When Jake Locker went down during the 2008 season the Huskies were unable to rally at all, and ended the season winless. The winless season determined the fate of Coach Willingham, and brought us to the Steve Sarkisian era.
The past few games have been ugly for Washington, especially on offense, even with Locker in the game. Now UW is set to take on their rival, and current number one, Oregon, at Autzen Stadium. In a game that looked nearly impossible already, the Huskies' chances have just taken another nose dive.
Sarkisian’s team has been playing in an eerily similar fashion to Willingham's teams. They were completely dominated by Stanford last weekend 41-0.The team look like it had just flat given up, and that was something Sarkisian stressed would not happen under his watch. This game against Oregon was going to be a big test in that regard anyway, but without his starting QB he really has to show his worth in this game.
He is known as a QB Guru, and Keith Price has been in the system for over a year now. While there are numerous other issues on the offense, the quarterback position has not been one of strength for the last few games. Locker may have been banged up more than he would let on, which could have affected his performance and possibly limited Sarkisian's play calling. Now Sarkisian is rolling out a healthy QB who has not been under a college coaching staff other than the current regime.
The time is now for Sarkisian's staff to prove they are the offensive minds we thought they were when Washington hired him. This is a preview of what the post Jake Locker era is going to look like. This isn’t a true freshman out there making a start, and Sarkisian and his offensive staff should have been able to get Price ready for this situation.
Washington has backed itself in a corner when it comes to bowl eligibility, and is now facing a team that they had little hope of competing against anyway. This will be a true character game, because while the Huskies are certainly underdogs, they have to rebound with a better performance on offense than what they had last week.
It will be easy to excuse yet another poor performance on Locker being out, but that is not enough to justify another barely 100 yard offensive output. We must see improvement this week, and have the type of team that is going to fight for 60 minutes. How Washington rebounds after Stanford is going to be huge for the program going forward.
Washington faithful are not expecting a win, but a competent offense should not have been an issue this year. It is time for the team to show some heart and toughness.
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