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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 20, 2008 at 9:12 AM

Fixing the Huskies

For our main Apple Cup story today, we presented six ways to fix the Huskies and Cougars.
So you don’t have to read the boring Cougars part if you don’t want (just a little joke there), here are my six suggestions for fixing the Huskies.
1, Hire the right coach. This is obviously a no-brainer, and indications are that while work has been done to narrow the field, there are still a number of candidates on the list (Gary Pinkel? Jeff Tedford? Chris Petersen? Jim Mora? —- and, we learned last night, maybe Michael Haywood) The Huskies can’t afford to miss on this hire and must get someone who will not only do the job on the field but reunite a fractured fan base.
2, Hit the weights. Coaches continually lauded the efforts of players the past few years. But results speak more loudly, and it seems evident that not everyone on the roster has taken conditioning as seriously as needed. The Huskies just haven’t looked the part at a lot of positions the past few years.
3, Finetune Jake Locker. The quarterback, who will be a junior next season, is Washington’s biggest reason for immediate hope. He’s an immense talent who has shown flashes of brilliance when healthy the past two years. But his overall game still needs a lot of work and one of the first priorities for the new coach should be figuring out how to quickly maximize his gifts. The Huskies need to make sure they don’t let the career of one of the most talented QBs in their history go to waste.
4, Get moving on the renovation of Husky Stadium. The school will again ask for $150 million from the state Legislature in January to help in what is estimated to be a $300 million project. It doesn’t figure to be an easy sell right now. If approved, it will be a big shot in the arm for the school and a selling point to future recruits. If not, the Huskies will have to figure out another way to get it done. Either way, the school needs to start moving on this project.
5, Re-establish an identity. For a lot of years, it was easy to know what Huskies football was — tough-as-nails defense, opportunistic special teams, physical offense. Obviously, these are changing times and what worked 20 years ago won’t necessarily work again. But the Huskies have seemed to lose all of what once made them great — they don’t do anything well and don’t seem to have any visible defining characteristic other than losing. The new coach needs to try to bring back some of the UW tradition and make the Huskies recognizable again.
6, Bring back the run. This is a corollary of No. 5. For decades, UW football was known for punishing running games, and nothing excites its fan base like a grind-it-out, 12-play, 80-yard drive predicated mostly on the run. Five of the 10 lowest rushing averages per game have come since 2001 (and this year will soon join that group), one of the biggest reasons for the losing that has followed. Obviously, the style will be dependent on the coach (if it’s Mike Leach, disregard all of this). But nothing would seem to bring back respectability more quickly than regaining an ability to run the ball.

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