56 in one of the highest scoring games in college football history.
It didn't take long for Steve Sarkisian to react. He fired Nick Holt, Jeff Mills, and Mike Cox the day after the game and now the Husky Nation waits for a new defensive savior to resurrect the bone crushing days of Owens, James, and Lambright.
So what exactly went wrong?
A friend of mine who attends practice on a regular basis and understands the game at a level equal to a good HS coach wasn't a fan of Holt from the start. He felt that the defensive staff didn't communicate or teach well and he places most of that blame on Holt and Sark.
He thought that Holt's emotional antics during practice and games was distracting the players to the point where they didn't respect him. He also felt that the kids were shutting him and the other coaches out because they didn't believe in the schemes.
His opinion is that Holt is a good soldier when he is the right hand man for a guy like Pete Carroll, but he doesn't have the tools to be a head coach, or even a coordinator at this level..ouch!
So what was the problem with Sark I asked? He said it is his job to coach the coaches on both sides of the ball. He felt that Sark was negligent in giving Holt total control of he defense. He said it was obvious after season one that Holt wasn't a good fit at Washington and Sark should have dealt with it then.
This of course is coming from a guy who never liked Holt, hoped for the best, but never completely bought in. He doesn't like Sark much either. He always refers to the current staff as those guys from USC who came in and took everything over. I always have to remind him about those guys from Kent State who came in and took everything over back in the mid 70's.
So what happens now?
I think Sark has a pretty good idea of who he wants to hire and we have heard rumors of a couple of offers being made over the weekend. The top rumor is that Washington has offered the position to Tennessee DC Justin Wilcox who would also bring LB coach Peter Sirmon with him.
Wilcox is a second generation Oregon Duck. His dad was an All American linebacker at Oregon during the 1960's who is now a member of Pro Football Hall of Fame. Justin started his career as a GA at Boise State. He then moved on to Cal where he coached linebackers. He then returned to Boise to be the DC for three seasons before Tennessee offered him a truckload of money to move to Knoxville.
Wilcox is one of the hottest young coaches in the country. Texas tried to hire him to replace Will Muschamp last season when he left to take over at Florida. He knows how to beat Chip Kelly and Oregon. In fact he did it twice while he was the DC at Boise State.
Keep in mind that talent, numbers and experience were all contributing factors to Washington's lame defensive performance this season (who am I kidding...decade). Even more relevant however was the lack of a philosophy or scheme that could deal with high powered modern offenses.
In my opinion Wilcox would be a great fit at Washington. He brings instant credibility and has the formula to remake the Washington defense into a unit that has a fighting chance against the high powered offenses the Huskies will face in the Pac 12 on a week to week basis.
Keep your fingers crossed.