Washington proved yesterday in Palo Alto that the rebuilding on Montlake still has a tough road ahead. The 34-14 loss did not look pretty.
After an upset of No. 3 USC led to the first ranking the Huskies had received in six years, at 24. With it came probably way too much optimism than was deserved.
The loss to Stanford was surprising, not for the result, but for the lack of competitive edge the Huskies showed.
What really hurt, to be honest, was Stanford running the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was a punch to the mouth the Huskies should have seen coming, and in the end took a lot of wind out of their sails.
Beyond that, the Huskies needed to find an answer to Toby Gerhart, but they didn't.
What yesterday proved was that the Huskies still have work to do to become a more physical football team.
A lot of the game both lines were pushed aside, and Stanford showed a greater propensity to swarm to the football.
Locker played a mediocre game for the Huskies, by the standards set earlier in the season.
His two picks and the fumble loss were not pretty, he only completed about half of his passes for 191 yards.
It was a game where the Huskies just looked like they were in a funk, maybe losing some of their edge after the upset.
The offensive line just could not make any traction against a more determined Stanford defensive line. As a consequence, Chris Polk has still yet to have a true breakout game.
His 75 yards rushing were earned the hard way, and he still is probably the best option at tailback for the Huskies. He has shown a propensity to run hard through the tackles and churn some hard earned yardage.
The player who looks like he is starting to make strides is Justin Glenn, at safety, where a playmaker really needs to show up for the Huskies.
What this game really proved that the hardest part of rebuilding is still the work that is coming up. It's a monumental success to be 2-2 on the season so far, but the team has to learn how to churn out the wins week in and week out.
Plus, there are still some winnable games left on the schedule for the Huskies. There will be some chances this season to prove how much progress is being made.
This team is still young too, so any strides made this year will make for a really intriguing 2010 team.
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