By Derek Johnson
In the post game interview with KOMO Radio, Chris Petersen cited several reasons for yesterday's loss to Utah. The UW coach referred to the muffed punt snap by Korey Durkee, the pair of fumbles by "a back", an interception that was returned inside the Husky 10 yard line. And he hinted at terrible officiating that cost the Huskies points. (Every Husky should be infuriated by the officiating travesties that occurred, but that's for another discussion).
But not once during the post game interview did Petersen say, "And you know what? We need to coach these kids better too. We really let them down tonight."
In a game where Jake Browning (a struggling, pure freshman quarterback) was starting, and with monsoon conditions at Husky Stadium, one would think Petersen would show some conservative intelligence.
Why didn't Myles Gaskin start at tailback? Not only is he dynamic, but he's proved he can protect the football.
But no! For baffling reasons, Petersen starts Dwayne Washington, a running back with a well-documented history of fumbling away the football. And Mr. Washington fumbled twice in the first half, including one that was returned directly for a touchdown.
The fact he was starting at all was Petersen's fault. It can be argued that if Gaskin started then those fumbles wouldn't have occurred, Utah would have had ten few points, and UW might have had another 3-7 points.
Fact was, the Huskies trailed at halftime 24-13, and Gaskin only had 5 carries!
But Petersen and offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith had their freshman quarterback throw the ball 23 times in the first half. They only ran the ball 16 times. The Huskies turned the ball over 3 times in the first half, leading directly to 17 Utah points.
Why Petersen would allow the onus to be placed on a struggling freshman quarterback and have him throw the ball all over the yard in a heavy rain, is a maddening mystery of the universe.
Even the offensive series to close out the first half was stupefying. It reminded me of the Sark days. In the pouring rain and backed up inside their own 20-yard line with one minute left, the Huskies threw three feeble incomplete passes and then shanked a punt into the near sideline. It left plenty of time on the clock and gave the Utes great field position. It was only the mediocrity of Utah's offense that prevented that ensuing series from leading to another score.
In the second half, it was obvious that Petersen and Smith huddled and decided to be more "stubborn with the run", as Petersen puts it. (As if emphasizing the run is akin to going to the doctor for a colonoscopy).
Gaskin carried the ball 15 times in the second half, to finish at 20 carries for 93 yards. He also had a 23-yard touchdown run called back by horrible refereeing.
All told, during the steady downpour at Husky Stadium, The Huskies threw the ball 39 times, and (if you take away QB sacks), ran the ball 34 times. By contrast, Utah threw the ball 25 times and ran the ball 44 times.
If the Huskies had thrown 25 passes and ran the ball 44 times, primarily with Gaskin, the Huskies win this game by at least ten points.
The Huskies are now 2-4 in conference and 4-5 overall. Petersen and Smith have personally cost the Huskies three victories this season with their terrible coaching (Cal, Oregon and Utah).
After Utah quarterback Travis Wilson scored a fourth quarter touchdown that basically secured the win, he put his index finger to his lips as if to boast that he'd quieted the crowd.
No, you idiot. If you needed to make a gesture, it should have been as a sweeping bow toward the UW sideline.
The Husky brain trust over there gifted you gimps a victory.