|Willingham's job in jeopardy at Washington|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 06 October 2008 12:59|
The losing atmosphere has only increased around a team that is:
- Starting 0-5 for the first time in 39 years.
- One of only two winless Bowl Subdivision teams in the country.
- Owner of the longest current losing streak of any team in the FBS: seven straight dating back to last season, thanks to Army's win over Tulane last weekend.
- Without star quarterback Jake Locker, after he broke his thumb trying to be the lead blocker on a reverse.
- The loser of three games this year by 30 or more points, including Saturday's 48-14 drubbing at the hands of Arizona.
It's not pretty.
In a rare positive, the Huskies did finally record a sack against the Wildcats, becoming the final team in the country to accomplish the feat. That was about the only bit of good news to come out of the Huskies' loss in the desert on Saturday.
ave to make sure those things don't slip in there, that our guys can get back off the mat, get their (energy) up, and concentrate and focus and do the things you have to do to win,'' Willingham said on Monday. ``That's important, we have to do that.''
While the long-term prognosis for Willingham's future employment as Washington's head coach continues to get darker with each loss, his short-term future appears secure. Athletic director Scott Woodward told reporters on the sidelines after Saturday's game that despite the lopsided score and 0-5 start he had no intentions of making an in-season move to fire Willingham. While not happy with the losing direction of the program, Woodward said his approach would be giving Willingham the entire season before deciding whether to keep Willingham around for the final year of his contract.
If there was a time to make such a transition, it would be this week with the Huskies having their second weekend off before hosting Oregon State on Oct. 18.
Woodward wasn't the only one making compelling statements after Saturday's loss. Perhaps one of the harshest indictments of the Huskies came from Arizona running back Nic Grigsby, who ``sensed (the Huskies defense) were quitting already'' late in the first half of Saturday's romp.
allowed last year - the worst mark in school history and one that cost Kent Baer his job as defensive coordinator.
``No, I don't think so. I think that's depending on how you take that comment and how you take those words and interpret them,'' Willingham said of Grigsby's comment. ``But I think our kids kept playing, kept trying. We just were not successful, but I do not think our kids quit.''
Washington and North Texas are the only FBS teams without victories, and the Huskies have just two in their last 16 games.
In Washington's defense, the combined records of its five opponents this season is 22-6, but the lack of competitiveness has provided a stark realization of just how far the Huskies are from returning to being the elite program that went without a losing season from 1977-2003. Washington is being outscored 210-93, including 110-35 in the first and third quarters.
The struggles are also having an impact on recruiting. The top Washington state recruit last week pulled back his oral commitment to the Huskies, and most recruiting services have Washington with only a handful of commitments nearly halfway through the fall.
There are some still holding onto hope for a respectable turnaround.
``Losing it tough. It hurts. But I've learned a lot from my head coach. He puts it behind him. He's a fighter and I came here because of him,'' Washington quarterback Ronnie Fouch said. ``It's hard to lose but we've got to keep fighting and we've got some more games left to put something together.''